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Fabien Cousteau Takes Plunge To Beat Grandfather's Underwater Record
Posted by News Fetcher on June 23 '14 at 11:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's under-the-sea department:
An anonymous reader writes Fabien Cousteau, grandson of famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, plans to spend 31 days underwater off the coast of Key Largo, Florida. He has already spent 3 weeks in an underwater laboratory called the Aquarius, and hopes to break his grandfather's record of 30 days in an undersea habitat. "There are a lot of challenges physically and psychologically," said Cousteau, 46, who grew up on his grandfather's ships, Calypso and Alcyone. Cousteau added: "We'll be able to do Twitter chats, we'll be able to do Skype sessions, we'll be able to do Facebook posts and Instagram posts and all these things that we take for granted on land, but up until now it was impossible to do from down below."

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Oracle Buying Micros Systems For $5.3 Billion
Posted by News Fetcher on June 23 '14 at 10:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's the-circle-of-business department:
An anonymous reader writes Oracle is buying hospitality and retail technology vendor Micros Systems for $5.3 billion, in a deal that will be its largest since the purchase of Sun Microsystems in 2010. "Oracle said the acquisition will extend its offerings by combining Micros' industry-specific applications with its business applications, technologies and cloud portfolio. Oracle expects the deal to immediately add to its adjusted earnings. Its stock climbed 18 cents to $41 before the market opened. Micros' board unanimously approved the transaction, which is expected to close in the second half of the year."

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Microsoft's Cloud Storage Service OneDrive Now Offers 15GB For Free
Posted by News Fetcher on June 23 '14 at 09:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's bigger-is-better department:
DroidJason1 writes Microsoft revealed today that they will be offering 15GB of free OneDrive storage, up from 7GB. Office 365 users will now get 1TB of storage, up from 20GB. This announcement comes after Amazon revealed unlimited photo storage for those who buy the new Fire phone. Dropbox, a competitor to OneDrive, currently has 2GB for free but offers more space if you refer people to the service. Google Drive offers 15GB of free storage, while Amazon Cloud Drive offers 5GB.

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Satellite Swarm Spots North Pole Drift
Posted by News Fetcher on June 23 '14 at 09:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's watch-it-move department:
An anonymous reader writes "A report from the European Space Agency shows the first collection of high-resolution results from the agency's three-satellite Swarm. The report illustrates the latest changes in the Earth's magnetic field and shows the movement of the magnetic North Pole. "Launched in November 2013, ESA's Swarm mission consists of three 9-meter satellites orbiting the planet at altitudes of 300-530 km (186-330 miles). Their goal is to monitor Earth's dynamic magnetic field, observing its changes over a period of four years. The data gathered by the Swarm satellites will help scientists better understand how our magnetic field works, how it's influenced by solar activity, and why large parts of it are found to be weakening.""

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Linux Mint 17 KDE Released
Posted by News Fetcher on June 23 '14 at 08:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's brand-new department:
sfcrazy writes The Linux Mint team has announced the release of Linux Mint 17 KDE codenamed Qiana. It's based on KDE Software Compilation 4.13.0. There are notable improvements in Mint Display Manager (MDM). The multi-monitor display has improved and it allows a user to “configure which of the monitors should be used as the primary monitory by MDM.” Users can also define a background color or a background picture no matter what greeter they are using.

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Interviews: Ask Lawrence Lessig About His Mayday PAC
Posted by News Fetcher on June 23 '14 at 08:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's go-ahead-and-ask department:
samzenpus (5) writes "Lawrence Lessig's list of achievements and areas of influence is not small. He's co-founder of the Creative Commons, but it is his Mayday PAC however that has garnered the most attention recently. The crowdfunded "Super PAC to end all Super PACs" was launched in May with the goal of raising money to elect candidates who would pass campaign finance reform. It raised over $1 million in the first 13 days and has the support of some influential people. With the help of matching contributions, Mayday hopes to raise $12 million by the end of June. Lessig has agreed to answer any questions about the PAC that you might have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post."

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New Sensors Will Scoop Up "Big Data" On Chicago
Posted by News Fetcher on June 23 '14 at 07:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's count-them-up department:
Graculus writes with news about a plan to install sensors to collect environmental data and count people in Chicago. Chicago plans to install sensors in light poles to observe air quality, light intensity, sound volume, heat, precipitation, and wind. The sensors will also count people by observing cell phone traffic. The curled metal fixtures set to go up on a handful of Michigan Avenue light poles later this summer may look like delicate pieces of sculpture, but researchers say they'll provide a big step forward in the way Chicago understands itself by observing the city's people and surroundings. Some experts caution that efforts like the one launching here to collect data from people and their surroundings pose concerns of a Big Brother intrusion into personal privacy. In particular, sensors collecting cell phone data make privacy proponents nervous. But computer scientist Charlie Catlett said the planners have taken precautions to design their sensors to observe mobile devices and count contact with the signal rather than record the digital address of every device.

