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Unreleased 1963 Beatles Tracks On Sale To Preserve Copyright
Posted by News Fetcher on December 18 '13 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's all-about-the-benjamins department:
Taco Cowboy writes "Back in 1963, the Beatles did some performances for the BBC and other places. The songs were recorded, but never officially released. Now, 50 years later, Apple has packaged all 59 tracks together and put them up for sale on iTunes for $40. The reason? Copyright. The copyright for unreleased works expires 50 years after the works are recorded. By releasing the 59 tracks on iTunes before the end of December, the songs will be protected under copyright law for 20 more years."

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Harvard Bomb Hoax Perpetrator Caught Despite Tor Use
Posted by News Fetcher on December 18 '13 at 02:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's do-not-pass-go department:
Meshach writes "The FBI has caught the student who called in a bomb threat at Harvard University on December 16. The student used a temporary anonymous email account routed through Tor, but the FBI was able to trace it (PDF) because it originated from the Harvard wireless network. He could face as long as five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine if convicted. He made the threat to get out of an exam."

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Massive Android Mobile Botnet Hijacking SMS Data
Posted by News Fetcher on December 17 '13 at 11:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's all-your-texts-are-belong-to-us department:
wiredmikey writes "A mobile botnet called MisoSMS is wreaking havoc on the Android platform, stealing personal SMS messages and exfiltrating them to attackers in China. Researchers at FireEye lifted the curtain off the threat on Monday, describing MisoSMS as 'one of the largest advanced mobile botnets to date' and warning that it is being used in more than 60 spyware campaigns. FireEye tracked the infections to Android devices in Korea and noted that the attackers are logging into command-and-controls in from Korea and mainland China, among other locations, to periodically read the stolen SMS messages. FireEye's research team discovered a total of 64 mobile botnet campaigns in the MisoSMS malware family and a command-and-control that comprises more than 450 unique malicious e-mail accounts."

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Want To Fight Allergies? Get a Dirty Dog
Posted by News Fetcher on December 17 '13 at 10:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's or-live-in-one-of-those-awesome-bubbles department:
sciencehabit writes "A dog in the house is more than just good company. There's increasing evidence that exposure to dogs and livestock early in life can lessen the chances of infants later developing allergies and asthma. Now, researchers have traced this beneficial health effect to a microbe living in the gut. Their study, in mice, suggests that supplementing an infant's diet with the right mix of bacteria might help prevent allergies — even without a pet pooch."

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Ask Slashdot: Can Digital Music Replace Most Instrumental Musicians?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 17 '13 at 09:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's why-buy-the-cow-when-you-can-get-the-moosic-for-free department:
deviated_prevert writes "Most instrumental music used today in television commercials, background sounds and themes even on the majority of produced shows comes from completely digital composers who produce the product through digitized instrument samples. This has almost eliminated the need for real human instrumental musicians. For many listeners this makes no difference, as such music is essentially background in nature and does not need to have a true musical interaction with a listening audience at all. The same thing applies to the waves of digital music produced for things like raves. To quote one observer at the Globe and Mail 'So now we know why Deadmau5 and Daft Punk wear helmets when they perform. Everybody is digging the music, but no one is dancing. It is a sad development; the headgear of the maestros is there to mask their tears.' Will the live performance of instrumental musicians also become a thing of the past, or will there continue to be a real need for it? Purely instrumental groups like Booker T and the MGs, as well as solo performers like Herbie Hancock or John McLaughlin, seem not to take the spotlight as they once did. It is apparent that unless someone with a young fresh face is singing, today's producers will not attempt to seriously promote them. Regardless of how great today's instrumentalists are musically, there no longer seems to be a market for real musicianship. Even great performing classical musicians and ensembles are becoming scarcer due to faster and cheaper digital music production."

