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The Next Frontier of Consumer Exploitation By Corporations
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '13 at 12:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's click-here-to-continue department:
First time accepted submitter alisonuw writes "So what if Google knows where I'm planning my next vacation and suggests hotels for me? Sure, it's creepy, but is there really any harm in companies tracking my info to target ads to me? Professor Ryan Calo (UW law) is out with a new paper that demonstrates the real harm behind these practices, making consumers vulnerable to making decisions that go against their self-interest (ie: predatory lending, price inflation, etc). The Atlantic has an article today that outlines the new research."

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Chinese Developer To Build Ocean-Water Thermal Energy System
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '13 at 09:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's warm-up-top-cold-below department:
the_newsbeagle writes "When you've got a wacky high-tech idea that will cost a lot of money, head to China. Lockheed Martin is the latest company to heed this advice. For decades, Lockheed has investigated ocean thermal energy conversion, in which the temperature difference between warm surface water and cold deep water is leveraged to produce power. Just a few years ago, the company was working with the Navy and discussing a possible OTEC pilot project in Hawaii's Pearl Harbor. That idea has since been scrapped, and Lockheed is now partnering with a Chinese resort developer to build the 10-MW pilot plant off the coast of southern China. Lockheed hasn't disclosed the cost of building this plant, but outside experts say it might cost more than $300 million."

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Google To Encrypt Cloud Storage Data By Default
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '13 at 06:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's praise-be-to-google department:
jfruh writes "Worries about snooping are now a permanent part of our computing landscape, but Google is attempting to ameliorate those fears by encrypting all data on its Google Cloud Storage service by default. Data is encrypted with 128-bit AES, and you can manage the keys yourself or have Google do it for you. A Google spokesperson said that the company "does not provide encryption keys to any government."" (Also at SlashCloud.)

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Amarok 2.8 "Return To the Origin" Released
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '13 at 05:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's heavily-stimulating department:
jrepin writes "Music player Amarok 2.8 has been released and it brings a fancy audio analyzer visualization applet, smooth fade-out when pausing music, many UI improvements and visual tweaks including better support for alternate color themes, significantly enhanced MusicBrainz tagger, power management awareness with a pair of new configuration options, and performance optimizations and responsiveness tuning all over Amarok."

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Obama, Romney Data Scientists Strike Out On Their Own
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '13 at 04:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's hive-of-scum-and-villainy department:
dcblogs writes "The self-described nerds of President Obama's presidential campaign last year are back using big data analytics, this time to help Newark Mayor Cory Booker achieve a landside primary win Tuesday in the New Jersey Democratic primary for a vacant U.S. Senate seat. The data scientists from Obama and Romney campaigns recently formed their own consulting businesses within months of each other. The chief data scientist for Romney's campaign, Alex Lundry, co-founded Deep Root Analytics. He gives credit to the Obama campaign's data effort in 2012. But since last year's election, "what you are seeing is a flurry of activity on the right to make sure that we not only catch them, but surpass them," Lundry said. Meanwhile, the co-founder of BlueLabs, Chris Wegrzyn, a senior member of Obama's 2012 campaign analytics department, says last year was turning point for big data analytics in elections. "Usually the nerds in the back room don't warrant a great deal of attention, especially in politics," said Wegrzyn, "but the world is changing.""

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Google Glass Integration For Cars Is Coming: Neat Idea Or Crazy Town?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '13 at 03:46 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's save-one-hand-for-your-sandwich department:
cartechboy writes "Americans have enough trouble keeping from texting their way to dangerous — or worse — situations in cars. But now car makers, looking to differentiate with tech integrations and after jamming iPhone everywhere, are working hard at integrating Google Glass into vehicles. Consider this quote: 'Within seconds, I've got step-by-step directions to a coffee shop down the street beamed directly to my eyeballs.' Aside from being a little Jetsons, sounds potentially problematic. (Note, Mercedes had been doing R&D since July.) It goes without saying that someone is working on an integration of their own with a Tesla Model S. There is a coolness factor, there may be some utility — but not sure this is a great idea."

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Aging Is a Disease; Treat It Like One
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '13 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can-i-take-sick-days-for-aging,-then? department:
theodp writes "In a letter to Sergey Brin, Maria Konovalenko urges the Google founder to pursue his interest in the topics of aging and longevity. 'Defeating or simply slowing down aging,' writes Konovalenko, 'is the most useful thing that can be done for all the people on the planet.' Calling for research into longevity gene therapy, extending lifespan pharmacologically, and studying close species that differ significantly in lifespan, Konovalenko says 'it is crucial to make numerous medical organizations recognize aging as a disease. If medical organizations were to recognize aging as a disease, it could significantly accelerate progress in studying its underlying mechanisms and the development of interventions to slow its progress and to reduce age-related pathologies. The prevailing regard for aging as a "natural process" rather than a disease or disease-predisposing condition is a major obstacle to development and testing of legitimate anti-aging treatments. This is the largest market in the world, since 100% of the population in every country suffers from aging.'"

