mikejuk writes "The problem to be solved sounds trivial — cut up a cake so that each person thinks they get a fair share. This classical problem gets even more difficult if the 'players' can't all see what is going on at the same time — for example because they are negotiating via the internet. Now there is an asynchronous algorithm that is guaranteed to be fair and it all depends on using an encrypted auction. The new algorithm is simple and easy to use, and might be the solution to any number of difficult situations where people need to share things so that everyone comes away happy."
Fluffeh writes "Richard Bell, an Australian Film Maker, on a fellowship in New York, produced and directed approximately 18 hours of raw footage for a film with the help of an assistant called Tanya Steele and paid her for these services. Ms Steele, through her American lawyers, sent letters to Mr Bell and his agent claiming that she owned the copyright in the footage and demanding that the trailer be removed from the Internet. She also caused the Vimeo website to remove the trailer. In response, Bell went to the (Australian) courts, which declared him the owner of the copyright in the film, and deemed Steele's threats "unjustifiable". Bell then asked for damages. These were granted in the latest judgment because Bell had lost the opportunity to sell some of his works, which typically cost tens of thousands of dollars, as a result of Steels' threats. The Australian judge awarded over $150,000 in damages plus another $23,000 costs against her."
A week ago, we posted news of the delay that the Raspberry Pi Foundation faced because of a requirement that their boards be tested to comply with EU regulations. Now, the word is in, and the Raspberry Pi passed those tests without needing any modifications. From their post describing the ordeal: "The Raspberry Pi had to pass radiated and conducted emissions and immunity tests in a variety of configurations (a single run can take hours), and was subjected to electrostatic discharge (ESD) testing to establish its robustness to being rubbed on a cat. It’s a long process, involving a scary padded room full of blue cones, turntables that rise and fall on demand, and a thing that looks a lot like a television aerial crossed with Cthulhu."
The Bad Astronomer writes "HD 10180 is a near-twin of the Sun about 130 light years away. It's known to have at least six planets orbiting it, but a new analysis of the data shows clear indications of three more, for a total of nine! This means HD 10180 has more planets than our solar system. And whether you think Pluto is a planet or not, all nine of these aliens worlds have masses larger than Earth's, putting them firmly in the 'planet' category."
theodp writes "On April Fools' Day, Google joked it was partnering with NASCAR on self-driving cars. Google Racing, the search giant joshed, had its roots in Project Caddy, which demonstrated the viability of self-driving golf carts. And in the future, Google added tongue-in-cheek, your kids will travel unattended in driverless-car car pools. Funny stuff, huh? Only thing is, GeekWire reports the USPTO disclosed Thursday that Google actually has a patent pending for driverless golf carts, as well as cars that can autonomously pick up kids from school and be switched into 'sport mode,' where 'the vehicle may navigate through turns at the maximum speed that is safe.' In addition to cars, trucks and golf carts, Google's patent application calls dibs on autonomous busses, boats, airplanes, helicopters, lawnmowers, recreational vehicles, amusement park vehicles, trams, trains, and trolleys. Google also describes how its invention will enable autonomous police cars to conduct high speed chases and give law enforcement vehicles 'a limited amount of control over nearby vehicles.' So, is the patent application legit, or did Google team up with the USPTO on a belated April Fools' goof?"
Karel Zak started a fork of Mutt back in January to integrate features the upstream authors deemed too radical, and today released the first status update. So far implemented is native notmuch support (inspired by Sup) which adds fast search, tagging, and virtual folders from notmuch queries. Unlike the current hackish solutions, all of these are available as native mutt commands and can be used in your muttrc. Additionally, patches from Debian and other distributions will be integrated. Source is over at Github, and a few screenshots are on their wiki.
