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Happy 20th Birthday, FreeBSD
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '13 at 06:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's long-may-it-wave department:
mbadolato writes "FreeBSD celebrates its 20th birthday this week. On 19 June 1993, David Greenman, Jordan Hubbard and Rod Grimes announced the creation of their new fork of the BSD 4.3 operating system, and its new name: FreeBSD." And in the time since then, FreeBSD hasn't exactly stood still; it's spawned numerous other projects (like DragonFly BSD and PC-BSD), as well as served as the basis for much of Mac OS X; there's even a Raspberry Pi build.

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QANTAS Wants To Monitor Frequent Flyers' Home Internet
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '13 at 04:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's watching-you-from-below-and-above department:
An anonymous reader writes "Australian Airline QANTAS wants to monitor recording frequent flyers' home internet searching and surfing. QANTAS will pass the data to US marketing partner FreeCause who are not subject to Australian privacy laws. Meanwhile the Australian Attorney-General's Department has been secretly drafting new data retention laws to log Australians' web surfing. The government claims it needs these to fight crime, yet is ignoring corruption by its own public service."

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US Charges Edward Snowden With Espionage
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '13 at 03:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's hey-the-paperwork-takes-a-few-weeks department:
cold fjord writes "Further developments in the controversy engulfing Edward Snowden and the NSA. From the Washington Post: "Federal prosecutors have filed a sealed criminal complaint against Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked a trove of documents about top-secret surveillance programs, and the United States has asked Hong Kong to detain him on a provisional arrest warrant,... Snowden was charged with espionage, theft and conversion of government property ... The complaint was filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, a jurisdiction where Snowden's former employer, Booz Allen Hamilton, is headquartered, and a district with a long track record in prosecuting cases with national security implications...it is thought that he is still in the Chinese territory. Hong Kong has its own legislative and legal systems but ultimately answers to Beijing, under the so-called "one country, two systems" arrangement. The leaks have sparked national and international debates about the secret powers of the NSA to infringe on the privacy of both Americans and foreigners. Officials from President Obama down have said they welcomed the opportunity to explain the importance of the programs, and the safeguards they say are built into them. Skeptics, including some in Congress, have said the NSA has assumed power to soak up data about Americans that were never intended under the law."""

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Fear of Thinking War Machines May Push U.S. To Exascale
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '13 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's fear-begets-a-stronger-military department:
dcblogs writes "Unlike China and Europe, the U.S. has yet to adopt and fund an exascale development program, and concerns about what that means to U.S. security are growing darker and more dire. If the U.S. falls behind in HPC, the consequences will be 'in a word, devastating,' Selmer Bringsford, chair of the Department. of Cognitive Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, said at a U.S. House forum this week. 'If we were to lose our capacity to build preeminently smart machines, that would be a very dark situation, because machines can serve as weapons.' The House is about to get a bill requiring the Dept. of Energy to establish an exascale program. But the expected funding level, about $200 million annually, 'is better than nothing, but compared to China and Europe it's at least 10 times too low,' said Earl Joseph, an HPC analyst at IDC. David McQueeney, vice president of IBM research, told lawmakers that HPC systems now have the ability to not only deal with large data sets but 'to draw insights out of them.' The new generation of machines are being programmed to understand what the data sources are telling them, he said."

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Best Buy Recalls MacBook Pro Batteries
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '13 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's to-be-rebranded-as-iGrills department:
redletterdave writes "A recent line of complaints from MacBook Pro users forced big box retailer Best Buy to finally issue a recall notice for 5,100 MacBook Pro replacement batteries after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission advised customers to 'immediately stop using the recalled battery.' Both the CPSC and Best Buy received 13 individual instances of the MacBook Pro battery catching fire, with one incident resulting in 'a serious burn to a consumer's leg.'"

