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Nearest Alien Planet Gets New Name
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '13 at 02:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's a-planet-by-any-other-name department:
SchrodingerZ writes "The nearest planet outside our solar system has recently been named Albertus Alauda. Originally named Alpha Centauri Bb, the planet is the closest known planet not orbiting the Sun, being a mere 4.3 light years away. The name comes from Jay Lark, who won the naming contest held by Uwingu starting last month and ending on April 22. Lark remarks that the name comes from the Latin name of his late grandfather, stating, "My grandfather passed away after a lengthy and valiant battle with cancer; his name in Latin means noble or bright and to praise or extol." The competition for naming the planet came from Uwing, a company which used the buying of name proposals and votes to fund grants for future space exploration ventures. Albertus Alauda won the competition with 751 votes, followed by Rakhat with 684 votes, and Caleo, with 622 votes."

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Experiment Will Determine Dinosaur's Skin Color
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '13 at 01:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what-color-is-my-dinosaur department:
AchilleTalon writes "One of the only well preserved dinosaur skin samples ever found is being tested at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) synchrotron to determine skin color and to explain why the fossilized specimen remained intact after 70-million years. University of Regina physicist Mauricio Barbi said the hadrosaur, a duck-billed dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous period (100-65 million years ago), was found close to a river bed near Grand Prairie, Alberta."

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Hiring Developers By Algorithm
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '13 at 12:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's nice-profile department:
Strudelkugel writes in with a story about how big data is being used to recruit workers. "When the e-mail came out of the blue last summer, offering a shot as a programmer at a San Francisco start-up, Jade Dominguez, 26, was living off credit card debt in a rental in South Pasadena, Calif., while he taught himself programming. He had been an average student in high school and hadn't bothered with college, but someone, somewhere out there in the cloud, thought that he might be brilliant, or at least a diamond in the rough. 'The traditional markers people use for hiring can be wrong, profoundly wrong,' says Vivienne Ming, the chief scientist at Gild since late last year. That someone was Luca Bonmassar. He had discovered Mr. Dominguez by using a technology that raises important questions about how people are recruited and hired, and whether great talent is being overlooked along the way."

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Canada Revenue Agency To Tax BitCoin Transactions
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '13 at 11:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's show-me-the-money department:
First time accepted submitter semilemon writes "The Canada Revenue Agency has started paying attention to BitCoin transactions, as it says users will have to pay tax on all transactions using the currency. From the article, "The CRA told the CBC there are two separate tax rules that apply to the electronic currency, depending on whether they are used as money to buy things or if they were merely bought and sold for speculative purposes. "Barter transaction rules apply where BitCoins are used to purchase goods or services," Canada Revenue Agency spokesman Philippe Brideau said in an email. In this situation, that means whatever you've received in exchange for your $1 worth of vegetables must be documented as a taxable gain of at least $1 somewhere. When it comes to trading BitCoins for profit, the tax man says there are tax implications there, too. "When BitCoins are bought or sold like a commodity, any resulting gains or losses could be income or capital for the taxpayer depending on the specific facts," ruled the CRA."

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EPA Report That Lowers Methane-Leak Estimates Further Divides Fracking Camps
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '13 at 10:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's good-and-bad department:
gmfeier writes "The EPA has significantly lowered its estimate of how much methane leaks during natural gas production. This has major implications for the fracking debate, but puts the EPA at odds with NOAA. From the article: 'The scope of the EPA's revision was vast. In a mid-April report on greenhouse emissions, the agency now says that tighter pollution controls instituted by the industry resulted in an average annual decrease of 41.6 million metric tons of methane emissions from 1990 through 2010, or more than 850 million metric tons overall. That's about a 20 percent reduction from previous estimates. The agency converts the methane emissions into their equivalent in carbon dioxide, following standard scientific practice.'"

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Cyber Vulnerabilities Found In Navy's Newest Warship
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '13 at 09:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's scuttle-the-ship's-computer department:
An anonymous reader writes with some potentially troubling news about some security issues with the Navy's newest class of coastal warships."A Navy team of computer hacking experts found some deficiencies when assigned to try to penetrate the network of the USS Freedom, the lead vessel in the $37 billion Littoral Combat Ship program, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Freedom arrived in Singapore last week for an eight-month stay, which its builder, Lockheed Martin Corp., hopes will stimulate Asian demand for the fast, agile and stealthy ships.

