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Standard For Electric Car Charging Announced
Posted by News Fetcher on October 19 '12 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's which-automakers-will-promptly-ignore department:
SchrodingerZ writes "The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), an international syndicate, has unveiled what is to become the standard for electric car charging. In today's market there are hundreds of different methods and plugs to charge a variety of different cars, now a single multi use plug is announced as the world standard. Called the J1772 , it 'has two charging plugs incorporated into a single design and is said to reduce charging times from as long as eight hours to as little as 20 minutes.' The cumulative work of over 190 'global experts,' the plug can cater to both AC and DC currents for charging. The plug also sets a new standard on safety regulations, including 'its ability to be safely used in all weather conditions, and the fact that its connections are never live unless commanded by the car during charging.' The J1772 beat out its Japanese competitor the CHAdeMO, used as an option on the Nissan Leaf."

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No Microbes In First Sample From Lake Vostok
Posted by News Fetcher on October 19 '12 at 07:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's what-about-ancient-sea-monsters department:
ananyo writes "A first analysis of the ice that froze onto the drillbit used in last February's landmark drilling to a pristine Antarctic lake shows no native microbes came up with the lake water, according to Sergey Bulat of Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute (Russia). The very uppermost layer of Lake Vostock appears to be 'lifeless' so far, says Bulat, but that doesn't mean the rest of it is. Bulat and his colleagues counted the microbes present in the ice sample and checked their genetic makeup to figure out the phylotypes. They counted fewer than 10 microbes/ml — about the same magnitude they would expect to find in the background in their clean room."

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Randomly Generated Math Article Accepted By 'Open-Access' Journal
Posted by News Fetcher on October 19 '12 at 06:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's stochastically-orthogonal-and-trivially-affine department:
call -151 writes "Many years ago, a human-generated intentionally nonsense paper was accepted by the (prominent) literary culture journal Social Text. In August, a randomly-generated nonsense mathematics paper was accepted by one of the many low-tier 'open-access' research mathematics journals. The software Mathgen, which generated the accepted submission, takes as inputs author names (or those can be randomly selected also) and generates nicely TeX'd and impressive-sounding sentences which are grammatically correct but mathematically disconnected nonsense. This was reviewed by a human, (quickly, for math, in 12 days) and the reviewers' comments mention superficial problems with the submission (PDF). The references are also randomly-generated and rather hilarious. For those with concerns about submitting to lower-tier journals in an effort to promote open access, this is not a good sign!"

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Free Online Education Unwelcome In Minnesota
Posted by News Fetcher on October 19 '12 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's are-you-familiar-with-the-internet department:
An anonymous reader sends this quote from the Chronicle of Higher Education:
"[Minnesota's] Office of Higher Education has informed the popular provider of massive open online courses, or MOOC's, that Coursera is unwelcome in the state because it never got permission to operate there. It's unclear how the law could be enforced when the content is freely available on the Web, but Coursera updated its Terms of Service to include the following caution: 'Notice for Minnesota Users: Coursera has been informed by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education that under Minnesota Statutes (136A.61 to 136A.71), a university cannot offer online courses to Minnesota residents unless the university has received authorization from the State of Minnesota to do so. If you are a resident of Minnesota, you agree that either (1) you will not take courses on Coursera, or (2) for each class that you take, the majority of work you do for the class will be done from outside the State of Minnesota.' Tricia Grimes, a policy analyst for the state's Office of Higher Education, said letters had been sent to all postsecondary institutions known to be offering courses in Minnesota."

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Scientists Turn Air Into Petrol
Posted by News Fetcher on October 19 '12 at 05:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's take-that-dead-dinosaurs department:
rippeltippel writes "The Independent reports on a scientific breakthrough which would allow us to synthesize petrol from thin air. Quoting from the article: 'Air Fuel Synthesis in Stockton-on-Tees has produced five liters of petrol since August when it switched on a small refinery that manufactures gasoline from carbon dioxide and water vapor. The company hopes that within two years it will build a larger, commercial-scale plant capable of producing a ton of petrol a day. It also plans to produce green aviation fuel to make airline travel more carbon-neutral. ... Tim Fox, head of energy and the environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London, said: "It sounds too good to be true, but it is true. They are doing it and I've been up there myself and seen it. The innovation is that they have made it happen as a process. It's a small pilot plant capturing air and extracting CO2 from it based on well known principles. It uses well-known and well-established components but what is exciting is that they have put the whole thing together and shown that it can work." Although the process is still in the early developmental stages and needs to take electricity from the national grid to work, the company believes it will eventually be possible to use power from renewable sources such as wind farms or tidal barrages. "We've taken carbon dioxide from air and hydrogen from water and turned these elements into petrol," said Peter Harrison, the company's chief executive, who revealed the breakthrough at a conference at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in London."

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FTC Offers $50,000 For Best Way To Stop Robocalls
Posted by News Fetcher on October 19 '12 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's dial-A-for-annoying department:
coondoggie writes "It's not clear if the Federal Trade Commission is throwing up its hands at the problem or just wants some new ideas about how to combat it, but the agency is now offering $50,000 to anyone who can create what it calls an innovative way to block illegal commercial robocalls on landlines and mobile phones."

