Monday, November 26, 2007
posted by @netwurker at 2:17 pm
By Matt Ford

"Could humanity's observation of dark energy have shortened the life span of the universe? The answer is "yes" according to the author of a new scientific paper that has recently come to light. Featured in the latest edition of New Scientist magazine, the subscriber-only story "Has observing the universe hastened its end?" discusses the paper and its claims."

Labels: ,

Sunday, November 18, 2007
posted by @netwurker at 11:50 am
"A British scientist who led researchers who created Dolly the sheep is to abandon cloning using embryos for a rival method which makes stem cells without them, a report says.

Professor Ian Wilmut of Edinburgh University gained celebrity but also attracted criticism from some religious groups and pro-life campaigners after being involved in the cloning of the first mammal from an adult cell in 1996.

But British newspaper The Daily Telegraph reports that Professor Wilmut has now decided against pursuing a licence to clone human embryos which he was awarded two years ago, in favour of a different method.

The method, pioneered by Professor Shinya Yamanaka at Kyoto University in Japan, creates stem cells from fragments of skin in mice without using embryos.

Professor Yamanaka is now believed to have done the same with human cells, the paper reports..."

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 15, 2007
posted by @netwurker at 12:44 pm
"Early findings by the FBI on a September shootout in Baghdad involving private security firm Blackwater show that at least 14 Iraqis were killed for no reason, The New York Times reported.

In all, 17 people were killed when Blackwater private security guards opened fire in a crowded Baghdad neighbourhood as they protected a State Department convoy.

Blackwater said the guards came under attack.

At least 14 of the shootings broke rules for private security guards in Iraq regarding the use of deadly force, the Times reported, citing unnamed civilian and military officials briefed on the case.

US officials contacted by AFP declined to comment for this news story, citing the "ongoing investigation."

"Sorry, but given that this is an ongoing investigation, we are not in a position to comment at this time" said Dean Boyd, a Department of Justice spokesman.

Blackwater has been accused by its detractors of having a cowboy mentality and a 'shoot first, ask questions later' approach when guarding the steady stream of politicians, diplomats and other dignitaries who parade through war-torn Iraq."

Labels: ,

posted by @netwurker at 12:38 pm
By Eric Bangeman

"An anonymous George Washington University student targeted by the RIAA for file-sharing is seeking to have the subpoena served on his school quashed and the complaint dismissed. In his motion, the unnamed student raises a couple of issues that could become significant roadblocks for the RIAA in its campaign against on-campus file-sharing.

Throughout its legal campaign against file-sharing, the RIAA has relied on the Cable Communications Policy Act to obtain subscriber data from cable ISPs and DSL providers. Under the CCPA, cable companies are required to cough up the data when ordered to do so by a court. It has worked in the tens of thousands of cases filed by the recording industry against broadband users, and the RIAA has cited the CCPA as the basis for the ex parte subpoenas directed at college students.

There's one problem. Colleges aren't cable providers. Doe number three helpfully points that out to the judge, noting that the CCPA defines a cable operator as an entity that either provides cable service or manages and operates a cable system. "GWU is neither," argues Doe three."

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, November 14, 2007
posted by @netwurker at 12:26 pm
"WASHINGTON (AP) -- A federal judge Monday ordered the White House to preserve copies of all its e-mails, a move that Bush administration lawyers had argued strongly against.

A judge ordered the White House to keep copies of all e-mails.

U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy directed the Executive Office of the President to safeguard the material in response to two lawsuits that seek to determine whether the White House has destroyed e-mails in violation of federal law.

In response, the White House said it has been taking steps to preserve copies of all e-mails and will continue to do so. The administration is seeking dismissal of the lawsuits brought by two private groups, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the National Security Archive.

The organizations allege the disappearance of 5 million White House e-mails. The court order issued by Kennedy, an appointee of President Clinton, is directed at maintaining backup tapes which contain copies of White House e-mails.

The Federal Records Act details strict standards prohibiting the destruction of government documents including electronic messages, unless first approved by the archivist of the United States."

Labels: , ,

posted by @netwurker at 11:02 am
"This WGA strike sucks, to be sure. If it goes on for more than three months (which is looking increasingly likely), pilot season won't happen, no new shows will be created, no new seasons will come back, and we'll be stuck with the dregs of reality TV for a full year. Yep, that means no last season of Battlestar Galactica, no new season of Lost, and no new episodes of The Office. It's no small thing, and not just because you'll be inconvenienced by marathons of Overweight Celebrity Chili Cook-Off Island or whatever the networks will throw up when they run out of new programming.

