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US Supreme Court Says Wiretapping Immunity Will Stand
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '12 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's give-the-people-what-we-want department:
wiredmikey writes "The U.S. Supreme Court said this week it will let stand an immunity law on wiretapping viewed by government as a useful anti-terror tool but criticized by privacy advocates. The top U.S. court declined to review a December 2011 appeals court decision that rejected a lawsuit against AT&T for helping the NSA monitor its customers' phone calls and Internet traffic. Plaintiffs argue that the law allows the executive branch to conduct 'warrantless and suspicionless domestic surveillance' without fear of review by the courts and at the sole discretion of the attorney general. The Obama administration has argued to keep the immunity law in place, saying it would imperil national security to end such cooperation between the intelligence agencies and telecom companies. The Supreme Court is set to hear a separate case later this month in which civil liberties' group are suing NSA officials for authorizing unconstitutional wiretapping."

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US and EU Clash Over Whois Data
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '12 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-going-to-spark-world-war-3 department:
itwbennett writes "ICANN wants to store more data (including credit card information) about domain name registrations in its Whois database, wants to hold on to that data for two years after registration ends, and wants to force registrant contact information to be re-verified annually — moves that are applauded by David Vladeck, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. The E.U.'s Article 29 Working Group is markedly less enthusiastic, saying ICANN's plans trample on citizens' right to privacy."

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Apple Maps Accidentally Reveals Secret Military Base In Taiwan
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '12 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's no-harm-no-foul department:
redletterdave writes "After one Taiwanese newspaper snapped and printed a satellite photo of a top-secret military base from the new Maps application running on an iPhone 5, the defense ministry of Taiwan on Tuesday publicly requested Apple blur the sensitive images of the country's classified military installations. The top-secret radar base, located in the northern county of Hsinchu, contains a highly-advanced ultra-high-frequency long-range radar that military officials say can detect missiles launched as far away as the city of Xinjiang, which is located in northwest China. The radar system was obtained via U.S.-based defense group Raytheon in 2003, and is still being constructed with hopes to be completed by the end of this year. 'Regarding images taken by commercial satellites, legally we can do nothing about it,' said David Lo, the spokesman of Taiwan's defense ministry, in a statement to reporters. 'But we'll ask Apple to lower the resolution of satellite images of some confidential military establishments the way we've asked Google in the past.'"

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Ubuntu Asks Users To Pay What They Want
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '12 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's pay-what-you-want-to-continue-breathing department:
New submitter major_lima sends this excerpt from Ars:
"When a typical user downloads Ubuntu for free and installs it on a computer with a Windows license that the user did pay for, Canonical gets nothing in the form of payment. There's nothing wrong with that — this is the open source world, after all, and many people contribute to Ubuntu with code rather than money. But starting this week, Canonical is presenting desktop OS downloaders with an optional donation form. ... 'Pay what you think it's worth,' and 'Show Ubuntu some love' are among the messages users will see, and downloaders can direct their donations to specific parts of Ubuntu development. ... Once you donate, the Ubuntu desktop starts downloading. Or, you can just skip the donation and download the OS for free, just as you always could. For some reason, the donation page is not presented to Ubuntu Server users."

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Is Mobile Broadband a Luxury Or a Human Right?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '12 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's thou-shalt-not-be-stuck-with-dial-up department:
concealment sends this quote from an article at CNN:
"Moderating a discussion on the future of broadband, Mashable editor-in-chief Lance Ulanoff tossed a provocative question to the audience: 'By quick show of hands, how many out there think that broadband is a luxury?' Next question: 'How many out there think it is a human right?' That option easily carried the audience vote. Broadband access is too important to society to be relegated to a small, privileged portion of the world population, Hans Vestberg, president and CEO of Ericsson, said during the discussion. Dr. Hamadoun Touré, secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union, echoed Vestberg's remarks. 'We need to make sure all the world's inhabitants are connected to the goodies of the online world, which means better health care, better education, more sustainable economic and social development,' Touré said."

