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Living Computer Museum Opens To Public In Seattle
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 11:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-to-be-confused-with-a-laundromat department:
New submitter seawall writes "Paul Allen just opened the Living Computer Museum in Seattle. The 'Living' means many of the computers are actually running. There's a Xerox Sigma 9, which was introduced in 1971 and is quite similar to the computer that sent the first signal over Arpanet. There's also Tops-10 on original DEC hardware, an operating TOAD-1 system, and a DEC PDP-7 that's one of only four in the world."

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Iran's High Tech Copycat War Against the West: Drones and Cyberwar
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sue-them-for-copyright-infringment department:
An anonymous reader writes "Iran and its nuclear program seem to be getting all the headlines. Yet, Iran has found a way to respond to western cyber attacks such as Stuxnet, drone surveillance and targeted assassinations; they've decided to respond in kind. Iran has launched its own cyber attacks on U.S. banks via denial-of-service attacks. Iranian drones recently were used to spy on Israeli nuclear facilities. Cyberweapons were also used against Saudi oil facilities. The goal: to make sure the west, specifically the United States, knows that Iran does have the tools to strike back. While Iran does not have a world-class military like the United States, it does have the capabilities to cause damage if it wants to. With Iran taking to cyberspace and drones, it shows such technology is not just under the control of the U.S. Iran has been careful, though, not to escalate the conflict. The risk: what if the plan backfires and goes beyond its intended scope?"

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Inside Social Media's Fake Fan Industry
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's propping-up-the-industry department:
jfruh writes "It's an open secret that many high-profile users of social media networks pay to pad their fan counts. But what you do you get for your money? One blogger decided to shell out some cash to find out. Instead of the real human fans he was promised, he found himself followed by a motley collection of obvious fakes created by non-English speakers and accounts that seem to mainly exist to spam porn links."

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TechCrunch Launches CrunchGov, a Tech Policy Platform
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 09:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's series-of-tubes department:
An anonymous reader writes "TechCrunch has launched a project called CrunchGov, which aims to bring educated people together to work on tech-related government policy. 'It includes a political leaderboard that grades politicians based on how they vote on tech issues, a light legislative database of technology policy, and a public markup utility for crowdsourcing the best ideas on pending legislation.' They give politicians scores based on how their votes align with consensus on policy in the tech industry. 'A trial run of the public markup utility in Congress has already proven successful. When Rep. Issa opened his own alternative to SOPA for public markup, Project Madison participants came in droves with surprisingly specific legal suggestions. For instance, one savvy user noticed that current piracy legislation could mistakenly leave a person who owns a domain name legally responsible for the actions of the website administrator (the equivalent of holding a landlord responsible if his tenant was growing pot in the backyard). The suggestion was included in the updated bill before Congress, representing perhaps the first time that the public, en masse, could have a realistic shot at contributing to federal law purely based on the merit of their ideas.'"

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Algal Biofuels Not Ready For Scale-Up
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 08:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it's-not-easy-being-green department:
Tator Tot writes with this quote from Chemical & Engineering News:
"Using today's technologies and knowledge, a scale-up of fledgling algal biofuel production sufficient to meet even 5% of U.S. transportation fuel demand is unsustainable, says a report released last week by the National Research Council. The report examines the efficiency of producing biofuels from microalgae and cyanobacteria with respect to energy, water, and nutrient requirements and finds that the process falls short. The energy from algal biofuel, the report finds, is less than the energy needed to make it. In terms of water, at least 32.5 billion gal would be needed to produce 10 billion gal of algae-based biofuels, the report states. The study also finds that making enough algal biofuels to replace just 5% of U.S. annual transportation fuel needs would require 44–107% of the total nitrogen and 20–51% of the total phosphorus consumed annually in the U.S."

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Nintendo's Wii U Will Be Sold At a Loss
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's super-mario-loss-leader department:
another random user tips news that Nintendo will be selling its upcoming Wii U console at a loss in the hopes that spurring earlier adoption will work out for the company in the long run. This differs from the Wii, which made money from the start, but it's a similar strategy to those used with the Xbox 360 and PS3, which both lost money for their companies at release.
"The Japanese firm's president revealed the news after the firm cut its profit forecast. It marks a change in the company's business strategy. The decision to abandon the prospect of immediate profits in order to maximize later earnings is part of a growing trend in the tech world. Nintendo might have altered course to take advantage of the fact that neither Microsoft nor Sony have announced their next-generation consoles yet. Its pursuit of the more casual gamer means it has also had to take account of the keenly priced tablet market which attracts a similar consumer."

