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'Blue Waters' Supercomputer Lucky To Exist
Posted by News Fetcher on March 27 '13 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's your-new-parents-love-you-very-much department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "One could argue that the University of Illinois' "Blue Waters" supercomputer, scheduled to officially open for business March 28, is lucky to be alive. The 11.6 petaflop supercomputer, commissioned by the University and the National Science Foundation (NSF), will rank in the upper echelon of the world's fastest machines—its compute power would place it third on the current list, just above Japan's K Computer. However, the system will not be submitted to the TOP500 list because of concerns with the way the list is calculated, officials said. University officials and the NSF are lucky to have a machine at all. That's due in part to IBM, which reportedly backed out of the contract when the company determined that it couldn't make a profit. The university then turned to Cray, which would have had to replace what was presumably a POWER or Xeon installation with the current mix of AMD CPUs and Nvidia GPU coprocessors. Allen Blatecky, director of NSF's Division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure, told Fox that pulling the plug was a 'real possibility.' And Cray itself had to work to find the parts necessary for the supercomputer to begin at least trial operations in the fall of 2012."

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Cold Spring Linked To Dramatic Sea Ice Loss
Posted by News Fetcher on March 27 '13 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's and-here-i-was-blaming-the-schools department:
hrvatska writes "An article at Weather Underground reports that researchers have linked large snowstorms and cold spring weather across Britain and large parts of Europe and North America to the dramatic loss of Arctic sea ice. It is thought that the Arctic ice loss adds heat to the ocean and atmosphere, which shifts the position of the jet stream, allowing cold air from the Arctic to plunge much further south. Researchers expect that a warming Arctic ocean will drive more extreme weather in North America and Europe (abstract)."

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The Leap Motion Controller is Sort of Like a Super Kinect (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on March 27 '13 at 10:30 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's touching-nothing-but-a-picture-magically-appears-on-the-screen department:
What the Leap Motion product (they only have one right now) does is allow you to control your computer with gestures. We're not talking about just jumping around, but "painting" on the screen with your fingers (or even chopsticks) with fine enough control that Autodesk and other drawing-orientd software vendors are working to make applications compatible with the Leap Motion Controller. And game developers? You bet! Lots of them -- and this is for a device that's not even supposed to start shipping until May 13. But, says CEO Michael Buckwald, they already have "hundreds of thousands of pre-orders," so it looks like they are developing a large market for developers (over 12,000 are in the Leap Motion developer program -- out of 50,000 who applied) so it's possible that Leap Motion could become a pretty big deal. (You can see the Leap Motion Controller in action at the end of the video.)

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Supreme Court of Canada Rules That Text Messages Are Private
Posted by News Fetcher on March 27 '13 at 10:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's haven-for-terrorist-scum department:
An anonymous reader writes "The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that text messages are private communication (Official Ruling) and therefore police are required to get a warrant to gain access to the text messages of private citizens. The CBC reports: '[Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Silberman] Abella said the only practical difference between text messaging and traditional voice communications is the transmission process. "This distinction should not take text messages outside the protection to which private communications are entitled," she wrote.'"

Quite different from the attitude in the U.S.

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Document Freedom Day 2013 Celebrated In 30 Countries
Posted by News Fetcher on March 27 '13 at 09:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's own-your-data department:
jrepin writes "The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is running its annual Document Freedom Day campaign today to raise awareness of the importance of open standards. This year's Document Freedom Day involves over 50 groups from 30 countries and focuses on open standards in web-based streaming technologies, especially on increasing the awareness and usage of HTML5. This year's campaign is sponsored by Google and openSUSE. To celebrate the Document Freedom Day April has published a poster to explain to software users, the interest of opting for 'open formats' to exchange and store their files."

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Cosmic Microwave Background: Google Earth Style
Posted by News Fetcher on March 27 '13 at 08:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's find-the-aliens department:
iDuck writes "Damien George, of Cambridge University, has created a 3D visualization of the latest data from the Planck mission. Using WebGL, it lets you spin and zoom a 3D model of the Cosmic Microwave Background, and select different wavelength bands."

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Ask Nathan Myhrvold What You Will, Live Q&A April 3
Posted by News Fetcher on March 27 '13 at 08:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's ask-away department:
He was the CTO at Microsoft, is an accomplished nature and wildlife photographer, and his cookbook Modernist Cuisine won a James Beard award, but Nathan Myhrvold is probably best known for being co-founder and CEO of Intellectual Ventures. In 2009 the company launched a prototyping and research laboratory called Intellectual Ventures Lab. The lab has hired many prominent scientists to work on a variety of inventions including safer nuclear reactor designs and vaccine research. Under Myhrvold's direction Intellectual Ventures has purchased 40,000 patents and applications and internally developed over 2000 inventions, but not without controversy. Nathan has agreed to take some time to answer your questions but please limit yourself to one question per post. As a bonus on Wed. April 3, Nathan will be doing a live Q&A from 12-12:30pm PST.

