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The First Draft of the SN manifesto is available

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  • I don't have a computer, you insensitive clod!

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:19 | Votes:167

posted by janrinok on Thursday November 26, @09:18AM   Printer-friendly
from the burn-cream-needed dept.

A district judge last week denied two activist groups the chance to file a supporting motion in a copyright case. In a stinging and derisive rejoinder, he compared their complaints to those of a spoilt boy.
It's part of a court case that stateside ISPs and rights-holders are watching with keen interest.

Cox Communications is the only major US ISP not to participate to the "Six Strikes" Copyright Alert System, where an ISP acts on "red flag" knowledge of a persistent infringer by kicking them off their network. Cox preferred to implement its own "10+" graduated response program. Two music publishers, BMG and Round Hill, weren't impressed, and a year ago they sued Cox, arguing that they never kicked even the most hardcore freetard off their networks. As evidence, they picked the IP addresses of the 250 most persistent freetards on Cox's network over the preceding six months.

"Cox directly profits from repeat infringers," they argued in their lawsuit. "Cox collects significant fees from its subscribers and subscribers that frequently upload media content often pay higher monthly premiums for higher bandwidth. Plaintiffs' agent has identified – and notified Cox of – over 200,000 repeat infringers on the Cox network. On information and belief, the number of actual repeat infringers on the Cox network not known to Plaintiffs or their agent is substantially higher."
Enter the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge, two slacktivist groups who howled (predictably) that the internet would break if Cox did what it promised and kicked off the most high volume torrenters. Both groups applied to file amicus, or 'Friend of the Court', briefs. But Judge O'Grady rejected the applications, saying they were irrelevant.

Interestingly, he went even further, apparently mocking the applications, and arguing that the two "digital rights" groups were fundamentally compromised.

Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Thursday November 26, @07:45AM   Printer-friendly
from the but-they-still-work dept.

Today a number of AMD GPUs entered end of life, including the * series (8400 and below), 7 series (7600 and below) and all of the 6000 and 5000 series.

As a last gift to these card owners AMD has also released a beta of the new Crimson software that supports these cards and of course the previous release will continue to work for these cards now that they have been moved to legacy status.

We covered Radeon Software Crimson just a short while ago.

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posted by n1 on Thursday November 26, @06:22AM   Printer-friendly
from the lifetime-warranty dept.

Murtaza Hussain writes at The Intercept that although it remains in use at sensitive security areas throughout the world, the ADE 651 is a complete fraud and the ADE-651's manufacturer sold it with the full knowledge that it was useless at detecting explosives. There are no batteries in the unit and it consists of a swivelling aerial mounted to a hinge on a hand-grip. The device contains nothing but the type of anti-theft tag used to prevent stealing in high street stores and critics have likened it to a glorified dowsing rod.

The story of how the ADE 651 came into use involves the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. At the height of the conflict, as the new Iraqi government battled a wave of deadly car bombings, it purchased more than 7,000 ADE 651 units worth tens of millions of dollars in a desperate effort to stop the attacks. Not only did the units not help, the device actually heightened the bloodshed by creating "a false sense of security" that contributed to the deaths of hundreds of Iraqi civilians. A BBC investigation led to a subsequent export ban on the devices.

The device is once again back in the news as it was reportedly used for security screening at hotels in the Egyptian resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh where a Russian airliner that took off from that city's airport was recently destroyed in a likely bombing attack by the militant Islamic State group. Speaking to The Independent about the hotel screening, the U.K. Foreign Office stated it would "continue to raise concerns" over the use of the ADE 651. James McCormick, the man responsible for the manufacture and sale of the ADE 651, received a 10-year prison sentence for his part in manufacture of the devices, sold to Iraq for $40,000 each. An employee of McCormick who later became a whistleblower said that after becoming concerned and questioning McCormick about the device, McCormick told him the ADE 651 "does exactly what it's designed to. It makes money."

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posted by n1 on Thursday November 26, @04:49AM   Printer-friendly
from the everyone-knows-jesus-lived-in-america dept.

Glastonbury Abbey in England is known for a rich and colorful history from its origins as being built by Joseph of Arimathea and the boy Jesus, to being the resting place for King Arthur and Guinevere. However, a four year study shows that those feet in ancient time did not walk upon England's mountains green, and that the Arthurian legend stories were made up by the 12th century monks to raise money to rebuild their beleaguered monestary.

