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Brainstorming Ways To Protect NYC From Real Storms
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '12 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-have-a-weather-control-device-for-sale department:
SternisheFan writes with this excerpt from NBC News:
"The killer storm that hit the East Coast last month and left the nation's largest city with a crippled transit system, widespread power outages and severe flooding has resurfaced the debate about how best to protect a city like New York against rising storm surges. In a 2011 report called 'Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan,' NYC's Department of City Planning listed restoring degraded natural waterfront areas, protecting wetlands and building seawalls as some of the strategies to increase the city's resilience to climate change and sea level rise. 'Hurricane Sandy is a wake-up call to all of us in this city and on Long Island,' Malcolm Bowman, professor of physical oceanography at State University of New York at Stony Brook, told NBC News' Richard Engel. 'That means designing and building storm-surge barriers like many cities in Europe already have.' Some of the projects showcased at Rising Currents include: Ways to make the surfaces of the city more absorptive (through porous sidewalks) and more able to deal with water, whether coming from the sea or sky; Parks and freshwater and saltwater wetlands in Lower Manhattan; Artificial islands or reefs (including ones made of recycled glass) to make the shoreline more absorptive and break the waves."

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NRC Report Links Climate Change To National Security
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '12 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's let's-see-who-the-patriots-are-now department:
WOOFYGOOFY writes "The NY Times and Voice Of America are reporting on a study by the U.S. National Research Council (PDF) which was released Friday linking global climate change to national security. The report, which was developed at the request of the C.I.A., characterizes the threats posed by climate change as 'similar to and in many cases greater than those posed by terrorist attacks. 'Climate-driven crises could lead to internal instability or international conflict and might force the United States to provide humanitarian assistance or, in some cases, military force to protect vital energy, economic or other interests, the study said.' If the effect of unaddressed climate change is the functional equivalent of terrorist attacks on the nation, does the Executive Branch, as a matter of national security, have a duty and a right to begin to act unilaterally against climate change irrespective of what Congress currently believes?"

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MOOC Mania
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '12 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's don't-call-it-a-bubble-yet department:
theodp writes "Online education has had a fifty-year road to 'overnight' success. MIT Technology Review calls the emergence of free online education, particularly massive open online courses (MOOCs), The Most Important Education Technology in 200 Years. 'If you were asked to name the most important innovation in transportation over the last 200 years,' writes Antonio Regalado, 'you might say the combustion engine, air travel, Henry Ford's Model-T production line, or even the bicycle. The list goes on. Now answer this one: what's been the single biggest innovation in education? Don't worry if you come up blank. You're supposed to.' Writing about MOOC Mania in the Communications of the ACM, Moshe Y. Vardi worries that 'the enormous buzz about MOOCs is not due to the technology's intrinsic educational value, but due to the seductive possibilities of lower costs.' And in MOOCs Will Eat Academia, Vivek Haldar writes, 'MOOCs will almost certainly hollow out the teaching component of universities as it stands today...But all is not lost, because the other thing universities do is research, and that is arguably as important, if not more, than teaching.' So, are MOOCs the best thing since sliced bread, or merely the second coming of 1920s Postal Course Mania?"

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Tesla Motors Sued By Car Dealers
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '12 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-playing-by-industry-rules department:
An anonymous reader writes "Car dealers in New York and Massachusetts have filed a lawsuit that seeks to block Tesla from selling its pricey electric vehicles in those states. The dealers say they are defending state franchise laws, which require manufacturers to sell cars through dealers they do not own. Robert O'Koniewski of the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association says, 'Those dealers are investing millions of dollars in their franchises to make sure they comply with their franchise agreements with the manufacturers. Tesla is choosing to ignore the law and then is choosing to play outside that system.'"

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UK Court Sanctions Apple For Non-Compliance
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '12 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hope-it-was-worth-it department:
drinkypoo writes "We've been following the story that Apple was ordered by a UK court to post an apology to Samsung both in newspapers and on Apple's UK website. After originally posting a non-apology and then hiding a real one, Apple finally complied. Now, PJ over at Groklaw reports on the ruling from the UK court itself, which condemns Apple's conduct in this matter. 'Since Apple did not comply with the order in its estimation, adding materials that were not ordered and in addition were "false," the judges ordered Apple to pay Samsung's lawyers' fees on an indemnity basis, and they add some public humiliation.' The judge wrote, 'Finally I should mention the time for compliance. Mr Beloff, on instructions (presumably given with the authority of Apple) told us that "for technical reasons" Apple needed fourteen days to comply. I found that very disturbing: that it was beyond the technical abilities of Apple to make the minor changes required to own website in less time beggared belief. ... I hope that the lack of integrity involved in this incident is entirely atypical of Apple.'"