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Oracle Releases SPARC T5 Servers; Too Late?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 27 '13 at 08:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's sparc-of-life department:
First time accepted submitter bobthesungeek76036 writes "On March 26th, Larry Ellison and always with fashionable haircut John Fowler announced the new line of SPARC servers from Oracle. Touted as the fastest microprocessor in the world, they put up some impressive SPEC numbers against much more expensive (and older) IBM hardware. Is the industry still interested in SPARC or is it too late for Larry to regain the server market that Sun Microsystems had many moons ago?"

El Reg has a pretty good overview of the new hardware; the T5 certainly looks interesting for highly threaded work loads (there's some massive SMT going on with 16 threads per core), but with Intel dominating for single-threaded performance and ARM-based servers becoming available squeezing them for massive multi-threading, is there really any hope in Oracle's efforts to stay in the hardware game?

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Ask Slashdot: Enterprise Bitcoin Mining For Go-Green Initiatives?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 27 '13 at 07:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's idle-cycles department:
Supp0rtLinux writes "Bitcoins are currently trading around $75. I work for a very large organization. We have a fairly large HPC that is usually about 50% idle, as well as about 18K desktops on 4 campuses connected with dark fiber. All stay on 24x7 for after-hours AV scans (weekly) and backups (2-3x a week). All are leases that refresh every 2 years so all have fairly good CPU & RAM specs. As part of a go-green initiative a proposal has come up to use all the PCs for bitcoin in our own mining group; sort of like SETI-at-home style, but with a real dollar value return to us. Additionally, we would setup a queue in our HPC that dedicates 30% to BC mining when in use and up to 99.5% when no other jobs are running. The thought is that all the PCs are on 24x7 anyway and consuming resources so why not allow them to be useful 24x7 as well and generate bitcoins which can then be sold to offset the electrical costs of the running equipment and/or possibly even make a little profit. The guy with the idea says its a no-lose situation as if the price of bitcoins drops to below a certain level and is no longer a financially viable option, we simply stop the mining process. I'm curious what the Slashdot community thinks of this?
"


Read on for a few more details.

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JMS and Wachowskis Teaming Up for New Netflix Funded Scifi Series
Posted by News Fetcher on March 27 '13 at 06:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's thank-kosh department:
Via Engadget, comes a press release that might bring joy to fans of science fiction dismayed by years without any new scifi shows: "Continuing its quest to sate subscribers' appetites with a flow of original content, Netflix has announced a new original series, Sense8. Due in late 2014, it's being developed by the Wachowskis of The Matrix, V for Vendetta, Cloud Atlas and Speed Race fame, as well as J. Michael Straczynski, creator of Babylon 5. Details are thin, but the press release promises a gripping global tale of minds linked and souls hunted with a ten episode run for its first season."

Hopefully it'll end up available on DVD eventually, for us poor GNU/Linux users who are not worthy enough for Netflix (or: to any Netflix engineers reading, make it work).

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Largest DDoS In History Reaches 300 Billion Bits Per Second
Posted by News Fetcher on March 27 '13 at 06:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's making-enemies department:
An anonymous reader writes "The NYT is reporting that the Largest DDoS in history reached 300 Gbps. The dispute started when the spam-fighting group Spamhaus added the Dutch company Cyberbunker to its blacklist, which is used by e-mail providers to weed out spam. Millions of ordinary Internet users have experienced delays in services like Netflix or could not reach a particular Web site for a short time. Dutch authorities and the police have made several attempts to enter the bunker by force but failed to do so. The attacks were first mentioned publicly last week by Cloudflare, an Internet security firm in Silicon Valley that was trying to defend against the attacks and as a result became a target."

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Enlightenment Terminal Allows Video Playback, PDF Viewing
Posted by News Fetcher on March 27 '13 at 05:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's symbolics-did-it-better department:
An anonymous reader writes "The E17 Enlightenment project has released a new version of its Terminology terminal emulator. With Terminology 0.3 comes several fancy features, including the ability to preview video files, images, and PDF files from within the terminal. There's new escape sequences, inline video playback, and other features to this terminal emulator that's only built on EFL and libc."

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Mobile Phone Use Patterns Identify Individuals Better Than Fingerprints
Posted by News Fetcher on March 27 '13 at 04:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's but-not-conveniently-etched-on-your-thumb department:
chicksdaddy writes "Mobile phone use may be a more accurate identifier of individuals than even their own fingerprints, according to research published on the web site of the scientific journal Nature. Scientists at MIT and the Université catholique de Louvain in Belgium analyzed 15 months of mobility data for 1.5 million individuals who the same mobile carrier. Their analysis, 'Unique in the Crowd: the privacy bounds of human mobility' showed that data from just four, randomly chosen 'spatio-temporal points' (for example, mobile device pings to carrier antennas) was enough to uniquely identify 95% of the individuals, based on their pattern of movement. Even with just two randomly chosen points, the researchers say they could uniquely characterize around half of the 1.5 million mobile phone users. The research has profound implications for privacy, suggesting that the use of mobile devices makes it impossible to remain anonymous – even without the use of tracking software."

