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Ubuntu Edge Smartphone Funding Trends Low
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '13 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's hard-pace-to-maintain department:
alphadogg writes "The first heady rush of support for Canonical's crowd-funded Ubuntu Edge smartphone appears to have tapered off, as donations for the eye-catching device have slowed substantially over the past several days. The project sits just above the $7 million mark at the time of this writing – a large sum by the standards of crowd-funded projects, to be sure, but the $32 million goal is still a long way off. The Edge is slightly, but measurably, behind schedule – by about $600,000, according to a tracking graph made by Canonical's Gustavo Niemeyer. However, there's speculation that wealthy Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth might contribute some of his personal fortune to the project." The campaign has already broken records with its spectacular first few days. I hope that Shuttleworth does kick in to make production feasible, because the idea and the design are impressive — but I'm leery of spending quite so much on any phone.

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22nd International Obfuscated C Code Contest Starts Thursday 1 Aug 2013
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '13 at 05:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's only-the-most-confusing department:
achowe writes "The 22nd International Obfuscated C Code Contest opens 2013-Aug-01 03:14:15 UTC through to 2013-Oct-03 09:26:53 UTC. The rules have been updated, in particular Rule 2 (size rule) has changed. The draft rules and guidelines are available online. In addition there is now an IOCCC Size Rule Tool to aid with counting the secondary size rule. Questions and comments for the Judges can be emailed to <tt>q.2013@ioccc.org</tt> and must include 'IOCCC 2013' in the subject. Or contact them via Twitter @IOCCC."

Anyone planning on entering?

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Thailand Government Declares Bitcoin Illegal
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '13 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's money-with-government-that's-unheard-of department:
hypnosec writes that the government of Thailand "has declared Bitcoin illegal following which all trading activities related to the electronic currently have been suspended indefinitely. Through a message posted on its website, the Bitcoin Co. Ltd. has said officials of the Foreign Exchange Administration and Policy Department cited absence of applicable laws, capital controls "and the fact that Bitcoin straddles multiple financial facets" as reasons because of which the virtual currency is illegal. This ruling implies that activities such as buying & selling of Bitcoins, buying or selling any service in exchange of Bitcoins, sending Bitcoins to anyone located outside of Thailand, and receiving Bitcoins from anyone outside of Thailand are illegal. This has forced the company to indefinitely suspend operations."

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How Outdated Data Distorts Doctors' Pay
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '13 at 04:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's name-your-price department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Peter Whoriskey and Dan Keating report at the Washington Post that Medicare annually pays $69.6 billion for physician services according to an arcane and little-known price list, known as the Relative Value Update over which doctors themselves exercise considerable and less-than-totally-transparent influence. A 31-member committee of the American Medical Association (AMA) recommends what Medicare should pay for some 10,000 procedures — with the fees based in part on how long it takes to complete each one. But this time-and-motion study often fails to take full account of changing technology and other factors affecting physician productivity, so anomalies result. For example, if the AMA time estimates are correct, then 41 percent of gastroenterologists were typically performing 12 hours or more of procedures in a day, which is longer than the typical outpatient surgery center is open and and one gastroenterologist in the Post story would have to work 26 hours, according to the committee time estimates, to accomplish what he gets done in a typical workday. Here's how it works: Medicare pays for a 15-minute colonoscopy as if it took 75 minutes resulting in a median salary for a gastroenterologist of $481,000. It is possible that in 1992, critics allow, when the price list was first developed, a colonoscopy actually took something close to 75 minute when doctors had to hunch over an eyepiece similar to that of a microscope for a look. But technology has advanced and now the images are processed and displayed on a large screen in high-definition video. Responding to criticism that the nation's method of valuing medical procedures misprices payments, a bipartisan group of legislators has drafted a bill that would reshape the way the nation pays doctors. The bill would require Medicare officials to collect data such as how much time doctors spend doing procedures and reducing the doctor payment for overvalued services. 'What started as an advisory group has taken on a life of its own,' says Tom Scully, who was Medicare chief during the George W. Bush Administration. 'The idea that $100 billion in federal spending is based on fixed prices that go through an industry trade association in a process that is not open to the public is pretty wild.'"

