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How Silicon Valley CEOs Conspired To Suppress Engineers' Wages
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '14 at 10:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's ungentlemen's-agreement department:
Oneflower writes "As we discussed last week, a lawsuit is moving forward that alleges widespread conspiracy among the CEOs of Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, and Pixar to suppress the wages of their tech staff. Mark Ames at Pando explains how it happened, and showcases some of the emails involving Steve Jobs and other CEOs. Quoting: 'Shortly after sealing the pact with Google, Jobs strong-armed Adobe into joining after he complained to CEO Bruce Chizen that Adobe was recruiting Apple’s employees. Chizen sheepishly responded that he thought only a small class of employees were off-limits: "I thought we agreed not to recruit any senior level employees. I would propose we keep it that way. Open to discuss. It would be good to agree." Jobs responded by threatening war: "OK, I’ll tell our recruiters they are free to approach any Adobe employee who is not a Sr. Director or VP. Am I understanding your position correctly?" Adobe’s Chizen immediately backed down.'"

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Online Streaming As Profitable As TV, Disc Sales By Charging Just a $15 Flat Fee
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '14 at 09:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's all-about-the-benjamins department:
Lucas123 writes "A new report shows that if movie production houses charged a $15 monthly fee to just 45% of the world's online subscribers, they could rake in just as much cash as they currently do through TV downloads and disc sales. That equates to $29.4 billion. 'Movie producers have little to fear from online distribution in the long term,' the report states. 'It is the distribution part of the movie business that should be worried because online distribution will replace a sizable portion of their current industry.' According to the report's hypothetical model, the $15 fee would offer open access to all movie content — meaning instant online access to all movies that have been ever produced, 'along with new releases as they come out.'"

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Microsoft Reports Record Revenue
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '14 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's reports-of-their-demise-etc. department:
jones_supa sends this AFP report:

"Microsoft soared to record revenues in the last quarter, confounding Wall Street forecasts on the back of strong demand for Xbox consoles, Surface tablets and Internet cloud services. The U.S.-based technology titan reported net income of $6.56 billion on revenue that hit a record high of $24.52 billion in the quarter that ended December 31. ... Sales of Surface tablets more than doubled from the previous quarter to hit $893 million, and Microsoft sold 7.4 million Xbox videogame consoles, with 3.9 million of those being new-generation Xbox One.
Bing's share of the Internet search market grew to 18.2 percent while its share of the online search ad market grew about a third, according to Microsoft. Meanwhile, money made from selling Windows software to computer makers slid by three percent due to continue soft demand by consumers for personal computers, according to Microsoft."


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A Thermodynamics Theory of the Origins of Life
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '14 at 08:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's everything's-inevitable department:
New submitter SpankiMonki writes "Natalie Wolchover at Quanta Magazine has written an article about how Jeremy England, a MIT professor, may have found a theory of the origin of life grounded in physics. In a paper published last August by The Journal of Chemical Physics, England describes his theory, the 'Statistical physics of self-replication.' Wolchover writes, 'England['s]...formula...indicates that when a group of atoms is driven by an external source of energy (like the sun or chemical fuel) and surrounded by a heat bath (like the ocean or atmosphere), it will often gradually restructure itself in order to dissipate increasingly more energy. This could mean that under certain conditions, matter inexorably acquires the key physical attribute associated with life.' England says his ideas pose no threat to Darwinian evolution: 'On the contrary, I am just saying that from the perspective of the physics, you might call Darwinian evolution a special case of a more general phenomenon.'"

