The NewsDemon Blog

Yahoo Lowers Data Retention, Promotes Privacy

By Newsgroup Usenet December 18th, 2008

In an ongoing battle to give users the most privacy, Yahoo has set their data retention threshold at 90 days. This means that “Yahoo! will anonymize user log data within 90 days with limited exceptions for fraud, security and legal obligations. Yahoo! will also expand the policy to apply not only to search log data but also page views, page clicks, ad views and ad clicks.”

Google is currently sitting at 9 months before data is made anonymous, down from 18 months. That was in response to Yahoo! dropping down to 13 months in July 2007.

As for the exceptions Yahoo said:

“To protect users and our business partners, there will be some specific and limited exceptions to the anonymization policy. In order to fight fraud and preserve system security, Yahoo will retain system specific data in identifiable form for no more than 6 months — but only for this purpose. Yahoo may have to retain data for longer periods to meet other legal obligations.”

It remains to be seen if Google will fire back with an even shorter time frame, but Yahoo! claims that 90 days is a minimum for business purposes.



Thoughts Now Available in Technicolor

By Newsgroup Usenet December 16th, 2008

Researchers from Japan’s ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories have developed new brain analysis technology that can reconstruct the images inside a person’s mind and display them on a computer monitor, as it was announced on December 11. According to the researchers, further development of the technology may soon make it possible to view other people’s dreams while they sleep.

The scientists were able to reconstruct various images viewed by a person by analyzing changes in their cerebral blood flow. Using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine, the researchers first mapped the blood flow changes that occurred in the cerebral visual cortex as subjects viewed various images held in front of their eyes. Subjects were shown 400 random 10 x 10 pixel black-and-white images for a period of 12 seconds each. While the fMRI machine monitored the changes in brain activity, a computer crunched the data and learned to associate the various changes in brain activity with the different image designs.

Then, when the test subjects were shown a completely new set of images, such as the letters N-E-U-R-O-N, the system was able to reconstruct and display what the test subjects were viewing based solely on their brain activity.

For now, the system is only able to reproduce simple black-and-white images. But Dr. Kang Cheng, a researcher from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute, suggests that improving the measurement accuracy will make it possible to reproduce images in color.

“These results are a breakthrough in terms of understanding brain activity,” says Dr. Cheng. “In as little as 10 years, advances in this field of research may make it possible to read a person’s thoughts with some degree of accuracy.”

The researchers suggest a future version of this technology could be applied in the fields of art and design — particularly if it becomes possible to quickly and accurately access images existing inside an artist’s head. The technology might also lead to new treatments for conditions such as psychiatric disorders involving hallucinations, by providing doctors a direct window into the mind of the patient.

ATR chief researcher Yukiyasu Kamitani says, “This technology can also be applied to senses other than vision. In the future, it may also become possible to read feelings and complicated emotional states.”

Congratulations, Mr. Orwell. Your Thought Police have arrived.

You can find out more about this subject, and much more, on Newsgroups:

rec.arts.sf.science
clari.tw.science
clari.web.tw.science
bionet.neuroscience
alt.brain
alt.human-brain



Microsoft Sits On Thumbstack

By Newsgroup Usenet December 11th, 2008

Microsoft Thumbstack

Microsoft Thumbstack

Microsoft’s Live Labs has just released Thumbtack, a web clipping service that allows users to compile links, media, and text snippets into online storage bins for future reference. Users can also share their Thumbtack collections with their peers, allowing them to collaborate by adding new clips and notations.

According to Microsoft, Thumbtack was developed based on user feedback the company received after releasing Listas in 2007. Unlike Listas, however, Thumbtack does not focus on social bookmarking but rather on creating online research collections. Thumbtack supports both IE7 and Firefox, though Firefox users miss out an a few interesting features.

