Judge dismisses crap monopoly lawsuit against Apple

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed charges from a small computer maker that Apple is a monopolist because it tightly controls which computer makers build machines using its Macintosh operating system software.

With his ruling, U.S. District Judge William Alsup has handed Apple its latest victory against cloners that create and sell machines based on Apple’s software.

Psystar…was challenging Apple’s requirement that only Apple-branded devices use its software, which Psystar contends illegally ties the sale of one product to another. That’s not the case with operating system software from Microsoft or the open source Linux, which can be installed on devices from any number of manufacturers, Psystar said.

In his 16-page decision Tuesday, Alsup ruled Apple’s products don’t constitute a market to dominate. As a consequence, Apple then can’t be considered a monopolist, Alsup wrote.

Psystar is a dipshit little outfit that some people think was cobbled together by lawyers and opportunists just to sue Apple. The result was logical and pretty much expected. That still doesn’t mean that Psystar and their supporters won’t appeal and try to drag this out in an attempt to make money from the American lawsuit farm.

Grenade camera to aid UK troops [and more]

A “grenade” camera, that would enable soldiers to look into hazardous areas, is being developed for UK troops.

Dubbed the I-Ball the wireless device is robust enough to survive being thrown onto a battlefield.

The I-Ball’s internal camera gives a 360 degree view, with images being sent from the instant it is launched.

The new technology would enable soldiers to see into potential danger spots without putting themselves at risk of ambush.

The ball can be fired from a grenade launcher – or thrown into a room – giving troops vital information of who – or what – is on the ground or around the corner.

I don’t often preview technologies this early in development. This critter is intriguing, though.

I can see it used in many dangerous situations, crime and strife aren’t limited to the battlefield.

Cincinnati Police and community combine against gang

Some of the confiscated weapons

Something changed in Cincinnati this week.

In a city where police often find themselves begging eyewitnesses to come forward, this week, they have been inundated with solid leads and tips from the community on where to find members of a powerful gang.

The public came through in such huge numbers that phone lines at the police department were jammed with tips about the Northside Taliband. Some parents even gave up their own sons, saying it was time for them to face their charges.

The good citizens of Cincinnati run this city, not the Northside Taliband,” said Capt. Daniel Gerard.

By Day 2, in what police have dubbed the largest roundup ever of gang members, 26 people had been arrested, eight of them on gang charges.

Court paperwork unsealed Monday showed that 13 people are charged in a 95-count indictment. The group, which police say might number more than 90, is the most organized of any gang that police have ever seen here, they said. Some gang members had assigned jobs. Some were the thieves while others were the shooters. Some members are as young as 14.

Police say that by the time they are done, 50 members of the gang will be off the street – some possibly for life.

No dramatic innovations needed to end organized crime. Bust cops on the take. Build a community that considers a neighborhood without crime more important than Cousin Ernie’s gangbanger kids.

Australia ‘shuts down’ navy for Christmas

Daylife/Reuters Pictures

Australia’s navy gets a big Christmas gift this year: two months paid vacation for most sailors that will ease the effects of a recruiting slump but make the service Down Under look something like a part-time operation.

The navy hopes that by making life on the sea more family-friendly, it will attract the extra 2,000 sailors it needs achieve its target strength of 15,000.

Critics say the so-called shut down, which inspired a front page newspaper headline: “Navy Closes For Christmas,” will worry Australia’s major defense ally, the United States.

“Mothballing your ships for two months sends totally the wrong message to our region and to our allies,” opposition defense spokesman David Johnston told The Associated Press. “I’ve never heard of anything like this. I’m flabbergasted.”

It is not clear how many how many sailors will take extra time off.

David Johnston is perfectly free to spend those two months as a volunteer on board ship – if he cares to. Give him something to do besides offer ideological advice to the world.

Student uses nanofibers to make synthetic knee cartilage

Camila Flor, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

Camila Flor, a student at the School of Industrial and Aeronautic Engineering of Terrassa, reports on the manufacturing of synthetic cartilage similar to human cartilage, for medical use. Protection of the knee for disabled people with prostheses may be one of the first applications.

Orienting or controlling nanofibers means arraying them in a particular configuration: in parallel, in a circle, or crossed. The fibers that form the cartilage that protects the knee are aligned in parallel.

Until now, creating synthetic cartilage was complex but not impossible. The problem was that it was impossible to imitate the perfection of human cartilage due to the difficulty in orienting the collagen nanofibers; synthetic cartilage was therefore manufactured using gelatinous substances derived from collagen.

The process for creating synthetic cartilage began with processing stem cells. These cells, if processed in the right way, reproduce and transform into any type of cell required by the scientist manipulating them. For this to be possible, the cells must be in an ideal environment. The work carried out by Camila Flor means that the collagen fibers adapt to the configuration of the chondrocytes (cartilage cells) and are made in the ideal environment, in which these chondrocytes grow until they form the desired cartilage.

Not the world’s greatest translation from Spanish. But, you get the idea.

