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After a User Dies, Apple Warns Against Counterfeit Chargers
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '13 at 07:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's risk-vs-reward department:
After a Chinese woman was earlier this month evidently electrocuted while talking on her iPhone while it was plugged in to charge, Apple is warning users to avoid counterfeit chargers. From CNet:

"Last week, reports surfaced in China that suggested the woman, Ma Ailun, might have been using a third-party charger designed to look like the real thing. Although third-party chargers are not uncommon, they vary widely in terms of safety and quality.
Earlier this year, safety consulting and certification company UL issued a warning that counterfeit Apple USB chargers were making the rounds and that consumers should be on the lookout for them due to their lower quality and possibly dangerous defects. The company posted the guidance on its site after a woman was allegedly electrocuted while answering a call on her iPhone."


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NSA Still Funded To Spy On US Phone Records
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '13 at 07:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's good-day-to-donate-to-the-eff department:
Reader turp182 notes that the Amash Amendment (#100) to HR 2397 (DOD appropriations bill) failed to pass the House of Representatives, meaning it will not be added to the appropriations bill. turp182 writes "The amendment would have specifically defunded the bulk collection of American phone records." Americans can see how their representatives voted here.

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Psychopathic Criminals Have "Empathy Switch"
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '13 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's why-some-people-think-I'm-nice department:
dryriver writes "Psychopaths do not lack empathy, rather they can switch it on at will, according to new research. Placed in a brain scanner, psychopathic criminals watched videos of one person hurting another and were asked to empathise with the individual in pain. Only when asked to imagine how the pain receiver felt did the area of the brain related to pain light up. Scientists, reporting in Brain, say their research explains how psychopaths can be both callous and charming. The team proposes that with the right training, it could be possible to help psychopaths activate their 'empathy switch', which could bring them a step closer to rehabilitation. Criminals with psychopathy characteristically show a reduced ability to empathise with others, including their victims. Evidence suggests they are also more likely to reoffend upon release than criminals without the psychiatric condition."

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NSA Still Funded To Spy On US Phone Records,Vote Fails
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '13 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's good-day-to-donate-to-the-eff department:
Reader turp182 notes that the Amash Amendment (#100) to HR 2397 (DOD appropriations bill) failed to pass the House of Representatives, meaning it will not be added to the appropriations bill. turp182 writes "The amendment would have specifically defunded the bulk collection of American phone records." Americans can see how their representatives voted here.

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CNET: Feds Put Heat On Web Firms For Master Encryption Keys
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '13 at 05:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's our-public-servants department:
First time accepted submitter fsagx writes "The U.S. government has attempted to obtain the master encryption keys that Internet companies use to shield millions of users' private Web communications from eavesdropping. These demands for master encryption keys, which have not been disclosed previously, represent a technological escalation in the clandestine methods that the FBI and the National Security Agency employ when conducting electronic surveillance against Internet users."

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Study Questions H-1B Policies
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '13 at 04:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's cutting-costs department:
An anonymous reader writes "One of the arguments for continuing and even expanding the H1-B visa program (pdf) is that it enables highly-skilled immigrants to work in the U.S. and grow the U.S. economy. Counterarguments state that the H1-B visa program does not bring in the 'best and brightest' and is used to drive down wages, particularly in the STEM fields. This Bloomberg article, discussing pending H1-B legislation, quotes some of the salaries of current workers in the U.S. on H1-B visas: $4,800/month and $5,500/month which work out to $57,600/year and $66,000/year; only slightly higher than the average entry-level salaries of newly-graduated engineering or computer science majors."

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Norwegian Town Using Sun-Tracking Mirrors To Light Up Dark Winter Days
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '13 at 01:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's light-up-my-life department:
oritonic1 writes "During their long, cold winters, the Norwegian town of Rjukan doesn't enjoy much by way of daylight—so the town (population 3,386), installed three giant sun-tracking mirrors to shine a steady light over a 2000 square foot circle of the town square. From Popular Mechanics: 'Call it a mood enhancer. Or a tourist attraction. But the mirrors, which will be carried in via helicopter, will provide an oasis of light in an otherwise bleak location at the center of the 3500-population town.

Three mirrors with a total surface area of about 538 square feet will sit at an angle to redirect winter sun down into the town, lighting up over 2150 square feet of concentrated space in the town square. A similar idea exists in the Italian village of Viganella, which has used brushed steel to reflect light since 2006.'"


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Unique Howls Are What Wolves Use As Names
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '13 at 12:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's morning-ralph-morning-sam department:
notscientific writes "Each wolf has a unique howl, which scientists can now decipher through voice recognition (audio), allowing them to identify wolves individually. The scientists developed sound analysis code that can tell which wolf is howling with 100% accuracy. Previously, pitch was used to tell wolves apart, but these only achieved a relatively low accuracy rate. This sound analysis is important because it could well give researchers the first proper way to effectively monitor wolves in the wild. Interestingly, this research comes after the recent finding that dolphins have names for one another. In the case of wolves, their howls are essentially their names."

