trawg writes "The Australian High Court has just dismissed an appeal by Australian and American media companies against ISP iiNet, in what will hopefully be the final step in an ongoing copyright lawsuit drama. The Court noted that 'iiNet had no direct technical power to prevent its customers from using the BitTorrent system to infringe copyright.' Ultimately, the court has held that iiNet's inactivity to act on infringement notices didn't imply any sort of authorization of that infringement by their customers. Good news for Australians as a clear line has been drawn that will help ensure ISPs don't have to bear the cost of policing their customers."
itwbennett writes "Neal Stephenson is shouldering some of the blame for discouraging budding scientists and engineers, saying in a interview that perhaps the dark turn science fiction has taken is 'discouraging budding scientists and engineers.' For his part, Stephenson has vowed to be more optimistic. From the article: 'Speaking before a packed lecture theater at MIT yesterday, Neal Stephenson worried that the gloomy outlook prevalent in modern science fiction may be undermining the genre's ability to inspire engineers and scientists. Describing himself as a "pessimist trying to turn himself into an optimist," and acknowledging that some of his own work has contributed to the dystopian trend, he added "if every depiction of the future is grim...then it doesn't create much of an incentive to building the future."'"
udas writes "The Millennium Technology Prize is awarded every two years for a technological innovation that significantly improves the quality of human life, today and in the future. This year, Linus Torvalds, Linux's creator, and Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, maker of a new way to create stem cells without the use of embryonic stem cells, are both laureates for the 2012 Millennium Technology Prize. This prize, which is determined by the Technology Academy of Finland, is one of the world's largest such prizes with candidates sought from across the world and from all fields of technology. The two innovators will share over a million Euros. The final winner will be announced by the President of the Republic of Finland in a special ceremony on June 13, 2012."
peetm writes "Two 70-year-old papers by Alan Turing on the theory of code breaking have been released by the government's communications headquarters, GCHQ. It is believed Turing wrote the papers while at Bletchley Park working on breaking German Enigma codes. A GCHQ mathematician said the fact that the contents had been restricted 'shows what a tremendous importance it has in the foundations of our subject.'"
First time accepted submitter gstrickler writes "After years of work recovering and analyzing old mission data and vehicle schematics, a just published analysis(Pdf) provides strong evidence for anisotropic thermal radiation being the source of the slowing of the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft. The theory isn't new, but the recovered data and new analysis provide solid evidence that at least 80% of the deceleration is accounted for by anisotropic thermal radiation. Members of The Planetary Society were instrumental in recovering the data and helping fund the analysis. The lesson is, in space, it matters what direction your heat radiating surfaces point."
sunbird writes "At 16:00 ET on April 18, federal agents seized a server located in a New York colocation facility shared by May First / People Link and Riseup.net. The server was operated by the European Counter Network ("ECN"), the oldest independent internet service provider in Europe. The server was seized as a part of the investigation into bomb threats sent via the Mixmaster anonymous remailer received by the University of Pittsburgh that were previously discussed on Slashdot. As a result of the seizure, hundreds of unrelated people and organizations have been disrupted."
hypnosec writes "With London's summer 2012 games due to take place in the very near future, you'd think that organizers would make more of an effort and persuade people to show more of an interest — yet it appears the complete opposite has happened, with strict guidelines banning athletes from posting photos of themselves on Twitter with products that aren't official Olympics sponsors, as well as prohibiting videos or photos to be taken from the athlete's village. Oh and just for good measure, fans could find themselves barred from sharing videos and photos on Facebook and YouTube of themselves delighting in said Olympics action."
