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SFLC Expands GPL Compliance Efforts To Samba, Linux, and Other Projects
Posted by News Fetcher on May 30 '12 at 05:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's defending-free-software department:
An anonymous reader tipped us to news that the Software Freedom Conservancy is expanding its GPL compliance efforts. Quoting Bradley Kuhn: "This new program is an outgrowth of the debate that happened over the last few months regarding Conservancy's GPL compliance efforts. Specifically, I noticed that, buried in the FUD over the last four months regarding GPL compliance, there was one key criticism that was valid and couldn't be ignored: Linux copyright holders should be involved in compliance actions on embedded systems. Linux is a central component of such work, and the BusyBox developers agreed wholeheartedly that having some Linux developers involved with compliance would be very helpful. Conservancy has addressed this issue by building a broad coalition of copyright holders in many different projects who seek to work on compliance with Conservancy, including not just Linux and BusyBox, but other projects as well."

The anonymous reader adds: "This news was also discussed in the latest episode of the Free as in Freedom Oggcast."

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Supreme Court Rules Julian Assange May Be Extradited
Posted by News Fetcher on May 30 '12 at 05:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's pack-your-bags-for-gitmo department:
sirlark writes with an update on the protracted legal proceedings regarding Julian Assange's extradition to Sweden: "Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has lost his Supreme Court fight against extradition to Sweden to face accusations of sex offenses. The judgement was reached by a majority of five to two, the court's president, Lord Phillips, told the hearing. Mr Assange's legal team was given 14 days to consider the ruling before a final decision is made, leaving the possibility the case could be reheard."

This may, however, not be the end. From the article: "Lord Phillips said five of the justices agreed the warrant had been lawful because the Swedish prosecutor behind the warrant could be considered a proper 'judicial authority' even it they were not specifically mentioned in legislation or international agreements. This point of law had not been simple to resolve, said Lord Phillips, and two of the justices, Lady Hale and Lord Mance, had disagreed with the decision. But Ms Rose immediately indicated she could challenge the judgement saying that it relied on a 1969 convention relating to how treaties should be implemented. She said this convention had not been raised during the hearing. " This lead to the court staying the order until June 13th to give Assange's lawyers time to argue this avenue.

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Statisticians Investigate Political Bias On Wikipedia
Posted by News Fetcher on May 30 '12 at 04:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sports-articles-always-lean-whig department:
Hugh Pickens writes "The Global Economic Intersection reports on a project to statistically measure political bias on Wikipedia. The team first identified 1,000 political phrases based on the number of times these phrases appeared in the text of the 2005 Congressional Record and applied statistical methods to identify the phrases that separated Democratic representatives from Republican representatives, under the model that each group speaks to its respective constituents with a distinct set of coded language. Then the team identified 111,000 Wikipedia articles that include 'republican' or 'democrat' as keywords, and analyzed them to determine whether a given Wikipedia article used phrases favored more by Republican members or by Democratic members of Congress. The results may surprise you. 'The average old political article in Wikipedia leans Democratic' but gradually, Wikipedia's articles have lost the disproportionate use of Democratic phrases and moved to nearly equivalent use of words from both parties (PDF), akin to an NPOV [neutral point of view] on average. Interestingly, some articles have the expected political slant (civil rights tends Democrat; trade tends Republican), but at the same time many seemingly controversial topics, such as foreign policy, war and peace, and abortion have no net slant. 'Most articles arrive with a slant, and most articles change only mildly from their initial slant. The overall slant changes due to the entry of articles with opposite slants, leading toward neutrality for many topics, not necessarily within specific articles.'"