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Wikipedia Is Nearing "Completion"
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 07:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's citation-needed department:
Hugh Pickens writes "According to Rebecca J. Rosen, it may seem impossible for an encyclopedia of everything to ever near completion, but at least for the major articles on topics like big wars, important historical figures, and central scientific concepts, the English-language Wikipedia is pretty well filled out. 'After an encyclopedia reaches 100,000 articles, the pool of good material shrinks. By the time one million articles are written, it must tax ingenuity to think of something new. Wikipedia,' writes historian and Wikipedia editor Richard Jensen, 'passed the four-million-article mark in summer 2012.' With the exciting work over, editors are losing interest. In the spring of 2012, 3,300 editors contributed more than 100 edits per month each — that's a 31 percent drop from spring of 2007, when that number was 4,800. For example, let's take the Wikipedia article for the War of 1812 which runs 14,000 words cobbled together by 3,000 editors. Today, the War of 1812 page has many more readers than it did in 2008 — 623,000 compared with 434,000 — but the number who make a change has dropped precipitously, from 256 to just 28. Of those original 256, just one remains active. The reason, Jensen believes, is that the article already has had so many edits, there is just not that much to do. Jensen says Wikipedia should now devote more resources toward getting editors access to higher-quality scholarship (in private databases like JSTOR), admission to military-history conferences, and maybe even training in the field of historiography, so that they could bring the articles up to a more polished, professional standard. 'Wikipedia is now a mature reference work with a stable organizational structure and a well-established reputation. The problem is that it is not mature in a scholarly sense (PDF).'"

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Apple Posts Non-Apology To Samsung
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 06:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's we're-sorry-we're-so-much-cooler-than-you department:
We recently discussed news of a UK court ruling in which the judge decided Apple must publicly acknowledge that Samsung's Galaxy Tab did not infringe upon the iPad's design, both on the Apple website and in several publications. The acknowledgement has now been posted, and it's anything but apologetic. It states the court's ruling, helpfully referring to "Apple's registered design No. 000018607-0001," and quotes the judges words as an advertisement. The judge wrote, "The informed user's overall impression of each of the Samsung Galaxy Tablets is the following. From the front they belong to the family which includes the Apple design; but the Samsung products are very thin, almost insubstantial members of that family with unusual details on the back. They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design. They are not as cool." They go on to mention German and U.S. cases which found in Apple's favor. Apple's statement concludes, "So while the U.K. court did not find Samsung guilty of infringement, other courts have recognized that in the course of creating its Galaxy tablet, Samsung willfully copied Apple's far more popular iPad."

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Fukushima Fish Still Radioactive
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's teenage-mutant-ninja-mackeral department:
the_newsbeagle writes "Bottom-dwelling fish that live near the wrecked Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant still show elevated radiation levels 19 months after the accident — and those radiation levels are not declining. Researcher Ken Buesseler says this indicates the seafloor sediments are contaminated (abstract), and will remain so for decades. He said, 'I was struck by how [the radiation levels] really haven’t changed over the last year. Since cesium doesn't bioaccumulate to a significant degree, and in fact is lost when fish move to a less contaminated area, this implies that the cesium source is still there'"

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Are We Getting Smarter? Rising IQ Scores In the Twenty-First Century
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 05:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's we-sure-think-we-are department:
hessian sends this excerpt from The New Republic:
"[A] person who scored 100 a century ago would score 70 today; a person who tested as average a century ago would today be declared mentally retarded. This bizarre finding — christened the 'Flynn effect' by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray in The Bell Curve — has since snowballed so much supporting evidence that in 2007 Malcolm Gladwell declared in The New Yorker that 'the Flynn effect has moved from theory to fact.' But researchers still cannot agree on why scores are going up. Are we are simply getting better at taking tests? Are the tests themselves a poor measure of intelligence? Or do rising IQ scores really mean we are getting smarter? In spite of his new book's title, Flynn does not suggest a simple yes or no to this last question. It turns out that the greatest gains have taken place in subtests that measure abstract reasoning and pattern recognition, while subtests that depend more on previous knowledge show the lowest score increases. This imbalance may not reflect an increase in general intelligence, Flynn argues, but a shift in particular habits of mind. The question is not, why are we getting smarter, but the much less catchy, why are we getting better at abstract reasoning and little else?"

