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Need Directions? Might Not Want To Ask a Transit Rider
Posted by News Fetcher on December 07 '13 at 12:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's take-a-left-then-descend-into-your-first-tunnel department:
Daniel_Stuckey writes "According to new research, drivers, walkers, and bicyclists will generally provide us with more useful directions than transit riders. Published in Urban Planning , "Going Mental" shows that cognitively active travelers, regardless of commute by foot or car, tend to trump cognitively passive travelers (those who frequent public buses and trains), in perceiving distance. Questioning cognitively active, passive, and mixed travelers about distances from a survey site to LA's city hall, the research demonstrated that the passive bus and subway riders have less of a grip on distance. Actively cognitive travelers, according to the results, were more likely to integrate street names in their directions, and also exhibited a sharper understanding of distances."

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Create Your Own Bullet Time Camera Rig With Raspberry Pi
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '13 at 09:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's price-elasticity-of-frippery department:
sfcrazy writes "A team of extremely creative people have created a really inexpensive bullet time set-up using Raspberry Pis — and the whole set-up costs less than a professional DSLR camera. The rig looks more like the LHC at CERN using nearly half a kilometre of network cables, 48 Raspberry Pis fitted with cameras and PiFace Control. The rig worked perfectly — in terms of doing what a bullet time set-up should do. Raspberry Pis achieved the Hollywood's 'frozen time' effect at a much lesser cost."

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Ask Slashdot: Best FLOSS iTunes Replacement In 2013?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '13 at 07:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's see-I-already-have-a-file-hierarchy department:
First time accepted submitter cs80 writes "I've been looking high and low for a decent, open-source, cross-platform audio player that can import an existing iTunes library and sort my files based on their ID3 tags.

Nightingale, with its iTunes-like interface, would have been the obvious answer, but its file organization feature was pulled for being too buggy. What open-source audio player did you migrate to after dumping iTunes?"


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After FDA Objections, 23andMe Won't Offer Health Information
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '13 at 05:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's regulators-know-best department:
sciencehabit writes "The company 23andMe will no longer provide health information to people who purchase its DNA testing kit, it announced last night.The change was 'to comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's directive to discontinue new consumer access during our regulatory review process,' the statement said. While current customers will still have access to a 23andMe online database noting the health issues associated with their particular DNA, the company will not update that information, and customers who purchased its Personal Genome Service (PGS) on or after 22 November will receive only information about their ancestry and their raw genetic data without interpretation." It would be great to see a secondary market in this kind of analysis emerge.

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Trans-Pacific Partnership Includes Unwanted Elements of SOPA
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '13 at 04:01 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's meet-the-new-candidate-for-boss department:
New submitter Error27 writes "Last month Wikileaks leaked a draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty. Here is Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren's response to the leaked documents. She points out that there several troubling issues with the trade agreement. It locks countries into extremely long copyright terms. It limits fair use. It includes DRM provisions which would make it illegal to unlock your cell phone. These laws come from the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) which Americans already rejected."

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King James Programming
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '13 at 03:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's though-i-walk-through-the-valley-of-the-shadow-of-regular-expressions department:
Jah-Wren Ryel writes "What do you get when you train a Markov chain on the King James Bible and a copy of Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs? King James Programming — a tumblr of auto-generated pseudo-scripture (or pseudo-compsci lessons). Some examples: -- 'The LORD is the beginning (or prefix) of the code for the body of the procedure.' -- 'More precisely, if P and Q are polynomials, let O1 be the order of blessed.' -- ''In APL all data are represented as arrays, and there shall they see the Son of man, in whose sight I brought them out.'"

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Why Reactive Programming For Databases Is Awesome
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '13 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's because-of-the-free-ice-cream department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "'Building on many lessons learned from spreadsheets, functional languages and model-driven application development environments, Reactive Programming (RP) is a recent approach to creating applications,' Val Huber, CTO of Espresso Logic, writes in a new column. 'In the RP paradigm, you can create complex applications from a series of simple declarative statements. Many of the details of implementation and work of gluing together various sorts of application constructs can be hidden because of the declarative approach.' He goes on to argue that RP makes maintenance easier and applications more adaptable, because RP offers automatic dependency management and reuse; at the same time, he also acknowledges that RP has some shortcomings. What say you?"

