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Thousands of Blackbirds Fall From Sky Dead 577

Dan East writes "In a fashion worthy of a King or Hitchcock novel, blackbirds began to fall from the sky dead in Arkansas yesterday. Somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 birds rained down on the small town of Beeb, Arkansas, with no visible trauma. Officials are making wild guesses as to what happened — lightning strike, high-altitude hail, or perhaps trauma from the sound of New Year's fireworks killed them."

Comment Re:Surprising in its unsurprisingness (Score 2, Insightful) 833

You're drinking kool-aid too, just a different brand. So far, the majority of the leaked documents simply complicate and frustrate the international community's diplomatic efforts. Some of these efforts are laudable, such as dealing with and containing unsavory characters (like Mugabe) or unsavory governments (Iran and North Korea). How does throwing a monkey wrench in these delicate, but necessary, machinations benefit the citizens of the world?

One positive note is the exposure of the pressure applied to the German government to not prosecute CIA agents in a kidnapping case. Perhaps there will be other documents in the same vein. But the scarcity of this kind of exposure highlights my fear: long gone are the days when WikiLeaks was the refuge of the whistle-blower, giving a voice to the powerless in the pursuit of truth, and hopefully, justice. If this were *still* WikiLeaks' core mission, then the latest dump would have separated the chaff (Merkle is a teflon politician, Putin is an alpha dog) and highlighted the documents that detail morally dubious and corrupt government action.

More and more, WikiLeaks is conflating 'secret' with 'malfeasance'. Also, it's raison d'etre now seems to be to bloody the nose of the American government more than anything else. And we're all the poorer for it.


Submission + - Elephants help frogs ( 2

roat35 writes: While elephants may appear destructive when they pull down trees, tear up grasses or stir up soils, their impacts actually make space for the little guys: frogs and reptiles. A new study in African Journal of Ecology finds that African elephants facilitate herpetofauna biodiversity (i.e. amphibians and reptiles) when they act as ecosystem engineers.

Submission + - Is no other company as innovative as Apple ?

vortexmak writes: During discussions with my friends about iphones and Apple, one point often comes up that Apple is the most innovative corporation and the rest just copy Apple.
It's a fact that Apple changed the smartphone market, with a usable UI and things like multitouch and the various sensors.

However, is it possible that other manufacturers came up with these features but were never highlighted like Apple ?
What features did Apple actually innovate and what were the innovations made by other companies that are overlooked ?
Just a question, not trying to troll here.

Submission + - Julian Assange Interview with the NYT (

An anonymous reader writes: This latest profile explores his life "on the run" and the increasingly fractious debates within WikiLeaks regarding his management and direction. His statements, at times narcissistic and paranoid, are beginning to interfere, if not eclipse, the work WikiLeaks is performing.
Data Storage

Submission + - SuperSpeed USB Gets Ride On Super Thin Drives (

CWmike writes: Lucas Mearian reports that Iomega and Seagate have both announced new ultra-thin external drives that use the new 3Gbit/sec SuperSpeed USB protocol. Iomega introduced a solid-state disk (SSD) and Seagate released a hard disk drive. Iomega's SSD is its first to use SuperSpeed. The Iomega External USB 3.0 SSD Flash Drive has up to 256GB capacity and is the size of an internal 2.5-in. hard drive. USB 3.0 offers up to 4.8Gbit/sec throughput, or about 10 times the speed of USB 2.0's 480Mbit/sec. However, most of today's desktop and laptop computers do not come with USB 3.0 ports, which means data transfers will still be less than 4.8Gbit/sec. Seagate introduced its slimmest portable hard disk drive, the FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-Portable Drive. The GoFlex includes an NTFS driver for Mac, so that files can be stored and accessed from PC and Mac computers without reformatting. The drive is 4.33-in. long by 3.27-in. wide and .69-in thick.

Submission + - Jailbreak iPhone? Legal! Jailbreak Xbox? Jail! (

An anonymous reader writes: Back in July, the Librarian of Congress officially made it legal to jailbreak your iPhone (or any phone). However, why is it that the government is trying to send Matthew Crippen to jail for three years for jailbreaking Xboxes? What kind of law says it's okay to jailbreak the phone in your pocket, but not your gaming console?

