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Welcome to Soylent News. As we're still in alpha-test, these articles cover much of what's going around in the site

Necessary Reading:
posted by LaminatorX on Friday April 25, @01:34AM   Printer-friendly
from the Yanqui-go-home dept.

Following the ongoing case reported earlier DVDFab, the Chinese based company behind ripping software of the same name has made arguments in a New York Federal Court stating that US Law isn't World Law and that their assets must be returned to the company so they can continue to trade outside US borders:

For example, shutting down the DVDFab domain names and enjoining the payment processors prevents defendant Feng Tao from using such domain names and payment processors for sales of unrelated products, and for sales of DVDFab products outside the United States.

The AACS (licensing outfit including Warner Bros, Disney, Microsoft and Intel) countered by saying that the injunction was ignored and that they were threatened:

Frank stated that if AACS LA refused the deal, DVDFab Defendants would distribute the software for free, thereby rendering AACS LA irrelevant.

For the time being, all U.S.-controlled DVDFab domain names, social media accounts and payment processing services remain unavailable. However, the software maker is still operational through several new domains, which can be easily found through Google and other search engines.

posted by janrinok on Thursday April 24, @11:16PM   Printer-friendly
from the there-is-no-one-out-there dept.

Last week, scientists announced the discovery of Kepler-186f, a planet 492 light years away in the Cygnus constellation. Kepler-186f is special because it marks the first planet almost exactly the same size as Earth orbiting in the "habitable zone" - the distance from a star in which we might expect liquid water, and perhaps life. What did not make the news, however, is that this discovery also slightly increases how much credence we give to the possibility of near-term human extinction. This because of a concept known as the Great Filter.

The Great Filter is an argument that attempts to resolve the Fermi Paradox: why have we not found aliens, despite the existence of hundreds of billions of solar systems in our galactic neighbourhood in which life might evolve? As the namesake physicist Enrico Fermi noted, it seems rather extraordinary that not a single extraterrestrial signal or engineering project has been detected (UFO conspiracy theorists notwithstanding).

posted by janrinok on Thursday April 24, @10:24PM   Printer-friendly
from the its-all-in-your-head dept.

The medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology has published an article that found that people with more years of education may be better able to recover from a traumatic brain injury. Those with an education equal to a college degree were more than seven times more likely to fully recover from their injury than people who did not finish high school.

The cognitive reserve theory is that people with more education have a greater cognitive reserve, or the brain's ability to maintain function in spite of damage. The concept has emerged for brain disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, where people with higher levels of education have been shown to have fewer symptoms of the disease than people with less education, even when they have the same amount of damage in the brain from the disease.

posted by n1 on Thursday April 24, @09:12PM   Printer-friendly
from the art-of-data-recovery dept.

The BBC reports that previously unknown digital works by American artist Andy Warhol were discovered and recovered from 30 year old Amiga disks with the assistance of Carnegie Mellon University Computer Club. In total, 18 images were recovered, most are also signed by Warhol.

posted by Woods on Thursday April 24, @07:50PM   Printer-friendly
from the MSN-Messenger-aimed-at-AIM-met-a-meta-message dept.

Adam Ferris, a programmer from Microsoft, wrote this essay on tactics that Microsoft and AOL used to force users to use their chat service and keep them:

Some protocols, like HTTP and TCP/IP, are public, documented, and spoken by everyone, but some are private/proprietary and undocumented. AIM's protocol, known as OSCAR (for Open System for CommunicAtion in Realtime), was in the latter group. I didn't have the "key" to decode it. But what my boss and I could do was sign up for an AIM account and then watch the communications between the AIM client and the server using a network monitor, a development tool used to track network communications in and out of a computer. That way we could see the protocol that AIM was using to send the messages.

