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A Suicide Goes Viral On the Internet
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '12 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's modicum-of-decency department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Will Oremus reports that Fox News showed a grisly spectacle Friday afternoon during a live car chase when the suspect got out of his car, stumbled down a hillside, pulled a gun, and shot himself in the head. As the scene unfolded, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith grew increasingly apprehensive, then yelled 'get off it, get off it!,' belatedly urging the show's producers to stop the live feed as it became obvious the man was going to do something rash. Fox News cut awkwardly to a commercial just after showing his death and after Fox aired the on-air suicide, Smith apologized to viewers, saying, 'We really messed up.' However BuzzFeed immediately posted the footage on YouTube, where it garnered more than 1,000 'likes' in under an hour, sparking immediate blowback. 'Who's worse? @FoxNews for airing the suicide, or @BuzzFeed for re-posting the video just in case you missed it the first time?' posted the Columbia Journalism Review. Gawker's Hamilton Nolan called his site's decision to post the video 'ethical,' because 'it is news' but research suggests that graphic depictions of suicide in the media can spur copycat suicides, especially among young people, and the World Health Organization's guidelines warn against sensationalizing it. Virtually everyone who has studied it agrees that, at a minimum, suicides should be covered with a modicum of sensitivity and context (PDF). 'Of course it's news that Fox News accidentally aired the video. And you can make a good case that Fox was inviting this type of debacle with its habit of airing live car-chase feeds. But Fox couldn't have known that it was about to air a suicide. BuzzFeed, by contrast, knew exactly what it was doing,' writes Oremus. 'That might be good business for BuzzFeed, but it's hard to see the benefit for anyone else.'"

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Ask Slashdot: Hacking Urban Noise?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '12 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's simply-remove-eardrums department:
b1tbkt writes "I live at the corner of one of the busiest intersections in my city (pop. 350k). Although I've replaced all windows, insulated, and caulked every square inch of the place, the fire trucks and cars with obnoxious stereos still regularly intrude on my home office. Most of the noise comes in through the windows. I'm considering mounting an oblong parabolic reflector in the ceiling above the windows with a steady feed of white or brownian noise directed into it (e.g., via a small speaker placed within the reflector) to create a 'wall' of sound that would act as a buffer to the outside world. Active noise cancellation would be nice, too, but that's probably more than I want to take on. I don't see any products on the market for this sort of thing. Does anyone have any experiences to share with similar homebrew noise remediation efforts?"

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Python 3.3.0 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '12 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's onward-and-upward department:
An anonymous reader writes "After just over a month of release candidates, the final version of Python 3.3 launched today. This version includes new syntax, including the <tt>yield from</tt> expression for generator delegation; new library modules, including <tt>fault handler</tt> (for debugging crashes), <tt>ipaddress</tt>, and <tt>lzma</tt> (for data compression using the XZ/LZMA algorithm); a reworked OS and I/O exception hierarchy; the <tt>venv</tt> module for programmatic access to Python virtual environments; and a host of API changes. The full list of features and the change log are both available."

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Aircraft Carriers In Space
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '12 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's way-beyond-the-red-line department:
An anonymous reader writes "Real-world military conventions have had obvious effects on many sci-fi books, movies, and TV shows. But how does their fictional representation stack up against the evolving rules of high-tech warfare? In an interview with Foreign Policy magazine, a naval analyst discusses some of the technological assumptions involved in transposing sea combat to space combat, and his amusement with the trope of 'aircraft carriers in space.' He says, 'Star Wars is probably the worst. There is no explanation for why X-Wings [fighters] do what they do, other than the source material is really Zeroes [Japanese fighter planes] from World War II. Lucas quite consciously copied World War II fighter combat. He basically has said they analyzed World War II movies and gun camera footage and recreated those shots. Battlestar Galactica has other issues. One thing I have never understood is why the humans didn't lose halfway through the first episode. If information moves at the speed of light, and one side has a tactically useful FTL [faster-than-light] drive to make very small jumps, then there is no reason why the Cylons couldn't jump close enough and go, "Oh, there the Colonials are three light minutes away, I can see where they are, but they won't see me for three minutes?"'"

