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Next Chapter In the Leap Second Story
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '13 at 09:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's time-what-is-time department:
at10u8 writes "The ITU-R and BIPM are holding a joint workshop on the Future of the International Time Scale. This is the next of many steps toward the possibility that radio broadcasts of time signals might abandon leap seconds. All of the presentations are online and the press release for the workshop indicates there will be video interviews afterwards."

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Mystery of Missing Martian Methane Deepens
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '13 at 09:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's send-burritos department:
astroengine writes "NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has been scouring the thin Martian atmosphere for methane — a potential tracer for the presence of Martian life. However, since the gas also can be produced geologically, any findings promised a meaty debate. That discussion can be shelved, perhaps permanently, new findings from a team of Curiosity scientists shows. The most extensive search yet for methane in Mars' atmosphere has come up empty. 'It's disappointing, of course. We would have liked to get [to Gale Crater] and found lots of methane and measure all the isotopes,' lead researcher Christopher Webster, with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., told Discovery News."

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Nokia's Elop Set To Receive $25 Million Bonus After Acquisition
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '13 at 09:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's surprise-surprise department:
jones_supa writes with an update on the Microsoft purchase of Nokia. From the article: "Stephen Elop, the former Nokia Oyj chief executive officer who is rejoining Microsoft, is set to get more than $25 million if the Finnish company completes the sale of its handset business to the software maker. Microsoft will pay 70 percent of the projected total amount of about 18.8 million euros ($25.5 million), and Nokia the remainder, according to a proxy filing by Nokia today. The value of Elop's reward is estimated using Nokia's Sept. 6 closing share price and may still change. Nokia shares have dropped by more than a third since Elop was hired on Sept. 10, 2010, even with the stock's gain since the sale to Microsoft was announced. Nokia shareholders are set to vote on the transaction Nov. 19. Elop will move back to Microsoft as part of the $7.2 billion takeover. He is also a candidate to succeed Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer."

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Fracked Shale Could Sequester Carbon Dioxide
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '13 at 09:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's delerium-tremens department:
MTorrice writes "The same wells that energy companies drill to extract natural gas from shale formations could become repositories to store large quantities of carbon dioxide. A new computer model suggests that wells in the Marcellus shale, a 600-sq-mile formation in the northeastern U.S. that is a hotbed for gas extraction, could store half the CO2 emitted by the country's power plants from now until 2030."

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Meet the Director of the Software Freedom Conservancy (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '13 at 09:00 PM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's keeping-it-real-and-keeping-it-free department:
Twelve years ago, Slashdot interviewed Brad Kuhn in his then-role as VP of the Free Software Foundation. Kuhn is still involved with the FSF, but has gone on, after a stint as CTO for the Software Freedom Law Center, to concentrate his efforts as President, Executive Director of the Software Freedom Conservancy. The Conservancy offers organization and support to copylefted and permissively licensed software, and Brad explains in the video below what that entails, as well as where the Conservancy fits in the expanding landscape of organizations that help protect the rights of software developers. Brad makes no bones about wishing for a world where all software is Free software, but that's a big-picture goal. In the meantime, there's a lot of work to go around, just making sure that developers' chosen licenses are intelligently selected, and properly respected.

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Crowdfunded Bounty For Hacking iPhone 5S Fingerprint Authentication
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '13 at 09:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's good-luck-with-that department:
judgecorp writes "There's more than $13,000 pledged for a crowdfunded bounty for bypassing an iPhone 5S's fingerprint reader. The bounty, set up by a security expert and an exploit reseller requires entrants to lift prints 'like from a beer mug.' It has a website — IsTouchIDHackedYet — and payments are pledged by tweets using #IsTouchIDHackedYet. One drawback: the scheme appears to rely on trust that sponsors will actually pay up."

Other prizes include whiskey, books, and a bottle of wine.

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"Synthetic Tracking" Makes It Possible to Find Millions of Near Earth Asteroids
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '13 at 09:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's found-one department:
KentuckyFC writes "Astronomers think that near-Earth Asteroids the size of apartment blocks number in the millions. And yet they spot new ones at the rate of only about 30 a year because these objects are so faint and fast moving. Now astronomers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have developed a technique called synthetic tracking for dramatically speeding up asteroid discovery. Insteads of long exposures in which near-Earth asteroids show up as faint streaks, the new technique involves taking lots of short exposures and adding them together in a special automated way. The trick is to shift each image so that the pixels that record the asteroid are superimposed on top of each other. The result is an image in which the asteroid is sharp point of light against a background of star streaks. They say synthetic tracking has the capability to spot 80 new near Earth asteroids each night using a standard 5 metre telescope. That'll be handy for spotting rocks heading our way before they get too close and for identifying targets for NASA's future asteroid missions."

