ananyo writes "Hungary's Medical Research Council (ETT), which advises the government on health policy, has asked public prosecutors to investigate a genetic-diagnostic company that certified that a member of parliament did not have Roma or Jewish heritage. The MP in question is a member of the far-right Jobbik party, which won 17% of the votes in the general election of April 2010. He apparently requested the certificate from the firm Nagy Gén Diagnostic and Research. The company produced the document in September 2010, a few weeks before local elections. Nagy Gén scanned 18 positions in the MP's genome for variants that it says are characteristic of Roma and Jewish ethnic groups; its report concludes that Roma and Jewish ancestry can be ruled out." Adds ananyo: "The test is of-course nonsense, and notions of 'racial purity' have long been discredited." Just when you think the world is too modern for such things, modernity gets hijacked by flim-flam.
Have you ever wondered what a game of Civilization 2 would look like after running for 10 years? According to one gamer it's a "hellish nightmare of suffering and devastation." "Lycerius" says that he's been playing the same game of Civ II off and on for over a decade. Some highlights of the marathon session include: 1700 years of war, the ice caps melting over 20 times, constant guerrilla uprisings, and "Roughly 90% of the world's population has died either from nuclear annihilation or famine caused by the global warming that has left absolutely zero arable land to farm." It's too bad you can't build the Hanging Gardens more than once.
Rick Zeman writes "According to the normally geek-friendly online store Newegg , installing Linux Mint is tantamount to breaking your new Lenovo laptop. Is it the purchaser's fault for not restoring the laptop to its original state of Windows-y goodness, or is NewEgg being too dogmatic trying to enforce a term that doesn't seem to exist?"
Last week you got a chance to ask the team behind Space Command about their project and all things sci-fi. Marc Zicree, Doug Drexler, David Raiklen, and Neil Johnson were nice enough to put down the blasters and answer a handful of your best questions. David even answered one of his own! Read below to see what they had to say.
concertina226 writes with this news snipped from Techworld UK: "Websites such as Facebook and Twitter could be forced to unmask so-called internet trolls, under new government proposals in the Defamation Bill. The move comes after a British woman won a landmark case to force Facebook to reveal the identities of internet trolls. On 30 May, Nicola Brookes from Brighton was granted a High Court order after receiving 'vicious and depraved' taunts on Facebook. The bill, which is being debated in the House of Commons [Tuesday], will allow victims of online abuse to discover the identity of their persecutors and bring a case against them. The move also aims to protect websites from threats of litigation for inadvertently displaying defamatory comments."
An anonymous reader writes "IEEE has published an English translation of the 1970 essay in which Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori introduced the now-famous concept of the Uncanny Valley. The original essay was in Japanese, and IEEE says this is the first publication of a translation authorized and reviewed by Mori. They also have an interview with Mori, who still thinks that robot designers should not attempt to 'cross' the Uncanny Valley."
Hugh Pickens writes "Garance Franke-Ruta writes about a new study of racially charged search terms on Google that aims to predict the effects of the Bradley effect, a theory proposed to explain observed discrepancies between voter opinion polls and election outcomes in some U.S. elections where a white candidate and a non-white candidate run against each other. 'How much we are under-representing people who are intolerant and therefore unlikely to vote for Obama is an open question,' says Andrew Kohut, the president of Pew Research Center. 'I suspect not a great deal, but maybe some. And "maybe some" could be crucial in a tight election.' The study found that the percentage of an area's total Google searches from 2004-2007 that included the racially charged search for the word 'n****r' is a is a large and robust negative predictor of Obama's vote share. 'A one standard deviation increase in an area's racially charged search is associated with a 1.5 percentage point decrease in Obama's vote share, controlling for John Kerry's vote share,' writes Stephens-Davidowitz in the study. The results imply that, relative to the most racially tolerant areas in the United States, prejudice cost Obama between 3.1 percentage points and 5.0 percentage points (PDF) of the national popular vote in the 2008 election. This implies racial animus gave Obama's opponent roughly the equivalent of a home-state advantage, country-wide."