'We do these types of inspections across the fleet to find individual vulnerabilities, as well as fleet-wide trends,' said the official."


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Sandia Labs Researcher Develops Fertilizer Without the Explosive Potential
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '13 at 08:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's no-boom-for-you department:
cylonlover writes "Ammonium nitrate is a commonly used fertilizer, but when mixed with a fuel such as diesel, it makes a powerful explosive – as seen in last week's fertilizer plant explosion in Texas. But it's the deliberate use of the compound in improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and acts of terror such as the Oklahoma City bombing that gives rise to even greater cause for concern. This is why Kevin Fleming, an optical engineer at Sandia National Laboratories, developed a fertilizer alternative that isn't detonable and therefore can't be used in a bomb."

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Google Releases Glass Kernel Source Code
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '13 at 07:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's get-you-one department:
hypnosec writes "Google has released the kernel source code of Google Glass publicly just a couple of days after the wearable gadget was rooted by Jay Freeman. Releasing the source code, Google has noted that the location is just temporary and it would be moving to a permanent location soon saying: 'This is unlikely to be the permanent home for the kernel source, it should be pushed into git next to all other android kernel source releases relatively soon'"

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Icelandic Pirate Party Wins 3 seats In Parliament
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '13 at 06:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's scuttle-the-vote department:
First time accepted submitter Thorhs writes "According to preliminary results (all votes counted, no official word yet) the Icelandic Pirate Party was able to secure 3 members of the national Parliament, the first PP to reach a national Parliament. Things were hairy election night, the PP lost all their MPs when they dropped below the 5% barrier 'needed' in the somewhat complex election system. Thankfully they managed to slip back up above, with 5.1% of the total votes. The old 'crash parties', the ones in charge before our epic financial crash, (Independent and Progressive parties) are the prime candidates to form a new government with just over 51% of the votes, getting 40 of 63 seats. RUV (Icelandic) has good coverage."

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iTunes Store Turns 10
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '13 at 04:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's will-celebrate-by-deleting-all-your-songs-again department:
An anonymous reader writes
"On April 28, 2003, Apple launched the iTunes Music Store. In their original press release, they called it 'revolutionary,' in typical PR fashion. As the service reaches its 10th anniversary, it seems they were actually correct. From The Verge: 'At launch, it was Mac-only and offered a relatively tiny catalog: 200,000 songs (it currently has 26 million). But it did have the support of the major record labels of the day: Universal, EMI, Warner, Sony, and BMG. The partnerships were key to helping Apple take control of music distribution — without the songs, the iPod was a nicely designed but empty box. ... Jobs certainly had his challenges. Vidich said he's the one who suggested that iTunes charge 99 cents per track and he remembers Jobs nearly hugged him. At the time, Sony Music execs wanted to charge more than $3 a track, according to Vidich. No doubt a $3 song price would have tied an anchor around iTunes' neck, stifling growth. 99 cents, on the other hand, was below the sub-$1 psychological barrier — and has continued to be an important price point for not only music but the wide swath of 99-cent iOS apps in the store. ... Apple bet that the majority of consumers wouldn't have an issue with its lock-in tactics, and it bet correctly.'"

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Mitigating Password Re-Use From the Other End
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '13 at 01:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's 12345-goaway-letmein department:
An anonymous reader writes "Jen Andre, software engineer and co-founder of Threat Stack, writes about the problem of password breaches in the wake of the LivingSocial hack. She notes that the problem here is longstanding — it's easy for LivingSocial to force password resets, but impossible to get users to create different passwords for each site they visit. We've tried education, and it's failed. Andre suggests a different approach: building out better auditing infrastructure. 'We, as an industry, need a standard for auditing that allows us to reliably track and record authentication events. Since authentication events are relatively similar across any application, I think this could be accomplished easily with a simple JSON-based common protocol and webhooks. ... [It] could even be a hosted service that learns based on my login behaviors and only alerts me when it thinks a login entry is suspicious— kind of how Gmail will alert if I am logging in from a strange location. Because these audit entries are stored on a third-party box, if a certain web application is compromised, it won't have access to alter its audit log history since it lives somewhere else.'"

