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Slashback: Little Red Hoax, Firefly, Google 508

Slashback tonight brings some corrections, clarifications, and updates to previous Slashdot stories, including the "Little Red Hoax", a follow up on the Firefly post-mortem, another episode in the Intelligent Design battle, the EU's Galileo project gets off the ground, deconstructing AOL's decision to go with Google over Microsoft, endgame for the Blackberry patent case and more. Read on for details.

A little red hoax. MyNameIsFred writes "In an earlier Slashdot story, it was reported that a student was investigated for requesting Mao's Little Red Book on inter-library loan. It appears that the story was a hoax."

Firefly franchise death greatly exaggerated. Kazzahdrane writes "Joss Whedon has spoken out against the Entertainment Weekly that claimed he has turned his back on the Firefly/Serenity franchise. From his post at Whedonesque: 'All right, now I have to jump in and set the record straight. EW is a fine rag, but they do take things out of context. Obviously when I said I had "closure", what I meant was "I hate Serenity, I hated Firefly, I think my fans are stupid and Nathan Fillion smells like turnips." But EW's always got to put some weird negative spin on it.'"

Intelligent Design tantamount to teaching religion. rcs1000 writes "After much deliberation Judge John Jones has ruled that teaching Intelligent Design is tantamount to teaching religion. The judge was pretty forthright, arguing that 'it is unconstitutional to teach Intelligent Design as an alternative to evolution in a public school science classroom.'"

EU launches first Galileo navigation satellite. Xserv writes "The EU launched the first in the series of Galileo Navigation Satellites signifying the start of a lessening of dependency on US Military GPS Systems in Europe. The new Galileo system is touted to be much more accurate and will also be more accessible on higher latitude zones where the US GPS system is known to be less than ideal."

Why AOL chose Google over Microsoft. gambit3 writes to tell us that the Wall Street Journal has a nice article deconstructing AOL's decision to go with Google instead of Microsoft. From the article: "Two weeks ago, when Time Warner Inc. was on the cusp of signing a sweeping online deal with Microsoft Corp., a team of executives from the media company's AOL unit traveled to Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Wash., to make sure everything was in order. When the executives returned, they reported back to Time Warner's top deal negotiator, Olaf Olafsson, with some less-than-satisfactory findings. They had found some of Microsoft's technology to be clunky, while the contemplated joint venture with the software king contained what they thought were financial pitfalls."

Endgame in Blackberry patent case. waynegoode writes "The New York Times is reporting that a recent decision could spell the end of the NTP vs. RIM Blackberry case. The US Patent Office apparently took the unusual step of telling NTP & RIM it will likely reject all 5 of NTP's patents, meaning the basis for NTP's lawsuit and it's billion dollar claim will most likely disappear. This puts pressure on the judge to not issue an injunction against RIM but to instead delay until the USPTO gets around to actually rejecting the patents."

Katrina aftermath still making waves. An anonymous reader writes "Approximately 50 people have been indicted in relation to a scheme that drained almost $200,000 from a Red Cross fund designed to put money into the hands of Hurricane Katrina victims. From the article: 'Seventeen of the accused worked at the Red Cross claim center in Bakersfield, Calif., which handled calls from storm victims across the country and authorized cash payments to them. The others were the workers' relatives and friends, prosecutors said last week.'"

More cloning doubts emerge. LukePieStalker writes "The Boston Globe is reporting that the South Korean cloning team whose troubles have recently been chronicled here on Slashdot used "borrowed" photos in their Science journal article that "appear in the journal Molecules and Cells, in a research article by another Korean team, submitted before the Science paper". In the earlier article, the cells in the photo are described as having been created without cloning."