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Dying Star Weaves a Trillion-Mile-Wide Spiral In the Sky
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '12 at 11:31 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's show-off department:
The Bad Astronomer writes "Using the newly-commissioned ALMA radio observatory, astronomers have taken detailed images of one of the most amazing objects in the sky: the red giant R Sculptoris (abstract). As the star dies, it undergoes gigantic seizures beneath its surface that blast out waves of gas and dust from the surface. These normally expand into a spherical shell, but the presence of a nearby companion star changes things. The combined orbits of the two stars fling out the material like a garden sprinkler, forming enormous and incredibly beautiful spiral arms. Measuring the size and shape of the spiral shows the last eruption was 1800 years ago, lasted for nearly two centuries, and expelled enough material to make a thousand earths."

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Counterfeit Air Bag Racket Blows Up
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '12 at 10:46 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's why-are-pigeons-coming-out-of-my-steering-wheel department:
Hugh Pickens writes "According to Joan Lowy of the Associated Press, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has alerted the auto repair industry that tens of thousands of car owners may be driving vehicles with counterfeit air bags, which fail to inflate properly or don't inflate at all. Although no deaths or injuries have been tied to the counterfeit bags, it's unclear whether police accident investigators would be able to identify a counterfeit bag from a genuine one. The counterfeit bags typically have been made to look like air bags from automakers, and usually include a manufacturer's logo, but government investigators believe many of the bags come from China. Auto dealerships that operate their own body shops are usually required by their franchise agreements to buy their parts, including air bags, directly from automakers and therefore are unlikely to have installed counterfeit bags. But only 37 percent of auto dealers have their own body shops, so many consumers whose vehicles have been damaged are referred by their insurance companies to auto body shops that aren't affiliated with an automaker. Safety officials will warn millions of Americans that the air bags in over 100 vehicle models could be dangerous counterfeits, telling them to have their cars and trucks inspected as soon as possible. Dai Zhensong, a Chinese citizen, had the counterfeit air bags manufactured by purchasing genuine auto air bags that were torn down and used to produce molds to manufacture the counterfeit bags. Trademark emblems were purchased through dealerships located in China and affixed to the counterfeit air bags, which were then advertised on the Guangzhou Auto Parts website and sold for approximately $50 to $70 each, far below the value of an authentic air bag. The NHTSA has made a list of automobiles available that may be at risk for having counterfeit air bags."

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Half-Life of DNA is 521 Years, Jurassic Park Impossible After All
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '12 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's unless-you-have-a-time-machine department:
another random user writes with this quote from Nature News:
"Few researchers have given credence to claims that samples of dinosaur DNA have survived to the present day, but no one knew just how long it would take for genetic material to fall apart. Now, a study of fossils found in New Zealand is laying the matter to rest — and putting paid to hopes of cloning a Tyrannosaurus rex (abstract). After cell death, enzymes start to break down the bonds between the nucleotides that form the backbone of DNA, and micro-organisms speed the decay. In the long run, however, reactions with water are thought to be responsible for most bond degradation. Groundwater is almost ubiquitous, so DNA in buried bone samples should, in theory, degrade at a set rate. Determining that rate has been difficult because it is rare to find large sets of DNA-containing fossils with which to make meaningful comparisons. To make matters worse, variable environmental conditions such as temperature, degree of microbial attack and oxygenation alter the speed of the decay process. By comparing the specimens' ages and degrees of DNA degradation, the researchers calculated that DNA has a half-life of 521 years. That means that after 521 years, half of the bonds between nucleotides in the backbone of a sample would have broken; after another 521 years half of the remaining bonds would have gone; and so on."

