ktetch-pirate writes "Five years to the day after he created the first Pirate Party, Rickard Falkvinge has stepped down as leader of Piratpartiet, the Swedish Pirate Party. The announcement was made in a webcast with Falkvinge and his deputy Anna Troberg, with Troberg taking on his duties effective immediately."
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hackingbear writes "In an interview published in Sina.com.cn, Chinese rail engineers gave a detailed account of the history, motivation, and technologies behind the Chinese high-speed rail system. More interestingly, they blatantly revealed the strategies and tactics used in acquiring high-speed rail tech from foreign companies (Google translation of Chinese original). At the beginning, China developed its own high-speed rail system known as the Chinese Star, which achieved a test speed of 320km/h; but the system was not considered reliable or stable enough for operation. So China decided to import the technologies. The leaders instructed, 'The goal of the project is to boost our economy, not theirs.' A key strategy employed is divide-and-conquer: by dividing up the technologies of the system and importing multiple different technologies across different companies, it ensures no single country or company has total control. 'What we do is to exchange market for technologies. The negotiation was led by the Ministry of Railway [against industry alliances of the exporting countries]. This uniform executive power gave China huge advantage in negotiations,' said Wu Junrong, 'If we don't give in, they have no choice. They all want a piece of our huge high speed rail project.' For example, [Chinese locomotive train] CRH2 is based on Japanese tech, CRH3 on German tech, and CRH5 on French tech, all retrofit for Chinese rail standards. Another strategy is buy-to-build. The first three trains were imported as a whole; the second three were assembled with imported parts; subsequent trains contain more and more Chinese made parts."
An anonymous reader writes "PC Magazine reports on a very understated late night post to the full-disclosure mailing list, in which security researcher Michael Zalewski shared a fuzzing tool reportedly capable of identifying over a hundred browser bugs. Some of these bugs, he says, may be already known to third parties in China. The report also includes an account of how browser vendors fared fixing these flaws so far. Not surprisingly, Microsoft's response timeline appears depressing."
theodp writes "Reports from Engadget and others suggest that Tiger Woods and Brett Favre might want to avoid Android for the time being. It seems Android's default text messaging app still has horrible text messaging bugs that can that intermittently send texts to the wrong person. 'This is ticking me off like no other technology glitch that I experienced in recent years,' reads one unhappy camper's post on a lengthy Help Forum thread opened on March 16th. 'If a bank deposited my paycheck into another person's account I wouldn't stress so much cause I can always get the money back. How the hell do you take words back? "Oh sorry boss you had to find out that I think you're an idiot, can I still keep my job, please please please?"' Over at Google Code, Issue 9392 — SMS are intermittently sent to wrong and seemingly random contact — carries a priority of 'Medium,' even though it has 600+ comments and has been starred by 3,600+ people."
An anonymous reader writes "Hungary is set to regulate the media, including web-published content, under a new law applicable today. The law requires all the media to provide a 'balanced view' and must not go against 'public morality,' and places all publications under the control of a new regulating body, whose top members have all been nominated by Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Orban, whose strong ways have been compared to Putin's, has been tightening his grip over Hungary. 'In the seven months since Orban came to power with a two-thirds parliamentary majority, he has implemented retroactive taxes in violation of the constitution, curbed the Constitutional Court's power, effectively nationalized private pension funds and put ruling-party allies in charge of at least four independent institutions, including the audit office.' Citizens sentenced in application of the new law can still challenge it at the European Court of Human Rights — see you in a few years."
Harperdog sends this excerpt from Miller-McCune: "A study (abstract) of eight industrialized countries, including the United States, shows that seemingly inexorable trends — ever more people, more cars and more driving — came to a halt in the early years of the 21st century, well before the recent escalation in fuel prices. It could be a sign, researchers said, that the demand for travel and the demand for car ownership in those countries has reached a saturation point. 'With talk of "peak oil," why not the possibility of "peak travel" when a clear plateau has been reached?' asked co-author Lee Schipper ... Most of the eight countries in the study have experienced declines in miles traveled by car per capita in recent years. The US appears to have peaked at an annual 8,100 miles by car per capita, and Japan is holding steady at 2,500 miles."