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Privacy Advocates Oppose Aussie Data Breach Laws
Posted by News Fetcher on October 19 '12 at 01:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's letting-them-know department:
schliz writes "This week, Australia's Attorney-General released a discussion paper about introducing laws that would force companies to notify members of the public any time personal information about that customer falls into the wrong hands. California introduced similar mandatory data breach notification laws in 2003, but Australian privacy advocates are now opposing the move, saying it's a decade too late."

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Google Threatens French Media Ban
Posted by News Fetcher on October 18 '12 at 11:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's look-somewhere-else department:
another random user writes in with a BBC story about Google's displeasure with proposed French plans to make search engines pay for content. "Google has threatened to exclude French media sites from search results if France goes ahead with plans to make search engines pay for content. In a letter sent to several ministerial offices, Google said such a law 'would threaten its very existence.' French newspaper publishers have been pushing for the law, saying it is unfair that Google receives advertising revenue from searches for news. French Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti also favors the idea. She told a parliamentary commission it was 'a tool that it seems important to me to develop.'"

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Nintendo Investigating Underage Workers At Foxconn
Posted by News Fetcher on October 18 '12 at 10:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's mario-approved department:
itwbennett writes "Earlier this week, Foxconn revealed that an internal investigation had turned up workers as young as 14 toiling at its factory in Yantai, China. Now Nintendo, whose products are manufactured at that factory, is also investigating Foxconn's labor sourcing."

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Carbon Dating Gets an Update
Posted by News Fetcher on October 18 '12 at 08:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's looking-back department:
ananyo writes "Climate records from a Japanese lake are set to improve the accuracy of carbon dating, which could help to shed light on archaeological mysteries such as why Neanderthals became extinct. Carbon dating is used to work out the age of organic material. But the technique assumes that the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere was constant — any variation would speed up or slow down the clock. Since the 1960s, scientists have started accounting for the variations by calibrating the clock against the known ages of tree rings. The problem is that tree rings provide a direct record that only goes as far back as about 14,000 years. Now, using sediment from bed of Lake Suigetsu, west of Tokyo, researchers have pushed the calibration limit back much further. Two distinct sediment layers have formed in the lake every summer and winter over tens of thousands of years. The researchers collected roughly 70-meter core samples from the lake and painstakingly counted the layers to come up with a direct record stretching back 52,000 years. The re-calibrated clock could help to narrow the window of key events in human history. Take the extinction of Neanderthals, which occurred in western Europe less than 30,000 years ago. Archaeologists disagree over the effects changing climate and competition from recently arriving humans had on the Neanderthals' demise. The more accurate carbon clock should yield better dates for any overlap of humans and Neanderthals, as well as for determining how climate changes influenced the extinction of Neanderthals."

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New HAL Exoskeleton: A Brain-Controlled Full Body Suit To Be Used In Fukushima
Posted by News Fetcher on October 18 '12 at 06:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's suit-up department:
An anonymous reader writes "Cyberdyne announced today an improved version of the HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) robotic exoskeleton at the Japan Robot Show. From the article: 'he latest version of the HAL has remained brain-controlled but evolved to a full body robot suit that protects against heavy radiation without feeling the weight of the suit. Eventually it could be used by workers dismantling the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant."

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FSF Opens Nominations For Free Software Awards 2012
Posted by News Fetcher on October 18 '12 at 04:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's vote-now-vote-often department:
jrepin writes "The Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the GNU Project today announced the opening of nominations for the 15th annual Free Software Awards. The Free Software Awards include the Award for the Advancement of Free Software and the Award for Projects of Social Benefit. The Award for the Advancement of Free Software is presented annually to an individual who has made a great contribution to the progress and development of free software, through activities that accord with the spirit of free software. The Award for Projects of Social Benefit is presented to the project or team responsible for applying free software, or the ideas of the free software movement, in a project that intentionally and significantly benefits society in other aspects of life."

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Dolphins Can Sleep One-half of Their Brain At a Time Say Researchers
Posted by News Fetcher on October 18 '12 at 03:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's we-don't-need-no-stinking-sleep department:
An anonymous reader writes "Looks like the evolution in multi-core computing is something nature has already figured out. Dolphins will sleep one core while the other remains vigilant, running background tasks necessary for survival. From the article: 'The scientists wrote: "From an anthropomorphic viewpoint, the ability of the dolphin to continuously monitor its environment for days without interruption seems extreme. However, the biological, sensory and cognitive ecology of these animals is relatively unique and demanding. If dolphins sleep like terrestrial animals, they might drown. If dolphins fail to maintain vigilance, they become susceptible to predation. As a result, the apparent 'extreme' capabilities these animals possess are likely to be quite normal, unspectacular, and necessary for survival from the dolphin's perspective."'"