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FISC Chief Judge: We Can't Effectively Oversee the NSA
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '13 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's neither-can-the-NSA department:
An anonymous reader writes "According to the Washington Post: 'The leader of the secret court that is supposed to provide critical oversight of the government's vast spying programs said that its ability to do so is limited and that it must trust the government to report when it improperly spies on Americans. The chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said the court lacks the tools to independently verify how often the government's surveillance breaks the court's rules that aim to protect Americans' privacy. Without taking drastic steps, it also cannot check the veracity of the government's assertions that the violations its staff members report are unintentional mistakes.' President Obama said in June, 'We also have federal judges that we've put in place who are not subject to political pressure. They've got lifetime tenure as federal judges, and they're empowered to look over our shoulder at the executive branch to make sure that these programs aren't being abused.' Not so much, Mr. President."

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Incredible Footage Shows a Perseid Meteor Exploding
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '13 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's when-speeding-rocks-attack department:
Nancy_A writes "Photographer and digital artist Michael K. Chung said he couldn't believe what he saw when he was processing images he took for a timelapse of the Perseid meteor shower this week. It appears he captured a meteor explosion and the resulting expansion of a shock wave or debris ring. After this article was posted, Universe Today received more 'explody' footage from the Perseid meteor shower, which has been added to the article."

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Carbyne: a Form of Carbon Even Stronger Than Graphene
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '13 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's does-graphene-even-lift? department:
New submitter Dialecticus writes "Sebastian Anthony at ExtremeTech has written an article about research into the physical properties of carbyne, an elusive form of carbon. A new mathematical analysis by Mingjie Liu and others at Rice University suggests that carbyne may achieve double the strength of graphene, stealing its crown and becoming the strongest material known to man. 'While carbyne cannot be stretched, it can be bent into an arc or circle — and by doing so, the additional strain between the carbon atoms alters the electrical bandgap. This property could lead to some interesting uses in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). By adding different molecules to the end of a carbyne chain, such as a methylene (CH2) group, carbyne can also be twisted — much like a strand of DNA — again adding strain and modifying the electrical bandgap. By "decorating" carbyne chains with different molecules, other properties can be added, too: Tack some calcium atoms on the end, which like to mop up spare hydrogen molecules, and suddenly you have a high-density, reversible hydrogen storage sponge.
It’s also important to note that, just like graphene, carbyne is just one atom thick. This means that, for a given mass of carbyne, its surface area is relatively massive. A single gram of graphene, for example, has a surface area of about five tennis courts. This could be very important in areas such as energy storage (batteries, supercapacitors), where the surface area of the electrode is directly proportional to the energy density of the device.'"


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Amazon Forbids Crossing State Lines With Rented Textbooks
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '13 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's controlling-dangerous-items department:
New submitter Galaga88 writes "In what is probably another attempt to evade charging sales tax, Amazon's terms of use through Warehouse Deals forbids crossing state lines with certain rented textbooks. The penalty for doing so? Retroactive forced purchase of the book. At least it's yours to keep afterwards. 'Some experts believe the policy is another reflection of the extreme lengths to which the company continues to go in order to avoid collecting state sales taxes. But could Amazon’s use restriction and other complicated rental conditions cause problems for students or lead potential textbook renters to take their business elsewhere? It seems like a policy that would be nearly impossible to enforce. But Richard Hershman, vice president of government relations at the National Association of College Stores, points out that if a student has textbooks sent to her home state and ships them back from a different state where she attends college, Amazon could easily note the new shipping location.'"

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Why Weather Control Conspiracy Theories Are Scientifically Ludicrous
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '13 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's mad-scientist-union-still-on-strike department:
barlevg writes "The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang breaks down two popular conspiracy theories: that HAARP is responsible for severe weather and that contrails from commercial airliners are actually 'chemtrails' sprayed for nefarious purposes. The article shows why each is preposterous to anyone with even an elementary knowledge of meteorology or an iota of common sense. The author readily acknowledges that his analysis will do nothing to convince the tinfoil-hat-wearing, vinegar-spraying members of the populace."

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The College-Loan Scandal
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '13 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's all-about-the-benjamins department:
Matt Taibbi writes in Rolling Stone about the economics behind college tuition. Interest rates get the headlines and the attention of politicians, but Taibbi says the real culprit is "appallingly high tuition costs that have been soaring at two to three times the rate of inflation, an irrational upward trajectory eerily reminiscent of skyrocketing housing prices in the years before 2008." He writes,
< article continued at Slashdot >

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Excess Coffee May Be Linked To Early Death
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '13 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-enough-coffee-may-be-linked-to-early-morning-violence department:
Mr.Intel writes "Should we believe it? Those of us under 55 who drink a lot of coffee – more than four cups per day – may be at greater risk of an early death. And not just death from heart problems, but death from all causes. The study, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings (abstract), followed people for almost two decades, and found that in both sexes, younger people were more likely to die of anything than people who drank less."

