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Project Byzantium: Zero To Ad-Hoc Mesh Network In 60 Seconds (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 09:02 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's also-good-in-case-of-vampire-attacks department:
Project Byzantium calls itself Ad-hoc wireless mesh networking for the zombie apocalypse. It's also potentially useful for less-thrilling emergencies, such as floods, earthquakes, and political uprisings (or getting everyone at the office their /. fix when the network goes down). The latest version debuted at the HOPE (Hackers on Planet Earth) conference in July, 2012. You can download your very own copy of Byzantium any time you like. Hopefully you will then burn a dozen or so CDs (it's compact enough that it doesn't need a DVD) for friends and neighbors, so that if you suddenly see zombies approaching and your regular ISP has already been overrun and isn't working, you can set up a wireless mesh network and coordinate your anti-zombie efforts. And you won't even need to use the command line. (slides and audio of their presentation)

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Kentucky Lawmakers Shocked To Find Evolution In Biology Tests
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 08:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's other-states-shocked-that-kentucky-has-biology-tests department:
bbianca127 writes "Kentucky mandated that schools include tests that are based on national standards, and contracted test maker ACT to handle them. Legislators were then shocked that evolution was so prominently featured, even though evolution is well-supported and a central tenet of modern biology. One KY Senator said he wanted creationism taught alongside evolution, even though the Supreme Court has ruled that teaching creationism in science classes is a violation of the establishment clause. Representative Ben Wade stated that evolution is just a theory, and that Darwin made it all up. Legislators want ACT to make a Kentucky-specific ACT test, though the test makers say that would be prohibitively expensive. This is just the latest in a round of states' fight against evolution — Louisiana and Tennessee have recently passed laws directed against teaching evolution."

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Flexible Robot Can Change Colors
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's kill-all-humans-now-comes-in-green department:
SternisheFan tips news of a robot designed by Harvard University researchers that can change colors to blend into its surroundings (abstract). The robot also has a soft, flexible body, and is driven by air pumped into cavities in its legs.
"The team thinks the devices could have a variety of different uses. Lead author Stephen Morin said the soft machines had similarities with organs or tissues and could have medical applications. He explained: 'The idea is that if you have a system that can simulate muscle motion very well and a system that can transport fluid, by combining those you can fabricate that device to fit a specific surgical problem.' The team also said the machines could have a future in search and rescue. Prof Whitesides said: 'For that kind of application, having it be able to advertise itself, for example, in a way that stood out against the dark would be a good thing.'"

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Gov't Approves Parts of Verizon-Cable Spectrum Sale
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's santa-doesn't-give-you-everything-you-want department:
fistfullast33l writes "The Associated Press is reporting that the Justice Department, FCC, and New York State Attorney General approved portions of a deal between Verizon Wireless and cable companies Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Cox to sell parts of the wireless spectrum to Verizon for $3.9 billion. However, the Justice Department rejected the agreement between the two groups to allow Verizon to market cable services in its stores in markets where it also offers FIOS service. The spectrum will be used to increase Verizon's 4G LTE network coverage. Verizon will also sell some spectrum to T-Mobile. Consumer groups were very concerned about the cross-marketing by Verizon: 'When it comes to home broadband, Verizon Communication Inc.'s FiOS provides the only significant competition to cable in many areas. Yet FiOS is costly to build out, and Verizon's commitment to the technology has faltered. Consumer groups and unions that opposed the deal between the cable companies and Verizon said it showed that Verizon was further giving up on FiOS and yielding the home broadband market to cable.'"

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Exceptionally Preserved 2,600-Year-Old Brain Found
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 06:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's fire-that-bad-boy-up department:
TrueSatan writes with this quote from Discovery News:
"A human skull dated to about 2,684 years ago with an 'exceptionally preserved' human brain still inside of it was recently discovered in a waterlogged U.K. pit, according to a new Journal of Archaeological Science study. The brain is the oldest known intact human brain from Europe and Asia, according to the authors, who also believe it's one of the best-preserved ancient brains in the world (PDF). 'The early Iron Age skull belonged to a man, probably in his thirties,' according to lead author Sonia O'Connor. 'Cause of death is rarely possible to determine in archaeological remains, but in this case, damage to the neck vertebrae is consistent with a hanging.'"

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Researchers Find 'Mind-Control' Gaming Headsets Can Leak Users' Secrets
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's and-whatever-you-do,-don't-touch-the-reverse-button department:
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "At the Usenix security conference in Seattle last week, a group of researchers from the University of California at Berkeley, Oxford University and the University of Geneva presented a study that hints at the darker side of a future where we control computers with our minds rather than a mouse. In a study of 28 subjects wearing brain-machine interface headsets built by companies like Neurosky and Emotiv and marketed to consumers for gaming and attention exercises, the researchers found they were able to extract hints directly from the electrical signals of the test subjects' brains that partially revealed private information like the location of their homes, faces they recognized and even sequences of numbers they recognized. For the moment, the experimental theft of users' private information from brain signals is more science fiction than a real security vulnerability, since it requires tricking the victim into thinking about the target information at a certain time, and still doesn't work reliably. (Though much better than random chance.) But as BMI gets more sophisticated and mainstream, the researchers say their study should serve as a warning about privacy issues around the technology of such interfaces."

