Archive for May 2nd, 2006
Straight from Slashdot: "MSNBC has a piece on a recent resurgence in some old-timey diseases. Mumps, Whooping Cough, and Rickets are making a comeback, back in style like it's 1955." From the article: "Public-health officials certainly weren't expecting to get 'bitten' by mumps this year. Although the virus has been circulating in British kids since 2000, it hadn't caused much trouble in the United States since an outbreak in Kansas 18 years ago. The Midwest is the epicenter again, but the victims are primarily college students, not children. Once a childhood disease, the virus has now taken hold in university towns. That's partly because crowded dorms and cafeterias are breeding grounds for germs that are spread by sneezing and coughing."
"NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) – The trustees of Social Security and Medicare now estimate that the Social Security trust fund will be exhausted in 2040 while the Medicare trust fund will be depleted in 2018, slightly sooner than previously forecast."
Straight from Ars Technica: "When a House committee recently passed a new piece of telecoms legislation, conspicuously absent from the draft was any language enforcing network neutrality. Rep. Ed Markey's (D-MA) proposed amendment to that effect was voted down, and network neutrality supporters turned their attention to the Senate, where a committee chaired by Ted Stevens (R-AK) is drafting its own bill on the topic. There was some reason to hope that the Senate would be more receptive to network neutrality after several senators expressed approval for the idea during recent hearings."
Straight from Gizmodo: "When you’re an elite United States Air Force pilot at the controls of an $134 million F-22A Raptor, what do you do if you get stuck inside the high-tech flyin’/fightin’ machine? What? The door won’t open?! That’s just what happened last month to a pilot with the 27th Fighter Squadron out of Langley Air Force Base in Virginia."
Straight from Ars Technica: "802.11n is the next generation wireless technology that promises much greater range, speeds of up to 600Mbps, backward compatibility with 802.11b/g devices, world peace, and probably, a reduction in body odor. Oh yeah, and despite the fact that 802.11n devices are hitting the market like bugs on a windshield and more are on the way, it doesn't actually exist as a standard yet."
Straight from Ars Technica: "It didn't take long for the new French DRM legislation to get spoiled in committee, and you can't blame French consumers for expecting canard à l'orange and being served some very dodgy escargot instead.The legislation in question originally contained consumer-friendly provisions that would force technology companies to make their DRM schemes interoperable. This would have a potent effect on the dominance of Apple and iTunes, of course, since the Cupertino company has so far proved unwilling to license its Fairplay technology to anyone else. The non-interoperable nature of Fairplay has been crucial to the success of Apple's online music store, which has leveraged the popularity of the iPod to become the biggest seller of digital downloads on the Internet."
Straight from Ars Technica: "For months now, the looming prospect of rising iTMS track prices has haunted the customers of Apple's music service. The contracts that Apple signed with the major music labels are very close to expiring and many have speculated that the labels would attempt a power play to force Apple into some sort of agreement whose end result would be more money from your wallets in the pockets of record label execs. Apple has sold the vast majority of its individual music tracks for a flat rate of 99 cents since the inception of their online music store, but ever since iTMS Japan came online in August, rumors have been circulating that the whole store might go variable when the contracts were up."
"With phone in hand, Japanese can purchase from vending machines, buy train tickets, order a bowl of noodles, trade stock, bid at online auctions and change channels on a TV set."
"In its March edition, the Insurgent, an "alternative" student paper on the Eugene, Ore., campus printed 12 hand-drawn cartoons of Jesus as a response to rival paper the Commentator having published the controversial cartoons of Muhammad originally published in Europe that sparked Muslim riots worldwide. The Insurgent claimed it published the drawings to "provoke dialogue.""
"The March edition of the Insurgent … was one of the most obscene assaults on Christianity I have ever seen," Donohue said in a statement. "To make sure that the persons I wrote to understand how vile this attack was, I sent a photocopy of the two most offensive graphics: one was a depiction of a naked Jesus on the cross with an erection; the other, titled 'Resurrection,' showed a naked Jesus kissing another naked man, both sporting erections."
Straight from World Net Daily: "Al-Qaida has already obtained nuclear suitcase weapons from the Russian black market, weapons tested in Afghanistan in 2000, and they may have already been forward-deployed inside the U.S., according to the only journalist to interview Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri in the wake of Sept. 11."
Straight from Gizmodo: "Our beloved brothers at Kotaku with all of their stellar sources in the retail world tell us that the Nintendo DS Lite will be available in the US on June 21, which also happens to be the first day of summer. The tipster also told Kotaku the first units will be available in white only, and will sell for $150. DS Lite Hits First Day of Summer for $150? [Kotaku]"
(Click image for hi-res) Explanation: An unusually active sunspot region is now crossing the Sun. The region, numbered 875, is larger than the Earth and has produced several solar flares over the past week. It should take a few more days for Sunspot 875 to finish crossing the solar disk. The above image of the Sun was taken last Wednesday in a very specific color of red light to bring up detail. Sunspot 875, in the midst of erupting a large Class C solar flare, can be seen as the dark region to the upper right. In the above image, relatively cool regions appear dark while hot regions appear bright. On the far left, solar prominences are visible hovering above the Sun's surface.
Straight from Engadget: "You'd think that Senator Ted Stevens, a man we've mentioned here many a time before, would have had a change of heart about the broadcast flag legislation in the brief moment of clarity he supposedly had (that prompted IPac to send all those Congresspeople free iPods). Well, we hate to break it to you, but the broadcast flag is back yet again, thanks to you-know-who. The wily creature last spotted in H.R. 4861 (the Audio Broadcast Flag Licensing Act of 2006), has been seen riding along with another bill Stevens recently introduced, a 135 page behemoth on net neutrality (which is a whole 'nother issue we're not even gonna get into right now). We're not sure how many times Stevens or other officials feel obligated to try resurrecting this egregious offense against consumer rights and fair use, but we'll be there with, um, the CEA, to make sure we do our part to see it struck down (again), as well as to politely tell Mr. Stevens, "No, you get a job.""