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Submission + - Satire of TSA to become illegal (infowars.com) 3

jdastrup writes: Another example of satire and free speech becoming illegal in the US. From the story; "any colorable imitation of such words or initials, or the likeness of a Transportation Security Administration ... badge, logo, or insignia on any item of apparel, in connection with any advertisement, circular, book, pamphlet, software, or other publication, or with any play, motion picture, broadcast, telecast, or other production" would be punishable.

Submission + - Star Trek TNG Coming to Blu-Ray (tekgoblin.com)

NaklsonofNakkl writes: For those of you Trekkie’s who have been looking at your blu-ray player and wondering why you even bought it, wonder no more. Star Trek: The Next Generation will be released on Blu-Ray starting in 2012. All 178 episodes will be released in the coming year, although not all at once.

Submission + - House Fails to Extend Patriot Act Spy Powers (wired.com)

schwit1 writes: The House failed to extend three key expiring provisions of the Patriot Act on Tuesday, elements granting the government broad and nearly unchecked surveillance power on its own public.

  The “roving wiretap” provision allows the FBI to obtain wiretaps from a secret intelligence court, known as the FISA court, without identifying the target or what method of communication is to be tapped.

  The “lone wolf” measure allows FISA court warrants for the electronic monitoring of a person for whatever reason — even without showing that the suspect is an agent of a foreign power or a terrorist. The government has said it has never invoked that provision, but the Obama administration said it wanted to retain the authority to do so.

  The “business records” provision allows FISA court warrants for any type of record, from banking to library to medical, without the government having to declare that the information sought is connected to a terrorism or espionage investigation.

The failure of the bill, sponsored by Rep. James F. Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis), for the time being is likely to give airtime to competing measures in the Senate that would place limited checks on the act's broad surveillance powers. The White House, meanwhile, said it wanted the expiring measures extended through 2013.


Submission + - "Invisibility Cloak" Created Using Crystals (gizmag.com) 1

Zothecula writes: The quest to build a working “invisibility cloak” generally focuses on the use of metamaterials – artificially engineered materials with a negative refractive index that have already been used to render microscopic objects invisible in specific wavelengths of light. Now, using naturally occurring crystals rather than metamaterials, two research teams working independently have demonstrated technology that can cloak larger objects in the broad range of wavelengths visible to the human eye.

Submission + - A smile on facebook cost a woman her benefits (cnet.com)

satuon writes: According to the Associated Press, Blanchard, a 29-year-old IBM employee from Bromont, Quebec, was suffering from depression and took time away from work, relying on sick-leave benefits from her insurer, Manulife Financial.

The monthly payments were suddenly halted. When she called Manulife to ask why, she says she was told that it had espied photos on her Facebook page that showed her cheerful. Ergo, the argument allegedly went, she was able to work. Which led to the second ergo: no more payments.


Submission + - NASA concept plane to fly New York-Sydney in two h

An anonymous reader writes: American space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration is planning to develop hypersonic passenger planes that can fly you from New York to Sydney in two hours flat he US space agency wants to make an aircraft that would travel at five times the speed of sound and bring in a new age of aircraft akin to a turbo-charged Concorde. These aircraft will fly through the Earth's atmosphere and slash flight times around the world to a few hours at most.

Submission + - From Windows to Linux: One Developer's Tale (anteru.net)

eldavojohn writes: "A few days ago Anteru related his experience changing his integrated development environment from Windows to Linux. In his blog post, he outlines why he had to do it and what it resulted in: "The net result is interesting: The same application is running 5-10x faster now when using all four cores, so porting to Linux was really worth the hassle. I assume that with Visual Studio 2010, running on Windows 7, I would get similar performance, but the key point to take with you here is: Getting your stuff to work on Linux only costs you time, and not too much if you are a bit careful." He cites the licensing costs (from XP to Vista to 7 and Visual Studio upgrades along the way) as a primary reason but also the constantly changing APIs in those versions of Windows. Have other developers out there taken similar endeavors to avoid the licensing fees? Has Microsoft created a reason for projects to switch from Windows to Linux or is this merely an anecdote?"

Comment Re:This should be NASA's focus (Score 1) 108

NASA should be spending most - if not all - of its budget preparing for the Sun's inevitable expansion into a Red Giant.

Everything else is moot if we let that happen.

mmkay, bit of a stretch as an example-- but it seems extremely shortsighted for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to be solely focused on potentially dangerous bodies. We wouldn't have the capability of deflecting asteroids and comets if it wasn't for the technologies we've developed for exploration.
Data Storage

Why Anonymized Data Isn't 280

Ars has a review of recent research, and a summary of the history, in the field of reidentification — identifying people from anonymized data. Paul Ohm's recent paper is an elaboration of what Ohm terms a central reality of data collection: "Data can either be useful or perfectly anonymous but never both." "...in 2000, [researcher Latanya Sweeney] showed that 87 percent of all Americans could be uniquely identified using only three bits of information: ZIP code, birthdate, and sex. ... For almost every person on earth, there is at least one fact about them stored in a computer database that an adversary could use to blackmail, discriminate against, harass, or steal the identity of him or her. I mean more than mere embarrassment or inconvenience; I mean legally cognizable harm. ... Reidentification science disrupts the privacy policy landscape by undermining the faith that we have placed in anonymization."

Submission + - US Trade Officials Tell China to Revoke PC Rule 1

Hugh Pickens writes: "The Wall Street Journal reports that senior US trade officials have called on China to revoke an order for personal computers to be shipped with Web-filtering software, saying the requirement could conflict with Beijing's obligations under the World Trade Organization. US Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke urged the Chinese government to reverse its decision in joint letters submitted to China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and the Ministry of Commerce that "expressed that the US. government is seriously concerned about the Green Dam [requirement], including wide-ranging concerns about the scope of the measure, the censorship implications, trade impact and security flaws which create serious problems for the IT industry and Chinese consumers," a US official said. It was the highest-level U.S. complaint so far against the rule, which is due to take effect July 1 and has already angered free-speech advocates and industry groups. Meanwhile the Chinese companies that created the Web-filtering software have been accused of stealing software code from Santa Barbara-based Solid Oak Software, developer of Cybersitter, a program for parents to filter what their children view on the Web. "We're still analyzing [Green Dam], and it's difficult because of the language barriers in writing that program," says founder Brian Mulburn. "But some of it has our name right on it. If you put the programs side by side, you can see numerous things that are identical to ours.""
United States

Submission + - New city law impounds cars with loud stereos 3

SaDan writes: On August, 20th this year, a new law was passed in Rockford, IL, that grants police the authority to impound any vehicle reported for having a stereo turned up too loud:

"Cars taken will be held until fines of $150 to $750 are paid — in addition to a $75 towing fee, a $15 to $20 per day storage fee and a $60 per hour charge if the police officer has to wait more than an hour for the tow truck."

Anyone who has their car impounded is in for a long wait, in addition to the fees previously mentioned. After requesting a hearing, the city can wait up to 45 days before going to trial, accumulating around $1100 in impound fees. An article, with PDF of the recently passed law, can be found here.

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