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Robert McMillen: What Everyone Gets Wrong In the Debate Over Net Neutrality
Posted by News Fetcher on June 23 '14 at 06:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's it-was-never-fair department:
ygslash writes "Robert McMillen of Wired claims that we have gotten Net Neutrality all wrong. While we are all busy arguing about whether there should be regulations preventing large content providers from getting preferential bandwidth, McMillen says that not only have the large content providers already had preferential bandwidth for ten years, but that by now this has become an inherent part of the structure of the Internet and in practice cannot be changed. Instead, he says, the Net Neutrality discussion should be about ensuring a free and open competitive market for bandwidth, so that anyone who wants bandwidth can purchase it at a fair price.

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Fresh Evidence Supports Higgs Boson Discovery
Posted by News Fetcher on June 23 '14 at 06:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's look-what-we-found department:
An anonymous reader writes Researchers at CERN have discovered the first evidence for the direct decay of the Higgs boson into fermions, a strong indication that the particle found two years ago is the Higgs boson. From the article: "Assistant professor of physics at MIT and leader of the international effort, Markus Klute, said that his team was trying to establish if the particle that was discovered in 2012 was really consistent with the Higgs boson that was found in the Standard Model, and not one of many Higgs bosons, or an a particle that looks like it but has a different origin."Their researchers also found that the bosons also decay to fermions (fermions include all quarks and leptons) in a way that is consistent with the Standard Model Higgs. 'We have now established the main characteristics of this new particle, in its coupling to fermions and to bosons, and its spin-parity structure; all of these things are consistent with the Standard Model,' Klute says." CERN has also announced the LHC restart schedule.

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Researchers Unveil Experimental 36-Core Chip
Posted by News Fetcher on June 23 '14 at 05:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's we-need-another-core department:
rtoz writes The more cores — or processing units — a computer chip has, the bigger the problem of communication between cores becomes. For years, Li-Shiuan Peh, the Singapore Research Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, has argued that the massively multicore chips of the future will need to resemble little Internets, where each core has an associated router, and data travels between cores in packets of fixed size. This week, at the International Symposium on Computer Architecture, Peh's group unveiled a 36-core chip that features just such a "network-on-chip." In addition to implementing many of the group's earlier ideas, it also solves one of the problems that has bedeviled previous attempts to design networks-on-chip: maintaining cache coherence, or ensuring that cores' locally stored copies of globally accessible data remain up to date.

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China Leads In Graphene Patent Applications
Posted by News Fetcher on June 23 '14 at 05:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's how-many-do-you-got? department:
hackingbear writes According to British patent consultancy CambridgeIP, China has filed for more than 2,200 graphene patents, the most of any country, followed by the U.S. with more than 1,700 patents, and South Korea with just under 1,200 patents. In terms of institutions, Samsung, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, and IBM lead the way of number of patent filing on this futurist materials with seemingly unlimited potentials, followed by Qinghua University of China. As China's moving its economy to be more innovation based and strengthening its IP laws, American companies will perhaps soon be at the receiving ends of patent law suits.

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Great White Sharks Making Comeback Off Atlantic Coast
Posted by News Fetcher on June 23 '14 at 01:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's just-when-you-thought-it-was-safe-to-go-back-in-the-water department:
An anonymous reader writes "A report that scientists are calling one of the most comprehensive studies of great white sharks finds their numbers are surging in the ocean off the Eastern U.S. and Canada after decades of decline — bad news if you're a seal, but something experts say shouldn't instill fear. The scientists behind the study attribute the resurgence to conservation efforts, such as a federal 1997 act that prevented hunting of great whites, and greater availability of prey. The species is listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature."

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Prisoners Freed After Cops Struggle With New Records Software
Posted by News Fetcher on June 22 '14 at 10:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's get-out-of-jail-free department:
itwbennett writes Police in Dallas are scrambling after difficulties using a new records management system caused more than 20 jail inmates, including a number of people charged with violent crimes, to be set free. The prisoners were able to get out of jail because police officers struggling to learn the new system didn't file cases on them within three days, as required by law.

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China Builds Artificial Islands In South China Sea
Posted by News Fetcher on June 22 '14 at 07:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's mine-now-I-take-it department:
An anonymous reader writes about a Chinese building project designed to cement claims to a disputed region of the South China Sea. Sand, cement, wood, and steel are China's weapons of choice as it asserts its claim over the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. China, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, and Brunei have sparred for decades over ownership of the 100 islands and reefs, which measure less than 1,300 acres in total but stretch across an area about the size of Iraq. In recent months, vessels belonging to the People's Republic have been spotted ferrying construction materials to build new islands in the sea. Pasi Abdulpata, a Filipino fishing contractor who in October was plying the waters near Parola Island in the northern Spratlys, says he came across "this huge Chinese ship sucking sand and rocks from one end of the ocean and blasting it to the other using a tube."

Artificial islands could help China anchor its claim to waters that host some of the world's busiest shipping lanes. The South China Sea may hold as much as 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to a 2013 report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. China has considered the Spratlys—which it calls Nansha—part of its territory since the 1940s and on occasion has used its military might to enforce its claim. In 1988 a Chinese naval attack at Johnson South Reef, in the northern portion of the archipelago, killed 64 Vietnamese border guards.


