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LG Reportedly Working On a Firefox OS Phone
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '13 at 07:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's getting-in-on-the-action department:
SmartAboutThings writes "It seems that LG is going to join Alcatel, GeeksPhone and ZTE in the Firefox OS market. During an interview with Bulgarian online outlet Dnevnik.bg (in Bulgarian), LG's mobile communications head in Bulgaria spilled the beans on company's plans for the future. While he tried to refer only to plans that regard Bulgaria, it's obvious that he also spoke about LG's global strategy. Mister Valev said that LG is also looking to come up with a new Android tablet, phablet and even a smartwatch. Valev said LG is already working on a Firefox OS that could possibly be released in the first quarter of 2014."

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Twitter-Based Study Figures Out Saddest Spots In New York City
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '13 at 06:31 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's measure-of-misery department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "A new research paper from the New England Complex Systems Institute, titled "Sentiment in New York City" (PDF), attempts to pull off something that would have been impossible—or at least mind-bogglingly difficult and time-consuming—before the invention of online social networks: figure out the block-by-block happiness level of the biggest metropolis in the United States. In order to generate their 'sentiment map' of New York City, the researchers analyzed data from 603,954 Tweets (collected via Twitter's API) organized by census block. 'This method, combined with geotagging provided by users, enables us to gauge public sentiment on extremely fine-grained spatial and temporal scales,' read the paper's abstract. The study took emoticons and word choice into account when deciding whether particular Tweets were positive or negative in sentiment. According to that flood of geotagged Tweets, people are happiest near New York City's public parks, and unhappiest near transportation hubs. Happiness increased closer to Times Square, the declined around Penn Station, the Port Authority, and the entrance to the Midtown Tunnel. People were in a better mood at night and on weekends, and more negative about the world between the hours of 9 A.M. and 12 P.M. None of this is surprising: who wouldn't be happy amidst the greenery of a public park, or borderline-suicidal while stuck in traffic or waiting for a late train? The correlation between happiness and Times Square is almost certainly due to that neighborhood's massive influx of tourists, all of them Tweeting about their vacation. But as with previous public-sentiment studies, using Twitter as a primary data source also introduces some methodology issues: for example, a flood of happy Tweets from tourists could disguise a more subdued and longstanding misery among a neighborhood's residents, many of whom probably aren't tweeting every thirty seconds about a Broadway show or the quality of Guy Fieri's food."

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EFF Wins Release of Secret Court Opinion: NSA Surveillance Unconstitutional
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '13 at 04:31 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's stop-it department:
mspohr writes "For over a year, EFF has been fighting the government in federal court to force the public release of an 86-page opinion of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). Issued in October 2011, the secret court's opinion found that surveillance conducted by the NSA under the FISA Amendments Act was unconstitutional and violated 'the spirit of' federal law."

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Huffington: Trolls Uglier Than Ever, So We're Cutting Off Anonymous Commenting
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '13 at 03:31 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's naming-names department:
v3rgEz writes "The days of anonymous commenting on The Huffington Post are numbered. Founder Arianna Huffington said in a question-and-answer session with reporters in Boston Wednesday that the online news site plans to require users to comment on stories under their real names, beginning next month. 'Freedom of expression is given to people who stand up for what they’re saying and not hiding behind anonymity,' Huffington said."

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US Gov't To Issue Secure Online IDs
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '13 at 02:46 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-can-trust-us department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Tom Groenfeldt reports in Forbes that the U.S. Postal Service has awarded a contract to SecureKey to implement the Federal Cloud Credential Exchange (FCXX) designed to enable individuals to securely access online services at multiple federal agencies — such as health benefits, student loan information, and retirement benefit information — without the need to use a different password or other digital identification for each service. SecureKey already operates a trusted identity service in Canada using identification keys provided by one of five participating Canadian banks. It allows Canadians to connect with 120 government programs online with no additional user names or passwords for everything from benefits queries to fishing licenses. The SecureKey program is designed to connect identity providers — such as banks, governments, healthcare organizations, and others — with consumers' favorite online services though a cloud-based broker service. The platform allows identity providers and online services to integrate once, reducing the integration and business complexity otherwise incurred in establishing many-to-many relationships."

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Is the Stable Linux Kernel Moving Too Fast?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '13 at 02:01 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's committed-to-committing department:
darthcamaro writes "Yesterday the stable Linux 3.10 kernel was updated twice — an error was made, forcing a quick re-issue. 'What happened was that a patch that was reported to be broken during the RC [release candidate] review process, went into the release, because I mistakenly didn't pull it out in time,' Greg Kroah-Hartman said. The whole incident however is now sparking debate on the Linux Kernel Mailing List about the speed of stable Linux kernel releases. Are they moving too fast?"