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Supreme Court Gene Patents Ruling Opens Genetic Test Options
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '13 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's courts-making-medicine-better department:
vinces99 writes "The Supreme Court's unanimous decision to bar the patenting of naturally occurring genes opens up important clinical testing options for a variety of diseases, which University of Washington medical geneticists and laboratory medicine experts say will benefit patients. Mary-Claire King, a UW geneticist who was instrumental in identifying the breast cancer-causing genes at the heart of the court case, hailed the ruling as 'a victory for patients, their families, their physicians and common sense.' She noted that within 24 hours after the decision was announced on June 13, UW Laboratory Medicine was offering tests for all known breast cancer genes."

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Android Fragmentation Isn't Hurting Its Adoption
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '13 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's but-but-what-about-the-narrative department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Apple's developer Website offers a new, handy graph of iOS fragmentation — which, of course, highlights that the mobile operating system isn't fragmented much at all. A full 93 percent of iOS users are on iOS 6, the latest version; another 6 percent rely on iOS 5; and a mere 1 percent use an earlier iOS. Compare that to Google Android, which really is fragmented: some 33 percent of Android devices run some variant (either 4.1.x or 4.2.x) of the 'Jelly Bean' build, while 36.5 percent run a version of 'Gingerbread,' which was first released in December 2010 — ancient history, in mobile-software terms. (Other versions take up varying slices of the Android pie.) For years, Google's rivals have used the 'Android is fragmented' argument to hype their own platforms. But is Android's fragmentation really hurting the platform? Not as far as global shipments are concerned. According to recent data from research firm IDC, Android's market-share stood at 75 percent in the first quarter of 2013 — up from 59.1 percent in the same quarter a year ago. Meanwhile, iOS owned 17.3 percent of the market — compared to 23.1 percent in the year-ago quarter. Whatever the drawbacks of fragmentation (and people can name quite a few), it's clear that it's not really hurting Android device shipments or adoption."

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Texas Physicists Create Tabletop Particle Accelerator
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '13 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-quite-everything-is-bigger-in-texas department:
An anonymous reader sends this quote from a University of Texas news release:
"Physicists at The University of Texas at Austin have built a tabletop particle accelerator that can generate energies and speeds previously reached only by major facilities that are hundreds of meters long and cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build (abstract). 'We have accelerated about half a billion electrons to 2 gigaelectronvolts over a distance of about 1 inch,' said Mike Downer, professor of physics in the College of Natural Sciences. 'Until now that degree of energy and focus has required a conventional accelerator that stretches more than the length of two football fields. It’s a downsizing of a factor of approximately 10,000.' ... Downer said that the electrons from the current 2 GeV accelerator can be converted into “hard” X-rays as bright as those from large-scale facilities. He believes that with further refinement they could even drive an X-ray free electron laser, the brightest X-ray source currently available to science. A tabletop X-ray laser would be transformative for chemists and biologists, who could use the bright X-rays to study the molecular basis of matter and life with atomic precision, and femtosecond time resolution, without traveling to a large national facility."

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Ask Slashdot: What Should a Non-Profit Look For In a Web Host?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '13 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's low-latency-for-your-quake-3-servers department:
An anonymous reader writes "We are a large (multi-national) non-profit and currently deal with 503s on a near daily basis. We've worked on this for over a year and the host hasn't been able to figure out how to fix it. We're paying for a managed host and need to evaluate other options. My boss has tasked me with evaluating a new one. I'm the most geeky of the group, so I know the terms, but don't have a sense of what's actually needed to suit our needs. We sometimes have upwards of 1,000 people browsing the site at the same time, so my sense is that we shouldn't need massive amounts of power or bandwidth... but, somehow that's not working on our current host. Can anyone help me get a sense of what types of hosting will best suit the needs of a 'large' non-profit? We're not Facebook, but we're not a mom-and-pop shop. Any help or tips would be fantastic, particularly if you've also selected a new hosting provider in the past year or so. I don't necessarily need actual names (though those would be nice, too) but at least some tips on what makes a huge difference when suddenly a whole bunch of people around the world read an email and want to help out."

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China Says Serious Polluters Will Get the Death Penalty
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '13 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's green-revolution-will-not-be-televised department:
formaggio writes "According to the Xinhua News Agency, the Chinese government is now allowing courts to punish those who commit environment crimes with the death penalty. The new judicial interpretation comes in the wake of several serious environmental problems that have hit the country over the last few months, including dangerous levels of air pollution, a river full of dead pigs, and other development projects that have imperiled public health."

