Bruce66423 writes "A number of British councils are being banned from accessing the national Vehicle Database system. While sometimes this appears to be due to technical infractions, the banning of some 'permanently' seems to be as a result of more serious misdemeanours. Trust the government? Not a good idea..."
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McGruber writes "The Washington Post reports that the Washington Post, and local newspapers owned by Warren Buffett, are all planning to follow the New York Times and install metered paywalls." Buffett's got more than 80 papers right now, and hasn't quit buying them. There's some time to read the WaPo sans paywall, but by mid-year it may be up.
New submitter mrvan writes "Guido van Rossum, the proclaimed Python Benevolent Dictator For Life, has left Google to work for Dropbox. In their announcement, Dropbox says they relied heavily on Python from the beginning, citing a mix of simplicity, flexibility, and elegance, and are excited to have GvR on the team. While this is, without a doubt, good news for Dropbox, the big question is what this will mean for Python (and for Google)."
New submitter Sesostris III writes "In April 2010, with £20,000 of government money, 6uk was set up to encourage the adoption of the IPv6 protocol in the UK. In December 2012 the board resigned en-masse in protest at official indifference to its work. 'The biggest organization we needed to join 6UK was the government,' the former director, Philip Sheldrake, is quoted as saying. Without government support, 'there's no material incentive for any organization to go for IPv6.' Government interest can be gauged by the fact that no government website currently sat on an IPv6 address. The UK is among the nations that have done the least to move to IPv6, and lags behind other nations in adopting the new protocol. In contrast, governments like that in the U.S. are encouraging adoption of the new protocol by mandating IPv6 compliance in contracts."
pigrabbitbear writes "A new study (abstract) from Michigan State University shows that media multitasking exhibits a strong correlation with social anxiety and depression. Importantly, the direction of causality remains to be seen: Does multi-tasking make us more anxious and depressed? Or, as the study's leader, Mark W. Becker, an assistant professor of psychology, put it in an email, 'are depressed and anxious [people] turning toward media multitasking as a form of distraction?' The results of this study aren't conclusive in that regard, he says. But they're an important step. 'While that question will not be easy to answer, it is worth pursing because the practical implications of the findings depend on the causal direction,' he said."
Deathspawner writes "Perhaps hinting at the fact that the official Steam for Linux launch isn't too far off, Valve has begun updating some game pages to include Linux system requirements. Some games don't list only Ubuntu as the main supported distro, with some listing Linux Mint and Fedora as well. A common theme is that Valve recommends you always use a 'fully updated' OS, regardless of which distro you use. And based on the system requirements laid out so far, it's safe to say that Serious Sam 3: BFE will undoubtedly be the most system-intensive game released at launch."
An anonymous reader writes "In a post at the Free Software Foundation website, Richard Stallman has spoken out against Ubuntu because of Canonical's decision to integrate Amazon search results in the distribution's Dash search. He says, 'Ubuntu, a widely used and influential GNU/Linux distribution, has installed surveillance code. When the user searches her own local files for a string using the Ubuntu desktop, Ubuntu sends that string to one of Canonical's servers. (Canonical is the company that develops Ubuntu.) This is just like the first surveillance practice I learned about in Windows. ... What's at stake is whether our community can effectively use the argument based on proprietary spyware. If we can only say, "free software won't spy on you, unless it's Ubuntu," that's much less powerful than saying, "free software won't spy on you." It behooves us to give Canonical whatever rebuff is needed to make it stop this. ... If you ever recommend or redistribute GNU/Linux, please remove Ubuntu from the distros you recommend or redistribute.'"
moon_unit2 writes "We're all familiar with ads that seem to follow you around as you go from one website to another. A startup called Drawbridge has developed technology that could let those ads follow you even when you pick up a smartphone or tablet. The company, founded by an ex-Google scientist, employs statistical methods to try to match and identify users on different devices. The idea is that this will preserve privacy while making mobile ads more lucrative, although some experts aren't convinced that the data will be truly anonymous."
