Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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Submission + - `Public' online spaces don't carry speech, rights

mikesd81 writes: "The Associated Press writes about a Dutch photographer, Maarten Dors, who had this picture deleted by flickr. Without prior notice, Yahoo deleted the photo on grounds it violated an unwritten ban on depicting children smoking. While Dors' eventually got the photo restored, after the second time it was deleted, this underscores another consequence of having online commons controlled by private corporations. Rules aren't always clear, enforcement is inconsistent, and users can find content removed or accounts terminated without a hearing. Appeals are solely at the service provider's discretion. Users get caught in the crossfire as hundreds of individual service representatives apply their own interpretations of corporate policies, sometimes imposing personal agendas or misreading guidelines. First Amendment protections generally do not extend to private property in the physical world, allowing a shopping mall to legally kick out a customer wearing a T-shirt with a picture of a smoking child."

Submission + - Nick Hornby writes off eBooks ( 2

Barence writes: "Author Nick Hornby has launched a stinging attack on eBook readers, claiming they are so expensive that even multi-millionaire stars don't want them. "A member of staff at Borders told me that he attempted to persuade a young and famous comedian to buy an Iliad last week. He seemed interested, until he was told the price, at which point he swore loudly and walked away. So at the moment, they are priced too high for millionaire showbusiness entertainers.""
The Courts

Submission + - Duluth paper terms anti-RIAA decision "admirab ( 1

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "The Duluth News Tribune has devoted the entire front page of its Sunday Metro section to the new proceedings in Capitol v. Thomas. The paper termed Judge Davis's May 15th decision, indicating that he may have committed a 'manifest error of law' both 'extraordinary' and 'admirable'. It also mentioned something none of the legal briefs have mentioned, which is that the Atlantic v. Howell decision upon which the RIAA relied at the trial had been vacated 5 days before the trial, not months after the trial as Judge Davis has seemingly assumed. Commentaries from RIAA spokesperson Cara Duckworth, from NYCL, and from Jammie Thomas herself, also appeared on the page."

Submission + - Supplies of rare earth elements exhaused by 2017

tomhudson writes: "While we bemoan the current oil crisis, this editorial led me to research about a more immediate threat. Ramped-up production of flat-panel displays means the material to make them, as well as other electronics, will be "extinct" by 2017.

The element gallium is in very short supply and the world may well run out of it in just a few years. Indium is threatened too, says Armin Reller, a materials chemist at Germany's University of Augsburg. He estimates that our planet's stock of indium will last no more than another decade. All the hafnium will be gone by 2017 also, and another twenty years will see the extinction of zinc. Even copper is an endangered item, since worldwide demand for it is likely to exceed available supplies by the end of the present century.

More links here."

The Military

Submission + - US Has Spent 400 Million on Iranian War Already

copponex writes: Looks like we're at it again: the New Yorker reports that President Bush sought and received 400 million dollars for covert operations against Iran last year. And if that's not enough deja vu for you, they have rejected the findings from US intelligence that claims Iran has halted their nuclear weapons programs. The last commander of CENTCOM, Admiral William Fallon, resigned under pressure after publicly denouncing a possible attack on Iran, and it looks like the only group of people dumb enough to continue with a full scale assault are within the White House itself — against the advice of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the intelligence community, and even their new Secretary of Defense.

Submission + - North Pole May Be Ice Free This Summer (

caffeinated seattlelite writes: ""Arctic warming has become so dramatic that the North Pole may melt this summer, report scientists studying the effects of climate change in the field. "We're actually projecting this year that the North Pole may be free of ice for the first time [in history]," David Barber, of the University of Manitoba, told National Geographic News aboard the C.C.G.S. Amundsen, a Canadian research icebreaker.""

Submission + - EU proposes government regulation of blogs (

denoir writes: The European Parliament will in September vote for a law that will in effect mean that blogs will have to be registered with and approved by the government. MEP Marianne Mikko, who drafted the proposal says that "I think the public is still very trusting towards blogs, it is still seen as sincere. And it should remain sincere. For that we need a quality mark, a disclosure of who is really writing and why." Another part of the proposal is a forced "right to reply" for which the comment system of blogs is deemed to be insufficient. The law proposal also seeks to regulate private ownership of media ranging from TV stations and newspapers to blogs.

While it is too early to say if the law will pass in its current form, it is a real possibility. Will the US again become "the land of the free" — not by improving its laws and practices but simply by Europe and the rest of the world introducing even worse laws?

Technology (Apple)

Submission + - Apple's SproutCore, OSS Javascript-based Web Apps (

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF writes: AppleInsider published an article about Apple's new SproutCore Web application development framework, utilizing Javascript and some nifty HTML 5 to create a "cocoa-inspired" way to create powerful Web applications. Apparently Apple built upon the OSS SproutIt framework developed for an online e-mail manager called 'Mailroom'.