An anonymous reader writes "Are dark webdesigns an energy saving alternative to a snow white Google? The theory is websites with black backgrounds save energy, based on the assumption that a monitor requires more power to display a white screen than black. Is this a blatant green washing ploy by Blackle.com, or an earnest energy saving tweak for a search tool we use every day? To find out, PCSTATS hooked up an Extech Power Analyzer to a 19" CRT and a 19" LCD and measured power draw — turns out there is a not insignificant difference ..."
waderoush writes "The Google Lunar X Prize, announced in 2007, challenges private teams to send remote-controlled landers and robot rovers to the Moon by December 31, 2015. At the moment, 26 teams are still in the running — but organizers say 2012 could be the shakeout year, as many teams realize they can't go it alone or that they can't raise the tens of millions of dollars needed to reserve a launch vehicle. Xconomy talked with officials at Google, NASA, the X Prize Foundation, and two of the competing teams, asking whether the prize is really winnable in the face of the formidable fundraising obstacles the teams face. The piece also looks at the technology being developed by two of the teams (Moon Express and Team FREDNET), why lunar exploration matters to Google, and how Tiffany Montague, Google's manager of space initiatives, is working to improve the teams' chances."
New submitter Kraftwerk writes "A bill already passed by the Senate and set to be rubber stamped by the House would make it mandatory for all new cars in the United States to be fitted with black box data recorders from 2015 onwards. Section 31406 of Senate Bill 1813 (known as MAP-21), calls for 'Mandatory Event Data Recorders' to be installed in all new automobiles and legislates for civil penalties to be imposed against individuals for failing to do so. 'Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall revise part 563 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, to require, beginning with model year 2015, that new passenger motor vehicles sold in the United States be equipped with an event data recorder that meets the requirements under that part,' states the bill."
An anonymous reader writes "This 'how-to' example of accessing demographic data from the U.S. Census 'American FactFinder' zooms down to the block level in Chicago to (possibly) find the Obama family in the year 2000."
nonprofiteer writes "A University of Texas-Dallas developmental psychology professor has used a $3.4 million NIH grant to purchase Blackberries for 175 Texas teens, capturing every text message, email, photo, and IM they've sent over the past 4 years.Half a million new messages pour into the database every month. The researchers don't 'directly ask' the teens about privacy issues because they don't want to remind them they're being monitored. So many legal and ethical issues here. I can't believe this is IRB-approved. Teens sending nude photos alone could make that database legally toxic. And then there's the ethical issue of monitoring those who have not consented to be part of the study, but are friends with those who have. When a friend texted one participant about selling drugs, he responded, 'Hey, be careful, the BlackBerry people are watching, but don't worry, they won't tell anyone.'" This sounds like an American version of the "Seven Up" series.
Open source office software is has gotten pretty good over the past decade or so; I got through grad school with OpenOffice (now known as LibreOfifice), and in my estimation was no worse off when it came to exchanging files with classmates than were friends with different versions of Word. Now, reader dgharmon writes "Writer has at least twelve major advantages over Word. Together, these advantages not only suggest a very different design philosophy from Word, but also demonstrate that, from the perspective of an expert user, Writer is the superior tool."
New submitter grzzld writes "I am a systems analyst for a County in New York. Last year I made a SharePoint site that manages grants and it was well received. So much so that it won a NACo award. Since then, there have been several requests from other municipalities from around the country who would like to get this SharePoint site. The county is trying to figure out how to protect ourselves from people making money from it and having people hold us liable if it they use it and something goes awry. I am afraid that ultimately nothing will be done and the site will not be shared since at the end of the day it is much easier to not do anything and just say no. I proposed that we license it under an Open Source agreement but I am not versed enough in the differences between all of them. It is also unclear to me if I could do this since the nature of the 'program' is a SharePoint site. It seemed like CodePlex would be a good place to put this since it is Microsoft centric and it an open source initiative. I just want to contribute my work to others who may find it useful. The county just wants to make sure they can't be held liable and have somebody turn my work around and make a buck. How can I release this to the world and make sure the county's concerns are addressed?"
Third Position writes "Cringely with more predictions about IBM: 'The direct impetus for this column is IBM's internal plan to grow earnings-per-share (EPS) to $20 by 2015. The primary method for accomplishing this feat, according to the plan, will be by reducing U.S. employee head count by 78 percent in that time frame.' So far, Cringely's pronouncements about IBM have been approximately true, even if he missed the exact numbers and timeframes. Is he right this time?"