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Fukushima Decontamination Cost Estimated $50bn, With Questionable Effectiveness
Posted by News Fetcher on July 24 '13 at 11:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's bad-news-and-more-bad-news department:
AmiMoJo writes "Experts from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology studied the cost of decontamination for the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, estimating it at $50 billion. They estimate that decontamination in no-entry zones will cost up to 20 billion dollars, and in other areas, 31 billion dollars. It includes the cost of removing, transporting and storing radioactive waste such as contaminated soil. The central government has so far allocated about 11 billion dollars and the project is already substantially behind schedule. Meanwhile the effectiveness of the decontamination is being questioned. NHK compared data from before and after decontamination at 43 districts in 21 municipalities across Fukushima Prefecture. In 33 of the districts, or 77 percent of the total, radiation levels were still higher than the government-set standard of one millisievert per year. In areas near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where decontamination has been carried out on an experimental basis, radiation levels remain 10 to 60 times higher than the official limit."

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NSA Utah Data Center Blueprints Reveal It Holds Less Than Thought
Posted by News Fetcher on July 24 '13 at 09:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's where-your-name-goes department:
cold fjord writes "Break out the tin foil hats, and make them double thick. Forbes reports, 'The NSA will soon cut the ribbon on a facility in Utah ... the center will be up and running by the "end of the fiscal year," ....Brewster Kahle is the engineering genius behind the Internet Archive,... Kahle estimates that a space of that size could hold 10,000 racks of servers .... "So we are talking $1 billion in machines." Kahle estimates each rack would be capable of storing 1.2 petabytes of data. ... all the phone calls made in the U.S. in a year would take up about 272 petabytes, ... If Kahle's estimations and assumptions are correct, the facility could hold up to 12,000 petabytes, or 12 exabytes – ... but is not of the scale previously reported. Previous estimates would allow the data center to easily hold hypothetical 24-hour video and audio recordings of every person in the United States for a full year. The data center's capacity as calculated by Kahle would only allow the NSA to create archives for the 13 million people living in the Los Angeles metro area. Even that reduced number struck Internet infrastructure expert Paul Vixie as high given the space allocated for data in the facility. ... he came up with an estimate of less than 3 exabytes of data capacity for the facility. That would only allow for 24-hour recordings of what every one of Philadelphia's 1.5 million residents was up to for a year. Still, he says that's a lot of data pointing to a 2009 article about Google planning multiple data centers for a single exabyte of info. '"

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Court Upholds Ruling On Dish Network's 'Hopper'
Posted by News Fetcher on July 24 '13 at 06:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's hop-away department:
An anonymous reader writes "The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court's ruling in favor of Dish Network, allowing the company to continue forward with it ad-skipping "Hopper" technology. From the article: 'Last year, Fox Broadcasting Company, with the support of other broadcast networks, sued Dish for its "Hopper" DVR and its "Auto Hop" feature, which automatically skips over commercials. According to the Fox, the Hopper automatically records eight days' worth of prime time programming on the four major networks that subscribers can play back on request. Beginning a few hours after the broadcast, viewers can choose to watch a program without ads. As we observed when the it started, this litigation was yet another in a long and ignominious series of efforts by content owners to use copyright law to control the features of personal electronic devices, and to capture for themselves the value of new technologies no matter who invents them.'"

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Ubuntu Forum Security Breach
Posted by News Fetcher on July 24 '13 at 05:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's protect-ya-neck department:
pinkstuff writes "There has been a major security breach of the Ubuntu Forums database. Every users email address and salted password has been taken. From the forum home page: Unfortunately the attackers have gotten every user's local username, password, and email address from the Ubuntu Forums database. The passwords are not stored in plain text, they are stored as salted hashes. However, if you were using the same password as your Ubuntu Forums one on another service (such as email), you are strongly encouraged to change the password on the other service ASAP. Ubuntu One, Launchpad and other Ubuntu/Canonical services are NOT affected by the breach."

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HAARP Ionospheric Research Program Set To Continue
Posted by News Fetcher on July 24 '13 at 05:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's tin-foil-hats department:
cylonlover writes "Reports that the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) had been shut down permanently were apparently a bit premature. According to HAARP program manager James Keeney, the facility is only temporarily off the air while operating contractors are changed. So why does anyone care? Despite being associated with various natural disasters over the past two decades by the conspiracy fringe, HAARP is in reality a facility for studying the ionosphere. Gizmag takes a look at the goings on at HAARP – past, present, and future."

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Door-To-Door Mail Delivery To End Under New Plan
Posted by News Fetcher on July 24 '13 at 04:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's through-rain-or-shine-snow-or-sleet-we-deliver-your-mail-to-a-centralized-location department:
First time accepted submitter Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Reuters reports that under a cost-saving plan by the US Postal Service, millions of Americans accustomed to getting their mail delivered to their doors will have to trek to the curb and residents of new homes will use neighborhood mailbox clusters. 'Converting delivery away from door delivery to either curb line or centralized delivery would enable the Postal Service to provide service to more customers in less time,' says Postal Service spokeswoman Sue Brennan. More than 30 million American homes get door-to-door delivery and another 50 million get their mail dropped at their curbside mailboxes. But the Post Service, which is buckling under massive financial losses, sees savings in centralized mail delivery. Door-to-door delivery costs the Postal Service about $353 per address each year while curbside delivery costs $224, and cluster boxes cost $160 per address. But unions say it's a bad idea to end delivery to doorsteps and will be disruptive for the elderly and disabled. 'It's madness,' says Jim Sauber, chief of staff for the National Association of Letter Carriers. 'The idea that somebody is going to walk down to their mailbox in Buffalo, New York, in the winter snow to get their mail is just crazy.'"