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Intelsat Signs Launch Contract With SpaceX
Posted by News Fetcher on May 30 '12 at 02:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's just-a-few-more-decades-now department:
New submitter jamstar7 writes "Following the success of the Falcon9/Dragon resupply test to the ISS comes the following announcement: 'Intelsat, the world's leading provider of satellite services, and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), the world's fastest growing space launch company, announced the first commercial contract for the Falcon Heavy rocket. "SpaceX is very proud to have the confidence of Intelsat, a leader in the satellite communication services industry," said Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer. "The Falcon Heavy has more than twice the power of the next largest rocket in the world. With this new vehicle, SpaceX launch systems now cover the entire spectrum of the launch needs for commercial, civil and national security customers."' As of yet, the Falcon Heavy hasn't flown, but all the parts have been tested. Essentially an upgunned Falcon 9 with additional boosters, the Heavy has lift capability second only to the Saturn 5. On top of the four Falcon Heavy launches planned for the U.S. Air Force this year, the Intelsat contract represents the true dawn of the commercial space age."

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US Ordered To Hand Over Megaupload Documents
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '12 at 11:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hope-you-didn't-break-anything department:
An anonymous reader writes "A judge in New Zealand has ordered the U.S. government to hand over evidence seized in the Megaupload raid so Kim Dotcom and his co-defendants can use it to prepare a defense for an extradition hearing. The judge wrote, 'Actions by and on behalf of the requesting State have deprived Mr. Dotcom and his associates of access to records and information. ... United States is attempting to utilize concepts from the civil copyright context as a basis for the application of criminal copyright liability [which] necessitates a consideration of principles such as the dual use of technology and what they be described as significant non-infringing uses.' Once the defense attorneys have gathered and presented their evidence, the judge must decide whether the U.S. can make a reasonable case against Dotcom."

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NASA, ASU Team Finds a New Test For Osteoporosis
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '12 at 09:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's good-to-the-bone department:
An anonymous reader writes "The BBC has an article about scientists at NASA who believe that they have found a new test that can detect osteoporosis earlier than existing tests. Their test involved having healthy volunteers confined to bed rest for 30 days; 'the technique was able to detect bone loss after as little as one week of bed rest.' Bone loss is an issue for astronauts as well as people affected by osteoporosis. They expect this test will help detect bone loss as a symptom of osteoporosis, but have not yet done a trial to confirm this. This is another point against anyone who claims NASA, and going to space in general, is a complete waste of money."

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Sprint To Shut Down Nextel iDEN Network Next Year
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '12 at 06:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's take-it-out-to-the-barn department:
Stephenmg writes "Sprint will be shutting down their iDEN network from its merger with Nextel and will migrate users to Push to Talk over CDMA. It will then use the 800mhz frequency to build out its LTE network. From the article: 'Sprint has been decommissioning iDEN base stations as part of its methodical transition to Network Vision, a flexible infrastructure intended to accommodate both the carrier's 3G CDMA technology and its emerging 4G LTE system. About one-third of the iDEN radios are scheduled to be removed by the end of this year. The iDEN system only offers downstream speeds below 100K bps (bits per second), a trickle compared with the multiple megabits per second available from LTE and from WiMax, Sprint's current 4G technology, which is provided by Clearwire. One major benefit to Sprint from shutting down iDEN will be the ability to reuse its 800MHz frequencies for the Sprint LTE network, which a U.S. Federal Communications Commission ruling last week made possible. The LTE service is scheduled to launch in the middle of this year on another spectrum band and later expand to 800MHz.'"

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Twitter Bomb Joke Case Rolls Back Into UK Courts
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '12 at 04:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's 140-characters-of-terror department:
judgecorp writes "Paul Chambers, the Briton whose joke on Twitter backfired, will be back in court following a legal stalemate, after more than two years. Chambers joked about blowing up South Yorkshire's Robin Hood airport in January 2010, and was arrested and fined for 'sending a public electronic message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character.' His resultant criminal record lost him his job as an accountant. Now his appeal has been heard, but the two judges disagreed with each other, so Chambers will be back in court again."

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Political Campaigns Mining Online Data To Target Voters
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '12 at 03:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's watching-you-through-your-webcam-too department:
New submitter nicoles writes with this quote from an AP report:

"The Romney and Obama campaigns are spending heavily on television ads and other traditional tools to convey their messages. But strategists say the most important breakthrough this year is the campaigns' use of online data to raise money, share information and persuade supporters to vote. The practice, known as 'microtargeting,' has been a staple of product marketing. Now it's facing the greatest test of its political impact in the race for the White House. ... The Romney team spent nearly $1 million on digital consulting in April and Obama at least $300,000. ... Campaigns use microtargeting to identify potential supporters or donors using data gleaned from a range of sources, especially their Internet browsing history. A digital profile of each person is then created, allowing the campaigns to find them online and solicit them for money and support."

