An article at Ars examines three members of the U.S. House of Representatives who are seeking chairmanship of its Committee on Space, Science, and Technology. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said in an interview, "My analysis is that in the global warming debate, we won. There were a lot of scientists who were just going along with the flow on the idea that mankind was causing a change in the world's climate. I think that after 10 years of debate, we can show that that there are hundreds if not thousands of scientists who have come over to being skeptics, and I don't know anyone [who was a skeptic] who became a believer in global warming." James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) has a similar record of opposing climate change, as does Lamar Smith (R-TX). Relatedly, Phil Plait, a.k.a. The Bad Astronomer, has posted an article highlighting how U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate's Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, has declined to answer a question about how old the Earth is, calling it "one of the great mysteries."
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An anonymous reader writes "The Tolkien Estate has filed an $80 million copyright infringement lawsuit in U.S. District Court over the use of Lord of the Rings slot machines. The complaint hinges on a contract between the estate and Warner Bros. which allows the creation of LotR merchandise but not LotR 'intangibles,' like the experience of playing a slot machine game. According to the estate (PDF), 'Not only does the production of gambling games patently exceed the scope of defendants' rights, but this infringing conduct has outraged Tolkien's devoted fan base, causing irreparable harm to Tolkien's legacy and reputation and the valuable goodwill generated by his works.'"
Presto Vivace writes "Under the right conditions, online activism can be very effective. U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy has already abandoned his warrantless e-mail surveillance bill we discussed this morning. 'The Vermont Democrat said today on Twitter that he would "not support such an exception" for warrantless access. ... A vote on the proposal in the Senate Judiciary committee, which Leahy chairs, is scheduled for next Thursday. The amendments were due to be glued onto a substitute (PDF) to H.R. 2471, which the House of Representatives already has approved. Leahy's about-face comes in response to a deluge of criticism today, including the ACLU saying that warrants should be required, and the conservative group FreedomWorks launching a petition to Congress -- with over 2,300 messages sent so far -- titled: "Tell Congress: Stay Out of My Email!""
concealment sends this quote from MIT's Technology Review: "AT&T screwed up in 2010, serving up the e-mail addresses of over 110,000 of its iPad 3G customers online for anyone to find. But Andrew Auernheimer, an online activist who pointed out AT&T's blunder to Gawker Media, which went on to publicize the breach of private information, is the one in federal court this week. Groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation worry that should that charge succeed it will become easy to criminalize many online activities, including work by well-intentioned activists looking for leaks of private information or other online security holes. [Auernheimer's] case hasn't received much attention so far, but should he be found guilty this week it will likely become well known, fast."
elashish14 writes "David Kappos, head of the USPTO, today provided a strong defense of the patent system, particularly in the mobile industry. In his address, he implored critics, 'Give the [America Invents Act] a chance to work.' He then went on to proclaim the 'absolutely breakneck pace' of innovation in the smartphone industry and that the U.S. patent system is 'the envy of the world,' though he was likely only referring to the envy of the world's lawyers. Perhaps the most laughable quote from his address: 'The explosion of litigation we are seeing is a reflection of how the patent system wires us for innovation.'"
McGruber writes "CNBC is reporting that Meg Whitman claims HP was defrauded in its purchase of Autonomy. 'We believed there is a willful effort on the part of certain members of Autonomy management to mislead shareholders when Autonomy was a publicly traded company, and to mislead potential buyers including HP,' Whitman said. 'We stand by the forensic review that we've seen,' she added. I wish her the same level of success I had when I filed an eBay claim." Also covered at SlashBI, which names the write-down damage: $8.8 billion.
