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NSA's New Utah Data Center Suffering Meltdowns
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '13 at 08:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's high-grade-shadenfreude department:
linuxwrangler writes "NSA's new Utah data-center has been sufferering numerous power-surges that have caused as much as $100,000 damage per event. The root cause is 'not yet sufficiently understood' but is suspected to relate to the site's 'inability to simultaneously run computers and keep them cool.' Frustrating the analysis and repair are 'incomplete information about the design of the electrical system' and the fact that "regular quality controls in design and construction were bypassed in an effort to fast track the Utah project."" Ars Technica has a short article, too, as does ITworld.

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11-Year-Old Coloradan Will Brew Beer In Space, By Proxy
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '13 at 07:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's in-10-years-he-can-try-it-legally department:
minty3 writes "An 11-year-old Colorado boy may have found a way to literally make a beer that's out of this world. Michal Bodzianowski, a sixth grader at Douglas County's STEM School and Academy in Highlands Ranch, Colo., recently won a national competition where his beer-making experiment will be flown to the International Space Station." Noting that beer is safer than contaminated water, Bodzianowski note that beer could be useful “in future civilization as an emergency backup hydration and medical source."

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Red Cross Wants Consequences For Video-Game Mayhem
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '13 at 07:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's design-by-committee department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) wants developers to consider building "virtual consequences" for mayhem into their video games. 'Gamers should be rewarded for respecting the law of armed conflict and there should be virtual penalties for serious violations of the law of armed conflict, in other words war crimes,' read the ICRC's new statement on the matter. 'Game scenarios should not reward players for actions that in real life would be considered war crimes.' Like many a concerned parent or Congressional committee before it, the ICRC believes that violent video games trivialize armed conflict to the point where players could see various brands of mayhem as acceptable behavior. At the same time, the ICRC's statement makes it clear that the organization doesn't want to be actively involved in a debate over video-game violence, although it is talking to developers about ways to accurately build the laws of armed conflict into games. But let's be clear: the ICRC doesn't want to spoil players' enjoyment of the aforementioned digital splatter. 'We would like to see the law of armed conflict integrated into the games so that players have a realistic experience and deal first hand with the dilemmas facing real combatants on real battlefields,' the statement continued. 'The strong sales of new releases that have done this prove that integrating the law of armed conflict does not undermine the commercial success of the games.'"

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Alcatel-Lucent To Cut 10,000 Workers, Calls It "Shift Plan"
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '13 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's drop-the-f department:
Dawn Kawamoto writes "Alcatel-Lucent is planning to cut 10,000 workers by 2015. The telecom equipment maker's newly minted CEO calls this restructuring part of his Shift Plan. Under this plan, Alcatel-Lucent wants to save 1 billion Euros in costs and refocus its operations on next-gen IP networking, cloud and ultra-broadband access and away from legacy technologies like its 2G and 3G wireless. In the meantime, Wall Street thinks it may be cleaning itself up for a sale of some of its assets or its operations to Nokia, which will need to bolster its telecom equipment business after selling its smartphone operations to Microsoft. But a Nokia-Microsoft deal may be too little, too late."

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Milestone: The Millionth UK-Made Raspberry Pi
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '13 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-that's-a-milestone department:
judgecorp writes "The millionth Raspberry Pi microcomputer has been made in the Foundation's Welsh factory. Total sales so far are 1.75 million, including the initial stock made in China." (Do you have one? If so, what are you using it for?)

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AMD Intentionally Added Artificial Limitations To Their HDMI Adapters
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '13 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's market-segmentation-works-best-on-the-sly department:
An anonymous reader writes "NVIDIA was caught removing features from their Linux driver and days later Linux developers have caught and confirmed AMD imposing artificial limitations on their graphics cards in the DVI-to-HDMI adapters that their driver will support. Over years AMD has quietly been adding an extra EEPROM chip to their DVI-to-HDMI adapters that are bundled with Radeon HD graphics cards. Only when these identified adapters are detected via checks in their Windows and Linux Catalyst driver is HDMI audio enabled. If using a third-party DVI-to-HDMI adapter, HDMI audio support is disabled by the Catalyst driver. Open-source Linux developers have found this to be a self-imposed limitation and that the open-source AMD Linux driver will work fine with any DVI-to-HDMI adapter."

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Francois Englert and Peter W. Higgs Awarded Nobel Prize For Boson Discovery
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '13 at 05:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-brew-some-boson-tea department:
The 2013 Nobel season is underway. Reader rtoz writes "Francois Englert and Peter W. Higgs won the 2013 Nobel Prize For Physics. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences cited the two scientists for the 'theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles.'"

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New York Subpoenaed AirBnb For All NYC User Data
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '13 at 04:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's have-some-bedbugs department:
Daniel_Stuckey writes "The war between New York City and Airbnb is raging on, and the future of the hospitality business hangs in the balance. The city is fighting the startup for breaking local laws against operating an illegal hotel out of your home, worried that hustlers are abusing the online service to turn a profit. To that end, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman just slapped the company with a subpoena to hand over the user data of all New Yorkers who've listed their apartment on the site, the New York Daily News reported today. That's about 225,000 users."