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Slashback: Little Red Hoax, Firefly, Google

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  • by jtorkbob ( 885054 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @08:14PM (#14354957) Homepage
    Seems the editor forgot to post any link to any article about the discovery of the Little Red Book hoax. Here's one. 5/a01lo719.htm []
  • by Kazzahdrane ( 882423 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @08:16PM (#14354961)
    In my defense, when I submitted the story I included a link direct to Joss Whedon's comment, but it seems it wasn't included when the story was posted (thanks for accepting my submission though, mighty /. Overlords!).
    Linky: []

    In case you can't be bothered with the link:

    "All right, now I have to jump in and set the record straight. EW is a fine rag, but they do take things out of context. Obviously when I said I had 'closure', what I meant was "I hate Serenity, I hated Firefly, I think my fans are stupid and Nathan Fillion smells like turnips." But EW's always got to put some weird negative spin on it. But so we're clear once and for all: If you read a quote saying "I'd love to do more in this 'verse with these actors in any medium" all I'm saying is that Nathan has a turnipy odor. It's not his fault, he doesn't eat a lot of them but everyone else in the cast noticed it and tht's not really something I'm prepared to deal with any more. And Jewel said outright she wouldn't do scenes with him except stuff like the SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER funeral scene which was outside in a high SPOILER wind. So if I do manage to find another incarnation for my beloved creation, it will have been totally against my will.

    I hope that clears everything up. Oh, and when I say I want to do a Spike movie, it means I have a bunion on my toe.

    -joss (by which I mean Tim)

    (no, actually me.)

    If that still doesn't make any sense, Joss is basically saying that EW took what he said and claimed he meant something different. He still wants to make Firefly/Serenity stories if he can.
  • Re:Hoax? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Swift Kick ( 240510 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @08:58PM (#14355148)
    Yes, it was a hoax.

    The kid made it all up.
    You can go read it here: 5/a01lo719.htm []

    Or you can stay confused, if you do so wish.
  • Re:About Firefly (Score:4, Informative)

    by MrP- ( 45616 ) <jessica AT supjessica DOT com> on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @09:53PM (#14355410)
    Serenity has been the #1 selling dvd on since it came out and Firefly has been moving up (was at #3 last time i checked)
  • by Brolly ( 151540 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @10:24PM (#14355574)
    That actually is somewhat accurate. The establishment clause was intended to keep the United States free of an official religion, with the founders specifically looking at the Church of England as an example. The purpose of the clause was to keep the government from interfering with religion. What's interesting about this is that the French have an even more explicit separate of church and state. However, the purpose of the French separation was to keep religious groups, the Catholic Church in particular from interfering in secular, governmental matters. The American model draws from a fear of government, while the French model draws from a fear of organized religion.
  • by rusty0101 ( 565565 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @10:48PM (#14355697) Homepage Journal
    Basicly what Joss is saying is that about the only thing that EW got right on their report is that he is comfortable with the prospect that there will be no more Firefly adventures. That is not to say that he does not love the show. It is not to say that there is anything about the show that he does not feel could be continued. It is not to say that he has any issues with any of the actors or actresses in the show or the movie.

    The quote that he provided in his rebutal is to say that EW took statements of his as far out of context as these quotes are out of context with the EW story. In other words EW's reporting is just about as wrong as you can get.

    When Joss says he is comfortable with closure for the project, he is saying that if he can not get funding for another movie, or if no-one picks up the ball and starts a radio show, or a book series, or a continues the comic books, or extends them into graphic novels, well, that's OK. The story is good as it stands. He would much rather see ongoing media work related to the Firefly universe, but it does not have to happen.

  • by Tack ( 4642 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:19PM (#14355840) Homepage
    ID is not a theory, at most it is a hypothesis

    And ID doesn't even qualify as that. ID is innately untestable and therefore not falsifiable. If we can't even test the validity of a statement, can we call it a hypothesis?


