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The New York Times Has Lessons For Others Making the Slow Transition To Digital
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '13 at 01:46 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's get-on-the-net department:
mattydread23 writes "You may not think your business has much in common with the New York Times, but the newspaper is a perfect example of how to maintain investment in a large but declining legacy business while simultaneously investing in new areas that will drive future growth. Surprisingly, 10% of the paper's revenue now comes from digital subscriptions and other all-digital products (not including advertising)."

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Getting Evolution In Science Textbooks For Texas Schools
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '13 at 01:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's monkey's-uncle department:
First time accepted submitter windwalker13th writes "Recently the New York Times ran an article highlighting the pull that a State Board in Texas holds over that state and rest of the Nation. Because of the unique way in which Texas picks school textbooks (purchasing large volumes of textbooks at once to be used for the next decade) publishers pander to this board to get their books approved. The board currently holds several members (6 of 28 who are known to reject evolution) who hold creationist views and actively work to ensure that the science textbooks do not use as strong language or must include "critical thinking" about possible alternate explanations for evolution."

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Book Review: Digital Outcasts
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '13 at 12:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it department:
benrothke writes "Many of us have experimented with what it means to be disabled, by sitting in a wheelchair for a few minutes or putting a blindfold over our eyes. In Digital Outcasts: Moving Technology Forward without Leaving People Behind, author Kel Smith details the innumerable obstacles disabled people have to deal with in their attempts to use computers and the Internet. The book observes that while 1 in 7 people in the world have some sort of disability, (including the fact that 1 in every 10 U.S. children has been diagnosed with ADHD), software and hardware product designers, content providers and the companies who support these teams often approach accessibility as an add-on, not as a core component. Adding accessibility functionality to support disabled people is often seen as a lowest common denominator feature. With the companies unaware of the universal benefit their solution could potentially bring to a wider audience. " Read below for the rest of Ben's review. Digital Outcasts: Moving Technology Forward without Leaving People Behind
author Kel Smith
pages 288
publisher Morgan Kaufmann
rating 9/10
reviewer Ben Rothke
ISBN 978-0124047051
summary Manifesto for technology accessibility for all

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FDA Tells Google-Backed 23andMe To Halt DNA Test Service
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '13 at 11:31 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's knock-it-off department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Bloomberg reports that 23andMe Inc., the Google-backed DNA analysis company, has been told by US regulators to halt sales of its main product, the Saliva Collection Kit and Personal Genome Service, or PGS that tells users whether they carry a disease, are at risk of a disease and would respond to a drug because the kit is being sold without FDA's marketing clearance or approval. 'FDA is concerned about the public health consequences of inaccurate results from the PGS device,' says the agency. 'The main purpose of compliance with FDA's regulatory requirements is to ensure that the tests work.' 23andMe was founded six years ago by Anne Wojcicki, who recently separated from her husband, Google co-founder Sergey Brin. The FDA decided in 2010 that services claiming to evaluate a customer's risk of disease must be cleared by regulators if the companies sell directly to consumers. Most FDA-cleared genetic tests are for a single disease while 23andMe's would be the first to test for multiple conditions. 23andMe submitted FDA applications in July and September of 2012 for the least stringent of two types of medical device reviews but the FDA said the company failed to address 'the issues described during previous interactions'."

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BBC: Amazon Workers Face "Increased Risk of Mental Illness"
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '13 at 11:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's take-this-job-and-shove-it department:
Rambo Tribble writes "The BBC is reporting that an investigation into a UK-based Amazon facility has uncovered conditions that experts believe foster mental illness. At the root of the problem seems to be unreasonable performance expectations combined with a fundamentally dehumanizing environment. From the article: 'Amazon said that official safety inspections had not raised any concerns and that an independent expert appointed by the company advised that the picking job is "similar to jobs in many other industries and does not increase the risk of mental and physical illness"'"

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Researchers Build Covert Acoustical Mesh Networks In Air
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '13 at 11:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's protect-ya-neck department:
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at Fraunhofer FKIE, Germany have presented a paper on covert acoustical communications between laptop computers. In their paper 'On Covert Acoustical Mesh Networks in Air', they describe how acoustical communication can be used to secretly bridge air gaps between computers and connect computers and networks that are thought to be completely isolated from each other. By using ad-hoc routing protocols, they are able to build up a complete mesh network of infected computers that leaks data over multiple hops. A multi-hop acoustical keylogger is also presented where keystrokes are forwarded to an attacker over multiple hops between different office rooms. The fundamental part of the communication system is a piece of software that has originally been developed for acoustic underwater communications. The researchers also provide different countermeasures against malicious participation in a covert acoustical network. The limitations of air gaps have been discussed recently in the context of a highly advanced malware, although reports on this so-called badBIOS malware could not yet be confirmed."

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Company Wants To Put Power Plants In the Sky
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '13 at 09:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's silver-powered-lining department:
Zothecula writes "Harvesting power from the wind and the sun is nothing new. We've seen flying wind turbines and solar power plants that aim to provide clean renewable energy. UK-based New Wave Energy has a bolder idea in the works. The company plans to build the first high altitude aerial power plant, using networks of unmanned drones that can harvest energy from multiple sources and transmit it wirelessly to receiving stations on the ground."

