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Teen Suicide Tormentor Outed By Anonymous
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '12 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's what-if-you're-wrong department:
MightyMartian writes "From the CBC: 'The tragic story of B.C. teen suicide victim Amanda Todd has taken another bizarre twist as the internet hacking and activist group Anonymous has named a man the group says was the girl's primary tormentor. Todd, 15, of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, died last Wednesday, a month after posting a haunting video on YouTube that cited the sexualized attack that set her down a path of anxiety, depression and drug and alcohol abuse.' This raises a whole nest of issues surrounding the presumption of innocence and vigilantism. Should the police and the courts be given the appropriate amount of time to determine if there is sufficient evidence, or if a crime has in fact been committed, or is Anonymous right in short-circuiting what might in fact be a lengthy process with no guarantee that anyone will face charges?"

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Huge Geoengineering Project Violates UN Rules
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '12 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's what-could-possibly-go-wrong department:
Baldrson writes "The Guardian reports that a massive geoengineering project has been detected off the west coast of Canada that violates UN regulations. An Amerindian tribe in the Pacific NW that depends on salmon teamed with an entrepreneur and a group of scientists to have 100 tons of iron sulphate spread across a huge area of the ocean in order to spur plankton growth. 'Satellite images appear to confirm the claim ... that the iron has spawned an artificial plankton bloom as large as 10,000 square kilometers. The intention is for the plankton to absorb carbon dioxide and then sink to the ocean bed – a geoengineering technique known as ocean fertilization that he hopes will net lucrative carbon credits.' The entrepreneur, Russ George, hopes to cash in on the carbon credits and the Amerindian tribe on an increased salmon harvest. The situation has sparked outcry from environmentalists and civil society groups. Oceanographer John Cullen said, 'It is difficult if not impossible to detect and describe important effects that we know might occur months or years later. Some possible effects, such as deep-water oxygen depletion and alteration of distant food webs, should rule out ocean manipulation. History is full of examples of ecological manipulations that backfired.'"

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Faculty To Grad Students: Go Work 80-Hour Weeks!
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '12 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's and-stop-doing-that-annoying-sleep-thing department:
New submitter Ian Paul Freeley writes "Controversy has erupted after a departmental email from faculty to astrophysics graduate students was leaked. Key tips for success in grad school include: 'However, if you informally canvass the faculty (those people for whose jobs you came here to train), most will tell you that they worked 80-100 hours/week in graduate school. No one told us to work those hours, but we enjoyed what we were doing enough to want to do so...If you find yourself thinking about astronomy and wanting to work on your research most of your waking hours, then academic research may in fact be the best career choice for you.' Reactions from astronomy blogs has ranged from disappointment to concern for the mental health of the students. It also seems that such a culture, coupled with the poor job prospects for academics, is continuing to drive talent away from the field. This has been recognized as a problem for over 15 years in the astronomy community, but little seems to have changed. Any tips for those of us looking to instigate culture change and promote healthy work-life balance?"

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Jonathan Coulton Re-records 'Code Monkey' For Us
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '12 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hat-tip-to-you-sir department:
Back in 2006, we discussed Jonathan Coulton's 'Code Monkey,' a song about the plight of under-appreciated developers. In the years since, Coulton's efforts to produce geek-oriented songs have propelled him to a successful music career. To mark Slashdot's 15th anniversary, he was kind enough to do a brand new recording of 'Code Monkey' for us. The video is embedded below, and here's a description from the email he sent to CmdrTaco:
"It seemed fitting to do a new version of that song. I have all these gadgets that I buy and barely learn how to play, and when I heard you guys were looking for videos and things, it inspired me to sit down and actually try to get some of them working. What you see is me doing a version of Code Monkey performed live on electric guitar and laptop. The grid with lights is a monome running Pages, Polygomé and mlrv on my mac. You’re also hearing some loops and noises from Ableton Live, controlled by footswitches, the monome, and the little keyboard, which is an OP-1. Back in 2006 I didn’t know what I was doing, and with all these gizmos, I still don’t. So that’s a relief."
Thanks, Jonathan.