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Administration Admits Obamacare Website Stinks
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '13 at 01:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's jay-sherman-presents department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "The WSJ reports that six days into the launch of insurance marketplaces created by the new health-care law, the federal government finally acknowledged that design and software problems have kept customers from applying online for coverage. The website is troubled by coding problems and flaws in the architecture of the system, according to insurance-industry advisers, technical experts and people close to the development of the marketplace. Information technology experts who examined the healthcare.gov website at the request of The Wall Street Journal say the site appeared to be built on a sloppy software foundation and five outside technology experts interviewed by Reuters say they believe flaws in system architecture, not traffic alone, contribute to the problems. One possible cause of the problems is that hitting 'apply' on HealthCare.gov causes 92 separate files, plug-ins and other mammoth swarms of data to stream between the user's computer and the servers powering the government website, says Matthew Hancock, an independent expert in website design. He was able to track the files being requested through a feature in the Firefox browser. Of the 92 he found, 56 were JavaScript files... 'They set up the website in such a way that too many requests to the server arrived at the same time,' says Hancock adding that because so much traffic was going back and forth between the users' computers and the server hosting the government website, it was as if the system was attacking itself. The delays come three months after the Government Accountability Office said a smooth and timely rollout could not be guaranteed because the online system was not fully completed or tested. 'If there's not a general trend of improvement in the next 72 hours of use in this is system then it would indicate the problems they're dealing with are more deep seated and not an easy fix,' says Jay Dunlap, senior vice president of health care technology company EXL."

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Microsoft Hands Out $28k In IE11 Bug Bounty Program
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '13 at 11:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's freedom-not-included department:
hypnosec writes "Microsoft paid out over $28,000 in rewards under its first ever bug-bounty program that went on for a month during the preview release of Internet Explorer 11 (IE11). The preview bug bounty program started on June 26 and went on till July 26 with Microsoft revealing at the time that it will pay out a maximum of $11,000 for each IE 11 vulnerability that was reported. Microsoft paid out the $28k to a total of six researchers for reporting 15 different bugs. According to Microsoft's 'honor roll' page, they paid $9,400 to James Forshaw of Context Security for pointing out design level vulnerabilities in IE11 as well as four IE11 flaws. Independent researcher Masato Kinugawa was paid $2,200 for reporting two bugs. Jose Antonio Vazquez Gonzalez of Yenteasy Security Research walked off with $5,500 for reporting five bugs while Google engineers Ivan Fratric and Fermin J. Serna were each handed out $1,100 and $500 respectively."

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What Are the Genuinely Useful Ideas In Programming?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '13 at 09:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's lattices-are-pretty-cool department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Computer Scientist Daniel Lemire has had an interesting discussion going on at his site about the ideas in software that are universally recognized as useful. 'Let me put it this way: if you were to meet a master of software programming, what are you absolutely sure he will recommend to a kid who wants to become a programmer?' Lemire's list currently includes structured programming; Unix and its corresponding philosophy; database transactions; the 'relational database;' the graphical user interface; software testing; the most basic data structures (the heap, the hash table, and trees) and a handful of basic algorithms such as quicksort; public-key encryption and cryptographic hashing; high-level programming and typing; and version control. 'Maybe you feel that functional and object-oriented programming are essential. Maybe you think that I should include complexity analysis, JavaScript, XML, or garbage collection. One can have endless debates but I am trying to narrow it down to an uncontroversial list.' Inspired by Lemire, Philip Reames has come up with his own list of 'Things every practicing software engineer should aim to know.'"

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Researchers Create Mid-Air Haptic Feedback System For Touch Displays
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '13 at 06:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's annoys-small-animals department:
Bismillah writes "University of Bristol researchers have come up with a way to make touch screens more touchy-feely so to speak, using ultrasound waves to produce haptic feedback. You don't need to touch the screen even, as the UltraHaptics waves can be felt mid-air. Very Minority Report, but cooler."

The researchers built an ultrasonic transducer grid behind an acoustically transparent display. Using acoustic modeling of a volume above the screen, they can create multiple movable control points with varying properties. A Leap Motion controller was used to detect the hand movements.

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Fusion Reactor Breaks Even
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '13 at 04:45 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's wait'll-the-hippies-learn-it's-nuclear department:
mysqlbytes writes "The BBC is reporting the National Ignition Facility (NIF), based at Livermore in California, has succeeded in breaking even — 'During an experiment in late September, the amount of energy released through the fusion reaction exceeded the amount of energy being absorbed by the fuel — the first time this had been achieved at any fusion facility in the world.'"