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Jill Stein and Gary Johnson Debate Online Tonight
Posted by News Fetcher on October 18 '12 at 03:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's might-actually-not-be-boring department:
Starting at 7 p.m. EDT (4 p.m. PDT), the Green and Libertarian candidates for President are debating on the Independent Voter Network. You can catch it via a Google+ hangout or Youtube both live and afterward (no word on flashless user unfortunately, unless anyone knows how to access youtube live streams). Since the big two candidates got some time here on Slashdot, we figured you guys might want to argue amongst yourselves about the third party platforms too. Note that there will be another debate with more candidates on Tuesday.

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Mars Rover Solves Metallic Object Mystery, Unearths Another
Posted by News Fetcher on October 18 '12 at 02:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's hits-keep-coming department:
SchrodingerZ writes "Last week the Mars Curiosity Rover spotted a shiny metallic-looking object in the martian soil. This week scientists have confirmed that it is plastic that has fallen off the 1-ton rover. However, the discovery of this trans-planetary littering has opened up another mystery for the science team. On October 12th the rover took a sample of soil from the ground, feeding it into its Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instruments for analysis, and a picture of the hole dug by the rover's claw revealed metallic particles in the dirt. The sample was subsequently dropped due to fears that particles from the rover had made it into the dirt. Further study now suggests that the metallic particles are actually native to Mars, as the photo reveals that they are embedded in the soil in clumps. In 2007 the older rover Spirit found evidence of silica for the first time, more testing will occur over the next few days to determine truly if this is again just Curiosity's littler, or something more profound."

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ARM-Based Chromebooks Ready To Battle Windows 8, Tablets
Posted by News Fetcher on October 18 '12 at 02:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's armed-yes-but-are-they-well-armed? department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Google is whipping the proverbial curtain back from its new Chromebook, which will retail for $249 and up. The Samsung-built device weighs 2.5 pounds and features an 11.6-inch screen (with 1366 x 768 resolution), backed by a 1.75GHz Samsung Exynos 5 Dual Processor. Google claims it will boot up in under 10 seconds and, depending on usage, last for 6.5 hours on one battery charge. From a product perspective, Chrome OS and its associated hardware found itself fighting a two-front battle: the first against Windows PCs and Macs, both of which could claim more robust hardware for a similar cost to the old Chromebooks (which started at $449), and the second against tablets, which offered the same degree of flexibility and connectivity for a cheaper sticker-price. By setting the cost of the new Chromebook at $249, Google continues that pricing skirmish on more favorable terms." CNET got a bit of hands-on time with the new kid, and gives it a lukewarm but positive reception.

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AOL's New Alto Client Is Visual Email, and You Don't Need a New Address
Posted by News Fetcher on October 18 '12 at 01:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's more-slashdot-accounts-for-all department:
pigrabbitbear writes "AOL, still looking to reboot itself from the dialup days, is shooting to actually change the way we deal with email. The company's new service, called Alto, isn't a new email client. You don't have to sign up for yet another email address, because as David Temkin, AOL's senior VP of mail said, 'We need another email address like we need a hole in the head.' Instead, Alto, which is in limited release starting today, is designed to be an intelligent aggregator of the email accounts you already have."

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Newsweek To Go Digital-Only In 2013
Posted by News Fetcher on October 18 '12 at 12:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's wish-it-was-worth-caring-more-about department:
Tony Isaac writes "Newsweek has announced that it will cease print publication at the end of the year, going all-digital. The new digital edition will still be based on a subscription model. Who will be next?"

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Below-Expected Earnings For Google Posted Early, Trading Halted
Posted by News Fetcher on October 18 '12 at 12:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's no-peeking-this-time department:
An anonymous reader writes with this snippet from the BBC: "Trading in Google shares has been suspended after the internet giant released its third-quarter results early by mistake. Google blames financial printing firm RR Donnelley for filing an early draft of the results, which had been expected after the closing bell. Shares in Google were down 9% when trading in the stock was suspended. Shares had fallen as much as 10.5% at one stage. In a statement, Google said: 'Earlier this morning RR Donnelley, the financial printer, informed us that they had filed our draft 8K earnings statement without authorisation... We have ceased trading on Nasdaq while we work to finalise the document. Once it's finalised we will release our earnings, resume trading on Nasdaq and hold our earnings call as normal at 1:30 PST.'"

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Eben Moglen Explains Freedom and Free Software in Two Video Interviews
Posted by News Fetcher on October 18 '12 at 11:15 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's wise-students-listen-carefully-when-the-master-speaks department:
Eben Moglen, says Wikipedia, "is a professor of law and legal history at Columbia University, and is the founder, Director-Counsel and Chairman of [the] Software Freedom Law Center, whose client list includes numerous pro bono clients, such as the Free Software Foundation." And if that wasn't enough, since 2011 he's been working with FreedomBox, a project working toward "a personal server running a free software operating system, with free applications designed to create and preserve personal privacy." Prof. Moglen is also one of the most polished speakers anywhere, on any topic, ever. That's why, instead of editing this interview Timothy Lord did with him, we simply cut it in half, removed a little introductory and end conversation, and let the Professor roll on. The second half of this interview will run tomorrow. It's at least as worthwhile as the first half, especially if you are interested in Free Software.

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