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Debian Turns 20
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '13 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's and-many-more department:
New submitter stderr_dk writes "According to Wikipedia, the initial release of Debian happened 16 August 1993. In other words, it's Debian's birthday and you're all invited. 'During the Debian Birthday, the Debian conference will open its doors to anyone interested in finding out more about Debian and Free Software, inviting enthusiasts, users, and developers to a half day of talks relating to Free Software, the Debian Project, and the Debian operating system.' Over the years, Debian has been forked a number of times. Some of the more well-known forks are Ubuntu and Knoppix. The latest release of Debian pure blend was Debian 7.1 'Wheezy' on June 15th 2013."

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Biggest Headache For Game Developers: Abusive Fans
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '13 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hiding-behind-an-internet-connection department:
chicksdaddy writes "Haters keep buyin' — that appears to be the dynamic playing out in the ever-hot video game industry, where game developers say harassment and trolling from their rabid fans is turning them off of development completely, according to a report over at Polygon.com. 'Fans are invested in the stories and worlds that developers create, and certain design decisions can be seen by fans to threaten those stories and worlds,' said Nathan Fisk, lecturer at the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and co-author of the book Bullying in the Age of Social Media. 'Harassment silences and repositions content creators in ways that protect the interests of certain fan groups, which again is no justification for the kinds of abusive behavior and language seen online today.' The problem is widespread enough that it may even pose a threat to the future of the industry. Developers, both named and those who wish to remain anonymous, tell Polygon that harassment by gamers is becoming an alarmingly regular expected element of game development. Some developers say the problem was among the reasons they left the industry, others tell Polygon that the problem is so ubiquitous that it distracts them from making games or that they're considering leaving the industry."

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Web Apps: the Future of the Internet, Or Forever a Second-Class Citizen?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '13 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's web-apps-aren't-citizens-at-all,-corporations-are department:
An anonymous reader writes "This article takes a look at whether web apps will ever match desktop and mobile apps in terms of performance and usability. Jo Rabin, who's leading the push by web standards body W3C to get web app performance up to scratch, is optimistic web apps will eventually be the default choice for building the majority of commercial and business apps, while the article weighs up just how much web technologies need to be improved before this could happen. Quoting: 'Native apps are generally first to gain access to new platform-specific hardware features — be it navigating using a phone's GPS and accelerometer or taking pictures with a phone's camera. But if a particular hardware feature becomes popular, standards to implement that feature in the browser will always follow, Rabin said. Work is taking place within W3C to standardise APIs for web technologies to access many of the features found on modern smartphones. Ongoing work this year includes setting out a system-level API to allow a web app to manage a device's contacts book, a messaging API for sending and receiving SMS and MMS, new mechanisms for capturing photos and recordings, new event triggers that could handle mouse, pen and touch inputs, a new push API to allow web apps to receive messages in the background, new media queries for responsive web design, an API for exchanging information using NFC and precise control over resource loading times in a web document.'"

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Microsoft Closes Xbox.com PC Marketplace
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '13 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's predictions-coming-true department:
SmartAboutThings writes "Microsoft is definitely changing things in its gaming department: it has now announced in a support note on the Xbox site that it will be shutting down the Xbox.com PC Marketplace on August 22nd. This comes shortly after news that Microsoft hired former Steam boss Jason Holtman, whose mission at Redmond is to 'make Windows great for gaming.' The Microsoft Points system will be retired on August 22nd as well. The Games for Windows Live client software will not be affected, at least initially, letting you play previously purchased games."

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NASA Abandons Kepler Repairs, Looks To the Future
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '13 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's time-to-crash-it-into-planet-genesis department:
cylonlover writes "If NASA has anything to say about it, Kepler is down, but not out. At a press teleconference on Thursday it announced that it has abandoned efforts to repair the damaged unmanned probe, which was designed to search for extrasolar planets and is no longer steady enough to continue its hunt. But the space agency is looking into alternative missions for the spacecraft based on its remaining capabilities. 'On Aug. 8, engineers conducted a system-level performance test to evaluate Kepler's current capabilities. They determined wheel 2, which failed last year, can no longer provide the precision pointing necessary for science data collection. The spacecraft was returned to its point rest state, which is a stable configuration where Kepler uses thrusters to control its pointing with minimal fuel use.'"

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New Treatment From Australia For All Cancers
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '13 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's that's-not-a-scalpel,-this-is-a-scalpel department:
New submitter FirephoxRising writes "A new, protein-based treatment from the University of NSW breaks down cancers by destroying their internal protein structures. The approach has been tried before but always resulted in too much damage to muscles and the heart. The new approach allows the new class of drug to attack tumors without damaging normal cells. Professor Peter Gunning said, 'Our drug causes the structure of the cancer cell to collapse — and it happens relatively quickly.'"

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