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Apple CEO Likens Surface To Car That Flies, Floats
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 04:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's ceos-are-so-cute-when-they-fight department:
theodp writes "Conceding that he hadn't actually played with one, Apple CEO Tim Cook told Wall Street that Microsoft's Surface tablet is 'a fairly compromised, confusing product' in the company's 4Q earnings call. Cook joked, 'I supposed you could design a car that flies and floats, but it wouldn't do those things very well.' In Apple's 2Q earnings call, Cook also mocked the idea of touch on a laptop or desktop, quipping, 'You can converge a toaster and a refrigerator, but those things are probably not going be pleasing to the user.' Cook added, 'We've done tons of user testing on this, and it turns out it doesn't work. Touch surfaces don't want to be vertical.' So, is Cook just pulling a page from Steve Jobs' people-don't-read-anymore playbook, or is he unaware that children happily used vertical touch screens forty years ago on UIUC's PLATO System (more PLATO History)?"

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Mother Found Guilty After Protesting TSA Pat-down of Daughter
Posted by News Fetcher on October 26 '12 at 01:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's guess-it's-not-political-speech department:
Penurious Penguin writes "In 2011, en route to Baltimore, Tennessee mother Andrea Abbott was arrested after squabbling with the TSA over their pat-down and "naked" body-scan process. Initially Abbott had protested a pat-down of her 14 year-old daughter, though eventually backed off. When her own turn came, she refused both a pat-down and body-scan. This week, despite having no criminal record, Abbott was found guilty of disorderly conduct and sentenced to one year of probation. A surveillance video of the affair shows what appears an agitated Abbott surrounded by various TSA agents, but seemingly contradicts the premise by which she was convicted. In the case against Abbott it was claimed that her behavior impeded the flow security-lines and lawful activity. Beyond Abbott's confession of issuing some verbal abuse, the video does not appear to display a significant blockage of traffic nor anything noticeably criminal."

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LG's 84-inch 3840 x 2160 Television Doesn't Come Cheap: $17,000
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '12 at 11:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's pixels-worth-more-than-latinum department:
An anonymous reader writes "LG held a big launch party today for its highly anticipated 84-inch Ultra HD TV. The launch was held at Video & Audio Center in the L.A. area, which sold six sets within two hours. The MSRP had been set at $19,999 but we now know the street price: $16,999. 'My wife would rather I waited,' said one of the buyers."

The article claims a couple of times that "Ultra HD 4K" has ~4000 vertical lines of resolution, but that's not true: the (unimplemented?) 8K spec is the one with 4320 lines of resolution confusingly enough. In any case, that's a lot of pixels. Maybe this means we'll finally see computer monitors break through the "HDTVs are the dominant consumers of LCD panels" barrier of 1920x1080.

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Trouble For Microsoft Developers With the Windows Store
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '12 at 08:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's if-it-works-for-apple department:
An anonymous reader writes "This blog post from an un-happy Microsoft developer highlights many of the problems that developers are having with submitting to the new Windows store. His app, that won 2 App X challenges from Microsoft, has been rejected 6 times over 2 months with no clear indications as to the cause. This is even after going through a rigorous early-certification process. With Windows RT relying solely on apps from the store, and there being just over 7,000 apps total, Microsoft could have a big problem here."

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Crashed X-51A Test Results Released
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '12 at 06:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's better-luck-next-time department:
cylonlover writes "The United States Air Force (USAF) has released the results of last August's third test of the X-51a Waverider, which resulted in the crash of the unmanned scramjet demonstrator. At a press teleconference featuring the Program Manager for Air Force Research Laboratory, Charles Brink, it was confirmed that a malfunctioning fin was the cause of the crash. However, engineers are confident of correcting the fault in time for the fourth test flight scheduled for (Northern Hemisphere) late spring or early summer of next year."