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Climate Change Research Gets Petascale Supercomputer
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '12 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's researching-the-impact-of-supercomputers-on-the-environment department:
dcblogs writes "The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) has begun has begun using a 1.5 petaflop IBM system, called Yellowstone. For NCAR researchers it is an enormous leap in compute capability — a roughly 30x improvement over its existing 77 teraflop supercomputer. Yellowstone is capable of 1.5 quadrillion calculations per second using 72,288 Intel Xeon cores. The supercomputer gives researchers new capabilities. They can run more experiments with increased complexity and at a higher resolution. This new system may be able to reduce resolution to as much as 10 km (6.2 miles), giving scientists the ability to examine climate impacts in greater detail. Increase complexity allows researchers to add more conditions to their models, such as methane gas released from thawing tundra on polar sea ice. NCAR believes it is the world's most powerful computer dedicated to geosciences."

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Kaspersky To Build Secure OS For SCADA Systems
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '12 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's flatten-and-rebuild department:
Trailrunner7 writes "Attacks against SCADA and industrial-control systems have become a major concern for private companies as well as government agencies, with executives and officials worried about the potential effects of a major compromise. Security experts in some circles have been warning about the possible ramifications of such an attack for some time now, and researchers have found scores of vulnerabilities in SCADA and ICS systems in the last couple of years. Now, engineers at Kaspersky Lab have begun work on new operating system designed to be a secure-by-design environment for the operation of SCADA and ICS systems. 'Well, re-designing ICS applications is not really an option. Again, too long, too pricey and no guarantees it will fit the process without any surprises. At the same time, the crux of the problem can be solved in a different way. OK, here is a vulnerable ICS but it does its job pretty well in controlling the process. We can leave the ICS as is but instead run it in a special environment developed with security in mind! Yes, I'm talking about a highly-tailored secure operating system dedicated to critical infrastructure,' Eugene Kaspersky said in an interview."

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Microsoft Surface Pricing Goes Toe-to-Toe With Apple iPad
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '12 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's because-high-prices-drive-adoption department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Microsoft has finally revealed the pricing of its upcoming Surface tablet to a small group of journalists, including Time's Harry McCracken, who wrote in an Oct. 16 posting that the device's 32GB version will retail for $499 (or $599 with the flexible keyboard cover) and the 64GB one for $699 (cover included). Preorders will apparently begin by midday Oct. 16. Microsoft unveiled Surface over the summer but kept the pricing a secret until now. That information vacuum led some to hope against hope that Microsoft would attempt something radical and price Surface extraordinarily low—$199, perhaps—in an attempt to undercut Apple's iPad. While that didn't happen, Surface at least matches its biggest rival's low- and high-end price points. The WiFi-only, 16GB version of the iPad retails for $499, while the WiFi-only, 64GB version costs $699 (iPads with a cellular connection cost a bit more)."
A related article at BGR explains why the Surface is Microsoft's latest attempt to re-invent itself.

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Freeside Internet Services: Doing Well With Purely Free Software (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '12 at 09:15 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's making-a-good-living-by-giving-software-away department:
While attending ITEXPO West in Austin, TX, Slashdot editor Timothy Lord met Ivan Kohler, the "President, Founder and Head Geek" of a company called Freeside Internet Services that is 100% open source (no dual-licensing) and makes its living supporting software Ivan says is used to manage some of the very unsexy backend tasks that ISPs and VoIP providers need to do, like track usage and send bills to customers. Freeside uses the AGPL license, which Ivan calls "a GPL variant for web applications" that, he says, "prevents people from taking our software, modifying it, and selling it in a hosted capacity as proprietary software."

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Ask Slashdot: How Do SSDs Die?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '12 at 08:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's whimpery-bang department:
First time accepted submitter kfsone writes "I've experienced, first-hand, some of the ways in which spindle disks die, but either I've yet to see an SSD die or I'm not looking in the right places. Most of my admin-type friends have theories on how an SSD dies but admit none of them has actually seen commercial grade drives die or deteriorate. In particular, the failure process seems like it should be more clinical than spindle drives. If you have X many of the same SSD drive and none of them suffer manufacturing defects, if you repeat the same series of operations on them they should all die around the same time. If that's correct, then what happens to SSDs in RAID? Either all your drives will start to fail together or at some point, your drives will become out of sync in-terms of volume sizing. So, have you had to deliberately EOL corporate grade SSDs? Do they die with dignity or go out with a bang?"