  • NTP v. RIM rtfc... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Internet Ronin ( 919897 ) <internet.ronin@g[ ] ['mai' in gap]> on Thursday December 29, 2005 @12:08AM (#14356076)
    Okay, I am not a lawyer, but I play one on TV...
    (seriously though, I often do legal research)
    and quite frankly people need to RTF case. The judge has explicitly said "I don't tell [the patent office] their job, they don't tell me mine." What that means, and it's listed EXPLICITLY that the judge in the case doesn't give a hoot about the Patent Office ruling, and that he (not will not, implying no decision has been rendered) DID not grant RIM's motion to stay pending patent ruling.

    He also clearly states that part of the main reason for his rejection of this judgement is that he buys COMPLETELY NTP's argument that if the patents are rejected, they will appeal, a process that could drag on for years (RIM contends it would only be a few short months).

    Furthermore RIM is guilty throughout the trial of what is considered 'bad behavior.' There was considerable question that RIM followed all necessary protocols (particularly with an internal investigation of whether the patents were reasonably valid). This is backed up by conflicting evidence from the varies executive party at RIM.

    Okay, so no one seems to get this, but I'll spell it out for you, and link the document: RIM lost. Not will lose, not might lose, HAS lost. Their 45 page appeal proceeding (one needs Lexis Nexis to access it, thus I won't be posting that one here) reads VERY poorly for RIM. In fact the only part that was remanded to a lower court does little to allow them to win. NTP won. RIM is in violation (imho because they a.) engaged in 'bad behavior,' which is to say trial etiquette and b.) during the Markman hearing [a hearing where the judge determines things like definitions and scope of patents, est. 1996, Markman v. Westview Instruments] they did horrible job allowing NTP to fully dominate definitions of email and patent scope, giving them enough broad leeway to technically sue any computer manufacturer that makes a wifi laptop that can check e-mail, but I digress... and c.) their initial arguments (which cannot be dropped in favor of new arguments unless the appeal strikes those specifically, and it didn't) were ridiculously weak, and essentially claimed that the Intel chipset inside was the RF device (the NTP patents specifically call for an RF device), not the Blackberry pager itself, and therefore was not liable for infringement (no judge in the WORLD would buy this argument on common sense alone, but there is numerous precedent in US patent law that clearly says that by possessing this part, RIM infringes)...

    Here's how it's going to end:
    RIM is going to pay NTP a ton of money.
    Everyone's going to keep their Blackberries.
    In 2012 (when the original patents expire, and thus the payments mandated by the court) or whenever RIM migrates every BB customer to a non-infringing system (whichever comes first) NTP stops getting paid.

    Please note, I'm a huge fan of RIM. I think RIM should have won this case hands down, and I passionately pursue research in the area strictly as a hobby, as a fan of both law and technology. I believe that RIM was doomed from the beginning, and a few /. nerds on the defense team would have heavily swung this in the opposite direction (also a little more corporate courtesy on RIM's part). Seriously though, I've heard nothing but nonsense about this case, and I'm happy for a chance to set the record as straight as I have found it.

    Here is the rejection by the honorable James Spencer of RIM's motion for a 'stay of proceedings' pending review of the patents by the USPTO. 5opn.pdf []
    It's a PDF, and an enlightening read.
  • by civilizedINTENSITY ( 45686 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @12:12AM (#14356092)
    Actually, as I was taught in Graduate Quantum Mechanics, they have effectively disproven hidden variables. From our popular Wikipedia: Bell's Theorem []
    Bell's theorem states: No physical theory of local hidden variables can ever reproduce all of the predictions of quantum mechanics. This theorem has even been called "the most profound in science" (Stapp, 1975). Bell's seminal 1965 paper was entitled "On the Einstein Podolsky Rosen paradox". He showed that the assumption of local realism - that particle attributes have definite values independent of the act of observation and that physical effects have a finite propagation speed - leads to a requirement for certain types of phenomena which is not present in quantum mechanics. This requirement is called "Bell's inequality". collectively termed "Bell inequalities", they all make the same assumptions about local realism -- that a quantum-level object has a well defined state which accounts for all its measurable properties and that distant objects do not exchange information faster than the speed of light. These well defined properties are often called hidden variables.
    If one accepts Bell's theorem: either quantum mechanics is wrong, or local realism is wrong.
    Bell test experiments to date overwhelmingly show that the inequalities of Bell's theorem are violated. This provides empirical evidence against local realism and demonstrating that some of the "spooky action at a distance" suggested by the famous Einstein Podolsky Rosen (EPR) thought experiment do in fact occur. They are also taken as positive evidence in favor of QM.
    The idea behind "hidden variables" was that there really is a reality within which these things are happening, and QM is just a mathematical formalism that happens to work. Apparently empirically not so. The contradictions between local reality (in which any hidden variables would be "hiding") and QM, as measured sides with QM. Hence, no local reality.

