Effective: 2016-June to 2016-December
Updated by: NCommander
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The Disruptive Competition Project(DisCo) has discovered a provision in a French law which requires search engines to pay royalties for the images they index. Although the Freedom of Creation Act was passed in late June, this particular provision in the law hasn't received much attention until now.
Under the provisions of the law, whenever a visual work is published online, the reproduction rights are automatically transferred to a collection agency authorized by the French government. Search engines must get a license from the collection agency in order to index the work and will pay a royalty in return. It will then be up to the collection agency to distribute the royalties to the creator of the work.
The BBC is reporting:
Unconfirmed reports of gunshots, later described by police as just "loud noises", have sparked evacuations at Los Angeles airport.
People fled the airport on Sunday night amid the shooting reports, with scenes of abandoned luggage on pavements.
Traffic to the terminal was halted and no flights were allowed to land, but operations have now resumed.
LA police tweeted that no shots had been fired and there were no injuries. They are investigating the noises.
Thank you to the submitters who brought this story to our attention.
The L.A. Times says there are unconfirmed reports of shots fired in three terminals at the L.A. airport.
no confirmation of shooting can be verified
Common Dreams reports
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said [August 25] that the U.S. Senate will not vote on the 12-nation, corporate-friendly Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) this year, buoying progressive hopes that the trade deal will never come to fruition.
[...] McConnell told a Kentucky State Farm Bureau breakfast in Louisville that the agreement, "which has some serious flaws, will not be acted upon this year".
Common Dreams also reports
Germany's Vice Chancellor and Economic Minister said that the controversial Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) has "de facto failed", admitting that negotiations between the U.S. and E.U. have completely stalled.
"Negotiations with the U.S. have de facto failed because, of course, as Europeans, we couldn't allow ourselves to submit to American demands", Sigmar Gabriel told the German news station ZDF  in an interview that will air at 7pm German time [August 28], according to Der Spiegel. 
"Everything has stalled", Gabriel said.
 In German  Content behind scripts
Reported by BBC, in English.
In 14 rounds of talks, the two sides had not agreed on a single common chapter out of 27 being discussed, Mr Gabriel said. "In my opinion the negotiations with the United States have de facto failed, even though nobody is really admitting it," said Mr Gabriel.
He suggested Washington was angry about a deal the EU struck with Canada, because it contained elements the US does not want to see in the TTIP.
NASA's Juno mission successfully executed its first of 36 orbital flybys of Jupiter today. The time of closest approach with the gas-giant world was 6:44 a.m. PDT (9:44 a.m. EDT, 13:44 UTC) when Juno passed about 2,600 miles (4,200 kilometers) above Jupiter's swirling clouds. At the time, Juno was traveling at 130,000 mph (208,000 kilometers per hour) with respect to the planet. This flyby was the closest Juno will get to Jupiter during its prime mission. "Early post-flyby telemetry indicates that everything worked as planned and Juno is firing on all cylinders," said Rick Nybakken, Juno project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
There are 35 more close flybys of Jupiter planned during Juno's mission (scheduled to end in February 2018). The August 27 flyby was the first time Juno had its entire suite of science instruments activated and looking at the giant planet as the spacecraft zoomed past. [...] While results from the spacecraft's suite of instruments will be released down the road, a handful of images from Juno's visible light imager -- JunoCam -- are expected to be released the next couple of weeks. Those images will include the highest-resolution views of the Jovian atmosphere and the first glimpse of Jupiter's north and south poles.
The image at the top of the NASA article and being displayed by other news organizations was taken from around 703,000 kilometers away. The imagery from 4,200 kilometers away should be a lot more interesting.
At closest approach, Juno's speed was so fast that one lap of the earth at the equator would take about 12 minutes, and one lap of Jupiter would require the better part of 4 hours.
The New York Times reports that Iran's walled garden is being launched:
Iran's official news agency is reporting the country has inaugurated [the] first phase of its "National Network of Data." Iran has long sought to create its own national Intranet. The Sunday report by IRNA says the network aims to promote online Islamic content, and encourage less dependency on the Internet while providing safer data transfer and protection against cyber-attacks.
The Associated Press copy talks of restrictions on users and social media crackdowns. Meanwhile, Tehran Times reports:
The network is guaranteed to give the best service to all the users nationwide with the capability of making a safe connection to all the organizations and important bodies within the country. The network also facilitates encryption and digital signature for the users and provides high speed broadband for them. As announced by the secretary for the Supreme Council of Cyberspace the next two phases of this project are scheduled to finish by February 2017 and World Communication Day, May 8, 2017 respectively.
Picture this: Three years from now, you open the fridge and unwrap a package of string cheese. You eat it. It tastes better, somehow, than the ones you ate as a kid. Then you eat the packaging. And your body thanks you for it.
That's the near-future envisioned by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture who are developing environmentally friendly food packaging made from milk protein, the American Chemical Society announced this week.
