Thursday, May 7, 2009

MPAA suggests teachers videotape TVs instead of ripping DVDs. Seriously.

by Nilay Patel, posted May 7th 2009 at 2:46PM

So the Copyright Office is currently in the middle reviewing proposed exceptions to the DMCA, and one of the proposals on the table would allow teachers and students to rip DVDs and edit them for use in the classroom. Open and shut, right? Not if you're the MPAA and gearing up to litigate the legality of ripping -- it's trying to convince the rulemaking committee that videotaping a flatscreen is an acceptable alternative. Seriously. It's hard to say if we've ever seen an organization make a more tone-deaf, flailing argument than this. 

Take a good look, kids. This is what an industry looks like right before it dies. Video after the break.

[Via BoingBoing]

News Corp Will Charge For Newspaper Websites

Posted by CmdrTaco on Thursday May 07, @10:55AM

from the probably-not-for-fox-news dept.
The MediaThe Internet
suraj.sun writes"Rupert Murdoch says having free newspaper websites is a 'flawed' business model. Rupert Murdoch expects to start charging for access to News Corporation's newspaper websites within a year as he strives to fix a 'malfunctioning' business model. Encouraged by booming online subscription revenues at the Wall Street Journal, the billionaire media mogul last night said that papers were going through an 'epochal' debate over whether to charge. 'That it is possible to charge for content on the web is obvious from the Wall Street Journal's experience,' he said."

Star Trek's Warp Drive Not Impossible

Posted by samzenpus on Wednesday May 06, @07:04PM

from the engage dept.
Trunks writes"No doubt trying to ride the hype train that's currently going for the new Star Trek film, has a new article detailing how warp drive may not be impossible to acheive. From the article, '"The idea is that you take a chunk of space-time and move it," said Marc Millis, former head of NASA's Breakthrough Propulsion Physics Project. "The vehicle inside that bubble thinks that it's not moving at all. It's the space-time that's moving." One reason this idea seems credible is that scientists think it may already have happened. Some models suggest that space-time expanded at a rate faster than light speed during a period of rapid inflation shortly after the Big Bang. "If it could do it for the Big Bang, why not for our space drives?" Millis said.' Simple, right?"

Nerds, the New Rock Stars!

Gene Key To Alzheimer's-like Reversal Identified: Success In Restoring Memories In Mice Could Lead To Human Treatments

ScienceDaily (May 7, 2009) — A team led by researchers at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory has now pinpointed the exact gene responsible for a 2007 breakthrough in which mice with symptoms of Alzheimer's disease regained long-term memories and the ability to learn.

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Duke Nukem For Never

Posted by samzenpus on Thursday May 07, @03:33AM

from the let-god-sort-'em-out dept.
First Person Shooters (Games)Games
PLSQL Guy writes"Duke Nukem Forever developer 3D Realms is shutting down, according to Shacknews. They cite 'a reliable source close to the company,' who said the developer is finished and employees have already been let go. It looks like all of the Duke Nukem Forever jokes are turning into reality; DNF might turn out to be the ultimate vaporware after all."3D Realms' webmaster, Joe Siegler, confirmed the closing, saying that he didn't know about it even a day beforehand. Apogee and Deep Silver, who are working on a different set of Duke Nukem games (referred to as the Duke Nukem Trilogy) say they are not affected by the problems at 3D Realms.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

DDRdrive's RAM-based SSD is snappy, costly

by Joseph L. Flatley, posted May 5th 2009 at 12:52PM

In the race for ever faster storage, manufacturers have increasingly been looking towards the PCIe bus. And while we've seen lots of interesting things out of companies like Fusion-io, it will probably be a few long moments before anything comes around that's feasible, or reasonable, for the consumer. That said, PC Perspective has put in some quality time with the DDRdrive X1, which places 4GB DRAM and 4GB NAND in parallel on a full height PCIe card, keeping that volatile memory of yours safely backed up on a static disk, just in case. According to the reviewer, this device offers the user nothing less than "pure unadulterated random IO" that is "unmatched by any other device available." Other pluses include its cost (I / O operations per second are calculated at about a fifth of the ioDrive) and snappy custom drivers for both 32 and 64-bit members of the Windows family (Linux drivers are promised for the near future). The Cons? This bad boy is currently limited to 4GB, and it'll run you a cool $1495. Not exactly the stuff dreams are made of for 99% of our readers, but if you should happen to find yourself the admin for an enterprise server of some type (as many of us do, from time to time) this might be something worth looking into.