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Multidrug Resistance Gene Released By Chinese Wastewater Treatment Plants
Posted by News Fetcher on December 17 '13 at 07:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's giving-them-a-sporting-chance department:
MTorrice writes "In recent years, increasing numbers of patients worldwide have contracted severe bacterial infections that are untreatable by most available antibiotics. Some of the gravest of these infections are caused by bacteria carrying genes that confer resistance to a broad class of antibiotics called beta-lactams, many of which are treatments of last resort. Now a research team reports that some wastewater treatment plants in China discharge one of these potent resistance genes into the environment. Environmental and public health experts worry that this discharge could promote the spread of resistance."

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Tech Leaders Push Back Against Obama's Efforts To Divert Discussion From NSA
Posted by News Fetcher on December 17 '13 at 05:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's stay-on-target department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "The Guardian reports that while President Obama tried to portray a meeting with tech leaders as a wide-ranging discussion of broader priorities including ways of improving the functionality of the troubled health insurance website Healthcare.gov, senior executives from Apple, Yahoo, Google, Comcast, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, and Netflix said they were determined to keep the discussion focused on the NSA. 'We are there to talk about the NSA,' said one executive who was briefed on the company's agenda before the event. After meeting Obama and vice president Joe Biden for two-and-a-half hours, the companies issued a one-line statement. 'We appreciated the opportunity to share directly with the president our principles on government surveillance that we released last week and we urge him to move aggressively on reform.' Many of the senior tech leaders had already made public their demand for sweeping surveillance reforms in an open letter that specifically called for a ban on the kind of bulk data collection that a federal judge ruled on Monday was probably unlawful. Obama seemed sympathetic to the idea of allowing more disclosure of government surveillance requests by technology companies, according to a tech industry official who was briefed on the meeting. Marissa Mayer brought up concerns about the potentially negative impact that could be caused if countries, such as Brazil, move forward with legislation that would require service providers to ensure that data belonging to a citizen of a certain country remain in the country it originates, the official said. That would require technology companies to build data centers in each country — a costly problem for American Internet companies. The decision by the tech giants to press their case in such a public and unified way poses a problem for the White House. The industry is an increasingly influential voice in Washington, a vital part of the US economy and many of its most successful leaders are prominent Democratic political donors."

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Swedish Man Fined $650,000 For Sharing 1 Movie, Charged Extra For Low Quality
Posted by News Fetcher on December 17 '13 at 04:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's do-your-illegal-sharing-in-full-HD department:
An anonymous reader writes "A 28-year-old man in Sweden has been fined 4.3 million SEK (~650,000 USD) for uploading one movie. 300,000 SEK of that was added because of the upload's low technical quality (Google translation of Swedish original). The court ruled that the viewer watching the pirated version of the movie had a worse experience than people watching it legally, thereby causing damage to the movie's reputation (full judgement in Swedish)."

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Will You Even Notice the Impending Robot Uprising?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 17 '13 at 04:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-sure-hope-not department:
An anonymous reader writes "We tend to take things like household appliances and other automation for granted, but as O'Reilly's Mike Loukides puts it: 'The Future Is All Robots. But Will We Even Notice? We've watched the rising interest in robotics for the past few years. It may have started with the birth of FIRST Robotics competitions, continued with the iRobot and the Roomba, and more recently with Google's driverless cars. But in the last few weeks, there has been a big change. Suddenly, everybody's talking about robots and robotics. ... I have no doubt that Google’s robotics team is working on something amazing and mind-blowing. Should they succeed, and should that success become a product, though, whatever they do will almost certainly fade into the woodwork and become part of normal, everyday reality. And robots will remain forever in the future. We might have found Rosie, the Jetsons’ robotic maid, impressive. But the Jetsons didn’t.'"