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Apple Macintosh Turns 30
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '14 at 07:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-don't-look-a-day-over-40 department:
snydeq writes "30 years ago today, Apple debuted the Macintosh. Here are some reviews of the early Mac models, including the Macintosh ('will be compared to other machines not only in terms of its features but also in the light of the lavish claims and promises made by Apple co-founder Steven Jobs'), the Mac SE ('contains some radical changes, including room for a second internal drive and even a fan'), the Mac IIx ('a chorus of yawns'), and the Mac Portable ('you may develop a bad case of the wannas for this lovable [16-lb.] luggable'). Plus insights on the Macintosh II's prospects from Bill Gates: 'If you look at a product like Mac Word III on that full-page display, it's pretty awesome. ... But the corporate buyer is never going to be a strong point for Apple.'"
iFixit got their hands on a Mac 128K and did a teardown, evaluating the old hardware for repairability.

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More Bad News For the F-35
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '14 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's flights-of-fancy department:
schwit1 sends this news from Aviation Week:
"A new U.S. Defense Department report warns that ongoing software, maintenance and reliability problems with Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 stealth fighter could delay the Marine Corps' plans to start using its F-35 jets by mid-2015. It said Lockheed had delivered F-35 jets with 50 percent or less of the software capabilities required by its production contracts with the Pentagon. The computer-based logistics system known as ALIS was fielded with 'serious deficiencies' and remained behind schedule, which affected servicing of existing jets needed for flight testing, the report said. It said the ALIS diagnostic system failed to meet even basic requirements. The F35 program, which began in 2001, is 70 percent over initial cost estimates, and years behind schedule, but top U.S. officials say it is now making progress. They have vowed to safeguard funding for the program to keep it on track. Earlier this week, the nonprofit Center for International Policy said Lockheed had greatly exaggerated its estimate (PDF) that the F-35 program sustained 125,000 U.S. jobs to shore up support for the program."

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Stephen Hawking: 'There Are No Black Holes'
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '14 at 06:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's time-to-rewrite-some-books department:
ananyo writes "Stephen Hawking has proposed a new solution to the black-hole firewall paradox, which has been vexing physicists for almost two years. The paradox troubles physicists because if the firewall scenario is correct, Einstein's general theory of relativity is flouted. But the classical theory black hole cannot be reconciled to the quantum mechanical prediction that energy and information can escape from a black hole. Now Hawking has proposed a tantalizingly simple solution to the paradox which allows both quantum mechanics and general relativity to remain intact — black holes simply do not have an event horizon to catch fire. The key to his claim is that quantum effects around the black hole cause spacetime to fluctuate too wildly for a sharp boundary surface to exist. As Hawking writes in his paper, 'The absence of event horizons mean that there are no black holes — in the sense of regimes from which light can't escape to infinity.'"

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Facebook Mocks 'Infection' Study, Predicts Princeton's Demise
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '14 at 05:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's you-are-more-of-it department:
Okian Warrior writes "In a followup to the earlier story about Princeton researchers predicting the end of Facebook by 2017, Facebook has struck back with a post using similar statistical techniques to predict that Princeton itself may be facing irreversible decline. By using similar methods ('likes', mentions in scholarly papers, Google searches) Facebook has created graphs that indicate Princeton is losing ground compared with its rivals and may have no students at all by 2021."

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Court Says Craigslist Sperm Donor Must Pay Child Support
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '14 at 02:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's pay-up department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "David Stout reports at Time Magazine that what began with a Craigslist ad from a lesbian couple calling for a sperm donor in rural Topeka, Kansas ended in court on Wednesday with a judge ordering the sperm donor to pay child support. The Kansas Department for Children and Families filed the case in October 2012 seeking to have William Marotta declared the father of a child born to Jennifer Schreiner in 2009 so he can be held responsible for about $6,000 in public assistance the state provided, as well as future child support. 'In this case, quite simply, the parties failed to perform to statutory requirement of the Kansas Parentage Act in not enlisting a licensed physician at some point in the artificial insemination process, and the parties' self-designation of (Marotta) as a sperm donor is insufficient to relieve (Marotta) of parental right and responsibilities to the child,' wrote Judge Mattivi. Marotta opposed that action, saying he had contacted Schreiner and her partner at the time, Angela Bauer, in response to an ad they placed on Craigslist seeking a sperm donor and signed a contract waiving his parental rights and responsibilities. 'We stand by that contract,' says Defense attorney Swinnen adding that the Kansas statute doesn't specifically require the artificial insemination be carried out by a physician. 'The insinuation is offensive, and we are responding vigorously to that. We stand by our story. There was no personal relationship whatsoever between my client and the mother, or the partner of the mother, or the child. Anything the state insinuates is vilifying my client, and I will address it.'"