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Charles Carreon Finally Surrenders To the Oatmeal
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '13 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's getting-off-easy department:
First time accepted submitter Guy From V writes "Charles Carreon, zany lawyer and poster-child for the Streisand Effect (sorry Babs) for his lawsuit against The Oatmeal creator Mattew Innman last year in his original role as legal counsel for Funnyjunk, as reported by ArsTechnica, seems to have finally called it quits. In other news, the River Styx has reportedly dropped below 32 degrees Fahrenheit."

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Without Plutonium, Deep-Space Probe Missions May Sputter Out
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '13 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's not-much-to-go-on department:
cold fjord writes with this excerpt from Wired: "Most of what humanity knows about the outer planets came back to Earth on plutonium power. ... The characteristics of this metal's radioactive decay make it a super-fuel. ... there is no other viable option. Solar power is too weak, chemical batteries don't last, nuclear fission systems are too heavy. So, we depend on plutonium-238, a fuel largely acquired as by-product of making nuclear weapons. But there's a problem: We've almost run out. 'We've got enough to last to the end of this decade. That's it,' said Steve Johnson, a nuclear chemist at Idaho National Laboratory. And it's not just the U.S. reserves that are in jeopardy. The entire planet's stores are nearly depleted. ... what's left has already been spoken for and then some. ... Political ignorance and shortsighted squabbling, along with false promises from Russia, and penny-wise management of NASA's ever-thinning budget still stand in the way of a robust plutonium-238 production system." The plutonium shortage has been deepening for a long time, leading to some creative solutions. The Wired article alludes to the NASA project underway to create more, but leans toward gloom.

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Java Update Implements Whitelists To Combat 0-Day Hacks
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '13 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's let's-see-your-invitation department:
kylus writes "The Register is reporting that Oracle's new Java 7 update 40 release comes complete with a new 'Deployment Rule Set' capability which allows administrators to define which particular applets and Java Web Start applications ('Rich Internet Applications') are permitted to run on a given machine. Not a complete solution for the recent trend of Java hacks that have cropped up, but good news for enterprises that have to run this in their environment."

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OpenSUSE May Be First Major Distro To Adopt Btrfs By Default
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '13 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's slippery department:
An anonymous reader writes "The openSUSE Linux distribution looks like it may be the first major Linux distribution to ship the Btrfs file-system by default. The openSUSE 13.1 release is due out in November and is still using EXT4 by default, but after that the developers are looking at having openSUSE using Btrfs by default on new installations. The Btrfs features to be enabled would be the ones the developers feel are data-safe."

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New App Aims To Track Your Dreams
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '13 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's best-entertainment-in-the-world department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Liz Stinson reports that 'Shadow,' a new app recently launched on Kickstarter, will make recording and remembering your dreams simple. 'There's a lot going on in the subconscious mind that if you can start to pull out little details, you start to get a wider picture of yourself,' says designer Hunter Lee Soik. Most of the time, alarm clocks abruptly blast through your consciousness, ripping you from the depths of sleep. In contrast, Shadow's alarm system gradually transitions users through their hypnopompic state, that not-quite-asleep, not-quite-awake phase, which has be proven to help you better remember your dreams. Once you deactivate the alarm, users are prompted to record their dreams either via voice or typing text. The app then transcribes your dreams and stores them in an ever-growing digital dream journal that keeps track of your long-term dream and sleep patterns and helps you visualize patterns and make connections between your sleep patterns, daily life, and what you dream about. 'We're socialized to think of sleep as inactivity, but certain parts of our brain — the parts that handle things like problem solving and memory — are most active while we're sleeping,' says Soik. 'That's a huge amount of potential data we're forgetting each morning.'" I prefer a notebook on the nightstand, myself.

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A Little-Heralded New iOS 7 Feature: Multipath TCP
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '13 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's this-way-and-that department:
Olivier Bonaventure writes "Besides changes in UI, multitasking and other features that the press discusses, iOS7 also includes support for Multipath TCP. Multipath TCP is a major extension to TCP that is able to use different interfaces for the same connection. Until now, Multipath TCP has been mainly used by researchers with a modified Linux kernel. iOS7 changes that, with millions of Multipath-TCP enabled devices that can switch from 3G to WiFi without losing existing TCP connections. This is not yet the case on iOS7, which currently seems to only enable it for SIRI, but other use cases will likely appear in the future."