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Book Review: The Ingenious Engine of Reality
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '13 at 11:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it department:
gregrolan writes "Evans's Trousers Of Reality series attempts to understand the interplay between neurology, psychology, and sociology in the context of finding a better path through working life. I previously reviewed the first book in the series, Working Life a few years ago, and the second volume The Ingenious Engine Of Reality has now been published. While the first volume outlined the themes for the series and focused on work-life balance, this second volume digs deeper into the science behind knowledge, learning, and mental models.It then uses this background to explore the relationship between knowledge, behavior, and process in a software project setting." Keep reading for the rest of Greg's review. The Ingenious Engine Of Reality
author Barry Evans
pages 337
publisher Code Green
rating 8/10
reviewer Greg Rolan
ISBN 978-1907215193
summary Learning, creativity, methodologies, and working life

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Patent Infringement Suit Includes Linking URLs In an Email
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '13 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's also-claims-ownership-of-using-words-in-a-sentence department:
An anonymous reader points out a report at Groklaw about another new lawsuit from patent firm Intellectual Ventures against Motorola Mobility (they have an earlier patent suit against Motorola underway already). The suit seeks damages from alleged infringement of seven patents, most of which involve wireless communications and Motorola's use of Android. One of the patents, US5790793, is "A method and system for sending and receiving Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) in electronic mail over the Internet." Intellectual Ventures' complaint (PDF) says Motorola product that implement MMS violate this patent. PJ at Groklaw thinks this is another patent attack on Android:
"And guess where IV got these patents? Not directly from the USPTO. I'll give you a big hint. Some of them, from what I'm seeing, are from working companies. Don't they call that privateering, when active companies outsource their patents to trolls to do their dirty work? Why yes. Yes, they do. Can you guess one company in this picture? Someone helping Microsoft in its anti-competitive attack on Android and Linux, you say? Yes, one of the companies that seems to have transferred two patents to IV for its holy quest is Nokia, Microsoft's 'partner in crime', as I like to think of them. I know. You are shocked, shocked to know that patents are being used anti-competitively in a court of law."

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Research Reveals Low Exposure of Excellent Work By Female Scientists
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '13 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's long-way-yet-to-go department:
An anonymous reader writes "Scientists at the University of Sheffield have found that high quality science by female academics is underrepresented in comparison to that of their male counterparts. The researchers analyzed the genders of invited speakers at the most prestigious gatherings of evolutionary biologists in Europe — six biannual congresses of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB) and found that male speakers outnumbered women. Even in comparison to the numbers of women and men among world class scientists – from the world top ranked institutions for life sciences, and authors in the top-tier journals Nature and Science - women were still underrepresented among invited speakers."

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A Simple DIY Game Controller For People With Physical Challenges
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '13 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's accessibility-is-king department:
capedgirardeau writes "Caleb Kraft of the well-known Hack-A-Day site noticed that game controllers and alternate keyboards for people with physical challenges were very expensive. Simple switches for buttons that could be made for a few dollars were running $60 or $70 apiece. Working with a young man he knew who loves gaming and has muscular dystrophy, Caleb created a do-it-yourself controller for people with physical challenges using a 3-D printer, a super-cheap micro-controller board and some simple keyboard emulation software. He is freely releasing all the 3-D printer files and tutorials to make his and other controllers on a new site, The Controller Project. He also encourages people to check out The AbleGamers Foundation"

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Use Tor, Get Targeted By the NSA
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '13 at 08:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hop-online-and-disappoint-some-intelligence-agents department:
An anonymous reader sends this news from Ars Technica:
"Using online anonymity services such as Tor or sending encrypted e-mail and instant messages are grounds for U.S.-based communications to be retained by the National Security Agency, even when they're collected inadvertently, according to a secret government document published Thursday. ...The memos outline procedures NSA analysts must follow to ensure they stay within the mandate of minimizing data collected on U.S. citizens and residents. While the documents make clear that data collection and interception must cease immediately once it's determined a target is within the U.S., they still provide analysts with a fair amount of leeway. And that leeway seems to work to the disadvantage of people who take steps to protect their Internet communications from prying eyes. For instance, a person whose physical location is unknown—which more often than not is the case when someone uses anonymity software from the Tor Project—"will not be treated as a United States person, unless such person can be positively identified as such, or the nature or circumstances of the person's communications give rise to a reasonable belief that such person is a United States person," the secret document stated.'"