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$200 Intel Android Laptops Are Coming
Posted by News Fetcher on April 27 '13 at 10:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's race-to-zero department:
symbolset writes "Outbound Intel CEO Paul Otellini created quite a stir when mentioning that touchscreen laptops would reach a $200 price point. CNET is now reporting in an interview with Intel chief product officer Dadi Perlmutter that these touchscreen laptops will run Android on Intel Atom processors at first. 'Whether Windows 8 PCs hit that price largely depends on Microsoft, he said. "We have a good technology that enables a very cost-effective price point," Perlmutter said. The price of Windows 8 laptops "depends on how Microsoft prices Windows 8. It may be a slightly higher price point." ... Perlmutter didn't specify what the Android notebooks will look like, but it's probable they'll be convertible-type devices. He also noted that he expects the PC market to pick up in the back half of the year and heading into 2014 as new devices become available."

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What's Holding Back 3-D Printing
Posted by News Fetcher on April 27 '13 at 07:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's my-3-D-glasses-don't-seem-to-help department:
An anonymous reader writes "An article at MIT's Technology Review makes the case that the complexity of the design tools behind 3-D printing are what's holding it back from widespread adoption. Many of the devices are indeed prohibitively expensive, but the inability for your average person — or even your average tech hobbyist — to pick it up and start experimenting is an even bigger obstacle. 'That means software innovation could be more important to 3-D printing than gradual improvements in the underlying technology for shaping objects. That technology is already 30 years old and is widely used in industry to create prototypes, molds, and, in some cases, parts for airplanes. ... Although additive manufacturing allows for designs that can't be made easily in any other way — such as complex shapes with internal cavities — so far, companies have mostly used 3-D printing to create prototypes or models of familiar products.'"

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MPAA Executive Tampers With Evidence In Piracy Case
Posted by News Fetcher on April 27 '13 at 04:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's fitting-the-narrative department:
An anonymous reader writes "TorrentFreak reports on an internet piracy case from Finland, which saw four men found guilty and fined €45,000. During the trial, the defense attorney took note of inconsistencies in log files used as evidence against the men. An investigator for international recording industry organization IFPI revealed after questioning that the files had been tampered with. He said an MPAA executive was present when the evidence gathering took place, and altered the files to hide the identity of 'one of their spies.' 'No one from the MPAA informed the defense that the edits had been made and the tampering was revealed at the worst possible time – during the trial. This resulted in the prosecutor ordering a police investigation into the changes that had been made. "Police then proceeded by comparing the 'work copy' that the IFPI investigator produced with the material that police and the defending counsels had received. Police found out that the material had differences in over 10 files," Hietanen reveals.'"

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Artificial Skin Sensitivity Rivals That of Human Skin
Posted by News Fetcher on April 27 '13 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-remember-that-part-in-First-Contact department:
New submitter hebbosome writes "Researchers at Georgia Tech have provided a glimpse of a future full of highly-sensitive robots. Their nanoelectronic pressure sensors, comparable in sensitivity to human skin, are made out of new type of vertical transistor (abstract). 'In Wang’s nanowire transistors, the gate traditionally used in electronics is eliminated. Instead, the current flowing through the nanowires is controlled by the electrical charge generated when strain or force applied is to the transistors.' 'The arrays include more than 8,000 functioning piezotronic transistors, each of which can independently produce an electronic controlling signal when placed under mechanical strain.' They could immediately be used in human-machine interfaces for capturing electronic signatures, and, down the road, in robots and prosthetics."

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The Coming War Against Personal Photography and Video
Posted by News Fetcher on April 27 '13 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's funded-by-cloud-service-providers department:
Lauren Weinstein writes "Are you ready for the imagery war — the war against personal photography and capturing of video? You'd better be. 'In some cities, like New York, the surveillance-industrial complex has its fangs deeply into government for the big bucks. It's there we heard the Police Commissioner — just hours ago, really — claim that "privacy is off the table." And of course, there's the rise of wearable cameras and microphones by law enforcement, generally bringing praise from people who assume they will reduce police misconduct, but also dangerously ignoring a host of critical questions. Will officers be able to choose when the video is running? How will the video be protected from tampering? How long will it be archived? Can it be demanded by courts? ... All of this and more is the gung-ho, government surveillance side of the equation. But what about the personal photography and video side? What of individual or corporate use of these technologies in public and private spaces? Will the same politicians promoting government surveillance in all its glory take a similar stance toward nongovernmental applications? Writing already on the wall suggests not. Inklings of the battles to come are already visible, if you know where to look."

