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Examining Virtual Crimes
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '10 at 11:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's too-much-time-on-your-hands deptartment:
GamePolitics has an article about a research paper issued by the AU government's Institute of Criminology titled "Crime Risks of Three-Dimensional Virtual Environments." The paper discusses the legal questions raised by game worlds and avatars, ranging from regulation of in-game currency to a report of virtual rape."A person controlling an avatar that is unexpectedly raped or assaulted might experience the physical reaction of 'freezing,' or the associated shock, distrust and loss of confidence in using [3D virtual environments]. While civil redress for psychological harm is conceivable, the 'disembodied' character of such an incident would invariably bar liability for any crime against the person. However, Australian federal criminal law imposes a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment for using an internet carriage service to 'menace, harass or cause offence' to another user. Further, US and Australian laws ban simulated or actual depictions of child abuse and pornography. Therefore, any representations of child avatars involved in virtual sexual activity, torture or physical abuse are prohibited, regardless of whether the real-world user is an adult or child."

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AIDS-Like Virus New Threat To Koala
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '10 at 09:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's poor-fellas deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "A virus that may weaken the immune system of koalas, similar to HIV in humans, is a new 'wild card' among threats facing the species and nearly all koalas in the Australian state of Queensland could already be infected."

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Aussie Internet Censorship Minister Censors Self
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '10 at 08:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's see-also-recursion deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, the minister attempting to ram the great firewall of Oz down everyone's throat has been removing all traces of the unpopular legislation from his main website with a javascript filter. From the article:'It was revealed today a script within the minister's homepage deliberately removes references to internet filtering from the list. In the function that creates the list, or "tag cloud," there is a condition that if the words "ISP filtering" appear they should be skipped and not displayed.' Bear in mind, this is the same minister that tried to get the ISP of tech forum Whirlpool to pull the site after users there posted a response email from the ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority)."

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BlackBerry Bold Tops Radiation Ranking
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '10 at 06:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's woo-top-of-the-list-awesome deptartment:
geek4 writes with this excerpt from eWeek Europe: "Data from the Environmental Working Group places the BlackBerry Bold 9700 as the mobile device with the highest legal levels of cell phone radiation among popular smartphones. Research In Motion's BlackBerry Bold 9700 scores the highest among popular smartphones for exposing users to the highest legal levels of cell phone radiation, according to the latest 2010 Environmental Working Group ranking. Following the Bold 9700 are the Motorola Droid, the LG Chocolate and Google's HTC Nexus One. The rankings still put the phones well within federal guidelines and rules."

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Next Week, 500+ Geek Talks Around the World
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '10 at 05:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's cheaper-than-ted-talks-too deptartment:
Brady Forrest writes "Next week, from March 1-5 there will be ~65 Ignite events happening around the world. Ignite is an opportunity for geeks to share their passions and ideas with local peers. Each speaker gets 20 slides that each auto-advance after 15 seconds for a total of just 5 minutes. The result is bite-size chunks of information that inform the crowd on new topics. Most of the Ignites will be streamed on the new Ignite video site."

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Is Mozilla Ubiquity Dead?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '10 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's no-man-it's-everywhere deptartment:
darthcamaro writes "Remember Mozilla Ubiquity? It was an effort to bring natural language commands to the Firefox browser. Now after almost two years of development and a half million downloads, the project is no longer being actively developed. Project founder Aza Raskin is now working on other projects, including Mozilla Jetpack, so Ubiquity is on the back burner. '"There is huge demand for being able to connect the Web with language — to not have to move from one site to another to complete your daily tasks," Raskin said. "And there is huge demand for anyone to be able to write small snippets of code that lets them command the Web the way they want. Ubiquity gave everyday developers a voice with how the browser and the Web works."'"

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Senators Blast NASA For Lacking Vision
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '10 at 04:00 PM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's we-need-more-tang deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "A Senate science subcommittee clashed with NASA's chief on Wednesday, saying the agency and the White House lacked a clear vision and goal for the program. Skeptical senators told the space agency that it should not just talk about plans, but set out to do something specific. Lawmakers expressed a bipartisan opposition to the agency's plans and the initiatives of the Obama White House." Updated 23:13 GMT by timothy: Reader Trent Waddington contributes this video link to the hearing, if you want to come to your own conclusions.