    ;-) Don't worry, we won't go *poof* right away 'cause the Universe has a certain amount of momentum to it's existence (with respects to Zelazny's Siddhartha). But in terms of "the emperor has no clothes", it is more like, "there is no spoon" at levels that Heisenberg uncertainty principle comes into play.
  • by Theatetus ( 521747 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @12:27AM (#14356147) Journal
    Remember the time when the most acclaimed minds in the world thought that the world was flat?

    No, actually. Throughout recorded history man (the educated ones, at least) has known the world is roughly spherical.

    Columbus didn't have to convince Ferdinand and Isabelle that the world was round; they knew that as well as we do. They just also knew as well as we do how big it was (Thales's measurement of the circumference of the earth was not surpassed in accuracy until the 18th century). And they didn't know if there was a continent between the Iberian peninsula and China (and neither did Columbus unless he heard it from an Icelander when he was there).

  • by edeity ( 190828 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @01:28AM (#14356414)
    Intelligent Design is not provable as a theory, because they are yet to admit that Midiclorians prove the truth of Intelligent Design.

    The Force is the manifestation of Intelligent Design. Midiclorians are its agents, shaping and forming all life.

    Light Saber training should be included within the High School Science Curriculumn. This will also be very popular with High School students and renew their interest in Science, and additionally is a mechanism to make sporting oriented students have as much to offer science in the classroom as academically oriented students. In this way Science will also be more supportive of diversity.
  • by narcc ( 412956 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @02:59AM (#14356774) Journal
    A quick point...
    If macroevolution and intelligent design are two different theories addressing the same question (the origin of the universe), then how can one be religion and the other not?

    "Macroevolution" does not address the origin of the universe. That said, "macroevolution" and ID do not address the same issue.

    How is ID religious? ID states that life is too ordered to have come about naturally and therefore must have been designed. e.g. ID says that God Did It. This is obviously religion. (Doesn't have to be god could be Space aliens, blah, blah blah, who created the aliens?, blah, blah, God, blah. God always was so no need to create him blah, blah, blah. Tired old obvious arguments.)

    We cannot test ID. ID is not falsifiable. ID is NOT science.

    Evolution, on the otherhand, is a theory that was created to explain certain observations. That is to say, evolution is a theory that explains the data. The new data that we've found fits the theory well. Predictions made using the theory have further reinforced the theory rather than detract from it. We've been able to observe evolution and even identify some of the mechanisms of evolution. Also, when evolution no longer explains the data (a possibility) evolution will be thrown out in favor of a theory that explains the data. Evolution is observable, testable, and falsifiable. That is, evolution is science.

    On a related note, I've yet to see any pro-ID material that does anything other than try to show evolution to be wrong (which none of it actually has). Why do proponents of ID attack evolution and not simply try to show that ID can stand on its own merits?

    In addition, proponents of ID have been making the argument that evolution is religious (although it's not) and that if evolution is religious and taught in schools, then ID should also be taught in schools. The flaw here is that if evolution is religious then it shouldn't be taught in schools -- lest it open a door for other religious materials-- And no, evolution is not religious. The statement you make above (replacing ID in the grandparent posters comments with evolution) may look pretty, but it's obviously invalid.

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.