New submitter jamaicaplain sends this quote from an article in the NY Times: "Iraq, cut off from decades of technological progress because of dictatorship, sanctions and wars, recently took a big step out of isolation and into the digital world when its telecommunications system was linked to a vast new undersea cable system serving the Gulf countries. The engineers who designed and installed the cable that made shore in Al-Faw, near Basra, had to deal with an unusual number of challenges. There were more than 100 oil and natural gas pipelines to cross; stretches of shallow water where the cable had to be buried; and unexploded ordnance from the Iraq war that had to be avoided. ... Because of the crisis in Syria and the tensions over Iran, the possibility of routing traffic via Iraq has suddenly become more attractive to telecommunications operators. ... 'Iraq has a very strong strategic position to become a transit point for traffic between Europe and Asia.'"
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An anonymous reader writes "Last week the Dutch Pirate Party refused to take down their proxy. Then, avoiding the Pirate Party in court, the entertainment industry organization BREIN obtained an injunction against the party's The Pirate Bay proxy (now a list of alternative proxies). After receiving additional demands from BREIN on Saturday night, including one to censor their generic proxy, the Dutch Pirate Party decided to take them to court, to strike the order and convince the judge of the need for due process and the freedom to inform." From the press release: "The penalties imposed by the court are 4 times higher than those ordered upon the large commercial ISPs XS4ALL and Ziggo..."
Hugh Pickens writes "Dr. James Hansen, director of the NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who first made warnings about climate change in the 1980s, says that public skepticism about the threat of man-made climate change has increased despite the growing scientific consensus. He says that without public support, it will be impossible to make the changes he and his colleagues believe need to occur to protect future generations from the effects of climate change. 'The science has become stronger and stronger over the past five years while the public perception is has gone in completely the other direction. That is not an accident,' says Hansen. 'There is a very concerted effort by people who would prefer to see business to continue as usual. They have been winning the public debate with the help of tremendous resources.' Hansen's comments come as recent surveys have revealed that public support for tackling climate change has declined dramatically in recent years. A recent BBC poll found that 25% of British adults did not think global warming is happening and over a third said many claims about environmental threats are 'exaggerated,' compared to 24 per cent in 2000. Dr. Benny Peiser, director of skeptical think tank The Global Warming Policy Foundation, says it's time to stop exaggerating the impact of global warming and accept the uncertainty of predictions about the rate of climate change. 'James Hensen has been making predictions about climate change since the 1980s. When people are comparing what is happening now to those predictions, they can see they fail to match up.'"
Fluffeh writes "The United States' global trade representative has strongly criticized a perceived preference on the part of large Australian organizations for hosting their data on-shore in Australia, claiming it created a significant trade barrier for U.S. technology firms. A number of U.S. companies had expressed concerns that various departments in the Australian Government, namely the Department of Defence had been sending negative messages about cloud providers based outside the country, implying that 'hosting data overseas, including in the United States, by definition entails greater risk and unduly exposes consumers to their data being scrutinized by foreign governments.' Recently, Acting Victorian Privacy Commissioner Anthony Bendall highlighted some of the privacy concerns with cloud computing, particularly in its use by the local government. He said the main problems were the lack of control over stored data and privacy, in overseas cloud service providers."
bobwrit writes with this excerpt from CNN: "Conservative challenger Rick Santorum announced Tuesday that he is suspending his Republican presidential campaign after a weekend of 'prayer and thought,' effectively ceding the GOP nomination to front-runner Mitt Romney. Santorum made his announcement after the weekend hospitalization of his 3-year-old daughter Isabella, and in the face of tightening poll numbers in Pennsylvania — the state he represented as a U.S. senator — ahead of the April 24 primary. 'Ladies and gentlemen, we made the decision to get into this race around our kitchen table, against all the odds,' Santorum told a news conference, flanked by emotional family members. 'We made a decision over the weekend that while the presidential race for us is over, and I will suspend my campaign effective today, we are not done fighting.'"
Harperdog writes "In 1999, Senate Republicans rejected the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty on the grounds that it wasn't verifiable. The National Academy of Sciences feels this is no longer true, due to new technology. Quoting: 'Technologies for detecting clandestine testing in four environments — underground, underwater, in the atmosphere, and in space — have improved significantly in the past decade. In particular, seismology, the most effective approach for monitoring underground nuclear explosion testing, can now detect underground explosions well below 1 kiloton in most regions. A kiloton is equivalent to 1,000 tons of chemical high explosive. The nuclear weapons that were used in Japan in World War II had yields in the range of 10 to 20 kilotons.'"
