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The Myth of the "Transparent Society" 200 recommends a piece by Bruce Schneier up at Wired. Schneier addresses the central fallacy of the "transparent society" idea promoted by David Brin, and also takes on the flawed arguments that attempt to justify increased government monitoring of citizens. From the article: "If I disclose information to you, your power with respect to me increases. One way to address this power imbalance is for you to similarly disclose information to me. We both have less privacy, but the balance of power is maintained. But this mechanism fails utterly if you and I have different power levels to begin with."

Little Demand Yet For Silverlight Developers 314

ericatcw writes "At its Mix08 Web development conference, Microsoft said that its Silverlight rich Internet application platform is downloaded and installed an average of 1.5 million times every day; Microsoft has a goal of 200 million installs by midyear. But Silverlight is at the beginning of a long slog towards gaining traction. Computerworld did a quick analysis of job listings at nine popular career sites and found that an average of 41 times more ads mentioned Adobe's Flash than mentioned Silverlight. As expected only 6 months after Silverlight's introduction, the number of programming books carried on was also heavily skewed in favor of Flash."
GNU is Not Unix

OpenOffice.Org Now Under LGPLv3 107

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "Sun has moved to the LGPLv3 license. In his blog Sun's Simon Phipps cites worry over software patents as being one of their main reasons for this move: 'Upgrading to the LGPLv3 brings important new protections to the community, most notably through the new language concerning software patents. You may know that I am personally an opponent of software patents, and that Sun has already taken steps in this area with a patent non-assert covenant for ODF. But the most important protection for developers comes from creating mutual patent grants between developers. LGPLv3 does this.'"

Student Faces Expulsion for Facebook Study Group 554

Pickens brings news that a student at Ryerson University is facing 147 counts of academic misconduct after helping to run a chemistry study group through Facebook. School officials have declined to comment, but students are claiming that it is simply a valid studying technique in the information age. Quoting: "Avenir, 18, faces an expulsion hearing Tuesday before the engineering faculty appeals committee. If he loses that appeal, he can take his case to the university's senate. The incident has sent shock waves through student ranks, says Kim Neale, 26, the student union's advocacy co-ordinator, who will represent Avenir at the hearing. 'That's the worst part; it's creating this culture of fear, where if I post a question about physics homework on my friend's wall (a Facebook bulletin board) and ask if anyone has any ideas how to approach this - and my prof sees this, am I cheating?' said Neale, who has used Facebook study groups herself."

Scientists Find Believing Can Be Seeing 169

Ponca City, We Love You writes "Scientists at University College London have found the link between what we expect to see, and what our brain tells us we actually saw revealing that the context surrounding what we see is all important — sometimes overriding the evidence gathered by our eyes and even causing us to imagine things which aren't really there. A vague background context is more influential and helps us to fill in more blanks than a bright, well-defined context. This may explain why we are prone to 'see' imaginary shapes in the shadows when the light is poor. "Illusionists have been alive to this phenomenon for years," said Professor Zhaoping. "When you see them throw a ball into the air, followed by a second ball, and then a third ball which 'magically' disappears, you wonder how they did it. In truth, there's often no third ball — it's just our brain being deceived by the context, telling us that we really did see three balls launched into the air, one after the other." The original research paper is available on PLOS, the open-access, peer-reviewed journal."

Submission + - German Government Hacked by Chinese (

SkiifGeek writes: "The Times is just one of many news sources reporting on a series of network penetrations affecting the German Government that were first detected in May this year. Believed to have originated from China, this means that Germany joins the UK and the US as having publicly acknowledged that government / military networks have been successfully attacked by Chinese hackers.

Setting these breaches apart, though, is an apparent willingness of the German government to confront China over the incident.

Publicly reporting the network breach two weeks after restrictive computer security laws came into effect could be seen by some as ironic."

United States

Submission + - Iraqi whistleblower imprisoned and tortured (

wwmedia writes: One after another, the men and women who have stepped forward to report corruption in the massive effort to rebuild Iraq have been vilified, fired and demoted.

Or worse.

For daring to report illegal arms sales, Navy veteran Donald Vance says he was imprisoned by the American military in a security compound outside Baghdad and subjected to harsh interrogation methods.

There were times, huddled on the floor in solitary confinement with that head-banging music blaring dawn to dusk and interrogators yelling....


Submission + - Bono and the Myth of Forced Compassion (

Advocate123 writes: There is a common myth that compassion and force can occur simultaneously. I am talking about the misguided concept that forcing American citizens to provide tax dollars toward foreign aid makes America compassionate. In reality, the percentage of GNP that a government commits toward foreign aid is a factor demonstrating how much power the government exerts over its citizens. Conversely, compassion only comes from voluntary action, not from coercion.

Submission + - Aerogel Hailed As New Wonder Material ( 1

Twinbee writes: "The amazing properties of the space-age material aerogel have been known for some time, but only now is it beginning to be manufactured for widespread use. Highlights of the news article include resistance from a blowtorch at more than 1,300C, and how "6mm of aerogel was left almost unscathed by a direct dynamite blast". Perhaps the most obvious use for the 'super-sponge' like material is for insulation, whether we're talking about mountain boots, house insulation, or any winter wear.

Quote: "However, it has failed to convince the fashion world. Hugo Boss created a line of winter jackets out of the material but had to withdraw them after complaints that they were too hot.""


