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The Internet

Submission + - How the Internet Makes the Improbable Into the New Normal 1

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "A burglar gets stuck in a chimney, a truck driver in a head on collision is thrown out the front window and lands on his feet, walks away; a wild antelope knocks a man off his bike; a candle at a wedding sets the bride's hair on fire; someone fishing off a backyard dock catches a huge man-size shark. Now Kevin Kelly writes that in former times these unlikely events would be private, known only as rumors, stories a friend of a friend told, easily doubted and not really believed but today they are on YouTube, seen by millions. "Every minute a new impossible thing is uploaded to the internet and that improbable event becomes just one of hundreds of extraordinary events that we'll see or hear about today," writes Kelly. "As long as we are online — which is almost all day many days — we are illuminated by this compressed extraordinariness. It is the new normal." But when the improbable dominates the archive to the point that it seems as if the library contains only the impossible, then the "black swans" don't feel as improbable. "To the uninformed, the increased prevalence of improbable events will make it easier to believe in impossible things," concludes Kelly. "A steady diet of coincidences makes it easy to believe they are more than just coincidences.""
GNOME

Submission + - 'Yellow' journos, power users behind GNOME criticism: claim (itwire.com)

An anonymous reader writes: One of the co-founders of the GNOME Desktop Project has reacted to the numerous criticisms that GNOME 3, the latest iteration of the desktop environment, has received, by putting it all down to the power users and journalists.

Submission + - NRC Report Links Climate Change to National Security (nytimes.com)

WOOFYGOOFY writes: The NY Times and Voice Of America amongst others are reporting on a study by the U.S. National Research Council which was released Friday linking global climate change to national security.

http://www.voanews.com/content/climate-change-security/1543127.html

http://chronicle.com/article/US-Urged-to-Step-Up-Research /135724/

The report which was developed at the request of the C.I.A. characterizes the threats posed by climate change
as "similar to and in many cases greater than those posed by terrorist attacks."

http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=14682&page=1

If the effect of unaddressed climate change is the functional equivalent of terrorist attacks on the nation, does the Executive Branch, as a matter of national security, have a duty and a right to begin to act unilaterally against climate change irrespective of what Congress currently believes?

Submission + - 50 years of James Bond (brisbanetimes.com.au)

tqft writes: "50 classic James Bond scenes
Do we have a count of the number of times Q gear saved Bond, James Bond ?
As I recall no computer was ever inappropriately used in a Bond movie, normally they were just shot or blown up as we are all tempted to do."

DRM

Submission + - Less DRM more explodey goodness (momentumbooks.com.au)

tqft writes: ""MOMENTUM BOOKS, Pan Macmillan Australia’s digital-only imprint, today announced that by early August all its titles would be released without DRM."

Ignore the JB fella, unless you like thinky explosions."

Books

Submission + - How Publishers Are Cutting Their Own Throats With (antipope.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Sci-fi author Charlie Stross has written a post about how the Big Six book publishing companies have maneuvered themselves into a tough spot in the rapidly growing ebook industry — between user-unfriendly DRM and the Amazon juggernaut, they're slowly pushing themselves out of business. Quoting: 'Until 2008, ebooks were a tiny market segment, under 1% and easily overlooked; but in 2009 ebook sales began to rise exponentially, and ebooks now account for over 20% of all fiction sales. In some areas ebooks are up to 40% of the market and rising rapidly. (I am not making that last figure up: I'm speaking from my own sales figures.) And Amazon have got 80% of the ebook retail market. ... the Big Six's pig-headed insistence on DRM on ebooks is handing Amazon a stick with which to beat them harder. DRM on ebooks gives Amazon a great tool for locking ebook customers into the Kindle platform.'
Android

Submission + - Android App Fragmentation Revisited (techieinsider.com)

DJRumpy writes: TechieInsider has an interesting write up on fragmentation at the app level and the growing discontent it's creating in the Android community.

