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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 7 declined, 4 accepted (11 total, 36.36% accepted)

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Submission + - Australian IT Policy Debate Scheduled (

kandela writes: The Australian reports that Communications Minister Stephen Conroy will debate Coalition and Greens shadows Tony Smith and Scott Ludlam at the National Press Club next Tuesday. Amongst topics covered in the debate will be the national broadband network and internet filter policy. The event is being put on by the Australian Computer Society and which will be shown on Sky News and hosted by the station's political editor David Speers.

Submission + - US Judge Rules Human Genes Can't be Patented (

kandela writes: A feministing blogger has comprehensive coverage of the decision by U.S. federal district court Judge Robert Sweet that human genes cannot be patented. "The judge declared that all 15 patent claims that [were] challenged are invalid, based on the fact that they cover products of nature and abstract ideas. He wrote in his decision: 'The resolution of these motions is based upon long recognized principles of molecular biology and genetics: DNA represents the physical embodiment of biological information, distinct in its essential characteristics from any other chemical found in nature. It is concluded that DNA's existence in an "isolated" form alters neither this fundamental quality of DNA as it exists in the body nor the information it encodes. Therefore, the patents at issue directed to "isolated DNA" containing sequences found in nature are unsustainable as a matter of law and are deemed unpatentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. 101.'" The blogger goes on to declare the result a victory for scientific freedom and women's health.

Submission + - New Mark to make /sarcasm obsolete /sarcasm (

kandela writes: The Telegraph is reporting that for a mere $1.99 you can download a new punctuation mark that will revolutionise communication online. The SarcMark, described as "a dot inside a single spiral line," is to be used just like a question mark or exclamation mark to indicate sarcasm. And for those worried that this company's unique invention may be shamelessly copied by eager and unscrupulous grammarians – grammarians being the type to quickly adopt new ideas without heed to proper procedure – fear not, the Michigan based company has applied for a patent to protect their invention.

Submission + - New Cloud Type Needed - Cloud Appreciation Society

kandela writes: The BBC has a short slide show of a type of cloud that the Cloud Appreciation Society (CAS) wants classified as 'asperatus.' These types of clouds are currently called 'undulators,' but the term is also used to describe "those regular, gentle ripples you often see in the cloud layers of a calm sky." The CAS argues that "violent, chaotic undulations deserve their own term." So, what do slashdotters think? Is a new cloud type required to prevent discussions being clouded in ambiguity, or do those at the CAS have their heads in the clouds?

Submission + - Hamilton drives F1 car with Blackberry

kandela writes: "Over at F1-live they are reporting that "Armed with the latest mobile phone technology, [F1 World Champion, Lewis] Hamilton drove the full-scale working McLaren Mercedes out of the pit garage and then whist standing on the sidelines, runs [sic] the car around a small circuit." There is a link to some footage of the car being controlled by the blackberry (near the end of the video).

Is there an Apple App in the App store that can do that?"

Submission + - Synchrotron gets sci-fi writer in residence (

kandela writes: "CBC News is reporting that Nebula and Hugo award winning author Robert J. Sawyer is to become the first ever writer in residence at the Canadian Light Source synchrotron facility (see also their media release).

Sayer will spend two months at the facility, where he is hoping to be inspired by the everyday grind of scientists, "I spent a lot of time visiting science labs over the years, but it's always the VIP tour," he said in an interview Wednesday. "You are in and you are out in a couple of hours, and everyone has shown you all the things they want you to see but none of the day-to-day grind of the work as well. I want to get the flavour of that."

As a scientist who has worked at synchrotron facilities (and occasional sci-fi writer myself (page 4)), I'm excited to see what a professional can do with that environment for inspiration."


Submission + - IT worker set to play Test Cricket for Australia

kandela writes: "It's not too late you could still play international sport for your country!

The Courier Mail is one of a slew of sources reporting that a 36 year old former IT worker, Bryce McGain, is about to get a call up to play Test Cricket for Australia. Until last year McGain had a successful job working in IT for the ANZ bank, before taking a significant pay cut to pursue the possibility of playing international cricket.

Previously McGain has indicated that his long IT career has left him in the ideal physical condition to play at the international level, "I'm feeling really fresh, physically," he said. "Most first-class cricketers at 35 have had the workload of ten years of cricket and I haven't. Hopefully I've got a lot of years to come.""

Submission + - Formula for Procrastination Found

kandela writes: "Science Daily and the Universtiy of Calgary report that Calgary academic Dr. Piers Steel has published a paper titled "The Nature of Procrastination: A Meta-Analytic and Theoretical Review of Quintessential Self-Regulatory Failure." in The American Psychological Association's Psychological Bulletin. In it he reveals that most people's New Year's resolutions are doomed to failure, most self-help books have it completely wrong when they say perfectionism is at the root of procrastination, and procrastination can be explained by a single mathematical equation.

From the article "Essentially, procrastinators have less confidence in themselves, less expectancy that they can actually complete a task," Steel says. "Perfectionism is not the culprit. In fact, perfectionists actually procrastinate less, but they worry about it more."

The research is apparently the culmination of 10 years work, however no indication was given of how much time was spent putting it off before it was begun."

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