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Internet Infrastructure for Everyone
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '13 at 01:16 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's balkanizing-the-internet department:
just_another_sean sends in a story at Wired about a group of engineers trying to build a new server operating system that will make it easier to deploy a multitude of technologies for people and companies that aren't tech giants.
"The project is based on Google’s ChromeOS, the new-age laptop operating system that automatically updates itself every few weeks, but unlike ChromeOS, it can run more than just your personal machine. It can run every web service you ever visit, no matter how big. And it will let the companies that run those services evolve their online operations much more quickly — and cheaply — than they can with traditional server software. 'We’ve borrowed a lot of concepts from the browser world,' Polvi explains, 'and applied them to servers.' You can think of CoreOS as a new substrate for the internet. Web giants such as Google and Amazon and big Wall Street financial outfits, including the NASDAQ stock exchange, have built similar server operating systems for their own use, but with CoreOS — an open source software project — Polvi’s startup is creating something anyone can use. 'We’re building Google’s infrastructure for everyone else,' he says. In doing so, Polvi and his team hope this OS can more rapidly fill the security holes that plague our computer servers, while speeding the evolution of the software applications that run atop them."

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Physicists Find Solid-State 'Triple Point' In Material That Conducts, Insulates
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '13 at 12:31 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it-slices-it-dices-it-makes-julienne-fries department:
vinces99 writes "It is well known to scientists that the three common phases of water – ice, liquid and vapor – can exist stably together only at a particular temperature and pressure, called the triple point. Also well known is that the solid form of many materials can have numerous phases, but it is difficult to pinpoint the temperature and pressure for the points at which three solid phases can coexist stably. Physicists now have made the first-ever accurate determination of a solid-state triple point in a substance called vanadium dioxide, which is known for switching rapidly – in as little as one 10-trillionth of a second – from an electrical insulator to a conductor, and thus could be useful in various technologies. 'These solid-state triple points are fiendishly difficult to study, essentially because the different shapes of the solid phases makes it hard for them to match up happily at their interfaces,' said David Cobden, a University of Washington physics professor who is lead author of a paper about the research published in Nature. 'There are, in theory, many triple points hidden inside a solid, but they are very rarely probed.'"

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Single Developer Responsible For Over 47k Apps In BlackBerry World
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '13 at 12:01 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's go-big-or-go-home department:
hypnosec writes "If you are a BlackBerry owner, navigate to BlackBerry World (or just visit the website) and you will find that developer S4BB has developed over 47k apps for the BB platform. Unsurprisingly, most of them are just spammy apps that don't add any value. Apps like 'Restart Me Free,' 'Daily Quote,' 'Lock for SMS,' 'Search for Amazon,' 'Silent Foto Free' are just a few among the thousands of apps on BlackBerry World that actually have no utility whatsoever. BlackBerry announced back in May that developers were increasingly interested in making apps for the platform, and that BlackBerry World had more than 120,000 apps. This raises questions about the authenticity of the claims, and about the approval process that's been accepting these apps. S4BB may have a few useful apps for the platform, but that doesn't mean all of their apps are of 'A' quality. A statement from BlackBerry said, 'Developers in all app stores employ a number of different monetization tactics. BlackBerry World is an open market for developers and we let market forces dictate the success or failure of these tactics.'"

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New Drug Mimics the Beneficial Effects of Exercise
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '13 at 11:16 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hide-it-in-a-brownie-and-americans-will-get-healthy department:
Zothecula writes "A drug known as SR9009, which is currently under development at The Scripps Research Institute, increases the level of metabolic activity in skeletal muscles of mice. Treated mice become lean, develop larger muscles and can run much longer distances simply by taking SR9009, which mimics the effects of aerobic exercise. If similar effects can be obtained in people, the reversal of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and perhaps Type-II diabetes might be the very welcome result."