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Those Magnificent Googlers and Their Flying Machines
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '13 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's this-corner-of-the-sky department:
theodp writes "To paraphrase Sean Parker: "Flying your fleet of planes using NASA-discounted fuel isn't cool, you know what's cool? Flying your fleet of planes using zero-cost fuel." Having piqued CEO Larry Page's interest with its solar and battery-powered aircraft, Solar Impulse is partnering with Google to promote its goal of circumnavigating the globe in 2015, a Green Movement take on Wiley Post's 1933 achievement."

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Visionary Nintendo President Yamauchi Dies
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '13 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's value-added department:
First time accepted submitter trickstyhobbit writes "Former Nintendeo president and majority stockholder Hiroshi Yamauchi has died. He was president of the comapany for over 50 years and saw the development of the NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, and GameCube among other devices." His career at Nintendo is worth reading about.

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Massive Open Online School "FutureLearn" Opens
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '13 at 04:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's go-learn-something department:
judgecorp writes "Twenty-three British universities are contributing to a British provider of "massive open online courses" (MOOCs) by the name of FutureLearn. Backed by long-established expert, The Open University, which has been doing remote learning for 44 years, the British MOOC provider aims to compete with US outfits such as Khan Academy and Coursera."

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GTA V Makes $800 Million In 24 Hours
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '13 at 01:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's a-lot-of-cheese department:
An anonymous reader writes "The highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto V was released at midnight yesterday, and to no surprise has managed to break the record for highest sales in 24 hours. Distributors Take-Two Interactive have announced that the game has managed to achieve a staggering $800m (£490m) worth of sales within the first day, and is certainly going to break the forecasted $1 billion within the week. The record was previous held by Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops which made $500m within 24 hours in 2009. The game also holds the title for the quickest entertainment product to achieve $1 billion in sales as they hit the mark by day 15."

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Linus Torvalds Admits He's Been Asked To Insert Backdoor Into Linux
Posted by News Fetcher on September 18 '13 at 11:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's getting-in department:
darthcamaro writes "At the Linuxcon conference in New Orleans today, Linus Torvalds joined fellow kernel developers in answering a barrage of questions about Linux development. One question he was asked was whether a government agency had ever asked about inserting a back-door into Linux. Torvalds responded 'no' while shaking his head 'yes,' as the audience broke into spontaneous laughter. Torvalds also admitted that while he as a full life outside of Linux he couldn't imagine his life without it. 'I don't see any project coming along being more interesting to me than Linux,' Torvalds said. 'I couldn't imagine filling the void in my life if I didn't have Linux.'"

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One Man's Battle With Patent Trolls
Posted by News Fetcher on September 18 '13 at 09:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's pay-up department:
farrellj writes "Dovden Investments, labelled as a Patent Troll by many, got more than they bargained for when they went after Ottawa developer Larry Dunkelman. Mr. Dunkelman wrote BusBuddy, an app that takes GPS and scheduling data from OC Transpo, the local city bus service, and predicts when the bus you are waiting for will actually arrive. But when Dovden came along and asked for $10,000, as a 'licensing' fee, Dunkelman got angry, and decided to fight. 'They claim to have patented the method of using GPS location on vehicles to determine when they will arrive at a certain place,' Dunkelman said. 'This applies to buses, package delivery, airplanes, trains - any business that employs a fleet of vehicles in which they track their location to arrive at a certain place, is open to this patent troll.' Dunkelman hired an intellectual property lawyer and started chipping away at the company's claims. Dovden has since discontinued the suit and are now being chased by Dunkelman and his lawyer for legal costs."

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Group Attacks Bad Software Patents Before They're Approved
Posted by News Fetcher on September 18 '13 at 06:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's not-on-our-watch department:
Curupira writes "Ars Technica discusses how the Linux Defenders group are exercising the rights granted by the America Invents Act to identify and fight the patents that potentially threaten Linux and open source software. From the article: 'In a session at LinuxCon today, Linux Defenders director Andrea Casillas explained how the group is using rights granted by the new law to fight patent applications. A project of the Open Invention Network, Software Freedom Law Center, and Linux Foundation, Linux Defenders examines the 6,000 new patent applications published each week, attempting to identify those that are potentially threatening to Linux and open source. Then, the group looks for prior art that would invalidate at least some of the claims in the patents.'"

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