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Wireside Chat With Lawrence Lessig
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '10 at 03:01 PM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's preaching-to-the-choir deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Lawrence Lessig, the foundational voice of the free culture movement, will deliver a talk on fair use, politics, and online video from Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. You'll be able to tune in to a live webcast. The lecture by Lawrence Lessig will last 45 minutes, and will be followed by a 30 minute interactive Q & A session. The event will be moderated by Elizabeth Stark of the Open Video Alliance. Questions can be submitted using the hashtag #wireside. This is a talk about copyright in a digital age, and the role (and importance) of a doctrine like 'fair use.' Fair use allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, and is essential for commentary, criticism, news reporting, remix, research, teaching and scholarship with video. As a medium, online video will be most powerful when it is fluid, like a conversation. Like the rest of the internet, online video must be designed to encourage participation, not just passive consumption. Tune in here on February 25th, 6:00pm US Eastern time (see more time zones), or check out our screening events in cities across the world."

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ARM Designer Steve Furber On Energy-Efficient Computing
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '10 at 02:16 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's tell-us-how-it's-done deptartment:
ChelleChelle writes "By now, it has become evident that we are facing an energy problem — while our primary sources of energy are running out, the demand for energy is greatly increasing. In the face of this issue, energy-efficient computing has become a hot topic. For those looking for lessons, who better to ask then Steve Furber, the principal designer of the ARM (Acorn RISC Machine), a prime example of a chip that is simple, low power, and low cost. In this interview, conducted by David Brown of Sun's Solaris Engineering Group, Furber shares some of the lessons and tips on energy-efficient computing that he has learned through working on this and subsequent projects."

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Microsoft Says It Never Meant To Knock Cryptome Offline
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '10 at 02:16 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's to-err-is-corporate deptartment:
CWmike writes "Microsoft withdrew on Thursday its demand that Cryptome.org yank the 'Microsoft Global Criminal Spy Guide' document from the site, and said it had never intended for the whistleblower's domain to be knocked off the Web. 'In this case, we did not ask that this site be taken down, only that Microsoft copyrighted content be removed,' said a Microsoft spokeswoman. 'We are requesting to have the site restored and are no longer seeking the document's removal.' The document, a 17-page guide to law enforcement on how to obtain information about users of Microsoft's online services, including its Windows Live Hotmail, the Xbox Live gaming network and its Windows Live SkyDrive storage service, was published by John Young, who runs Cryptome.org, on Feb. 20. Earlier this week, Microsoft demanded that Young remove the document from his site, citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. When Young refused, his Internet provider shut down the site, and Network Solutions, the registrar of Young's domain, put a 'legal lock' on the domain name. The last prevented him from transferring the URL to another ISP. Computerworld blogger Preston Gralla dug into the document today in his 'Leaked Microsoft intelligence document: Here's what Microsoft will reveal to police about you' post."

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Leak Shows US Lead Opponent of ACTA Transparency
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '10 at 02:16 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's putting-on-an-acta deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Throughout the debate over ACTA transparency, the secret copyrighttreaty, many countries have taken public positions that they supportrelease of the actual text, but that other countries do not.Since full transparency requires consensus of all the ACTA partners,the text simply can't be released until everyone is in agreement.A new leakfrom the Netherlands fingers who the chief opponents of transparencyare: the United States, South Korea, Singapore, and Denmark lead theway, with Belgium, Germany, and Portugal not far behind as problemcountries."

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Independent Programmers' No-Win Scenario
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '10 at 12:46 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's barriers-to-entry deptartment:
snydeq writes "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister writes about the no-win scenario facing today's independent programmers: 'In a knowledge economy, programmers rank among our most valuable workers, yet the current legal and regulatory climate makes a career as an independent software developer virtually a dead-end prospect.' Section 1706 of the 1986 Tax Reform Act, the hurdles and costs of obtaining health care for one's own family, a hostile legal climate in search of accountability for any defects in code — these harsh realities make it 'easy to see why software developers would give up on entrepreneurship. For many, the risks simply don't match the potential rewards. Better to keep their heads down, not rock the boat, and hope they can hang onto their jobs until retirement.' Great news for big software vendors, which will be 'ensured an endless supply of programmers desperate for the safe haven of a steady paycheck, predictable taxation, health benefits, and a shield from civil prosecution when their code turns up buggy. But where will the next Microsoft come from? A field that discourages self-reliance sends the message that the status quo is the highest goal.'"