Submission + - Why Apple is still scared of the Zune

David Nicholas writes: "Although many of us have disregarded Microsoft's Zune digital audio player and its "squirting" activities as one of the many recent failures of the giant, maybe it has had a greater impact than most initially thought. Although hopelessly resembling a grandfather's attempt to "look cool", when Microsoft first announced the Zune in the later half of 2006, it undoubtedly sent some degree of chills down the spines of Steve Jobs and Apple. They must have originally thought that they were about to face some major competition that could seriously upset their current state of iPod paradise. Despite the flop of the Zune in the next months, as it made little-to-no impact on the lucrative market it nosedived into, there are still signs of that original panic deep inside Apple. For one thing, the mere fact that Microsoft had the weight, drive and ability to mass-produce a media device must have scared Apple. Although it has always been known that Microsoft has the power to do so, it must have been a shock to see it actually happen. Perhaps the current actions of Apple still reflect this somewhat. Apple is continuing to drive ahead with its own portable devices: the iPod and iPhone, with a desperation recently typified by the iPhone's apparent rush to market. Yet more signs of this desperation come from the lack of attention to other parts of the normally regular cycle of new products steaming out of Apple HQ. The Mac Mini, for instance, has not been updated since before the Zune arrived, possibly suggesting a change in attention. Could this be the ever slick and attractive head of Apple turning to look in the same direction as that of the hard piece of meatloaf generally known as Microsoft? Could they still be paranoid that Microsoft might one day use its designers as such companies as Dell are just starting to do? If so could it be possible for the giant to deal the killer blow to Apple and its favourite baby? Well I guess we'll just have to wait for the Zune Mark II..."

Submission + - Opensource Web Browser based on WebKit for CE Devi (

jcverdie writes: Software Editor PLEYO announces that OWB (Origyn Web Browser) is now available on an open- source basis
OWB is a web browser designed for CE devices such as mobile phones, portable media players, Set Top Boxes and TV decoders, and any other consumer electronic product (GPS, home-gateways, Web-radios, PVR, DVD recorders, wireless devices etc.)

OWB enables access to external web services such as user interface administration and animation, the whole being based on the latest web standards.
OWB architecture dramatically eases the integration in CE devices: PLEYO provides an open-source abstraction layer which enables a fast and easy implementation on targeted platforms.

OWB has significant advantages:
* OWB is based on Webkit (Apple Open-source Project), which is the worldwide reference for Web browsers technology,
* OWB is continuoulsy tested and updated by an important community of Industrials ; thus, it is equipped with the latest Web evolutions. Two versions are released per year,
* The used open-source licences (L-GPL and BSD) are permissive and free.

OWB is already available on various platforms and adopted by an arising number of Industrials.

PLEYO proposes its support and brings its expertise to Operators and Industrials who choose OWB. Moreover, the company also proposes optimized commercial applications with specific
enhancements, which provides a comprehensive end-to-end solution.

About Pleyo
Pleyo is a web-enabler for Consumer Electronic Devices and a software Editor specialized in Web Technology for mobile phones, PMPs, STBs, wireless devices, etc.
Pleyo proposes a range of bundled solutions for CEM and Operators in order to deliver contents and services on CE devices.
More details on

About Origyn Web Browser
OWB is based on Webkit, the Apple open-source Project (, which is supported and adopted by major Industrials.


Submission + - The flying wing concept aircraft takes flight (

coondoggie writes: "Looking a little bit too much like an F-117 Night Hawk fighter on steroids Boeing's blended wing unmanned test aircraft flew for the first time last week. Designed and engineered by Boeing, NASA and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, the aircraft are said to be able to carry greater amounts of equipment, burn less fuel and run quieter than traditional aircraft. Ultimately its designers say it will become a manned multi-role, long-range, high-capacity military aircraft."
PC Games (Games)

Submission + - Do characters have to die in game?

gurps_npc writes: A recent Guardian article asks (and does not really answer): Do characters in our games have to die?

Yes, we need SOME means of keeping score, but the basic concept of death has already been debased by the instant ressurection. But there are other ways to 'punish' your character that do NOT involve boring the player by making them redo something they already did. For example, we could simply have them lose a level (which happens to be the effective loss if you play paper & pencil AD&D now adays and get killed then Raised from the dead. Or we could have a 'loss count' instead of death. That could even be publicly portrayed, so people not only know you are 25th level, but you got here by only losing 17 battles.

So, if you were to build a battle type game, what kind of punishment would you consider for the loser? Enforced Boredom of replaying? Loss of Prestige by telling the world how many times you lost? Loss of power/level? Or something else...

Firefox and IE Still Not Getting Along 207

juct writes "Heise describes a new demo showing how Firefox running under Windows XP SP2 can be abused to start applications. For this to work, however, Internet Explorer 7 needs to be installed. This severe security problem promises another round in the 'who-is-to-blame-war' between Mozilla and Microsoft. Mozilla currently is leading the race for a patch, as they have one ready in their bugzilla database. 'The authors of the demo note that there are many further examples of such vulnerabilities via registered URIs. What is so far visible is just "the tip of the iceberg". They state that registered URIs are tantamount to a remote gateway into your computer. To be on the safe side, users should, in the authors' opinion, deregister all unnecessary URIs - without, however, elucidating which are superfluous.'"

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