redletterdave writes "Malaysian netizens, opposition politicians, well-known bloggers and non-governmental organizations staged an Internet blackout Tuesday to protest and raise awareness about legislation that could threaten free expression on the Web. According to Malaysia's Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), the second of two amendments to the Malaysian Evidence Act of 1950, also known as Section 114A, 'enables law enforcement officials to swiftly hold someone accountable (PDF) for publishing seditious, defamatory, or libelous content online.' In addition, those accused of posting this kind of content will be 'assumed to be guilty until proven innocent,' which completely flies in the face of the typical logic of the traditional judicial process, which is 'innocent until proven guilty.' The CIJ warns that 'if allegedly defamatory content is traced back to your username, electronic device, and/or Wi-Fi network, Section 114A presumes you are guilty of publishing illicit content on the Internet.' The CIJ organized Tuesday's blackout, where participating sites blacked out their names and services with messages that read, 'This is what the Web could look like.'"
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itwbennett writes "The German Federal Court of Justice has ruled that ISPs have to turn over to rights-holders the names and addresses of illegal file sharers, but only 'if a judge rules that the file sharer indeed infringed on copyright,' said the court's spokeswoman, Dietlind Weinland. The ruling overturns two previous rulings by regional courts and is significant because the violation doesn't have to happen on a commercial scale, but applies whenever 'it is possible to know who was using an IP address at the time of the infringement,' the court said."
arisvega writes "The Slashdot crowd may be aware of VLT, the Very Large Telescope array (a collaboration between several European countries). It's located at the Atacama desert in Chile, operating at the visible and infrared wavelengths and producing some very detailed images and exciting new science. It has been significantly boosting astronomy and astrophysics research for the past couple of years without the hassle and the expenses of orbital observatories. Now, and for the first time in its history, there is a public invitation calling you to vote on which of the 16 proposed locations you would like the array to be pointed at, without the need for a scientific proposal. Astronomers are standing by to do your bidding!"
another random user writes "With ideas like the Taylor Aerocar, Terrafugia Transition, Terrafugia Transformer, the PAL-V, and myCopter, are we getting close to a point where flying cars could actually become practical? An article at the BBC discusses how adding automation to these craft is an important goal for the people currently working on them, something we see paralleled in the many projects to develop autonomous non-flying cars. 'The team intends to draw on drone technology to automate as much of the flying as possible. Current fly-by-wire technology, as well as some of the features being used in the development of autonomous or robotic vehicles could all help fleets of these vehicles fly along predefined highways – and crucially avoid each other. But perhaps the biggest problem the team aim to tackle are the regulatory and safety issues, as well as those of public opinion.' If that does happen, given a lot of drivers' inability to pay attention to what's going on around them on the roads as it is now, how safe would you feel in the air?"
jrepin writes "KDE is proud to announce version 2.6 of Amarok music player. While it brings a reasonable set of new features, the focus of this release was on bug fixing and improving the overall stability. The new features are a complete overhaul of the iPod, iPad and iPhone support including solid support for device playlists; transcoding for iPod-like and USB Mass Storage devices; the Free Music Chart service is now activated by default; embedded cover support for Ogg and FLAC files; and album art support for tracks on the filesystem and USB Mass Storage devices."
New submitter alexander_686 points out a Bloomberg article about the cause of Knight Capital Group's $440 million algorithmic trading disaster from a couple weeks ago. The report says a dormant software system was accidentally activated on August 1, which immediately began increasing stock trade volumes by a factor of 1,000. The Wall Street Journal has further details: "Knight Capital Group Inc.'s accidental trades earlier this month were triggered by a flawed upgrade of trading software that caused an older trading system connected to the computer code to inadvertently go 'live' on the market, according to people familiar with the matter. The errors at Knight on Aug. 1 involved new code the Jersey City, N.J.-based brokerage designed to take advantage of the launch of a New York Stock Exchange trading program, which was introduced that day to attract more retail-trading business to the Big Board, the people say. ... When NYSE Euronext trading floor officials called Knight at about 9:35 a.m. to try to pinpoint the cause of unusual swings in dozens of stocks, just after the Big Board opened for trading, Knight traders and their supervisors had a difficult time detecting where in its systems the problem was located, say people familiar with the morning's events. The NYSE had to call Knight several times before deciding to shut the firm off, the people say."
New submitter FreedomFirstThenPeac writes "Apparently we can diagnose you as depressed if the mechanics of your internet use fit certain patterns. By using a cleverly embedded questionnaire that classifies the subject as depressed, and by using existing net usage data collection to collect features (variables), researchers at the Missouri University of Science and Technology were able to correctly predict the diagnoses of the questionnaire using the net usage data (PDF). I wonder if this could be a new Firefox plug-in, designed to help parents detect depression in their adolescents by tracking the mechanics (not the sites) and automatically emailing them if their ward is showing increasing signs of depression."
ryzvonusef tips this quote from TechCrunch about a tit-for-tat exchange between Google+ and the creator of The Oatmeal webcomic: "This summer, the artist (Matthew Inman) wrote that Google+ comment threads sound like *crickets*, poking fun at the social network's lack of engagement. He also criticized not being able to 'set up a fancy profile URL so I don't have to link people to http://plus.google.com/blergasdf1234thimbleturdorgasm99meatpoopypoopxv9donkeypie ' — a made-up, ridiculously long string of random characters. ... In retaliation, the Google+ team didn't cite its user growth stats or give an excuse for why there are no custom profile URLs. ... Instead, they just redirected the vanity URL back to The Oatmeal author Matthew Inman's Google+ profile. Congrats, Matt, you've now got 'donkey pie' at the end of your own special Google+ vanity URL."