Dupple writes with this excerpt: "It has become an increasingly large problem that Visa, MasterCard, and Paypal control the valve to any money flow on the planet. Today, the European Parliament established this as a clear problem, and initiated regulation of the companies, limiting and strictly regulating their right to refuse service. The Pirate Party was the initiator of this regulation, following the damaging cutoff of donations to WikiLeaks, after said organization had performed journalism that was embarrassing to certain governments."
concealment writes "A Senate proposal touted as protecting Americans' e-mail privacy has been quietly rewritten, giving government agencies more surveillance power than they possess under current law. [Sen. Patrick] Leahy's rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies — including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission — to access Americans' e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge."
jfruh writes "Most Slashdotters have been following the debate among the various players in the music industry about how much money artists (and their labels) get from traditional music outlets like radio and newer services like Pandora or Spotify. But Zoë Keating, a professional cellist who has a professional interest in the outcome of this argument, thinks there's one thing missing from all the proposals: more data on who her audience is. Even digital services can't tell her how many people heard her songs or where they're most popular. 'How can I grow my business on this information?' she asks. 'How do I reach them? Do they know I'm performing nearby next month? How can I tell them I have a new album coming out?'" She proposes mandatory reporting of information on listeners as part of royalties.
CowboyRobot writes "While many mobile payments startups are using both traditional and nontraditional authentication methods, regulatory uncertainty still exists around liability for fraud attacks on customers using mobile payments. Although there haven't been any public attacks from fraudsters on alternative mobile payments providers such as Square, LevelUp or Dwolla, anecdotal stories are already circulating among security experts and regulators of such attacks. One thing that still has to be worked out in this area is regulatory oversight. 'The regulators are not yet clear who owns the regulatory oversight for these environments. These technologies tend to fall through the cracks even in terms of card-present or card-not-present.'"
concealment writes "On November 27, RapidShare will start putting a tight cap on outbound downloads for its free users. Paid members will still have 30 gigabytes in outbound downloads per day, but everybody else will be capped at one gigabyte. The change is expected to further deter pirates from using RapidShare to distribute copyright material on a large scale."
An anonymous reader writes "The IT security pioneer John McAfee has launched a blog to document his life on the lam, as Belize police chase him down for suspicion of killing a neighbor. McAfee is using the blog to state his case, raise suspicions about Belize authorities and to offer a $25K reward to find the real killer or killers. From the article: 'McAfee writes that he is on run with a 20-year-old female named Sam, photos of whom are in the blog, along with a post from her. McAfee says a handful of friends and associates have been rounded up by police over the past week or so. His posts are filled with dramatic descriptions of his actions (including returning to his home in disguise to find police digging up his dead dogs and cutting off their heads) and lay bare his suspicions about Belize authorities. '"
sciencewatcher writes "A 1999 cold case rape and murder in The Netherlands has been solved. Dutch police asked 8000+ men living within 5 kilometers of the crime scene to volunteer their DNA so that the murderer could be traced through (close or distant) family members sharing part of this DNA. As it turned out, the man now in custody turned in his own DNA, resulting in a 100% match. The request of the police was discussed here on Slashdot in September. The percentage of people participating was closing in on 90%; in the midsize town of the victim it was 96%."
hessian writes in with a story about the arbitrary and often outdated online decency standards being imposed by companies."A bastion of openness and counterculture, Silicon Valley imagines itself as the un-Chick-fil-A. But its hyper-tolerant facade often masks deeply conservative, outdated norms that digital culture discreetly imposes on billions of technology users worldwide. What is the vehicle for this new prudishness? Dour, one-dimensional algorithms, the mathematical constructs that automatically determine the limits of what is culturally acceptable. Consider just a few recent kerfuffles. In early September, The New Yorker found its Facebook page blocked for violating the site’s nudity and sex standards. Its offense: a cartoon of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Eve’s bared nipples failed Facebook’s decency test."