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Twitter Restricts Client Developers
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 05:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's if-only-i-could-describe-this-with-some-sort-of-whale department:
New submitter atsabig10fo writes "Twitter has finally released the hinted-at changes to their API, which include limiting the number of users for third party clients, per-endpoint rate limiting, and restrictions on how tweets can be displayed and posted. Twitter's Michael Sippey wrote, 'One of the key things we've learned over the past few years is that when developers begin to demand an increasingly high volume of API calls, we can guide them toward areas of value for users and their businesses. To that end, and similar to some other companies, we will require you to work with us directly if you believe your application will need more than one million individual user tokens.' Third party app developers are certainly going to be sweating these changes, and it puts the future of new development in question."

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How Plagiarism Helped Win the American Revolution
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's other-peoples-work department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Although today the stigma of lifting passages can haunt media professionals forever, Revolutionary War Historian Todd Andrlik writes that 250 years ago stealing another reporter's work without credit was an acceptable form of journalism. In fact, plagiarism was a practice that helped unite the colonies and win the Revolutionary War. 'Without professional writing staffs of journalists or correspondents, eighteenth-century newspaper printers relied heavily on an intercolonial newspaper exchange system to fill their pages,' writes Andrlik. 'Printers often copied entire paragraphs or columns directly from other newspapers and frequently without attribution. As a result, identical news reports often appeared in multiple papers throughout America. This news-swapping technique, and resulting plagiarism, helped spread the ideas of liberty and uphold the colonists' resistance to British Parliament.' For example, an eyewitness account of the Boston Tea Party by 'An Impartial Observer' was first authored for the December 20, 1773, Boston Gazette, but was soon reprinted without edit or attribution in other New England newspapers. News of the Boston Massacre, Battle of Lexington and Concord, the treason of Benedict Arnold and practically every major event of the American Revolution circulated among the colonies much the same way. 'Thanks in no small part to this plagiarism, newspaper printers fanned the flames of rebellion and helped colonists realize the conflict was closer to home than perhaps they wanted to believe.'"

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Tesla CTO Talks Model S, Batteries and In-car Linux
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 01:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's driving-free department:
angry tapir writes "The IDG News Service recently had a chance to speak to JB Straubel, chief technology officer for Tesla, about the Model S all-electric car, its design and technology, and his outlook on electric vehicle technology. He also shed a little light on the car's Linux-based software system."

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Insurer Measures Driver Safety With Smartphone App To Calculate Premiums
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '12 at 11:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's how's-my-driving department:
Qedward writes "Motorists are being invited to help develop a new driving app that could earn them a discount of 'up to 20%' on their motor insurance. British insurer Aviva is using smartphone technology to create individual driver profiles that will be used to calculate tailored pay-how-you-drive premiums. The driver behavioral app, Aviva RateMyDrive, will monitor motorists taking part in the test for 200 miles, including acceleration, braking and cornering. This data is then turned into an individual score which helps determine the motorist's premium, with 'safer' drivers earning up to 20% off their deal."

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Chinese Man Builds His Own Prosthetic Hands
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '12 at 09:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's arts-and-crafts department:
First time accepted submitter macbeth66 writes "Almost 10 years ago, Sun Jifa lost his hands in an explosion. Unable to afford the prosthetic hands recommended by the hospital he built his own. From the article: 'After eight years of tinkering, he says he finally developed a working model that allows him to grip, hold, and mimic other necessary movements via a system of pulleys and wires.'"

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Project To Turn Classical Scores Into Copyright-Free Music Completed
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '12 at 08:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's music-of-the-masses department:
yourlord writes "Just under 2 years ago Musopen launched a Kickstarter campaign covered here on slashdot. Today that project is complete with the release of a large amount of classical recordings into the public domain. This brings an extensive collection of high quality classical music into the public domain. The project music is hosted on the Musopen site, and on archive.org."

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Dremel-Based Project Accepted As Apache Incubator
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '12 at 06:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it department:
itwbennett writes "The technology behind Google's BigQuery analytics as a service is based on the company's in-house ad hoc query system called Dremel that can store and search trillion-row datasets without the complexity and batch limitations of Hadoop. Today, Hadoop vendor MapR announced a new open source iteration of Dremel called Drill, which is now an incubation project with the Apache Softare Foundation. First up for the Apache Drill project: getting a consensus on Drill's APIs so that other vendors can work with it, says project leader Tomer Shiran."