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Toshiba Pursues Copyright Claim Against Laptop Manual Site
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '12 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's overactive-legal-team department:
An anonymous reader writes "I'm sure most Slashdot readers have had occasion to suffer through a hardware manufacturer's terrible website in search of product documentation. It's often hidden away in submenus of submenus, and if your product is more than a couple years old, you probably have to wade through broken links. One guy has been helping to change that; he runs a site called Tim's Laptop Service Manuals, where he collects by hand materials from many different companies and hosts them together in one spot. Now Toshiba has become aware of his project, and helpfully forced him to remove all of their manuals under a copyright claim."

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Climate Change Could Drive Coffee To Extinction By 2080
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '12 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's right-here-in-ponca-city department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Coffee is the world's favorite beverage and the second-most traded commodity after oil. Now Nick Collins reports that rising global temperatures and subtle changes in seasonal conditions could make 99.7 per cent of Arabica-growing areas unsuitable for the plant before the end of the century and in some areas as soon as 2020. Even if the beans do not disappear completely from the wild, climate change is highly likely to impact yields. The taste of coffee, a beverage of choice among Slashdot readers, will change in future decades. 'The worst case scenario, as drawn from our analyses, is that wild Arabica could be extinct by 2080,' says Justin Moat. 'This should alert decision makers to the fragility of the species.'" Read more, below.

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Why You Can't Build Your Own Smartphone: Patents
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '12 at 04:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's hard-to-count-'em-all department:
jfruh writes "In the mid-00s, more and more people started learning about Android, a Linux-based smartphone OS. Open source advocates in particular thought they could be seeing the mobile equivalent of Linux — something you could download, tinker with, and sell. Today, though, the Android market is dominated by Google and the usual suspects in the handset business. The reason nobody's been able to launch an Android empire from the garage is fairly straightforward: the average smartphone is covered by over 250,000 patents."

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GNOME 3.8 To Scrap Fallback Mode
Posted by News Fetcher on November 10 '12 at 12:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's g'day-mate department:
An anonymous reader writes "Via LXer, an article at Phoronix tells of GNOME's plans to eliminate 'fallback mode' (GNOME classic) in the 3.8 release."

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Amazon To Launch Sydney Data Center
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '12 at 09:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's cia-will-count-sheep-all-night department:
schliz writes "Amazon Web Services will unveil its first Australian data centers on Tuesday, ending more than a year of speculation. The move is expected to address enterprises' data soverignty and latency concerns, although local cloud providers argue that data held by U.S. company Amazon would still be subject to the Patriot Act."

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Foxconn Denies Plans For New US Operations
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '12 at 06:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's wishful-thinking department:
pigrabbitbear writes with an update to the story, based on a DigiTimes report, that iPhone maker Foxconn would be opening a new factory in the U.S.

"Foxconn makes a lot of stuff, but as it's one of Apple primary manufacturing partners, lots of people jumped to the salacious conclusion that a U.S.-based Foxconn factory could finally produce an American-made iPhone. Foxconn denied the DigiTimes report today. A company spokeswoman told CNET that the company actually 'already has multiple facilities based in the U.S.' but that 'there are no current plans to expand our operations there at this time.' Foxconn doesn't make iPhones in the existing U.S. factories, and they don't plan to."

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Windows 8 Defeats 85% of Malware Detected In the Past 6 Months
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '12 at 06:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's it's-like-voltron department:
An anonymous reader writes "Now that Windows 8 is on sale and has already been purchased by millions, expect very close scrutiny of Microsoft's latest and greatest security features. 0-day vulnerabilities are already being claimed, but what about the malware that's already out there? When tested against the top threats, Windows 8 is immune to 85 percent of them, and gets infected by 15 percent, according to tests run by BitDefender."

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CIA Director David Petraeus Resigns, Citing Affair
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '12 at 04:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's he's-no-clinton department:
Penurious Penguin writes "After serving as Director of the CIA since September 2011, David Petraeus resigned from his position today, November 9. The retired four-star Army general has cited an extramarital affair as reason for the resignation. Michael Morell will now serve as Acting Director of the CIA."

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Ask Slashdot: Which Virtual Machine Software For a Beginner?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '12 at 03:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-the-holodeck department:
An anonymous reader writes "I am getting ready to start learning the use of virtual machines. What VM software would you recommend? This is for personal use. It would be good to run both Windows VMs and Linux VMs. Early use would be maintaining multiple Windows installs using only one desktop computer with plenty of cores and memory. I would be starting with a Windows host, but probably later switching to a Linux host after I learn more about it. Free is good, but reliability and ease of use are better. What is your preferred choice for a VM beginner? VMware? Xen? VirtualBox? Something else?"
It may also be helpful if you can recommend particular VM software for particular uses, or provide some insight on different hosting options.

