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Elon Musk Will Usher In the Era of Electric Cars
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '12 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's fine-but-can-we-at-least-do-it-on-mars department:
pigrabbitbear writes "There's a reason why Elon Musk is being called the next Steve Jobs. Like Jobs, he's a visionary, a super successful serial entrepreneur, having made his initial fortune with a company he sold to Compaq before starting Paypal. Like Jobs, he saved his beloved baby Tesla Motors from the brink of oblivion. Like Jobs, [he has] a knack for paradigm-shifting industry disruption. Which means he's also demanding. 'Like Jobs, Elon does not tolerate C or D players,' SpaceX board member and early Tesla investor Steve Jurvetson told BusinessWeek. But while Jobs was slinging multi-colored music players and touchable smartphones, Musk is building rocket ships and electric-powered supercars. It's why his friends describe him as not just Steve Jobs but also John D. Rockefeller and Howard Hughes all wrapped in one. His friend Jon Favreau used Musk as the real-life inspiration for the big screen version of Tony Stark. Elon Musk is a badass."

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The Data Crunchers Who Helped Win The Election
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '12 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's at-least-we-didn't-ask-the-bynars department:
concealment sends in a story at Time that goes behind the scenes with the team of data crunchers that powered many of the Obama campaign's decisions in the lead-up to the election. From the article:
< article continued at Slashdot >

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Study: the Universe Has Almost Stopped Making New Stars
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's getting-lazy department:
SternisheFan sends this quote from Wired:
"An international team of astronomers used three telescopes — the UK Infrared Telescope and the Subaru Telescope, both in Hawaii, and Chile's Very Large Telescope — to study trends in star formation, from the earliest days of the universe. Extrapolating their findings has revealed that half of all the stars that have ever existed were created between 9 and 11 billion years ago, with the other half created in the years since. That means the rate at which new stars are born has dropped off massively, to the extent that (if this trend continues) 95 percent of all the stars that this universe will ever see have already been born. Several studies have looked at specific time 'epochs', but the different methods used by each study has restricted the ability to compare their findings and discern a fuller model of how stars have evolved over the course of the entire universe's lifespan."

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Man Charged £2,000 For Medical Records Stored On Obsolete System
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '12 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's boy-that-costs-a-ton department:
An anonymous reader writes "In Britain, where it is custom and practice to charge around £10 for a copy of your medical results, a patient has discovered that his copy will cost him £2,000 because the records are stored on an obsolete system that the current IT systems cannot access. Can this be good for patient care if no-one can access records dating back from a previous filing system? Perhaps we need to require all current systems to store data in a way that is vendor independent, and DRM-free, too?"

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The Web Won't Be Safe Or Secure Until We Break It
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '12 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i'll-get-the-hammer department:
CowboyRobot writes "Jeremiah Grossman of Whitehat Security has an article at the ACM in which he outlines the current state of browser security, specifically drive-by downloads. 'These attacks are primarily written with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, so they are not identifiable as malware by antivirus software in the classic sense. They take advantage of the flawed way in which the Internet was designed to work.' Grossman's proposed solution is to make the desktop browser more like its mobile cousins. 'By adopting a similar application model on the desktop using custom-configured Web browsers (let's call them DesktopApps), we could address the Internet's inherent security flaws. These DesktopApps could be branded appropriately and designed to launch automatically to Bank of America's or Facebook's Web site, for example, and go no further. Like their mobile application cousins, these DesktopApps would not present an URL bar or anything else making them look like the Web browsers they are on the surface, and of course they would be isolated from one another.'"

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Apple Loses Patent Case For FaceTime Tech, Owes $368 Million
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '12 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's we-invented-the-transmission-of-data department:
beeudoublez writes "Apple was ordered to pay $368 million today to a software company named VirnetX over patents related to Apple's FaceTime technology. Apple engineers testified they didn't pay attention to any patents when building FaceTime. 'The jury, which had sat through the five-day trial, ruled that Apple infringed two patents: one for a method of creating a virtual private network (VPN) between computers, and another for solving DNS security issues. ... It's not the first time VirnetX has won a payout from a major tech firm: the company bagged $105.7m from Microsoft two years ago, and it may not be the last either. VirnetX has a separate case against Apple pending with the International Trade Commission and it has court cases against Cisco, Avaya and Siemens scheduled for trial next year.'"
It's not all bad news for Apple today, though — according to Ars, they've won a new patent for a rounded rectangle (D670,286).