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HP Releases Open webOS 1.0
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '12 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's right-on-schedule department:
An anonymous reader writes "Hewlett-Packard has announced the release Open webOS version 1.0: 'We now have an OpenEmbedded build that allows a full webOS experience running inside an OE emulator. We have added core applications — email & browser — while continuing to support the desktop build environment. The 1.0 release also brings support for Enyo2. You can now take apps built on one of the best cross-platform JavaScript frameworks and easily run these same apps on Open webOS or other platforms. In the past 9 months, we have delivered over 75 Open webOS components. This totals over 450,000 lines of code. ... The source code for Open webOS can be found in Open webOS repositories on GitHub. Combining today's components with those from the previous releases, Open webOS can now be ported to new devices.' HP also reaffirmed plans to continue work on Open webOS, and to bring support for Qt5, WebKit2, open source media components, and more."

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Notch Won't Certify Minecraft For Windows 8
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '12 at 04:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's taking-a-stand department:
MojoKid writes "The backlash against Windows 8 from various developers continues, but this time a game's creator isn't just expressing discontent. Notch, the developer behind smash hit Minecraft, has declared that he won't be working with Microsoft to certify Minecraft for Windows 8. Note that this doesn't mean Minecraft won't run on Windows 8. The certification process in question is Microsoft's mandatory rules for submitting content to the Windows game store. In order to be listed there, an application must be Metro-compatible and conform to a laundry list of other conditions. The real problem with Windows 8 is that it locks ARM users into a second class experience. If you buy an x86 tablet, you can download programs from SourceForge, GitHub, or any file mirror. If you're an ARM user, you can download programs from the Microsoft store and that's it. The bifurcated permission structure is the problem, and it makes WinRT tablets categorically impossible to recommend for anyone who values the ability to install whatever software they please."

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US Court Says Motorola Can't Enforce Microsoft Injunction In Germany
Posted by News Fetcher on September 29 '12 at 02:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's was-meinst-du? department:
First time accepted submitter Chris453 writes "A U.S. appeals court on Friday ruled that Google Inc's Motorola Mobility unit cannot enforce a patent injunction that it obtained against Microsoft Corp in Germany, diminishing Google's leverage in the ongoing smartphone patent wars. Motorola won an injunction against Microsoft in May using their H.264 patents. Apparently the U.S. federal justices in California have worldwide jurisdiction over all court cases — Who knew? Maybe that is why Apple keeps winning lawsuits..."

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Free Font Helps People With Dyslexia
Posted by News Fetcher on September 28 '12 at 11:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's in-the-interest-of-manknid department:
Thornburg writes "There is a free font available which has been designed to make it easier for people with dyslexia to read. DailyTech has a piece which pulls together a BBC interview and blog postings by the designer, Abelardo Gonzalez, who received a C&D letter from another font designer who charges $69 for his dyslexia related font."

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Iran's News Agency Picks Up Onion Story
Posted by News Fetcher on September 28 '12 at 11:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's makes-them-cry department:
J053 writes "FARS, the Iranian news agency, ran a story about a Gallup poll which showed that 'the overwhelming majority of rural white Americans said they would rather vote for Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than U.S. president Barack Obama.' '"I like him better," said West Virginia resident Dale Swiderski, who, along with 77 percent of rural Caucasian voters, confirmed he would much rather go to a baseball game or have a beer with Ahmadinejad.' Only problem was, it was a story from The Onion. Not only that, they took credit for it! The Onion responded by stating that 'Fars is a subsidiary and has been our Middle Eastern bureau since the mid 1980s.'"

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Newly Spotted Comet May Shine Among Brightest In History
Posted by News Fetcher on September 28 '12 at 09:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's until-bruce-willis-destroys-it department:
Reader intellitech points to an article at National Geographic, from which he excerpts: "If astronomers' early predictions hold true, the holidays next year may hold a glowing gift for stargazers—a superbright comet, just discovered streaking near Saturn. Even with powerful telescopes, comet 2012 S1 (ISON) is now just a faint glow in the constellation Cancer. But the ball of ice and rocks might become visible to the naked eye for a few months in late 2013 and early 2014—perhaps outshining the moon, astronomers say. The comet is already remarkably bright, given how far it is from the sun, astronomer Raminder Singh Samra said. What's more, 2012 S1 seems to be following the path of the Great Comet of 1680, considered one of the most spectacular ever seen from Earth."