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Would Charles Darwin Have Made a Good Congressman?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '12 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's descent-by-natural-election department:
sciencehabit writes "It's a good 130 years too late to answer that question empirically, but at least symbolically Charles Darwin has won support from more than 4000 voters in the 10th congressional district of Georgia, thanks to an initiative headed by James Leebens-Mack, a plant biologist at the University of Georgia in Athens. Like many others, Leebens-Mack was deeply troubled by a speech his Congressman, Paul Broun (R-GA), gave at an Athens church in October deriding teachings on evolution, embryology, and the big bang theory as 'lies straight from the pit of Hell.' Broun, a medical doctor, is a member of the U.S. House of Representative's Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, and chair of its Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight. Leebens-Mack says the 'protest vote should make it clear to future opponents that there are a lot of people in the district who are not happy with antiscience statements.'"

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NASA Pondering L2 Outpost, Return To Moon
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '12 at 03:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's moon-mars-L2-just-go-somewhere department:
New submitter Joiseybill writes "Now that the election is over, any voters that may have been influenced can rest easy. Space.com reports that the agency has been 'thinking about setting up a manned outpost beyond the moon's far side, both to establish a human presence in deep space and to build momentum toward a planned visit to an asteroid in 2025.' Space policy expert John Logsdon said, 'NASA has been evolving its thinking, and its latest charts have inserted a new element of cislunar/lunar gateway/Earth-moon L2 sort of stuff into the plan. They've been holding off announcing that until after the election.' According to the article, 'Rumors currently point toward parking a spacecraft at the Earth-moon L2 gateway, so NASA (and perhaps international partners) can learn more about supporting humans in deep space. Astronauts stationed there could also aid in lunar exploration — by teleoperating rovers on the moon's surface, for example.'"

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Patent System Not Broken, Argues IBM's Chief Patent Counsel
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's which-is-good-because-being-broken-is-patented department:
New submitter TurinX writes "Unsurprisingly, IBM's Chief Patent Counsel, Manny Schecter, thinks the patent system isn't broken. He says, 'Patent disputes like [the Apple-Samsung case] are a natural characteristic of a vigorously competitive industry. And they're nothing new: Similar skirmishes have historically occurred in areas as diverse as sewing machines, winged flight, agriculture, and telegraph technology. Each marked the emergence of incredible technological advances, and each generated similar outcries about the patent system. We are actually witnessing fewer patent suits per patent issued today than the historical average.'"
Regarding software patents, he argues, "If patent litigation caused by the U.S. patent system stifled innovation, U.S. software companies would not be the most successful in the world." His recommendation is that we should be patient and "let the system work." Schecter's editorial at Wired is one of a series of expert opinions on the patent system; we've already discussed Richard Stallman's contribution.

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Project Orca: How an IT Disaster Destroyed Republicans' Get-Out-The-Vote Effort
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '12 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's whale-of-a-campaign-killer department:
cheesecake23 writes "Many talking heads have attributed Obama's success to an unmatched 'ground game.' Now, inside reports from campaign volunteers suggest that Project Orca, a Republican, tech-based voter monitoring effort with 37,000 volunteers in swing states, turned out to be an epic failure due to dismal IT. Problems ranged from state-wide incorrect PINs, to misleading and delayed information packets delivered to volunteers, to a server outage and missing redirection of secure URLs."

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Moore's Law Is Becoming Irrelevant, Says ARM's Boss
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '12 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-useful-anymoore department:
holy_calamity writes "PCs will inevitably shift over to ARM-based chips because efficiency now matters more than gains in raw performance, the CEO of chip designer ARM tells MIT Technology Review. He also says the increasing adoption of ARM-based suppliers is good for innovation (and for prices) because it spurs a competitive environment. 'There’s been a lot more innovation in the world of mobile phones over the last 15-20 years than there has been in the world of PCs.'"

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Book Review: Presentation Patterns
Posted by News Fetcher on November 09 '12 at 12:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it department:
MassDosage writes "In a remarkable show of good timing Presentation Patterns turned up on my desk for review within days of me having been asked to give a presentation at a large tech conference. So I decided to read the book as I worked on my presentation and apply any lessons learned as I worked my way through it. The word "patterns" in the book's title will be known to most software developers as a reference to the seminal 'Gang of four' software design patterns book which codified common solutions to software problems. The concept of patterns originated in building architecture with the idea being that by categorizing and naming solutions to problems, a common vocabulary could be built up that allowed practitioners in a certain field to communicate more effectively. This was hugely successful and has spawned the idea of looking for patterns in many other areas which is where this book comes in." Read on for the rest of Mass Dosage's review. Presentation Patterns: Techniques for Crafting Better Presentations
author Neal Ford, Matthew McCollough, Nathaniel Schutta
pages 265
publisher Addison-Wesley
rating 7.5/10
reviewer Mass Dosage
ISBN 978-0-321-82080-8
summary Techniques for Crafting Better Presentations

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