storagedude writes "Traditional databases and storage networks, even those sporting high-speed solid state drives, don't offer enough performance for the real-time analytics craze sweeping corporations, giving rise to in-memory analytics, or data mining performed in memory without the limitations of the traditional data path. The end result could be that storage and databases get pushed to the periphery of data centers and in-memory analytics becomes the new critical IT infrastructure. From the article: 'With big vendors like Microsoft and SAP buying into in-memory analytics to solve Big Data challenges, the big question for IT is what this trend will mean for the traditional data center infrastructure. Will storage, even flash drives, be needed in the future, given the requirement for real-time data analysis and current trends in design for real-time data analytics? Or will storage move from the heart of data centers and become merely a means of backup and recovery for critical real-time apps?'"
An anonymous reader writes "It appears that Ubisoft's controversial DRM scheme launched last year that required players to have a permanent connection to the Internet has been patched to no longer stop the game when connectivity drops, though an Internet connection is still required when starting the game."
An anonymous reader writes "Pro-WikiLeaks hacktivists have struck a blow against the-powers-that-be in Zimbabwe, bringing down three government websites through distributed denial-of-service attacks. The attacks appear to be in support of newspapers who published secret cables in the ongoing WikiLeaks saga, to the annoyance of the country's leadership. Grace Mugabe, wife of Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, was recently reported to be suing a newspaper for $15 million after it published a WikiLeaks cable that claimed she has benefited from illegal diamond trading. The Zimbabwe government's online portal at www.gta.gov.zw and the official ZANU-PF website continue to be offline, and the Finance Ministry's website now displays a message saying it is under maintenance."
An anonymous reader writes "From the article: 'Apple is being sued for allegedly letting mobile apps on the iPhone and iPad send personal information to ad networks without the consent of users.' Some of the apps listed are on the Android Market as well, but there is no mention of a similar problem for Google. One wonders if Apple could be persuaded to strip access to the unique phone identifiers from apps." A followup article with an industry lawyer suggests that this lawsuit could be the first of many as users push back against privacy intrusions by app developers and ad networks.
Hugh Pickens writes "BusinessWeek reports that a commentary from the New England Journal of Medicine calls on doctors to disclose when they're deprived of sleep and not perform surgery unless a patient gives written consent after being informed of their surgeon's status. 'We think that institutions have a responsibility to minimize the chances that patients are going to be cared for by sleep-deprived clinicians,' writes Dr. Michael Nurok, an anesthesiologist and intensive care physician. Research suggests that sleep deprivation impairs a person's psychomotor skills — those that require coordination and precision — as much as alcohol consumption and increases the risk of complications in patients whose surgeons failed to get much shuteye."
ColdWetDog writes "It's the end of another calendar year and time for all sorts of retrospective pieces. Instead of going back to last year or even last decade, MacWorld has a quick slide show on the The Evolution of Hard Drives which more accurately would be described as 'A Dozen Pictures of Ancient Magnetic Storage Devices.' Still and all, it might be interesting to those young'uns who think that 10 Gigabytes is small."
An anonymous reader writes "The European Commission has put into effect a June 2009 agreement stating that major cellphone manufacturers should standardize their charging/data connection ports to the popular Micro-USB format. CEN-CENELEC and ETSI provided the standards by which these 14 companies will abide to make cell phone recharging and data transfer easy." Apple may even bring the next-gen iPad along for the ride.
itwbennett writes "In an interview with German daily paper Handelsblatt, the EU's industry commissioner, Antonio Tajani, said he wants the power to block China from buying up European tech companies. Tajani envisions an authority along the same lines as the United States' Committee on Foreign Investment and would determine 'if the acquisition (of a company) with European know-how by a private or public foreign company represented a danger or not.'"
schwit1 writes "With New Year's Eve only days away, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration expects this to be one of the deadliest weeks of the year on the roads. But now a new weapon is being used in the fight against drunk driving. ... Florida is among several states now holding what are called 'no refusal' checkpoints. It means if you refuse a breath test during a traffic stop, a judge is on site, and issues a warrant that allows police to perform a mandatory blood test."