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Lawmakers Who Upheld NSA Phone Spying Received Double the Defense Industry Cash
Posted by News Fetcher on July 30 '13 at 01:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's business-as-usual department:
An anonymous reader writes "The numbers tell the story — in votes and dollars. On Wednesday, the House voted 217 to 205 not to rein in the NSA's phone-spying dragnet. It turns out that those 217 'no' voters received twice as much campaign financing from the defense and intelligence industry as the 205 'yes' voters."

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Microsoft Expands MAPP, Shares Attack Data With Incident Responders
Posted by News Fetcher on July 29 '13 at 11:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's negative-three-day-vulnerability department:
Trailrunner7 writes "Microsoft is expanding its MAPP program that shares attack and protection information with other security vendors and will now be sharing some data with incident responders, as well. The new system will enable organizations such as CERTs and internal IR teams to exchange information on specific attacks and general threats. Now, Microsoft is expanding and changing the MAPP program so that more people will have access to some of the data and the information will be available earlier. Until now, MAPP members get access to patch data 24 hours before the release. Microsoft will be giving that information to MAPP companies three business days before Patch Tuesday going forward. The new MAPP for Responders program is an extension of the existing system and is designed to allow incident response teams to share information among themselves and to benefit from the threat intelligence that Microsoft has, as well."

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Apple Retailer Facing Class Action Suit Over Employee Bag Checks
Posted by News Fetcher on July 29 '13 at 10:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's unpaid-labor department:
aitikin writes "Former Apple employees say the company requires workers to stand around without pay for up to 30 minutes a day while waiting for managers to search their bags for stolen merchandise."

The filing. It looks pretty illegal: mandatory unpaid checks of personal belongings before and after work and all breaks.

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Students Hijack $80 Million Superyacht With GPS Spoofing
Posted by News Fetcher on July 29 '13 at 08:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's going-back-to-star-charts department:
mask.of.sanity writes "A team of university students have hijacked an $80 million superyacht using GPS spoofing without tripping alarms. The experiment (run with permission) saw the White Rose sail from Monaco to the island of Rhodes in the Mediterranean. Faint GPS signals broadcast from a spoofing device slowly overpowered authentic signals allowing the students control over the yacht's navigational system."

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Nitrogen Fixing Bacteria That Can Colonize Most Plants Discovered
Posted by News Fetcher on July 29 '13 at 06:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's watch-out-for-miracle-gro-assassins department:
Zothecula writes "Synthetic crop fertilizers are a huge source of pollution. This is particularly true when they're washed from fields (or leach out of them) and enter our waterways. Unfortunately, most commercial crops need the fertilizer, because it provides the nitrogen that they require to survive. Now, however, a scientist at the University of Nottingham has developed what he claims is an environmentally-friendly process, that allows virtually any type of plant to obtain naturally-occurring nitrogen directly from the atmosphere."

The process being injecting a bacteria that colonizes the plant and fixes atmospheric nitrogen in exchange for a bit of sugar, similar to Soybeans. Only this bacteria will readily colonize most any plant.

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Epic Online Space Battle
Posted by News Fetcher on July 29 '13 at 04:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's get-the-hell-out-of-our-galaxy department:
New submitter nusscom writes "On July 28th, as has been reported by BBC, a record number of EVE Online players participated in a record-breaking online battle between two alliances. This battle, which was essentially a turf-war was comprised of over 4,000 online players at one time. The load was so large that Crowd Control Productions (CCP) slowed down the game time to 10% of normal to accommodate the massive amount of activity."

This is the largest battle to ever occur on EVE Online.

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Lower Thermal Radiation Input Needed To Trigger Planetary 'Runaway Greenhouse'
Posted by News Fetcher on July 29 '13 at 04:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's poor-venus department:
vinces99 writes with this excerpt from the UW news service: "It might be easier than previously thought for a planet to overheat into the scorchingly uninhabitable 'runaway greenhouse' stage, according to new research (abstract, article paywalled) by astronomers at the University of Washington and the University of Victoria. In the runaway greenhouse stage, a planet absorbs more solar energy than it can give off to retain equilibrium. As a result, the world overheats, boiling its oceans and filling its atmosphere with steam, which leaves the planet glowing-hot and forever uninhabitable, as Venus is now. One estimate of the inner edge of a star's 'habitable zone' is where the runaway greenhouse process begins. The habitable zone is that ring of space around a star that's just right for water to remain in liquid form on an orbiting rocky planet's surface, thus giving life a chance. Revisiting this classic planetary science scenario with new computer modeling, the astronomers found a lower thermal radiation threshold for the runaway greenhouse process, meaning that stage may be easier to initiate."