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Google Avoids Fine Over Street View WiFi Snooping, Ordered To Delete Data
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '13 at 08:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's proffer-your-other-wrist-for-a-gentle-slap department:
DW100 writes "Google has avoided a fine from the UK's data protection watchdog over its admission that it had failed to delete all Wi-Fi data from its Street View cars last year — but it must ensure it is deleted within 35 days or face a contempt of court action. 'Its investigation into Google reopened last year after further revelations about the data taken from wi-fi networks. During that inquiry, additional discs containing private data were found.Google had previously pledged to destroy all data it had collected, but admitted last year that it had "accidentally" retained the additional discs. ... [The ICO said], "The detriment caused to individuals by this breach fails to meet the level required to issue a monetary penalty."'"

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Whole Human Brain Mapped In 3D
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '13 at 07:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's brain-and-brain,-what-is-brain? department:
ananyo writes "An international group of neuroscientists has sliced, imaged and analysed the brain of a 65-year-old woman to create the most detailed map yet of a human brain in its entirety. The atlas, called 'BigBrain,' shows the organization of neurons with microscopic precision, which could help to clarify or even redefine the structure of brain regions obtained from decades-old anatomical studies (abstract). The atlas was compiled from 7,400 brain slices, each thinner than a human hair. Imaging the sections by microscope took a combined 1,000 hours and generated 10 terabytes of data. Supercomputers in Canada and Germany churned away for years reconstructing a three-dimensional volume from the images, and correcting for tears and wrinkles in individual sheets of tissue."

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PHP 5.5.0 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '13 at 06:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's onward-and-upward department:
New submitter irventu writes "The long-awaited PHP 5.5.0 has finally been released, bringing many new features and integrating Zend's recently open-sourced OPcache. With the new Laravel PHP framework winning RoRs and CodeIgnitor converts by the thousands, Google recently announcing support for PHP in its App Engine and the current PHP renaissance is well underway. This is great news for the web's most popular scripting language."
The full list of new features is available at the Change Log, and the source code is at the download page.

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Next-Next Generation Video: Introducing Daala
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '13 at 06:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-can-tell-by-the-pixels department:
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from a post by Xiph.org's Monty Montgomery:
"Xiph.Org has been working on Daala, a new video codec for some time now, though Opus work had overshadowed it until just recently. With Opus finalized and much of the mop-up work well in hand, Daala development has taken center stage. I've started work on 'demo' pages for Daala, just like I've done demos of other Xiph development projects. Daala aims to be rather different from other video codecs (and it's the first from-scratch design attempt in a while), so the first few demo pages are going to be mostly concerned with what's new and different in Daala. I've finished the first 'demo' page (about Daala's lapped transforms), so if you're interested in video coding technology, go have a look!"

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Tesla To Build Its Own Battery-Swap Stations
Posted by News Fetcher on June 21 '13 at 05:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can-somebody-please-make-this-for-phone-batteries department:
New submitter lfp98 writes "Just a month after the collapse of independent battery-swap company Better Place, the uniquely successful maker of luxury electric cars, Tesla, has announced it will provide its own battery-swap capability for its Model S sedans. The first stations will be built adjacent to Tesla's charging stations on the SF-to-LA route, and a swap will take no longer than filling a gas tank. From the article: 'A battery pack swap will cost between $60 and $80, about the same as filling up a 15-gallon gas tank,' Musk said. 'Drivers who choose to swap must reclaim their original battery on their return trip or pay the difference in cost for the new pack.'"

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