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U.S. Measles Cases Triple In 2013
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '13 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's vaccinate-your-brood department:
An anonymous reader writes "The U.S. Centers for Disease Control have announced that measles cases in the U.S. spiked this year, rising to three times their recent average rate. It's partly due to a greater number of people traveling to the U.S. when they're infectious, but also because a frustrating number of people are either failing to have their children vaccinated, or are failing to do so in a timely manner. Dr. Thomas Friedman said, 'Around 90 percent of the people who have had measles in this country were not vaccinated either because they refused, or were not vaccinated on time.' Phil Plait adds, 'In all three of these outbreaks, someone who had not been vaccinated traveled overseas and brought the disease back with them, which then spread due to low vaccination rates in their communities. It's unclear how much religious beliefs themselves were behind the outbreaks in Brooklyn and North Carolina; it may have been due to widespread secular anti-vax beliefs in those tight-knit groups. But either way, a large proportion of the people in those areas were unvaccinated.'"

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Elsevier Going After Authors Sharing Their Own Papers
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '13 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's a-peer-reviewed-study-of-face-meeting-palm department:
David Gerard writes "Elsevier, in final desperation mode, is going after authors sharing their own papers online. Academia.edu has told several researchers that Elsevier 'is currently upping the ante in its opposition to academics sharing their own papers online.' This is the sounds of a boycott biting."

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Cassini Gets Amazing Views of Saturn's Hexagon
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '13 at 01:16 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's cassini-is-the-best department:
SternisheFan sends this excerpt from a JPL news release:
"NASA's Cassini spacecraft has obtained the highest-resolution movie yet of a unique six-sided jet stream, known as the hexagon, around Saturn's north pole. This is the first hexagon movie of its kind (GIF), using color filters, and the first to show a complete view of the top of Saturn down to about 70 degrees latitude. Spanning about 20,000 miles (30,000 kilometers) across, the hexagon is a wavy jet stream of 200-mile-per-hour winds (about 322 kilometers per hour) with a massive, rotating storm at the center. There is no weather feature exactly, consistently like this anywhere else in the solar system. 'The hexagon is just a current of air, and weather features out there that share similarities to this are notoriously turbulent and unstable,' said Andrew Ingersoll, a Cassini imaging team member at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. 'A hurricane on Earth typically lasts a week, but this has been here for decades — and who knows — maybe centuries.'"

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US Navy Launches Drone From Submerged Submarine
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '13 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's this-would-have-made-jack-ryan's-job-a-lot-easier department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "MarineLink reports that a fuel cell-powered, unmanned aerial system (UAS) aircraft has been successfully launched from the submerged 'USS Providence' (SSN 719). The drone flew a several-hour mission demonstrating live video capabilities streamed back to the submarine, offering a pathway to providing mission critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities to the U.S. Navy's submarine force. 'Developing disruptive technologies and quickly getting them into the hands of our sailors is what our SwampWorks program is all about,' says Craig A. Hughes, Acting Director of Innovation at the Office of Naval Research. 'This demonstration really underpins ONR's dedication and ability to address emerging fleet priorities.' The XFC UAS — eXperimental Fuel Cell Unmanned Aerial System — was fired from the submarine's torpedo tube using a 'Sea Robin' launch vehicle system designed to fit within an empty Tomahawk launch canister (TLC) used for launching Tomahawk cruise missiles already familiar to submarine sailors. Once deployed from the TLC, the Sea Robin launch vehicle with integrated XFC rose to the ocean surface, where it appeared as a spar buoy. Upon command of Providence's Commanding Officer, the XFC then vertically launched from Sea Robin and flew a successful mission."