The material could replace the thin plastic film now stretched around blocks of cheese, packages of steaks and other foods at your supermarket. The kicker: This protein-based packaging isn't just biodegradable and edible – it keeps food fresher than plastic, too.
The film's protein, casein, bonds tightly, creating a packaging that's up to 500 times more effective than plastics at keeping oxygen away from food, researchers said. That means the packaging is better for the earth and better for your food, and it can be eaten, they said.
Dr. Laetitia Bonnaillie, a co-leader of the study, expects to see the casein packaging hit store shelves within three years.
In the Gulf of Mexico, Tropical Depression Nine is projected to strengthen into a tropical storm and make landfall around central Florida. It could also bring more rain to Louisiana, which is still recovering from last week's deadly floods. On Sunday, a bus carrying relief workers headed to Baton Rouge crashed into a fire truck, killing two people and injuring dozens.
Category 3 Hurricane Gaston is projected to move further into the Atlantic Ocean and weaken.
Mozilla has released a free tool that allows website developers and administrators to determine if they are using all available security technologies at their full potential.
The tool, named "Observatory," was developed by Mozilla Information Security Engineer April King in an effort to help the organization test its own domains. Observatory has now been made available to everyone along with its source code.
Observatory performs nearly a dozen tests, including Content Security Policy (CSP), Contribute.json, cookies, cross-origin resource sharing (CORS), HTTP Public Key Pinning (HPKP), HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS), redirections, subresource integrity, and X-Content-Type-Options, X-Frame-Options and X-XSS-Protection headers.
[...] "Observatory is currently a very developer-focused tool, and its grading is set very aggressively to promote best practices in web security. So if your site fails Observatory's tests, don't panic — just take a look at its recommendations and consider implementing them to make your site more secure," King said.
John Ellenby, a British-born computer engineer who played a critical role in paving the way for the laptop computer, died on Aug. 17 in San Francisco. He was 75. His son Thomas confirmed the death but said the cause had not been determined.
Mr. Ellenby's pioneering work came to fruition in the early 1980s, after he founded Grid Systems, a company in Mountain View, Calif. As chief executive, he assembled an engineering and design team that included the noted British-born industrial designer William Moggridge. The team produced a clamshell computer with an orange electroluminescent flat-panel display that was introduced as the Compass. It went to market in 1982. The Compass is now widely acknowledged to have been far ahead of its time. "The Grid Compass was the first successful clamshell laptop computer," said Marc Weber, a historian at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.
It went on to become a valuable tool for big corporations, government spies, White House and Pentagon officials, and even astronauts, surviving the midair explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in which seven people died. The Compass came with advanced, and expensive, data storage capacity called bubble memory and was accordingly pricey, originally selling for $8,150 ($20,325 today). As a result, it found an enthusiastic market not with consumers but rather in Washington.
[...] In his later years, Mr. Ellenby would reflect on what a huge technical challenge the idea of a portable computer had presented a half-century ago. In an interview, he once related that the inspiration for it came on a visit to the White House. There, he met an official who said he wanted a machine that would include everything that was in a standard business personal computer but that would fit in half the briefcase that Mr. Ellenby was carrying with him at the time. As Mr. Ellenby recalled, "I said: 'This briefcase? That's hard!'"
WE progressives believe in diversity, and we want women, blacks, Latinos, gays and Muslims at the table — er, so long as they aren't conservatives. Universities are the bedrock of progressive values, but the one kind of diversity that universities disregard is ideological and religious. We're fine with people who don't look like us, as long as they think like us.
O.K., that's a little harsh. But consider George Yancey, a sociologist who is black and evangelical. "Outside of academia I faced more problems as a black," he told me. "But inside academia I face more problems as a Christian, and it is not even close."
I've been thinking about this because on Facebook recently I wondered aloud whether universities stigmatize conservatives and undermine intellectual diversity. The scornful reaction from my fellow liberals proved the point.
"Much of the 'conservative' worldview consists of ideas that are known empirically to be false," said Carmi. "The truth has a liberal slant," wrote Michelle. "Why stop there?" asked Steven. "How about we make faculties more diverse by hiring idiots?"
To me, the conversation illuminated primarily liberal arrogance — the implication that conservatives don't have anything significant to add to the discussion. My Facebook followers have incredible compassion for war victims in South Sudan, for kids who have been trafficked, even for abused chickens, but no obvious empathy for conservative scholars facing discrimination.
The stakes involve not just fairness to conservatives or evangelical Christians, not just whether progressives will be true to their own values, not just the benefits that come from diversity (and diversity of thought is arguably among the most important kinds), but also the quality of education itself. When perspectives are unrepresented in discussions, when some kinds of thinkers aren't at the table, classrooms become echo chambers rather than sounding boards — and we all lose.