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Texas Schools Using Electronic Chips To Track Students; Parents In Uproar
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '12 at 07:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's does-your-body-belong-to-the-state? department:
An anonymous reader writes "Two Schools in San Antonio are using electronic chips to help administrators count and track students' whereabouts. Students at Anson Jones Middle School and John Jay High School are now required to wear ID cards using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology embedded with electronic chips in an effort to daily attendance records. The article said the Northside Independent School District receives about $30 per day in state funding for each student reporting."

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Millions of Blogs Knocked Offline By Legal Row
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '12 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's hopelessly-disproportionate department:
another random user writes with this excerpt from the BBC: "A row over a web article posted five years ago has led to 1.5 million educational blogs going offline. The Edublogs site went dark for about an hour after its hosting company, ServerBeach, pulled the plug. The hosting firm was responding to a copyright claim from publisher Pearson, which said one blog had been illegally sharing information it owned.
... The offending article was first published in November 2007 and made available a copy of a questionnaire, known as the Beck Hopelessness Scale, to a group of students. The copyright for the questionnaire is owned by Pearson, which asked ServerBeach to remove the content in late September."


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Congressman Warns FTC: Leave Google Alone
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '12 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's there-is-only-one-ftc department:
concealment writes with this selection from Ars Technica: "A Democratic congressman who played a leading role in the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act earlier this year has taken up a new cause: shielding Google from antitrust scrutiny. In a strongly worded letter to Federal Trade Commission chairman Jon Leibowitz, Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) praised Google's contribution to the nation's economy. He warned Leibowitz that if the FTC does choose to initiate an antitrust case against Google, Congress might react by curtailing its regulatory authority."

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Japan's Softbank Buying Sprint, Creating Third-Largest Global Carrier
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '12 at 05:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's anticipate-xenophobes department:
First time accepted submitter metallurge writes "Japan's third-largest wireless carrier intends to acquire Sprint, the third-largest U.S. carrier for 20.1 Billion U.S. dollars, creating the third-largest global carrier. After the transaction is completed, Softbank will own 70% of the newly-created 'New Sprint,' which will maintain current Sprint CEO Dan Hesse in that role. How this will affect Deutsche Telekom/T-Mobile's attempt to merge with Sprint reseller MetroPCS is unclear."

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Reiser4 File System Still In Development
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '12 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's despite-it-all department:
An anonymous reader writes "Reiser4 still hasn't been merged into the mainline Linux kernel, but it's still being worked on by a small group of developers following Hans Reiser being convicted for murdering his wife. Reiser4 was updated in September on SourceForge to work with the Linux 3.5 kernel and has been benchmarked against EXT4, Btrfs, XFS, and ReiserFS. Reiser4 loses out in most of the Linux file-system performance tests, has much stigma due to Hans Reiser, and Btrfs is surpassing it feature-wise, so does it have any future in Linux ahead?"

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MacKinnon Extradition Blocked By UK Home Secretary
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '12 at 05:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's assange-lite department:
RockDoctor writes "BBC radio news (2012-10-16 GMT 13:00) is reporting that the Home Secretary has blocked the extradition of Gary MacKinnon to the U.S. for (alleged) computer hacking crimes. Paraphrasing: the Director of Public Prosecutions is going to have to decide if there is sufficient evidence for him to be tried in the UK for crimes committed in (or from) the UK.
"


(Also at The Independent.)

