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Writer Jack Vance Dead At 96
Posted by News Fetcher on May 30 '13 at 05:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's 96-is-a-good-run department:
First time accepted submitter angelofdarkness writes "Jack Vance died Sunday evening. He was 96. Thank you for the stories and adventures and for influencing the game i still play after all these years.
From the article: 'A science fiction Grand Master, Vance is probably best remembered for his four Dying Earth novels, which take place in a far-future Earth where the sun has dimmed and magic has been reestablished as a dominant force. They feature a brilliant picaresque adventure tone, including the unforgettable thief Cugel the Clever, and they were also celebrated in a recent anthology Songs of the Dying Earth, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. These books contain Vance's characteristic ironic, lightly humorous style, which has influenced generations of science fiction writers."
Reader paai points to the official Jack Vance website, and this 2009 profile in the New York Times.

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EFF Makes Formal Objection to DRM In HTML5
Posted by News Fetcher on May 30 '13 at 04:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's do-not-want department:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed a formal objection to the inclusion of DRM in HTML5, saying that a draft proposal from the W3C could hurt innovation and block access to people around the world. From their press page: '"This proposal stands apart from all other aspects of HTML standardization: it defines a new 'black box' for the entertainment industry, fenced off from control by the browser and end-user," said EFF International Director Danny O'Brien. "While this plan might soothe Hollywood content providers who are scared of technological evolution, it could also create serious impediments to interoperability and access for all."'

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New Best Way To Nuke a Short-Notice Asteroid
Posted by News Fetcher on May 30 '13 at 02:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's blowing-up department:
doug141 writes "A scientist proposes the best way to deal with an asteroid on short notice is to hit it with an impactor, followed by a nuke in the crater. From the article: 'Bong Wie, director of the Asteroid Deflection Research Center at Iowa State University, described the system his team is developing to attendees at the International Space Development Conference in La Jolla, Calif., on May 23. The annual National Space Society gathering attracted hundreds from the space industry around the world.

An anti-asteroid spacecraft would deliver a nuclear warhead to destroy an incoming threat before it could reach Earth, Wie said. The two-section spacecraft would consist of a kinetic energy impactor that would separate before arrival and blast a crater in the asteroid. The other half of the spacecraft would carry the nuclear weapon, which would then explode inside the crater after the vehicle impacted.'"


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Hospital Resorts To Cameras To Ensure Employees Wash Hands
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '13 at 11:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's keeping-it-clean department:
onehitwonder writes "Long Island's North Shore University Hospital is using sensors and video cameras to make sure employees wash their hands, according to an article in today's New York Times. Motion sensors detect when hospital staff enter an intensive care unit, and the sensors trigger a video camera. Feeds from the video camera are transmitted to India, where workers there check to make sure staff are washing their hands. The NYT article notes that hospital workers wash their hands as little as 30 percent of the time that they interact with patients. The Big Brother like system is intended to reduce transmission of infections as well as the costs associated with treating them."

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Nasdaq Fined $10M Over Facebook IPO Failures
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '13 at 11:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's doling-out-wristslaps department:
twoheadedboy writes "Nasdaq has been fined $10 million by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over 'poor systems and decision-making' during the Facebook initial public offering. When Facebook went public on 18 May 2012, it was hoping for a major success, but technical glitches and poor decision making at Nasdaq caused real problems. The SEC said 'a design limitation' in the system to match IPO buy and sell orders was at the root of the disruption, thought to have cost investors $500 million. Orders failed to register properly, leaving banks like Citigroup and UBS in the lurch and making additional, unnecessary bids. They may still win money back from Nasdaq if legal challenges go their way."

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Space Diving: Iron Man Meets Star Trek Suit In Development
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '13 at 08:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's someday-soon department:
cylonlover writes "Science fiction may well become reality with the development of a real life Iron Man suit that would allow astronauts or extreme thrill seekers to space dive from up to 62 miles (100 km) above the Earth's surface at the very edge of space, and safely land using thruster boots instead of a parachute. Hi-tech inventors over at Solar System Express (Sol-X) and biotech designers Juxtopia LLC (JLLC) are collaborating on this project with a goal of releasing a production model of such a suit by 2016. The project will use a commercial space suit to which will be added augmented reality (AR) goggles, jet packs, power gloves and movement gyros."

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Gene Therapy May Protect Against Flu
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '13 at 06:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's shields-up department:
sciencehabit writes "In 2009, a global collaboration of scientists, public health agencies, and companies raced to make a vaccine against a pandemic influenza virus, but most of it wasn't ready until the pandemic had peaked. Now, researchers have come up with an alternative, faster strategy for when a pandemic influenza virus surfaces: Just squirt genes for the protective antibodies into people's noses. The method—which borrows ideas from both gene therapy and vaccination, but is neither—protects mice against a wide range of flu viruses in a new study."