Physicists have observed relatively stable "macrodimers" made from two cesium atoms and used their predictive model to refine the binding energy and distance required to create macrodimers:
Experiments confirm the existence of 1-micrometer-sized molecules made of two cesium atoms by showing that their binding energies agree with predictions. Strongly bound diatomic molecules such as H2 or O2 are less than a nanometer across. Surprisingly, scientists have been able to create two-atom molecules more than a thousand times larger by using exotic atoms that attract one another only very weakly. Now, a pair of physicists have calculated what makes these "macrodimers" stable, and they have verified their predictions by creating micrometer-sized molecules containing two cesium atoms. The macrodimers could have applications in quantum computing.
Interest in these macromolecules stems from the challenges they pose to conventional understanding of molecules and bonds. More than a decade ago, physicists predicted that molecules with interatomic distances as large as 1 micrometer might be created by using a pair of atoms in so-called Rydberg states. These are atoms in which a single outer-shell electron has been excited to a high quantum state so that it orbits far away from the nucleus. Although Rydberg atoms are unstable, they can live as long as tens of microseconds, and experimenters have succeeded in creating macrodimers from them, confirming their existence indirectly by destroying them and detecting specific spectroscopic signatures.
However, physicists Heiner Saßmannshausen and Johannes Deiglmayr of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland, say that the earlier theoretical argument for the existence of macrodimers included some significant assumptions. To examine the argument more rigorously, they developed a sophisticated model of the interaction of Rydberg atoms and used it to predict in more detail the properties of stable macrodimers, such as the amount of energy binding them together. They then tested their model by creating the predicted molecules.
Observation of Rydberg-Atom Macrodimers: Micrometer-Sized Diatomic Molecules (DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.117.083401) (DX)
The security blog of Opera browser has an interesting short write-up about a security breach that happened to them:
Earlier this week, we detected signs of an attack where access was gained to the Opera sync system. This attack was quickly blocked. Our investigations are ongoing, but we believe some data, including some of our sync users' passwords and account information, such as login names, may have been compromised.
[...] The total active number of users of Opera sync in the last month is 1.7 million, less than 0.5% of the total Opera user base of 350 million people.
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
Clinical trials and translational medicine have certainly given people hope and rapid pathways to cures for some of humankind's most troublesome diseases, but now is not the time to overlook the power of basic research, says UC Santa Barbara neuroscientist Kenneth S. Kosik.
In fact, as he points out in an article published in the journal Science -- along with coauthors Terry Sejnowski, Marcus Raichle, Aaron Ciechanover and David Baltimore -- supporting fundamental cell biology research into neurodegeneration may be the key to accelerating understanding of neurodegenerative and so-called "incurable" diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
"My point here is that what we really have to do is take the longer view and get a very fundamental understanding of these diseases to make inroads in treatment," said Kosik, who is UCSB's Harriman Professor of Neuroscience in the Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, and also the director of the campus's Neuroscience Research Institute.
Alphabet/Google's spending on Google Fiber will be scaled back dramatically, due to high costs and the company falling far short of its 5 million subscriber target (there are around 200,000 customers instead):
[The Information] also reports that CEO Larry Page has demanded that Fiber "reduce the current cost of bringing Google Fiber to customers' homes to one-tenth the current level" That should be interesting. Google Fiber will be scaled back to just 500 employees, half its current staffing.
But wait. Wasn't Google "killing any doubts about its national ISP intentions" just two months ago? Sort of. From now on, Google will focus on selective wireless, rather than wireline infrastructure. It's a lot cheaper. The San Jose Mercury was the first to report the scale-back a fortnight ago.
Also at The Information (paywalled), USA Today, eWeek, and Salon. Ars Technica also has an article about Google Fiber doing battle with AT&T over access to utility poles.
Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:
By fine-tuning the chemical composition of nanoparticles, A*STAR researchers have developed a coating that is promising for fabricating smart windows suitable for tropical countries. Such windows block almost all the infrared heat from sun rays, while admitting most of the visible light.
The transparency of glass to visible light makes it the most common way to let light into a building. But because glass is also transparent to near-infrared radiation—windows also let in heat, giving rise to the well-known greenhouse effect. While this heating is welcomed in colder climates, it means that air conditioning has to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature in in tropical climes.
Developing smart windows that allow most of the sun's light in, while blocking near-infrared radiation, would cut energy costs and reduce carbon emissions.
"In tropical Singapore, where air conditioning is the largest component of a building's energy requirements, even a small reduction in heat intake can translate into significant savings," notes Hui Huang of the A*STAR Singapore Institute of Manufacturing and Technology.
Huang and his co-workers have developed such windows by coating glass with tin oxide nanoparticles doped with small amounts of the element antimony. By varying the nanoparticles' antimony concentration, they could optimize their ability to absorb near-infrared radiation.
"Our infrared shielding coating, with 10-nanometer antimony-doped tin oxide nanoparticles, blocks more than 90 per cent of near-infrared radiation, while transmitting more than 80 per cent of visible light," says Huang. "These figures are much better than those of coatings obtained using commercial antimony-doped tin oxide nanopowders. In particular, the infrared shielding performance of our small antimony-doped tin oxide nanocrystals is twice that of larger commercial antimony-doped tin oxide powders."