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Diablo 3 Expansion Announced: Reaper of Souls
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '13 at 10:31 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's do-you-SEE-that-expansion-over-there?! department:
Today at Gamescom in Germany, Blizzard announced the first expansion to Diablo III, titled Reaper of Souls. The story will follow a fallen archangel called Mathael who has returned as the Angel of Death. The level cap will increase to 70, and the expansion will bring a new playable class to the game called the Crusader, whom they described as a "natural walking tank." Reaper of Souls will also bring vast improvements to the loot system; in addition to having a better chance to find good, useful gear for the character you're playing, the items themselves are getting an overhaul to make for more interesting gameplay. Instead of being simply loaded down with combat stats, legendary items will include unique ways to modify how your character functions. They're also implementing something the community has been asking for since shortly after the game came out: randomized dungeons. Further, the Paragon leveling system, put in place after launch as a way to provide character progression after reaching the level cap, will be made account-wide, rather than on a per-character basis. A new profession NPC has been added as well: the Mystic, which lets players reroll one of the stats on a powerful item. As you might expect, Blizzard did not mention a release date. The Reaper of Souls opening cinematic is available on YouTube, as is a brief gameplay video.

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US States Banned From Exporting Trash To China Are Drowning In Plastic
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '13 at 10:16 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's everyone-gets-a-3d-printer department:
hackingbear writes "Not only we depend on Chinese labor for the imports but we also depend on them to clean up our mess. Being green is getting a lot harder for eco-friendly states in the U.S., thanks to the country's dependency on overrun Chinese recycling facilities since the start of China's Green Fence policy this year. Recycling centers in Oregon and Washington recently stopped accepting clear plastic "clamshell" containers used for berries, plastic hospital gowns and plastic bags, while California's farmers are grappling with what to do with the 50,000 to 75,000 tons of plastic they use each year. The Green Fence initiative bans bales of plastic that haven't been cleaned or thoroughly sorted. That type of recyclable material, which costs more to recycle, often it ends up in China's landfills, which have become a source of recent unrest in the country's south. For every ton of reusable plastic, China has received many more tons of random trash, some of it toxic. That has helped build 'trash mountains' so high they sometimes bury people alive. For a country facing environmental crisis after environmental crisis, it is no longer tenable to accept US waste exports."

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MIT Reports 400 GHz Graphene Transistor Possible With 'Negative Resistance'
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '13 at 09:31 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's switch-faster department:
An anonymous reader writes "The idea is to take a standard graphene field-effect transistor and find the circumstances in which it demonstrates negative resistance (or negative differential resistance, as they call it). They then use the dip in voltage, like a kind of switch, to perform logic. They show how several graphene field-effect transistors can be combined and manipulated in a way that produces conventional logic gates. Graphene-based circuit can match patterns and it has several important advantages over silicon-based versions. Liu and co can build elementary XOR gates out of only three graphene field-effect transistors compared to the eight or more required using silicon. That translates into a significantly smaller area on a chip. What's more, graphene transistors can operate at speeds of over 400 GHz."

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Comcast Threatens TorrentFreak For Posting Public Court Document
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '13 at 08:31 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's cease-and-desist department:
Despite being part of public court proceedings, Comcast sent a notice of infringement ordering Torrent Freak to stop hosting a letter linking a subscriber to Prenda Law. From the article: "Comcast has sent TorrentFreak a cease and desist letter, claiming copyright over contents of an article which revealed that Prenda Law was involved in operating a pirate honeypot. Failure to comply will result in a lawsuit in which the Internet provider will seek damages, a Comcast representative informs us. In addition, Comcast also alerted our hosting provider, who is now threatening to shut down our server."

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Bradley Manning Sentenced To 35 Years
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '13 at 08:31 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's welcome-to-america department:
An anonymous reader writes with bad, but not unexpected news: "The U.S. soldier convicted of handing a trove of secret government documents to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks has been sentenced to 35 years in prison. Pte First Class Bradley Manning, 25, was convicted in July of 20 charges against him, including espionage. Last week, he apologized for hurting the U.S. and for 'the unexpected results' of his actions. He will receive credit for three and a half years, but be dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Army."

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Syrian Rebels Claim Hundreds Killed By Poison-Gas Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '13 at 08:31 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's better-killing-through-science department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Haroon Siddique reports for The Guardian that opposition activists have accused forces loyal to the Assad regime of using chemical weapons in towns in the eastern Ghouta. Accounts of the death toll vary wildly. The British based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights put the number killed at 'dozens.' Others put the figure much higher. The Local Coordination Committees said 'hundreds' were killed, the majority of them civilians. Graphic videos purporting to show the victims of the attack have been posted online (WARNING: graphic) showing chaotic scenes of people, including children, having seizures, being treated, and dead bodies lined up. 'Symptoms of the patients include nausea, hallucinations, suffocation, hard coughing, high blood pressure, seizures etc,' says the Syrian Revolution General Commission (SRGC). 'There is still no clue of the chemical weapon/toxic gas that was used by the regime's forces to target the innocent civilians.' Ake Sellstrom, the Swedish scientist who heads the U.N. inspection team in Syria, told the Swedish media that he had seen only the television images of the alleged attacks. 'But the high number of wounded and dead they are speaking about sounds suspicious,' Sellström told Swedish news agency TT, via telephone from Damascus. 'It sounds like something one should take a look at.'. The official Syrian news agency called the reports 'untrue' and designed to derail a United Nations inquiry into charges of chemical weapons in the conflict."