Original Submission

posted by n1 on Thursday November 26, @03:04AM   Printer-friendly
from the atari-history-safari dept.

I worked for Atari and then one of its successor companies (Atari Games) for 13 years, designing hardware for coin-operated video games.

When I arrived in 1979, software for the games was cross-assembled on two DEC PDP-11/20 systems in batch mode. We had two computer operators who would take your marked-up listing, do the edits, and run the program. If it actually ran without any fatal errors, it would produce a listing and a paper tape.

Paper tape? (Well, at least it wasn't punched cards.)

On a good day the process would take less than an hour. On a bad day, when someone else's project had been designated as "hot" because it was about to go out on Field Test or be Released, you might get only two runs that day.

You then took the Paper Tape to your emulator which had a Paper Tape reader.

The emulators were home-made and were in a plywood cabinet painted black which is why they were called "Black Boxes." Programmers could load the program from paper tape, run it, set breakpoints, and examine memory as well as write to it. It was all done in Hex code, so people became adept at hand assembling small fragments of code. There was no way of saving the hand-patched program, so power interruptions were usually followed by much wailing, yelling, and gnashing of teeth. (To be fair, the few commercially available emulators weren't any better.)

Because the Black Box did not contain a built-in logic analyzer we had a few HP Logic Analyzers on carts that people dragged around from project to project.

It was common for a Programmer returning from lunch discovering that his analyzer had been hijacked. (The Programmers were all guys then.) The result was more wailing, yelling, and gnashing of teeth, "Who took my HP?"

Click through to the article to read the rest plus the email logs. If you ever wondered what is was like to work for one of the earliest successful console companies, here's your chance.

Original Submission

posted by CoolHand on Thursday November 26, @01:29AM   Printer-friendly
from the toxic-avenger dept.

From where I'm standing, the city-sized Baogang Steel and Rare Earth complex dominates the horizon, its endless cooling towers and chimneys reaching up into grey, washed-out sky. Between it and me, stretching into the distance, lies an artificial lake filled with a black, barely-liquid, toxic sludge.

Dozens of pipes line the shore, churning out a torrent of thick, black, chemical waste from the refineries that surround the lake. The smell of sulphur and the roar of the pipes invades my senses. It feels like hell on Earth.

[...]You may not have heard of Baotou, but the mines and factories here help to keep our modern lives ticking. It is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of “rare earth” minerals. These elements can be found in everything from magnets in wind turbines and electric car motors, to the electronic guts of smartphones and flatscreen TVs. In 2009 China produced 95% of the world's supply of these elements, and it's estimated that the Bayan Obo mines just north of Baotou contain 70% of the world's reserves. But, as we would discover, at what cost?


[Editor's note: this story is a few months old, but I think it is environmentally thought provoking; also, it was not "big news" so most here probably missed it.]

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posted by CoolHand on Wednesday November 25, @11:33PM   Printer-friendly
from the crimson-and-clover dept.

Many sites are reporting on the release of AMD's Crimson driver, which replaces Catalyst, features a redesigned interface and gives DirectX 9 applications access to variable framerates:

AMD’s first tease of Crimson was a run-through of the slick new Radeon Settings hub designed to replace Catalyst Control Center. (R.I.P.) At the time, AMD revealed some of the overt new features in Radeon Settings, such as per-game OverDrive overclocking settings and one-click Eyefinity multi-monitor configuration. On Tuesday, AMD’s unwrapping the deeper-level goodies in Radeon Software Crimson—with handy features for new and old graphics cards alike—and pushing the drivers live so you can try them out for yourself.

Crimson officially supports Windows 7—10. Linux users can expect a new, partially-open-source driver (AMDGPU) sometime in the future, but only for the latest, shiniest of graphics cards. The current driver's performance has been improved somewhat.

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posted by martyb on Wednesday November 25, @09:28PM   Printer-friendly
from the Xenu dept.

An Anonymous Coward submitted the news that a Court ruled Church of Scientology Moscow branch should be 'dissolved':

A Russian court has ruled that the Moscow branch of the Church of Scientology should be dissolved.

The Moscow city court accepted the arguments of Russia's justice ministry that as the term "Scientology" is a registered US trademark, the Church cannot be considered a religious organisation.

The organisation plans to appeal, reports said.

The controversial church is based in Los Angeles, California and was found in 1954 by science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Wednesday November 25, @07:43PM   Printer-friendly
from the maybe-save-a-life dept.

