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JPL Employee's Firing Wasn't Due To Intelligent Design Advocacy, Says Judge
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '12 at 08:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's does-not-play-well-with-others department:
SternisheFan writes with an update to a story from earlier this year about a lawsuit in which David Coppedge alleged he was fired from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for his advocacy of Intelligent Design. Now, a judge has ruled that Coppedge was legitimately dismissed for performance reasons. From the article:
"n 2009, he apparently got a bit aggressive about promoting these ideas at work, leading one employee to complain. The resulting investigation found that he had also aggressively promoted his opinion on California's gay marriage ban, and had attempted to get JPL's holiday party renamed to 'Christmas party.' ... Coppedge was warned about his behavior at work, but he felt it was an infringement of his religious freedom, so he sued. Shortly after, as part of a set of cutbacks on the Cassini staff, he was fired. In court, Coppedge and his lawyer portrayed him as being targeted for promoting an idea that is, to put it mildly, not popular with scientists. But JPL's legal team introduced evidence that his aggressive promotion of it at work was part of a pattern of bad interactions with his fellow employees that dated back at least five years earlier."

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Microsoft Escapes Kaspersky's Top 10 Vulnerabilities List
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '12 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's or-maybe-it-goes-without-saying department:
An anonymous reader writes "Security firm Kaspersky has released its latest IT Threat Evolution report. There were some interesting findings in the report, as always, but the most interesting thing that stuck out was all the way at the bottom: 'Microsoft products no longer feature among the Top 10 products with vulnerabilities. This is because the automatic updates mechanism has now been well developed in recent versions of Windows OS.'"

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Navigating the Vast Ocean of Open Source
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '12 at 07:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's we're-gonna-need-a-bigger-boat department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Open source is no longer relegated to the discount software vendor that serves cash-strapped startups. In enterprise software development these days, open source is not only immensely valuable, but increasingly crucial to stay competitive in releasing high quality software at regular intervals in a world where technology is changing so fast and every edge matters. Today, rolling your own logging package instead of using something like log4j is as silly as trying to build your own web server instead of using Apache httpd was 10 years ago. Still, there are other components like guava that are less well known, but are currently making a name for themselves as libraries that can take the solution you are building to the next level of sophistication and quality. Just knowing they exist — and knowing where they fit — can help you design and build better software at a lower cost. In addition to conducting a traditional build versus buy analysis, it's critical to think about the maintenance and support story surrounding an open source package. This article lists some things to consider and questions to ponder."

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Linus Torvalds Tries KDE, Likes It So Far
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '12 at 06:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's harry-seldon department:
sfcrazy writes "Linus Torvalds has never been a big fan of Gnome owing its extreme simplicity. Even Gnome 3.x failed to impress the father of the Linux kernel. He has now given KDE a try after a long time. Linus using your software is double edged sword, especially if Linus doesn't like it — get ready for the harshest, yet the most honest and useful criticism. Interestingly, Linus has so far liked KDE, and for one simple reason: 'But ah, the ability to configure things. And I have wobbly windows again.' This should make KDE developers a bit happier." Evidently, Linus didn't get the message that desktop UIs for Linux don't matter any more, since he keeps acting like they do.

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Canadian Island's Historic Hot Springs Dry Up After Earthquake
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '12 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's don't-keep-that-all-bottled-up-inside-you department:
theshowmecanuck writes with this snippet from Canada's National Post: "Days after the remote B.C. archipelago of Haida Gwaii emerged virtually unscathed from Canada's second-strongest earthquake, locals discovered that the shifting earth had mysteriously switched off a centuries-old hot spring considered sacred by the Haida. ... A Parks Canada inspection party set out to investigate and stepped ashore to find that the island's three main hot spring pools, which once bubbled with water as warm as 77 Celsius, were bone dry. "Not even a small puddle," said Mr. Gladstone. Surrounding rocks, once warm to the touch, were cold." The earthquake measured 7.7 on the Richter scale."

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China's Stealth Fighter Flight Test Successful
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '12 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sneaky-as-can-be department:
New submitter vencs writes "China has successfully tested its second stealth fighter, a smaller, twin-engine je that military analysts said could potentially allow it to one day fly missions from an aircraft carrier. Military analysts said the new jet's design suggested the People's Liberation Army might use it to arm and escort aircraft carriers like the Liaoning, which was officially deployed last month. Andrei Chang, editor-in-chief of Kanwa Asian Defense Monthly, said the new prototype appears to have borrowed features from the U.S. Air Force's twin-engine F-22 and U.S. Navy's single-engine F-35C."

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Building the Ultimate Safe House
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '12 at 04:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's don't-forget-the-toilet-paper department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Candace Jackson writes that an increasing number of home builders and buyers are looking for a new kind of security: homes equipped to handle everything from hurricanes, tornadoes and hybrid superstorms like this week's Sandy, to man-made threats ranging from home invasion to nuclear war. Fueling the rise of these often-fortresslike homes are new technologies and building materials—which builders say will ultimately be used on a more widespread basis in storm- and earthquake-threatened areas. For example, Alys Beach, a 158-acre luxury seaside community on Florida's Gulf Coast, has earned the designation of Fortified...for safer living® homes and is designed to withstand strong winds. The roofs have two coats of limestone and exterior walls have 8 inches of concrete, reinforced every 32 inches for 'bunkerlike' safety, according to marketing materials. Other builders are producing highly hurricane-proof residences that are circular in shape with 'radial engineering' wherein roof and floor trusses link back to the home's center like spokes on a wheel, helping to dissipate gale forces around the structure. Deltec, a North Carolina–based builder, says it has never lost a circular home to hurricanes in over 40 years of construction. But Doug Buck says some 'extreme' building techniques don't make financial sense. 'You get to a point of diminishing returns,' says Buck. 'You're going to spend so much that honestly, it would make more sense to let it blow down and rebuild it.''

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iPhone Interface For Ham Radio Mates Old With New
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '12 at 03:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's wait-a-second-for-it-to-get-back-from-space department:
jjp9999 writes "By using the same technology found in older modems, Thomas Tumino, vice president of the Hall of Science Amateur Radio Club, has invented an iPhone interface for ham radios. He told The Epoch Times, 'Today there are iPhone apps where you can use the systems in the phone — and its sound card, which is being used as a modem ... And then you connect that into your radio with an interface like this, that just isolates the telephone from the radio, and then you can do all sorts of things.'"

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Curiosity Snaps 'Arm's Length' Self Portrait
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '12 at 12:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's pleased-to-meet-me department:
astroengine writes "Using its robotic arm-mounted MAHLI camera, NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has snapped, quite possibly, the most iconic image to come from the mission so far. By stitching together 55 high-resolution photos, the rover has snapped an 'arm's length' self portrait, capturing its location in the geologically interesting area known as 'Rocknest,' including its recent scoop marks in the Martian soil and the base of Mt. Sharp." Note to NASA: Please sell this image in the form of a fundraising poster.

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OpenSUSE ARM Final Less Than a Week Away; RC2 Out Now
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 09:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's diversity-training department:
Andy Prough writes "Jos Poortvliet of the openSUSE team has announced that openSUSE ARM RC2 is available for download and needs testing. The final version is due out on November 6th, and support has been expanded to include the following SoCs: Calxeda Highbank, CuBox, IMX 53, and Samsung Origen. Although Raspberry Pi is not yet supported, the openSUSE team plans to roll out support in the future. User Etam has posted a picture of it working without trouble in chroot on an N900, although Firefox is working "terribly slow" but not crashing."

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Most US Drones Still Beam Video Unencrypted
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 06:46 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's hey-it-beats-satellite-piracy department:
An anonymous reader writes "Four years after discovering that militants were tapping into drone video feeds, the U.S. military still hasn't secured the transmissions of more than half of its fleet of Predator and Reaper drones, Danger Room has learned. The majority of the aircraft still broadcast their classified video streams 'in the clear' — without encryption. With a minimal amount of equipment and know-how, militants can see what America's drones see."

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Ask Slashdot: Finding Legacy UnixWare Installation Media?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 05:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's check-the-wine-cellar department:
First time accepted submitter lukpac writes "We have an old (ancient) Unisys server in production that hosts a legacy system and are attempting to virtualize it. Unfortunately we don't have a generic UnixWare (2.1.2) installation CD, just a Unisys-specific one, and given the recent unpleasantness (see Groklaw for details), SCO isn't much of an option. We're not looking at pirating it (as above, we do still have the Unisys-specific media), but do need a generic copy of UnixWare. What options, if any, are available?"

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Con Ed Says NYC Datacenters Should Get Power Saturday
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's long-weekend-for-sysadmins department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "The local utility serving most of the New York City area, Con Edison, reported that it should begin supplying utility power to midtown and lower Manhattan by Saturday evening, returning the island's data centers and citizens to some semblance of normalcy. In the past few days, data center managers have been forced to add fuel logistics to their list of responsibilities, as most Manhattan data centers have been subsisting on generator power. That should come to an end, for the most part, when utility power is restored. In a possibly worrying note, Verizon warned late on Nov. 1 that its services to business customers could be impacted due to lack of fuel."

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Why Does a Voting Machine Need Calibration?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's to-reset-the-defrobnosticator department:
New submitter Shotgun writes "I heard on the radio that there were some issues with voting machines in Greensboro, NC (my hometown), and the story said the machines just needed "recalibration". Which made me ask, "WTF? Why does a machine for choosing between one of a few choices need 'calibration'?" This story seems to explain the issue."

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Microsoft Reportedly Working On Its Own Smartphone
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's seeing-what-sticks department:
According to a (paywalled) report in the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft is experimenting with its own smartphone design. "Officials at some of Microsoft's parts suppliers, who declined to be named, said the Redmond, Wash.-based company is testing a smartphone design but isn't sure if a product will go into mass production." The article continues:
"If Microsoft pushes ahead with its mobile phone, it would underscore how far Microsoft has moved away from its long-standing practice of making software and leaving decisions about design, features and marketing of the computing hardware to partners such as Hewlett-Packard or Samsung Electronics. ... As it does so, Microsoft pulls from a modified playbook of Apple—whose hardware-plus-software approach Microsoft officials long have scorned. ... Smartphones running Microsoft's two-year-old Windows Phone operating software for cellphones haven't sold well, and Microsoft may want to leave itself an option to test whether its own phone would spur sales."

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Nonpartisan Tax Report Removed After Republican Protest
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's information-wants-to-trickle-down department:
eldavojohn writes "On September 14th a report titled 'Taxes and the Economy: An Economic Analysis of the Top Tax Rates Since 1945' (PDF) penned by the Library of Congress' nonpartisan Congressional Research Service was released to little fanfare. However, the following conclusion of the report has since roiled the GOP enough to have the report removed from the Library of Congress: 'The results of the analysis suggest that changes over the past 65 years in the top marginal tax rate and the top capital gains tax rate do not appear correlated with economic growth. The reduction in the top tax rates appears to be uncorrelated with saving, investment, and productivity growth. The top tax rates appear to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie. However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution. As measured by IRS data, the share of income accruing to the top 0.1% of U.S. families increased from 4.2% in 1945 to 12.3% by 2007 before falling to 9.2% due to the 2007-2009 recession. At the same time, the average tax rate paid by the top 0.1% fell from over 50% in 1945 to about 25% in 2009. Tax policy could have a relation to how the economic pie is sliced—lower top tax rates may be associated with greater income disparities.' From the New York Times article: 'The pressure applied to the research service comes amid a broader Republican effort to raise questions about research and statistics that were once trusted as nonpartisan and apolitical.' It appears to no longer be found on the Library of Congress' website."

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Thousands of Lab Mice Lost In Sandy Flooding
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's george-bush-doesn't-care-about-mouse-people department:
An anonymous reader writes "While New York University's Langone Medical Center in lower Manhattan was the site of heroism as 260 patients were evacuated from flooded floors and a nearly complete loss of power, similar floods at NYU's nearby Smilow Research Building killed thousands of laboratory mice, including genetically altered specimens in-bred over many generations as research subjects for melanoma and other diseases. Other laboratory animals, cells, and living tissue used in medical research were also lost; because of the gestation period involved, some projects were likely set back a number of years. Past experience with storms such as Allison in Houston and Katrina in New Orleans has shown that keeping laboratory animals in basements is not good practice, but research institutions keep doing it anyway."

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UK Takes Huge Step Forward On Open Standards
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's setting-the-example department:
jrepin sends this news from the FSF Europe site:
"The UK government is certainly taking a long and winding road towards Free Software and Open Standards. The UK's public sector doesn't use a lot of Free Software, and many smaller Free Software companies have found it comparatively hard to get public sector buyers for their products and services. The main reason is that government agencies at all levels are locked into proprietary, vendor-specific file formats. ... The UK government has released a new Open Standards policy. With this policy (PDF), and in particular with its strong definition of Open Standards, the UK government sets an example that governments elsewhere should aspire to,' says Karsten Gerloff, President of the Free Software Foundation Europe. Under the new policy, effective immediately, patents that are essential to implementing a standard must be licensed without royalties or restrictions that would prevent their implementation in Free Software."

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VR Tech Lets People Interact With Rats
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 12:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's why?-who-knows department:
cylonlover writes "The EU Commission's Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) is working on a 'beaming' telepresence system that is designed to allow users to virtually experience being in a remote location by seeing, hearing and even feeling that location through the sensory inputs of a robot located there. That robot, in turn, would relay the user's speech and movements to the people at that location. Now, two of the CORDIS partners have put an interesting slant on the technology – they've used it to let people interact with rats."

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Tesla Model S Named 'Car of the Year'
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '12 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's who-needs-combustion department:
SternisheFan writes with news that Automobile Magazine has named the all-electric Tesla Model S its Car of the Year. Quoting:
"We weren't expecting much from the Tesla other than some interesting dinner conversation as we considered 'real' candidates like the Subaru BRZ and the Porsche Boxster. In fact, the Tesla blew them, and us, away.
Actually, the Model S can blow away almost anything. 'It's the performance that won us over,' admits editor-in-chief Jean Jennings. 'The crazy speed builds silently and then pulls back the edges of your face. It had all of us endangering our licenses.' Our Model S was of Signature Performance spec, which means its AC induction motor puts out 416 hp and that it blasts to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. ... You'll note that we haven't even discussed Tesla's raison d'etre, which is, in Musk's words, 'To accelerate the advent of electric cars.' That's another credit to the Model S's overall execution and seductive powers. 'The electric motor does not define this car,' says Nelson. But it is, at the end of the day, what makes this very good sport sedan an absolute game changer. The Model S's range, rated by the EPA at 265 miles with the largest battery, finally fits the American conception of driving."


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