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LG Aims To Beat Apple's Retina Display
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '12 at 03:02 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's busy-times-for-pixel-collectors department:
angry tapir writes "LG Display has introduced a 5-inch full HD LCD panel for smartphone displays — the highest resolution mobile panel to date. The widescreen panel is based on AH-IPS (Advanced High Performance In-Plane Switching) technology and has a 1920-by-1080 pixel resolution or 440 pixels per inch (ppi), according to LG. That compares well to Apple's Retina display, which has 264 ppi on the new iPad and 326 ppi on the iPhone 4S."

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What Would a Post-Email World Look Like?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's so-much-more-free-time department:
jfruh writes "Pundits have been gleefully predicting the death of email for years, but nobody has really been able to explain what will replace email, especially for the medium's archiving capabilities that businesses and governments have come to rely on. It's possible that email won't vanish, but rather become invisible, one component of an integrated communication stream that will be transparent to users but still present — and useful — under the hood. It may turn out that Google's Wave, which was built on this idea, was just a bit ahead of its time."

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EU Commissioner: I Will End Net Neutrality Waiting Game
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '12 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's net-neutrality-action-heroine department:
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from ZDNet:
"Europeans are a step closer to seeing new net neutrality rules put in place, after the release of an EU regulators' report on how often ISPs and operators throttle their services. On Tuesday, digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes said the release of the report from by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) means she will make recommendations to the EU on preserving net neutrality, which aims to make sure ISPs do not unfairly restrict customers from accessing the service or application or their choice. 'BEREC has today provided the data I was waiting for (PDF). For most Europeans, their internet access works well most of the time. But these findings show the need for more regulatory certainty and that there are enough problems to warrant strong and targeted action to safeguard consumers,' Kroes said in a statement. 'Given that BEREC's findings highlight a problem of effective consumer choice, I will prepare recommendations to generate more real choices and end the net neutrality waiting game in Europe,' she added."

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RIM May Need To Write Off $1 Billion In Inventory
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '12 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's build-a-fort-out-of-blackberrys department:
benfrog writes "Blackberry maker Research in Motion may need to write off more than $1 billion in inventory, according to Bloomberg. The potential 'writedown' comes after RIM took a $485 million pretax charge to write down the value of its PlayBook inventory in December. RIM has said it aims to save $1 billion in operating costs this fiscal year by cutting its number of manufacturing sites and is 'reviewing its organizational efficiency' across the company, which may lead to job cuts of 2,000-3,000. Its shares have tumbled 75 percent over the past year and are down 90 percent from their all-time high."

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CS Professor Announces Run For VT State Senate On a Platform of Internet Polling
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '12 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's of-by-and-for-the-internet-people department:
Cynic writes "Having read pretty heavily on the topic, weighed the pros and cons, and seen a few relevant slashdot articles, I wondered why an elected representative couldn't use online and in-person polling of constituents to decide the way he or she votes. Though we are living in the 'information age' and have rich communications media and opportunities for deep and accessible deliberation, we are getting by (poorly) with horse-and-buggy-era representation. In the spirit of science and because I think it's legitimately a better way of doing things, I recently announced my candidacy for Vermont's State Senate in Washington County."
How do you think such polling could be best accomplished? Do you think it's worth trying? Whether or not you buy into it, it's something that's only been made feasible in recent times with modern technology.