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Illinois Prof Calls for a Federal Law To Safeguard Digital Afterlives
Posted by News Fetcher on September 28 '12 at 07:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's you-don't-seem-to-be-using-this-account-any-more department:
An anonymous reader writes "A new paper from Professor Jason Mazzone at the University of Illinois calls for federal laws to regulate what happens to digital accounts after the account holder's death. Mazzone argues that Facebook and other online services have policies for deceased users' accounts that do not adequately protect the individual property and privacy interests at stake. The ">full text of the paper (called "Facebook's Afterlife") is also available: "

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Slackware 14.0 Arrives
Posted by News Fetcher on September 28 '12 at 04:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's significant-digits department:
First time accepted submitter SgtKeeling writes "After 5 release candidates, a new version of Slackware has been released. From the website: 'Yes, it is that time again! After well over a year of planning, development, and testing, the Slackware Linux Project is proud to announce the latest stable release of the longest running distribution of the Linux operating system, Slackware version 14.0! We are sure you'll enjoy the many improvements. We've done our best to bring the latest technology to Slackware while still maintaining the stability and security that you have come to expect. Slackware is well known for its simplicity and the fact that we try to bring software to you in the condition that the authors intended. We will be setting up BitTorrent downloads for the official ISO images. Stay tuned to http://slackware.com/ for the latest updates.'"

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Sugar Batteries Could Store 20% More Energy Than Li-Ions
Posted by News Fetcher on September 28 '12 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's sweet-deal department:
An anonymous reader writes "Scientists at the Tokyo University of Science have developed a way to create sugar batteries that store 20% more energy than lithium-ion cells. Before it can be used as the anode in a sodium-ion battery, sucrose powder is turned into hard carbon powder by heating it to up to 1,500 degrees celsius in an oxygen-free oven."

Except that swapping batteries might be a bit tricky, I can think of a perfect application for these.

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EA Makes Minor Tweaks To FIFA 12 For the Wii, Releases It As FIFA 13
Posted by News Fetcher on September 28 '12 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's effort-was-too-much-effort department:
An article at Nintendo Gamer highlights how Electronic Arts put almost no work into the latest Wii release of their FIFA soccer game franchise, but didn't hesitate to push it out the door anyway. Side-by-side screenshots show the Wii version of FIFA 12 got some minor graphical tweaks — a different splash screen, slightly modified logos, different colored socks on the players — before being re-released as FIFA 13. From the article:
"This is something that needs to be highlighted, because while it would be easy to pass it off and say 'meh, it’s just the Wii version,' the fact remains that this game does still sell relatively well. This isn’t guesswork – as journalists we receive confidential sales figures and though we’re legally bound not to reveal those figures, we can at least say with confidence that FIFA 12 did pretty well for a Wii game this close to the console’s death. The Wii U version of FIFA 13 will no doubt be a fantastic game, since it’ll share a lot (if not all) of the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions’ features. The 3DS version is a solid improvement over last year’s effort, and worth a look if you’re into some handheld football action. This, however – a £30 roster update – is unacceptable."

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Brown Signs California Bill For Free Textbooks
Posted by News Fetcher on September 28 '12 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's all-the-knowledge,-none-of-the-calories department:
bcrowell writes "California Governor Jerry Brown has signed SB 1052 and 1053, authored by state senator Darrell Steinberg, to create free textbooks for 50 core lower-division college courses. SB 1052 creates a California Open Education Resources Council, made up of faculty from the UC, Cal State, and community college systems. The council is supposed to pick 50 core courses. They are then to establish a 'competitive request-for-proposal process in which faculty members, publishers, and other interested parties would apply for funds to produce, in 2013, 50 high-quality, affordable, digital open source textbooks and related materials, meeting specified requirements.' The bill doesn't become operative unless the legislature funds it — a questionable process in California's current political situation. The books could be either newly produced (which seems unlikely, given the 1-year time frame stated) or existing ones that the state would buy or have free access to. Unlike former Gov. Schwarzenegger's failed K-12 free textbook program, this one specifically defines what it means by 'open source,' rather than using the term as a feel-good phrase; books have to be under a CC-BY (or CC-BY-SA?) license, in XML format. They're supposed to be modularized and conform to state and W3C accessibility guidelines. Faculty would not be required to use the free books."