Biofilms frequently coat the surfaces of catheters, and of various medical implants and prostheses, where they can cause life-threatening infections. New research at the Sahlgrenska Academy show that coating implants with a certain "activator" can prevent Staphylococcus aureus, the leading cause of hospital-acquired infections, from forming biofilms.

Biofilms are mats of bacteria similar to the plaque that grows on teeth. Biofilms frequently coat the surfaces of catheters, and of various medical implants and prostheses, where they can threaten lives or lead to failure of the implants.

Antibiotics are impotent against biofilms. Now Gothenburg researchers Jakub Kwiecinski, Tao Jin and collaborators show that coating implants with "tissue plasminogen activator" can prevent Staphylococcus aureus, the leading cause of hospital-acquired infections, from forming biofilms.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Wednesday November 25, @06:01PM   Printer-friendly
from the just-goat-on-with-it dept.

China's western Shaanxi Province is known for rugged windswept terrain and its coal and wool, but not necessarily its science. Yet at the Shaanxi Provincial Engineering and Technology Research Center for Shaanbei Cashmere Goats, scientists have just created a new kind of goat, with bigger muscles and longer hair than normal. The goats were made not by breeding but by directly manipulating animal DNA—a sign of how rapidly China has embraced a global gene-changing revolution.

Geneticist Lei Qu wants to increase goatherd incomes by boosting how much meat and wool each animal produces. For years research projects at his lab in Yulin, a former garrison town along the Great Wall, stumbled along, Qu's colleagues say. "The results were not so obvious, although we had worked so many years," his research assistant, Haijing Zhu, wrote in an e-mail.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Wednesday November 25, @04:24PM   Printer-friendly
from the build-your-own dept.

Imagination Technologies has launched a Kickstarter campaign for what it calls "the ultimate IoT-in-a-box development kit". The full $106-122 kit includes a Ci40 dev board, two Clicker expansion boards, and three Click sensor boards. Tom's Hardware reports:

Imagination is far from a brand new startup that needs its own Kickstarter campaign, but we've seen other large companies before, such as Sony or Canonical, try to launch their own crowdfunding campaigns as a way to safely prototype certain products (and simultaneously gauge interest in the product). They can also use the campaigns as a marketing tool.

The Creator Ci40 board, which acts as the "hub" that connects other pieces from the IoT package, has a dual-core and dual-threaded 550 MHz MIPS InterAptiv CPU and an Ensigma connectivity engine that supports 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 (Smart and Classic).

The developer board also comes with 256 MB of DDR3 RAM, 512 MB of NAND flash, one microSD card, and a dedicated TPM chip for storing encryption keys securely. The Creator Ci40, as well as the Clicker expansion boards, also support 6LoWPAN low-power wireless communication, which they use to communicate with each other through standards such as Thread.

The IoT in a box package can include two MikroElektronika Clicker expansion boards as well, which come with a 32-bit Microchip microcontroller, a USB connector, two LEDs and push buttons, a reset button, a mikroProg connector, and the headers for interfacing with external electronics. The expansion boards are AAA battery-powered so they can function as standalone devices, too.

Imagination also offers three types of MikroElektronika Click sensor boards in its complete IoT kit: one board for measuring temperature, one for detecting motion, and another for controlling a relay.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Wednesday November 25, @02:43PM   Printer-friendly
from the give-a-hoot-don't-pollute dept.

The All Energy Forum at last week's ANS Meeting in Washington D.C. was an eye-opener for many reasons, not the least being my underestimation of the amount of new hydroelectric power that could be installed in America without building a single new dam.

Almost 90% of America's low-carbon energy sources come from hydropower (21%) and nuclear power (67%), which together avoid almost a billion tons of CO2 emissions each year. If we are to achieve any of the low-carbon goals we have set out for 2030 and beyond, hydropower must increase significantly and nuclear has to maintain it's share of power, and even increase slightly by 2030.

David Zayas, Senior Manager at the National Hydropower Association (NHA), says that the goal is to double hydropower over the next few decades, adding 60 GW by 2030, producing an additional 300 billion kWhs of electricity each year.

The premise is that most dams in America don't produce power, and that adding that capability would account for the increase.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Wednesday November 25, @01:08PM   Printer-friendly
from the science-debunks-finger-pointing dept.

El Reg reports

The skeleton of a six-year-old infant unearthed in Austria is challenging the theory that syphilis was imported into Europe from the New World by the ship's crew of Christopher Columbus.

