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"Going Up" At 45 Mph: Hitachi To Deliver World's Fastest Elevator
Department: greased-lightning  Date: 2014-04-24T04:36:00Z  Comments: 1
Zothecula (1870348) writes "Hitachi has announced that it's installing the world's fastest ultra-high-speed elevators in the Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre skyscraper in Guangzhou, China. Making up two out of a total of 95 elevators in the building, Hitachi says the new lifts use a range of technologies to produce record-breaking speeds of 1,200 m/min while still meeting the necessary standards of safety and comfort."

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Band Releases Album As Linux Kernel Module
Department: because-we-can  Date: 2014-04-24T02:08:00Z  Comments: 
netbuzz (955038) writes "A band called netcat is generating buzz in software circles by releasing its debut album as a Linux kernel module (among other more typical formats.) 'Are you ever listening to an album, and thinking "man, this sounds good, but I wish it crossed from user-space to kernel-space more often!" We got you covered,' the band says on its Facebook page. 'Our album is now fully playable as a loadable Linux kernel module.'"

Read more of this storyat Slashdot.










WhatsApp Is Well On Its Way To A Billion Users
Department: getting-big  Date: 2014-04-24T00:52:00Z  Comments: 
redletterdave (2493036) writes "In just two months since Facebook dropped $19 billion to buy WhatsApp, the five-year-old mobile messaging app on Tuesday announced its its active user base has grown to more than half a billion people. This is not the first time that an app has seen a major pop in users after it was acquired by Facebook: When Facebook bought Instagram in April 2012, the service boasted some 30 million users. In one month after the deal, Instagram gained 20 million new users. By July, Instagram grew to 80 million active users. WhatsApp seems to be having a similar growth spurt, gaining roughly 25 million users each month since the Facebook deal was announced."

Read more of this storyat Slashdot.










NYPD's Twitter Campaign Backfires
Department: hug-a-cop  Date: 2014-04-24T00:03:00Z  Comments: 1
An anonymous reader writes "A NYPD community outreach campaign designed to show images of citizens with cops turned ugly quickly when a deluge of images depicting police brutality came in. From the article: 'The responses soon turned ugly when Occupy Wall Street tweeted a photograph of cops battling protesters with the caption "changing hearts and minds one baton at a time." Other photos included an elderly man bloodied after being arrested for jaywalking.' Police Commissioner Bill Bratton says, 'I kind of welcome the attention,' of the #myNYPD project."

Read more of this storyat Slashdot.










F.C.C., In Net Neutrality Turnaround, Plans To Allow Fast Lane
Department: pay-to-play-the-movie  Date: 2014-04-23T23:17:00Z  Comments: 
Dega704 (1454673) writes in with news of the latest FCC plan which seems to put another dagger in the heart of net neutrality. "The Federal Communications Commission will propose new rules that allow Internet service providers to offer a faster lane through which to send video and other content to consumers, as long as a content company is willing to pay for it, according to people briefed on the proposals. The proposed rules are a complete turnaround for the F.C.C. on the subject of so-called net neutrality, the principle that Internet users should have equal ability to see any content they choose, and that no content providers should be discriminated against in providing their offerings to consumers."

Read more of this storyat Slashdot.











Latest from Techdirt.com
Empire State Building Supposedly Sues Photographer Over Photograph Of Topless Woman Wed, 15 Jan 2014 11:38:00 GMT
The story is almost too good to be true for the press. Apparently, the company that owns the famous Empire State Building in NY issuing photographer Allen Henson for $1.1 millionbecause he took a photo of a model named Shelby Carter, posing topless up on one of the ESB's observation decks. I've read nearly a dozen articles about the lawsuit, and I've noticed one thing: every one of them contains one or more of the photos of Carter topless (some pixelate or otherwise cover her breasts, some do not), and every one of them includes direct and different quotes from Henson who seemed quite willing to talk to anyone and everyone about the story and who freely admitted that it was good publicity for his ongoing efforts tophotograph topless womenaround NYC, after a police announcement last year that it's not illegal for women to be topless in NY. However,noneof them seem to include the actual lawsuit. We won't post the photos here. You can see them at basically every other link in this post. The closest to having the actual lawsuit (and this surprises me) is the NY Daily News, which at least notes thatthe lawsuit was filedin Manhattan Supreme Court, and at least suggests the cause of action:
In papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, ESRT Empire State Building says photographer Allen Henson caused "damage to its business and reputation as a safe and secure family friendly tourist attraction" by taking pictures of a woman without her shirt on there this past August 9.
I'd really like to see the actual lawsuit to see on what basis the company is making this claim. Yes, the Empire State Building is private property, so its owners can easily kick Henson off the property and even bar him from returning. But I can't see how they have any legal argument at all for demanding $1.1 million. From some of the other comments, there appears to besome allegationsthat the actions are "commercial" and that it cost the Empire State Building extra money to beef up security while decreasing the Empire State Building's "reputation as a safe and secure family friendly tourist attraction." I'm still not clear how that amounts to something you can sue someone over, let alone for $1 million. But, until someone actually provides the lawsuit (and Henson himself seems to suggest he hasn't even seen it either), it's difficult to understand the details. I have some emails out, and hopefully someone in the press will stop focusing on getting up photos of this woman's breasts for long enough to see if they can get a copy of the actual lawsuit to post as well.

