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CERN Physicists Generate Hottest Man-Made Temperatures Ever: ~5.5 Trillion K
Posted by News Fetcher on August 14 '12 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's time-for-s'mores department:
Diggester sends this quote from Nature News:
"Physicists at CERN's Large Hadron Collider have achieved the hottest man-made temperatures ever, by colliding lead ions to momentarily create a quark gluon plasma, a subatomic soup and unique state of matter that is thought to have existed just moments after the Big Bang. The results come from the ALICE heavy-ion experiment — a lesser-known sibling to ATLAS and CMS, which produced the data that led to the announcement in July that the Higgs boson had been discovered. ALICE physicists, presenting on Monday at Quark Matter 2012 in Washington DC, say they have achieved a quark gluon plasma 38% hotter than a record 4 trillion degree plasma achieved in 2010 by a similar experiment at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, which had been anointed the Guinness record holder."

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Inside the Real Economy Behind Fake Twitter Followers
Posted by News Fetcher on August 14 '12 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's black-market-cares-what-you-had-for-breakfast department:
colinneagle writes "People continue to pay money for Twitter followers, and, naturally, a deep network of developers and merchants has arisen to feed the market. A Barracuda Labs study found that the average dealer has the capacity to control as many as 150,000 followers at a time, sometimes more. Those who can control 20,000 fake accounts and can attract sales of $20 or more — the going rate is 1,000 followers for a minimum of $18 — stand to earn roughly $800 per day, according to Barracuda Labs. Keep in mind that very little of this work is manual; the dealers could easily control a system of botnets and set up a few software tools to automate much of the process. Using Twitter's API, developers can design programs that collect all the information of a given group of Twitter users, such as, for example, the 800,000 users following Mitt Romney's account. These programs don't necessarily hijack these accounts — they copy the images and text from their profiles and tweets. This pool of information can then be automatically ported into accounts based on an algorithm that automates the registration process on a massive scale."

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Office To Become Fully Open XML Compliant (at Last)
Posted by News Fetcher on August 14 '12 at 11:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's super-fast-turnaround department:
Andy Updegrove writes "Between 2005 and 2008, an unparalleled standards war was waged between Microsoft, on the one hand, and IBM, Google, Oracle and additional companies on the other. At the heart of the battle were two document formats, one called ODF, developed by OASIS, a standards development consortium, and Open XML, a specification developed by Microsoft. Both were submitted to, and adopted by, global standards groups ISO/IEC. But then Microsoft never fully adopted its own standard. Instead, it implemented what it called 'Transitional Open XML,' which was better adapted for use in connection with documents created using older versions of Office. Yesterday, Microsoft announced in a blog entry that it will finally make it possible for Office users to open, edit and save documents in the format that ISO/IEC approved."

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WikiLeaks Back Online After Massive DDoS Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on August 14 '12 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's of-barn-doors-and-horses department:
Trailrunner7 writes "Controversial document-sharing site WikiLeaks was back online Monday evening after sustaining a week-long distributed denial-of-service attack. The organization apparently received some extra capacity and assistance from Web performance and security firm Cloudfare to counter the 10 gigabits per second of bogus traffic that overwhelmed servers for numerous WikiLeaks domains and several supporters' sites. Targets included WikiLeaks' news aggregation site and its donations infrastructure, which it calls the Fund for Network Neutrality. A few days ago the organization posted a statement describing what it surmised was a DNS amplification attack. 'Broadly speaking, this attack makes use of open DNS servers where attackers send a small request to, the fast DNS servers then amplify the request, the request has now increased somewhat in size and is sent to the server of wikileaks-press.org. If an attacker then exploits hundreds of thousands of open DNS resolvers and sends millions of requests to each of them, the attack becomes quite powerful. We only have a small uplink to our server, the size of all these requests was 100,000 times the size of our uplink.'"

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Ask Slashdot: What's the Best Place To Relocate?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 14 '12 at 10:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's offworld-colonies-are-nice-this-time-of-year department:
New submitter tsakas writes: "I am an IT researcher from southern Europe looking for a good place to relocate. Markets are pulling the teeth out of the strong European countries by destroying the south. The U.S. is in debt and there is no way of telling how long this can go on. China and India are on the rise. Brazil and Australia are looking good. The question: Which city would you choose to go and start a family if you were to stay there for a) 5, b) 10 and c) 20 years?"

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Korean Artist's Intentionally Useless Satellite To Launch This December
Posted by News Fetcher on August 14 '12 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's hey-it-beats-working department:
An anonymous reader quotes the introduction to Inhabit's article on the upcoming launch of an art project cum satellite intended to be as different as possible from conventional space hardware: "South Korean artist Song Hojun has created his own DIY satellite from scratch – and he's planning to launch it into space this coming December. Song created the satellite from assorted junk he found in back-alley electronics stores in his home town of Seoul, and over the course of six years he has finally managed to complete his space-bound project. Song's satellite cost just over $400 to make, however the cost of launching it to space is going to be a lot, lot more – over $100,000."