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Multivitamin Researchers Say 'Case Is Closed' As Studies Find No Health Benefits
Posted by News Fetcher on December 17 '13 at 03:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's flintstones-have-betrayed-me department:
schwit1 sends this excerpt from CBS:
"'Enough' with the multivitamins already. That's the message from doctors behind three new studies and an editorial that tackled an oft-debated question in medicine: Do daily multivitamins make you healthier? After reviewing the available evidence and conducting new trials, the authors have come to a conclusion of 'no.' 'We believe that the case is closed — supplementing the diet of well-nourished adults with (most) mineral or vitamin supplements has no clear benefit and might even be harmful,' concluded the authors of the editorial summarizing the new research papers, published Dec. 16 in the Annals of Internal Medicine. 'These vitamins should not be used for chronic disease prevention. Enough is enough.' They went on to urge consumers to not 'waste' their money on multivitamins."

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Healthcare IT's Achilles' Heel: Sensors
Posted by News Fetcher on December 17 '13 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's still-waiting-on-that-tricorder department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Tech publications and pundits alike have crowed about the benefits we're soon to collectively reap from healthcare analytics. In theory, sensors attached to our bodies (and appliances such as the fridge) will send a stream of health-related data — everything from calorie and footstep counts to blood pressure and sleep activity — to the cloud, which will analyze it for insight; doctors and other healthcare professionals will use that data to tailor treatments or advise changes in behavior and diet. But the sensors still leave a lot to be desired: 'smart bracelets' such as Nike's FuelBand and FitBit can prove poor judges of physical activity, and FitBit's associated app still requires you to manually input records of daily food intake (the FuelBand is also a poor judge of lower-body activity, such as running). FDA-approved ingestible sensors are still being researched, and it'd be hard to convince most people that swallowing one is in their best interests. Despite the hype about data's ability to improve peoples' health, we could be a long way from any sort of meaningful consumer technology that truly makes that happen."

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Chat with Microsoft Beat Journalist Preston Gralla (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on December 17 '13 at 02:15 PM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's do-androids-dream-of-electrified-windows? department:
Preston Gralla hasn't really been following Microsoft since 1820, but he's been doing it so long that it sometimes seems as if he has. His popular Seeing Through Windows blog on Computerworld.com or possibly his IT World blog, The Power of One, may be the main reasons his name is familiar to a lot of people, but he's also written an amazing stack of IT-related books. Obviously, if you look at the lists of blog posts and books Preston has written, he writes about plenty besides Microsoft, and isn't particularly pro-Microsoft. In fact, when we asked him for tablet-buying advice, he recommended iOS tablets if you have plenty of budget, and maybe an Android tablet (specifically the Nexus 7) if your budget is a little tight. Windows? He didn't recommend Windows at all in this context. (Sorry, Microsoft.)

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Former Microsoft Exec To Lead HealthCare.gov
Posted by News Fetcher on December 17 '13 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's blue-screen-of-actual-death department:
Antipater writes "NBCNews reports that Kurt DelBene, former head of Microsoft's Office division, will take over operations of Healthcare.gov on Wednesday. DelBene will replace Jeffrey Zients, who stepped in to lead the team fixing the health insurance website when it crashed and burned on its Oct. 1 launch. Zients is set to take over next month as senior White House economic adviser from Gene Sperling.'"

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Lawmakers Out To Kill the Corn-Based Ethanol Mandate
Posted by News Fetcher on December 17 '13 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i'm-all-ears department:
mdsolar tips this report:
"Teams of lawmakers are working hard on bills to cut corn-based ethanol out of the country's biofuel mandate entirely, according to National Journal. It's the latest twist in America's fraught relationship with biofuels, which started in 2005 when Congress first mandated that a certain amount of biofuel be mixed into the country's fuel supply. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was then expanded in 2007, with separate requirements for standard biofuel on the one hand and cellulosic and advanced biofuels on the other. The latter are produced from non-food products like cornstalks, agricultural waste, and timber industry cuttings. The RFS originally called for 100 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol in 2010, 250 million in 2011, and 500 million in 2012. Instead, the cellulosic industry failed to get off the ground. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was forced to revise the mandate down to 6.5 million in 2010, and all the way down to zero in 2012. The cellulosic mandate has started to slowly creep back up, and 2014 may be the year when domestic production of cellulosic ethanol finally takes off. But then last month EPA did something else for the first time: it cut down the 2014 mandate for standard biofuel, produced mainly from corn. And now Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) have teamed up on legislation that would eliminate the standard biofuel mandate entirely."