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Geneticists And Economists Clash Over "Genoeconomics" Paper
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '12 at 09:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's go-go-godwin department:
scibri writes "One side is accused of supporting ethnic cleansing; the other of being intellectually naive. Geneticists and economists are struggling to collaborate on research that explores how our genes influence and interact with economic behavior. Top economists are publishing a paper that claims a country's genetic diversity can predict the success of its economy. To critics, the economists' paper seems to suggest that a country's poverty could be the result of its citizens' genetic make-up, and the paper is attracting charges of genetic determinism, and even racism. But the economists say that they have been misunderstood, and are merely using genetics as a proxy for other factors that can drive an economy, such as history and culture."

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Soon to Be Released CKEditor 4 Features New Skin And Inline Editing
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '12 at 09:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's crawling-out-of-1999 department:
PsxMeUP writes "CKEditor, one of the world's most popular WYSIWYG HTML editors, is getting a new default skin. The winner, Rafal Bromirski, will also receive $1000. The new design is going with the trendy monochrome look. The skin will be used with the soon-to-be-released CKEditor 4, which will feature inline editing."

I recommend checking out the inline editing demo. Who needs <tt>textarea</tt> any more?

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Once Valued at $1.8B, OnLive Was Sold For Only $5M
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '12 at 09:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's how-the-mighty-have-fallen department:
gabebear writes with details of what happened to OnLive back in August: "In a firesale, OnLive, which was once valued at $1.8bn, was sold for practically nothing. Workers are mostly losing their jobs and stock options and investors are having to write off their investment."

More details.

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Expenditure Report Reveals Germany Monitors Skype, Google Mail, Facebook Chat
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '12 at 08:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's blame-the-accountants department:
hypnosec writes "The German Government has gone a bit too far trying to be transparent, inadvertently revealing that German police monitor Skype, Google Mail, MSN Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, and Facebook chat when necessary. The revelations, spotted by the annalist blog, come from a report of expenses incurred by the Federal Ministry of the Interior following a parliamentary inquiry. The report contains lots of tables and as many would find those boring, some highlights: On page 34 and page 37 of the report line item 486 and 265 respectively, represent decoding software for Google Mail, MSN Hotmail, Yahoo Mail for prevention and investigation."

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Steve Ballmer: We're a Devices and Services Company
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '12 at 08:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's not-like-they'll-be-around-in-ten-years department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "According to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's latest shareholder letter (not exactly a gripping read), Microsoft sees itself as a 'devices and services company.' The subsequent 1,200-odd words hammer that point, mentioning software such as Office and Windows 8 largely in the context of tablets and other hardware — and while Ballmer acknowledges the 'vast ecosystem of partners' building a 'broad spectrum of Windows PCs, tablets and phones,' he leaves the door wide open to Microsoft building its own toys in-house. If one takes Ballmer's words at face value, it seems that Surface, the tablet Microsoft's building in-house and promoting as a 'flagship' Windows 8 device, isn't so much a lark but the harbinger of the company's future direction. Whether Microsoft's decision to build its own devices affects its long-term relationship with Dell, Hewlett-Packard and other manufacturing titans remains to be seen. Perhaps Ballmer can take some comfort from Apple, which profited enormously by pursuing the 'we build everything in-house' route. But it's indisputable that a devices-centric approach is new ground for Microsoft."

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FSF Certifies First Device in "Respects Your Freedom" Program
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '12 at 07:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's free-as-in-hardware department:
Earlier this year, the Free Software Foundation announced a hardware endorsement campaign for hardware that respects the rights of its owner (no DRM, runs Free Software, support for open formats, no or freely licensed patents, etc.). Now, they've announced that the Lulzbot AO-100 3D Printer is the first device to pass certification and be endorsed by the FSF. Source code to both the hardware and software is available, naturally.

