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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

Comments Filter:
  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @08:08PM (#14354908)
    Can someone tell what the heck Joss Whedon's comment is supposed to be? What I read was too weird to be understandable on Slashdot. Either way, sounds like Firefly/Serenity is history and/or J.W. had a massive brain fart without knowing it.
  • by Television Viewer ( 941923 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @08:18PM (#14354974)
    Predicted comment breakdown for this Slashback

    "Little Red Hoax" -- 2 comments
    Firefly post-mortem -- 8 comments
    EU's Galileo project -- 7 comments
    Google/AOL 2purchase -- 9 comments
    Blackberry patent case -- 8 comments
    Intelligent Design -- 1436 comments

    I need lotto numbers. Lotto!!!

    But seriously. Why is Intelligent Design such a big deal? I don't get it. Is it possible that God did make everything, and that science is our way of understanding how and what? Do scientists need to say a prayer before measuring how many millilitres is in the graduated cylinder- "Oh dead God, give me the wisdom to tell where the meniscus rests"?

    I like to think God made gravity, and he gave use the eyes, ears, hands, and ability to figure out his gigantic crossword puzzle.

  • by Sheetrock ( 152993 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @08:23PM (#14355001) Homepage Journal
    It'd be best for liberals to just step away from this one.

    I remember after the CBS memo thing a number of people yielded to the temptation to say "Well, maybe the memos were fake, but the information in them must be true."

    Occasionally you need to concede that the news gets it wrong instead of trying to bail out a leaky story. It reeks of desperation when instead of simply admitting you've been had on this one you cling to something that is rapidly being proven false. Isn't this the mentality you're trying to fight against?

  • by FlopEJoe ( 784551 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @08:25PM (#14355014)
    How about the Little Red Book Draws Government Attention hoax []? Where slashdot [] and Ted Kennedy [] believed:

    "An unnamed Dartmouth student was visited by Homeland Security for requesting a copy of Mao Zedong's Little Red Book for a class project." From the article: "The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Professor Pontbriand's class on fascism and totalitarianism, filled out a form for the request, leaving his name, address, phone number and Social Security number. He was later visited at his parents' home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security, the professors said."

    when, it turns out,

    "The University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth student who claimed he had been visited by agents of the Department of Homeland Security for requesting a book written by Mao Zedung through interlibrary loan has confessed to making up the story. The unnamed senior tearfully admitted to the hoax after UMD history professor Brian Glyn Williams confronted him with inconsistencies in his story at his parents' home December 23, the New Bedford Standard-Times reported December 24."

  • by bodrell ( 665409 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @08:27PM (#14355026) Journal
    And I'd be willing to bet it has something to do with the 10% of Blackberry users who work for the federal government. Don't get me wrong--I'm also sure NTP's patents are bogus, but that hasn't stopped the millions of other bogus patents (such as Myriad Genetics' downright immoral patent of breast cancer genes []), or any of the many software patents that keep popping up in /. articles. Why the special treatment for RIM? If I were less cynical, I'd think this was the dawn of an age of rejecting bogus patents, but let's be realistic.
  • Re:A little red hoax (Score:4, Interesting)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @08:50PM (#14355121) Homepage Journal
    These orginization did not make up the story, they reported what the person said happened.
    Of course they jumped on it, they should have, no matter who is in office.
    The person who failed here is the liar.

    I am so sick of hearing the media called 'liberal'. There is no liberal media, and looking at how they lambasted Clinton over his lie ought to prove that. But then, who would people have to blame for the failings of there party?
  • Hoax Hoax? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lousyd ( 459028 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @09:14PM (#14355227)
    Just for the record, if you believed so readily in the "fact" that Homeland Security was visiting this guy for requesting the Little Red Book, then what makes you think you're not doing it again with the "fact" that it's a hoax? Is there any more evidence or proof that it's a hoax than that it was true in the first place? If an article on the Internet can deceive you in the first place, what makes you think it's set you straight now?

    Just food for thought. I believe there is a reality, and that there's a truth in this situation. But I'm not sure I have the evidence for what it is. "It's a hoax!" just means that we have to start thinking rationally and not be so ready to accept everything we read. Let's start right here.