An anonymous reader writes "As congressmen in Washington consider how to handle the ongoing issue of cyberattacks, some legislators have lent their support to a new act that, if passed, would let the government pry into the personal correspondence of anyone of their choosing. This is SOPA being passed in smaller chunks... 'H.R. 3523, a piece of legislation dubbed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (or CISPA for short) has vague definitions that could allow Congress to circumvent existing exemptions to online privacy laws and essentially monitor, censor and stop any online communication that it considers disruptive to the government or private parties.'"
First time accepted submitter samazon writes "According to a recently proposed abstract by the United States Geological Survey, hydraulic fracturing, or more specifically the disposal of fracking wastewater, may be directly correlated to the increase in seismic activity in the midwest. Results of the paper will be presented on April 18th, but the language of the abstract seems to imply that there is a connection. After years of controversy regarding hydrofracking including ground water contamination and disclosure of chemical solutions, the results of the study, if conclusive, could influence the cost of natural gas due to increased regulations on wastewater disposal." The actual language of the abstract leaves a fair amount of wiggle room: "While the seismicity rate changes described here are almost certainly manmade, it remains to be determined how they are related to either changes in extraction methodologies or the rate of oil and gas production."
New submitter si622test1 writes "A judge has determined that the ex-astronaut-turned-politician who was sued by California Republicans for putting 'astronaut' as his occupation while running for Congress will be allowed to do so, saying that Hernandez is an astronaut for 'more than the time spent riding a rocket.'"
surewouldoutlaw writes "On the heels of the news that the Chevy Volt had a record month, selling 2,289 units in March, the Detroit-Hamtramck plant where the car is made will be resuming production of the car one week early, reducing a five-week shutdown to just four weeks, the United Auto Workers union said Tuesday. The shutdown had been put in place to re-align supply with demand. Volt workers have also begun to lash out at Republican presidential candidates' criticisms of the car: 'They're attacking our car to get at the President...But our car is going to change the way America does business. It's a breath of fresh air.'"
NIK282000 writes "Ontario farmers rallied in downtown Toronto to protest the subsidization of wind turbines. Several of the protesters stated that they fear for the the health of their families and that they refuse to live near wind turbines. Others fear that the value of their property will be reduced significantly by the presence of turbines. With the cost of gas and oil on its way up it's a wonder that any one would be against the use of renewable energy sources."
New submitter CAPSLOCK2000 writes "The Dutch Pirateparty has refused an order from BREIN to take down a proxy to The Pirate Bay. Last month BREIN (the distribution-industries paralegal outfit) forced a number of ISPs to block The Pirate Bay; the first site ever blocked in the Netherlands. Immediately people started using proxies at other ISPs to get to TPB. BREIN then threatened a number of those proxies with legal action. As most of these are run by hobbyists without legal or financial means there was little resistance. Now the Dutch Pirateparty has decided to stand up to the intimidation and refuses to take down its proxy. Today they sent their response in style: by uploading it to The Pirate Bay. In translation: 'The Pirateparty disputes your claim and will not comply with your request.'" Via Torrentfreak, Pirate Party chairman Dirk Poot: "There are a plethora of proxy sites on the internet. On almost any them TPB can by reached, even with a single URL. That's not even mentioning the ways you can get to TPB if you're willing to put in more effort than saving a single URL. If this keeps going there will be no Internet left by the time BREIN has achieved its goal of making TPB inaccessible. ... In their self-righteous zealousness they have brought substantial damage to the free and open Internet."
An anonymous reader writes "The Wisconsin School of Business is running a prediction market study on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on the Healthcare Reform Act. By participating you will not only be helping university students, you will also get to express your opinion and compete with others to show that you have the most accurate prediction."
A fight over posting calorie counts for popcorn is just one example of the clash between the White House and the agency charged with protecting public health. Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, the F.D.A. commissioner, was forced to scrap plans to have calorie counts posted for foods served in movie theaters and on airplanes after a phone call from the White House deputy chief of staff in 2010. From the article: "White House officials describe their disagreements with the F.D.A. as part of the normal, constructive give-and-take over policy that has never undermined the agency’s mission. 'Under President Obama’s leadership, the Food and Drug Administration has new authority and resources to help stop kids from smoking, protect our food supply and approve more affordable prescription drugs,' said the White House press secretary, Jay Carney. The administration also views the agency’s hostility to its oversight as hopelessly naïve, given a 24-hour news cycle and a ferocious political environment that punishes any misstep. 'They want a world that doesn’t exist anymore,' an administration official said."
dotarray writes "The introduction of an R18+ rating for video games into Australia has been designed to bring game classification in line with the current system in place for films and other media. One state, however, would like to widen that gap." This is being billed (by John Rau's office) as a saner approach than eliminating the MA15+ rating entirely.