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Skype Bug Sends Messages To Random Contacts
Posted by News Fetcher on July 16 '12 at 10:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's everyone-gets-a-message department:
An anonymous reader writes "A bug has been discovered in Skype that sends users' private instant messages to other contacts whom the messages were never intended for. Skype has confirmed the issue and is working on a fix. 'We are aware that in rare circumstances IM's between two contacts could be sent to an unintended third contact,' a Skype spokesperson told Engadget. 'We are rolling out a fix for this issue in the next few days and will notify our users to download an updated version of Skype.'"

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Record Setting 500 Trillion-Watt Laser Shot Achieved
Posted by News Fetcher on July 16 '12 at 09:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's not-in-the-eyes department:
cylonlover writes "Researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's National Ignition Facility (NIF) have achieved a laser shot which boggles the mind: 192 beams delivered an excess of 500 trillion-watts (TW) of peak power and 1.85 megajoules (MJ) of ultraviolet laser light to a target of just two millimeters in diameter. To put those numbers into perspective, 500 TW is more than one thousand times the power that the entire United States uses at any instant in time."

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Hollywood Acts Warily At Comic-Con
Posted by News Fetcher on July 16 '12 at 09:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's taking-it-slow department:
gollum123 writes "Peter Jackson wowed the crowd with 13 minutes of highly anticipated footage from the first of his two ultra-expensive 'Hobbit' movies. But he also played it safe — very safe — by not so much as mentioning, much less demonstrating, the filmmaking wizardry at the heart of the project. That left big questions about the movie industry's future unanswered and added to a theme of this year's Comic-Con: Hollywood has come to fear this place. Mr. Jackson is shooting his two 'Hobbit' movies, the first of which is to arrive in theaters in December, at an unusually fast 48 frames a second, twice the standard rate. But an estimated 6,500 fans did not have that experience when they gathered in Comic-Con's cavernous Hall H moments earlier to see the new footage.Still, Mr. Jackson, one of Hollywood's boldest directors, made the unexpectedly timid decision to present The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in a standard format here — it was not even in 3-D — because he feared an online outcry that could hurt box-office results."

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SQL Vs. NoSQL: Which Is Better?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 16 '12 at 08:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's pick-a-side department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "For the past 40-some years, relational databases have ruled the data world. Relational models first appeared in the early 1970s thanks to the research of computer science pioneers such as E.F. Codd. Early versions of SQL-like languages were also developed in the early 70s, with modern SQL appearing in the late 1970s, and becoming popular by the mid-1980s. For the past couple of years, the Internets have been filled with heated arguments regarding SQL vs NoSQL. But is the fight even legitimate? NoSQL databases have grown up a bit (and some, such as Google's BigTable, are now mature) and prove themselves worthy. And yet the fight continues. Tech writer (and programmer) Jeff Cogswell examines both sides from a programming perspective."

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Yahoo! Closes Security Hole That Led To Breach
Posted by News Fetcher on July 16 '12 at 08:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's stopping-the-leak department:
An anonymous reader writes "Yahoo! has patched the security hole that allowed hackers to access some 450,000 email addresses and passwords associated with Yahoo! Contributor Network and ultimately publish them last week. In the meantime, the group responsible for the hack of the official forum site of technology company NVIDIA has also dumped some user 800 records taken during the breach."

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Bad Weather Brings Down Lawn Chair Balloonists
Posted by News Fetcher on July 16 '12 at 07:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's dull-the-sharpest-mind department:
Kent Couch and Fareed Lafta had their dreams of setting a world's record for the longest two-man cluster balloon flight dashed by bad weather and not kids with bb guns as you might expect. The men tied 350 balloons to lawn chairs and planned on flying from Bend, Oregon to Montana. The pair flew for about 30 minutes before having to land. From the article: "A post at the Facebook page for the project said wind had turned the balloonists around and pushed them back toward the town of Prineville, Oregon, and that thunderstorms heading toward the area were 'simply too much' for the balloons."