TV is not disappearing anytime soon, but clearly, it's going to be replaced by either the internet or some TV/internet hybrid. Like the music industry, the TV industry realizes that their tried-and-true business model is about to be useless, and it's lashing out in panic. Unlike the music industry, who stupidly attacked its fans, the TV industry is attacking its own creative source: writers. But the WGA wouldn't be striking if this wasn't important. We talked to both sides to get at the root of the trouble."

Labels: ,

Tuesday, November 13, 2007
posted by @netwurker at 10:49 am
"Traditional owners from Numbulwar on the Gulf of Carpentaria say the actions of five Federal Government workers have caused lasting damage to the Indigenous intervention.

A gang of five intervention workers arrived in the area, nearly 600 kilometres south-east of Darwin, late last month, and were told by council staff to use toilet and shower facilities at a nearby training centre.

Instead the group dug a long-drop toilet in the middle of the most important ceremonial ground in the region.

Traditional owner Billy Gumana has told the 7.30 Report that he is furious.

"They think our culture is a toy culture, they think it's not real, but to us it is real, because we belong to this ground," he said.

The head of the Federal Intervention Taskforce, Major General David Chalmers, says he is appalled and the incident is being investigated."

Labels: , ,

Monday, November 12, 2007
posted by @netwurker at 1:30 pm
"ARMONK, NY - 08 Nov 2007: IBM (NYSE: IBM) Global Business Services unveiled its new report, "The End of Advertising as We Know It," forecasting greater disruption for the advertising industry in the next five years than occurred in the previous 50.

To examine the factors influencing advertising and explore future scenarios, IBM surveyed more than 2,400 consumers and 80 advertising executives globally. The IBM report shows increasingly empowered consumers, more self-reliant advertisers and ever-evolving technologies are redefining how advertising is sold, created, consumed and tracked.

Traditional advertising players risk major revenue declines as budgets shift rapidly to new, interactive formats, which are expected to grow at nearly five times that of traditional advertising. To survive in this new reality, broadcasters must change their mass audience mind-set to cater to niche consumer segments, and distributors need to deliver targeted, interactive advertising for a range of multimedia devices. Advertising agencies must experiment creatively, become brokers of consumer insights, and guide allocation of advertising dollars amid exploding choices. All players must adapt to a world where advertising inventory is increasingly bought and sold in open exchanges vs. traditional channels."

Labels: ,

posted by @netwurker at 1:22 pm

"WASHINGTON (AP) - As Congress debates new rules for government eavesdropping, a top intelligence official says it is time that people in the United States changed their definition of privacy.

Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguard people's private communications and financial information.

Kerr's comments come as Congress is taking a second look at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Lawmakers hastily changed the 1978 law last summer to allow the government to eavesdrop inside the United States without court permission, so long as one end of the conversation was reasonably believed to be located outside the U.S.

The original law required a court order for any surveillance conducted on U.S. soil, to protect Americans' privacy. The White House argued that the law was obstructing intelligence gathering because, as technology has changed, a growing amount of foreign communications passes through U.S.-based channels.

The most contentious issue in the new legislation is whether to shield telecommunications companies from civil lawsuits for allegedly giving the government access to people's private e-mails and phone calls without a FISA court order between 2001 and 2007."

Labels: ,

Friday, November 02, 2007
posted by @netwurker at 2:41 pm
"Greens Senator Kerry Nettle says the Immigration Minister, Kevin Andrews, should resign over his handling of the case against former Gold Coast-based doctor Mohamed Haneef.

Dr Haneef's lawyer Peter Russo has obtained emails that reveal discussions between the AFP and the Immigration Department about detaining Dr Haneef under the Migration Act if he was granted bail on a terrorism charge.

A spokeswoman for Mr Andrews has rejected suggestions he was involved in a conspiracy.

Senator Nettle says if he will not resign, the Prime Minister needs to sack him.

"The evidence points to him conspiring to subvert the court's decision to release Dr Haneef," she said.

"We can not have a minister in this Government that operates in that way to try to undermine the processes that are going on in our courts.""

Labels: ,

posted by @netwurker at 8:54 am
"United States President George W Bush has defended his attorney-general nominee, saying Michael Mukasey will not tell lawmakers weighing his confirmation if he judges "waterboarding" of terrorism suspects is torture, and thus illegal.

Mr Bush's defiant defense of Mr Mukasey came in a speech that portrayed his Democratic critics as weak on terrorism -- a replay of his successful 2004 reelection message as the 2008 White House race heats up.

Prominent Democrats, whose party retook the US Congress in November 2006 largely thanks to anger at the unpopular war in Iraq, quickly shot back that they would oppose Mr Mukasey if he did not answer the question."

Labels: , ,