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LeVar Burton On Google Glass
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '13 at 01:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what-does-the-Geordi-say department:
An anonymous reader writes "While he acknowledged that technology needs to keep going forward, LeVar Burton didn't seem comfortable with the idea of using Google Glass. '"It disturbed me. I was skeptical... [and] I'm a person that's very open to technology." That's the reaction LeVar Burton, the man best known from Reading Rainbow and Star Trek: The Next Generation, first had when encountering Google Glass backstage at Engadget Expand. Burton, a self-described edutainment pioneer, acknowledges the disruptive power new technologies can have on media and culture — after all, he did help transform television into a worthy educational tool/babysitter with his PBS program. But even with that storied success, and his company's current inroads into digital with an iPad Reading Rainbow application, Burton still had a "knee-jerk" response when confronted with Glass. Although his celebrity status and the resulting paranoia could have something to do with it.'"

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Why Project Flare Might Just End the Console War
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '13 at 01:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's to-the-cloud department:
An anonymous reader writes "Project Flare, the new server side gaming technology from Square Enix, turned heads when it was announced last week. The first tech demos do little more than show the vast number of calculations it can handle with hundreds of boxes tumbling down in Deus Ex, but the potential is there to do much more than just picture-in-picture feeds in MMOs. As a new article points out, what's most interesting is the potential to use the technology for games that use more than one system — OnLive may have used this tech before, but only to play games you can buy on discs in the shops anyway, but the future is in games that need the equivalent of dozens of PS4s or Xbox Ones to power them. Ubisoft has already partnered with Square on the project."

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There Would Be No Iranian Nuclear Talks If Not For Fracking
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '13 at 11:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's frack-baby-frack department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Matthew Philips writes at Bloomberg that US Secretary of State John Kerry landed in Geneva on Friday to begin negotiations with Iran over its nuclear weapons program and there is sudden optimism that a deal is in the offing. But the simple fact is that Iran would not be coming to the negotiating table without the US oil boom. Over the last two years, the US has increased its crude production by about 2 million barrels a day. According to a recent report from the Congressional Research Service (pdf), Iran's oil exports have been cut in half since 2011 (PDF), from 2.5 million barrels per day to a bit more than 1 million today. As a result, Iran has had to halt an equal amount of production. 'I think it's pretty clear that without the U.S. shale revolution, it never would have been possible to put this kind of embargo on Iran,' says Julius Walker. 'Without US production gains, I think we'd be looking at $150 a barrel.' Instead, international prices have hovered around $110, and are less than $100 in the US. According to data from Bloomberg, the combined carrying capacity of oil tankers leaving Iranian ports last month dropped 22 percent from September. 'They're having a very hard time finding buyers,' says Walker. If a deal gets done, the trick will be to ease Iranian oil back onto the broader market without disrupting prices. If not managed properly, flooding the market with Iranian crude could carry its own negative consequences by suddenly making fracked oil in the US unprofitable."

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First Arab Supercar Costs $3.4 Million, Has Diamond-Encrusted Headlights
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '13 at 11:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's get-the-undercoat department:
cartechboy writes "If you're looking for bling, you can always count on Dubai. At the Dubai Motor Show this week, Lebanon-based W Motors unveiled what is billed as the world's first Arab-built super car. The Lykan Hypersport incorporates jewels and precious metals in its construction, suicide-style doors, and an interactive holographic display system. (Yes, drivers will be able to adjust radio volume via a holograph.) The 750 horsepower car accelerates to 60 mph in just 2.8 seconds and has a top speed of 245 mph. The cost: $3.4 million, but owners will also receive a Cyrus Klepcys watch, said to be valued at around $200,000. W Motors plans a whopping 7 units for production."

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Twitter's Fake Followers Watching IPO Closely
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '13 at 10:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's keeping-it-real department:
kraksmoka writes "Is your social media pro 'making it go viral' by pressing a button instead of interacting with a real audience? The purchase and use of fake followers by small to mid-sized social media agencies is rising on Twitter and there is concern that the growth of fake followers can't be stopped. "

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Sochi Olympic Torch Taken On Historic Spacewalk
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '13 at 09:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's space-relay department:
rtoz writes "Two Russian cosmonauts have taken the torch for the Sochi Winter Olympics on its first historic spacewalk. Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazansky took the unlit version of the torch through the hatch of the International Space Station. The Olympic torch has been carried into space twice before – in 1996 and 2000 – but it has never left a spaceship. It was not lit aboard the space station as this would consume oxygen and pose a risk to the crew."