eBay Fakes Devalue the Craft of Tomb Robbing

Posted by kdawson on Tuesday May 05, @02:36PM

from the disintermediation-of-the-illicit dept.
The Internet
James McP writes"According to an article on Archaeology, fake artifacts being sold on eBay have caused the bottom to drop out of the low-end artifact market. This outcome is exactly opposite to what archeologists feared would happen when eBay came on the scene. A side effect of more and more forgers getting in on the act has been a dramatic increase in high-quality fakes that can fool experts and illicit collectors alike, lowering the price for high-end artifacts as well. It's a lot less cost-effective to go tomb raiding than to make your own fakes, especially since selling fake artifacts isn't really illegal."

Bill Would Declare Your Blog a Weapon

Posted by kdawson on Tuesday May 05, @01:46PM

from the can't-say-that-it's-too-severe dept.
CensorshipGovernmentUnited States
Mike writes"Law prof Eugene Volokh blogs about a US House of Representatives bill proposed by Rep. Linda T. Sanchez and 14 others that could make it a federal felony to use your blog, social media like MySpace and Facebook, or any other Web media 'to cause substantial emotional distress through "severe, repeated, and hostile" speech.' Rep. Sanchez and colleagues want to make it easier to prosecute any objectionable speech through a breathtakingly broad bill that would criminalize a wide range of speech protected by the First Amendment. The bill is called The Megan Meier Cyberbullying Prevention Act, and if passed into law (and if it survives constitutional challenge) it looks almost certain to be misused."

New Energy Source? Structure Of Highly Efficient Light-harvesting Molecules In Green Bacteria Determined

ScienceDaily (May 5, 2009) — An international team of scientists has determined the structure of the chlorophyll molecules in green bacteria that are responsible for harvesting light energy. The team's results one day could be used to build artificial photosynthetic systems, such as those that convert solar energy to electrical energy.

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Video: DIY Wolverine could totally take the Star Wars Kid

by Thomas Ricker, posted May 5th 2009 at 4:11AM

Maybe it's just us, timid bloggers sent recoiling at the mere touch of particles from what you call the Sun. But we're finding it hard to watch the video of this Wolverine fan without feeling a bit awkward, dangerously awkward. No doubt, the craftsmanship of his Wolverine claws is superb; a flex of the bicep releases the claws with the satisfying metallic shink of Adamantium blades locking into battle mode. Nevertheless, we hope this guy won't be sitting anywhere near us in the theater this weekend. See what we mean after the break.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Google Mows With Goats

Posted by samzenpus on Monday May 04, @02:30PM

from the google-goats-gruff dept.
Kelson writes"Google's Mountain View headquarters has fields that need to be kept clear of fire hazards. This year instead of mowing them, they took a low-carbon approach: they hired a herd of goats to eat the grass for a week. 'It costs us about the same as mowing, and goats are a lot cuter to watch than lawn mowers,' wrote Dan Hoffman."

Brain Processes Written Words As Unique 'Objects,' Neuroscientists Say

ScienceDaily (May 4, 2009) — Neuroscientists at Georgetown University Medical Center have found that an area known to be important for reading in the left visual cortex contains neurons that are specialized to process written words as whole word units. Although some theories of reading as well as neuropsychological and experimental data have argued for the existence of a neural representation for whole written real words (an "orthographic lexicon"), evidence for this has been elusive.

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White Blood Cells Can Sprout 'Legs' And Move Like Millipedes

ScienceDaily (May 4, 2009) — How do white blood cells – immune system ‘soldiers’ – get to the site of infection or injury? To do so, they must crawl swiftly along the lining of the blood vessel – gripping it tightly to avoid being swept away in the blood flow – all the while searching for temporary ‘road signs’ made of special adhesion molecules that let them know where to cross the blood vessel barrier so they can get to the damaged tissue. 

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Cellular On And Off Switch For Allergies And Asthma Discovered

ScienceDaily (May 4, 2009) — If you're one of the millions who dread the spring allergy season, things are looking up. A research study appearing in the May 2009 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biologyshows how a team of American scientists have identified a previously unknown cellular switch that turns allergies and asthma both on and off.