If correct, the habitable zone shrinks a bit and a few exoplanets might lose their potentially habitable status. And the Earth will leave the habitable zone in a billion and a half or so years as the Sun gets brighter.

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BMW Debuts First Electric Vehicle Made Primarily of Carbon Fiber
Posted by News Fetcher on July 29 '13 at 03:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's brand-new department:
Elliot Chang writes "BMW debuted its 2014 i3 EV in New York City this morning. The new car is the world's first purpose-built electric vehicle made primarily of lightweight carbon fiber. The new 2014 BMW i3 electric vehicle will be powered by a rear-mounted 170-hp electric motor coupled with a 22-kWh lithium-ion battery. The range of the standard i3 will be 80-100 miles, but drivers wanting to go the extra mile, so to speak, will be able to opt for a two-cylinder range extender engine that will boost the i3s range to about 180 miles. The new i3s DC Fast Charger will be able to go from a fully drained battery to about an 80 percent charge in just 20 minutes when plugged into a public EV fast-charging station."

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Monogamy May Have Evolved To Prevent Infanticide
Posted by News Fetcher on July 29 '13 at 02:46 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's a-modest-proposal department:
sciencehabit writes "Human males and females have a strong tendency to live together in monogamous pairs, albeit for highly varied periods of time and degrees of fidelity. Just how such behavior arose has been the topic of much debate among researchers. A new study comes to a startling conclusion: Among primates, including perhaps humans, monogamy evolved because it protected infants from being killed by rival males."

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Nokia Lumia 1020 Video and Photo Shoot Preview
Posted by News Fetcher on July 29 '13 at 02:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what's-the-word department:
MojoKid writes "Nokia, perhaps more-so than any other smartphone manufacturer in the game right now, needed to find a way to make something special. The new Nokia Lumia 1020, though it sports essentially the same internals and display as Nokia's Lumia 920, most definitely is different, and perhaps even an attractive alternative, depending on your specific needs. 41 megapixels of resolution, floating image stabilization and a powerful camera app to back it up, will make the Lumia 1020 pretty 'special' to some people, some of whom might be considering a Windows Phone for the first time as a result. Initial impressions of the device and its camera performance, show Nokia's new flagship device does shoot impressive still images and video, thanks in part to the Lumia 1020's image sensor and stabilization features. Nokia's Pro Cam app is comprised of a slick dial interface that offers virtually all of the controls you'd find in a DSLR camera. From White Balance, to ISO, Focus, Exposure and Flash Control, it's all in there. When you snap a picture, the 1020's camera grabs two versions of the shot; a large full resolution (7700x4300, roughly) shot with a huge 11MB file size is captured and an additional 5MP image is derived from that and stored as well. The results, especially in decent lighting, can be impressive."

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Natural Affinities of RNA Components Could Have Led To Life
Posted by News Fetcher on July 29 '13 at 01:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's in-the-beginning department:
vinces99 writes "The chemical components crucial to the start of life on Earth may have primed and protected each other in never-before-realized ways, according to new research led by University of Washington scientists. That could mean a simpler scenario for how that first spark of life on the planet came about. Scientists have long thought that life started when the right combination of bases and sugars produced self-replicating ribonucleic acid, or RNA, inside a rudimentary 'cell' composed of fatty acids. Under the right conditions, fatty acids naturally form into bag-like structures similar to today's cell membranes. In testing one of the fatty acids representative of those found before life began – decanoic acid – the scientists discovered that the four bases in RNA bound more readily to the decanoic acid than did the other seven bases tested. By concentrating more of the bases and sugar that are the building blocks of RNA, the system would have been primed for the next steps, reactions that led to RNA inside a bag."