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Scientific Literacy vs. Concern Over Climate Change
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '12 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's apparently-knowing-is-not-actually-half-the-battle department:
New submitter gmfeier writes "An interesting study reported in Nature Climate Change indicates that concern over climate change did not correlate with scientific literacy nearly as much as with cultural polarization. Quoting: 'For ordinary citizens, the reward for acquiring greater scientific knowledge and more reliable technical-reasoning capacities is a greater facility to discover and use—or explain away—evidence relating to their groups’ positions. Even if cultural cognition serves the personal interests of individuals, this form of reasoning can have a highly negative impact on collective decision making. What guides individual risk perception, on this account, is not the truth of those beliefs but rather their congruence with individuals’ cultural commitments. As a result, if beliefs about a societal risk such as climate change come to bear meanings congenial to some cultural outlooks but hostile to others, individuals motivated to adopt culturally congruent risk perceptions will fail to converge, or at least fail to converge as rapidly as they should, on scientific information essential to their common interests in health and prosperity. Although it is effectively costless for any individual to form a perception of climate-change risk that is wrong but culturally congenial, it is very harmful to collective welfare for individuals in aggregate to form beliefs this way.'"

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Another Afghan School Poisoned — 160 Girls Hospitalized
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '12 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's setting-a-bad-precedent department:
An anonymous reader writes "Back in April, we discussed news of an anti-education attack on an Afghani school, which poisoned 150 Afghan schoolgirls. Now, a hospital in the same province has admitted 160 more girls who seem to have suffered a similar attack. 'Their classrooms might have been sprayed with a toxic material before the girls entered, police spokesman Khalilullah Aseer said. He blamed the Taliban. The incident, the second in a week's time, was reported at the Aahan Dara Girls School in Taluqan, the provincial capital. The girls, ages 10 to 20, complained of headaches, dizziness and vomiting before being taken to the hospital, said Hafizullah Safi, director of the provincial health department. More than half of them were discharged within a few hours of receiving treatment, Safi said. The health department collected blood samples and sent them to Kabul for testing.'"

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Mono Abandons Open Source Silverlight
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '12 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's singing-in-an-empty-theater department:
mikejuk writes "The Mono project is about the only group of people actively talking up .NET and developing it, but in an interview Miguel de Icaza has admitted that Moonlight, the Mono version of Silverlight, isn't worth the effort any more. He said, 'Silverlight has not gained much adoption on the web, so it did not become the must-have technology that I thought would have to become. And Microsoft added artificial restrictions to Silverlight that made it useless for desktop programming. These days we no longer believe that Silverlight is a suitable platform for write-once-run-anywhere technology, there are just too many limitations for it to be useful.'"

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Ask Slashdot: Find a Job In China For Non-native Speaker?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '12 at 09:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's ask-nicely department:
An anonymous reader writes "My fiancée has recently been accepted into a Chinese university into their Ph.D. program, and I've been looking at jobs in China (specifically the Beijing area) and not having any success. I'm a developer with 8 years of experience (java), mostly on the server side, so I'm not lacking in the general experience, but the problem is I don't speak Mandarin or Cantonese. I am a native English speaker from Canada though. The only jobs I've had any responses from were teaching positions for simple English which isn't exactly my first choice. Has anyone had any experience or success as a programmer finding a job in China, without being able to speak the native language? Any websites I should be focusing on?"

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Can Windows 8 Succeed In a Cloud-Based World?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '12 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's where-does-your-computer-end? department:
New submitter Nerval's Lobster writes "To say that Microsoft has a lot riding on Windows 8 is a bit of an understatement. The upcoming OS needs to prove that Windows can stay relevant in a world where desktop-based programs are increasingly giving way to cloud apps, and mobile devices are eclipsing PCs as the center of people's computing lives. Can Windows 8 succeed in that mission? The real answer will have to wait, but in the meantime I've laid out some potential success-or-failure factors over at SlashCloud."

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The Netherlands Rejects ACTA, and Does One Better
Posted by News Fetcher on May 29 '12 at 08:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's don't-hold-your-breath-for-the-us-congress-to-join department:
First time accepted submitter Peetke writes "The Dutch House of Representatives unanimously accepted a motion to urge the Cabinet to reject ACTA [Dutch original] (if they ever get the change to do so; it may already end in the European Parlement). Additionally, an even stronger motion was accepted to reject any future treaty that may harm a free and open Internet. This is a good day for the Internet."

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