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Wikipedia

German Wikipedia Has Problems With Paid Editing — and Threats of Violence 55

Posted by timothy
from the next-time-we-leave-the-rest-of-the-horse dept.
metasonix (650947) writes "As German journalist Marvin Oppong learned recently, there are a number of people who work to make articles about certain corporations and trade groups on German Wikipedia 'look better.' And when Oppong published his discoveries, one reaction was an openly violent threat, aimed at him, posted on de-WP's 'Kurier' noticeboard. Just as with English Wikipedia, it is apparently a 'terrible crime' to criticize German Wikipedia, even when Jimbo Wales's 'bright line' rule on paid editing is being violated. Unlike English WP, the Germans will threaten to 'curbstone' people for saying it."
EU

European Court of Justice Strikes Down Data Retention Law 77

Posted by timothy
from the wish-the-u.s.-would-one-up-'em dept.
New submitter nachtkap (951646) writes with some good news, as reported by the BBC: "The EU's top court has declared 'invalid' an EU law requiring telecoms firms to store citizens' communications data for up to two years. The EU Data Retention Directive was adopted in 2006. The European Court of Justice says it violates two basic rights — respect for private life, and protection of personal data. Germany's supreme court did call on the ECJ to look into this issue as well."
EU

EU Should Switch To ODF Standard, Says MEP 111

Posted by timothy
from the so-should-the-u.s. dept.
DTentilhao (3484023) writes "The European institutions should switch to using the Open Document Format (ODF) as their internal default document format, says Member of the European Parliament Indrek Tarand. Speaking at a meeting of the European Parliament's Free Software User Group (Epfsug), last week Wednesday, MEP Tarand said: 'Moving to ODF would allow real innovation, and real procurement.'"
Biotech

Single-Celled Organism Converted Into Electronic Oscillator For Bio-Computing 34

Posted by timothy
from the your-slurm-is-thinking dept.
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "The single-celled organism slime mold, or Physarum polycephalum, is an extraordinary creature. It explores its world by extending protoplasmic tubes into its surroundings in search of food and it does this rather well. Various researchers have exploited this process to show how Physarum can find optimal routes between different places and even solve mazes. Now one researcher has worked out how to use these protoplasmic tubes as clock-like electronic oscillators. His experiment was straightforward. He encouraged the growth of protoplasmic tubes between two blobs of agar sitting on electrical contacts. He then measured the resistance of the tubes at various voltages. This turns out to be about 6 megaohms. But the results show something else too: that the resistance oscillates over a period of about 73 seconds. That's due to the tubes contracting as waves of calcium ions pass through them. So altering the period of oscillation should be possible by influencing the production of calcium ions, perhaps using light or biochemistry. Electronic oscillators are significant because they are basic drivers of almost all active electronic devices. But this guy's goal is bigger than this. The plan is to grow a "Physarum chip" that acts as a general purpose computer, a device that will need some kind of oscillator or clock to co-ordinate activity, just as in an ordinary processor, although speed will not be its chief characteristic."
Communications

European Parliament Votes For Net Neutrality, Forbids Mobile Roaming Costs 148

Posted by timothy
from the everything-not-expressly-permitted dept.
First time accepted submitter TBerben (1061176) writes "The European Parliament has voted to accept the telecommunications reform bill. This bill simultaneously forbids mobile providers from charging roaming costs as of December 15, 2015 and guarantees net neutrality. Previous versions of the bill contained a much weaker definition of net neutrality, offering exemptions for 'specialized services,' but this was superseded in an amendment (original link, in Dutch) submitted by Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake (liberal fraction). Note that the legislation is not yet definitive: the Council of Ministers still has the deciding vote, but they are expected to follow the EP's vote."
Earth

Famous Paintings Help Study the Earth's Past Atmosphere 126

Posted by samzenpus
from the color-of-things dept.
houghi (78078) writes "From European Geosciences Union: 'A team of Greek and German researchers has shown that the colours of sunsets painted by famous artists can be used to estimate pollution levels in the Earth's past atmosphere. In particular, the paintings reveal that ash and gas released during major volcanic eruptions scatter the different colours of sunlight, making sunsets appear more red.' The original paper can be found here. In the last 150 years, the sunsets have become redder, likely reflecting increased man-made pollution."
Privacy

Privacy Advocates Seek Regulation of Surveillance Tech Exports 16

Posted by Soulskill
from the weapons-of-mass-inspection dept.
Trailrunner7 writes: "The long shadow cast by the use of surveillance technology and so-called lawful intercept tools has spread across much of the globe and has sparked a renewed push in some quarters for restrictions on the export of these systems. Politicians and policy analysts, discussing the issue in a panel Monday, said that there is room for sensible regulation without repeating the mistakes of the Crypto Wars of the 1990s. 'There's virtually no accountability or transparency, while he technologies are getting faster, smaller and cheaper,' Marietje Schaake, a Dutch member of the European Parliament, said during a panel discussion put on by the New America Foundation. 'We're often accused of over-regulating everything, so it's ironic that there's no regulation here. And the reason is that the member states [of the EU] are major players in this. The incentives to regulate are hampered by the incentives to purchase. There has been a lot of skepticism about how to regulate and it's very difficult to get it right. There are traumas from the Crypto Wars. Many of these companies are modern-day arms dealers. The status quo is unacceptable and criticizing every proposed regulation isn't moving us forward.'"
Data Storage