New submitter SolKeshNaranek writes "After Anonymous hacked hundreds of Chinese government, company, and other general websites, China has acknowledged the attacks. Meanwhile, Anonymous China has not stopped its onslaught. 'A few targets have had their administrator accounts, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses posted publicly. Last but not least, on many of the hacked sites, the group even posted tips for how to circumvent the Great Firewall of China. While Anonymous was not specifically mentioned, it's obvious what China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs was referring to during a briefing on Thursday, given the events during the last week.'"
LilaG writes with a paragraph from Chemical & Engineering news: "Chemists in China have precisely grown arrays of ultrathin flakes of bismuth selenide and bismuth telluride on a surface. The bismuth compounds belong to a recently discovered – and weird — class of materials called topological insulators, which conduct electrons only along their surfaces, not through their insides. Researchers think topological insulators promise a new realm of fast, energy-efficient electronic and spintronic devices. Making well-defined nanoparticle arrays such as the new study's flakes is a key step towards such devices."
An anonymous reader writes "The battle between angry fans and BioWare has been raging since the game's release over several issues, with the biggest being the disappointing ending. BioWare have stuck to their guns and stated that they won't make a new ending, but will release free DLC to add clarity to the existing ones."
silentbrad writes "As announced last month, Notch — creator of Minecraft — is working on a sandbox space game (no, not the Mars Effect April Fools joke, though it's similar). "The game [0x10c] is still extremely early in development, but like we did with Minecraft, we expect to release it early and let the players help me shape the game as it grows. The cost of the game is still undecided, but it's likely there will be a monthly fee for joining the Multiverse as we are going to emulate all computers and physics even when players aren't logged in. Single player won't have any recurring fees. ... The computer in the game is a fully functioning emulated 16 bit CPU that can be used to control your entire ship, or just to play games on while waiting for a large mining operation to finish. Full specifications of the CPU will be released shortly, so the more programatically advanced of you can get a head start.""
New submitter artciousc writes with news that Amazon is dodging taxes in the UK. From the article: "Regulatory filings by parent company Amazon.com with the U.S. securities and exchange commission show the tax inquiry into the UK operation, which sells nearly one in four books sold in Britain, focuses on a period when ownership of the British business was transferred to a Luxembourg company." Clever trick there: "The UK operation avoids tax as the ownership of the main Amazon.co.uk business was transferred to a Luxembourg company in 2006. The UK business is now owned by Amazon EU Sarl and the UK operation is classed only as an 'order fulfilment' business." The HMRC is investigating the legality.
An anonymous reader writes, quoting Network World: "As with any platform that sees a meteoric rise in popularity, it's only a matter of time before spammers throw their hats in the ring and try and exploit the masses for financial gain and other sinister purposes. As the relatively new kid on the block, Twitter is still busying itself trying to tackle and ultimately prevent spammers from destroying the user experience. While Twitter's previous efforts centered exclusively on engineering-based solutions, the company today announced that they are also pursuing legal avenues to fend off spammers." From the Twitter blog: "With this suit, we’re going straight to the source. By shutting down tool providers, we will prevent other spammers from having these services at their disposal. Further, we hope the suit acts as a deterrent to other spammers, demonstrating the strength of our commitment to keep them off Twitter."
badger.foo writes "Remember the glacially slow Hail Mary Cloud SSH bruteforcers? They're doing speedup tweaks and are preparing a comeback, some preliminary data reported by Peter Hansteen appear to indicate. The optimum rate of connections seems to be 1 per ten seconds, smack in the middle of the 'probably human' interval."
New submitter PhxBeau writes with news of a particularly sane judge in a copyright case. Quoting TorrentFreak: "In yet another mass lawsuit against alleged file-sharers, a California court has said that while it's sympathetic towards the plight of the copyright holder, it will not assist in the identification of BitTorrent users. It's a shame technology that enables infringement has outpaced technology that prevents it, the judge wrote, but added that his court won't work with copyright holders who pursue settlement programs with no intention to litigate." The core issue is that an IP does not identify more than the bill-payer — the good cause standard therefore is not met because the actual infringer is not identified.