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Searching For Dark Matter From Deep Under an Italian Mountain
Posted by News Fetcher on January 24 '14 at 12:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's put-on-your-glasses department:
Zothecula writes "Like the Higgs Boson, dark matter is one of those things in the Universe that evidence points to, but is very difficult to pin down. A team of researchers is looking to verify the existence of this most elusive of ingredients that is thought to make up 23 percent of the Universe using powerful detectors buried deep in an Italian mountain. The DarkSide-50 project is an international collaboration between Italian, French, Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, and Chinese institutions, as well as 17 American universities, which aims to pin down dark matter particles , which are thought to make up 23 percent of the Universe. The project team spent last (Northern hemisphere) summer assembling the detector in a laboratory deep within the Gran Sasso mountain, which is accessed via an exit off a six-mile (9.6 km) long highway tunnel in Italy."

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Bees Are Building Nests With Our Waste Plastic
Posted by News Fetcher on January 23 '14 at 10:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's making-the-best-of-things department:
Daniel_Stuckey writes "In a paper published in the Ecological Society of America's journal Ecosphere, researchers from York University and the University of Guelph in Canada explained that while plastic waste has previously been shown to have devastating impacts on the environment, less attention has been given to the resourcefulness of species in the face of their changing surroundings. "Plastic waste pervades the global landscape," they wrote. "Although adverse impacts on both species and ecosystems have been documented, there are few observations of behavioral flexibility and adaptation in species, especially insects, to increasingly plastic-rich environments.""

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Google Says It Has "No Current Plans Regarding Bitcoin"
Posted by News Fetcher on January 23 '14 at 07:16 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's forget-the-coins department:
An anonymous reader writes "A popular Reddit submission today suggested Google's payment team was looking to incorporate Bitcoin, naturally sparking a lot of excitement in the virtual currency community. TNW reached out to Google regarding the claim and learned that it was indeed false. 'As we continue to work on Google Wallet, we're grateful for a very wide range of suggestions,' a Google spokesperson told TNW. 'While we're keen to actively engage with Wallet users to help inform and shape the product, there's no change to our position: we have no current plans regarding Bitcoin.'"

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US Lab Developing Technology For Space Traffic Control
Posted by News Fetcher on January 23 '14 at 05:31 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's near-miss department:
coondoggie writes "Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory say they have tested technology that could eventually help them monitor and control space traffic.The driving idea behind the project is to help keep satellites and other spacecraft from colliding with each other or other debris in Low Earth Orbit."

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Valve Offers Free Subscription To Debian Developers: Paying It Forward
Posted by News Fetcher on January 23 '14 at 05:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's a-little-something-for-you department:
sfcrazy writes "Valve Software, the makers of Steam OS, is already winning praise from the larger free and open source community – mainly because of their pro-community approach. Now the company is 'giving back' to Debian by offering free subscription to Debian Developer. This subscription will offer full access to current and future games produced by Valve. Since Steam OS is based on Debian GNU/Linux it's a nice way of Valve to say 'thank you' to Debian developers."