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Forget 6-Minute Abs: Learn To Code In a Day
Posted by News Fetcher on August 14 '12 at 09:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's which-day-is-the-question department:
whyloginwhysubscribe writes "The usually excellent BBC 'Click' programme has an article on 'Why computer code is the new language to learn' — which features a company in London who offer courses on learning to code in a day. The BBC clip has an interesting interview with a marketing director who, it seems to me, is going to go back and tell his programmers to speed up because otherwise he could do it himself! Decoded.co's testimonials page is particularly funny: 'I really feel like I could talk credibly to a coder, given we can now actually speak the same language.'"

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A Conversation with Rob Malda - Part Three; the Finale (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on August 14 '12 at 08:15 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's all-good-things-must-end-sooner-or-later department:
Part Two ran last Thursday. Part One ran last Wednesday. This is all a lead-up to Slashdot's Quinceañera, or 15th Birthday, this October. (Cue music: Fatboy Slim's Slash Dot Dash.) In this final part of The Conversation with Rob Malda, he talks a bit about what he's working on at The Washington Post, and leaves us waiting with bated breath for more information about projects he's not allowed to tell us about. Yet. So obviously, we'll want to get back with CmdrTaco before too long for an update. Meanwhile, please get ready for the Slashdot 15th Anniversary Celebration, which is sure to be at least as glorious as you would expect from Slashdot.

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Google Acquiring Frommer's In Big Travel Data Play
Posted by News Fetcher on August 14 '12 at 07:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's jes'-a-humble-and-clean-search-engine department:
Nerval's Lobster writes with the widely-reported news that Google plans to acquire from publisher John Wiley & Sons the Frommer's travel guides,
along with Wiley's other travel-related publishing assets. "This marks Google's second purchase of a popular guide in less than a year. In September 2011, the search engine giant acquired Zagat, with the intention of mining the company's enormous trove of data on restaurants and local points of interest. Zagat scores and summaries now appear in the Google+ Local tab (present on the left rail of the Google+ profile page). Google's acquisition streak reveals a particular conundrum facing tech companies that offer travel and location services: you can assign thousands of the world's best software engineers the task of creating a simple, intuitive interface for ferreting out the best airline fares or restaurants—but sooner or later, you'll need to fill that system with reliable content."

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Alternative To QR Code Uses NFC and Cheap Rectennas
Posted by News Fetcher on August 14 '12 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's which-infrastructure-do-you-prefer? department:
An anonymous reader writes "The BBC reports researchers in Korea have developed a technology that can be used as a viable alternative to QR codes. Made of plastic and electronic ink the rectennas cost less than one penny each to produce and use the NFC standards for wireless radio communication to devices. They are seen as a cheap, easy to print and environmentally friendly way to overcome the limitations and inconvenience of QR codes, whose usage has greatly increased in the last few years."

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Researchers Seek Help Cracking Gauss Mystery Payload
Posted by News Fetcher on August 14 '12 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's fabulous-prizes-await department:
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at Kaspersky Lab are asking the public for help in cracking an encrypted warhead that gets delivered to infected machines by the recently discovered Gauss malware toolkit. They're publishing encrypted sections and hashes in the hope that cryptographers will be able to help them out."

Adds reader DavidGilbert99: "The so-called Godel module is targeting a specific machine with specific system configurations, and Kaspersky believes the victim is likely a high-profile target. The decryption key, Kaspersky believes, will be derived from these specific system configurations, and so far it has been unable to find out what they are."

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Cherry MX Mechanical Keyboard Switches Compared
Posted by News Fetcher on August 14 '12 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's so-its-back-to-scouring-thriftstores department:
crookedvulture writes "Keyboards with mechanical key switches are enjoying a renaissance of sorts. They're prized by gamers, coders, and writers alike, and Cherry's MX switches are the most popular on newer models. There are MX blue, brown, black, and red switches, each with a different tactile feel and audible note. This comparison of four otherwise identical Rosewill keyboards details how each switch type feels and sounds, complete with audio recordings of the various colors in action. Recommended reading for anyone considering a mechanical keyboard or one of the Rosewills, which cost about $100. Looks like the removable USB cord on these particular models is prone to breakage."

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Ask Slashdot: Open Source Software To Manage Student Grades?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 14 '12 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's vi-is-all-you-need department:
An anonymous reader writes "I have been assigned the task of finding a software package to automate the management of grades in a high school. It does not need to be a complete system, but rather just manage grading calculations and printing of report cards. The management of grades is currently done using spreadsheets. What are some open source options to handle this situation?"

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Electronic Retailers In Europe Now Required To Take Back Old Goods
Posted by News Fetcher on August 14 '12 at 05:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's also-you-must-never-go-bankrupt department:
Qedward writes with this excerpt about the EU approach to E-waste: "A European Union law that will require all large electronic retailers to take back old equipment came into force yesterday. The new rules are part of a shake-up of the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive and will gradually be implemented across the EU over the next seven years. Waste electrical and electronic equipment, or WEEE, is one the fastest growing waste streams in the EU, but currently only one-third of electrical and electronic waste is separately collected and appropriately treated. Systematic collection and proper treatment is essential for recycling materials like gold, silver, copper and rare metals in used TVs, laptops and mobile phones."