Qedward writes "The BBC has revealed that on the busiest day of its London 2012 Olympics coverage it delivered 2.8 petabytes worth of content, peaking when Bradley Wiggins won gold, where it shifted 700Gb/s. It has also said that over a 24-hour period on the busiest Olympic days it had more traffic to bbc.co.uk than it did for the entire BBC coverage of the FIFA World Cup 2010 games. They revealed they had 106 million requests for BBC Olympic video content, which included 12 million requests for video on mobile devices across the whole of the Games. Mobile saw the most uptake at around 6pm when people had left the office but still wanted to keep informed of the latest action. Tablet usage, however, reached a peak at around 9pm, where people were using it as a second screen or as they continued to watch the games in bed."
An anonymous reader writes "Bloggers in Vietnam are increasingly finding themselves thrown in jail. Despite freedom of speech being enshrined in the nation's Constitution, many who speak out against the government are thrown in jail — thanks to a new law that forbids such talk. In one desperate act, Dang Thi Kim Lieng lit herself on fire outside the Bac Lieu People's Committee building in southern Vietnam. She died of her injuries. She was protesting the detention of her daughter who was arrested for blogging against the government. Three other bloggers are scheduled be tried under section 88 of the criminal code, which relates to propaganda against the nation. A maximum sentence could carry with it 20 years in jail."
NSN A392-99-964-5927 writes with news that Ecaudor will grant Julian Assange's request for political asylum. An Ecuador official told The Guardian that the country's president, who earlier indicated his decision would arrive after the Olympic Games, will approve the request Assange made in June. "Government sources in Quito confirmed that despite the outstanding legal issues Correa would grant Assange asylum – a move which would annoy Britain, the US and Sweden. They added that the offer was made to Assange several months ago, well before he sought refuge in the embassy, and following confidential negotiations with senior London embassy staff. The official with knowledge of the discussions said the embassy had discussed Assange's asylum request. The British government, however, 'discouraged the idea,' the offical said. The Swedish government was also 'not very collaborative,' the official said. The official added: 'We see Assange's request as a humanitarian issue. The contact between the Ecuadorean government and WikiLeaks goes back to May 2011, when we became the first country to see the leaked US embassy cables completely declassified ... It is clear that when Julian entered the embassy there was already some sort of deal. We see in his work a parallel with our struggle for national sovereignty and the democratisation of international relations.'"
Grumbleduke writes "Anton Vickerman, who owned SurfTheChannel.com, has been sentenced to 4 years in prison following his conviction last month for 'conspiracy to defraud.' This is the first successful prosecution of an individual in the UK for running a website merely linking to allegedly infringing content (several earlier cases collapsed or resulted in acquittals). Vickerman was prosecuted for the controversial offense of 'conspiracy to defraud' for 'facilitating copyright infringement,' rather than for copyright infringement itself, and it is worth noting that the relevant copyright offense carries a maximum prison sentence of only two years — half of what was given. FACT, the Hollywood-backed enforcement group who were heavily involved in the prosecution noted that the conviction 'should send a very strong message to those running similar sites that they can be found, arrested and end up in prison,' but it remains to be seen whether this will have any effect on pirate sites, or encourage development of the largely hopeless legal market for online film."
Diggester sends this quote from Nature News: "Physicists at CERN's Large Hadron Collider have achieved the hottest man-made temperatures ever, by colliding lead ions to momentarily create a quark gluon plasma, a subatomic soup and unique state of matter that is thought to have existed just moments after the Big Bang. The results come from the ALICE heavy-ion experiment — a lesser-known sibling to ATLAS and CMS, which produced the data that led to the announcement in July that the Higgs boson had been discovered. ALICE physicists, presenting on Monday at Quark Matter 2012 in Washington DC, say they have achieved a quark gluon plasma 38% hotter than a record 4 trillion degree plasma achieved in 2010 by a similar experiment at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, which had been anointed the Guinness record holder."
colinneagle writes "People continue to pay money for Twitter followers, and, naturally, a deep network of developers and merchants has arisen to feed the market. A Barracuda Labs study found that the average dealer has the capacity to control as many as 150,000 followers at a time, sometimes more. Those who can control 20,000 fake accounts and can attract sales of $20 or more — the going rate is 1,000 followers for a minimum of $18 — stand to earn roughly $800 per day, according to Barracuda Labs. Keep in mind that very little of this work is manual; the dealers could easily control a system of botnets and set up a few software tools to automate much of the process. Using Twitter's API, developers can design programs that collect all the information of a given group of Twitter users, such as, for example, the 800,000 users following Mitt Romney's account. These programs don't necessarily hijack these accounts — they copy the images and text from their profiles and tweets. This pool of information can then be automatically ported into accounts based on an algorithm that automates the registration process on a massive scale."