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Google Blocks Author's Ads For Offering Torrent Of His Own Book
Posted by News Fetcher on September 28 '12 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's stop-automating-this department:
An anonymous reader points out the recent trouble of author Cody Jackson, who wrote a book called Learning to Program with Python. He offers the book for sale, but also gives it away for free, and he used the CC-BY license. In order to distribute the book, he posted links to his torrent of it. Unfortunately, this cause Google to suspect his AdSense account for his website. Even after removing the links, he was unable to get in contact with Google's AdSense team to get his accounts restored. After his story was picked up yesterday by Techdirt, somebody at Google "re-reviewed" his case and finally reinstated his account. Jackson had this to say: "One good thing about this is that it has helped raise awareness of the problems with corporate copyright policies and copyright regulation as a whole. When a person is unable to post his/her own products on the 'net because someone fears copyright infringement has occurred, there is a definite problem." This follows a few high-profile situations in which copyright enforcement bots have knocked down perfectly legitimate content.

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Reminder: Slashdot Anniversary Meetups, Free T-Shirts
Posted by News Fetcher on September 28 '12 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's nerds-with-shirts department:
As you may have heard, Slashdot will be celebrating its 15th anniversary in October. As part of that celebration, we've set up a page to organize meetups for Slashdot users to hang out and shoot the breeze in meatspace for a change. We're going to be sending out bunches of free T-shirts to many of these gatherings, and we'll be printing them and sending them out pretty soon. So if you're planning on attending and haven't signed up yet, make sure you do so by the end of the day, so that we can be sure to have enough T-shirts on hand for you. (You can still sign up later, of course, but you may miss your chance at a free shirt.) Slashdot staff will be hosting parties in Ann Arbor, San Francisco, New York, and Raleigh (sign up for any of these, or others, on the anniversary party page by filtering for your preferred location). We hope to see you there, or hear about your own meetups!

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Nebraska Sheriff Wardriving, Sending Letters About Unsecured Wi-Fi
Posted by News Fetcher on September 28 '12 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's after-they-torrent-the-latest-episode-of-cops department:
An anonymous reader sends this quote from JournalStar.com:
"The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office has seen an increase in scammers using unsecured Wi-Fi connections to steal identities and mask their crimes during the past six months, Sheriff Terry Wagner said. ... So deputies spent the past few weeks finding unsecure connections and sending 40 to 50 letters to let people know about the potential dangers of strangers accessing their network connections. 'You're just opening yourself up for a series of potential pitfalls,' Chief Deputy Jeff Bliemeister said. ... Bliemeister said only businesses like coffee shops that offer Internet connections to customers need unsecured Internet connections.

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IPv6 Must Be Enabled On All US Government Sites By Sunday
Posted by News Fetcher on September 28 '12 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's anybody-taking-wagers? department:
darthcamaro writes "Agencies of the U.S. Federal Government are racing to comply with a September 30th deadline to offer web, email and DNS for all public facing websites over IPv6. While not all government websites will hit the deadline, according to Akamai at least 2,000 of them will. According to at least one expert, the IPv6 mandate is proof that top-down cheerleading for tech innovation works. 'The 2012 IPv6 mandate is not the first (or the last) IPv6 transition mandate from the U.S. government. Four years ago, in 2008, the U.S. government also had an IPv6 mandate in place. That particular mandate, required U.S. Government agencies to have IPv6-ready equipment enabled in their infrastructure.'"

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Privacy Watchdogs Want Facebook, Datalogix Deal Probed
Posted by News Fetcher on September 28 '12 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's paying-attention-so-we-don't-have-to department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) want the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to examine the new alliance between Facebook and Datalogix. According to the Financial Times, Facebook and Datalogix have teamed up to measure the effects of some 45 marketing campaigns so far, with the two companies matching consumer information from loyalty-card programs to the identifiers (such as email addresses) used to set up Facebook accounts. Combining those datasets could offer insight into whether consumers are actually heading out and buying certain products or services advertised on Facebook. While the two companies apparently strip personal information from the datasets, EPIC and CDD nonetheless have significant concerns over how that data is handled, and by whom. 'Facebook is matching the personal information of users with personal information held by Datalogix,' EPIC wrote in a Sept. 27 posting on its website, hinting that such a deal could violate the social network's previous agreement with the FTC prohibiting it 'from changing privacy settings without the affirmative consent of users or misrepresenting the privacy or security of users' personal information.'"

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