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Taking Action For Free JavaScript
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '13 at 05:16 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's power-to-the-people department:
Atticus Rex writes "Today the FSF kicked off a campaign to put pressure on webmasters to make their sites work without requiring nonfree JavaScript. The first target is Regulations.gov, a site the US government uses to take public comments on proposed regulations. Right now, the site requires nonfree JavaScript, requiring citizens to sacrifice their freedom as users to take part in their democracy."

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Stanford's Flying Fish Glider
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '13 at 04:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's sailing-away department:
Zothecula writes "Researchers at Stanford University have developed a small 'aircraft' that resembles a flying fish which can jump and glide over a greater distance than an equivalent jumping robot. Using a carbon fiber spring to take off, the jumpglider has a pivoting wing that stays out of the way during ascent, but which locks into place to glide farther on the way down."

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Drupal.org User Accounts Compromised
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '13 at 04:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's protect-ya-neck department:
An anonymous reader writes "The Drupal.org team released a bulletin this evening notifying users of a breach in their infrastructure.

From the bulletin: 'The Drupal.org Security Team and Infrastructure Team has discovered unauthorized access to account information on Drupal.org and groups.drupal.org.

This access was accomplished via third-party software installed on the Drupal.org server infrastructure, and was not the result of a vulnerability within Drupal itself. This notice applies specifically to user account data stored on Drupal.org and groups.drupal.org, and not to sites running Drupal generally.

Information exposed includes usernames, email addresses, and country information, as well as hashed passwords...

All Drupal.org passwords are both hashed and salted, although some older passwords on some subsites were not salted.'

Users are encouraged to update their Drupal.org passwords and the passwords of any accounts that could be linked via the compromised information."


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Why Everyone Gets It Wrong About BYOD
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '13 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's bring-your-own-device department:
snydeq writes "Brian Katz offers a simple take on the buzz around BYOD in business organizations these days: 'BYOD is only an issue because people refuse to realize that it's just about ownership — nothing more and nothing less.' A 'hidden issue' hiding in plain view, BYOD's ownership issue boils down to money and control. 'BYOD is pretty clear: It's bringing your own device. It isn't the company's device or your best friend's device. It's your device, and you own it. Because you own the device, you have certain rights to what is on the device and what you can do with the device. This is the crux of every issue that comes with BYOD programs.'"

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Judge Orders Child Porn Suspect To Decrypt His Hard Drives
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '13 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's ruining-it-for-everyone department:
An anonymous reader writes "After having first decided against forcing a suspect to decrypt a number of hard drives that were believed to be his and to contain child pornography, a U.S. judge has changed his mind and has now ordered the suspect to provide law enforcement agents heading the investigation with a decrypted version of the contents of his encrypted data storage system, or the passwords needed to decrypt forensic copies of those storage devices. Jeffrey Feldman, a software developer at Rockwell Automation, has still not been charged with any crime, and the prosecution initially couldn't prove conclusively that the encrypted hard drives contained child pornography or were actually Feldman's, which led U.S. Magistrate Judge William Callahan to decide that forcing him to decrypt them would violate his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. But new evidence has made the judge reverse his first decision (PDF): the FBI has continued to try to crack the encryption on the discs, and has recently managed to decrypt and access one of the suspect's hard drives... The storage device was found to contain 'an intricate electronic folder structure comprised of approximately 6,712 folders and subfolders,' approximately 707,307 files (among them numerous files which constitute child pornography), detailed personal financial records and documents belonging to the suspect, as well as dozens of his personal photographs."

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Sheryl Sandberg: Facebook's Home App Needs Some Work
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '13 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's know-anyone-who-could-manage-that? department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told an audience at AllThingsDigital's D11 conference that the social network's 'Home' app for Android has a viable future despite needing some work. 'I think it will be a long road,' she told the audience. 'We believe that the phone will get reorganized around people—Home is the first iteration of that.' But Home could require a good deal of tweaking, at least if user feedback is any sort of indication. After installing the Home app, the Android user's screen displays a modified version of the Facebook news feed, with an emphasis on images; other features include 'Chat Heads,' a messaging interface that sprinkles the screen with little icons of friends' heads. While that's a great way to get Facebook front-and-center on someone's phone, the software's one-star reviews on the Google Play storefront greatly outnumber the four- and five-star reviews."

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Planetary Resources To Build Crowdfunded Public Space Telescope
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '13 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's don't-you-have-money-of-your-own department:
kkleiner writes "Planetary Resources, the company that set its sights on mining asteroids, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $1M to crowdsource the world's first publicly accessible space telescope. In an interview, co-founder and co-chairman Peter Diamandis stated that the ARKYD 100 telescope is a means of 'extending the optic nerve of humanity.' The company hopes that the campaign, which is supported by Richard Branson, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and Seth Green, will make an orbiting telescope available to the public to help schools and museums in their educational efforts to inspire great enthusiasm in space."