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Chicago Tribune Stops the Journatic Presses
Posted by News Fetcher on July 16 '12 at 07:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's news-on-the-cheap department:
theodp writes "In April, the Chicago Tribune touted its investment in and use of news outsourcer Journatic. 'We're excited to partner with Journatic, both as an investor and as a customer,' said Dan Kazan, the Trib's Sr. VP of Investments. 'Journatic will expand Tribune's ability to deliver relevant hyperlocal content to our readers, and we believe that many other publishers and advertisers will benefit from its services as well.' That was then. In a Friday-the-13th letter to readers, the Tribune announced a plagiarized and fabricated story has prompted the paper to suspend its relationship with Journatic. The move comes two weeks after Journatic's standards and practices were called into question by This American Life, which noted several Journatic-produced stories had appeared this year on TribLocal online with false bylines. Explaining why he went public about his experience at Journatic, reporter Ryan Smith said he felt 'people should know how their local newspapers are being hollowed out.'"

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US "the Enemy" Says Dotcom Judge
Posted by News Fetcher on July 16 '12 at 06:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's know-your-enemy department:
First time accepted submitter Flere Imsaho writes "During the NutHui Internet conference last week, the NZ judge to hear the Dotcom extradition case was speaking on the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement and how the US entertainment industry is pushing to make region code hacking illegal, when he said 'Under TPP and the American Digital Millennium copyright provisions you will not be able to do that, that will be prohibited... if you do you will be a criminal — that's what will happen. Even before the 2008 amendments it wasn't criminalized. There are all sorts of ways this whole thing is being ramped up and if I could use Russell [Brown's] tweet from earlier on: we have met the enemy and he is [the] U.S.'"

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Order Limit On Raspberry Pi Lifted
Posted by News Fetcher on July 16 '12 at 05:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's I'll-take-a-bag-full department:
hypnosec writes "Raspberry Pi, the small $35 ARM based computer system capable of running on Linux that took the world of technology by storm just a few months back, has its order limit shackles removed as it has been revealed that manufacturers are now producing 4000 units per day. Raspberry Pi Foundation, the non-profit organization behind the tiny computer, has said that RS Components and element14/Premier Farnell have started producing enough units that would allow them to scrap the order limit on Raspberry Pi. In a blog post, the foundation made the announcement. Initially the limit of one unit per customer was placed in the light of limited stocks. Despite these limits, there was always a shortage and people had to wait for long time to get their hands on one of these credit card sized computer."

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Witness In Secret WikiLeaks Grand Jury Hearing Posts Transcript of Questioning
Posted by News Fetcher on July 16 '12 at 05:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's questions-and-answers department:
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "A year ago, free information advocate and Bradley Manning supporter David House was subpoenaed to testify in the grand jury investigation of WikiLeaks that's taking place in Alexandria, Virginia. Now he's released a transcript of his interrogation that he produced by taking handwritten notes on a legal pad and handing pages to his lawyer during their consultations. Though House pled the fifth and didn't tell the prosecutors much, the notes show the prosecution attorneys focusing their questions on Boston-area hackers as well as Tor developer and WikiLeaks supporter Jacob Appelbaum."

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Earth, Night Glow, Aurora and Atmosphere (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on July 16 '12 at 04:15 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's science-can-be-beautiful department:
Alex Rivest has created one of the most visually riveting videos we've seen. Alex says, "In looking at the pictures taken from the International Space Station of the earth at night, I find my attention drawn to that thin line separating earth from space: Our atmosphere." He also says, "A good photograph is one that sparks a question." Since this video runs at 30 (really 29.97) frames per second, and it's about 290 seconds long, that's close to 8700 questions. Luckily, Alex has written a blog post that answers most of them. This doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy his work for its sheer beauty. Or that you shouldn't wish Alex well in his attempt to get into NASA's 2013 Astronaut Candidate Class. A fine art photographer who also has a PhD in Neuroscience from MIT... what better qualifications could there possibly be for astronauthood?