EU Project Aims To Switch Data Centers To Second Hand Car Batteries 87

Posted by samzenpus
from the jump-starting-data dept.
judgecorp writes "A €2.9 million European Commission funded project aims to make data centers more efficient, and one of its ideas is to use second hand car batteries to power data centers. The GreenDataNet consortium includes Nissan, which predicts a glut of still-usable second hand car batteries in around 15 years, when the cars start to wear out. Gathered into large units, these could store enough power to help with the big problem of the electricity grid — the mismatch between local renewable generation cycles and the peaks of demand for power."
Privacy

Hungarian Law Says Photogs Must Ask Permission To Take Pictures 149

Posted by timothy
from the ok-mom-stop-running-away dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Those planning a weekend break in Budapest take note. From 15 March anyone taking photographs in Hungary is technically breaking the law if someone wanders into shot, under a new civil code that outlaws taking pictures without the permission of everyone in the photograph. According to the justice ministry, people taking pictures should look out for those 'who are not waving, or who are trying to hide or running out of shot.' Officials say expanding the law on consent to include the taking of photographs, in addition to their publication, merely codifies existing court practice. However, Hungary's photographers call the law vague and obstructive, saying it has left the country of Joseph Pulitzer and photography legend Robert Capa out of step with Europe."
Cellphones

EU Votes For Universal Phone Charger 358

Posted by Soulskill
from the guilty-as-charged dept.
SmartAboutThings writes "The European Union has voted in favor of a draft legislation which lists among the 'essential requirements' of electrical devices approved by the EU a compatibility with 'universal' chargers. According to a German MEP, this move will eliminate 51,000 tonnes of electronic waste. The draft law was approved by an overwhelming majority: 550 votes to 12. At the moment, according to estimates, there are around 30 different types of charger on the market, but manufacturers have two years at their disposal to get ready for the new restriction."
Censorship

Youtube and Facebook May Be Banned In Turkey, Again 57

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the cat-videos-considered-subversive dept.
Taco Cowboy writes "Istanbul (dpa) — Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is considering banning YouTube and Facebook after local elections at the end of this month, according to remarks carried by local media Friday. It may, or may not be related to the criticisms arising from (not-yet verified) leaked recordings of Mr. Erdogan's involvement with corruption. 'We will not let YouTube and Facebook destroy our nation. We will take measures, including closure,' said Erdogan, who has previously made comments against social media sites. YouTube had been banned in the country for two years and was recently unblocked."
The Military

WikiLeaks Cables Foreshadow Russian Instigation of Ukrainian Military Action 479

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-only-anybody-had-bothered-to-read-them dept.
Now that Russia has sent troops to seize the Crimean Peninsula, international politics are tense and frantic. An anonymous reader notes an article from Joshua Keating at Slate, which points out that some of the diplomatic cables on WikiLeaks illustrate how this situation is not at all unexpected. Quoting a cable from October, 2009: "... pro-Russian forces in Crimea, acting with funding and direction from Moscow, have systematically attempted to increase communal tensions in Crimea in the two years since the Orange Revolution. They have done so by cynically fanning ethnic Russian chauvinism towards Crimean Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians, through manipulation of issues like the status of the Russian language, NATO, and an alleged Tatar threat to 'Slavs,' in a deliberate effort to destabilize Crimea, weaken Ukraine, and prevent Ukraine's movement west into institutions like NATO and the EU." The article points out another cable from a few days later, which was titled, "Ukraine-Russia: Is Military Conflict No Longer Unthinkable?"
Businesses

Study: Half of In-App Purchases Come From Only 0.15% of Players 144

Posted by Soulskill
from the pay-5-slashbucks-to-continue-reading-this-summary dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Have you ever seen a goofy microtransaction for a mobile game you play and wondered, 'Does anyone actually buy that junk?' As it turns out, few players actually do. A new study found that only 1.5% of players actually spend money on in-app purchases. Of those who do, more than 50% of the money is spent by the top 10%. 'Some game companies talk openly about the fact that they have whales, but others shy away from discussing them publicly. It costs money to develop and keep a game running, just like those fancy decorations and free drinks at a casino; whales, like gambling addicts, subsidize fun for everyone else.' Eric Johnson at Re/code says he talked to a game company who actually assigned an employee to one particular player who dropped $10,000 every month on in-app purchases." Meanwhile, in-app purchases have come to the attention of the European Commission, and they'll be discussing a set of standards for consumer rights at upcoming meetings. They say, 'Games advertised as "free" should not mislead consumers about the true costs involved.'
Open Source

'Write the Docs' is a Conference for People Who Write Software Docs (Video) 24

Posted by Roblimo
from the documentation-makes-software-more-usable dept.
There is this guy, Eric Holscher, who has been doing FOSS development for quite a while. He's been on GitHub since 2008, and got involved in Gittip not long after it started in 2012. Not long after that, Eric started thinking about how open source software developers have all kinds of conferences and have many communities they can join and learn from each other, while those who write documentation, especially for FOSS, typically work all alone in a vacuum.