Much of the message was opaque, but in the middle was one of my text messages. "Hi... Anybody?" I would write into my AIM chat box and press return, and then on my network trace I would see my "Hi... Anybody?" Some of the protocol was always changing, but some was always the same. Our client [MSN Messenger] took the surrounding boilerplate and packaged up text messages in it, then sent it to the AOL servers. Did AOL notice that there were some odd messages heading their way from Redmond? Probably not. They had a hundred million users, and after all I was using their own protocol.

posted by n1 on Thursday April 24, @07:17PM   Printer-friendly
from the i'm-invincible dept.

Death is the one certainty in life, a pioneering analysis of blood from one of the world's oldest and healthiest women has given clues to why it happens.

What they found suggests, as we could perhaps expect, that our lifespan might ultimately be limited by the capacity for stem cells to keep replenishing tissues day in day out. Once the stem cells reach a state of exhaustion that imposes a limit on their own lifespan, they themselves gradually die out and steadily diminish the body's capacity to keep regenerating vital tissues and cells, such as blood.

posted by n1 on Thursday April 24, @06:11PM   Printer-friendly
from the it-is-proven-that-the-earth-sucks dept.

A physicist has demonstrated that the operating force in a syphon is gravity, and not atmospheric pressure, and has corrected a 99-year old incorrect dictionary definition.

In 2010, eagle-eyed Dr Hughes spotted the mistake, which went unnoticed for 99 years, which incorrectly described atmospheric pressure, rather than gravity, as the operating force in a siphon.

Dr Hughes demonstrated the science of siphons in a paper published yesterday in Nature Publishing Group journal Scientific Reports.

posted by n1 on Thursday April 24, @05:21PM   Printer-friendly
from the not-in-russia dept.

ITAR-TASS is reporting that Russian Bloggers are about to be required to register with the state and follow news outlet laws.

The law introduces a new term: "Internet user called blogger." Bloggers will be obliged to declare their family name and initials and e-mail address. Those authors whose personal website or page in social networks has 3,000 visitors or more a day must have themselves registered on a special list and abide by restrictions applicable to the mass media. In other words, registration requires the blogger should check the authenticity of published information and also mention age restrictions for users. Also, bloggers will have to follow mass media laws concerning electioneering, resistance to extremism and the publication of information about people's private lives. An abuse of these requirements will be punishable with a fine of 10,000 to 30,000 rubles (roughly $300 to $1,000) for individuals and 300,000 rubles ($10,000) for legal entities. A second violation will be punishable with the website's suspension for one month.

posted by janrinok on Thursday April 24, @04:16PM   Printer-friendly
from the its-too-late dept.

Ubisoft has released a unique promotion for the video game, Watch Dogs point it at your facebook account and it will use the information there to build a dossier on you as if you were the target of an assassination plot. It includes things like expected daily schedule, likely passwords based on your birthday and friend's names, etc.

While the result might scare some people into being more cautious, it doesn't make much effort to educate people what they can do to protect themselves short of "don't use facebook" which is not really an option for most of the people who currently use facebook. At a minimum it ought to generate a list of things you can lock down using facebook's privacy settings. Can you suggest a comprehensive and up to date guide for where to go on facebook and what settings to change in order to improve privacy for the average facebook user?

posted by janrinok on Thursday April 24, @03:34PM   Printer-friendly
from the a-keyboard-would-be-useful dept.

Fewer college students use tablets; may be a sign that the device doesn't boost productivity.

Ball State researcher says students use tablets mostly for entertainment; many question whether the technology can be used for academic projects. How much real work can one get done on a tablet? Or are tablets mostly designed for entertainment? The questions arise as a recent survey of college students showed a small decline in tablet ownership. About 29% of college students said they owned a tablet in 2014, slightly less than did in 2012, according to a new study by Michael Hanley, a professor of advertising and director of Ball State University's Institute for Mobile Media Research. Hanley said the decline comes as tablets are seen as primarily tools to entertain. They aren't seen as tools for heavy writing or college projects due to its lack of a physical keyboard and laptop and desktop type power, he added.

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