An anonymous reader writes "Funny as it might sound, FunnyJunk's threat of litigation against The Oatmeal raises a very important issue: the extent to which artists can complain in public about perceived or actual infringement of their works by user-generated content websites. Does it matter if the content creator accused the website of condoning or participating in the infringement?" The short story is this: Numerous Oatmeal comics were posted without permission to FunnyJunk; Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman lambasted FunnyJunk in the form of a blog post. FunnyJunk responded with a suit (or rather the threat of a suit) accusing Inman of willful defamation, unless he ponies up $20,000, which he doesn't plan to do.
hessian writes "Attention, busy middle-aged folks. You may be healthy and thin, but if you habitually sleep less than six hours a night, you still could be boosting your risk of a stroke. That's the surprising conclusion of a new study being presented Monday at SLEEP 2012, the annual meeting of the nation's sleep experts."
New submitter Migala77 writes "Now that the third round for Google Code Jam is finished and only 25 contestants are left, we can look at which nationalities performed well and which didn't. Code Jam contestant foxlit has the stats, and some interesting things can be seen. Although there were over 3000 contestants from India in the qualification round (17% of the total) , only 3 of those managed to reach the third round (0.7% of the round 3 contestants) . This in contrast to Russia with 77 out of 747, and Belarus with 13 out of 114 reaching the third round. The U.S. performed somewhat below average too, with only 25 out of 2166 contestants making it to the third round."
CowboyRobot writes with news on the FY2013 allocation of H-1B visas. From the article: "As of June 1, the government had issued 55,600 standard H-1B visas out of the annual allotment of 65,000, according to United States Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS). The feds also issued 18,700 H-1B visas reserved for graduates of advanced degree programs in the U.S., out of 20,000. " CowboyRobot continues, "Last year work visas did not run out until late November, but this year the pool of visas is almost entirely claimed and it's still only June. One interpretation of this is that the tech industry is hiring much more actively than it was a year ago. Some companies, such as Microsoft, have been lobbying to increase the number of available visas (currently limited to 65,000) while others argue that offering visas to foreign workers reduces job prospects for Americans." A bit more from the article: "Industry lobby group Partnership for A New American Economy last month released a study that claims the U.S. will face a shortage of 224,000 tech workers by 2018 unless immigration rules are loosened."
angry tapir writes "ICANN has been subjected to more criticism over the process of creating new 'dot.word' generic top-level domains. Registry services companies have criticised ICANN for processing the 1900 or so applications for new gTLDs in batches, which means that it will take significantly longer for some new domains to go live than others. The real kicker is the process for choosing who goes in which batch: 'Digital archery' — essentially an applicant nominates a particular time then tries to click a button in a browser as close to that time as possible. I should have taken advantage of all those 'punch the monkey' ads in the good ol' days."
sciencehabit writes "As we age, the core of our biological being — the sequence of our DNA, which makes up our genes — remains the same. Yet recent research suggests that more subtle chemical changes to our DNA occur as we age. Now, a comparison of the DNA of a newborn baby with that of a centenarian shows that the scope of these changes can be dramatic, and they may help explain why our risk of cancer and other diseases increases as we get older."
judgecorp writes "The UN telecoms body, ITU, is busy writing new regulations for international telecoms — and European service providers, through their body ETNO have urged ITU to enshrine a two-tier Internet by defining a right for service providers to charge more for end-to-end quality of service, as opposed to best efforts connection. The two-tier Internet is opposed by Net Neutrality advocates, and has been outlawed in the Netherlands."
v3rgEz writes "Documents released by the FBI provide an unusual inside look at how the agency is struggling to penetrate 'darknet' Onion sites routed through Tor, the online privacy tool funded in part by government grants to help global activists. In this case, agents were unable to pursue specific leads about an easily available child pornography site, while files withheld indicate that the FBI has ongoing investigations tied to the Silk Road marketplace, a popular, anonymous Tor site for buying and selling drugs and other illegal materials." Sounds similar to the problems that plagued freenet.