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Willow Garage Makes Open Source Robots for Researchers (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '13 at 01:00 PM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's stomp-on-the-magic-kingdom-stomp-stomp-stomp department:
We're not talking cheap here; Willow Garage PR2 robots list for $280,000 with the academic discount, $400,000 without. Still, spokesman Ryan points out that it can take a PhD candidate two or more years to build a robot chassis and create new software equivalent to Willow Garage's open source robotware. The thought, too, is that if a university buys the robot a lot of students can share it. Sounds good, doesn't it? But much though we might want a robot, it's probably a good thing Slashdot doesn't have one because we'd probably spend all day fighting over who got to use it next.

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Nasdaq Fined $10M Over Facebook IPO Failures
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '13 at 12:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's doling-out-wristslaps department:
twoheadedboy writes "Nasdaq has been fined $10 million by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over 'poor systems and decision-making' during the Facebook initial public offering. When Facebook went public on 18 May 2012, it was hoping for a major success, but technical glitches and poor decision making at Nasdaq caused real problems. The SEC said 'a design limitation' in the system to match IPO buy and sell orders was at the root of the disruption, thought to have cost investors $500 million. Orders failed to register properly, leaving banks like Citigroup and UBS in the lurch and making additional, unnecessary bids. They may still win money back from Nasdaq if legal challenges go their way."

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Book Review: The Human Division
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '13 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it department:
stoolpigeon writes "How would humanity fare in a universe filled with other sentient races and the technology for all of them to interact? If human history is any indication there would be conflict. That conflict would be between many groups that saw themselves as people and the rest as monsters. What that universe and those interactions would look like is a key theme in John Scalzi's Old Man's War series. The latest offering, The Human Division continues to dig deeply into a wide range of questions about what makes someone a person and how people treat one another at their best and worst." Keep reading for the rest of stoolpigeon's review. The Human Division
author John Scalzi
pages 432
publisher Tor Books
rating 9/10
reviewer stoolpigeon
ISBN 978-0765333513
summary Following the events of The Last Colony, John Scalzi tells the story of the fight to maintain the unity of the human race

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Google Rolling Out Gmail Redesign
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '13 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's make-sure-to-react-before-you-try-it department:
Today Google announced a redesign of the Gmail inbox. Citing a high volume of email which makes it hard for users to focus on what's important (or what they want to focus on at any given moment), the new inbox will automatically group incoming emails into categories, which will appear as tabs at the top of the inbox. 'You can easily customize the new inbox — select the tabs you want from all five to none, drag-and-drop to move messages between tabs, set certain senders to always appear in a particular tab and star messages so that they also appear in the Primary tab.' Speaking to The Verge, Gmail product manager Alex Gawley said, 'It became obvious to us over time that this notion that the inbox was more of your master than your servant was becoming more widespread. It wasn't just the people receiving hundreds of emails a day — more regular users were starting to feel stressed out by their inbox.' The announcement notes that if you aren't interested in the new view, you can switch off all the tabs to go back to the classic inbox view.

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Linux Mint 15 'Olivia' Is Out
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '13 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's linux-mint-16-unlikely-to-be-called-'newton-john' department:
An anonymous reader writes "The Linux Mint blog today announced the full release of Linux Mint 15 'Olivia.' Here are the release notes and a list of new features. As before, it's available with either MATE or Cinnamon as a desktop environment. The included version of MATE has been upgrade to 1.6, which saw many old and deprecated packages replaced with newer technologies. Cinnamon has gone to 1.8, which improved the file manager, added support for 'desklets' (essentially desktop widgets), and completed the transition away from Gnome Control Center to Cinnamon's own settings panel. Other new features of Linux Mint 15 include improved login screen applications (one of which is an HTML greeter that supports HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, and WebGL), a tool developed from the ground up to manage software sources in Mint, and a vastly improved driver manager. The project's website sums it up simply: 'Linux Mint 15 is the most ambitious release since the start of the project.'"

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Scientists Recover Wooly Mammoth Blood
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '13 at 10:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's wooly-mammoth-vampires-very-excited department:
westtxfun writes
"'Russian scientists claimed Wednesday they have discovered blood in the carcass of a woolly mammoth, adding that the rare find could boost their chances of cloning the prehistoric animal.' As scientists unearthed the recent find, very dark blood flowed out from beneath the mammoth, and the muscle tissue was red. This is the best-preserved specimen found so far and they are hopeful they can recover DNA and clone a mammoth. Semyon Grigoriev, one of the researchers, said, 'The approximate age of this animal is about 10,000 years old. It has been preserved thanks to the special conditions, due to the fact that it did not defrost and then freeze again. We suppose that the mammoth fell into water or got bogged down in a swamp, could not free herself and died. Due to this fact the lower part of the body, including the lower jaw, and tongue tissue, was preserved very well. The upper torso and two legs, which were in the soil, were gnawed by prehistoric and modern predators and almost did not survive.'"

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