ATKeiper writes "The Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, which was selected by the U.S. government in the 1980s to be the nation's permanent facility for storing nuclear waste, is essentially dead. A new article in The New Atlantis explains how the project was killed: 'In the end, the Obama administration succeeded, by a combination of legal authority and bureaucratic will, in blocking Congress's plan for the Yucca Mountain repository — certainly for the foreseeable future, and perhaps permanently.... The saga of Yucca Mountain's creation and apparent demise, and of the seeming inability of the courts to prevent the Obama administration from unilaterally nullifying the decades-old statutory framework for Yucca, illustrates how energy infrastructure is uniquely subject to the control of the executive branch, and so to the influence of presidential politics.' A report from the Government Accountability Office notes that the termination 'essentially restarts a time-consuming and costly process [that] has already cost nearly $15 billion through 2009.'"
An anonymous reader writes with this snippet from ABC News: "Software millionaire John McAfee has been taken to a Guatemala City hospital via ambulance after suffering a possible heart attack at the detention center where he is being held. McAfee, 67 — who may soon be deported back to Belize, where authorities want to question him about the shooting death of his neighbor — was reportedly prostrate on the floor of his cell and unresponsive. He was wheeled into the hospital on a gurney, but when nurses began removing his suit, he became responsive and said, 'Please, not in front of the press.' Earlier today, McAfee had complained of chest pains."
coondoggie writes "The U.S. government's overly complicated way of classifying and declassifying information needs to be dumped and reinvented with the help of a huge technology injection if it is to keep from being buried under its own weight. That was one of the main conclusions of a government board tasked with making recommendations on exactly how the government should transform the current security classification system (PDF)."
Bob9113 writes "Ars Technica reports that Derek Khanna is getting axed over his memo detailing the conflict between laissez-faire-oriented free market ideals and the regulatory monopoly that is copyright. 'The Republican Study Committee, a caucus of Republicans in the House of Representatives, has told staffer Derek Khanna that he will be out of a job when Congress re-convenes in January. The incoming chairman of the RSC, Steve Scalise (R-LA) was approached by several Republican members of Congress who were upset about a memo Khanna wrote advocating reform of copyright law. They asked that Khanna not be retained, and Scalise agreed to their request.'"
Having the ability to create a 20 liter cloud of slime and tie themselves in knots, hagfish have always been one of my favorite deep-sea denizens. Being a living slime dispenser has not won the species many fans however, with the notable exceptions of Mike Rowe and Dr. Egon Spengler. All that is about to change thanks to the work of a research team at Canada’s University of Guelph. They've found that hagfish slime might be used to make new plastics and even super-strong fabrics. From the article: "A research team at Canada’s University of Guelph managed to harvest the slime from the fish, dissolve it in liquid, and then reassemble its structure by spinning it like silk. It’s an important first step in being able to process the hagfish slime into a useable material, according to Atsuko Negishi, a research assistant and lead author on the paper in this week’s journal Biomacromolecules. 'We’re trying to understand how they make these threads and how we can learn from that to make protein-based fibers that have excellent mechanical properties,' Negishi said. 'The first step is can we harvest the threads. It turns out that is doable.'"
curtwoodward writes "Advanced battery maker A123 Systems was supposed to be one of the marquee names of the U.S. cleantech manufacturing scene — it won hundreds of millions in federal grants, had operations around the globe, and supplied the luxury Fisker electric car. In 2009, as the economy sputtered, A123 registered the country's biggest IPO. Today, it's in bankruptcy court, with possible buyers submitting bids for its parts and pieces. How'd A123 fall so far, so fast? As losses mounted, its reliance on just two big customers came back to haunt the company — and a series of screwups at a Michigan plant delivered the final blow."
An anonymous reader writes with this quote from Tom's Hardware: "Due to Apple's anti-3rd-party browser stance, and Windows RT's IE-only advantage on the 'Desktop,' Android is the only mobile platform where browser competition is thriving. The results are pretty surprising, with the long-time mobile browsers like Dolphin, Maxthon, Sleipnir, and the stock Android browser coming out ahead of desktop favorites like Firefox, Opera, and even Chrome. Dolphin, thanks to its new Jetpack HTML5 engine, soars ahead of the competition."