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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.

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I'm still waiting for the advent of the computer science groupie.