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A Day in Your Life, Fifteen Years From Now
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '12 at 07:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's time-travel department:
Fifteen years from now, your alarm goes off at 7:30 AM, pulling you out of a dead sleep. You roll over, grumbling a command, and the alarm obediently shuts up. You drift off again, but ten minutes later the alarm returns, more insistent. It won't be so easily pacified this time; the loose sensory netting inside your pillow will keep the noise going until it detects alpha waves in drastically higher numbers than theta waves. Or until it gets the automated password from the shower. Sighing, you roll out of bed, pull your Computing ID (CID) card from the alarm unit, and stumble out of the bedroom. Pausing briefly to drop your CID into your desktop computer, you make your way to the shower and begin washing. Your alarm triggered the shower's heating unit, so the water comes out at a pleasant 108 degrees, exactly your preference. (42 degrees, you remind yourself — the transition to metric still isn't second nature, after almost two full years.) You wash quickly to avoid exceeding your water quota, and step out refreshed, ready to meet the day. (Read on for more.)

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Following Huawei Report, US Rejects UN Telecom Proposals
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '12 at 06:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's doubleplus-good-for-freedom department:
jjp9999 writes "The Epoch Times reports that on Monday, the same day the Intelligence Committee released its report cautioning against Chinese telecom companies Huawei and ZTE, the U.S. said it will reject major changes to telecom at the World Administrative Telegraph and Telephone Conference in Dubai this December. The UN conference will be the first of its kind since 1988, and its members are pressing the U.S. to hand control of governing the Internet over to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Huawei and ZTE are both members of the ITU. Terry Kramer, the U.S. special envoy to the conference, said the US opposes proposals from some of the 'nondemocratic nations' that include tracking and monitoring content and user information, which 'makes it very easy for nations to monitor traffic.'"

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RSA Boss Angers Privacy Advocates
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '12 at 05:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's private-or-public-big-brother? department:
judgecorp writes "RSA boss Art Covielo trod on the toes of privacy proponents' toes at London's RSA 2012 show, by accusing them of faulty reasoning and over-stating their fears of Big Brother. By trying to limit what legitimate companies can do with our data, privacy groups are tying the hands of people who might protect us, he says. 'Where is it written that cyber criminals can steal our identities but any industry action to protect us invites cries of Big Brother.' Ever-outspoken, he also complained that governments and cyber-crooks are collaborating to breach organisations with sophisticated techniques. In that world, it is just as well vendors are whiter than white, eh?"

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ISS Robotic Arm Captures Dragon Capsule
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '12 at 05:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's capitalists-...-in-space! department:
puddingebola writes "From the aricle, 'The SpaceX Dragon capsule has been successfully grabbed by the International Space Station, marking the first time a private American space flight has run a supply mission to the orbiting platform. The crew of the ISS snatched Dragon out of orbit ahead of schedule, using the space station's robotic arm to guide the capsule in after its careful approach.' NASA has also posted video of the docking."

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HTC Profits Drop By 79%
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '12 at 04:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's fading-fast department:
An anonymous reader writes "HTC is the world's fifth largest phone maker, but it's starting to feel some serious pressure from giants like Samsung and Apple. HTC's third quarter net income dropped 79% from the previous quarter, and total revenues were down 48%. 'Sales of HTC's flagship One series, which debuted in February, are trailing off as Apple and Samsung spend four to six times more on marketing to ensure the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy SIII dominate the market, while strongly subsidizing their older models ... HTC's share of the global smartphone market by shipments fell to 5.8% in the second quarter from 10.7% a year earlier, according to Bloomberg. The company released its first Windows Phone 8 models in September, its most high-profile pre-Christmas launch, but Microsoft's operating system has yet to establish itself as a serious third player after Google's Android and Apple's iOS.'"

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Mysterious Algorithm Was 4% of Trading Activity Last Week
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '12 at 01:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's robot-overlords-doing-a-test-run department:
concealment sends this excerpt from CNBC:
"A single mysterious computer program that placed orders — and then subsequently canceled them — made up 4 percent of all quote traffic in the U.S. stock market last week, according to the top tracker of high-frequency trading activity. The motive of the algorithm is still unclear. The program placed orders in 25-millisecond bursts involving about 500 stocks, according to Nanex, a market data firm. The algorithm never executed a single trade, and it abruptly ended at about 10:30 a.m. ET Friday."

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