Apple used this framework to build their new Web application suite (replacing .Mac) called MobileMe. Since SproutCore applications rely upon JavaScript, it seems Apple had good reason to focus on Squirrelfish for faster JavaScript interpretation in Webkit. Apple, reportedly, hosted a session last Friday at WWDC introducing SpoutCore to developers, but obviously NDAs prevent developers from revealing the details of that presentation. Perhaps Apple is getting serious about Web applications and services or perhaps they're just worried about the Web becoming even more proprietary as Silverlight and Flash battle it out to make the Web application market built upon one proprietary format or another. Either way, this is a potential alternative, which should make the OSS crowd happy.


Submission + - DoJ Requires Verizon to Divest for Merger (

snydeq writes: "The Department of Justice will require Verizon to sell off portions of Unicel's mobile network in order to complete its $2.7 billion acquisition of the company. The DoJ will require Verizon to sell off Unicel's mobile phone infrastructure in six geographic areas in Vermont, New York state and Washington state, including Burlington, Vermont, the agency said. The acquisition, as proposed, would have "substantially lessened competition to the detriment of consumers of mobile wireless telecommunications services in those areas, potentially resulting in higher prices, lower quality and reduced network investments," the DoJ said . The ruling comes less than a week after Verizon announced its acquisition of Alltel for $28 billion."

Submission + - What happened to steganography software? 1

Matthai writes: I was looking for some good steganography tools, and it seems many websites hosting this software have just dead links or development of steganography tools never got finished.

So my question is — do you know for any good and free steganography software for Linux, Windows or Mac platform available today?

Submission + - HardOCP bans IPs for mere mention of Adblock 1

An anonymous reader writes: HardOCP is a place for hardware enthusiasts to gather and exchange computer wisdom, populated with over 100,000 users and six million posts. However, mere mention of Adblock in any context on HardOCP's extensive forums is rewarded with a permanent IP ban. The Editor-in-Chief Kyle Bennett has taken a hardline stance on a site that includes subforums specifically dedicated to software discussion and even has monetary subscription forums as well. Everyone knows many sites only exist because of funding from advertising, but is this really a rewarding stance for an administrator to take?

Submission + - Industry Canada Edits Minister's Wikipedia Article (

Lucky writes: Michael Geist reports that the head of Industry Canada, Jim Prentice, has had his Wikipedia anonymously amended multiple times over the past week with regular attempts to remove any copyright criticism. The IP address of most of the anonymous edits trace back to Industry Canada. Industry Canada is in part responsible for Canada's copyright laws. Jim Prentice has repeatedly tried to introduce copyright reform in Canada to bring it in line with American-style copyright, public and industry backlash has delayed him each time.
The Internet

Submission + - Open Source Cloud Infrastructure - EC2 compatible (

ruphus13 writes: UC Santa Barbara's Computer Science department has released Eucalyptus — "Elastic Utility Computing Architecture for Linking Your Programs To Useful Systems". From the article, "It turns out that [Professor] Rich and a group he works with have recently released an open-source (under a FreeBSD-style license) infrastructure for cloud computing on clusters that duplicates the functionality of Amazon's EC2, using the Amazon command-line tools directly. The system is called Eucalyptus, and it's available for you to use." in addition, "[Professor Rich] Wolski adds: "The goal of the project is to promote open-source community development of cloud computing services and features as well as to foster cloud computing research in the computer science and computational science research communities." " The interesting point to note is that the software is interface compatible with EC2 and uses the EC2 tools directly, so you can develop on your own hardware clusters. The software is available for download now from UCSB's Computer Science Department
The Courts

Submission + - Judge to RIAA: No more "ex parte" ( 1

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "In Arista v. Does 1-33, a new RIAA case in Manhattan targeting 33 Columbia University students, the judge has refused to sign off on the RIAA's "ex parte" discovery application seeking the identity of the students. Instead, in a brief handwritten order (PDF) 'endorsed' on an adjournment request submitted by the RIAA, Judge Colleen McMahon ordered the RIAA to 'Please notify chambers when you have served defendants. Case on suspense until then.' Putting a case on 'suspense' means the case is on hold, and in this context means that nothing will happen unless and until the RIAA gives the defendants prior notice. The judge underlined the word 'when', apparently signalling that she does not even want to hear about 'if'. Perhaps judges refusing to sign off on RIAA 'ex parte' applications is starting to catch on. By the way, if the name 'Colleen McMahon' rings a bell, it might be because she was the judge presiding over the Patti Santangelo case."

Submission + - City of Vienna back to Windows 2

bkingaut writes: "Slashdot readers might remember the story about the City of Vienna choosing Linux back in 2005. Now they decided to migrate back to Windows and even worse: to Windows Vista! The migration of 720 computers used in kindergartens will cost about 8 million Euros. The alleged reason for all this is a language test application for the kids that only works with MS Internet Explorer and won't be made compatible (by the producer) with firefox before 2009. Read the full story (in german) here."

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