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Results for "March, 2009"

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  • Letter from London: Brits fear Facebook friends are really bombers

    The British Government thinks some of your Facebook friends and friends of friends may actually be terrorists, so it wants to monitor the nation's 27 million Facebook, MySpace, and Bebo users to prevent further attacks like the London tube and bus bombings of July 7, 2005, and Guy Fawkes' attack on Parliament, in 1605.

    Britons are used to being watched. After decades of IRA violence, her Majesty's crime fighters set up thousands of closed-circuit TV cameras to monitor the behavior of ordinary British citizens as they go about their daily chores. After 07/07, the government also began to compile a massive DNA database of UK residents, and it supports a European Union plan to record all email and internet activity in the 27 member states.

  • Dictionaries recognize same-sex marriage; opponents allege plot

    Opponents of same-sex marriage have discovered to their chagrin that two major English dictionaries have revised their definitions of marriage to reflect changes in the way that people have been using the word.

    Merriam-Webster acknowledged the increased discussion among supporters and opponents of gay and lesbian marriage in recent years by adding this section to its earlier definition of marriage: "(2): the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage." The dictionary made that change in 2003, one year before Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage.

    The Oxford English Dictionary definition of marriage has included same-sex couples since 2000: "The term is now sometimes used with reference to long-term relationships between partners of the same sex." The OED's earliest citation comes from the New York Times in 1975: "The move toward legally-sanctioned marriages between persons of the same sex."

  • Without a net: Judges tell jurors with smart phones, "No surfing allowed"

    According to the New York Times, jurors around the country have been triggering mistrials by using their iPhones to research the cases they’re deciding, or worse yet, by Twittering trial updates. Judges traditionally instruct jurors not to read about or discuss the case outside the courtroom. Now they’ve added prohibitions against surfing or talking about the case online as well, because more and more are googling plaintiffs and defendants and the finer points of the law on their web-enable cell phones, or posting trial trivia on Facebook.

    It won't be long before Law and Order runs an episode on this new kind of jury tampering – L and O's unaccredited but fully-functional Hudson University School of Law has already worked getting juries offline into its curriculum – but real-life attorneys fear that web-savvy jurors are undermining the criminal justice system and they want the internet out of court.

  • Alexander Graham "Ma" Bell, demonstrates the proper way to use his invention

    March 10: The telephone is 133 years old today. Call me.

    133 years ago, on March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated that the human voice could be transmitted electrically across wires by shouting the famous words, "Mr. Watson Come here I want to see you," into the telephone that he had constructed. As Bell wrote in his lab notebook, "To my delight he came and declared that he had heard and understood what I said." To prove it, Watson repeated Bell's words verbatim.

  • Iowa, "the English-only State," suspends student for refusing English proficiency test

    Lori Phanachone, a senior at Storm Lake High School in northwest Iowa who's spoken English all her life, has been suspended from school for refusing to take an English-language proficiency test.