The well-preserved remains (above) were found in a cemetery in St. Pölten, some 65km west of Vienna, by a team from the city's Medical University. Several of the child's teeth display "lesions suggestive of or consistent with congenital syphilis", according to the research published in Anthropologischer Anzeiger.

These include "mulberry molar" and "Hutchinson's teeth". The former is a molar with "alternating nonanatomic depressions and rounded enamel nodules on its crown surface". The latter is where "permanent incisors have a screwdriver-like shape, sometimes associated with notching of the incisal edges".

Critically, carbon dating aged the skeleton to sometime between 1390 and 1440 AD, with a "mean" of 1415 AD. Since Columbus didn't sail off to the New World until 1492, "syphilis was probably not introduced to Europe by Columbus' returning crew", the researchers conclude. The first recorded outbreak of the disease in Europe was in Naples in 1494 or 1495. If the Treponema pallidum bacteria had already been present in the Old World for many years, then this event may ultimately have been attributed to Columbus's men simply because of a co-incidence of date. (They returned from their first voyage in 1493.)

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Wednesday November 25, @11:24AM   Printer-friendly
from the precursor-to-skelegrow dept.

University of Southampton scientists are developing a new type of drug that may help bones heal faster by activating a stem cell regeneration gene:

Using bone samples from people undergoing hip replacement surgery, the researchers were able to show that the drug – a protein that activates a molecular pathway called the 'Wnt' pathway – causes stem cells found within bones to divide and to turn into more bone cells.

Dr Nick Evans, Associate Professor in Bioengineering at the University of Southampton and lead author of the study, says: "Bone fractures are a big problem in society, especially in older people. It is getting worse as more people get older and their risk of fracture increases. Most fractures heal completely by themselves, but a surprising number, around 10 per cent, take over six months to heal, or never heal at all. In the worst cases this can lead to several surgical operations, or even amputation.

"Through our research, we are trying to find ways to chemically stimulate Wnt signaling using drugs. To achieve this, we selectively deliver proteins and other molecules that change Wnt signalling specifically to stem cells, particularly in the bone. This may help us find cures for many diseases, including bone disease, and speed up bone healing after fracture."

However the researchers found that if the Wnt pathway was switched on too long, the regenerative effect was lost or, even reversed. "This is why it is particularly important to develop technologies for timed and targeted delivery, which is what we have done in this research," Nick added. The research is published in the journal Stem Cells.

More about the Wnt signaling pathway and PubMed search for WNT3A.

Transient Canonical Wnt Stimulation Enriches Human Bone Marrow Mononuclear Cell Isolates for Osteoprogenitors [abstract]

[...] Wnt stimulation resulted in an increase in the frequency of skeletal stem cells marked by the STRO-1bright/Glycophorin A phenotype. Osteogenesis was elevated in stromal cell populations arising from BMMNCs transiently stimulated by Wnt3A protein, but sustained stimulation inhibited osteogenesis in a concentration-dependent manner. These results demonstrate that Wnt stimulation could be used as a therapeutic approach by transient targeting of stem cell populations during early fracture healing, but that inappropriate stimulation may prevent osteogenesis.

Original Submission

posted by cmn32480 on Wednesday November 25, @09:47AM   Printer-friendly
from the lighter-side-of-life dept.

Unusually heavy winter rains have flooded the town of Chertsey, west of London, twice in the past three years. Only its old center—a raised plot on the bank of the River Thames where Anglo-Saxon monks built an abbey in the seventh century—has remained consistently dry. For most residents, the rising waters, often stinking with sewage, have come as an unwelcome surprise after centuries of a relatively dry, stable climate. They seem to have forgotten, or perhaps never knew, this telling fact about the place they call home: In Old English, Chertsey means "Ceorot's island."

The name harkens back to the Early Medieval Period, when Germanic tribes began to settle, and name, many of the places dotting maps of modern Britain. Back then, water was ubiquitous. Sediment deposits dating to this era paint a picture of overtopped riverbanks and runoff rushing down slopes. "Anglo-Saxon England was a water world," says Richard Jones, a landscape historian at the University of Leicester. He studies how early English settlers used place names, or toponyms, to encode practical information about their watery environment. For instance, Byfleet, a village in southern England, indicates a "tidal creek," or "estuary"; Buildwas, in the west, describes "land subject to rapid flooding and draining"; and Averham, in the east, a "settlement at the floods."

What does it mean for North Piddle, Shitterton, Crapstone, and Scratchy Bottom?

Original Submission

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