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Tesla Model S Battery Drain Issue Fixed
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '13 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's acquitted-on-all-charges department:
cartechboy writes "Does the Tesla Model S suck down power even when the car is switched off? Recently, a tweet to Elon Musk with an article saying so sparked the Tesla CEO's attention. He tweeted that it wasn't right and that he'd look into the situation. Then a few hours later, he tweeted that the issue had to do with a bad 12-volt battery. Turns out Tesla had already called the owner of the affected car and sent a service tech to his house to replace that battery — and also install a newer build of the car's software. Now it appears the 'Vampire Draw' has been slain. The car went from using 4.5 kWh per day while turned off to a mere 1.1 kWh. So, it seems to be solved, but Tesla may either need to fix some software, or start sending a few new 12-volt batteries out to the folks still experiencing the issue."

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Supreme Court To Review Software Patents
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '13 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's put-on-your-game-face department:
New submitter chrylis writes "SCOTUSblog is reporting that the U.S. Supreme Court has accepted an appeal in Alice v. CLS Bank, a case in which the Federal Circuit ruled haphazardly that the particular patents in question were invalid but did not address the issue of software patents generally. 'The case will provide a new test of the Patent Act’s most basic provision — Section 101, which broadly outlines what kinds of inventions are patentable. One of the long-standing exceptions to the types of inventions mentioned in that section is that an abstract idea can never be patented. That issue arises frequently these days, especially with rapidly developing technology in computer software. The EFF wrote a summary of the issues in the case when it was before the Federal Circuit this spring. The case files are also available."

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Europol, Microsoft Target 2-Million Strong ZeroAccess Click Fraud Botnet
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '13 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's go-big-or-go-home department:
tsu doh nimh writes "Authorities in Europe joined Microsoft Corp. this week in disrupting 'ZeroAccess,' a vast botnet that has enslaved more than two million PCs with malicious software in an elaborate and lucrative scheme to defraud online advertisers. KrebsOnSecurity.com writes that it remains unclear how much this coordinated action will impact the operations of ZeroAccess over the long term, but for now the PCs infected with the malware remain infected and awaiting new instructions. ZeroAccess employs a peer-to-peer architecture in which new instructions and payloads are distributed from one infected host to another. The actions this week appear to have targeted the servers that deliver a specific component of ZeroAccess that gives infected systems new instructions on how to defraud various online advertisers, including Microsoft. While this effort will not disable the ZeroAccess botnet (the infected systems will likely remain infected), it should allow Microsoft to determine which online affiliates and publishers are associated with the miscreants behind ZeroAccess, since those publishers will have stopped sending traffic directly after the takedown occurred. Europol has a released a statement on this action, and Microsoft has published a large number of documents related to its John Doe lawsuits intended to unmask the botnet the ZeroAccess operators and shut down the botnet."

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Opus 1.1 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '13 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's onward-and-upward department:
New submitter rvalles writes "Xiph.org just released a major update to their Opus audio codec. Opus 1.1 offers major improvements over last year's 1.0.2 release. Opus is a general-purpose, very flexible, open and royalty-free audio codec that offers low-latency and high quality/bitrate, incorporating technology from Skype's SILK codec and Xiph.Org's CELT codec. Its first release beat everything else last year at 64kbit/s in a listening test held at HydrogenAudio."

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First Images of a Heart Injected With Liquid Metal
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '13 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's that's-pretty-metal department:
KentuckyFC writes "The early symptoms of many diseases show up first in the smallest blood vessels, but imaging the fine structure of these vessels is a tricky problem for medics. The most common way is to inject them with a contrast agent and use x-ray tomography to create a 3D image of their structure. This shows problems in the large vessels but not smaller ones. The problem is the lack of contrast. Conventional contrast agents are based on iodine, which has a high electron density and so better absorbs x-rays than other atoms. But a better solution would be to use a higher density fluid, such as a liquid metal. The obvious fears associated with toxicity and so forth mean this has never been tried. Until now. A team of Chinese biomedical engineers have created the world's first images of a pig's heart injected with gallium. This has a melting point of 29 degrees C, so it's a liquid at body temperature. And the results show the detailed structure of the tiniest blood vessels, revealing capillaries just 0.07 mm in diameter. That's significantly more detailed than is possible with iodine-based contrast agents. An important question is whether this technique will ever be possible in humans. The Chinese team seems optimistic. They say gallium is chemically inert, non-toxic to humans and can be injected and sucked out without leaving a residue. 'It suggests the possibility for localized in vivo vascular-enhanced radiological imaging in the near future.'"

