Andorin writes: Section 92.a of New Zealand's Copyright Act, the name for a set of proposed "graduated response" laws, has been rewritten following widespread public opposition to the original. The result: "Guilt by accusation" is now out, and rightsholders will have a tougher time fining or disconnecting infringers, according to Ars Technica. "Under the new rules, rightsholders can now notify ISPs about alleged infringement, and ISPs will forward those notices to subscribers (called notice-and-notice). After three such letters, rightsholders can choose to go to a special Copyright Tribunal to seek a fine or go to court to seek a disconnection of up to six months." While the revised 92.a proposition is easier overall on Internet users, the fundamental premise of disconnection from the Internet for copyright infringement remains. The laws are slated for introduction in 2010.
An anonymous reader writes: ZeroPaid and Michael Geist are both pointing to a recently leaked CETA document aimed at tightening copyright laws. Among some of the worrying provisions are a possible one or three strikes policy (text too vague to clarify either way), copyright term extension, new anti-circumvention provisions and laws governing the caching of material via ISPs (which has sites like Wikileaks rightfully worried).
cjmapman writes: Toyota finally announced the plug-in hybrid Prius this week, but there are other plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles that have been around a lot longer and that are a lot greener. Cycling purists often look askance as electrically-assisted bicycles and complain about the environmental footprint of their battery packs.
ElectricCyclist.com points out that the same lithium battery packs that win kudos for environmentally-conscious drivers can move many more people much more efficiently if they're installed on electric bikes. The battery pack in a plug-in Prius would support 15 electric bikes, and the ones slated for the forthcoming Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt would support a great many more. The environmental benefits of getting a few more drivers out of their cars and onto electric bikes can be substantial.
An anonymous reader writes: Computer security guru Matt Blaze takes a tour of a decommissioned ICBM complex in Arizona. Cool photos, insightful perspective on two man control, perimeter security, human factors and why we didn't blow ourselves up.
aws910 writes: According to an article on the bbc website, BBC HD lowered the bitrate of their broadcasts by almost 50% and are surprised that users noticed. From the article: "The replacement encoders work at a bitrate of 9.7Mbps (megabits per second), while their predecessors worked at 16Mbps, the standard for other broadcasters". The BBC claims "We did extensive testing on the new encoders which showed that they could produce pictures at the same or even better quality than the old encoders..." I got a good laugh off of this, but is it really possible to get better quality from a lower bitrate?
FrenchSilk writes: The largest gigapixel photograph ever created with a DSLR camera was made by A.F.B. Media GmbH in Dresden, Germany. 1655 images, each 21.6 megapixels in size, were taken with a Canon 5D Mark II and a 400 mm lens over a period of 176 minutes. The images were stitched on a 16 processor system with 48 G of main memory, taking 94 hours to create the final result. The interactive view can be found here: http://www.dresden-26-gigapixels.com/dresden26GP.
al0ha writes: Techniques recently invented by researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech)—which allow the real-time, real-space visualization of fleeting changes in the structure of nanoscale matter—have been used to image the evanescent electrical fields produced by the interaction of electrons and photons, and to track changes in atomic-scale structures.
Further info by viewing the story link, also covered in the Dec 17 issue of Nature.
nathanh writes: I'm the author of the popular iPhone puzzle game Magic Cube and I've been receiving threatening letters from Hasbro's lawyers. Hasbro owns trademarks and US patents for the Rubik's Cube. Hasbro doesn't mention trademarks or patents, but alleges that Magic Cube infringes copyright law!
The lawyer's letter goes on to demand financial statements so they can work out how much money I "owe" Hasbro. There are dozens of similar cube puzzles on the App Store, so could this be the start of harassment against other App Store developers? Stay tuned.