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BlackBerry's CFO, CMO, and COO Leave Company
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '13 at 08:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's jumping-ship department:
cagraham writes "In a pretty major executive shakeup, BlackBerry's Chief Financial Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, and Chief Operating Officer have all left the company. It's unclear whether the changes were brought about by new interim-CEO John Chen in order to facilitate company change, or represent an abandon-ship style exit after BlackBerry's failed bid to go private. The company announced that the CFO position would be filled by current SVP James Yersch, but gave no word on the other vacancies."

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Beer Drinking Networks In Amazon Tribe Help Explain Altruism
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '13 at 07:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's have-one-on-me department:
KentuckyFC writes "The Tsimane tribe are hunter-gatherers living in the forested region between the foothills of the Andes and the wetland-savannas of the Llanos de Moxos in Bolivia. They drink beer made from boiled manioc (a type of sweet potato) which they chew and spit into the mix to trigger fermentation. After a week or so, the resultant brew is about 4 per cent alcohol. Now anthropologists studying this tribe say the way they host beer drinking events for each other offers important clues into their culture. At issue is the question of altruism: why people spend considerable time and effort doing favors for others that don't directly benefit them. The answer from studying these beer drinking events is that the favor is quickly returned by the guests in the form of another beer drinking event. This helps to build good relations with neighbors and family. And when the beer drinking invite is not returned, the researchers speculate that this is probably because there is some other favor involved, such as helping to gather or prepare food, suggesting mates or political co-operation."

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Healthcare.gov and the Gulf Between Planning and Reality
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '13 at 07:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's if-at-first-you-don't-succeed department:
An anonymous reader writes in with this excerpt from Shirky.com. "The idea that 'failure is not an option' is a fantasy version of how non-engineers should motivate engineers. That sentiment was invented by a screenwriter, riffing on an after-the-fact observation about Apollo 13; no one said it at the time. (If you ever say it, wash your mouth out with soap. If anyone ever says it to you, run.) Even NASA's vaunted moonshot, so often referred to as the best of government innovation, tested with dozens of unmanned missions first, several of which failed outright. Failure is always an option. Engineers work as hard as they do because they understand the risk of failure. And for anything it might have meant in its screenplay version, here that sentiment means the opposite; the unnamed executives were saying 'Addressing the possibility of failure is not an option.' ... Healthcare.gov was unable to complete even a thousand enrollments a day at launch, and for weeks afterwards. As we now know, programmers, stakeholders, and testers all expressed reservations about Healthcare.gov's ability to do what it was supposed to do. Yet no one who understood the problems was able to tell the President. Worse, every senior political figure—every one—who could have bridged the gap between knowledgeable employees and the President decided not to. And so it was that, even on launch day, the President was allowed to make things worse for himself and his signature program by bragging about the already-failing site and inviting people to log in and use something that mostly wouldn't work. Whatever happens to government procurement or hiring (and we should all hope those things get better) a culture that prefers deluding the boss over delivering bad news isn't well equipped to try new things.'"

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Geeks For Monarchy: The Rise of the Neoreactionaries
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '13 at 06:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's I-wish-to-subscribe-to-your-newsletter department:
Third Position writes "Many of us yearn for a return to one golden age or another. But there's a community of bloggers taking the idea to an extreme: they want to turn the dial way back to the days before the French Revolution. Neoreactionaries believe that while technology and capitalism have advanced humanity over the past couple centuries, democracy has actually done more harm than good. They propose a return to old-fashioned gender roles, social order and monarchy."

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San Quentin Inmates Learn Technology From Silicon Valley Pros
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '13 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's information-flows-both-ways department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "The Washington Post reports that a rigorous, six-month training program launched by successful tech entrepreneurs for inmates in the decaying San Quentin State Prison is teaching carefully selected inmates the ins and outs of designing and launching technology firms, using local experts as volunteer instructors and the graduates, now trickling out of the penal system, are landing real jobs at real dot-coms. 'We believe that when incarcerated people are released into the world, they need the tools to function in today's high-tech, wired world,' says co-founder Beverly Parenti, who with her husband, Chris Redlitz, has launched thriving companies, including AdAuction, the first online media exchange. During twice-a-week evening lessons, students — many locked up before smartphones or Google— practice tweeting, brainstorm new companies and discuss business books assigned as homework. Banned from the Internet to prevent networking with other criminals, they take notes on keyboard-like word processors or with pencil on paper. The program is still 'bootstrapping,' as its organizers say, with just 12 graduates in its first two years and now a few dozen in classes in San Quentin and Twin Towers. But the five graduates released so far are working in the tech sector. 'This program will go a long way to not only providing these guys with jobs, but it is my hope that they hire people like them who have changed their lives and are now ready to contribute to society, pay taxes, follow the law, support their families,' says former California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation director Matthew Cate who adds he made the right decision to approve the training course. 'All those things contribute to the economy.'"

