paulraps writes: Neuroscientists working at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm have demonstrated how to fool the brain into thinking that the body has three arms. The scientists made volunteers believe that they had the extra appendage by stroking the subject's right hand and a prosthetic rubber hand with two small brushes, synchronizing the strokes as perfectly as possible. Threatening the prosthetic hand with a kitchen knife led to a real sweaty palm, proving that the brain accepted both right hands as part of the body image.
paulraps writes: Swedish public service broadcaster Sveriges Television (SVT) is hoping to hurry along the approval of its iPhone application by targeting Apple CEO Steve Jobs directly. Within a day of launching its campaign, over 100,000 Swedes had registered their support for the app's speedy approval on the 'dearstevejobs' web site, while SVT sent three lobbyists to stand outside Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California wearing traditional Swedish costumes. "Our people will stand there as long as they need to," said SVT director of communications Helga Baagøe.
paulraps writes: German data protection officials are claiming that detailed web analysis based on cookies is illegal and that internet users should have the option to “opt out” of observation by tracking tools such as Google Analytics. According to German data privacy lawyer Carsten Ulbricht such data analysis without user permission violates the country’s telecommunications law, which could mean fines of up to €50,000. The fear appears to be that Google and other internet companies could compile profiles of millions of web users, detailing their interests, habits, consumer behaviours, as well as political and sexual preferences. But Google is not worried: “We have signed on to the Safe Harbour contract between the US and the EU, which complies with the EU’s personal data laws,” said the company's spokesperson Kay Oberbeck.
paulraps writes: Forget Spotify and Skype: the latest strangely-named-but-hey-it's-free service from Sweden offers users streamed on-demand movies free of charge, has deals with two major Hollywood studios, and is called Voddler. Since its launch two weeks ago, the service has signed up a quarter of a million users and has almost the same number queuing for an invitation. After signing deals with Disney and Paramount, the company access to thousands of films, which are shown uninterrupted after a barrage of ads. The target is the file-sharing generation: "Our customers can be sure that Voddler is totally legal, secure, and that there are no risks of computer viruses infecting their machines from downloaded files," says executive vice president Zoran Slavic.
paulraps writes: Hundreds of thousands of Swedish web sites were inaccessible for 30 minutes on Monday night when "for an unknown reason" an extra.se was added to all addresses. According to the Internet Infrastructure Foundation, which administers the.se domain, the bug cropped up during routine service work.
paulraps writes: Ten major film companies, including Disney, Universal, Warner Bros and Colombia Pictures, are suing The Pirate Bay and demanding that the file sharing site "cease aiding the production of copies" of their films and television shows. The companies also want The Pirate Bay to stop making the recorded material available to the general public. The writ comes less than a month after it was announced that the site would be sold for $7.8 million to Global Gaming Factory X, a company specializing in internet café management software.
paulraps writes: An Ipod Nano is suspected of causing a mysterious car fire which spectacularly destroyed a Saab automobile in western Sweden. Saab Automobile's fire investigators found that the fire started in the front seats, between which were a number of electronic devices, including two Ipods. "Technicians discovered heat damage on the interior of the music player. They suspect the damage was likely caused by overheated electronics," said Saab dealer Bengt-Erik Johansson. Risk-averse Swedes won't like this — the Saab-Ipod combination is not uncommon.
paulraps writes: The Pirate Bay is to be bought for $7.8 million by Global Gaming Factory X (GGF), a Swedish company specializing in internet café management software, the company has announced. As well as taking over the controversial brand, GGF has also bought Peerialism, a small IT company with roots at Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology, which has developed a new file sharing technology. The acquisitions mean that GGF will be at the heart of "the international digital distribution market", allowing it to introduce a new pay model for file sharing.
paulraps writes: The Pirate Bay case has taken an unexpected turn — which could lead to a retrial. Less than a week after the four founders were sentenced to a year in jail and $3.5m in damages payments, it has been revealed that the trial judge is himself a member of the same copyright protection organisations as the entertainment industry's main legal representatives. Not only is Thomas Norström a member of the Swedish Copyright Association — he also sits on the board of the Swedish Association for the Protection of Industrial Property, which actively fights for more stringent copyright laws.
paulraps writes: The four men behind the Pirate Bay have been sentenced to a year in jail and ordered to pay $3.5 million in damages, after a Swedish court found them guilty of "promoting other people's infringements of copyright laws". Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström were said to have been earning $1.2 million a year from their bittorrent site, and the court's verdict provides the entertainment industry with a symbolic victory. But the battle is far from over: all four defendants are expected to appeal, meaning the case could drag on for years.
paulraps writes: The heat from hundreds of thousands of hot and bothered people passing through Stockholm's Central Station each day is to be harnessed to warm a nearby office building. According to the man behind the project, Karl Sundholm, the 250,000 daily travelers will help bring down the office's heating bill by 20 percent. And if trains are delayed, no doubt that figure will rise.
paulraps writes: Swedish athletes Carolina Klüft and Stefan Holm have proposed a radical technological measure to stop top level competitors from taking performance-enhancing drugs. Klüft and Holm, reigning Olympic champions in the heptathlon and high-jump events, argue that competitors at the highest level should either have computer chips implanted into their skin or GPS transmitters attached to their training bags so that the authorities can keep tabs on them at all times.
paulraps writes: Sweden may be one of the world's most connected, data-driven societies, but there is a downside: according to two leading defense experts, "a large-scale attack on the country's computer infrastructure could paralyse the country within hours'. Dan Larsson at the National Defence Radio Establishment and Roland Heickerö at Sweden's defence research institute say it is disturbing that Sweden has no national action plan to combat a major cyber threat — but what country does?
paulraps writes: A Swedish company reckons it has a lawful solution to the long-running file sharing battle that has raged in the country for the past 18 months. By "merging peer to peer file sharing methods with advanced watermarking technology", Headweb will allow consumers to download movies legally using bitTorrent technology and view them using a regular DVD player. The firm currently only has 500 titles — but American distributors are already sniffing around the Headweb client, which consists of a payment system, a downloading client, a media player and DVD burning software.
paulraps writes: Swedish internet service providers may soon be required by law to take greater responsibility for unlawful file-sharing. Although rejecting the ludicrous idea of an overarching broadband fee which would be shared out among copyright holders, a government report published on Monday called for internet providers to be "bound to contribute to bringing all copyright infringement to an end". Under the proposal, copyright holders whose material is being shared illegally would be entitled to compensation from ISPs which did not ban users. Needless to say, the country's ISPs are not happy.