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Teaching Natural Sciences To Social Science Students?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '12 at 02:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's use-lots-of-food-and-rent-analogies department:
An anonymous reader writes "As a calculus professor for a small undergraduate institution, I normally lecture students who are majoring in the natural (or 'hard') sciences, such as mathematics, physics, and computer science. In fact, I have done so for almost thirteen years. However, for the first time this fall semester, we have a shortage of professors on our hands. As a result of this, I have been asked to teach a general education statistics class. Such classes are a major requirement for the large psychology student body we have here. I have never lectured social science students in any mathematics-related classes. My question to the Slashdot community is as follows: What are your experiences with teaching natural science classes to social science students? How is the experience the same or different in comparison to natural science students who may be more adept to the nuances of mathematics and other similar fields?"

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Georgia Apple Store Refuses To Sell iPad To Iranian-American Teen
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '12 at 01:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's cultural-profiling department:
pdclarry writes "An Iranian-American teenager was told by an Apple store employee that they could not sell her an iPad because it would violate U.S. trade restrictions. She returned to the store with a camera crew from a local TV station and was again turned down. Apparently an Apple employee heard her speaking Farsi. As he was also of Iranian extraction he recognized the language and used this as a basis for refusal."

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Witness Ridicules 'Hands-On' Reviews of Surface
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '12 at 12:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's elbows-only-reviews-from-now-on department:
Freshly Exhumed writes "Danny Sullivan over at Marketing Land has been tipped over the edge by various colleagues: 'After seeing yet another "hands-on" review of the Microsoft Surface tablet, I thought it would be interesting to shed more light on what exactly the journalists who assembled in Hollywood this week for the Surface launch event actually got to do with the tablets. In short, not a lot. Come along as I explain the hands-off reality of what I saw.' In response to Sullivan's criticisms, TechRadar contributor Mary To Many rebuts that merely touching something that does not operate nor even truly exist equates to an actual hands-on review. So, what do Slashdotters expect a "hands-on" review to reveal and/or include?"

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IP Lawfirm Sues Typosquatting Security Researcher
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '12 at 11:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's sure-would-be-a-shame-if-somethin'-was-t'-happen department:
First time accepted submitter scottbee writes "A major New York intellectual property lawfirm has filed a $1m lawsuit against domain squatter/security researcher Wesley Kenzie (aka Securikai). Kenzie registered domain names to collect misaddressed email, and then holding companies to ransom claiming he had found security vulnerabilities and would consult for five figure engagements. Lockheed Martin handled it with a simple UDRP, but the Gioconda Law Group decided instead to file a lawsuit for 'cybersquatting, trademark infringement and unlawful interception of a law firm's private electronic communications in violation of federal laws,' along with a permanent injunction. Kenzie had also tried the same tactic against Rapid7's HDMoore, but was shamed out of the domain names earlier this year."

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Turing Archive Director Questions Alan Turing Suicide Report
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '12 at 10:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's article-of-faith department:
That Alan Turing committed suicide is widely accepted as fact. Now, an anonymous reader writes, "According to Professor Jack Copeland, director of the The Turing Archive for the History of Computing, 'The coroner [in Turing's case] didn't really investigate the evidence at all, he just jumped to the conclusion that he committed suicide. He seems to have been very biased from the statements in newspapers at the time.' Copeland further said that medical evidence suggested Turing died from inhaling cyanide rather than drinking or ingesting it."

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RIM Considers Spinning Off Handset Business From Messaging
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '12 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's does-anyone-second-the-motion? department:
According to this Reuters report, RIM is considering separating its messaging network business from its manufacture of handsets, and either listing the resulting new company separately, or selling it to another firm. According to the article, "Potential buyers would include Amazon and Facebook, it reported, adding that RIM's messaging network could also be sold, or opened up to rivals such as Apple and Google to generate income. An alternative option would be to keep the company together but sell a stake to a larger technology firm such as Microsoft."

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More Hot Weather For Southern California, Says UCLA Study
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '12 at 08:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's 469.9-times-more-spurious-precision department:
The L.A. Times reports on a study by UCLA climate researchers who conclude, based on supercomputer analysis of a model "2,500 times more precise than previous climate models for the region" that the area around L.A. will experience more (and more extreme) hot spells in decades to come. From the article: "The study, released Thursday, is the first to model the Southland's complex geography of meandering coastlines, mountain ranges and dense urban centers in high enough resolution to predict temperatures down to the level of micro climate zones, each measuring 2 1/4 square miles. The projections are for 2041 to 2060. Not only will the number of hot days increase, but the study found that the hottest of those days will break records, said Alex Hall, lead researcher on the study by UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability."