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NTSB Calls For Wireless Tech To Enable Vehicles To Talk To Each Other
Posted by News Fetcher on July 24 '13 at 03:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's KITT-car department:
Lucas123 writes "In the aftermath of a school bus accident last year, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) this week called for cars, trucks and buses to be equipped with machine-to-machine communications technology that could help vehicles avoid accidents by knowing what other vehicles are doing. In the bus accident, a Mack truck sped through an intersection slamming into the rear of the bus, killing one and injuring more than a dozen others. 'Systems such as connected vehicle technology could have provided an active warning to the school bus driver of the approaching truck as he began to cross the intersection,' the NTSB stated in its report. Among others, Intel is working with National Taiwan University on M2M technology that would allow vehicles the exchange of data, allowing each to know what's going on around them. 'We're even imagining that in the future cars would be able to ask other cars, "Hey, can I cut into your lane?" Then the other car would let you in,' said Jennifer Healey, a research scientist with Intel."

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FreeBSD Co-founder Jordan Hubbard Leaves Apple To Join iXsystems
Posted by News Fetcher on July 24 '13 at 02:45 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's twelve-long-years department:
New submitter transam writes "After a long stint at Apple doing all kinds of Unix-y goodness, Jordan Hubbard has moved onto iXsystems to lead engineering and development, including heading up the FreeNAS project. Apple's loss is their gain."

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Microsoft Will Allow Indie Self-publishing, Debugging On Retail Xbox One
Posted by News Fetcher on July 24 '13 at 02:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's interesting-development department:
tlhIngan writes "Microsoft was the last platform manufacturer to require that all games go through publishers, a much hated policy. Indeed, their approval process was one of the harshest around. But now Microsoft will allow indie developers to self publish, and allow retail Xbox One units to serve as developer consoles. Previously, self-publishing developers were relegated to the 'Xbox Live Indie Arcade' section, as well as developer consoles often costing upwards of $10,000 with special requirements and NDAs. This puts Microsoft's Xbox One more in line with Apple's App Store, including Microsoft's new promise of a 14-day turnaround for approvals. Microsoft's retail debug console system is to work similarly to Apple's — that is, to run pre-release code, the individual consoles used have to be registered with Microsoft."

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13-Inch Haswell-Powered MacBook Air With PCIe SSD Tested
Posted by News Fetcher on July 24 '13 at 02:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's fast-light-reasonably-priced-have-all-three department:
MojoKid writes "In addition to the anticipated performance gains that Intel's new Haswell CPU architecture might bring to the table for their new MacBook Air, there are additional component-level upgrades that Apple baked in to their latest ultra-light notebook; namely a higher capacity 54 Whr battery and a PCI Express-based Solid State Drive (SSD). Apple still hasn't seen fit to up the ante on the MacBook Air's display, opting instead to stick with the 1440x900 TN panel carried over from the previous generation 13-inch machine, with the 11-inch variant sporting a 1366x768 native res. But in terms of performance, this is Apple's fastest Air yet, with storage throughput in excess of 700MB/sec for reads and 400MB/sec for writes, along with graphics horsepower that rivals entry level discrete GPUs, thanks to Intel's HD Graphic 5000 core in Haswell. Battery life has been improved dramatically as well, with the new Air lasting over 9 hrs on a charge, playing back 1080p video content. Apple also reduced their MSRP by $100 versus last year's model."

Not too bad at around $1100. The 54Wh battery looks it improves the portability a bit.

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The Rise of Linux In In-Vehicle Infotainment
Posted by News Fetcher on July 24 '13 at 01:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's open-source-oops-hit-a-deer department:
DeviceGuru writes "The 2014 Toyota Lexus IS reportedly will be the second major automobile to offer in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems based on Linux, following last year's introduction of the Debian-based Cadillac User Experience (CUE) IVI system, which now appears in Cadillac's XTS and SRX models. Cadillac's CUE IVI implementation was developed by GENIVI Alliance members MontaVista and Bosch and uses similar code, but is not listed as GENIVI compliant. Meanwhile, ABI Research projects that Linux will grow to 20 percent IVI market share by 2018, behind Microsoft and market leader QNX."

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Bill Gates Is Beginning To Dream the Thorium Dream
Posted by News Fetcher on July 24 '13 at 12:45 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's bill-just-wants-a-vat-of-molten-salt department:
Daniel_Stuckey writes "TerraPower, the Gates-chaired nuclear power company, has garnered the most attention for pursuing traveling wave reactor tech, which runs entirely on spent uranium and would rarely need to be refueled. But Terrapower just quietly announced that it's going to start seriously exploring thorium power, too."

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