50000BTU_barbecue writes "Usually sci-fi provides adventure with happy endings for everyone. But what story have you read that resonates years later because of some insight about human nature or society that's basically cynical or pessimistic? For me it's Fred Pohl's Jem, with its sharply divided resource-constrained future world driven by politics, and its conclusion that humans are just too destructive to handle contacting alien life, especially if humans have the technological upper hand. I'm wondering what other stories have stuck in people's minds. It can be a short story, a novel or an entire series of books."
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New submitter rkhalloran writes "The remnants of the failed litigation engine that was the SCO Group has finally filed for liquidation under Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code. 'There is no reasonable chance of "rehabilitation."' Groklaw describes the recent filing (PDF) thus: 'I will try my best to translate the legalese for you: the money is almost all gone, so it's not fun any more. SCO can't afford Chapter 11. We want to shut the costs down, because we'll never get paid. But it'd look stupid to admit the whole thing was ridiculous and SCO never had a chance to reorganize through its fantasy litigation hustle. Besides, Ralph Yarro and the other shareholders might sue. So they want the litigation to continue to swing in the breeze, just in case. But SCO has no money coming in and no other prospects, so they want to proceed in a cheaper way and shut this down in respects to everything else.' I guess that means the lawyers will suck the marrow from the carcass and leave the bones to bleach out in the sun."
pigrabbitbear writes "Given the the endless mind-whirling acronyms, derivatives and structures of the financial markets, we're rarely served with a visualization that so elegantly illustrates the arrival of Wall Street's latest innovation. This is what High Frequency Trading — the official monicker of Wall Street's robot army — looks like, when specially programmed computers make massive bets at lightning speed. Created by Nanex, the GIF charts the rise of HFT trading volumes across all U.S. stock exchanges between 2007 and 2012. The initial murmur, the brewing storm, the final detonation: Not just unsettling, it's terrifying."
Wired has an article about a ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals saying the government can't be sued over intercepting phone calls without a warrant. The decision (PDF) vacated an earlier ruling which allowed a case to be brought against the government. The plaintiffs in the case argued that the government had implicitly waived sovereign immunity, but today's ruling points out that it can only be waived explicitly. Judge McKeown wrote, "This case effectively brings to an end the plaintiffs’ ongoing attempts to hold the Executive Branch responsible for intercepting telephone conversations without judicial authorization." The ruling does, however, take time to knock down the government's claim that the case was brought frivolously: "In light of the complex, ever-evolving nature of this litigation, and considering the significant infringement on individual liberties that would occur if the Executive Branch were to disregard congressionally-mandated procedures for obtaining judicial authorization of international wiretaps, the charge of 'game-playing' lobbed by the government is as careless as it is inaccurate. Throughout, the plaintiffs have proposed ways of advancing their lawsuit without jeopardizing national security, ultimately going so far as to disclaim any reliance whatsoever on the Sealed Document. That their suit has ultimately failed does not in any way call into question the integrity with which they pursued it."
jfruh writes "One of the odder moments during the Oracle v. Google trial over Java patents came when patent blogger Florian Mueller disclosed that he had a 'consulting relationship' with Oracle. Now it looks like we're going to find out which other tech bloggers and journalists were on the payroll of one of the two sides in this epic fight. Judge William Alsup has ordered (PDF) that both parties disclose 'all authors, journalists, commentators or bloggers who have reported or commented on any issues in this case and who have received money (other than normal subscription fees) from the party or its counsel during the pendency of this action.'"
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "Every day or so of the last six months, Carnegie Mellon computer security professor Nicolas Christin has crawled and scraped Silk Road, the Tor- and Bitcoin-based underground online market for illegal drug sales. Now Christin has released a paper (PDF) on his findings, which show that the site's business is booming: its number of sellers, who offer everything from cocaine to ecstasy, has jumped from around 300 in February to more than 550. Its total sales now add up to around $1.9 million a month. And its operators generate more than $6,000 a day in commissions for themselves, compared with around $2,500 in February. Most surprising, perhaps, is that buyers rate the sellers on the site as relatively trustworthy, despite the fact that no real identities are used. Close to 98% of ratings on the site are positive."
sweetpea86 writes "Mekong Development has become the first bank in Vietnam to launch fingerprint authentication enabled debit cards. Fingerprints are captured by Mekong Development at the point of opening an account, and then can be used, instead of a pin, to access funds. Not only has Mekong's account base tripled through the use of fingerprint technology since its launch in June, but the deposit balance per debit card account is two times higher than a regular account."