Thumbtack is an “easy way to gather and share links, photos, and text, from different Web sites and save all of the data in the form of a collection to a single place,” a Microsoft spokesperson stated. “Thumbtack allows users to share and collaborate with others on collections, by providing the ability to directly email the content or by allowing them to publish their collection to the Web with a number of options including RSS, Atom, HTML, and Internet Explorer 8 Web Slices. Thumbtack collections can also be embedded in personal websites and blogs.”

At this point in time Microsoft is not ready to reveal the direction in which it will take Thumbtack, as the Live Labs incubation projects are essentially designed to test ideas and technologies, more than actual solutions. In this regard, users familiar with Live Labs will notice similarities between the new tool and concepts tested with the Listas Technology Preview.

You can find more information on Listas and Thumbstack on Newsgroups:

microsoft.public.deployment
microsoft.public.design
microsoft.public.developer
microsoft.public.development
microsoft.public.applicationcenter
microsoft.public.access



Newsdemon Now Reaches 175 Day Retention on Binaries

By Newsgroup Usenet December 5th, 2008

Once again, Newsdemon.com has announced yet another increase in retention in less than a month! Newsdemon.com members can now access over binaries over 175 days old. The 175 day binary retention is now available to both US and EU members. Newdemon.com had previously announced a 70% increase on binary retenion in mid-November.

The retention rate of binaries translates into the longest amount of time an article would be available on any particular Newsgroup.

The increase in retention does not require any modifications from Newsdemon.com members on either their newsreaders or account settings. Members should immediately see an increase in the age of headers available on any particular binary newsgroup.

This benefit is for all existing and potential new members of Newsdemon.com at no additional cost. Newsdemon.com will also continue to provide the same blazing speed through simultaneous, SSL encrypted Usenet access while being completely uncensored as before.

Continuing on progress, Newsdemon.com works deligently to surpass expectations by delivering premium Usenet access to all of its customers.



Newsdemon.com T-shirt Giveaway Update

By Newsgroup Usenet December 3rd, 2008

In the month of October, Newsdemon.com gave away a free T-shirt for all new members who had signed up for the unlimited plan. Newsdemon.com is proud to announce that all T-shirt requests that were made for EU and Canada customers have been shipped out and should be arriving shortly.

We hope all of our customers will enjoy and use the free T-shirts.

Stay tuned, as NewsDemon.com has other considerations for promotions and giveaways that are currently in the works for the near future.



Yahoo Top 10 Search Newsdemon.com Review

By Newsgroup Usenet December 3rd, 2008

2008 has been an exciting year for a number of reasons. We’ve witnessed moments that will be recorded boldly in history and those we’d soon rather forget. From Politics to Entertianment, people and events kept much of the 2008 year busy. Many Newsgroups saw a great spike in attendance that cover these happenings.

So what was so hot in 2008? We broke down the top 10 searches throughout the year and compiled them in order of their popularity.

10. American Idol -Saw less of an audience in 2007 but still gained a great amount of interest

9. Angelina Jolie -Vogue to Bohemian actress still gets actively searched.

8. Lindsay Lohan – Rehab. Relationships. Rejected. Lindsay has covered the spectrum in 2008.

7. Naruto – Anime. Manga. Video Game. Naruto managed to beat the likes of most of its Japanimation counterparts.

6. Jessica Alba – The Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards saved her from the fame of the Razzie Worst Actress Nomination she received earlier in the year.

5. RunScape -This videogame may not have had its popularity as big in the US as World of Warcraft, but this game has received international notoriety and it’s pretty big in Japan.

4. Miley Cyrus – Why?

3. Barrack Obama – Everyone is still on the edge of their seat to find out what “Change” this President-Elect will bring.

2. WWE – Wrestling meet soap opera, this franchise threw in a load of drama throughout the year to appeal its audience. It worked.

1. Britney Spears – Hospital stays. MTV. Psychiatric Evaluations. Britney made it a point to stay on top of everyone’s mind, as she lost hers.