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Bradley Manning Sentenced To 35 Years
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '13 at 07:46 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's welcome-to-america department:
An anonymous reader writes with bad, but not unexpected news: "The U.S. soldier convicted of handing a trove of secret government documents to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks has been sentenced to 35 years in prison. Pte First Class Bradley Manning, 25, was convicted in July of 20 charges against him, including espionage. Last week, he apologized for hurting the U.S. and for 'the unexpected results' of his actions. He will receive credit for three and a half years, but be dishonorably discharged from the U.S. Army."

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Syrian Rebels Claims Hundreds Killed By Poison-Gas Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '13 at 07:16 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's better-killing-through-science department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Haroon Siddique reports for The Guardian that opposition activists have accused forces loyal to the Assad regime of using chemical weapons in towns in the eastern Ghouta. Accounts of the death toll vary wildly. The British based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights put the number killed at 'dozens.' Others put the figure much higher. The Local Coordination Committees said 'hundreds' were killed, the majority of them civilians. Graphic videos purporting to show the victims of the attack have been posted online (WARNING: graphic) showing chaotic scenes of people, including children, having seizures, being treated, and dead bodies lined up. 'Symptoms of the patients include nausea, hallucinations, suffocation, hard coughing, high blood pressure, seizures etc,' says the Syrian Revolution General Commission (SRGC). 'There is still no clue of the chemical weapon/toxic gas that was used by the regime's forces to target the innocent civilians.' Ake Sellstrom, the Swedish scientist who heads the U.N. inspection team in Syria, told the Swedish media that he had seen only the television images of the alleged attacks. 'But the high number of wounded and dead they are speaking about sounds suspicious,' Sellström told Swedish news agency TT, via telephone from Damascus. 'It sounds like something one should take a look at.'. The official Syrian news agency called the reports 'untrue' and designed to derail a United Nations inquiry into charges of chemical weapons in the conflict."

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Internet.org: Altruistic, Or the Ultimate In Cynicism?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '13 at 06:31 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's something-like-that department:
Nerval's Lobster writes with one take on an effort to "make Internet access available to the two-thirds of the world who are not yet connected": "In conjunction with a variety of partners (including Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung), Facebook is launching Internet.org, which will try to make Internet access more affordable to more people. The partnership will also work on ways to lower the amount of data necessary to power most apps and Internet experiences, which could help people in areas with poor connectivity access online services, and devise incentives for businesses and manufacturers to offer customers more affordable access. Why would Facebook and its partners want to connect another 5 billion people to the Internet? Sure, there are altruistic reasons — people online can access information that will improve or even save their lives. But for Facebook, more people online equals more ad revenue, which equals more profit. Social networking in the developed world is reaching a saturation point, with a significant percentage of the population already on one (or more) social networks; only by expanding into developing nations can Facebook and its ilk maintain the growth rates that Wall Street demands. In a similar vein, building devices and services accessible via weaker Internet connections would open up a whole new customer base for the app developers and manufacturers of the world. In theory, Internet.org plans on enlisting a variety of nonprofits and 'experts' to help in its effort; but the initial announcement only lists for-profit companies among its constituency. NGOs, academics and the aforementioned experts will apparently arrive 'over time.' So is this effort really charitable, or a cynical attempt to break into new markets?"

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Half of All Research Papers Published In 2011 Already Free To Read
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '13 at 06:01 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's not-quite-there department:
ananyo writes "Search the Internet for any research article published in 2011, and you have a 50—50 chance of downloading it for free. This claim — made in a report produced for the European Commission — suggests that many more research papers are openly available online than was previously thought. Previous best estimates for the proportion of papers free online run at around 30%. Peter Suber, director of the Office for Scholarly Communication at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, says the report confirms his optimism. 'When researchers hit a paywall online, they turn to Google to search for free copies — and, increasingly, they are finding them,' he says."

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