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NBC Purchases MSNBC Rights From Microsoft
Posted by News Fetcher on July 16 '12 at 01:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's under-new-management department:
flatt writes "Ending a sixteen year partnership between the now Comcast-owned NBCUniversal and Microsoft, the MSNBC.com website has been immediately renamed to NBCNews.com. Both parties note that the integration between both parties is deep and will require 2 years to complete the decoupling. For the immediate future, NBC will continue to provide news content for MSN.com and Microsoft will continue to be the advertising provider for the site. Content control, brand confusion, and partisan content are cited as reasons behind the breakup. Microsoft sold its 50% share in the MSNBC TV rights to NBC back in 2005."

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Tasmanian Cops Decline To "Censor Internet"
Posted by News Fetcher on July 15 '12 at 10:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's don't-feed-the-trolls department:
aesoteric writes "Tasmania's police force has taken the unusual step of asking the public to stop alerting it to every 'abusive or harassing' comment posted to Facebook or other social media sites. The force said it was 'increasingly receiving complaints' about material posted to the sites, but sought to clarify that 'the use of technology to undertake some conduct does not in itself create an offense.'"

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DARPA Creates Machine Which Extinguishes Fires With Sound
Posted by News Fetcher on July 15 '12 at 07:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's wall-of-sound department:
SchrodingerZ writes "The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is known for making odd scientific advances ranging from hypersonic unnamed rockets to bionic prosthetic limbs to insect-sized reconnaissance drones. But recently DARPA has made a interesting advancement in the field of fire suppression. Using two speakers arranged on either side of an open liquid fuel flame, an acoustic field was emitted and engulfed the fire. 'The sound increases air velocity, which then thins the area of the flame where combustion occurs, known as the flame boundary.' This make the flame weak and much easier to douse. Another wonderful thing about this, its not even that loud! DARPA began its testing in 2008, stating that despite extensive research in this area, there have been no new methods for extinguishing and/or manipulating fire in almost 50 years. The agency plans to expand on this experiment and try to make it successful on a practical scale."

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Discovery of Chemical That Affects Biological Clock Offers New Diabetes Treatmen
Posted by News Fetcher on July 15 '12 at 04:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's better-healing department:
First time accepted submitter rosy rohangi writes "Biologists at UC San Diego have discovered a chemical that provides a completely new direction and promise for the development of drugs to treat metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes – a key concern of public health in the U.S. due to the current obesity epidemic. From the article: '...Scientists have long suspected that diabetes and obesity could be related to problems of the biological clock. Laboratory mice with altered biological clocks, for example, often become obese and develop diabetes. Two years ago, a team led by Steve Kay, dean of the Division of Biological Sciences at UC San Diego, discovered the first biochemical link between the biological clock and diabetes. He found that a key protein, cryptochrome, which regulates the biological clocks of plants, insects and mammals also regulates glucose production in the liver and that changes in levels of this protein could improve the health of diabetic mice.'"

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Georgie: Smartphone For the Blind and Visually Impaired
Posted by News Fetcher on July 15 '12 at 03:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's equal-opportunity department:
hypnosec writes "Specially designed smartphone for the visually impaired or partially sighted has been launched in the UK. The device, dubbed Georgie, has a lot many special features including voice-assisted touch screen and apps that will allow for easy completion of day to day tasks like catching a bus, reading printed text and pinpointing location. Designed by a blind couple Roger and Margaret Wilson-Hinds and named after Mrs Wilson-Hind's guide dog, the smartphone is powered by Android operating system and uses handsets like Samsung XCover and Galaxy Ace 2 notes BBC. The main reason for developing such a phone according to the couple was that they wanted to get the technology across to people with very little or no sight. 'It's exactly the type of digital experience we want to make easily available to people with little or no sight,' said Roger."