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Biotech Report Says IP Spurs Innovation
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '12 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's complicated-incentives-and-disincentives department:
ananyo writes "A report presented at the 2012 BIO International Convention in Boston, Massachusetts suggests that patents do not stifle progress when they occur at early phases of research, as some have suggested. Over the past decade, increases in patents have been matched by growth in the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors in India, Brazil, Singapore and other countries with emerging economies. The strength of patent rights can be quantified in an index ranging from 0 (no patent rights) to 5 (very strong). Over time, the countries that U.S. biotech and pharmaceutical companies have invested in have moved up the IP barometer, the report (PDF) says."

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Microsoft Blocks FSF Donation Website As a 'Gambling Site'
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '12 at 05:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's what-are-the-odds? department:
An anonymous reader writes "The FSF slammed Microsoft for categorizing donate.fsf.org website as a 'Gambling Site.' Corporate systems that use a Microsoft 'network security' program cannot access FSF donation website because of this and as a result, many people were unable to make donations. FSF has submitted a correction to Microsoft and they are now waiting for a response. However, John Sullivan warned corporate about Microsoft's proprietary network security programs."

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Fires Sparked By Utah Target Shooters Prompt Evacuations
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '12 at 04:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's dichotomy-not-only-odd-but-false department:
Hugh Pickens writes "The Salt Lake City Tribune reports that more than 9,000 people have been driven from their homes by a wind-whipped wildfire started by two shooters at landfill popular with target shooters who won't face any charges because they were not breaking any laws. The fire was the 20th this year in Utah sparked by target shooting where low precipitation, dry heat and high winds have hit the West hard, exacerbating the risk that bullets may glance off rocks and create sparks. Despite the increasing problem, local agencies are stuck in a legal quandary — the state's zealous protection of gun rights leaves fire prevention to the discretion of individuals — a freedom that allows for the careless to shoot into dry hills and rocks. When bullets strike rock, heated fragments can break off and if the fragments make contact with dry grass, which can burn at 450 to 500 degrees, the right conditions can lead to wildfires. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has called on Utahns to use more "common sense" in target shooting urging target shooters to use established indoor and outdoor ranges instead of tinder-dry public lands. "We can do better than that as Utahns," says Herbert, calling on shooters to "self-regulate," since legislation bars sheriff's officials from regulating firearms. "A lot of the problem we have out here is a lack of common sense.""

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Chinese Crew Completes Manual Docking With Orbiting Module
Posted by News Fetcher on June 24 '12 at 01:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's one-of-the-best-things-to-do-in-space department:
A few days back, the crew of the Shenzhou 9 were along for the ride as their craft docked to — or rather, was docked to — an orbiting module. On Sunday, the docking procedure was repeated, but under the direction of the Chinese astronauts themselves rather than controllers on the ground.

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Ethiopian Government Denies Banning Skype
Posted by News Fetcher on June 23 '12 at 10:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's those-greedy-capitalists department:
An anonymous reader writes "Last week, we read that Ethiopia banned using VoIP. According to the head of Communication Affairs the draft bill aims to discourage illegal use of internet telephony, not any VoIP calls made PC-to-PC or PC-to-phone. He also indicated that the draft bill prevents illegal use of internet phone as some people are making international calls with domestic charge." The distinctions here seem finer than I'd like (“We have not adopted a legislation that prevents people from using internet."), since what's legal seems unduly arbitrary, and since the draconian punishment proposed still stands: "According to the draft bill, anyone who uses internet phone illegally is punishable by up to 15 years in prison."

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Nvidia Engineer Asks How the Company Can Improve Linux Support
Posted by News Fetcher on June 23 '12 at 07:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's increase-its-sleep-number department:
sfcrazy writes "It seems that recent comments made by Linus Torvalds have made the people at NVIDIA take Linux more seriously. Recently Nvidia employee Stephen Warren asked in the Kernel Summit mailing list what could be done differently to make Linux support better. 'In a Google+ comment, Linus noted that we have mainly been contributing patches for Tegra SoC infra-structure details. I'm curious what other areas people might expect me/NVIDIA to contribute to. I assume the issue is mainly the lack of open support for the graphics-related parts of our HW, but perhaps there's some expectation that we'd also start helping out some core area of the kernel too? Would that kind of thing help our image even if we didn't open up our HW?'"