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Why Exactly Do We Need To 'Protect' US And EU Foreign Investments Through TAFTA/TTIP Anyway? Wed, 15 Jan 2014 08:19:51 GMT

Techdirt has already examined the issue of corporate sovereignty many times over the past year, as it has emerged as one of the most problematic areas of both TPP and TAFTA/TTIP. A fine article by Simon Lester of the Cato Institute examinesa hidden assumption in these negotiations: that an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism is needed at all.

Most of his post is devoted to the background of corporate sovereignty, and it provides a useful primer if you're still wondering what exactly ISDS is supposed to do, and why. Having established the framework, Lester concludes by making two key points:

First, if a U.S. (or EU) company chooses to make an investment abroad, why should the U.S. (or EU) government go to bat for it at all? In the past, we used "gunboat diplomacy" to protect our companies. Now we use international lawyers. But why should we do anything? These companies have chosen another jurisdiction for their investment, which is fine. Companies should invest in whatever location makes the most economic sense. But in that situation, it is not clear why the investment is "ours" to worry about anymore. When multinationals invest all over the world, are they really "ours," or are they now just global entities?
Business is inherently about taking risks -- if there were no risk, there would be no need for entrepreneurs. So why should a nation be expected to offer a kind of free insurance policy against those risks when they are incurred abroad -- not least because commercial policies doing that arereadilyavailable? Since fans of the free market think that the government should just get out of the way, surely they should extend this to foreign investment too?

Lester's other point is one that many people have made -- that ISDS is in any case unnecessary in an agreement between the US and EU:

when the place of the investment is the EU or US, which have plenty of their own protections in domestic law, international law seems largely duplicative. International investment rules are an opportunity for lawyers to bring additional claims, but are not necessary for "protection" of foreign investment. Without some evidence that more is necessary, perhaps US-EU investment rules should be limited to a basic promise to treat each other's investors equally, let governments settle disputes between themselves, and leave the international constitutional protections out of it.
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Aaron Swartz Explains Why The NSA Needs To Be Stopped Wed, 15 Jan 2014 04:14:51 GMT
Last week, when we wrote about the big "day of action" against the NSA in memory of Aaron Swartz, to be held February 11th, a few folks questioned whether this was an appropriate issue, since they were unaware of Aaron being all that concerned about the NSA. Obviously, Aaron died months before the Snowden leaks, but as many folks who knew Aaron knew, the NSA was absolutely an issue he was quite concerned about even prior to the Snowden leaks. Brian Knappenberger, who has been working to put the finishing touches on his new documentary about Aaron,The Internet's Own Boy, in order to debut it at Sundance, hasreleased an astounding trailerof the film (which looks amazing). Included in it, are multiple clips of Aaron actually speaking out about the NSA and surveillance, mainly focused on the NSAsaying itcan'tpossiblycalculate how many Americans it's spying on, because to do so, would be either (a) impossible or (b) would violate their privacy (yes, at one point, they actually said figuring out how many people are being spied on would violate their privacy).
So, yes, Aaron was quite concerned about the NSA, and it makes you wonder just how much we all lost in his death, because you have to expect that, as with SOPA, Aaron would have been an instrumental force in fighting back against the NSA as its overreach and abuses have been exposed. If you haven't yet, please go check outTheDayWeFightBack.orgto learn more about the day of action.

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DailyDirt: Categorizing Everything Wed, 15 Jan 2014 01:00:00 GMT
People just keep creating stuff -- books, movies, music, you name it... so it's (more than) a full-time job to keep up with all the cool new stuff. How do we classify music into hip-hop, heavy metal or Krautrock? What can we learn from mapping all these seemingly separate media genres? People and machines are working together to cobble together categorization systems that try to keep up with the flood of new content. Here are just a few examples.If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!)Techdirt postvia StumbleUpon.

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