An anonymous reader writes "In a new study, Barracuda Labs analyzed a random sampling of more than 70,000 fake Twitter accounts that are being used to sell fake Twitter followers. They also analyzed some of the people that are using such fake followers including the recent example of U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney's Twitter account. Between Facebook's 10-Q filing stating that 83 million of its accounts are fake, to Mitt Romney's Twitter account recently falling under scrutiny for suspicious followings, fake social network profiles are a hot topic at the moment. And these fake profiles are at the center of a very vibrant and growing underground economy. This underground economy consists of dealers who create and sell the use of thousands of fake social accounts, and abusers who buy follows or likes from these fake accounts to boost their perceived popularity, sell advertising based on their now large social audience or conduct other malicious activity."
angry tapir writes "BeOS may be dead, but over a decade after its lamentable demise the open source Haiku project keeps its legacy alive. Haiku is an attempt to build a drop-in, binary compatible replacement for BeOS, as well as extending the defunct OS's functionality and support for modern hardware. At least, that's the short-term goal — eventually, Haiku is intended significantly enhance BeOS while maintaining the same philosophy of simplicity and transparency, and without being weighed down with the legacy code of many other contemporary operating systems. I recently caught up with Stephan Aßmus, who has been a key contributor to the project for seven years to talk about BeOS, the current state of Haiku and the project's future plans."
An anonymous reader writes "One of Activision's last RTS games, Dark Reign 2, has gone open source under the LGPL. Although the release by a former Pandemic Studios employee was some time ago, it had happened relatively silently. With the source code now available, it is hoped that online play that isn't dependent on WON servers will be implemented and possibly ports to other platforms."
twoheadedboy writes "Book lovers are increasingly turning to e-books, and in the UK Amazon has announced it now sells more e-books than physical copies on Amazon.co.uk. Kindle books surpassed sales of hardbacks in the UK back in May 2011 at a rate of two to one and now they have leapfrogged the combined totals of both hardbacks and paperbacks."
An anonymous reader writes in with this excerpt from Inhabitat:"People aren't the only ones getting a jolt from caffeine these days; in a new study published in Marine Pollution Bulletin, scientists found elevated concentrations of caffeine in the Pacific Ocean in areas off the coast of Oregon. With all those coffee drinkers in the Pacific Northwest, it should be no surprise that human waste containing caffeine would ultimately make its way through municipal water systems and out to sea – but how will the presence of caffeine in our oceans affect human health and natural ecosystems?"
An anonymous reader writes with an excerpt from geek.net on the release of PCSX2, a GPLed emulator for the PS2: "PCSX2 is a free PS2 emulator for the PC that has been in development since the year 2000 and managed to reach version 1.0 last week. As an emulator it's an impressive piece of work, boasting compatibility with over 73 percent of games, which is some 1,697 titles. It can offer up graphics beyond what the original hardware was capable of, achieving resolutions up to 4096 x 4096 with anti-aliasing and texture filtering. You can save games, record video as you play, use a range of controllers, and even adjust game speed if you so wish. Of course, you'll need a fast machine to run PS2 games at a decent speed, but the spec is still reasonable. It's recommended you have at least a Core 2 Duo running at 3.2GHz, or a Core i5 at 2.66GHz+. As for graphics cards, a GeForce 9600GT or Radeon HD 4750 is desirable." Grab it while it's hot (official binaries and source). Unfortunately it doesn't seem to be packaged for any GNU/Linux distros (Debian has packages of the predecessor to PCSX2, PCSX: Reloaded which, naturally, emulated the Playstation).
redletterdave writes "Siri can send texts and emails, set alarms and reminders, surf the Web, ask questions, place calls, play music, and get directions. But would you trust Siri, or any of her similar rivals out there for Android, to pay your bank bill? Or report a lost card? Or set up an auto-payments for your bills? Even if you wanted to do these things, how does Siri even know you are who you say you are? Nuance has clearly thought about what's missing from the voice recognition department, and unveiled its own solution on Monday, called 'Nina.' The Nuance Interactive Natural Assistant, or NINA, is a cloud-based AI that can be enabled in most business and enterprise applications thanks to a set of APIs and an open SDK for iOS and Android. Nuance calls Nina 'a watershed of firsts for virtual assistants,' mainly because she is the 'first [VA] to understand what is said and who said it' using voice-ID authentication software. Unlike Siri, Nina can help users manage their bank accounts, book flights and hotels, oversee and manage their investments, and more."
TrueSatan writes "iOS 6 beta 4 has removed the YouTube application that existed on iOS since the first version in 2007. Apple confirmed that YouTube is gone from iOS 6. Google is apparently building its own app saying: 'Our license to include the YouTube app in iOS has ended, customers can use YouTube in the Safari browser and Google is working on a new YouTube app to be on the App Store.'"