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Comment Re:I am sick of this Sue Culture (Score 1) 252

Lawsuits and the threat of lawsuits can have a significant positive effect. First there are the obvious ones like Brown v. Board of Education. Then there are the not so obvious ones.

Let's say you're a businessman in a company that makes widgets. There is a change you can make to the widget process that saves money, but is dangerous to the consumer. Without the threat of a class action lawsuit that would be tempting. With the threat, there's a very real chance someone's going to sue the pants off of your company for that decision.

Comment And here come the anecdotal stories... (Score 1) 1345

I'm just waiting for all of the stories of "unschooling" kids either (a) being highly intelligent/successful/nice or (b) being poorly educated, completely lacking social skills, sheltered, and closed minded. Personally, I've heard and seen stories of both from general homeschooling. Neither has given me a good picture of what's happening.


Opera 10.0 Released 325

neonsignal writes "Opera 10 has been released. It now supports rich text email, the 'turbo' Opera proxy server feature, some HTML 5 support, XML 'pretty printing,' extra skinning features, and a 100/100 score in the Acid3 test. There has been no official announcement as yet."

The NSA Wiretapping Story Nobody Wanted 144

CWmike writes "They sometimes call national security the third rail of politics. Touch it and, politically, you're dead. The cliché doesn't seem far off the mark after reading Mark Klein's new book, Wiring up the Big Brother Machine ... and Fighting It. It's an account of his experiences as the whistleblower who exposed a secret room at a Folsom Street facility in San Francisco that was apparently used to monitor the Internet communications of ordinary Americans. Amazingly, however, nobody wanted to hear his story. In his book he talks about meetings with reporters and privacy groups that went nowhere until a fateful January 20, 2006 meeting with Kevin Bankston of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Bankston was preparing a lawsuit that he hoped would put a stop to the wiretap program, and Klein was just the kind of witness the EFF was looking for. He spoke with Robert McMillan for an interview."

Comment Re:Huh? (Score 1) 276

"We passed onerous environmental and labor laws encouraging companies to abandon the US."

Those 'onerous' environmental laws are keeping us quite a bit cleaner than China. In Beijing a bright sunny day can look like a dark foggy evening. The US has serious issues but at least the worst we get is a bit of haziness.

Comment English influence goes beyond hackers (Score 1) 305

I sometimes do a bit of gaming with a group of Thai students at my university. Thai is, of course, the dominate language, though they switch randomly between Thai and English. One amusing thing that I've noticed is how strongly English has influenced gamer culture in other languages. There's just something funny about hearing a stream of incomprehensible Thai with the occasional 'noob' or 'rematch!'

Incidentally, I love fish fillets (French), have to fix glitches in my code (Yiddish), use wikis (Hawaiian), love quesadillas with salsa (Spanish), have family in Seattle (name of Native American chief), live near the Willamette River (Chinook), use Ubuntu Linux (Bantu), and regularly drink tea (Chinese).


How the Economy Is Changing Clean Energy 227

Al writes "The economy has hit green energy technologies hard, but technologies focused on energy efficiency and clean coal are still attracting money. Over the next few years, venture capitalists say that the biggest winners in clean tech will most likely be companies with technologies that improve efficiency. Such ventures often take advantage of cheap sensors, communications hardware, and software packages to monitor and control energy use both in buildings and on the electricity grid. High-capital businesses are now more likely to succeed if they can attract foreign funding. For instance, Great Point Energy, based in Cambridge, which has developed a process for converting coal into natural gas, has attracted $100m in funding from China."
Data Storage

Apps That Rely On Ext3's Commit Interval May Lose Data In Ext4 830

cooper writes "Heise Open posted news about a bug report for the upcoming Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) which describes a massive data loss problem when using Ext4 (German version): A crash occurring shortly after the KDE 4 desktop files had been loaded results in the loss of all of the data that had been created, including many KDE configuration files." The article mentions that similar losses can come from some other modern filesystems, too. Update: 03/11 21:30 GMT by T : Headline clarified to dispel the impression that this was a fault in Ext4.

Barbara Liskov Wins Turing Award 187

jonniee writes "MIT Professor Barbara Liskov has been granted the ACM's Turing Award. Liskov, the first US woman to earn a PhD in computer science, was recognized for helping make software more reliable, consistent and resistant to errors and hacking. She is only the second woman to receive the honor, which carries a $250,000 purse and is often described as the 'Nobel Prize in computing.'"

Audio Watermarks Could Pinpoint Film Pirates By Seat 336

Slatterz points out a brief mention at PC Authority of a story at Torrent freak about using watermarking embedded in movies' soundtracks to reveal the exact location of camera-wielding bootleggers in a theater; the inventors (here's an abstract of their paper) claim it's accurate to within 44 centimeters.

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