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Comment Re:Life fills a space defined by its environment (Score 4, Insightful) 238

Despite the BBC article's title and the slashdot summary, this story is not about whether *life* evolved twice---it's about whether *animals* evolved twice. The issue here is that they have discovered relatively complex sponge-like organisms before a catastrophic event (snowball earth). This means either that 1) snowball earth wasn't that bad, didn't kill them off, and more complex animals (including us) might have evolved from them or 2) it killed them off, and animals evolved a second time once it was over.

Submission + - Kvetching about Leopard Server (

jammag writes: "John Welch reviews the Leopard server and finds it impressive — but not perfect. Many of his minor complaints center around user interface issues (ironically for Apple), like the hassle involved with configuring Server Admin, and the cumbersome user list in the Directory App. He suggests an Outlook Web Access, or OWA layer, for Leopard server's groupware. His bottom line: "Overall, Mac OS X 10.5 Server is a big improvement, but it's not completely done yet.""

Submission + - UK Government rejects copyright term extension ( 1

e6003 writes: "The UK Government has responded to a report from the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee which (inter alia) had backed the extension of phonographic performance copyright from its present 50 years. The Government response [PDF document] notes (in response to paragraph 28 on page 15 of the PDF) that the Gowers Report considered the call for a term extension on economic and moral grounds but rejected all the arguments in favour of term extension, as did an EU Commission report. The Response concludes, "Taking account of the findings of these reports, which carefully considered the impact on the economy as a whole, and without further substantive evidence to the contrary, it does not seem appropriate for the Government to press the [European] Commission for action at this stage." Pleasingly, the Response also notes "The Government will undertake a public consultation this Autumn about making an exception to copyright legislation to allow format-shifting for private use." It's technically an infringement of copyright in the UK to rip CDs to your iPod and even the music industry has agreed something needs to be done about this."

Submission + - Bush takes over federal science (

amigoro writes: "Through an Executive Order that gives political appointees final say regarding science-based federal agency regulations and the appointment of an anti-educationist to head the Office of Management and Budget, US President George W. Bush is attempting to insulate his administration from congressional accountability while effectively turning federal scientists into White House puppets, a group of scientists warned today."

Submission + - UK rejects lengthening of copyright (

timrichardson writes: The British Government has rejected extending copyright for sound recordings. This is an important development in the face of trends to extend copyright duration, although it leaves British copyright protection for music recordings at a shorter duration than for written works. The decision was despite fierce lobbying from the large British music industry. The music industry will now lobby direct to the European Commission, but without the support of the national government, its position is significantly weakened. British copyright for music recordings therefore remains at 50 years after the death of the artist, in contrast to 95 years in the US and 70 years in Australia.
The Courts

Submission + - Court convicts Skype for breaching GPL

terber writes: In Munich a German court once again upheld the GPL2 and convicted Skype (based in Luxembourg) of violating GPL by selling the Linux-based VoIP phone "SMCWSKP 100" without proper source code access. Skype later on added a flyer to the phones with an URL where to obtain the sources, but the court found this insufficient as this was in breach of GPL section 3. Plaintiff was once again Netfilter developer Harald Welte, who runs The decision is currently only available in German at News source (German):

Submission + - Idle Scripting Language (

Thomas Lauer writes: "Idle is a scripting language based on Lua
(see ).

Lua is a mature and efficient language, sporting an easy-to-understand
syntax and extraordinary extensibility. Idle inherits these features
and includes some extensions to the Lua core language of its own.
However, the main difference to Lua is the integration of an extensive
runtime library and the included compiler.

The project is focused on producing a small but powerful scripting
language that is easy to deploy and easy to use and that can produce
small, portable executable files. (Of course, it is always possible to
run Idle scripts through the interpreter.)
To this end the Idle compiler creates .exe files which only depend on
the Idle runtime DLL (which currently weighs in at less than 160 KB). A
script of, say, 50 KB will produce an executable of roundabout 35 to 40
KB that can be run on other machines without the need of installing

Idle supports the following features out of the box:
* full Perl-compatible regular expressions
* many operating system additions like file locking, directory walking,
    pipes, process creation, ...
* networking and sockets
* simple macro processing
* fully transparent reading of files and Idle code from inside archives
    (.zip and .7z archive types)
* dynamic call facility allows arbitrary calls into external DLLs
* embedding interface to Perl and Tiny C
* multi-threading allows multiple Idle tasks to execute in parallel
* Win32 API functions (clipboard, registry, ...)
* and more.