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Scientists Set Bold Plan For Future Exploration of the Sun
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '12 at 04:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's walking-on-the-sun department:
coondoggie writes "Our understanding of space weather and the impact of space around Earth has greatly increased in the last 10 years and if the ambitious plan the National Research Council can be implemented, the next 10 years will generate tons more scientific insight. The National Research Council issued its second research recommendation report, 'Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society,' which represents 18 months of research by more than 85 solar and space physicists and space system engineers and lays out major scientific goals for solar exploration on the next 10 years."

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Ask Slashdot: How To Best Setup a School Internet Filter?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '12 at 03:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's watch-how-you-play department:
An anonymous reader writes "I was recently volunteered to be the network/computer admin for a small non-profit school. One of the items asked of me had to do with filtering inappropriate content (i.e. stuff you wouldn't want your mother to see). Essentially we want to protect people who aren't able to protect themselves, at least while on campus. Basic site filtering is fairly easy — setup squid with one of the many filtering engines and click to filter the categories your interested. Additionally, making the computer lab highly visible uses public shame and humiliation to limit additional activity. The real question — How do you filter Facebook? There is a lot of great content and features on Facebook, and its a great way to stay in contact with friends, but there is also a potentially dark side. Along with inappropriate content, there is a tendency to share more information than should be shared, and not everyone follows proper security and privacy guidelines. What's the best way to setup campus-wide security/privacy policies for Facebook?"

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US Court Sides With Gene Patents
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '12 at 02:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's much-prefer-gene-siskells-to-gene-patents department:
ananyo writes "Gene patents have been upheld in a landmark case over two genes associated with hereditary forms of breast and ovarian cancer. The lawsuit against Myriad Genetics, a diagnostic company, based in Salt Lake City, Utah, that holds patents on the genes BRCA1 and BRCA2, has bounced from court to court since 2010. In a 2-1 decision today, a federal appeals court reaffirmed their latest decision that genes represent patent-eligible matter. As noted before on Slashdot, the case will have major implications for cancer researchers, patients and drug makers."

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Happy Birthday, Debian!
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '12 at 02:02 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's impossibly-worthwhile department:
An anonymous reader writes with word that as of today, the Debian project — one of the first distros, and still going strong, not to mention parent or grandparent of many other distros — is 19 years old. "Quoting from the official project history: 'The Debian Project was officially founded by Ian Murdock on August 16th, 1993. At that time, the whole concept of a 'distribution' of Linux was new. Ian intended Debian to be a distribution which would be made openly, in the spirit of Linux and GNU.' Send an appreciation message: http://thanks.debian.net/."

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BitTorrent Tries To Appease Users By Making Torrent Ads Optional
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '12 at 01:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's readers-have-long-memories department:
hypnosec writes "BitTorrent has backtracked on their stance that uTorrent ads cannot be 'turned off,' following a user revolt. They announced that users can opt-out of sponsored torrents if they don't wish to see them. Last weekend BitTorrent announced it would make uTorrent ad-enabled and that it would have a 'sponsored torrents' feature which couldn't be disabled. As one would have imagined, this didn't go over well with many users, and they let out their anger on the uTorrent forums. 'You seriously think that uTorrent is going to survive now? The Admin/Devs are seriously deluded. Pure greed has turned your once loved app into a bloated and buggy cash cow,' said one user."

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ICS-CERT Warns of Serious Flaws In Tridium SCADA Software
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '12 at 12:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's their-security-problems-are-scadalous department:
Trailrunner7 writes "The DHS and ICS-CERT are warning users of some popular Tridium Niagara AX industrial control system software about a series of major vulnerabilities in the applications that are remotely exploitable and could be used to take over vulnerable systems. The bugs, discovered by researchers Billy Rios and Terry McCorkle, are just the latest in a series of vulnerabilities found in the esoteric ICS software packages that control utilities and other critical systems. The string of bugs reported by Rios and McCorkle include a directory traversal issue that gives an attacker the ability to access files that should be restricted. The researchers also discovered that the Niagara software stores user credentials in an insecure manner. There are publicly available exploits for some of the vulnerabilities."

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Judge Suggests Apple Is "Smoking Crack" With Witness List In Samsung Case
Posted by News Fetcher on August 16 '12 at 12:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's william-f-buckley-might-politely-correct-her department:
infodragon writes "Today in the ongoing Apple vs Samsung court case Judge Lucy Koh's patience wore thin as Apple presented a 75-page document highlighting 22 witnesses it would like to call in for rebuttal testimony, provided the court had the time. As those following the case closely know quite well, the case has a set number of hours which are already wearing quite thin. As quoted by The Verge as they sat in the courtroom listening in, Koh wondered aloud why Apple would offer the list 'when unless you're smoking crack you know these witnesses aren't going to be called!'"

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