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Slashback: BlackBerry, Cloning, Smart Hotels 378

Slashback tonight brings some correction, clarifications, and updates to previous Slashdot stories, including more news from the BlackBerry case, a follow up on the South Korean Cloning pioneer, China promising a strong continuation in space exploration, a behined the scenes look at Smart Hotel technology, a change in direction for the Massachusetts OpenDocument war, and a slightly different approach to the intelligent design in schools question. Read on for the details.

BlackBerry closer to a shutdown. WebHostingGuy writes to tell us MSNBC is reporting that Research in Motion Ltd, the company who makes the BlackBerry is nearer now to a shutdown of their US mobile email service than ever due to the recent ruling handed down. From the article: "U.S. District Judge James Spencer Wednesday ruled invalid a $450 million settlement between RIM and NTP Inc., a small patent holding firm of McLean, Va., that maintains the technology behind the popular BlackBerry infringes on its patents."

Cloning pioneer admits to wrongdoing and resigns. moraes writes "The first research group to clone human embryos ran into some ethical difficulties concerning the source of the eggs - allegations were made indicating that the eggs were taken from junior research assistants. The South Korean pioneer, Hwang Woo Suk, has since resigned his official posts and apologized for lying about the sources of eggs used.."

China on the moon by 2020. IZ Reloaded writes "China will send its astronauts to the moon by 2020 according to the Deputy Commander in Chief of China's manned space flight program. Hu Shixiang said that the goal is subject to the government's funding and their ability to build a rocket with 25 tons capacity."

Behined the scenes with Cisco. molotov writes "Cisco installed the system described in the recent Slashdot article about Smart Hotel Rooms in New York City and has a great video about the technology used in a similar project for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel."

Massachusetts gives Microsoft a second chance. An anonymous reader writes "CNet is reporting that Massachusetts is considering adopting the MS Office XML format as a standard to be used to store the state's documents now that it is under review as an ECMA standard. From the article: 'The commonwealth is very pleased with Microsoft's progress in creating an open document format. If Microsoft follows through as planned, we are optimistic that Office Open XML will meet our new standards for acceptable open formats.' Microsoft still does not intend to support the OpenOffice standard." IBM also took the time to weigh in on the issue with a recent letter to Thomas Trimarco.

University sued for supporting evolution. Hikaru79 writes to tell us that two parents are suing the University of California-Berkeley based on the contents of a website aimed at educating teachers. From the article: "Jeanne and Larry Caldwell, the couple bringing the suit against the site, claim that the site delves improperly into religion. While most debates center around whether or not Intelligent Design is "religion in the classroom," the Caldwells are looking to spin it the other way."

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Slashback: BlackBerry, Cloning, Smart Hotels

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  • Blackberries? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PlayfullyClever ( 934896 ) <> on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @08:08PM (#14152256) Homepage Journal
    Because clearly, Blackberries only exist so that your bosses boss can send you an email with a sig at the bottom that says "sent from Mr. Big's Blackberry (while rolling down the hgwy in his Z4).

    But seriously, the company I work at recently yanked all blackberry devices and replaced them with Treo 600 and treo 650's.

    the fact that you dont need any "special" software to access email and has the capability of viewing doc and excel attachments was the death spike for the blackberry here at this company.

    and honestly, the treo's have much better sounding audio for phone calls than even the latest blackberry's did.
  • Stupid NTP!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by the_humeister ( 922869 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @08:08PM (#14152258)
    I don't have respect for such patent holding companies that don't produce anything but litigation. On the other hand, if RIMM loses, I hope they have the balls to pull the government services too.
  • RIM Fact or RIM FUD? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Scoria ( 264473 ) <slashmail@initialize[ ]rg ['d.o' in gap]> on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @08:08PM (#14152259) Homepage
    From the relevant Money article []:

    RIM said in a statement that it would continue efforts to get the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case. The company also reiterated that it has prepared a software upgrade that can be used to work around the disputed patents.

    Several analysts believe that RIM is likely to avoid an injunction by settling, whatever the cost. At the moment, this all certainly makes me glad that I use a Treo.
  • In soviet russia (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dr_labrat ( 15478 ) <> on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @08:11PM (#14152280) Homepage
    religion was illegal...
    ...and people on the whole preferred it that way because it stopped people messing with observable fact. Or lawyers.

    On the other hand they had salt mines...

    But then again if we were to send the lawyers to the salt mines, I think it would solve most of our problems...

    I shal call the new ideology Communiapitalism, or capitunism.

    Crawl before me, ye wealthy, or state funded rather-well-off.