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SpaceX Delays Falcon 9 Launch To Tuesday
Posted by News Fetcher on June 22 '14 at 04:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's maybe-some-other-time department:
An anonymous reader writes "SpaceX has cancelled the launch of a Falcon 9 rocket after identifying a potential concern during preflight testing. This is the third straight day technical issues or weather have caused a delay. "Today's Orbcomm launch attempt has been scrubbed to address a potential concern identified during pre-flight checks," a SpaceX spokesperson said in a statement. "The vehicle and payload are in good condition, and engineering teams will take the extra time to ensure the highest possible level of mission assurance prior to flight," the statement said. The rocket is now scheduled for a Tuesday launch."

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Workplace Surveillance Becoming More Common
Posted by News Fetcher on June 22 '14 at 03:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's I-see-you department:
An anonymous reader writes For better or worse, surveillance technology is becoming more common in the workplace. These tools are being used to measure and monitor employees, with the promise changing how people work. "Through these new means, companies have found, for example, that workers are more productive if they have more social interaction. So a bank's call center introduced a shared 15-minute coffee break, and a pharmaceutical company replaced coffee makers used by a few marketing workers with a larger cafe area. The result? Increased sales and less turnover." Of course, this kind of monitoring raises privacy concerns. "Whether this kind of monitoring is effective or not, it's a concern," said Lee Tien, a senior staff lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco.

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How Disney Built and Programmed an Animatronic President
Posted by News Fetcher on June 22 '14 at 02:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's clockwork-people department:
An anonymous reader writes with this interesting look at how Disney created realistic animatronic figures in a time before programming languages and systems on a chip. Animatronics have powered some of sci-fi and fantasy cinema's most imposing creatures and characters: The alien queen in Aliens, the Terminator in The Terminator, and Jaws of Jaws (the key to getting top billing in Hollywood: be a robot). Even beloved little E.T.—of E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial—was a pile of aluminum, steel, and foam rubber capable of 150 robotic actions, including wrinkling its nose. But although animatronics is a treasured component of some of culture's farthest-reaching movies, it originated in much more mundane circumstances. According to the Disney archives, it began with a bird.

Among the things Walt Disney was renowned for was bringing animatronics (or what he termed at the time Audio-Animatronics) to big stages at his company and elsewhere. But Disney didn't discover or invent animatronics for entertainment use; rather, he found it in a store. In a video on Disney's site, Disney archivist Dave Smith tells a story of how one day in the early 1950s, while out shopping in New Orleans antique shop, Disney took note of a tiny cage with a tinier mechanical bird, bobbing its tail and wings while tweeting tunelessly. He bought the trinket and brought it back to his studio, where his technicians took the bird apart to see how it worked.


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Climate Change Prompts Emperor Penguins To Find New Breeding Grounds
Posted by News Fetcher on June 22 '14 at 01:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's moving-to-better-quarters-on-campus department:
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers have discovered that emperor penguins may not be faithful to their previous nesting locations, as previously thought. Scientists have long thought that emperor penguins were philopatric, returning to the same location to nest each year. However, a new research study showed that the penguins may be behaving in ways that allow them to adapt to their changing environment. Lead author Michelle LaRue said,"Our research showing that colonies seem to appear and disappear throughout the years challenges behaviors we thought we understood about emperor penguins. If we assume that these birds come back to the same locations every year, without fail, these new colonies we see on satellite images wouldn't make any sense. These birds didn't just appear out of thin air—they had to have come from somewhere else. This suggests that emperor penguins move among colonies. That means we need to revisit how we interpret population changes and the causes of those changes.""

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Over 300,000 Servers Remain Vulnerable To Heartbleed
Posted by News Fetcher on June 22 '14 at 12:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's protect-ya-neck department:
An anonymous reader writes "Even though it's been a couple months since the Heartbleed bug was discovered, many servers remain unpatched and vulnerable. "Two months ago, security experts and web users panicked when a Google engineer discovered a major bug — known as Heartbleed — that put over a million web servers at risk. The bug doesn't make the news much anymore, but that doesn't mean the problem's solved. Security researcher Robert David Graham has found that at least 309,197 servers are still vulnerable to the exploit. Immediately after the announcement, Graham found some 600,000 servers were exposed by Heartbleed. One month after the bug was announced, that number dropped down to 318,239. In the past month, however, only 9,042 of those servers have been patched to block Heartbleed. That's cause for concern, because it means that smaller sites aren't making the effort to implement a fix.""

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The Revolutionary American Weapons of War That Never Happened
Posted by News Fetcher on June 22 '14 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's pipe-dreams department:
An anonymous reader writes There have been many US military machines of war that seemed to be revolutionary, but never make it out of the prototype stage. As Robert Farley explains: "Sometimes they die because they were a bad idea in the first place. For the same reasons, bad defense systems can often survive the most inept management if they fill a particular niche well enough." A weapon can seem like an amazing invention, but it still has to adapt to all sorts of conditions--budgetary, politics, and people's plain bias. Here's a look at a few of the best weapons of war that couldn't win under these "battlefield" conditions.

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