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How CoreSite Survived Sandy
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '12 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's lots-of-emergency-flotation-devices department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "When Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, the combination of high winds, rain, and storm surges wreaked havoc on homes and businesses alike. With a data center on the Avenue of the Americas, CoreSite Realty escaped the worst the storm had to offer. But was it coincidence or careful planning? Slashdot sat down for an interview with Billie Haggard, CoreSite's senior vice president of data centers. He's responsible for the design, construction, maintenance, facilities staffing and uptime, reliability and energy efficiency of CoreSite's data centers. He described what it took to weather the worst weather to hit New York City in decades."

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James Bond Film Skyfall Inspired By Stuxnet Virus
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '12 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's license-to-kill() department:
Velcroman1 writes "No smartphones. No exploding pens. No ejector seats. No rocket-powered submarines. 'It's a brave new world,' gadget-maker Q tells James Bond in the new film Skyfall. The new film, released on the 50th anniversary of the storied franchise, presents a gadget-free Bond fighting with both brains and brawn against a high-tech villain with computer prowess Bill Gates would be envious of. What inspired such a villain? 'Stuxnet,' producer Michael G. Wilson said. 'There is a cyberwar that has been going on for some time, and we thought we'd bring that into the fore and let people see how it could be going on.'"

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'World of Warcraft' Candidate For Maine State Senate Wins Election
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '12 at 10:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's vows-to-rule-ruthlessly department:
Teancum writes "Colleen Lachowicz, candidate for the State Senate District 25 of Maine, won the election yesterday against her opponent Thomas Martin. This race was notable in part because her World of Warcraft character that was mentioned earlier on Slashdot, where the Maine Republican Party turned her game playing into a significant issue. It is also notable that she was able to raise a total of $6,300 in campaign contributions from gamers who came to her defense in her successful campaign. The Maine GOP even tried to block these contributions where Lachowicz was cleared of any wrong doing and the investigation was dropped."

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Pixar Names Main Studio Building For Steve Jobs
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '12 at 09:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's suddenly-want-to-work-at-pixar department:
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Jordan Kahn reports that the main building on Pixar's campus has been named in memory of Steve Jobs who actually played a big role in designing the building itself as CEO of Pixar. Pixar's campus design originally separated different employee disciplines into different buildings – one for computer scientists, another for animators, and a third building for everybody else but according to Jobs' recent biography, the headquarters was to be a place that 'promoted encounters and unplanned collaborations.' Because Jobs was fanatic about unplanned collaborations, he envisioned a campus where these encounters could take place, and his design included a great atrium space that acts as a central hub for the campus. 'Steve's theory worked from day one,' says John Lasseter, Pixar's chief creative officer. 'I've never seen a building that promoted collaboration and creativity as well as this one.'"

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AMD Closes OSRC, Lays Off Several Linux Kernel Developers
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '12 at 09:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's reversal-of-fortunes department:
From the H reporting on LinuxCon Europe comes news that several Linux kernel developers have been laid off by AMD as part of its workforce reduction. From the article: "OSRC staff primarily worked to develop the Linux support for AMD's server processors, but they also wrote code and extensions for related desktop and notebook CPUs – for example, they looked after the code to support CPU frequency scaling for the PowerNow and Turbo Core technologies. While working on the kernel's IOMMU and KVM support, one of AMD's former employees contributed to the development of the "IOMMU groups" feature that was integrated into Linux 3.6; this feature provides the basis for a new Linux 3.6 technology that allows a host's PCIe devices to be passed through to virtual machines and can also be used with Intel CPUs."

Looks like the group was doing interesting research on hypervisors, lockless data structures, and multi-core synchronization primitives among other things. The Open Source Radeon driver developers are not affected by this at least.

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MIT Slows Down Speed of Light In New Game
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '12 at 09:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's woah-man department:
New submitter schirra writes "Researchers at MIT Game Lab have created a free video game that accurately simulates the effects of Einstein's relativity. 'A Slower Speed of Light' challenges players to collect objects strewn throughout a level to artificially lower the speed of light. As light speed slows to walking pace, it makes visible the unusual effects one encounters when traveling close to the speed of light, such as the Doppler effect, searchlight effect and Lorentz transformation. The effects are, in a word, trippy. The team plans to release an open-source Unity3D toolkit called OpenRelativity to allow others to include the same relativistic effects in other games."

They also plan to release the source code sometime next year (despite reports that it is open source already).

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Researchers Create Working Nano Laser
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '12 at 08:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's viruses-with-lasers-you-say department:
Zothecula writes "Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a laser the size of a virus particle that can operate at room temperature. The 'nanolaser,' which uses gold nanoparticles instead of mirrors, is claimed to be the first demonstration to make use of a so-called bowtie arrangement of metal nanoparticles, though nano-scale lasers have been previously demonstrated."

Original paper (paywalled, unfortunately).