CNet is currently running a survey about whether Android phones are upgradable enough and at the moment, 70% of the responders are saying NO. While they only have 715 people responding, it is an indication about how people feel about the Android OS. If the general perception is that they are not, what is that going to mean for the market for those Android phones? Apple has proven that their phones going back to the iPhone 3GS can support the most recent iOS 5 version. There are reasons that the Android OS cannot duplicate this, but they need to come a lot closer than they currently are.


Submission + - Freshmeat Renamed to Freecode (freecode.com)

fatp writes: Freshment, operated by the same group as slashdot.org (under geek.net), announced to rename to Freecode. Patrick Lenz, Site director Freecode wrote in http://freecode.com/articles/whats-in-a-name: "Since all of us at Geeknet agree that this site and the community powering it have tremendous potential, even after more than 14 years of existence, we decided to change the name of the site, effective immediately, to Freecode".

On the frontpage of geek.net website, slashdot.org Freshmeat widget, the rename isn't effective yet.

Privacy

Submission + - The Westfield's iPhone app privacy smorgasbord (troyhunt.com)

troyhunt writes: "We’ve all become used to being monitored by centre management when we come and go from car parks, but what Westfield hasn’t told anyone is that their new iPhone app allows anyone to monitor the movements of any vehicle. The service behind the app serves up a veritable smorgasbord of number plates easily consumable by anyone with an internet connection."
Space

Submission + - NASA wants solar-powered spacecraft propulsion (networkworld.com)

coondoggie writes: "NASA today said it picked five companies to begin exploring the feasibility of using solar electric propulsion to power future spacecraft.
According to NASA, multiple studies have shown the advantages of using solar electric propulsion to transport heavy payloads from low Earth orbit to higher orbits. The idea would be that traditional chemical rockets could deliver payloads to low Earth orbit and solar electric propulsion could then power a spacecraft to higher energy orbits."

Cloud

Submission + - Microsoft Office365, Hotmail Blacks Out Worldwide (itnews.com.au)

aesoteric writes: "Microsoft has suffered a major outage that is impacting services including Office365, Windows Live, Hotmail, Live@edu and MSN worldwide. The outage, which has been going for about an hour, has been confirmed by Microsoft who say they are working on a fix. Early speculation has linked it to a major blackout affecting Southern California although this has not been confirmed."
AI

Submission + - 100,000+ Have Signed Up For Stanford's Class on AI (singularityhub.com) 2

kkleiner writes: "A groundbreaking change has struck academia, and its reverberations may be felt for years to come. One of Stanford’s first full courses to ever be openly made available online has gone viral. In a matter of weeks it has signed up more than 100,000 students from around the world! Even during the last several hours, another 5000 joined! As news of the course continues to spread, the ultimate size of the class could reach greater epic proportions – we could easily see interest skyrocket to 200,000 or even 300,000 or more. Classes of 1 million or tens of millions may be in our future."
Sci-Fi

Submission + - To Save the Galaxy, Destroy Humanity (discovery.com)

astroengine writes: "In a study carried out by NASA and Pennsylvania State University scientists, several intelligent extraterrestrial encounter scenarios are examined. One of the scenarios is a sci-fi favorite: what if we encounter an alien race hellbent on destroying us? However, there's a twist.

This isn't mindless thuggery on behalf of the aliens, and they're not killing us to get at our natural resources, they have a cause. They want to exterminate us for the greater good of the Milky Way."

Apple

Submission + - Pricing: Apple defies Australian Government (delimiter.com.au)

daria42 writes: Does Apple's arrogance know no bounds? This week it was revealed that the company has still not responded to Australia's Federal Parliament on the issue of why the prices of its products are significantly higher in Australia than they are in the US, five months after the query was first raised by a member of parliament from Australia's governing Labor party. Apple has refused to issue a statement on the matter or even acknowledge the issue. What will it take to get Apple to open up — a national enquiry?

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