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A Proposal To Fix the Full-Screen X11 Window Mess
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '12 at 04:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's just-run-windowed department:
jones_supa writes "The SDL developers Ryan Gordon and Sam Lantinga have proposed a window manager change to work out the full-screen X11 window mess, primarily for games. The proposal is to come up with a _NET_WM_STATE_FULLSCREEN_EXCLUSIVE window manager hint that works out the shortcomings of the full-screen hint used currently by most games, _NET_WM_STATE_FULLSCREEN. Ryan and Sam have already worked out an initial patch for SDL but they haven't tried hooking it to any window manager yet. Those interested in the details, information is available from this mailing list message. One of the key changes is that software would make the request to the window manager to change the resolution, rather than tapping RandR or XVidMode directly. Martin Gräßlin of KDE was rather wary about the patch and said that games changing the resolution just tend to mess up the desktop."

Seems like a reasonable idea, given a bit of time to mature as a spec. In KDE's case, a separate daemon from the window manager handles resolution changes so going through the WM would add complexity, and the plasma shell still has no way to realize that it shouldn't reflow the desktop widgets. Setting window properties seems like a sensible IPC method for communicating intent though (without making yet another aspect of the X desktop reliant upon the not-very-network-transparent dbus): "hey, I need to resize, but just for me so don't reshuffle the desktop and docks."

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Virginia Tech's RoMeLa Answers DARPA Robotics Challenge With THOR
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '12 at 03:45 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's the-system-lords-have-been-warned department:
smackay writes "Virginia Tech's Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory is building a humanoid robot designed for dangerous rescue missions as part of the new DARPA Robotics Challenge. Lab founder/director Dennis Hong calls it the 'greatest challenge of my career.' The robot's name: THOR"

From the article: "The task is massive: The adult-sized robot must be designed to enter a vehicle, drive it, and then exit the vehicle, walk over rubble, clear objects blocking a door, open the door, and enter a building. The robot then must visually and audibly locate and shut off a leaking valve, connect a hose or connector, climb an industrial ladder and traverse an industrial walkway. The final and possibly most difficult task: Use a power tool and break through a concrete wall. All these tasks must be accomplished under a set time limit."

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Feds Continue To Consider Linux Users Criminals For Watching DVDs
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '12 at 03:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's don't-watch-that-movie-you-paid-for department:
An anonymous reader sent in a link to an article in Wired about the latest DMCA loophole hearing. Bad news: the federal government rejected requests that would make console modding and breaking DRM on DVDs to watch them legal. So, you dirty GNU/Linux hippies using libdvdcss better watch out: "Librarian of Congress James Billington and Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante rejected the two most-sought-after items on the docket, game-console modding and DVD cracking for personal use and 'space shifting.' Congress plays no role in the outcome. The regulators said that the controls were necessary to prevent software piracy and differentiated gaming consoles from smart phones, which legally can be jailbroken. ... On the plus side, the regulators re-authorized jailbreaking of mobile phones. On the downside, they denied it for tablets, saying an 'ebook reading device might be considered a tablet, as might a handheld video game device.'"

So you can jailbreak a phone, but if it's 1" larger and considered a "tablet" you are breaking the law.

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Red Hat Devs Working On ARM64 OpenJDK Port
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '12 at 02:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's that's-quite-the-hotspot department:
hypnosec writes "Developers over at Red Hat are busy porting OpenJDK to ARM's latest 64bit architecture — the ARMv8, also known as the AArch64. The current OpenJDK ARM situation is rather unsatisfactory: for the current 32-bit ARM processors, there are two versions of the HotSpot JVM for OpenJDK — Oracle's proprietary JIT, and a less sophisticated free JIT that performs poorly in comparison To avoid a similar situation for the 64-bit platform, the developers are working on an entirely Free Software port of HotSpot to 64-bit ARM."

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What an Anti-Google Antitrust Case By the FTC May Look Like
Posted by News Fetcher on October 25 '12 at 02:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's follow-the-competitors'-blueprint department:
hessian writes "It's not certain that Google will face a federal antitrust lawsuit by year's end. But if that happens, it seems likely to follow an outline sketched by Thomas Barnett, a Washington, D.C., lawyer on the payroll of Google's competitors. Barnett laid out his arguments during a presentation here last night: Google is unfairly prioritizing its own services such as flight search over those offered by rivals such as Expedia, and it's unfairly incorporating reviews from Yelp without asking for permission. 'They systematically reinforce their dominance in search and search advertising,' Barnett said during a debate on search engines and antitrust organized by the Federalist Society. 'Google's case ought to have been brought a year or two ago.'"

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