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Google Looks To Convert Print Pubs Into E-Articles
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '10 at 11:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's one-at-a-time deptartment:
bizwriter writes "A patent application by Google (GOOG), filed in August 2008 and made public last week, shows that the company is trying to automate the process of splitting printed magazines and newspapers into individual articles that it could then deliver separately. Although this could allow Google to convert stacks of periodicals into electronic archives, it potentially sends the company headlong into conflict with a famous Supreme Court ruling on media law."

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Citibank Cancels Bank Account of Objectionable Blogger
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '10 at 11:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's there's-gotta-be-more-to-this deptartment:
Keith found this story about Citibank blocking a website's bank account after deciding that the site's blog contained questionable content. I guess it's up to a bank to decide who to do business with, but this is pretty crazy.

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Space Exploration Needs Extraterrestrial Ethics
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '10 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's fly-softly-and-carry-a-big-laser deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Professor Andy Miah notes there's already international government policies taking hold on outer space — and a need for new ethical guidelines. 'For instance, what obligations do we owe to the various life forms we send there, or those we might discover? Can we develop a more considerate approach to colonizing outer space than we were able to achieve for various sectors of Earth?' And what rights do astronauts have? 'Could our inevitable public surveillance of their behavior become too much of an infringement on their personal privacy?' But more importantly, professor Miah notes that 'the goods of space exploration far exceed the symbolic value,' pointing out that 'A vast amount of research and development derives from space exploration... For example, the United Kingdom's 2007 Space Policy inquiry indicated that the creation of space products contributes two to three times their value in GDP.'"

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Hollywood Treats Hackers Pretty Well
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '10 at 10:16 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's sandra-bullock-on-the-other-hand deptartment:
angry tapir writes "According to Damian Gordon, a lecturer at the Dublin Institute of Technology, hackers are treated pretty well by movie-makers. Gordon studied 50 movies, produced over five decades to help write an academic paper for the International Journal of Internet Technology and Secured Transactions. The results amazed him. In the movies, most hackers aren't teenaged whiz-kids. They're professionals, over 30 years old, who work in IT."

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Game Testing ATI's Six-screen Eyefinity System
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '10 at 09:31 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's now-you're-just-being-silly deptartment:
Barence writes "ATI has carted its monstrous six-monitor Eyefinity gaming system to the offices of PC Pro for an extensive hands-on session. The game was Race Driver: GRID, the resolution was a mighty 5,760 x 2,160, and the overall effect was... a bit hit and miss. There's no denying it has potential, and the level of immersion sounds impressive, but this report complains of problems with bezel correction that currently tarnish the overall effect."

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iPad Will Beat Netbooks With "Magic"
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '10 at 09:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's gonna-need-more-plains deptartment:
entirely_fluffy writes "In a talk intended to woo investors, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said the iPad will win over potential netbook buyers, but not because of specs or features. No, Cook said the iPad's magical properties will seal the deal. "The netbook is not an experience people are going to continue wanting to have," Cook said, according to Macworld. "When they play with the iPad and experience the magic of using it... I have a hard time believing they're going to go for a netbook."" Another thing that would help would be a camera and a $100 discount, but hey Magic is cool too, provided they have enough mana.

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Senators Blast NASA For Lacking Vision
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '10 at 08:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's we-need-more-tang deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "A Senate science subcommittee clashed with NASA's chief on Wednesday, saying the firm and the White House lacked a clear vision and goal for the program. Skeptical senators told the space agency that it should not just talk about plans, but set out to do something specific. Lawmakers expressed a bipartisan opposition to the agencies plans and the initiatives of the Obama White House."

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Web Heritage Could Be Lost
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '10 at 07:46 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's anyone-else-remember-sean-baby deptartment:
Squiff writes "The British Library warns us that 'The UK's online heritage could be lost forever if the government does not grant a "right to archive"' in the UK. Never mind the Wayback Machine, The British Library declares that 'the average life expectancy of a website was just 44 to 75 days, and suggested that at least 10% of all UK websites were either lost or replaced by new material every six months,' with the material within them being amongst the most revealing regarding the state of contemporary culture."

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