cervesaebraciator writes "A 'Coffee Branding Workshop,' sponsored by the World Intellectual Property Organization, was held recently in Arusha City, at which the Director General of the Tanzania Coffee Board presented a paper titled 'Supporting the Coffee Sector with added Value Products Through Intellectual Property and Branding.' The paper encouraged the use of intellectual property claims, including trademarks, copyrights, patents, and designs, as sources of income which can be used to support agriculture in Africa. The Director General claimed that '[Intellectual property rights] are the basis for today's knowledge based economy and international competitiveness.' This is no doubt related to a broader effort to advance western style intellectual property in Africa through claims of the benefits it offers agriculture. Promoting western style intellectual property law as a means of third world development is a popular strategy for WIPO, the only branch of the UN to have significant wealth deriving from contributions independent of Member States. On a related note of interest to Slashdotters, there is a history of tension between WIPO advocates and FOSS advocates." I hope they take advantage of the marketing possibilities offered by civet-processed coffee.
Freddybear writes "If your computer has been cracked and subverted for use by a botnet or other remote-access attack, is it legal for you to hack back into the system from which the attack originated? Over the last couple of years three legal scholars and bloggers have debated the question on The Volokh Conspiracy weblog. The linked webpage collects that debate into a coherent document. 'The debaters are:
- Stewart Baker, a former official at the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, a partner at Steptoe & Johnson with a large cybersecurity practice. Stewart Baker makes the policy case for counterhacking and challenges the traditional view of what remedies are authorized by the language of the CFAA.
- Orin Kerr, Fred C. Stevenson Research Professor of Law at George Washington School of Law, a former computer crimes prosecutor, and one of the most respected computer crime scholars. Orin Kerr defends the traditional view of the Act against both Stewart Baker and Eugene Volokh.
- Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law, founder of the Volokh Conspiracy, and a sophisticated technology lawyer, presents a challenge grounded in common law understandings of trespass and tort.'"
theodp writes "The WSJ catches up with FIRE's Greg Lukianoff and his crusade to expose how universities have become the most authoritarian institutions in America. In Unlearning Liberty, Lukianoff notes that baby-boom Americans who remember the student protests of the 1960s tend to assume that U.S. colleges are still some of the freest places on earth. But that idealized university no longer exists. Today, university bureaucrats suppress debate with anti-harassment policies that function as de facto speech codes. FIRE maintains a database of such policies on its website. What they share, lifelong Democrat Lukianoff says, is a view of 'harassment' so broad and so removed from its legal definition that 'literally every student on campus is already guilty.'"
cervesaebraciator writes "Saturday an article was featured on Slashdot which expressed some hope, if just a fool's hope, that a recent Republican Study Committee Brief could be a sign of broader national discussion about the value of current copyright law. When one sees such progress, credit is deservedly given. Unfortunately, others in Washington did not perhaps see this as worthy of praise. The committee's executive director, Paul Teller, sent a memo today disavowing the earlier pro-copyright reform brief. From the memo: 'Yesterday you received a Policy Brief or [sic] copyright law that was published without adequate review within the RSC and failed to meet that standard. Copyright reform would have far-reaching impacts, so it is incredibly important that it be approached with all facts and viewpoints in hand.' People who live in districts such as Ohio's 4th would do well to send letters of support to those who crafted the original brief. I cannot imagine party leadership will be happy with so radical a suggestion as granting copyright protection for the limited times needed to promote the progress of science and useful arts."
First time accepted submitter mbeckman writes "A man was arrested at Oakland airport for having bomb-making materials. The materials? An ornate watch and extra insoles in his boots. Despite the bomb squad determining that there was no bomb, The Alameda county sheriffs department claimed that he was carrying 'potentially dangerous materials and appeared to have made alterations to his boots, which were Unusually large and stuffed with layers of insoles.' The man told Transportation Security Administration officers that he's an artist and the watch is art."
First time accepted submitter fustakrakich writes with news reported in The Telegraph of new anti-pornography regulations ordered by UK Prime Minister David Cameron: "The new measures will mean that in future anyone buying a new computer or signing up with a new internet service provider (ISP) will be asked, when they log on for the first time, whether they have children. If the answer is "yes", the parent will be taken through the process of installing anti-pornography filters, as well as a series of questions on how stringent they wish the restrictions to be, according to a newspaper."