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EVE Online Getting TV, Comic Book Adaptations
Posted by News Fetcher on April 27 '13 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's star-trek:-the-ferengi-chronicles department:
CCP Games, creators of the successful space MMORPG EVE Online, have announced they will be harvesting stories from within the game to create comic books, a TV series, and possibly even films set in the EVE universe. EVE has never set records for the size of its userbase, but it's long been known as a game that generates some of the best emergent gameplay in the industry. From battles involving thousands of players to in-game confidence schemes involving currency worth tens of thousands of real dollars, it's likely you've heard about players' exploits even if you haven't played the game. CCP is now looking to bring the EVE universe to a wider audience, and rather than having a group of writers dictate all of the lore, they're letting the players take part. They've set up a site where users can share their tales and vote on those of others. CCP has partnered with Dark Horse Comics to make a comic book out of the stories, and with a production company to make a live-action TV show.

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Ask Slashdot: Are There Any Good Reasons For DRM?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 27 '13 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's keeps-you-from-accidentally-playing-bad-games department:
centre21 writes "Having been on Slashdot for several years, I've seen a lot of articles concerning DRM. What's most interesting to me are the number of comments condemning DRM outright and calling for the abolishing DRM with all due prejudice. The question I have for the community: is there ever a time when DRM is justified? My focus here is the aspect of how DRM protects the rights of content creators (aka, artists) and helps to prevent people freely distributing their works and with no compensation. How would those who are opposed to DRM ensure that artists will get just compensation for their works if there are no mechanisms to prevent someone from simply digitally copying a work (be it music, movie or book) and giving it away to anyone who wants it? Because, in my eyes, when people stop getting paid for what they do, they'll stop doing it. Many of my friends and family are in the arts, and let me assure you, one of the things they fear most isn't censorship, it's (in their words), 'Some kid freely distributing my stuff and eliminating my source of income.' And I can see their point. So I reiterate, to those who vehemently oppose DRM, is there ever a time where DRM can be a force for good, or can they offer an alternative that would prevent the above from happening?"

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Wolfram Alpha Drills Deep Into Facebook Data
Posted by News Fetcher on April 27 '13 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's wherein-the-word-friend-loses-all-meaning department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Back in January, when Wolfram Alpha launched an updated version of its Personal Analytics for Facebook module, the self-billed 'computational knowledge engine' asked users to contribute their detailed Facebook data for research purposes. The researchers at Wolfram Alpha, having crunched all that information, are now offering some data on how users interact with Facebook. For starters, the median number of 'friends' is 342, with the average number of friends peaking for those in their late teens before declining at a steady rate. Younger people also have a tendency to largely add Facebook friends around their own age — for example, someone who's 20 might have lots of friends in the twenty-something range, and comparatively few in other decades of life—while middle-aged people tend to have friends across the age spectrum. Beyond that, the Wolfram Alpha blog offers up some interesting information about friend counts (and 'friend of friend' counts), how friends' networks tend to 'cluster' around life events such as school and sports teams, and even how peoples' postings tend to evolve as they get older — as people age, for example, they tend to talk less about video games and more about politics. 'It feels like we're starting to be able to train a serious "computational telescope" on the "social universe,"' the blog concluded. 'And it's letting us discover all sorts of phenomena.'"

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The Text-Your-Parents-Your-Drug-Deal Experiment
Posted by News Fetcher on April 27 '13 at 10:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's gets-interesting-when-they-say-you're-charging-too-much department:
theodp writes "Having fooled major news outlets with a heartwarming-but-entirely-faked video of a pig rescuing a drowning goat, Nathan Fielder turned his attention to texting. CNET reports on the great Twitter 'text-your-parents-you're-a-drug-dealer' experiment, in which the Fielder called on his Twitter followers to text their moms and dads and (accidentally) reveal a drug deal. Fielder's tweet read: 'Experiment: text your parents "got 2 grams for $40" then right after "Sorry ignore that txt. Not for you." Then tweet pic of their response.' The reactions are various and, sometimes, hilarious."

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