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Mars Rover Opportunity Finds Life-Friendly Niche
Posted by News Fetcher on January 23 '14 at 05:01 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's marvin's-room department:
astroengine writes "Gale Crater, the region being explored by NASA's Curiosity rover, isn't the only place on Mars where ancient microbes may have thrived. New evidence from NASA's senior robotic Mars scout, Opportunity, shows life-friendly water once mixed with telltale, clay-bearing rocks that now lie on the broken rim of Endeavour Crater, an ancient 14-mile wide basin on the other side of the planet from Gale. 'If I were to go Mars early in time and wanted to do a well, I'd do it there,' planetary scientist Ray Arvidson, with Washington University in St. Louis, told Discovery News. 'It's like drinking water. This would have been a niche for whatever life at the time existed.'"

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Midwestern Fault Zones Are Still Alive
Posted by News Fetcher on January 23 '14 at 04:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's waiting-for-the-big-one department:
sciencehabit writes "The occasional quakes rattling the New Madrid Seismic Zone, a series of Midwestern faults named for a small town in the Missouri Bootheel, aren't aftershocks of the massive quakes that rocked our fledgling nation more than 2 centuries ago, a new study suggests. In other words, modern-day quakes are signs that the faults in the region are still accumulating stress—and sometimes releasing it as fresh rumblings."

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Should Self-Driving Cars Chauffeur Shopping 'Whales' For Free?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 23 '14 at 03:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's let's-go-on-a-comping-trip department:
theodp writes "Probably not the most fortuitous timing, but the USPTO has granted Google its wish for a patent on Transportation-Aware Physical Advertising Conversions, a system that arranges for free or discounted transportation to an advertiser's business location that will be more or less convenient based upon how profitable a customer is deemed. It's reminiscent of the free personal chauffeured limousine rides long enjoyed by Las Vegas casino 'whales', but at scale and using cars that may not have drivers. A server, Google explains, 'arranges the selected transportation option, for example, by dispatching a vehicle or providing instructions for using public transportation.' So, it seems a Larry or Sergey type might expect to be taken gratis to the Tesla dealership via a private autonomous car or even helicopter, while others may get a discount on a SF Muni bus ride to Safeway. Google also describes how advertisers will be able to use a customer's profile 'to exclude a customer from being considered for an offer based on exclusion criteria identified by a business,' such as age, job title, purchasing history, clothing size, or other 'desirable' characteristics."

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Does Anyone Make a Photo De-Duplicator For Linux? Something That Reads EXIF?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 23 '14 at 03:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's which-ones-are-not-like-the-others? department:
postbigbang writes "Imagine having thousands of images on disparate machines. many are dupes, even among the disparate machines. It's impossible to delete all the dupes manually and create a singular, accurate photo image base? Is there an app out there that can scan a file system, perhaps a target sub-folder system, and suck in the images-- WITHOUT creating duplicates? Perhaps by reading EXIF info or hashes? I have eleven file systems saved, and the task of eliminating dupes seems impossible."

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Google Charging OEMs Licensing Fees For Play Store
Posted by News Fetcher on January 23 '14 at 03:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's say-those-were-good-free-pills department:
An anonymous reader writes "Google has begun charging OEMs for access to its proprietary Play Store applications for Android though the reported amount is as low as 75c per device. Between charging OEMs for Google Play apps, showing ads within these apps (Search, Maps and GMail) and profiling users with the data it collects this does show that Google is willing to leverage their stranglehold on the mobile market to control and monetize wherever it can. Add that these proprietary applications and the proprietary Google Play Services are the primary areas for Android innovation and development and you end up with an operating system that is less and less 'free' in the freedom and cost senses of the word."

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Does Anyone Make an Photo De-Duplicator For Linux? Something That Reads EXIF?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 23 '14 at 02:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's which-ones-are-not-like-the-others? department:
postbigbang writes "Imagine having thousands of images on disparate machines. many are dupes, even among the disparate machines. It's impossible to delete all the dupes manually and create a singular, accurate photo image base? Is there an app out there that can scan a file system, perhaps a target sub-folder system, and suck in the images-- WITHOUT creating duplicates? Perhaps by reading EXIF info or hashes? I have eleven file systems saved, and the task of eliminating dupes seems impossible."

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