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Single-Atom Layer of Tin May Be a New Wonder Conductor
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '13 at 03:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-does-it-have-heart? department:
At Kurzweil AI, an article proclaims that the next wonder material for computer chips may be an unexpectedly common one:
"Move over, graphene. 'Stanene' — a single layer of tin atoms — could be the world’s first material to conduct electricity with 100 percent efficiency at the temperatures that computer chips operate, according to a team of theoretical physicists led by researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University." (Original paper is available here, but paywalled.)

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Singapore & South Korea Help NSA Tap Undersea Cables
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '13 at 01:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's friends-in-need-with-lots-of-guns department:
An anonymous reader writes "Singapore and South Korea are playing key roles helping the United States and Australia tap undersea telecommunications links across Asia, according to top secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden. Indonesia and Malaysia have been key targets for Australian and Singaporean intelligence collaboration since much of Indonesia's telecommunications and Internet traffic is routed through Singapore. The NSA has a stranglehold on trans-Pacific communications channels with interception facilities on the West coast of the United States and at Hawaii and Guam, tapping all cable traffic across the Pacific Ocean as well as links between Australia and Japan. Japan had refused to take part."

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Apple Officializes Purchase of Motion-Sensor Firm PrimeSense
Posted by News Fetcher on November 24 '13 at 10:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's have-it-wrapped-and-delivered department:
The reports that Apple was to buy Israeli 3-D sensor maker PrimeSense have turned out to be correct; the BBC reports that Apple has confirmed the purchase, though it is mum both about the price it paid and about where 3D sensors are likely to show up first in the Apple lineup. Also at the Register and Apple Insider, among others.

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Image Lifted From Twitter Leads to $1.2M Payout For Haitian Photog
Posted by News Fetcher on November 24 '13 at 07:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's always-look-for-the-cc-label department:
magic maverick writes "A U.S. federal jury has ordered Agence France-Presse and Getty Images to pay $1.2 million to a Daniel Morel, Haitian photographer, for their unauthorized use of photographs, from the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The images, posted to Twitter, were taken by an editor at AFP and then provided to Getty. A number of other organizations had already settled out of court with the photographer."

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CMU AI Learning Common Sense By Watching the Internet
Posted by News Fetcher on November 24 '13 at 05:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's sound-of-sensors-getting-really-big department:
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from the Washington Post "Researchers are trying to plant a digital seed for artificial intelligence by letting a massive computer system browse millions of pictures and decide for itself what they all mean. The system at Carnegie Mellon University is called NEIL, short for Never Ending Image Learning. In mid-July, it began searching the Internet for images 24/7 and, in tiny steps, is deciding for itself how those images relate to each other. The goal is to recreate what we call common sense — the ability to learn things without being specifically taught."

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Kdenlive Developer Jean-Baptiste Mardelle Is Missing
Posted by News Fetcher on November 24 '13 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's hope-all-is-well department:
jones_supa writes "Kdenlive's project leader Jean-Baptiste Mardelle, who always used to let people know if he was going to be away for a couple of days, seems to have just disappeared. His last e-mail and blog post were in early July and they didn't suggest any problems. While there's many Kdenlive fans out there for the KDE-focused open-source video editor, it seems new development efforts around the project have ceased. Also the Kdenlive Git repository hasn't seen any new commits (aside from the automated l10n daemon script) since early July. There has been also people in KDE forums and Kdenlive developers' mailing list pondering about the status of the project, being left none the wiser."

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Study Suggests Link Between Dread Pirate Roberts and Satoshi Nakamoto
Posted by News Fetcher on November 24 '13 at 02:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-he's-gonna-get-you-too department:
wabrandsma writes "Two Israeli computer scientists say they may have uncovered a puzzling financial link between Ross William Ulbricht, the recently arrested operator of the Internet black market known as the Silk Road, and the secretive inventor of bitcoin, the anonymous online currency, used to make Silk Road purchases."

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China Creates Air Defence Zone Over Japan-Controlled Islands, Issues War Threat
Posted by News Fetcher on November 24 '13 at 01:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's halt-who-goes-there department:
cold fjord writes "France24 reports, "Beijing on Saturday announced it was setting up an 'air defence identification zone' over an area that includes islands controlled by Japan but claimed by China, in a move that could inflame the bitter territorial row. Along with the creation of the zone in the East China Sea, the defence ministry released a set of aircraft identification rules that must be followed by all planes entering the area, under penalty of intervention by the military. Aircraft are expected to provide their flight plan, clearly mark their nationality, and maintain two-way radio communication allowing them to 'respond in a timely and accurate manner to the identification inquiries' from Chinese authorities. The outline of the new zone ... covers a wide area of the East China Sea between South Korea and Taiwan that includes the Tokyo-controlled islands known as the Senkakus to Japan and Diaoyous to China. "China's armed forces will adopt defensive emergency measures to respond to aircraft that do not cooperate in the identification or refuse to follow the instructions," according to the ministry. ' The Politico adds, "Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said Saturday the United States is 'deeply concerned'" over the move. Spiegel Online has background on the conflict with Japan and on related regional issues. This announcement follows the recent publication in Chinese state media of maps showing nuclear strike plans against the U.S."

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