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Is the Can Worse Than the Soda?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '12 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's drink-slurm-it's-highly-addictive department:
DevotedSkeptic sends this excerpt about research that found a correlation between the use of a common food-packaging chemical and obesity rates. "Since the 1960s, manufacturers have widely used the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) in plastics and food packaging. Only recently, though, have scientists begun thoroughly looking into how the compound might affect human health—and what they've found has been a cause for concern. Starting in 2006, a series of studies, mostly in mice, indicated that the chemical might act as an endocrine disruptor (by mimicking the hormone estrogen), cause problems during development and potentially affect the reproductive system, reducing fertility. After a 2010 Food and Drug Administration report warned that the compound could pose an especially hazardous risk for fetuses, infants and young children, BPA-free water bottles and food containers started flying off the shelves. In July, the FDA banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups, but the chemical is still present in aluminum cans, containers of baby formula and other packaging materials. Now comes another piece of data on a potential risk from BPA but in an area of health in which it has largely been overlooked: obesity. A study by researchers from New York University, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at a sample of nearly 3,000 children and teens across the country and found a 'significant' link between the amount of BPA in their urine and the prevalence of obesity."

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Open Compute Project Publishes Final Open Rack Spec
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '12 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's going-wide department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "The Open Compute Project has published the final specification of the Open Rack Specification, which widens the traditional server rack to more than 23 inches. Specifically, the rack is 600 mm wide (versus the 482.6 mm of a 19-inch rack), with the chassis guidelines calling for a width of 537 mm. All told, that's slightly wider than the 580 mm used by the Western Electric or ETSI rack. The Open Compute Project said that changes in the new 1.0 specification include a new focus on a single-column rack design. The new dimensions now accommodate hotter inlet temperatures of between 18 to 35 degrees Celsius and up to 90 percent humidity, which reflects other Open Compute designs and real-world data center temperatures, according to project documents. Facebook has led the implementation of the Open Compute Project, which publicly shares the designs it uses in data centers, including its Prineville, Ore. facility. As the spec clearly shows, however, the new designs deviate from the traditional configurations and specifications, which means data center operators will need to find and then source racks from third-party vendors (or, in the case of Facebook, design their own)."

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Richard Branson 'Determined To Start a Population On Mars'
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '12 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's did-not-specify-which-species department:
RocketAcademy writes "British billionaire Richard Branson, whose Virgin Galactic company is backing the development of SpaceShip Two, has told CBS News he is 'determined to start a population on Mars.' He said, 'I think over the next 20 years, we will take literally hundreds of thousands of people to space and that will give us the financial resources to do even bigger things. That will give us the resources then to put satellites into space at a fraction of the price, which can be incredibly useful for thousands of different reasons.' Branson isn't the only billionaire interested in the Red Planet. Elon Musk, founder of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), wants to put humans on Mars in the next 12 to 15 years.."

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Raspberry Pi Hits 1GHz With Official 'Turbo Mode'
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '12 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's awesome-because-they-test-with-quake-3 department:
hypnosec writes "The Raspberry Pi, which was recently used to build a cluster, has officially been given a 'Turbo Mode' by The Raspberry Pi Foundation, thus enabling overclocking. It will bump the frequency of the on-board processor as high as 1GHz as long as the temperature stays below 85C. The patch would dynamically increase the voltage and frequency of the core until the thermals hold. According to the Foundation, users have the option of choosing one of five peak frequencies, the highest being 1GHz."

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xkcd's 13-Gigapixel Webcomic
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '12 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's all-the-pixels-you-need-and-more department:
New submitter Nomen writes "Today's xkcd: Click and Drag (Google Maps version) is probably the world's biggest web comic at an RSI-inducing resolution of 165,888x79,872 pixels. It's made up of 225 different images that take up 5.52MB of space. Now, if only the mines were powered by nethack..."

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Motorola Seeks Ban On Macs, iPads, and iPhones
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '12 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's another-day-another-patent-battle department:
bonch writes "Google-owned Motorola is asking the International Trade Commission to ban every Apple device that uses iMessage, based on a patent issued in 2006 for 'a system for providing continuity between messaging clients.' Motorola also claims that banning Macs and iPhones won't have an impact on U.S. consumers. They say, 'With so many participants in the highly competitive Wireless communication, portable music, and computer market, it is unlikely that consumers would experience much of an impact if the requested exclusion orders were obtained.' The ITC has yet to make a decision."

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New Hobbit Trailer Debuts
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '12 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hairy-feet-abound department:
New submitter madmarcel tips news that a new trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has been released.
"The new piece (seen above) is about the same length -- 2 1/2 minutes -- as the December trailer. But it cuts to the chase more quickly, leaving out the Frodo voiceover that sets up the Lord of the Rings follow-up. Instead we get the quick voiceover explanation -- 'the dwarves are determined to reclaim their homeland' -- before we meet up with Martin Freeman's Bilbo Baggins and set off. There's a slightly less self-serious tone to the proceedings this time around, though questers do "enter the mountain" and play important games of riddles."