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Expansion of Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant Suspended
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '13 at 08:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's not-so-fast department:
mdsolar writes in with news that plans to build two new reactors at the Comanche Peak nuclear power plant have been put on hold. "On Friday, Luminant, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Energy Future Holdings, suspended its application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build two new reactors at the plant. Its partner on the project, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, said it was focusing on getting its nuclear reactors in Japan back in operation. The majority of Japan's reactors were shut down because of safety concerns following a 2011 tsunami that caused a radiation leak at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex 150 miles north of Tokyo. Mitsubishi 'has informed us that they will materially slow the development of their design control document for their new reactor design by several years. In addition, both [Mitsubishi] and Luminant understand the current economic reality of low Texas power prices driven in large part by the boom in natural gas,' read a statement from Luminant"

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Scientists Invent Urine-Powered Robots
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '13 at 07:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's bathroom-bot department:
Lucas123 writes "Researchers have already built robots that can use microorganisms to digest waste material, such as rotten fruit and vegetables, and generate electricity from it. This time, a group of scientists has taken that concept to a strange, new place: urine-powered robots. The scientists from the University of the West of England, Bristol and the University of Bristol constructed a system in robots that functions like the human heart, except it's designed to pump urine into the robot's 'engine room,' converting the waste into electricity and enabling the robot to function completely on its own. The researchers hope the system, which can hold 24.5 ml of urine, could be used to power future generations of robots, or what they're calling EcoBots. 'In the city environment, they could re-charge using urine from urinals in public lavatories,' said Peter Walters, a researcher with the University of the West of England. 'In rural environments, liquid waste effluent could be collected from farms.'"

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Brazil Orders Google To Hand Over Street View Data
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '13 at 06:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's take-it-back department:
cold fjord writes "France 24 reports, 'Brazilian judges gave US Internet search giant Google until Saturday to turn over private data collected through its Street View program ... Failure to do so would mean a daily fine of $50,000, up to a maximum of $500,000. ... According to a complaint from the Brazilian Institute of Computer Policy and Rights (IBDI), the car-borne software also enables Street View to access private wi-fi networks and intercept personal data and electronic communications. IBDI pointed to similar occurrences in other parts of the world and demanded that Google reveal if it had engaged in such practices. It said Google had admitted collecting data while insisting they were not used "in its products and services. The US search engine stressed that it had now removed the data collection software from its vehicles."'"

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Mark Shuttleworth Apologizes for Trademark Action Against Fix Ubuntu
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '13 at 05:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's great-start-to-your-career department:
A few days ago, the operator of Fix Ubuntu received a threatening letter from Canonical commanding him to cease using the Ubuntu name or logo. Last night, Mark Shuttleworth posted an update noting that it shouldn't have happened, and also apologizing for calling opponents of Mir the open source tea party. "In order to make the amount of [trademark related] correspondence manageable, we have a range of standard templates for correspondence. They range from the 'we see you, what you are doing is fine, here is a license to use the name and logo which you need to have, no need for further correspondence,' through 'please make sure you state you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of the company or the product,' to the 'please do not use the logo without permission, which we are not granting unless you actually certify those machines,' and 'please do not use Ubuntu in that domain to pretend you are part of the project when you are not.' Last week, the less-than-a-month-at-Canonical new guy sent out the toughest template letter to the folks behind a “sucks” site. Now, that was not a decision based on policy or guidance; as I said, Canonical’s trademark policy is unusually generous relative to corporate norms in explicitly allowing for this sort of usage. It was a mistake, and there is no question that the various people in the line of responsibility know and agree that it was a mistake. It was no different, however, than a bug in a line of code, which I think most developers would agree happens to the best of us. It just happened to be, in that analogy, a zero-day remote root bug. ... On another, more personal note, I made a mistake myself when I used the label “open source tea party” to refer to the vocal non-technical critics of work that Canonical does. That was unnecessary and quite possibly equally offensive to members of the real Tea Party (hi there!) and the people with vocal non-technical criticism of work that Canonical does (hello there!)."

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Where Does America's Fear Come From?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '13 at 03:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's pizza-is-the-root-of-all-evil department:
An anonymous reader writes "While far from a dictatorship, the United States has employed a number of paranoid tactics that delegitimize its democracy. And the motivation for doing so is — fear. That seems to be a long way from 'So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself: nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.' Where is the U.S. heading?"

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Square Is Discontinuing Monthly Pricing On February 1, 2014
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '13 at 12:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's something-about-being-easier department:
An anonymous reader writes "Mobile payment startup Square has decided to discontinue its monthly pricing option on February 1, 2014. The company says it does not plan to reinstate monthly pricing at any point. If you are currently enrolled in monthly pricing, Square will give you "a grace period" through the end of January 2014, after which the per-swipe rate will apply to transactions. On January 2, monthly pricing subscribers will be billed their last monthly fee, which will cover the rest of the month."

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British Operator EE Offers £8 Million Petabyte 4G Data Bundle
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '13 at 09:45 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's just-in-case department:
judgecorp writes "British mobile operator EE is offering a massive 1 Petabyte data bundle to businesses spread across multiple phones,.It's more than a gimmick to promote the 4G data service — it's aimed at heavy data users such as media companies who use data networks to upload content. This deal charges £8 per gigabyte, which is less than half the cost of the satellite uplinks they currently use. So the £8 million cost of this package might even result in savings for some organizations."