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Is Pluto a Binary Planet?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 15 '12 at 02:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's twice-as-fun department:
astroengine writes "If the Pluto-Charon system were viewed in a similar way to binary stars and binary asteroids, Pluto would become a Pluto-Charon binary planet. After all, Charon is 12% the mass of Pluto, causing the duo to orbit a barycenter that is located above Pluto's surface. Sadly, in the IAU's haste to define what a planet is in 2006, they missed a golden opportunity to define the planetary binary. Interestingly, if Pluto was a binary planet, last week's discovery of a fifth Plutonian moon would have in fact been the binary's fourth moon to be discovered by Hubble — under the binary definition, Charon wouldn't be classified as a moon at all."

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The Fate of Newspapers: Farm It, Milk It, Or Feed It
Posted by News Fetcher on July 15 '12 at 01:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's end-of-an-era department:
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Alan D. Mutter writes that with a 50% drop in newspaper advertising since 2005, the old ways of running a newspaper can no longer succeed so most publishers are faced with choosing the best possible strategy going-forward for their mature but declining businesses: farm it, feed it, or milk it. Warren Buffett is farming it and recently bucked the widespread pessimism about the future of newspapers by buying 63 titles from Media General and is concentrating on small and medium papers in defensible markets, while steering clear of metro markets, where costs are high and competition is fierce. 'I do not have any secret sauce,' says Buffett. 'There are still 1,400 daily papers in the United States. The nice thing about it is that somebody can think about the best answer and we can copy him. Two or three years from now, you'll see a much better-defined pattern of operations online and in print by papers.' Advance Publications is milking it by cutting staff and reducing print publication to three days a week at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, thus making the Crescent City the largest American metropolis to be deprived of a daily dose of wood fiber in its news diet. Once dismantled, the local reporting infrastructure in communities like New Orleans will almost certainly never be rebuilt. 'By cutting staff to a bare minimum and printing only on the days it is profitable to do so, publishers can milk considerable sums from their franchises until the day these once-indomitable cash cows go dry.' Rupert Murdoch is feeding it as he spins his newspapers out of News Corp. and into a separate company empowered to innovate the traditional publishing businesses into the future. In various interviews after announcing the planned spinoff, Murdoch promised to launch the new company with no debt and ample cash to aggressively pursue digital publishing opportunities across a variety of platforms. 'If the spinoff materializes in anywhere near the way Murdoch is spinning it, however, it could turn out to be a model for iterating the way forward for newspapers.'"

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How the Inventors of Dragon Speech Recognition Technology Lost Everything
Posted by News Fetcher on July 15 '12 at 12:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's all-the-eggs-in-one-basket department:
First time accepted submitter cjsm writes "James and Janet Baker were the inventors of Dragon Systems speech recognition software, and after years of work, they created a multimillion dollar company. At the height of the tech boom, with investment offers rolling in, they turned to Goldman Sachs for financial advice. For a five million dollar fee, Goldman hooked them up with Lernout & Hauspie, the Belgium speech recognition company. After consultations with Goldman Sachs, the Bakers traded their company for $580 million in Lernout & Hauspie stock. But it turned out Lernout & Hauspie was involved in cooking their books and went bankrupt. Dragon was sold in a bankruptcy auction to Scansoft, and the Bakers lost everything. Goldman and Sachs itself had decided against investing in Lernout & Hauspie two years previous to this because they were lying about their Asian sales. The Bakers are suing for one billions dollars."

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East Texas Getting Compressed Air Energy Storage Plant
Posted by News Fetcher on July 15 '12 at 11:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's cranking-the-air department:
First time accepted submitter transporter_ii writes "A compressed air energy storage (CAES) plant was first built in Germany in 1978, but East Texas will be the site of one of the world's first modern CASE plants. How does it work? A CAES power generation facility uses electric motor-driven compressors (generated by natural gas generators) to inject air into an underground storage cavern and later releases the compressed air to turn turbines and generate electricity back onto the grid, according to the plants owner. The location near Palestine, Texas was selected because of its large salt dome, which will be used to store the compressed air. The plant is estimated at 350 million-plus, and will create about 20 to 25 permanent jobs."

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