Nocuous writes: The Department of Homeland Security is now seizing sites, using new powers granted by the Senate. Ironic, given the mission statement on the DHS' website about "preserving our freedoms"
"The U.S. government has launched a major crackdown on online copyright infringement, seizing dozens of sites linked to illegal file sharing and counterfeit goods. Torrent sites that link to illegal copies of music and movie files and sites that sell counterfeit goods were seized this week by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the Department of Homeland Security. Visitors to such sites as Torrent-finder.com, 2009jerseys.com, and Dvdcollects.com found that their usual sites had been replaced by a message that said, "This domain name has been seized by ICE--Homeland Security Investigations, pursuant to a seizure warrant issued by a United States District Court." "My domain has been seized without any previous complaint or notice from any court!" the owner of Torrent-Finder told TorrentFreak, which listed more than 70 domains that were apparently part of the massive seizure. "
astroengine writes "Between six to nine billion years ago, the Milky Way collided with another galaxy. As you'd expect, this caused quite a mess; stars, dust and gas being ripped from the intergalactic interloper. In fact, to this day, the dust hasn't quite settled and astronomers have spotted an odd-looking exoplanet orbiting a metal-poor star 2,000 light-years from Earth. Through a careful process of elimination, the extrasolar planet (known as HIP 13044b) actually works out to be an extragalactic planet, a surviving relic of the massive collision eons ago."
from the best-interests-at-heart dept.
itwbennett writes "The Senate Judiciary Committee has voted 19-0 in favor of a bill that would allow the Department of Justice to seek court orders to shut down websites offering materials believed to infringe copyright. 'Rogue websites are essentially digital stores selling illegal and sometimes dangerous products,' Senator Patrick Leahy, the main sponsor of the bill, said in a statement. 'If they existed in the physical world, the store would be shuttered immediately and the proprietors would be arrested. We cannot excuse the behavior because it happens online and the owners operate overseas. The Internet needs to be free — not lawless.' However, the internet will likely remain 'lawless' for a while longer, as there are only a few working days left in the congressional session and the bill is unlikely to pass through the House of Representatives in that short amount of time."
adeelarshad82 writes "At TED Global in Oxford, Microsoft released a video showing off its 'virtual human' technology, named Milo, designed for the company's hands-free Xbox 360 motion controller called Kinect. Milo is built to react to people's emotions, body movements, and voice, allowing players to interact with the virtual character. It was built using artificial intelligence developed by Lionhead studios, along with undisclosed technology from Microsoft. According to games designer Peter Molyneux, the game exploits psychological techniques to make a person feel that Milo is real. Each Milo character will be unique because every player's interaction with the virtual character will sculpt the type of virtual person Milo will evolve to become."
from the well-isn't-that-special dept.
ciaran_o_riordan writes "The US Supreme Court has finally decided the Bilski case (PDF). We've known that Bilski's patent would get thrown out; that was clear from the open mockery from the judges during last November's hearing. The big question is, since rejecting a particular patent requires providing a general test and explaining why this patent fails that test, how broad will their test be? Will it try to kill the plague of software patents? And is their test designed well enough to stand up to the army of patent lawyers who'll be making a science (and a career) of minimizing and circumventing it? The judges have created a new test, so this will take some reading before any degree of victory can be declared. The important part is pages 5-16 of the PDF, which is the majority opinion. The End Software Patents campaign is already analyzing the decision, and collecting other analyses. Some background is available at Late-comers guide: What is Bilski anyway?"More analysis of the decision is available at Patently-O.
from the to-be-or-not-to-be-heap dept.
davecb writes "Think you've mastered the art of server performance? Think again. Poul-Henning Kamp, in an article at ACM Queue, finds an off-by-ten error in btrees, because they fail to take virtual memory into account. And he solves the problem in the open source 'Varnish' HTTP accelerator, for all of us to see and use."