Submission + - Putting 20+ programming languages in one binary (

An anonymous reader writes: Can you embed JVM and Mono in the same binary? What about Objective-C and COBOL? And Ocaml? And Javascript? What about all these and a dozen more? These guys did and made a demo out of it. I especially like the interference pattern calculated with Bourne Shell.

Submission + - Are journalists afraid to confront Google? (

NuAngel writes: Google recently admitted that they may have captured more than just ‘bits and pieces of data’ but entire emails, personally identifiable email address, and even passwords. It’s not the “admission” of this that’s bothering me, it’s the fact that GOOGLE IS STILL ANALYZING THE DATA that they claim they "accidentally" harvested. What's worse? Everybody reports on "oh, Google says they found email address, full email messages, and even passwords in that data they accidentally got from their Street View cars." Why does Google know what they captured? Why didn't they just DELETE it? More importantly, why is nobody else asking that question?

Submission + - Wikileaks Shows Rumsfeld and Casey Lied about the (

An anonymous reader writes: Recent revelations by Wikileaks show how top American leaders lied, knowingly, to the American public, to American troops, and to the world. Ellen Knickmeyer on the carnage she saw as Baghdad bureau chief. "Thanks to Wikileaks, though, I now know the extent to which top American leaders lied, knowingly, to the American public, to American troops, and to the world, as the Iraq mission exploded."

Submission + - NASA Parodies Reach New Level of Awkwardness (

MMBK writes: NASA TV recently produced six movie-trailer parodies about current projects for a “themed exhibit at an international conference.” But for the most part, the attempt remains pretty corny, far, far away from the imaginative, inspiring work of space artists like Bruce McCall.

Submission + - Colleges Start Forcing Switch to eTextbooks (

An anonymous reader writes: Here's the new approach: Colleges require students to pay a course-materials fee, which would be used to buy e-books for all of them (whatever text the professor recommends, just as in the old model). That's the best way to control skyrocketing costs and may actually save the textbook industry from digital piracy, proponents claim.

Submission + - Global Warming's Silver Lining for the Arctic Rim

Pickens writes: "Seed Magazine reports that according to Laurence C. Smith, an Arctic scientist who has consistently sounded alarms about the approach of global warming, within 40 years the Arctic rim may be transformed by climate change into a new economic powerhouse. As the Arctic ice recedes and ecosystems extend and minerals and fossil fuels are discovered and exploited, the Arctic will become a place of “great human activity, strategic value and economic importance" and sparsely populated Canada, Scandinavia, Russia and the northern United States, the northern rim countries — or NORCs, will become formidable economic powers and migration magnets. Predictions in Smith's new book "The Earth in 2050" include: New shipping lanes will open during the summer in the Arctic, allowing Europe to realize its 500-year-old dream of direct trade between the Atlantic and the Far East, and resulting in new access to and economic development in the north; NORCs will be among the few place on Earth where crop production will likely increase due to climate change and NORCs will become the envy of the world for their reserves of fresh water, which may be sold and transported to other regions; Finally oil resources in Canada will be second only to those in Saudi Arabia, and the country's population will swell by more than 30 percent, a growth rate rivaling India's and six times faster than China's. "In many ways, the stresses that will be very apparent in other parts of the world by 2050 — like coastal inundation, water scarcity, heat waves and violent cities — will be easing or unapparent in northern places," says Smith. "The cities that are rising in these NORC countries are amazingly globalized, livable and peaceful.""

Submission + - Novell Talks up Linux Future (

Blacklaw writes: Novell staffers met us ahead of the opening of the second annual OpenSuSE conference to give us a low-down on where the company stands at the moment and where its own distribution will be heading in the future.
Flaxa went on to tell us that, "in contrast to Ubuntu, when it comes to the community, [Novell] understands how important it is to give back," detailing cross-platform investments such as the OpenSuSE Build Service and SuSE Studio which are not necessarily in the core interests of Novell's enterprise Linux business. It's clear that Novell is attempting to avoid being seen as a parasite, but instead as an active and useful contributor to the openSuSE community — and it certainly seems to be achieving that goal.

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