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Canadian Copyright Reform Takes Effect
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '12 at 08:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's canuckistan-piracy-terror-watch-list department:
An anonymous reader writes "This morning, the majority of Bill
C-11
, Canada's copyright reform bill, took
effect
, marking the most significant changes to Canadian
copyright law in decades. Michael Geist summarizes
the changes, which include expanded fair dealing, new protection for
creators of user generated content, consumer exceptions such as time
shifting, format shifting, and backup copies, and a cap on liability
for non-commercial infringement."


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FreeBSD Throws the Clang/LLVM Switch: Future Releases Use LLVM
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '12 at 07:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's rms-weeps-quietly department:
An anonymous reader writes "Brooks Davis has announced that the FreeBSD Project has now officially switched to Clang/LLVM as C/C++ compiler. This follows several years of preparation, feeding back improvements to the Clang and LLVM source code bases, and nightly builds of FreeBSD using LLVM over two years. Future snapshots and all major FreeBSD releases will ship compiled with LLVM by default!"

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Imagination Technology Buys MIPS
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '12 at 07:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's gotta-catch-em-all department:
New submitter HalWasRight writes "After years of struggle, MIPS Technologies — the original RISC processor company — is being sold to Imagination Technologies, best known for its popular mobile GPUs. Part of the deal included MIPS divesting much of its non-processor related patents to a group that includes ARM. This deal could change the landscape in the battle for mobile sockets."

MIPS press release, Imagination press release.

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Tuition Should Be Lower For Science Majors Says Florida Task Force
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '12 at 06:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's dance-majors-for-jill-stein-2016 department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Jordan Weissmann writes that a task force commissioned by Florida Governor Rick Scott is putting the finishing touches on a proposal that would allow the state's public universities to charge lower tuition for studying topics thought to be in high demand among Florida employers including science, technology, engineering, and math. The hope is that by keeping certain degrees cheaper than others, Florida can encourage students into fields where it needs more talent. For some, it might seem inherently unfair to send dance majors deeper into debt just to keep tuition low for engineers, who are already poised to earn more once they graduate, but task force chair Dale Brill says tax dollars are scarce, and the public deserves the best possible return from its investment in education and that means spending more generously on the students who are most likely to help grow Florida's economy once they graduate. Brill also argues that too few young people consider their career prospects carefully when picking a major. 'We're trying to introduce some semblance of a market dynamic information in an environment where there is none,' Brill says. 'Most students couldn't tell you what they pay in tuition. In economics, pricing is all we have to determine and work out supply and demand. So, when the consumer is completely separated from the cost of a product, then the cost rises.'"

Remember when everyone was supposed to become an aerospace engineer and then the industry collapsed in the early 90s?

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Gabon Suspends Me.ga Domain, Dotcom Says "We Have Alternative Domain"
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '12 at 06:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's everyone-loves-racketeers-this-year department:
hypnosec writes "Kim Dotcom's plan to launch a 'bigger, better, faster, stronger, safer' Megaupload successor, Mega, is already in peril as Gabon's government has suspended the domain <tt>me.ga</tt> . Announcing his decision, Gabon's Communication Minister Blaise Louembe said 'I have instructed my departments... to immediately suspend the site www.me.ga' in a bid to 'protect intellectual property rights' and 'fight cyber crime effectively.' Dotcom revealed through a tweet that he is in possession of an alternative domain name and that the recent suspension 'demonstrates the bad faith witch hunt the U.S. government is on.'"

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AT&T To Pay $700,000 For Overcharging Consumers
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '12 at 05:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's two-thousandths-of-a-percent-of-quarterly-revenue department:
An anonymous reader writes "CNet reports on an agreement between AT&T and the FCC which will require the telecom company to pay $700,000 to the federal government to resolve overcharging complaints. AT&T will also refund charges to customers who were switched from pay-as-you-go data plans to monthly plans after AT&T said they could keep the old plans. 'AT&T has also agreed to an extensive compliance plan (PDF), which includes: consumer notification, training of customer care representatives, and periodic compliance reports to the FCC. AT&T must also conduct additional searches of its records to identify improperly switched consumers and ensure appropriate refunds.'"

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Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Way To Become a Rural ISP?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '12 at 02:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hit-the-lotto-and-then-buy-somebody-out department:
hawkeyeMI writes "I live in a small, rural town nestled in some low hills. Our town has access to only one DSL provider, and it's pretty terrible. However, a regional fiber project is just being completed, and some of the fiber is in fact running directly past my house. Currently, there are no last-mile providers in my area, and the regional project only considers itself a middle-mile provider, and will only provide service to last-mile providers. Assuming this will not be my day job, that the local populace is rather poor, and that because of the hills, line-of-sight service will be difficult, how could I set myself up as an ISP? I have considered WiFi mesh networking, and even running wires on the power/telephone polls, but the required licensing and other issues are foreign to me. What would you do?"

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