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wdef (1050680) writes "A US Senate report has concluded that a multibillion-dollar intelligence program — set up by the Dept of Homeland Security in the wake of 9/11 — targeted innocent civillians, produced very little useful data and has ballooned out of all control. This is despite predictable feeding-frenzy spending on big screens, data mining software and Chevrolet Tahoes. Why build one when you can have two at twice the price? Note the US Senate decides to look at this across the safe political interval of 10 years." Link to Original Source top
A team at Case Western Reserve University led by Michelle Rasmussen and Daniel Scherson has tapped into the metabolic system of a cockroach to produce electricity. This isn't the first time anyone has tried building a cyborg bug of sorts. A University of Michigan team tried it using piezoelectric materials. What's interesting here is that Rasmussen's group used the insect's own body chemistry to produce electricity.
The article also says shiitake mushrooms contain the same sugar as cockroaches and have also been used to produce electricity. Hopefully mushrooms and roaches alike will be able to exit the Matrix at some point." Link to Original Source
wdef (1050680) writes "From Discovery News: Our search for life beyond Earth could take us down the road to a shocking look into the mirror — a climax straight out of a Twilight Zone plot.
A team of researchers at MIT is proposing to apply forensic science testing on the Martian surface. Specifically, the task would be to do DNA and RNA sequencing on Martian microbes (if they exist) to see if they share a common genetic origin with us." Link to Original Source top
wdef (1050680) writes "Free internet porn is not illegal. Nor is it unfairly competing with porn companies who'd rather you paid for your thrills, according to a California Appeals Court, which has dismissed a case against one free site, Redtube.com, as an unfair attack on free speech." Link to Original Source top
wdef (1050680) writes "From today's Wall Street Journal: SELCUK, Turkey — Chariot, a 1,500-pound, single-humped camel with spittle hanging from his lips and pompoms in his tail, just won the first-ever beauty contest at Turkey's annual camel fighting competition. According to the pageant's four stony-faced judges, Chariot had better muscle tone, prettier adornments and a more elegant tail wag as he strutted along a catwalk of rugs to the sound of Turkish pipes and drums last weekend. Plus, they said, he had exceptionally good teeth." Link to Original Source top
wdef (1050680) writes "The UK's controversial ContactPoint database is actually being switched off! It's rare that we hear anything this sensible from government about an expensive, privacy-destroying, 'think of the children' solution: (quote)The government argued the system was disproportionate to the problem, so is looking at developing other solutions.(unquote). Perhaps the UK coalition government really is winding back Big Brother, as they had promised to do? Does seem unlikely." Link to Original Source top
wdef (1050680) writes "The BBC reports that a Russian MP has asked President Dmitry Medvedev to investigate claims by a regional president that he has met aliens on board a spaceship. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the leader of the southern region of Kalymkia, made his claim in a television interview. Mr Ilyumzhinov said in an interview on primetime television that he had been taken on board an alien spaceship which had come to planet Earth to take samples — and claims to have several witnesses. He has been president of Kalmykia, a small Buddhist region of Russia which lies on the shores of the Caspian Sea, for 17 years. As president of the World Chess Federation, he has spent tens of millions of dollars turning the impoverished republic into a mecca for chess players — building an entire village to host international tournaments. MP Andre Lebedev is not just asking whether Mr Ilyumzhinov is fit to govern. He is also concerned that, if he was abducted, he may have revealed details about his job and state secrets." Link to Original Source top
wdef (1050680) writes ""The world's first film shot entirely by chimpanzees is to be broadcast by the BBC as part of a natural history documentary. The apes created the movie using a specially designed chimp-proof camera given to them by primatologists. The film-making exercise is part of a scientific study into how chimpanzees perceive the world and each other"." Link to Original Source top
wdef (1050680) writes "Video games depicting war have come under fire for flouting laws governing armed conflicts. Human rights groups played various games to see if any broke humanitarian laws that govern what is a war crime. The study condemned the games for violating laws by letting players kill civilians, torture captives and wantonly destroy homes and buildings. It said game makers should work harder to remind players about the real world limits on their actions." Link to Original Source top
wdef (1050680) writes "After some advance leaks in various places, the linux-based litl webbook http://litl.com/ (yes, all lower case) with the baby blue button appears to have launched this morning, east coast US time. Atom powered and with what is said to be a unique web-oriented interface built around Clutter on top of an Ubuntu UME variant, the litl webbook reverses the trend towards WinXP or predictable Xandros or Ubuntu interfaces on netbooks. Litl, a Boston-based startup, appears to have snapped up a few of the most eminent programmers in the linux desktop community, such as Havoc Pennington, formerly one of the chief architects of Gnome, and some respected former Nokia and OLPC engineers. With industrial design by Fuseproject this is a cute looking product. It is said there are a few hungover coders in litl's Backbay area offices this morning after last night's launch party." Link to Original Source top
wdef writes "What is that god-awful script that holds up the loading of Slashdot pages every single time? Why does it exist? Why do I put up with it? I don't for a minute expect this to make it onto Slashdot, but I can't see any other obvious feedback mechanism." top
The UK Home Office has signed up to an EU strategy against cybercrime that "encourages" police across Europe to remotely access personal computers.The plan has sparked fears that the government is looking to increase police powers to hack into people's computers without a court warrant. UK police already do a "small number" of such operations under existing law.
wdef writes "Messages have been transmitted to the planet Gliese 581C, 120 trillion miles from earth, in the hope they will reach intelligent alien life. Some 501 photos, drawings and text messages were transmitted on Thursday by a giant radio-telescope in Ukraine normally used to track asteroids. Any reply to the messages — collated through a competition by the social networking website Bebo — would not reach Earth for 40 years. Topics submitted ranged from the environment, politics and world peace to family relationships and the sender's first kiss.
What, no Star Trek episodes? No space porn? These aliens will be dying for an ad break. On a more serious note, some well-known scientists have been opposed to mindlessly blasting narrow-beamed messages at feasible ET locations, for the simple reason that we may be relatively primitive — our own colonial history does not bode well for such encounters. And we are an excellent protein source, as Steven Spielberg, Tom Cruise and 1950s Twilight Zone episodes have so wisely reminded us." Link to Original Source