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All the TV News Since 2009, Now Available At the Internet Archive
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '12 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's just-be-careful-not-to-accidentally-search-for-cnn department:
6 writes with news that the Internet Archive has launched an online archive of TV news content. According to the NY Times, it will "include every morsel of news produced in the last three years by 20 different channels, encompassing more than 1,000 news series that have generated more than 350,000 separate programs devoted to news." In addition to preserving the works of humankind, the archive is for helping citizens "better understand the issues and candidates in the 2012 U.S. elections by allowing them to search closed captioning transcripts to borrow relevant television news programs."

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Ask Director Daniel Knight About Filming Terry Pratchett's "Troll Bridge"
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '12 at 10:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's all-filmed-completely-underwater department:
Daniel Knight, besides being an actor, D&D fanatic, and collector of He-Man figurines, is the director of a film version of Terry Pratchett's Discworld story Troll Bridge that's been enabled by a massive Kickstarter campaign. Filming has finished (you can see some of the raw and intermediate footage linked from that story) and now all the rest of the work that goes into the finishing and releasing the movie is underway. Why this film? Knight says he "ended up acting a small role in a short film called Star Wars: Broken Allegiance. My performance was terrible. But that introduced me to the world of fan films, and I started wondering if it would be possible to do a Discworld one." The project is clearly a labor of love — it's a massive undertaking on a shoestring budget, with a tough goal: "Troll Bridge aims to be the largest scale short film in history. Using resources garnered over eight solid years of dedication, love, sweat, and tears – Troll Bridge has already begun exceeding expectations as to what should be anticipated from a short form production." The cast and crew (even the caterers) are all volunteers, but it still takes money to construct sets, create costumes, and buy time with needed equipment. Daniel has graciously agreed to answer your questions about the process; as with other Slashdot interviews, you're invited to ask as many questions as you'd like, but please ask them in separate posts.

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Game Review: Borderlands 2
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '12 at 10:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's get-a-gun department:
CowboyNeal writes: "This week sees the release of Borderlands 2, the sequel to
Gearbox Software's 2009 role-playing shooter Borderlands. Pandora is
ready to be explored yet again, with a cast of new heroes, and a few familiar
faces along the way. There's new and different guns, and also guns, and did I
mention guns? Also, there's guns. Read on to learn about my experience in
Borderlands 2, and the joys of Pandora's gun-based economy."

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Hacking the D-Link DPH-128MS VOIP Phone
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '12 at 09:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's but-does-it-run-netbsd department:
An anonymous reader writes "I've been working on reverse engineering the D-Link DPH-128MS VOIP phone. It's an end of life product for D-Link but a neat little desktop phone that runs Linux. I've figured out a way to exploit the tftp server running on it to get root access. I'm at the point now of trying to figure out how to update the phone with more files. Check out the writeups I have and the scripts on the link above."

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DARPA Unveils System Using Human Brains For Computer Vision
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '12 at 09:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's mad-scientists-with-funding department:
MrSeb writes with news about our coming cybernetic overlords. From the article: "After more than four years of research, DARPA has created a system that successfully combines soldiers, EEG brainwave scanners, 120-megapixel cameras, and multiple computers running cognitive visual processing algorithms into a cybernetic hivemind. Called the Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System (CT2WS), it will be used in a combat setting to significantly improve the U.S. Army's threat detection capabilities. There are two discrete parts to the system: The 120-megapixel camera, which is tripod-mounted and looks over the battlefield; and the computer system, where a soldier sits in front of a computer monitor with an EEG strapped to his head, looking at images captured by the camera, wedding out false threats. In testing, the 120-megapixel camera, combined with the computer vision algorithms, generated 810 false alarms per hour; with a human operator strapped into the EEG, that drops down to just five false alarms per hour. The human brain is surprisingly fast, too: According to DARPA, CT2WS displays 10 images per second to the human operator — and yet that doesn't seem to affect accuracy."

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Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 Rooted
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '12 at 09:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's meddling-kids! department:
An anonymous reader writes "Yesterday, XDA Developers forum users kinfaus and pokey9000 were discussing how the latest devices from Amazon (the second-generation 7 Kindle Fire and the 7 Kindle Fire HD) come with more sophisticated protection than their predecessors, including locked bootloaders and 'high security' features offered by their OMAP processors. Today, the devices have been rooted."

Using a known bug in busybox dating to April even.

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Slashdot Turns 15, What Are You Doing Later?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '12 at 08:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's party-like-it's-2012 department:
October marks Slashdot's 15th birthday. That's right, we're almost old enough to drive the PT Cruiser. Throughout October we'll be running a number of meta news articles about our history, plans for the future, and special interviews. We're also giving away T-shirts to people willing to organize and host the biggest Slashdot parties. It's easy to get started. Just visit the Slashdot Anniversary Party Web Page. Sign up to go to a party, or if there aren't any in your area, create your own during the official party period of Oct. 20-30. The details of your local parties are up to you. Each has a corresponding discussion so you can work it out amongst yourselves. Wherever several Slashdot readers gather, we'll attempt to mail shirts until we run out. Geeknet will host parties in San Francisco, New York, and Ann Arbor.
To be eligible for schwag, you need to schedule your party by September 27, or sign up to attend one by September 28. This will give us time to figure out where to send the shirts, and time to send them. Help us celebrate 15 years of news for nerds and stuff that matters.