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Datawind Not Blowing Smoke: $38 Tablet Coming To the US
Posted by News Fetcher on December 17 '13 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's should-rename-it-to-weatherpad-and-market-to-old-dudes department:
BigVig209 writes "In a follow-up to a story we discussed in May, the Chicago Tribune is reporting that London-based Datawind it will begin selling its $38 UbiSlate tablet computer in the U.S. early next year. 'The $38 7-inch touchscreen UbiSlate 7Ci tablet runs on Google's Android 4.0 and features a 1-gigahertz, single-core processor. It has 4 gigabytes of storage with microSD card slots for additional storage. The 7-inch display offers a resolution of 800x480 pixels.' The specs aren't the greatest, fastest, or most powerful, but, for under $50, they're still pretty decent."

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Surviving the Internet On Low Speed DSL
Posted by News Fetcher on December 17 '13 at 11:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's why-when-I-was-a-boy department:
toygeek writes "Earlier this year my family and I moved out into the woods, where high speed is simply not available. We traded in high speed for high latency, clean air and peace and quiet. We've made it work, and can even watch Netflix and Hulu while I'm off in another room working from home full time. Read along as I share some tips about how we've made it work, and the compromises we've had to make." It can be done; low-end DSL from AT&T is also what I somehow muddled through with for most of the last 18 months; though the connection often failed and the followup support was terrible, it worked well enough most of the time, and sure beat a 56K modem.

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Google Nabs Bing Maps Architect
Posted by News Fetcher on December 17 '13 at 10:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-that's-an-exit-strategy department:
theodp writes "In another case of Microsoft's-loss-is-Google's-gain, GeekWire reports that Google has made a big hire from Microsoft, bringing aboard TED crowd-pleaser Blaise Agüera y Arcas, the well-known software architect and designer who was among the Redmond company's elite ranks of distinguished engineers. Known for his work on services including Photosynth and Bing Maps, Agüera y Arcas called the move 'the hardest decision of my life'. A stunning preview of Photosynth was released by Microsoft last week, and TED just released a video of Agüera y Arcas demonstrating the technology at a conference earlier this year."

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Interview: Ask Forrest Mims About Rockets, Electronics, and Engineering
Posted by News Fetcher on December 17 '13 at 09:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's ask-me-anything department:
With his popular Getting Started in Electronics, and Engineer's Mini-Notebook series and a number of different electronics kits sold at Radio Shack, Forrest Mims inspired countless scientists and engineers. Even though he received no formal academic training in science, Forrest has appeared in 70 magazines and scientific journals. He has worked as a consultant for the National Geographic Society, the National Science Teachers Association, and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Today, Mims works on many scientific projects including climate change research. He's agreed to answer all your questions about science and engineering. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.

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Fedora 20 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on December 17 '13 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's is-it-a-true-fedora? department:
sfcrazy writes "The Fedora Project has announced the release of Fedora 20, code named Heisenbug (release notes). Fedora 20 is dedicated to Seth Vidal, the lead developer of Yum and the Fedora update repository, who recently died in a road accident. Gnome is the default DE of Fedora, and so it is for Fedora 20. However unlike Ubuntu (where they had to create different distros for each DE) Fedora comes with KDE, XFCE, LXDE and MATE. You can install the DE of your choice on top of base Fedora."

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Google Testing Smart Appliance, Would Compete With Nest Thermostat
Posted by News Fetcher on December 17 '13 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's getting-warm-in-here department:
cagraham writes "Google is currently testing a web-connected thermostat, similar to the popular Nest Thermostat, according to The Information. The device would display energy usage details, and allow user's to control it from a web app. This actually marks the second time Google has ventured into home energy, after their PowerMeter web app that was shut down in 2011. Web connected devices could allow Google access to a treasure trove of data on people's daily habits and routines."

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