So why not have a conference for documentation writers (and developers who want to hook up with writers who can help them make high-quality docs)? Don't limit it to FOSS, but make sure that's the emphasis. Call the conference 'Write the Docs' and have the first conference in Portland, Oregon, in 2013. Which is exactly what Eric did. A year later, a second 'Write the Docs' conference is scheduled in Budapest (Hungary) at the end of March, and the next Portland conference is set for May 5.
Censorship

South Park Game Censored On Consoles Outside North America 221

Posted by timothy
from the some-people-just-hate-speech dept.
RogueyWon writes "South Park has long been vocal in its opposition to media censorship from any source, launching scathing attacks on everything from 'think of the children' moral crusades to the censorship of religious imagery. In a curious twist, therefore, Ubisoft, the publisher of the upcoming video game South Park: The Stick of Truth, has decided to censor certain scenes from the game's Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions from release in Europe, Australia, the Middle East and Africa. American versions, as well as the European PC release, so far appear to have escaped the censor's pen."
Space

European Space Agency Picks Plato Planet-hunting Mission 32

Posted by timothy
from the in-space-they-don't-mind-if-you-look dept.
kc123 writes "A telescope to find worlds around other stars has been selected for launch by the European Space Agency's Science Policy Committee. Known as Plato (Planetary Transits and Oscillations of stars), the mission should launch on a Soyuz rocket in 2024. The Plato space telescope will prepare the way for scientists searching for alien life by locating the first genuinely Earth-like exoplanets orbiting nearby stars. It will break new ground in astronomy by using a "bug eye" array of 34 individual telescopes. The intention is for this array to sweep about half the sky, to investigate some of its brightest and nearest stars."
The Internet

German Chancellor Proposes European Communications Network 197

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-internets-need-borders dept.
An anonymous reader sends word that German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to build a European communication network to keep data transmission away from the United States. She plans to discuss the issue with French President Francois Hollande. "Merkel said in her weekly podcast that she disapproved of companies such as Google and Facebook basing their operations in countries with low levels of data protection while being active in countries such as Germany with high data protection. 'We'll talk with France about how we can maintain a high level of data protection,' Merkel said. 'Above all, we'll talk about European providers that offer security for our citizens, so that one shouldn't have to send emails and other information across the Atlantic. Rather, one could build up a communication network inside Europe.' Hollande's office confirmed that the governments had been discussing the matter and said Paris agreed with Berlin's proposals."
Google

Google Publishes Commitments It Made To Settle EU Antitrust Case 8

Posted by Soulskill
from the keep-your-nose-clean dept.
itwbennett writes "Google has done what the European Commission declined to do: publish the details of the latest commitments Google made in a bid to settle a long-running antitrust case involving its treatment of rival specialist search services, among other matters. On the company's European policy blog, Google's senior vice president and general counsel, Kent Walker, announced the publication of what he called the 'full text' (PDF) of the company's commitments. In fact, the 93-page document contains a number of redactions, including details of a parameter used to rank search results, the identities of two companies with customized contracts for Adsense For Search, and a proposal for modification of those contracts to comply with the other commitments."
EU

EU Parliament Rejects Asylum For Snowden 88

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-don't-have-to-go-home-but-you-can't-stay-here dept.
cold fjord writes "Euronews reports, 'MEPs have rejected a demand from the European Green Party that urged EU governments to grant asylum to whistleblower Edward Snowden. The move came during the adoption of a European Parliament committee inquiry into the NSA spying scandal. As Claude Moraes, a centre-left British parliamentarian, explains, member states have the final say over who they allow to remain inside their borders. "The European Union does not have the power to grant asylum as the European Union, so this is something for individual member states," he told euronews. "And the issue of asylum within this report therefore does not become a relevant issue for the European Union."'"
The Courts

Hyperlinking Is Not Copyright Infringement, EU Court Rules 97

Posted by timothy
from the just-to-be-safe-please-type-the-link-yourself dept.
Freshly Exhumed writes "Does publishing a hyperlink to freely available content amount to an illegal communication to the public and therefore a breach of creator's copyrights under European law? After examining a case referred to it by Sweden's Court of Appeal, the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled today that no, it does not. The Court found that 'In the circumstances of this case, it must be observed that making available the works concerned by means of a clickable link, such as that in the main proceedings, does not lead to the works in question being communicated to a new public.'" Reader Bart Smit points to the court's ruling.

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