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Earth Still Recovering From A Glacial Hangover

ScienceDaily (May 4, 2009) — A new explanation for the cause of changes in the chemical makeup of the oceans through recent Earth history is put forward in a paper published in Nature.

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Urine Screening Test May One Day Predict Coronary Artery Disease

ScienceDaily (May 4, 2009) — Proteome analysis, a screening requiring only a patient's urine specimen, shows promise as a reliable and noninvasive way to diagnose atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease in the future, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology Annual Conference 2009.

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Super-sensors To Discover What Happened In First Trillionth Of A Second After Big Bang

ScienceDaily (May 4, 2009) — What happened in the first trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang?

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Climate Change Threatens Unique Ecosystems of World's Largest Lake, Lake Baikal

ScienceDaily (May 4, 2009) — Siberia's Lake Baikal, the world's largest and most biologically diverse lake, faces the prospect of severe ecological disruption as a result of climate change, according to an analysis by a joint US-Russian team in the May issue of BioScience.

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Small Nuclear Power Plants To Dot the Arctic Circle

Posted by Soulskill on Sunday May 03, @09:19AM

from the ubiquitous-radioactive-polar-bears dept.
Vincent West writes with news of a Russian project currently underway to populate the Arctic Circle with 70-megawatt, floating nuclear power plants. Russia has been planning these nuclear plants for quite some time, with construction beginning on the prototype in 2007. It's due to be finished next year, and an agreement was reached in February to build four more. According to the Guardian:"The 70-megawatt plants, each of which would consist of two reactors on board giant steel platforms, would provide power to Gazprom, the oil firm which is also Russia's biggest company. It would allow Gazprom to power drills needed to exploit some of the remotest oil and gas fields in the world in the Barents and Kara seas. The self-propelled vessels would store their own waste and fuel and would need to be serviced only once every 12 to 14 years."

Would You Pay For YouTube Videos?

Posted by Soulskill on Sunday May 03, @10:33AM

from the i-would-pay-to-unsee-youtube-comments dept.
MediaThe Almighty Buck
secmartin writes"A couple of weeks ago, Google's CEO mentioned to investors that they might start charging YouTube's users for viewing content: 'With respect to how it will get monetized, our first priority, as you pointed out, is on the advertising side. We do expect over time to see micro payments and other forms of subscription models coming as well. But our initial focus is on advertising. We will be announcing additional things in that area literally very, very soon.' With the recentDisney-Hulu deal, Google is under increasing pressure to generate more revenue and at the same time attract more premium content. That means we might see payment options coming even sooner than expected, with control over the pricing models being handed over to the studios providing that content, like the way Apple caved in over variable pricing on iTunes. This raises an important question: would you actually pay for premium content on YouTube and other sites, or will this draw viewers away to other video sites?"

Pentagon Lost Billions, Pennies At a Time

Posted by timothy on Monday May 04, @08:03AM

from the different-kind-of-cuckoo's-egg dept.
The MilitaryGovernmentThe Almighty Buck
Hugh Pickens writes"MSNBC reports that in 1969 Walter T. Davey, an aeronautical engineer at North American Rockwell discovered he was being overpaid by roughly 2 cents an hour, or one-third of 1 percent of his pay. Davey submitted the discovery to his superiors and suggested a simple fix. 'It was so simple to correct,' said Davey, a 79-year-old retired Air Force colonel, 'just change a few digits in the coding software.' The Project on Government Oversight, which reviewed Davey's findings last year, estimated the change could save taxpayers $270 million a year. Multiply by 40 years — the length of time since Davey made his discovery — and the figure grows to an astounding $10.8 billion. Legislators ignored Davey's letters, federal auditors deferred to Congress, and lobbyists 'descended on it and tore it into a piece of Swiss cheese' but legislators aren't eager to challenge the powerful defense lobby about a figure that's a relative pittance in the overall defense budget — even if it exceeds $100 million annually. 'A lot of people have taken advantage of the system to reap as much in taxpayer dollars as possible,' says Scott Amey, general counsel for the Project on Government Oversight. 'But when you're going up against the contractor lobby — whether you're an individual across the country or a public interest group or a government employee — it's a tough road.'"