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EPA Makes Most Wood Stoves Illegal
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '13 at 07:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's free-nuclear-stoves-available department:
First time accepted submitter Jody Bruchon writes "The Environment Protection Agency has lowered the amount of fine-particle matter per cubic meter that new wood stoves are allowed to release into the atmosphere by 20%. Most wood stoves in use today are of the type that is now illegal to manufacture or sell, and old stoves traded in for credit towards new ones must be scrapped out. This shouldn't be much of a surprise since more and more local governments are banning wood-burning stoves and fireplaces entirely, citing smog and air pollution concerns."

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New Zealand's Hackable Transport Card Grants Free Bus Rides
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '13 at 06:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's we'll-fix-that-tomorrow department:
mask.of.sanity writes "Kiwis could have their names, addresses, dates of birth and phone numbers exposed by flaws in the Christchurch public transport system that could also allow locals to travel on buses for free. The flaws in the MiFare Classic system allow anyone to add limitless funds to their transport cards and also buy cheap grey market cards and add them to the system. The website fails to check users meaning attackers could look up details of residents and opens the potential for someone to write a script and erase all cards in existence. Several flaws have been known to the operator since 2009."

There are two sets of problems: their website is not adequately secured allowing identity harvesting attacks, and the transit cards themselves are easy to forge.

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Could We "Wikify" Scholarly Canons?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '13 at 05:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's infinite-copyright-bites department:
An anonymous reader writes "'We can enormously extend the record; yet even in its present bulk we can hardly consult it' wrote Vannevar Bush in a 1945 Atlantic Monthly article. Nearly 70 years later, academics are still wrapping research in inaccessible journal articles. Might they be doing it wrong?"

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Motorola Patent Uses Neck Tattoo As Microphone
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '13 at 04:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's zaps-user-when-visiting-bing department:
nk497 writes "A Motorola Mobility patent application proposes using an 'electronic skin tattoo' as a smartphone microphone and wireless transceiver. The temporary tattoo would also include a 'power supply configured to receive energizing signals from a personal area network,'
according to the filing with the US Patent and Trademark Office. It would be applied to 'a throat region of a body' — otherwise known as the neck. Motorola thinks the technology would be ideal for noisy environments, such as large stadiums and busy streets, or in emergency situations."


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Bitcoin (Probably) Isn't Broken
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '13 at 03:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's cheaters-cheating-on-cheaters department:
Trailrunner7 writes "In the wake of the publication of a new academic paper that says there is a fundamental flaw in the Bitcoin protocol that could allow a small cartel of participants to become powerful enough that it could take over the mining process and gather a disproportionate amount of the value in the system, researchers are debating the potential value of the attack and whether it's actually practical in the real world. The paper, published this week by researchers at Cornell University, claims that Bitcoin is broken, but critics say there's a foundational flaw in the paper's assertions. ... The idea of a majority of Bitcoin miners joining together to dominate the system isn't new, but the Cornell researchers say that a smaller pool of one third of the miners could achieve the same result, and that once they have, there would be a snowball effect with other miners joining this cartel to increase their own piece of the pie. However, other researchers have taken issue with this analysis, saying that it wouldn't hold together in the real world. 'The most serious flaw, perhaps, is that, contrary to their claims, a coalition of ES-miners [selfish miners] would not be stable, because members of the coalition would have an incentive to cheat on their coalition partners, by using a strategy that I'll call fair-weather mining,' Ed Felten, a professor of computer science and public affairs at Princeton University and director of the Center for Information Technology Policy, wrote in an analysis of the paper."

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Construction Firm Balfour Beatty Considers Drone Workers
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '13 at 02:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's mechanical-ones department:
cagraham writes "International engineering and construction firm Balfour Beatty is considering using drones in order to construct walls and monitor work sites, among other things. Beatty CIO Danny Reeves, speaking at the Fujitsu Forum, said drones could improve efficiency and safety on sites. He also talked of implementing sensors that would monitor worker's stress levels and bodily functions, and notify management when they became less effective, or mistake-prone, on the job."

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Google Starts Tracking Retail Store Visits On Android and iOS
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '13 at 01:45 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's extra-penny-per-cpm department:
recoiledsnake writes with news of Google tracking a bit more of your life. From the article: "Google is beta-testing a program that uses smartphone location data to determine when consumers visit stores, according to agency executives briefed on the program by Google employees. Google then connects these store visits to Google searches conducted on smartphones. If someone conducts a Google mobile search for 'screwdrivers,' for instance, a local hardware store could bid to have its store listing served to that user. By pairing that person's location data with its database of store listings, Google can see if the person who saw that ad subsequently visited the store.It is easiest for Google to conduct this passive location tracking on Android users, since Google has embedded location tracking into the software. Once Android users opt in to location services, Google starts collecting their location data as continuously as technologically possible."

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