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Has Kickstarter Peaked?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 27 '13 at 02:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's novelty-only-lasts-so-long department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Kickstarter has taken off in the past year, raising big money for a wide variety of projects. Look at some of their stats: in June 2012, only seven projects raised more than a million dollars apiece; in the past nine months, another 16 projects have passed that threshold. Since the site began operations in 2009, several of the 38,000 funded projects have broken out as superstars, including the Pebble Watch and a new gaming console. With all this competition, has crowdfunding gotten, well, too crowded? Is Kickstarter peaking? As the dollar amounts have grown, so has the potential for abuse. Hidden amidst all these success stories and multi-million dollar payouts are some sadder tales. The majority of the nearly 50,000 unfunded Kickstarter projects received less than 20 precent of their funding goals, with 11 percent never even getting a single pledge."

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USPS Discriminates Against 'Atheist' Merchandise
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '13 at 11:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's heathens-don't-need-shoes department:
fish waffle writes "Suspecting that their strongly branded 'Atheist' products may be treated differently by more religiously-oriented postal regions, Kickstarter success Atheist Shoes conducted an experiment. They sent 178 packages to 89 people in different parts of the U.S., each person receiving one package prominently branded as 'Atheist' merchandise, and one not. The results: packages with the atheist label were nearly 10 times more likely to be 'lost,' and took on average 3 days longer to show up when they did. Control experiments were also done in Europe and Germany — it's definitely a USPS problem."

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Washington's Exploding Manholes Explained?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '13 at 10:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it-was-aliens-all-along department:
sciencehabit writes "Researchers who mapped methane concentrations on the streets of the nation's capital found natural gas leaks everywhere, at concentrations of up to 50 times the normal background levels. The leaking gas wastes resources, enhances ozone production, and exacerbates global warming—not to mention powering the city's infamous exploding manholes. Most of the natural gas we burn for heat and on stovetops in the United States is methane, a simple carbon atom surrounded by four hydrogens. Carbon dioxide gets more press, but methane is the more powerful agent of global warming, 21 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. And methane levels are rising fast. Methane levels in the atmosphere were just 650 parts per billion a century ago, versus 1800 ppb today."

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Real-Time Gmail Spying a 'Top Priority' For FBI This Year
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '13 at 08:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-can-trust-us department:
Fnord666 sends this quote from an article at Slate:
"Despite the pervasiveness of law enforcement surveillance of digital communication, the FBI still has a difficult time monitoring Gmail, Google Voice, and Dropbox in real time. But that may change soon, because the bureau says it has made gaining more powers to wiretap all forms of Internet conversation and cloud storage a 'top priority' this year. ... a 1994 surveillance law called the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act only allows the government to force Internet providers and phone companies to install surveillance equipment within their networks. But it doesn't cover email, cloud services, or online chat providers like Skype. Weissmann said that the FBI wants the power to mandate real-time surveillance of everything from Dropbox and online games ('the chat feature in Scrabble') to Gmail and Google Voice. 'Those communications are being used for criminal conversations,' he said."

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GTK+ 3.8 Released With Support For Wayland
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '13 at 08:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's onward-and-upward department:
kthreadd writes "Version 3.8 of the GTK+ GUI framework has been released. A new feature in GTK+ 3.8 is support for Wayland 1.0, the display server that will replace X on free desktops. Among the other new features are improved support for theming, fixes to geometry management and improved accessibility. There is also better support for touch, as part of an ongoing effort in making GTK+ touch-aware."

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BioShock: Infinite Released
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '13 at 07:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's gamers-upset-that-it's-not-literally-infinite department:
kandelar writes with news that BioShock: Infinite has been released. It's the third major release in the series of BioShock first-person shooters, and it's available for Xbox 360, PS3, and Windows. The game is garnering good critical reception, for the most part. Rock, Paper, Shotgun said, "Infinite is a game ruled by artists at least as much as it is by its writers. It’s the ultimate answer to the question of whether art or technology is the most important part of creating a visually excellent game – Crysis 3 might have far more going on under the hood, but its uninspired paintjob makes it seem so dull compared to Infinite’s vaguely Pixar-esque fusion of the photoreal and the colourfully unreal." Ars' reviewer wrote, "Infinite's battle system doesn't wear out its welcome or weigh down the game's excellent pacing. Infinite avoids the problem of near-endless waves of identical enemies that plagues so many shooters these days. The bits of shooting action are spaced and timed to serve as gentle punctuation marks that break up the story rather than full stops that bring it to a grinding halt." However, RPS adds this criticism of the player's effect the plot: "Infinite’s a triumph in terms of fantasy-architecture spectacle and bringing superb flexibility to the modern rollercoaster shooter, but in other respects it’s a small step down from the player agency and even the singular aesthetic of BioShock."

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Fantastic js1k Submissions
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '13 at 05:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's still-waiting-on-a-quake-3-implementation department:
An anonymous reader writes "With just five days left in the current competition to write an app in only 1kb of JavaScript, the submissions are becoming increasingly impressive. Take for instance a beautiful 3D animation drawing on a 2D canvas. Or a mine cart animation. If you wait long enough you'll actually get to caves! Can you manage to write a demo that fits on the hall of fame before the deadline closes?"

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