Looking through this list, it would be virtually impossible to have predicted these to be the top 10 searches on the Internet. Making it even more impossible to behold to foresee what 2009 has in store. Whatever they might be, we look forward to seeing it all unfold.



Newsdemon Usenet and Internet Activity Increases Brain Power

By Newsgroup Usenet December 1st, 2008

Searching the Internet exercises the brains of older people by activating their neural circuitry, says UCLA’s Memory & Aging Research Center.

Internet searches activate regions in the brain that control complex reasoning and decision making, the Center found in a nine-month study of 24 neurologically normal volunteers, with similar education levels, ages 55 to 76.

The test subjects showed richer sensory experience and heightened attention when conducting Internet searches, as opposed to reading book-like text on computers, said Gary Small, the Center’s director, noting the brain activity was recorded in MRI results.

Not enough research yet exists to show whether Internet use can ward off dementia, The San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday, noting Alzheimer’s cases in the United States are expected to quadruple by 2050.

Considering the simililarity in application and its sources, searching Newsgroups through Usenet is likely to cause the same reaction as well.

The Center’s findings are to be published next month in the Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.



Youtube Goes Widescreen

By Newsgroup Usenet November 25th, 2008

The continuing transformation of YouTube’s “post-Hulu” era has now taken shape in a new widescreen format, increasing the layout to 960 pixels and 16:9 aspect ratio. After the news regarding YouTube’s move to carry feature-length films, the site-wide move is clearly designed not only to accommodate the incoming new official content, but to upgrade the capacity for higher quality user-generated content as well.

Videos which carry the traditional YouTube layout of 4:3 aspect ratio (which at this point is the majority of them,) will be contained in columns of black bars to preserve the integrity of the original ratio, similar to what one might see while watching a non-HD channel on an HDTV.

It’s no secret that Google has been paying close attention to the revenue figures between themselves and Hulu. They realize that Hulu, while having not as much traffic yet, is making serious money considering the short time it’s been in existence. The question (that has already been asked by many) remains: Exactly WHAT will the YouTube we all know and love transform into?



Scientists ‘Use The Force’ to Combat Cancer Cells

By Newsgroup Usenet November 23rd, 2008

A revolutionary laser which could fight cancer has been developed by British scientists.

The device, which has been compared to a Star Wars light sabre, could be routinely used on patients in NHS hospitals within the next five years, according to the researchers.

The machine – a couple of millimetres square – fires a laser beam so accurately that it can puncture a hole in an individual cell, allowing drugs to enter and do their work much more effectively.

Drug companies are often confounded by the problem that it can be easy to get a medicine into the body by injection or pill – but much harder to get the drug molecules into the cells themselves.

It could mean, for example, that the cells surrounding the spot where a tumour has been removed by surgery would be holed by the device.

This would allow chemotherapy drugs to enter and kill any remaining cancer cells.

It would be particularly useful for hard-to-reach cancers such as that of the pancreas.

The team from the University of St Andrews has managed to mount the ‘light sabre’ on an optical fibre.

The next step is to develop it for use on endoscopes, the tubes used by surgeons to pass miniature cameras through the body.



Newsdemon – Star Trek XI 2009 New Trailer Released

By Newsgroup Usenet November 17th, 2008

If you saw the new Bond movie this weekend, you probably saw the new trailer for next summer’s ‘Star Trek’ reboot. While a bootleg recording of it quickly made its way to the Web, Paramount today finally made a high-quality version available. Unfortunately, it’s hosted by Apple, which tends to not give out codes for embedding it on a page.

You can see the trailer at http://www.apple.com/trailers/paramount/startrek/. You want Trailer 2. (Trailer 1 was the one that was attached to ‘Cloverfield’ earlier this year.)

As Kirk and Spock, Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto respectively seem to fill their roles well, but the idea of assembling the Enterprise on Earth seems ludicrous. The ship isn’t meant to land on planets, so wouldn’t you want to assemble all the pieces in space and zero gravity?

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