  • Re:Blackberries? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @08:14PM (#14152305)
    Until the recent news we were considering replacing our Treo's with blackberries. The Treo's have proven to be too fragile for use by the sales and executive staff. Drop it once, and it usually dies. The black berries are more durable in our experience. T-Mobile is our carrier and they have told us then intend to stop selling the Treo's because they get so many broken ones returned that they are losing money!
  • Re:In soviet russia (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pembers ( 250842 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @08:30PM (#14152407) Homepage

    In Soviet Russia, they didn't have God telling them how He'd designed the world and everything in it. Instead they had Comrade Lysenko [] telling them how to increase agricultural yields through methods that sounded plausible but didn't have a hope of working. It mightn't have been so bad if he didn't have the ears of Uncle Joe and the party machinery...

  • Re:Stupid NTP!!! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by diersing ( 679767 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @08:32PM (#14152417)
    Agreed. How can the judicial branch strike something down but allow an exception for the other two branches of government whilst in the process screwing all the other users?

    Selective enforcement of a ruling is NOT justice (or so I have been told).
  • 1+1=2 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fermion ( 181285 ) on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @08:41PM (#14152483) Homepage Journal
    Most teach that 1+1=2, that phenomem require a cause, and that even if the cause is unknown, the cause is natural origin, not the arbitrary whim of supernatural being. There is a matter of faith in all this. We have faith that the laws of physics have been in effect since the t=0 that some would call the big bang, and will be in effect until such a time the universe might disintegrate. We also have faith that the laws of physics work uniformly throughout the universe. The articles of faiths are called assumptions, and are as often ubiquitous as 1+1=2.

    Science may someday become a religion. Science may sometimes hunker down behind it assumptions, basking in the booty that it's greed and prejudice has gained, arguing that others are profiting immorally while it'w own priests are sitting in palaces, wearing funny hats, eating scrumptious meals, handing down edicts, while the rest of world starves and die becuase protective devices and medicines are prohibited due to vague holy sciprt, but that has not happened yet.

    What has happened is that science has the metacognition to understand that the dangers lie in the assumptions. Scientists dare each other to prove that the constants are constant. They dare each other to come up with wilder hypothosis, and then destroy each other in the process of proving it.The holy wars are bloodless fueds posited through the journals, not barbaric spats on involving noose, or fire, or rape. The vested interests can be unseated with a simple allegation of impropriety. All work is open to public, not hidden behind doors that never see an opposing opinion.

    Now, i am not implying that all is perfect, but sciences subversion of religion is deeper than religion. if one believes in natural cause and effect, then one cannot believe that god destroyed new orleans for being a city of sin. One cannot believe that god sent AIDS to kill the infidels of sub saharan africa. One cannot believe that one or two or a few people have a holy authority to dominate the rest of the world. One cannot believe that killing people who look different of believe different from you will result in your ascent to the promised land.

    So, all this is not about evolution. Evolution is applied science, biololgy. Useful, and part of cause and effect, but only important as a stepping stone. This is about various groups of people ability to say I am better because I believe in this piece of writing or this creed. This is about someone saying I have the right to impose my will on other people and damage other people, or discriminate against other people, because I believe that god has given me that right. And if I have to kill people, then god has given me that right as well.

    Church, unfortuntaly in many cases, has become the last holdout to a civilized society. Nowhere else can one legally hire on the basis of color or belief, caste out on the basis of belief, and get away with hate speech. The evolution debate is one of the last gasps in a long war perpetuated by those who profit off discrimination and hate. Many more will be hurt because those who are willing to kill for profit are vanquished.

  • Re:1+1=2 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by marcosdumay ( 620877 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .yamudsocram.> on Wednesday November 30, 2005 @11:43PM (#14153547) Homepage Journal

    Just to clarify things a bit...

    Nobody never said that you should belive that the uneverse, or life or anything else has a complete explanation. What we want you to do is to try to explain it, what is a completelly different beast. And we also have some nice explanation to encorage you, and they work! But are not complete. If you go into any science, you'll find several people that are awsomed by the fact that we can explain something, what is not a trivial thing.

    Science don't belive blindly on cause and effect. Stuff ceassed being so simple at the XX century if you don't know. Science tries to fit what we see on models, almost all those models are somehow aleatory now.

    This is not so important for your argument, but, if you define t = 0 as the start of time, as you seem to do, we can't explain things since t = 0. We have no idea about what happened at t = 0. We don't even know for sure if there is any sense on talking about t = 0. As far as I know, we can explain what happened since somewhen near t = 1e-50s, and can see what happened since somewhen near t = 1e5s (near 1 day). So, everything between 1e-50s and 1e5s is all guesswork, and you shouldn't take it as a fact.

    It seems that somebody has to take a look at metaphysics...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 01, 2005 @01:22AM (#14154216)
    Why are they pushing so hard for the space race and not for eliminating AIDS and opening their *real* numbers of infection to the world?
    Because curing AIDS isn't an excuse to develop new ICBM technologoy. The real question is why a country with a space program is getting billions in foreign aid.

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?