Some of the functionality is based on existing products and libraries
(mostly Lua itself, the PCRE regular expression library, LuaSocket and

This pre-alpha release is only available for systems running Windows
2000 and later versions. Later versions may support Linux and similar

More information, downloads and preliminary documentation:"


Submission + - Attackers Gain Full Control of iPhone

i_like_spam writes: The NYTimes is running a story about an iPhone flaw that has been found and documented by researchers from Independent Security Evaluators. Attackers were able to gain full control of the iPhone either through WiFi or by visiting a website with malicious code. The exploit will be demostrated at BlackHat on Aug. 2nd at 4:45pm. Until then,

Details on the vulnerability, but not a step-by-step guide to hacking the phone, can be found at, which the researchers said would be unveiled today.

Submission + - New Iphone Hole Allows Full Control

i_like_spam writes: The NYTimes is running a story about a new Iphone flaw that has been found and documented by researchers from Independent Security Evaluators. Attackers can gain full control of the Iphone either through WiFi or by visiting a website with malicious code. From the article:

Details on the vulnerability, but not a step-by-step guide to hacking the phone, can be found at, which the researchers said would be unveiled today.
United States

Submission + - Robot aircraft crush worldwide enemies - from Nev. (

coondoggie writes: "The first unmanned attack squadron in aviation history will arrive in Iraq today looking to deliver 500-pound bombs and Hellfire missiles to the enemy — all from the comfort of a US Air Force base in Nevada. The General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper can be controlled via satellite link thousands of miles away from operational areas. The planes are launched locally, in this case Iraq and Afghanistan, but can be controlled by a pilot and sensor operator sitting at computer consoles in a ground station, or they can be "handed off" via satellite signals to pilots and sensor operators in Nevada's Creech Air Force Base or elsewhere. 0"

Submission + - How to bypass a TPM with a piece of wire (

Trailrunner7 writes: "Security super-genius Nate Lawson has an excellent analysis of a new attack on TPM version 1.1: "Trusted Computing has been a controversial addition to PCs since it was first announced as Palladium in 2002. Recently, a group at Dartmouth implemented an attack first described by Bernhard Kauer earlier this year. The attack is very simple, using only a 3-inch piece of wire. As with the Sharpie DRM hack, people are wondering how a system designed by a major industry group over such a long period could be so easily bypassed.""
United States

Submission + - High-Skilled Workers Protest for Green Cards

at_$tephen writes: Businessweek has an article describing a peaceful Gandhi-style protest by highly skilled workers in the US due to the long and unpredictable time spent in limbo while green card applications are being processed. There is nothing worse than uncertainty in obtaining certain basic human needs. A recent admin glitch by the State Department raised false hopes that many would soon have their applications processed. Highly-skilled immigration processing problems are probably the biggest challenges affecting US high tech competitiveness. Not only does it prevent companies from obtaining necessary workers as smoothly as possible, but it affects the growth of the industry through the entrepreneurial efforts of those workers who are under H-1B while trying to create the next HP or Google. Countries like Canada and the UK are much more sophisticated in handling immigration issues and will lead the way in turning the American dream into a global dream.

Submission + - Bloopers in getting the word out?

nibblybits writes: The New York Times presents an interesting article summarizing a recent paper by sociologist Dan Ryan on the Social Organization of Notification(pdf). The paper explores how technology-induced changes in the way we pass along information has affected the mechanisms for maintaining cohesion of social networks. e.g. friendly-fire spam (cc'ing an article to everyone, including people who aren't interested), or causing offence by the order of the addresses on an email invite. The New York times also has some more examples in John Tierney's blog

Does the Slashdot community have examples of other unforeseen social interpretations that have arisen this way?

Submission + - Evolution in Action

osric0 writes: 'In the Pipeline' has a article that talks about the use of genetic sequencing right now, and how one result of this is being able to watch evolution happen, and some musings on where this is going.

Submission + - Popularity perception distorted by zealots

crazy_monkey writes: A recent article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (PDF warning) about inferring popular opinion has some not unforeseen, but interesting findings. As the Globe and Mail article put it, "In a vacuum, familiarity seems like popularity". Seems one person's repeated opinion is seen as nearly as popular as many opinions. According to the study, one reason people incorrectly estimate the popularity of an opinion is "...people's tendency to infer that a familiar opinion is a prevalent one, even when its familiarity derives solely from the repeated expression of 1 group member." Issues discussed during the experiment included the recruitment of a new CEO for Napster, and political parties' reproductive-rights policies. Another reason to be a zealot?

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