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Get Ready For a Streaming Music Die-Off
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '13 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's tiny-pieces-of-a-tiny-pie department:
walterbyrd writes "Streaming services are ailing. Pandora, the giant of its class and the survivor at 13 years old, is waging an ugly war to pay artists and labels less in order to stay afloat. Spotify, in spite of 6 million paid users and 18 million subscribers who humor some ads in their stream, has yet to turn a profit. Rhapsody axed 15% of its workforce right as Apple's iTunes Radio hit the scene. On-demand competitor Rdio just opted for layoffs too, in order to move into a 'scalable business model.' Did no one wonder about that business-model bit in the beginning? Meanwhile, Turntable.fm, a comparatively tiny competitor with what should have been viral DNA, just pulled the plug on its virtual jam sessions this week—and it just might be the canary in the coal mine."

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FTC Drops the Hammer On Maker of Location-Sharing Flashlight App
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '13 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's permissions-permissions-permissions department:
chicksdaddy writes "The Federal Trade Commission announced on Thursday that it settled with the maker of 'Brightest Flashlight Free,' a popular Android mobile application, over charges that the company used deceptive advertising to collect location and device information from Android owners. The FTC says the company failed to disclose wanton harvesting and sharing of customers' locations and mobile device identities with third parties. Brightest Flashlight Free, which allows Android owners to use their phone as a flashlight, is a top download from Google Play, the main Android marketplace. Statistics from the site indicate that it has been downloaded more than one million times with an overall rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. The application, which is available for free, displays mobile advertisements on the devices it is installed on. However, the device also harvested a wide range of data from Android phones which was shared with advertisers, including what the FTC describes as 'precise geolocation along with persistent device identifiers.' As part of the settlement with the FTC, Goldenshores is ordered to change its advertisements and in-app disclosures to make explicit any collection of geolocation information, how it is or may be used, the reason for collecting location information and which third parties that data is shared with."

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Visual Guide – the Making of a DIY Space Capsule
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '13 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's get-your-space-on department:
Kristian vonBengtson writes "Wanna build your own space capsule capable of doing an atmospheric re-entry on a suborbital mission? Well, here are some production hints and a visual guide."
The initial stages begin with sketches on paper before moving to 3D design software. He writes, "A whole bunch of sketches were done to get some kind of initial idea of the size, subsystems layout and how to actually produce the capsule while keeping an open structure for further development and potential changes. One of the main concerns was the small size and the ability to easy install and replace avionics. This led to the decision that all external side panels will have to accommodate being taken on and off – no welding, only on the main structure." Afterward, he moves on to show the final metal cuts and how the pieces are put together via bolts and welding.

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FSF Responds To Microsoft's Privacy and Encryption Announcement
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '13 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's no-trust-without-verification department:
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft announced yesterday their plans to encrypt customer data to prevent government snooping. Free Software Foundation executive director John Sullivan questions the logic of trusting non-free software, regardless of promises or even intent. He says, 'Microsoft has made renewed security promises before. In the end, these promises are meaningless. Proprietary software like Windows is fundamentally insecure not because of Microsoft's privacy policies but because its code is hidden from the very users whose interests it is supposed to secure. A lock on your own house to which you do not have the master key is not a security system, it is a jail. ... If the NSA revelations have taught us anything, it is that journalists, governments, schools, advocacy organizations, companies, and individuals, must be using operating systems whose code can be reviewed and modified without Microsoft or any other third party's blessing. When we don't have that, back doors and privacy violations are inevitable.'"

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