I’m not at all surprised to find an engineering student assisting and leading medical developments of this sort. The kind of cross-disciplinary work I think reasonable scientists advocate and support.

German group SolarWorld bids 1 billion euros for Opel

Daylife/Reuters Pictures

In a move seemingly underlining prospects for industries of the past and the future, solar-products maker SolarWorld on Wednesday offered to buy four plants from Opel, General Motors Corp.’s German subsidiary.

SolarWorld said it’s offering 250 million euros in cash as well as a credit line of 750 million euros. Detroit-based GM has yet to accept or reject the offer.

SolarWorld said its offer for four plants and a development center in Ruesselsheim is conditioned on Opel being completely split off from General Motors and getting a one-off payment of 1 billion euros, or about 40,000 euros per worker.

It doesn’t say who would pay the compensation, but presumably that would be the German government, which has been actively trying to rescue Opel without wanting to extend aid to company headquarters in Detroit.

Under the SolarWorld plan, Opel would still produce cars, though SolarWorld would begin pushing the group to produce more environmentally friendly vehicles. Already, the Ruesselsheim center has worked on the Chevy Volt, the planned electric vehicle on which GM has largely placed its development hopes.

Most commentary around the Web is running to chuckles about the new Green economy buying out the old carbon-klutzes. My own analysis leans in the same direction.

Opel is a rock of German industry, albeit surviving GM’s stupidity for decades. They still have a talented and experienced workforce, adequate R&D, well-established distribution network.

I have to step back and see how the SolarWorld proposals fly with the German government. From the outside, they don’t appear to be asking for more euro-aid than already requested. The critical nudge to the U.S. being complete separation from GM. Who the hell wouldn’t require that?

Man backs out of suicide pact. Leaves wife’s body hanging in house for 8 weeks!

He claimed to have been living in the house alongside the body, still suspended from a noose, for eight weeks before finally calling the police.

Officers rushed to the property in a cul-de-sac in Lymington, Hants, after receiving his call and found the woman hanging in one room, heavily decomposed.

The man, whom they have not named but is understood to be in his 50s, was arrested and was being questioned last night in connection with the investigation.

He has allegedly told detectives that his wife hanged herself as part of a joint suicide agreement in September but that he backed out once she was already dead. He claims he then spent the next eight weeks hesitating before finally calling the police.

While the man’s claims are being treated with care they have not been ruled out and Hampshire Police said it was not yet treating the investigation as a murder inquiry.

“At the moment we’ve only got an account and we are trying to get the evidence.”

Did he call their insurance agent before he called the coppers?

Head of Interpol Mexico busted for drug bribes

Daylife/AP Photo by Guillermo Arias

Mexico arrested its head of Interpol on Tuesday for allegedly working for a powerful drug cartel and sent the military to take over police duties in the city of Tijuana in another step to flush out corrupt law enforcement.

Ricardo Gutierrez was Mexico’s representative to Interpol, the world’s largest international police force, and the latest top police officer to be locked up on suspicion of working for drug traffickers.

In October, two leading anti-drug agents were jailed for taking bribes of “up to $450,000 a month” from the Beltran Leyva crime group to leak intelligence about police operations.

The Beltran Leyva brothers recently split from the Sinaloa drug cartel run by Mexico’s most wanted man, Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman, and also were bribing Gutierrez, prosecutors said.

Political life continues its exciting pace in Mexico.

Google magazine archives bring history from LIFE – to life

Google is making more than 10 million photos from Life magazine’s archives available online. Here are a few of the never-before available photographs.

This image of Florence Thompson and her children, taken by Dorothea Lange, is from the same series of photos that produced Lange’s iconic image of Thompson, one that could be the most famous photograph from the Great Depression. This image is part of a newly released archive of Life photos that is being made available via Google Image Search. It was taken in 1936 in Nipomo, Calif.

Americans still don’t like to be reminded of poor people in their midst.

Transplant breakthrough using patient’s own stem cells

Doctors have successfully carried out the world’s first airway transplant on a young woman using an organ partly grown from her own stem cells in a groundbreaking operation which scientists believe will transform the future of surgery.

Surgeons replaced a section of Claudia Castillo’s windpipe, that had been irreparably damaged by tuberculosis, with a donated organ that was stripped of its cells and used as a scaffold for her stem cells.

Because Castillo’s body recognises her own cells in the replacement organ she does not need to take powerful drugs to suppress her immune system, unlike all other transplant patients. The technique raises the prospect of transplants for patients whose organs are damaged by cancer, who then cannot take the drugs as they increase the risk of cancer returning.

Professor Martin Birchall, from Bristol University, which carried out the stem cell engineering, said it would soon be possible to create a range of organs for transplants which patients’ bodies will not reject. “In 20 years, this will be the most common form of surgery,” he said.

Read the article, folks. It holds out great hope for that enormous part of the world’s population younger than an old crank like me.

The sort of breakthrough in medicine not at all surprising to anyone who has spent significant time reading science, appreciating the growing capability of modern medicine to replicate and recreate used-up and damaged portions of this meat machine we walk around in.