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College Students Hijack $80 Million Yacht With GPS Signal Spoofing
Posted by News Fetcher on July 29 '13 at 01:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's made-a-wrong-turn-in-albuquerque department:
colinneagle writes "A team of students at the University of Texas at Austin built and successfully tested a custom GPS spoofing device to remotely redirect an $80 million yacht onto a different route. The project was completed with the permission of the yacht's owners in the Mediterranean Sea this past June. Because the yacht's crew relies entirely on GPS signal for direction, the students were able to lead the yacht onto a different course without the knowledge of anyone on-board. The GPS spoofing device essentially over-powered all other GPS signals using until the spoofed signal was the only one that the yacht followed. The team then used the GPS spoofing device to convince the ship's crew to redirect onto a different route voluntarily. By changing the signal on the spoofing device, the students led the crew to believe that the ship was drifting off-course to the left. In response, the crew steered the ship to the right, thinking that it would get the ship back on course, when it actually brought the ship off the course entirely."

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Judge Rules In Favor of Volkswagen and Silences Scientist
Posted by News Fetcher on July 29 '13 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's keep-your-mouth-shut department:
sl4shd0rk writes "Samsung-is-not-as-cool-as-Apple Judge Colin Birss, rules in favor of Volkswagon to ban Flavio Garcia, a computer scientist, from revealing details about 'Wirelessly Lockpicking a Vehicle Immobiliser' at USENIX in August. Volkswagen says the flaw could allow someone to 'break the security and steal a car' so it is justifiable grounds for blocking Flavio's paper. No word yet on how soon Volkswagen will have a patch."

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Apple Faces New China Worker Abuse Claims
Posted by News Fetcher on July 29 '13 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's here-we-go-again department:
AmiMoJo writes "Technology giant Apple is facing fresh allegations of worker rights violations at Chinese factories of one of its suppliers, the Pegatron Group. China Labor Watch has alleged that three factories of Pegatron violate a 'great number of international and Chinese laws and standards.' These include underage labour, contract violations and excessive working hours. Li Qiang, executive director of China Labor Watch, claimed that 'our investigations have shown that labour conditions at Pegatron factories are even worse than those at Foxconn factories.' The campaign group said that it had found that average weekly working hours in the three factories investigated by it were approximately 66 hours, 67 hours, and 69 hours, respectively."

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ASCAP Petitions FCC To Deny Pandora's Purchase of Radio Station
Posted by News Fetcher on July 29 '13 at 11:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's just-say-no department:
chipperdog writes "NorthPine.com reports: 'ASCAP is firing back against Pandora Radio's attempt to get lower music royalty rates by <a>buying a terrestrial radio station</a>, "Hits 102.7" (KXMZ Box Elder-Rapid City). In a petition to deny, ASCAP alleges "Pandora has failed to fully disclose its ownership, and to adequately demonstrate that it complies with the Commission's foreign ownership rules." ASCAP also alleges that Pandora has no intention of operating KXMZ to serve the public interest, but is rather only interested in obtaining lower royalty rates. Pandora reached a deal to buy KXMZ from Connoisseur Media for $600,000 earlier this year and is already running the station through a local marketing agreement.'"

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Book Review: Present Yourself - Using SlideShare To Grow Your Business
Posted by News Fetcher on July 29 '13 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it department:
benrothke writes "SlideShareis a free web 2.0 based slide hosting service where users can upload presentation-based files. Launched in October 2006, it's considered to be similar to YouTube, but for slideshows. It was originally meant to be used for businesses to share slides among employees more easily, but it has since expanded to also become a host of a large number of slides which are uploaded merely to entertain. SlideShare gets an estimated 58 million unique visitors a month and has about 16 million registered users. With such a strong user base, authors Kit Seeborg and Andrea Meyer write in Present Yourself: Using SlideShare to Grow Your Business how SlideShare users can use the site (including other similar collaborative sites such as Prezi and Scribd) to present their story to a worldwide audience. Given that visual presentations are the new language of business, understanding how to maximize their potential can be a valuable asset for the entrepreneur, job seeker and everyone in between." Read below for the rest of Ben's review. Present Yourself - Using SlideShare to Grow Your Business
author Kit Seeborg and Andrea Meye
pages 224
publisher OReilly Media
rating 9/10
reviewer Ben Rothke
ISBN 978-1-4493-4236-4
summary Great resource for maximizing the use of SlideShare and your online presentation presence

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