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Major Backlash Looms For Apple's New Maps App
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '12 at 08:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's the-all-embracing-googleplex department:
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Michael DeGusta writes that Apple's new Maps app is the very first item on their list of major new features in iOS 6, but for many iPhone and iPad users around the world Apple's new maps are going to be a major disappointment as the Transit function will be lost in 51 countries, the Traffic function will be lost in 24 countries, and the Street View function will be lost in 41 countries. 'In total, 63 countries with a combined population of 4.5 billion people will be without one or more of these features they previously had in iOS,' writes DeGusta. 'Apple is risking upsetting 65% of the world's population, seemingly without much greater purpose than speeding the removal of their rival Google from iOS. Few consumers care about such battles though, nor should they have to.' The biggest losers will be Brazil, India, Taiwan, and Thailand (population: 1.5 billion) which overnight will go from being countries with every maps feature (transit, traffic, and street view) to countries with none of those features, nor any of the new features, flyover and turn-by-turn directions. Apple's maps are clearly behind in some key areas, but they will presumably continue to improve over time. Google has committed to making their maps available everywhere, so it seems likely Google will release their own iOS maps app soon, as they did with YouTube, which has similarly been removed from iOS 6."

But what percentage of people who actually buy iPhones lost these features?

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Roundup Tolerant GM Maize Linked To Tumor Development
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '12 at 07:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's roundup-flavor-soda-proved-disastrous department:
New submitter spirito writes with this snippet about rats fed Roundup laced water: "The first animal feeding trial studying the lifetime effects of exposure to Roundup tolerant GM maize, and Roundup, the world's best-selling weedkiller, shows that levels currently considered safe can cause tumors and multiple organ damage and lead to premature death in laboratory rats, according to research published online today by the scientific journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. ... Three groups were given Roundup in their drinking water, at three different levels consistent with exposure through the food chain from crops sprayed with the weedkiller: the mid level corresponded to the maximum level permitted in the US in some GM feed; the lowest corresponded to contamination found in some tap waters. Three groups were fed diets which contained different proportions of NK603 – 11%, 22% and 33%. Three groups were given both Roundup and NK603 at the same three dosages. The final control group was fed an equivalent diet with no Roundup or NK603 but containing 33% of equivalent non-GM maize."

The Chicago Tribune reports that not everyone's convinced of the results: "Experts not involved in the study were highly skeptical about its methods and findings, with some accusing the French scientists of going on a 'statistical fishing trip.'"

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Cinnamon 1.6 Brings New Features and Applets
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '12 at 07:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's shiny-things-that-work department:
An anonymous reader wrote in with news that the GNOME Shell fork, CInnamon, released version 1.6 yesterday. The release features persistent (and nameable) workspaces, a window list applet, greatly improved notifications (they're collected in one place), improved task switchers and audio control, workspace flipping while dragging windows, and integration with their fork of Nautilus. See the release announcement for more and lots of screenshots (detailed source changelog). From the looks of it, this release is closer than ever to merging the modern Gtk3/GNOME stack with the missing functionality from previous windowing environments.

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Seaweed is Good for You and Can Be Tasty, Too (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '12 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's how-is-it-with-sauerkraut? department:
When you think of garage-based tech start-ups, hardware makers like Apple or data-manipulators like Google probably spring to mind before biotech, and way before farming. Lewis Weil, though, has for the last several years been perfecting the art of growing seaweed in central Texas, and his Austin Sea Veggies have garnered interest from gourmets and restaurants across the U.S. In large part, that's because seaweed is so useful for industrial purposes, it's getting harder to find eating seaweed these days. Lewis says there's nothing stopping anyone with an interest in aquaculture in emulating his success as an inland ocean farmer, but has some cautions, too -- when small things go wrong, or a record heatwave overcomes humans' puny air conditioning systems, your seaweed harvest can fail just like any other crop.

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TSA Spending $245 Million On "Second Generation" Body Scanners
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '12 at 06:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's amtrak-promotion-program department:
McGruber writes "Continuing its standard practice of wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, the TSA has awarded an indefinite delivery / indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract, worth up to $245 Million, to American Science and Engineering Inc. to deliver an unspecified number of 'second generation' Advanced Imaging Technology screening systems for use at U.S. airports. As previously reported, Jonathan Corbett proved that TSA's current nude-o-scopes are incapable of actually detecting hidden objects."

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A $20 Software Defined Radio For GNU Radio
Posted by News Fetcher on September 19 '12 at 06:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's fcc-commissioner-brunt-makes-surprise-appearance department:
An anonymous reader writes "Dr. Dobb's shows how to take a $20 USB TV dongle and use it as a wide-range software defined radio using GNU Radio."

See also the OscomSDR project, and SDR#, an MIT licensed program for debugging software defined radios.

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