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Cyborg Cockroach Sparks Ethics Debate
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '13 at 04:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's lightly-sand-the-carapace department:
sciencehabit writes "A do-it-yourself neuroscience experiment that allows students to create their own 'cyborg' insects is sparking controversy amongst scienitsts and ethicists. RoboRoach #12 is a real cockroach that a company called BackyardBrains ships to school students. The students fit the insect with a tiny backpack, which contains electrodes that feed into its antennae and receive signals by remote control — via the Bluetooth signals emitted by smartphones. A simple swipe of an iPhone can turn the insect left or right. Though some scientists say the small cyborg is a good educational tool, others say it's turning kids into psychopaths."

Fitting the backpack requires poking a hole in the roach's thorax and clipping its antennae to insert electrodes.

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Chromium To Support Wayland
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '13 at 03:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's moving-on department:
sfcrazy writes "Chromium developers have started porting Chromium to X11 alternatives such as Wayland. Tiago Vignatti sent a message to the freedesktop mailing list, 'Today we are launching publicly Ozone-Wayland, which is the implementation of Chromium's Ozone for supporting Wayland graphics system. Different projects based on Chromium/Blink like the Chrome browser, ChromeOS, among others can be enabled now using Wayland.'"

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Massive New CT Scanner Assesses Car Crash Data
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '13 at 02:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's take-a-good-look department:
cartechboy writes "If you've ever been in a serious car accident, you've probably had a CT scan to give doctors a clearer idea of your injuries. Soon, your car might get a CT scan, too. Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute have developed a giant new CT scanner (dubbed, yes, XXL CT) that can scan very large objects, like cars. It Turns out a CT scan of a post-crash vehicle offers an unprecedented precision look at the internal damage details, without disturbing the wreckage further. A crashed car is hoisted onto a turntable, and as it turns, two X-ray detectors on either side scan it. Then multiple images are merged into a single, three-dimensional CT scan. The scanner also can handle airplane wings and shipping containers, which means there may be possible anti-terrorism uses in the future."

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How Entrepreneurs Overturned California's Retroactive Tax On Startup Founders
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '13 at 02:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's winning-one-for-the-big-guy department:
waderoush writes "Startup founders in California can breathe a little easier today — they won't be getting bills from the state for up to $120 million in back taxes. On Friday California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill prohibiting the state from levying retroactive taxes on founders and other small-business investors who took advantage of a tax break invalidated last year by a state appeals court. California Business Defense, a coalition of entrepreneurs, spent most of 2013 trying to reverse the California Franchise Tax Board's interpretation of the court ruling, under which it planned to hit Californians with new tax bills on the sale of small-business stock going back to 2008 (a story that Slashdot picked up in January). Two bills on the matter reached Governor Brown's desk in September, one fully restoring the investment incentive through 2016, the other partially restoring it. Brown signed AB1412, the bill granting full relief. 'For a bunch of political greenhorns operating in an environment where political partisanship is at an all-time high, we did all right,' writes Brian Overstreet, one of the co-founders of California Business Defense. 'But it should never have been this hard.'"

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Since Snowden Leaks, NSA's FOIA Requests Are Up 1,000 Percent
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '13 at 01:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's checking-the-list department:
v3rgEz writes "A veritable FOIA frenzy ensued in 2013 following a series of leaks about NSA surveillance programs, recently released documents show. From June 6 to September 4, the National Security Agency's FOIA load increased 1,054 percent over its 2012 intake. In that three-month span, the agency received 3,382 public records requests. For comparison, the NSA received just 293 requests over the same period in 2012. While a few have netted new details about NSA surveillance operations, such as a contract with French security firm VUPEN, the majority appear to have been rejected. MuckRock has a guide on filing with the NSA to maximize your chances of actually getting something back."

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Pluto's "Thick" Air Isn't Going Anywhere
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '13 at 01:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's forget-the-sleet department:
astroengine writes "When the proposition for NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto was put forward, there was an air of urgency. The dwarf planet is moving away from the Sun in its eccentric orbit, so astronomers were concerned that the Plutonian atmosphere would freeze out and collapse onto the surface as fresh nitrogen-methane snow before they could get a spacecraft out there to observe it. But according to new research [arXiv], it appears there's little risk of a Pluto air freeze-out. From recent occultation measurements, it appears the atmosphere is becoming denser and more buoyant, meaning it will remain as an atmosphere all (Pluto) year 'round — 248 Earth years long."

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Ask Author David Craddock About the Development of Diablo, Warcraft
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '13 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's stay-awhile-and-ask-questions department:
The original Warcraft and Diablo games hold a special status in the hearts of many gamers. Each game brought its genre into focus, and their success elevated the status of Blizzard Entertainment and Blizzard North to the point that further games are still hotly anticipated more than 15 years later. In an effort to discover and document that part of gaming history, author David L. Craddock conducted extensive interviews with early Blizzard developers. His intent was to investigate how both of the Blizzard studios succeeded at breaking into a saturated and competitive industry, and how their design process influenced both their acclaimed releases and the projects they discarded along the way. He's writing a series of books about the history of Blizzard, titled Stay Awhile and Listen. The first is due out on October 31st, and David has agreed to answer your questions about his investigation into those early games. David will be joined by Blizzard North co-founders David Brevik and Max Schaefer. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.

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