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Commercial Amphibious Vehicle Is Part ATV Part Jet Ski
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '12 at 04:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's what-won't-americans-buy-on-credit department:
Hugh Pickens writes writes "The Washington Post reports that a new vehicle could soon be zooming out of James Bond's garage — or pond — as the Quadski, a one-person all-terrain vehicle that doubles as a personal watercraft, is being billed by its makers as the first high-speed, commercially available amphibious vehicle. Scheduled to go on sale in the U.S. by the end of this year for around $40,000, the four-cylinder, BMW-supplied engine, can drive up to 45 miles per hour on land and do a brisk 45 miles per hour in the water (video). 'You just drive straight into the water, quite fast, and keep on going. It's sort of magic,' says Alan Gibbs, the founder of Gibbs Sports Amphibians. The company is also preparing to introduce the Phibian, a 30-foot long, 6.5-ton model, and the Humdinga, a 22-foot, 3.5-ton model, which are both intended for the military and first responders. The company plans to produce 20 Quadskis per day with 150 employees when the plant is in full operation and expects to sell around 1,000 Quadskis in the first year 'We'll respond to how the market develops,' says Gibbs. 'We wouldn't be doing it without being very confident people will love them.'"

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Will EU Regulations Effectively Ban High-End Video Cards?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 16 '12 at 01:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's more-power-for-more-power department:
New submitter arun84h writes "An update to an energy law, which will apply in the European Union, has the power to limit sale of discrete components deemed 'energy inefficient.' GPU maker AMD is worried this will affect future technology as it becomes available, as well as some current offerings. From TFA: 'According to data NordicHardware has seen from a high level employee at AMD, current graphics cards are unable to meet with these requirements. This includes "GPUs like Cape Verde and Tahiti", that is used in the HD 7700 and HD 7900 series, and can't meet with the new guidelines, the same goes for the older "Caicos" that is used in the HD 6500/6600 and HD 7500/7600 series. Also "Oland" is mentioned, which is a future performance circuit from AMD, that according to rumors will be used in the future HD 8800 series. What worries AMD the most is how this will affect future graphics cards since the changes in Lot 3 will go into effect soon. The changes will of course affect Nvidia as much as it will AMD.' Is this the beginning of the end for high-end GPU sales in the EU?"

The report in question. Each performance category of hardware has a power draw ceiling; in this case, regulators are increasing the minimum bus bandwidth for the highest performance category, bumping all hardware on the market into the next lowest. Unfortunately, no current hardware or planned hardware on the high end will come under the power draw ceiling for that category.

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From a NAND Gate To Tetris
Posted by News Fetcher on October 15 '12 at 11:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's artisinal-programming department:
mikejuk writes "Long before the current crop of MOOCs (Massive Online Open Course) there was a course that taught you all you needed to know about computers by starting from the NAND gate and working its way up through the logic circuits needed for a computer, on to an assembler, a compiler an operating system, and finally Tetris. Recently one of the creators of the course, Shimon Schocken gave Ted talk explaining how it all happened and why it is still relevant today. Once you have seen what is on offer http://www.nand2tetris.org/ you will probably decide that it is not only still relevant but the only way to really understand what computers are all about."

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EU Authorities To Demand Reversal of Google Privacy Policy
Posted by News Fetcher on October 15 '12 at 08:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's legal-dept-hiring department:
judgecorp writes "Google's privacy mechanism, which combines personal data from around 60 products, and gives users only one opportunity to opt out, was rolled out in March against requests from privacy regulators in Europe. Now they want the policy reversed, and user data from the different Google products, including Gmail, Search and Youtube, to be separated. The EU attack is lead by French regulator CNIL, which has historically taken a tough line on privacy matters."

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Ask Slashdot: Best Book Or Game To Introduce Kids To Programming?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 15 '12 at 06:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's next-generation department:
New submitter connorblack writes "My very gifted nephew is about to turn nine this month and I would love to get him some sort of fun, engaging book or game to introduce him to the basic concepts of programming. I have a feeling if approached correctly he would absolutely devour the subject (he is already working through mathematics at an 8th grade level). What I first was looking at were the Lego Mindstorm programmable robots- which would have been perfect, if only they weren't around 300 dollars... So if there's anything similar (or completely new!) you've either heard praise about or used yourself with your kids, it would be great to get a recommendation. Also if possible I would want to stick to an under 100 dollar budget."

Would a nine year old be able to follow The Little Schemer?

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