  • Bah (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @10:48PM (#14355696)
    Everyone knows "God is dead" and Jesus is a myth just like all the Greek and Roman gods we quickly brush aside as fairy tales. With that in mind, "Intelligent Design" has no place in science class, you can shove it in philosophy or comparative religion though and learn about all the other creation stories the world has to offer.

    Intelligent Design = Creationsim is sheep's clothing.
  • by ZombieWomble ( 893157 ) on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:32PM (#14355897)
    How do you prove a negative?

    Ah, my apologies for the semantical mis-step. I should not have implied that we had disproven every single possible 'hidden variable' theory, as it is possible that there is some underlying truth which gives the appearance of breaking all these rules while still, in fact, retaining them at some deeper level (much like how His Noodly Appendage is being obfuscated by this "evolution" business).

    Although I would note that, as far as I've seen, since the EPR 'paradox' was shown to in fact represent how the world works, hidden variable theories are not faring well - they involve giving up significant numbers of other aspects of our classical universe to retain the deterministic effects, and often introduce large amounts of additional cruft that doesn't lead to any useful predictions.

  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) * on Wednesday December 28, 2005 @11:52PM (#14355992)
    > > The separation of church and state is enshrined in the US constitution

    > Anyone care to pint out WHERE? [...] It amazes me that a judge is ruling this "unconstitional", despite the fact that the constitution has no bearing on religion outside of the church.

    The judge did nothing more (or less) than appeal to long established precedent in interpreting the first amendment.

    Apparently the Thomas Moore Law Center put the school board up to adding ID to their curriculum for the sole purpose of triggering a case that would overturn that precedent. Don't blame the judge if he didn't take the bait.

    Maybe someday there'll be another case where the school board doesn't get voted out before they can appeal, and the Supreme Court will reverse the traditional interpretation. When that happens, we'll find out whether it was a good thing or not.

    As for the letter of the Constitution... Don't kid yourself into thinking that we abide by the letter of it in much of anything. For example, the Constitution (as amended) forbids having the President and Vice President from the same state. In the run-up to the 2000 election somebody noticed that, so Cheney filled out a change of address form as a fig leaf. A couple of guys tried to challenge it in court, but the case was thrown out on the grounds that they didn't have standing to challenge it.

    If you want to revert to the letter of the Constitution - or rather, to somebody's opinion about what the letter of the Constitution means - a lot of stuff would change, and you might find that you didn't like all of it.

    Maybe we should do it anyway, on principle, though we'd probably end up fighting another civil war to see whose "literal interpretation" wins. Meanwhile, for better or worse, the courts operate on the system of precedent, and judge Jones did his job.
  • by phritz ( 623753 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @12:39AM (#14356198)
    How do you prove a negative?

    Two ways:
    1)if a theory says A is true, find an example where A is not true. I.e., a counter-example = proof of a negative.
    2)Logical deduction, i.e. mathematical proof. Hidden variables are proved not to exist by a mathematical theorem (Bell's Theorem, specifically).

    You can't prove there's no god, because God isn't formulated as a scientific theory. You can prove there are no hidden variables, since quantum mechanics is a scientific theory.

  • by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Thursday December 29, 2005 @04:19AM (#14356999) Homepage
    "Science helps me to understand the way things works . Perhaps my views are naive and cowardly and there to help me cope with a short term life "

    Your comment has sparked me to point out one of the reasons that many athiests are so against people who believe in heaven. Now, please do not take this as an insult...its just a personal view that I've known many people to share.

    Many of us see religion as the "opiate of the masses". Faith truly does offer some solace from the void that ultimately lies before us. But those of us who do not believe in heaven often see those that do as weak mentally, since we feel they cannot standup to the ultimate end of their existence. We see it as a cop-out and it has honestly made me look at a person who I once admired for being incredibly strong willed and fearless, and made me realize how timid they really are when it comes down to the wire.

    Again, this post was not meant as a troll or flamebait...I just wanted to express a perhaps not so popular viewpoint on the athiest vs heaven side of things.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas