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Flexible Circuits By the Slice
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '12 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's one-is-not-enough-but-two-is-too-much department:
MTorrice writes "Researchers have demonstrated a way to make high performance, flexible integrated circuits using almost exclusively standard equipment and materials already needed to make conventional chips. Such a method could allow electronics manufacturers to build new devices, such as smart medical implants and flexible displays, without needing to significantly overhaul current production protocols. The method, developed by researchers at the University of Texas, Austin, started with researchers patterning integrated circuits on silicon wafers using a standard production line. They then cut off the top 20 to 30 micrometers of the wafer using a thin wire—like slicing a block of cheese—to produce a thin, flexible platter of circuits."

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Wireless Power Over Distance: Just a Parlor Trick?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's efficiency-is-a-harsh-taskmaster department:
Lucas123 writes "Companies like U.S.-based WiTricity and China-based 3DVOX Technology claim patents and products to wirelessly powering anything from many feet away — from smart phones and televisions to electric cars by using charging pads embedded in concrete. But more than one industry standards group promoting magnetic induction and short-distance resonance wireless charging say such technology is useless; Charging anything at distances greater than the diameter of a magnetic coil is an inefficient use of power. For example, Menno Treffers, chairman of the Wireless Power Consortium, says you can broadcast wireless power over six feet, but the charge received will be less than 10% of the source. WiTricity and 3DVOX, however, are fighting those claims with demonstrations showing their products are capable of resonating the majority of source power."

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Court Rules Website Terms of Service Agreement Completely Invalid
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '12 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's by-reading-this-you-agree-buy-me-lunch department:
another random user sends this excerpt from Business Insider:
"In January, hackers got hold of 24 million Zappos customers' email addresses and other personal information. Some of those customers have been suing Zappos, an online shoes and clothing retailer that's owned by Amazon.com. Zappos wants the matter to go into arbitration, citing its terms of service. The problem: A federal court just ruled that agreement completely invalid. So Zappos will have to go to court—or more likely settle to avoid those legal costs. Here's how Zappos screwed up, according to Eric Goldman, a law professor and director of Santa Clara University's High Tech Law Institute: It put a link to its terms of service on its website, but didn't force customers to click through to it."

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Linus Torvalds Advocates For 2560x1600 Standard Laptop Displays
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '12 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's at-least-catch-up-to-mid-'90s-CRT-screens department:
beeudoublez points out a Google+ post by Linus Torvalds arguing that today's standard laptop display resolution is unreasonably low. He said, "...with even a $399 tablet doing 2560x1600 pixel displays, can we please just make that the new standard laptop resolution? Even at 11"? Please. Stop with the 'retina' crap, just call it 'reasonable resolution.' The fact that laptops stagnated ten years ago (and even regressed, in many cases) at around half that in both directions is just sad. I still don't want big luggable laptops, but that 1366x768 is so last century."

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Dutch DigiNotar Servers Were Fully Hacked
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '12 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's they-don't-fool-around department:
ChristW writes "The final report that was handed to the Dutch government today indicates that all 8 certificate servers of the Dutch company DigiNotar were fully hacked. (Report PDF in English.) Because the access log files were stored on the same servers, they cannot be used to find any evidence for or against intrusion. In fact, blatant falsification has been found in those log files. A series of so-far unused certificates has also been found. It is unknown if and where these certificates have been used."

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Stolen Cellphone Databases Switched On In US
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '12 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's now-criminals-will-just-have-tiny-tablets department:
alphadogg writes "U.S. cellphone carriers took a major step on Wednesday toward curbing the rising number of smartphone thefts with the introduction of databases that will block stolen phones from being used on domestic networks. The initiative got its start earlier this year when the FCC and police chiefs from major cities asked the cellular carriers for assistance in battling the surging number of smartphone thefts. In New York, more than 40 percent of all robberies involve cellphones and in Washington, D.C., cellphone thefts accounted for 38 percent of all robberies in 2011."

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Empathy Represses Analytic Thought, and Vice Versa
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '12 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's take-note-sports-fans department:
hessian sends this quote from a Case Western Reserve University news release:
"New research shows a simple reason why even the most intelligent, complex brains can be taken by a swindler's story – one that upon a second look offers clues it was false. When the brain fires up the network of neurons that allows us to empathize, it suppresses the network used for analysis, a pivotal study led by a Case Western Reserve University researcher shows (abstract). ... At rest, our brains cycle between the social and analytical networks. But when presented with a task, healthy adults engage the appropriate neural pathway, the researchers found. The study shows for the first time that we have a built-in neural constraint on our ability to be both empathetic and analytic at the same time. The work suggests that established theories about two competing networks within the brain must be revised. More, it provides insights into the operation of a healthy mind versus those of the mentally ill or developmentally disabled."

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Federal Judge Approves Warrantless, Covert Video Surveillance
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '12 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's won't-surprise-the-youtube-generation department:
Penurious Penguin writes "Your curtilage may be your castle, but 'open fields' are open game for law-enforcement and surveillance technology. Whether 'No Trespassing' signs are present or not, your private property is public for the law, with or without a warrant. What the police cannot do, their cameras can — without warrant or court oversight. An article at CNET recounts a case involving the DEA, a federal judge, and two defendants (since charged) who were subjected to video surveillance on private property without a warrant. Presumably, the 4th Amendment suffers an obscure form of agoraphobia further elucidated in the article."

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Windows Browser Ballot Glitch Cost Firefox 6-9 Million Downloads
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '12 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's emulating-real-ballots department:
nk497 writes "Microsoft's failure to include the EU browser ballot in Windows 7 SP1 cost Mozilla as many as 9 million Firefox downloads, the organization's head of business affairs revealed. Harvey Anderson said daily downloads of Firefox fell by 63% to a low of 20,000 before the ballot was reinstated, and after the fix, downloads jumped by 150% to 50,000 a day. Over the 18 months the ballot was missing, that adds up to six to nine million downloads — although it's tough to tell if the difference has more to do with Chrome's success or the lack of advertising on Windows systems. The EU is currently investigating the 'glitch,' and Microsoft faces a massive fine for failing to include the screen, which offers download details for different browsers to European Windows users, as part of measures ordered by the EU to balance IE's dominance."

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NYC Data Centers Struggle To Recover After Sandy
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '12 at 09:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's bucket-brigade department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Problems in New York's data centers persisted through Wednesday morning, with hosting companies and other facilities racing against time to keep generators humming as water was pumped out of their facility basements. The fight now is to keep those generators fueled while pumps clear the basement areas, allowing the standard backup generators to begin operating. It's also unclear whether the critical elements of infrastructure (power and communications) will both be up and running in time to restore services. The following is a list of some of the data centers and services in the area, and how they're faring."

I'm responsible for a few servers at Peer1, and their efforts are interesting: "Peer1’s operations at 75 Broad are operating on sheer manpower: a bucket brigade. According to a blog post from Fog Creek Software, one of the clients at the building, about 30 customers are lifting buckets (or cans) of diesel fuel up 18 flights of stairs."

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Surfcast Sues Microsoft Over Tile Patent
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '12 at 08:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's smells-like-windows-1.0 department:
An anonymous reader writes with news of a company suing Microsoft for infringing upon a patent for tiles with live content. From the article: "SurfCast, in a complaint filed yesterday in a U.S. District Court in Maine, said Microsoft infringes one of its four patents — No. 6,724,403 — by 'making, using, selling, and offering to sell devices and software products' covered by SurfCast's patent. That includes mobile devices using the Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 operating systems as well as PCs using Windows 8/RT."

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D&D Monster Study Proves Eyes Have It
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '12 at 08:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's my-eyes-are-down-here-buddy department:
sciencehabit writes with this excerpt from Science: "The dungeon is pitch black — until the dungeon master blazes a torch, confirming your worst fears. A Beholder monster lurches at you, its eyeballs wriggling on tentacular stems. As you prepare to wield your Vorpal sword, where do you focus your gaze: at the monster's head or at its tentacle eyes? Such a quandary from the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons may seem like a meaningless trifle, but it holds within it the answer to a tricky scientific question: Do people focus their gaze on another person's eyes or on the center of the head? In fact, a father-son team has used D&D monsters to show that most people will look to another creature's eyes, even if they're not attached to a head."

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Rasterman On The Impending Release of Enlightenment 17
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '12 at 07:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's waiting-on-hurd department:
In development for the better part of the last decade, the 0.17 release of the Enlightenment window manager is slated for November 5th. Leading up to this, the H has an enlightening interview with project lead Rasterman on what to expect. From the article: "Today Enlightenment offers most of what you get from GNOME and KDE, and probably the same if not a bit more than XFCE. It just doesn't try and ship a suite of apps with it. It is the desktop (Window manager, settings, file manager, application launching and management) minus the apps. ... The biggest thing E17 brings to the table is universal compositing. This means you can use a composited desktop without any GPU acceleration at all, and use it nicely. We don't rely on software fallback implementations of OpenGL. We literally have a specific software engine that is so fast that some developers spent weeks using it accidentally, not realizing they had software compositing on their setup."

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Google Launches Open Source Voter Information Tool
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '12 at 07:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's hitchiker's-guide-to-the-ballot department:
An anonymous reader writes "Google announces a new Voter Information Tool which, as its name implies, can be used by voters to find relevant information such as where you can vote and for whom. The search giant is releasing the new feature just over a week in advance of the US Presidential Election on November 6. This raises the question: can Google influence the elections even more than it already does via lobbying?"

I've found Ballotpedia useful as well.

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Curiosity Finds Volcanic Soils
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '12 at 07:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's hawaii-is-from-mars department:
Zothecula writes "NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has completed its first soil analysis of the Red Planet. The unmanned explorer used an advanced, miniaturized X-ray diffraction instrument that is part of the Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument (CheMin) of its internal laboratory. The soil, collected at a site designated 'Rocknest' in Gale Crater, reveals that Martian soil is a weathered volcanic type similar to soils found in the Hawaiian Islands."

And, of course, a shot of the area because it looks cool.

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China Building a 100-petaflop Supercomputer Using Domestic Processors
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '12 at 06:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's mips-vs-arm-culture-conflict department:
concealment writes "As the U.S. launched what's expected to be the world's fastest supercomputer at 20 petaflops, China is building a machine that is intended to be five times faster when it is deployed in 2015. China's Tianhe-2 supercomputer will run at 100 petaflops (quadrillion floating-point calculations per second), according to the Guangzhou Supercomputing Center, where the machine will be housed. Tianhe-2 could help keep China competitive with the future supercomputers of other countries, as industry experts estimate machines will start reaching 1,000-petaflop performance by 2018."

And, naturally, it's planned to use a domestically developed MIPS processor

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More Drones Set To Use US Air Space
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '12 at 05:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's pakistan-can't-have-all-the-fun department:
Dupple writes with a quote from the BBC about more testing of Predator drones in U.S. air space: "Tests have been carried out to see whether military drones can mix safely in the air with passenger planes. The tests involved a Predator B drone fitted with radio location systems found on domestic aircraft that help them spot and avoid other planes. The tests will help to pave the way for greater use of drones in America's domestic airspace."

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California AG Gives App Developers 30 Days To Post Privacy Notice
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '12 at 05:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's not-gpl-compatible department:
Trailrunner7 writes "California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced a crackdown on mobile application developers and companies that haven't posted privacy policies, at least where users can easily find them. The attorney general is giving recipients 30 days 'to conspicuously post a privacy policy within their app that informs users of what personally identifiable information about them is being collected and what will be done with that private information,' according to a prepared statement. A sample letter defines the issue at hand. 'An operator of a mobile application ("app") that uses the Internet to collect PII is an "online service" within the meaning of CalOPPA. An app's commercial operator must therefore conspicuously post its privacy policy in a means that is reasonably accessible to the consumer. Having a Web site with the applicable privacy policy conspicuously posted may be adequate, but only if a link to that Web site is "reasonably accessible" to the user within the app.'"

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Scientists Move Closer To a Universal Flu Vaccine
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '12 at 04:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's and-then-came-the-ultra-flu department:
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Vaccines for most diseases typically work for years or decades but with the flu, next fall it will be time to get another dose. Now Carl Zimmer writes that a flurry of recent studies on the virus has brought some hope for a change as flu experts foresee a time when seasonal flu shots are a thing of the past, replaced by long-lasting vaccines. 'That's the goal: two shots when you're young, and then boosters later in life' says Dr. Gary Nabel, predicting that scientists would reach that goal before long: 'in our lifetime, for sure, unless you're 90 years old.' Today's flu vaccines protect people from the virus by letting them make antibodies in advance but a traditional flu vaccine can protect against only flu viruses with a matching hemagglutinin protein. If a virus evolves a different shape, the antibodies cannot latch on, and it escapes destruction. Scientists have long wondered whether they could escape this evolutionary cycle with a universal flu vaccine that would to attack a part of the virus that changes little from year to year so now researchers are focusing on target antigens which are highly conserved between different influenza A virus subtypes. 'Universal vaccination with universal vaccines would put an end to the threat of global disaster that pandemic influenza can cause,' says Dr. Sara Gilbert."

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Supreme Court Hearing Case On Drug-Sniffing Dog "Fishing Expeditions"
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '12 at 01:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's smells-like-hippies department:
sgunhouse writes "Wired is running an article on a Supreme Court challenge (well, actually two of them) to the use of drug-sniffing dogs. The first case discussed involved Florida police using a drug-sniffing dog as a basis for searching a suspected drug dealer's home. The court in Florida excluded the evidence obtained from the search, saying a warrant should be required for that sort of use of a dog. Personally, I agree — police have no right to parade a dog around on private property on a 'fishing expedition', same as they need a warrant to use a thermal imaging device to search for grow houses. I have no use for recreational drugs, but they had better have a warrant if they want to bring a dog onto my property."

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