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U.S. Gas Prices Continue To Fall
Posted by News Fetcher on June 23 '12 at 05:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's just-when-I-stop-driving-so-much department:
First time accepted submitter nmpost writes "Earlier this year, as gas prices hit record highs in the winter and spring for that time of year, experts warned we were headed for all time records this summer. Something strange happened before every motorists recurring nightmare happened: gas prices actually started dropping. In fact, prices have fallen over $.50 since they peaked in the spring. Experts have now flipped their projections, and believe prices will continue to tumble through the fall."

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Vulnerable SAP Deployments Make Prime Attack Targets
Posted by News Fetcher on June 23 '12 at 04:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's don't-be-such-a-sap department:
wiredmikey writes "Using a combination of TCP scans and Google, security researchers found that nearly a quarter of the organizations running vulnerable versions of SAP are tempting fate by leaving them exposed to the Internet. This discovery, researchers from ERPScan say, dispels the myth that SAP systems are only available from the internal network, leading to the misconception that they are protected by design. By March 2012, there were more than 2,000 security advisories published by SAP. Of those, about 7% (124) have publicly available PoC (proof-of-concept) exploit code available to the public. Many of the issues discovered are related to poor configuration or poor deployment planning. For example, 212 SAP Routers were found in Germany, which were created mainly to route access to internal SAP systems. Another issue with the vulnerable and exposed SAP installations is that many of them run on Windows NT, creating a twin set of risks for the organization, as they have to contend with a bad SAP deployment and unsupported OS that is full of security issues all by itself."

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Apple Store Employees Soak Up the Atmosphere, But Not Much Cash
Posted by News Fetcher on June 23 '12 at 03:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's paid-entirely-in-itunes-scrip department:
raque writes "The NYTimes is reporting on just
how badly Apple Retail employees are being paid
. Apple is exploiting its fan base for cheap labor. This is one reason I don't go to Apple Stores if I can avoid it. Stores like NY's Tekserve offer a great shopping experience without so exploiting their workers."
Would you rather start at an Apple store for $11.91 an hour (average starting base pay, according to the linked article) and an employee discount, or at Tiffany for $15.60?

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Cyanide-Producing GM Grass Linked To Texas Cattle Deaths
Posted by News Fetcher on June 23 '12 at 02:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-that's-just-creepy department:
Peristaltic writes "Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are trying to determine if an unexpected mutation in a popular GM grass, Tifton 85, is responsible for the sudden deaths of a small herd of cattle in Elgin, Texas three weeks ago. The grass has been used for grazing since 1992 without incident, however after a severe drought last year in Texas, the grass started producing cyanide in sufficient quantities to kill a small herd of cattle in Elgin, Texas. Testing has found the cyanide-producing grass in nearby fields as well."

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Wikipedia As a "War Zone," Rather Than a Collaboration
Posted by News Fetcher on June 23 '12 at 01:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's one-way-to-look-at-it department:
horselight writes "A new study by sociologists studying social networking have determined that Wikipedia is not an intellectual project based on mutual collaboration, but a war zone. The study finds that although the content does end up being accurate as a rule, it's anything but neutral or unbiased. The study includes extensive data on access and editing patterns of users related to major events, such as the death of Michael Jackson and the edit storms that ensued." The article explains that the research (here's the paper at PLoS One) looked in particular at controversial entries, not ones about obscure duck-hunting equipment or long-settled standards.

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Ask Slashdot: No-Install Programming At Work?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 23 '12 at 12:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's you-were-never-here department:
An anonymous reader writes "Hello! Every summer (and other holidays) the work load at my job becomes minimal. I like scripting (HTML, CSS etc.) and would like to get into programming just to tinker a bit due to curiosity. At work we are not allowed to install anything except company approved software. Is there something I can program in that has an IDE like PortableApps.com? I guess I am asking for a recommendation on both language and IDE at the same time. Again, I want to reiterate that this is to satisfy my tinkering curiosity and thus not need something great, just something more advanced than HTML/CSS."

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Sexy Female Scientist Video Draws Fire
Posted by News Fetcher on June 23 '12 at 11:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's marie-curie-or-mary-lou-jepson-or-danica-mckellar department:
sciencehabit writes "A new video released by the The European Commission — ostensibly aimed at getting girls interested in science — is drawing widespred condemnation from around the web for its depiction of female scientists as sexy models strutting into the frame in high heels and short skirts. A male scientist watching them from behind his microscope doesn't seem to mind that none of them are wearing safe lab attire—he just pops his glasses on for a better look. The rest of the video is a mish-mash of heels, nail polish, lipstick, and sexily smoldering Erlenmeyer flasks, arbitrarily punctuated by girly giggles." The Commission denies that the video (since pulled) was a parody, but they've certainly set the bar high for anyone who wanted to make an actual parody.

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