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House Representatives Working On NASA Reform Bill
Posted by News Fetcher on August 14 '12 at 04:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's free-bags-of-pork-rinds-to-all-texans department:
MarkWhittington writes with good and bad news about NASA's future budgets. From the article: "Rep. John Culberson, along with Rep. Frank Wolf, are developing a bill that will attempt to rationalize NASA's budget process and provide some long term continuity in its administration. First, a NASA administrator would be named to a ten year term. The intent is to provide some continuity in the way the space agency is run and to remove it, as much as possible, from the vagaries of politics. Second, NASA funding would be placed on a multi-year rather than annual cycle. This is of particular importance to the space agency because the majority of its high level projects take several years to run their course. If funding were fixed for a number of years, the theory goes, money could be spent more efficiently. NASA planners would know how much they have to spend four or so years going forward and would not have to worry about being cut off at the knees by Congressional appropriators year after year."

But is it more than political grandstanding in an election year? There might be a few problems: NASA could get stuck with a bad administrator, multi-year budgets might be a bit unconstitutional, etc.

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Creating a School Computer Lab With Ubuntu For $0
Posted by News Fetcher on August 14 '12 at 02:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's linux-isn't-that-a-virus department:
An anonymous reader writes "Here is an interesting story of a school in Oakland that used old computers running Ubuntu and OpenOffice.org to provide a school computer lab for students."

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Touch Interfaces In Cars Difficult To Use
Posted by News Fetcher on August 14 '12 at 01:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's states-ban-changing-fan-speed-while-driving department:
An anonymous reader writes an article about touch screen dash interfaces in cars (in particular Cadillac's "CUE" interface). From the article: "I do not recall anyone ever complaining about the iOS interface and there have been plenty of attempts to replicate the experience and its flow of control. ... As simple as iOS may appear on the surface, it is incredibly well-executed balance that matches the requirements of a touch interface for phones, tablets and other horizontal screen devices. Changing the user scenario, hardware, or software will alter the requirements for the desired user experience as well. ... CUE is not as transparent in its usage as, for example, the iPhone. We are used to certain buttons that are located on the dash – sliders and dials that we expect in places that we can quickly memorize. In the end, you want to be able to reach for such a button without taking your eyes off the road. There are no such buttons on the XTS dash. Instead, there are some capacitive touch buttons for basic climate controls, audio volume and seat heating/cooling. Since the buttons are activated by touch, they feel the same."

A touchscreen UI for some functions sounds perfectly sane (how do I set the clock again?), but ditching all of the dash buttons sounds like a recipe for disaster. I've heard from iPod users (and my own experience with my long-dead Neuros echos) that the click wheel was easy to use blindly; the move to a touchscreen made it impossible to use without looking at it.

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Nokia Spinning Featurephones as Smartphones
Posted by News Fetcher on August 13 '12 at 11:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's the-thin-line department:
zacharye writes with an excerpt from BGR: "One reason for Nokia's surprisingly strong share price rebound over the past two weeks is the success of its new Asha feature phones in Asia. According to our sources in Delhi, the Asha 305 sold out in several stores soon after its debut even before the marketing campaign kicked in. Is it a coincidence that major Asian newspapers like The Philippine Star and Singapore's The Sun Daily describe Nokia's new Asha models as 'smartphones'? No. Nokia has done its very best to dress up its cheap new feature phones as something far more aspirational — to the extent that devices like Asha 305 are now widely depicted as smartphones across Asia and Africa. This is a critically important maneuver.."
Of course, maybe they are smartphones; the Asha appears to be speced better than the HTC Dream (1Ghz processor, albeit with only 128M of RAM), and they've added a lot of new features to Series40. But then it's still Series40 with JavaME.

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Watchdog "Not Ready" To Probe Cookie Complaints
Posted by News Fetcher on August 13 '12 at 08:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's cookie-monster's-reign-of-terror-continues department:
nk497 writes "The UK data watchdog has admitted it doesn't have any staff investigating cookie consent complaints, more than a year after the law came in via an EU directive. The regulation requires websites to ask before dropping cookies and other tracking devices onto users' computers, and came into law in May 2011. The Information Commissioner's Office gave websites a year's grace period to update their websites, but failed to use that time to get its team together, meaning the 320 reports of sites not in compliance it's already received haven't been investigated at all."

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Machine Learning Allows Actors To Create Games That Understand Body Language
Posted by News Fetcher on August 13 '12 at 06:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's i-can't-let-you-do-that-dave department:
ptresset writes "Goldsmiths college is developing technology with natural responses to human interaction. The technology enables video games characters to move in a more natural way, responding to the player's own body language rather than mathematical rules. The hypothesis is that the actors' artistic understanding of human behavior will bring an individuality, subtlety and nuance to the character that it would be difficult to create in hand-authored models."

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