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Drug Company Disguised Advertising As Science
Posted by News Fetcher on June 13 '12 at 08:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's maximize-shareholder-value department:
ananyo writes "A former pharmaceutical company employee has blown the whistle on drug promotion disguised as science. Drug companies occasionally conduct post-marketing studies to collect data on the safety and efficacy of drugs in the real world, after they've been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. "However," writes the anonymous author in an editorial in the British Medical Journal (subscription required), 'some of the [post-marketing] studies I worked on were not designed to determine the overall risk:benefit balance of the drug in the general population. They were designed to support and disseminate a marketing message.' According to the whistleblower, the results of these studies were often dubious. 'We occasionally resorted to "playing" with the data that had originally failed to show the expected result,' he says. 'This was done by altering the statistical method until any statistical significance was found.' He adds that the company sometimes omitted negative results and played down harmful side effects. Nature says it was unable to work out who the writer was but they likely worked on diabetes and the studies criticized were from the Denmark-based pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk."

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The "Defensive Patent License" an Open Defensive Patent Pool
Posted by News Fetcher on June 13 '12 at 08:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's debian-project-leader-kidnapped department:
capedgirardeau writes "Via Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing:: 'Ars Technica's Jon Brodkin has an in-depth look at the "Defensive Patent License," a kind of judo for the patent system created by ... EFF's Jason Schultz (who started EFF's Patent Busting Project) and ... Jen Urban (who co-created the ChillingEffects clearinghouse). As you'd expect from two such killer legal freedom fighters, the DPL is audacious, exciting, and wicked cool. It's a license pool that companies opt into, and members of the pool pledge not to sue one another for infringement. If you're ever being sued for patent infringement, you can get an automatic license to a conflicting patent just by throwing your patents into the pool. The more patent trolls threaten people, the more incentive there is to join the league of Internet patent freedom fighters."

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Analyzing the New MacBook Pro
Posted by News Fetcher on June 13 '12 at 07:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's buy-a-few-spares department:
MrSeb writes "Late yesterday, Apple released a next-generation 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. It has a 2880×1800 220 PPI display. The normal 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs have also been updated, but the 17-inch MBP has been retired, in effect replaced by the new Retina display MBP. Without a doubt, this new laptop is an engineering marvel in the same league as the original iPhone or MacBook Air. ... The Retina display MBP really looks nothing we've ever seen before. Here, ExtremeTech dives into the engineering behind the laptop, paying close attention to that new and rather shiny display — and the fact that this thing has no user-replaceable parts at all."

Fleshing things out a bit more, iFixit has a teardown of the internals. Their verdict: effectively unrepairable by the user.

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U.S. Govt. Appears To Have Nabbed Kurupt.su Carding Kingpin
Posted by News Fetcher on June 13 '12 at 07:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's can-i-see-your-id department:
tsu doh nimh writes "The Justice Department on Monday announced the arrest of a Dutch man wanted for coordinating the theft of roughly 44,000 credit card numbers. The government hasn't released many details about the accused, except for his name and hacker handle, 'Fortezza.' But data from a variety of sources indicates that Fortezza was a lead administrator of Kurupt.su, a large, recently-shuttered forum dedicated to carding and Internet fraud. Krebsonsecurity.com provides some background on Fortezza, who 'claimed to be "quitting the scene," but spoke often about finishing a project with which he seemed obsessed: to hack and plunder all of the other carding forums.'"

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Linus Torvalds Awarded the Millenial Technology Prize
Posted by News Fetcher on June 13 '12 at 06:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's stems-cells-kernels-same-thing-right department:
Karrde712 writes "In a first for the Millenial Technology Prize, both Laureates were awarded the prize. Linus Torvalds was recognized for the creation of the Linux kernel and its continuing impact on enhancing scientific progress throughout the world. Dr. Shinya Yamanaka was recognized for his work in the development of induced pluripotent stem cells for medical research."

New submitter Elessar wrote in about the BBC's related interview with Linus "... touching on many subjects including Linux on the desktop, Raspberry Pi, and the wierdness of his employment contract." (he did another one with Linux.com earlier this week too).

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Windows RT Will Cost OEMs Over Twice As Much as Windows 7
Posted by News Fetcher on June 13 '12 at 05:32 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's backroom-deals-with-intel department:
MrSeb writes with this excerpt from Extreme Tech: "Good news: Last month's unbelievable rumors that a Windows RT (Windows 8 ARM) licenses would cost OEMs $90-100 were off the mark — in actual fact, as confirmed by multiple vendors at Computex in Taiwan, the Windows RT license cost is only $80-95. At this point, we're not entirely sure what Microsoft's plan for Windows RT is. It would seem that Microsoft doesn't want to flood the markets with cheap Windows RT tablets. At this rate, though, we would expect the cheapest Windows RT tablets to hit the market at around $600, with top-spec models (if they exist) in the $800-900 range — well above Android tablets or the iPad. We can only assume that Microsoft doesn't want to go head-to-head with iOS and Android, instead trying to stake out a position at the top end of the market. Whether this is a good plan, with x86 tablets and their full 20-year PC ecosystem also vying for market share, remains to be seen."

For comparison, sources say that Windows Phone 7 ran OEMs the equivalent of $30 per device, and Windows 7 for desktops around $50.

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ICANN Reveals New TLD Application List
Posted by News Fetcher on June 13 '12 at 05:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's introducing-slashdot-dot-slashdot department:
Eighteen months after first announcing expansion of the TLD space, ICANN has published the list of new gTLDs that have been applied for. A cursory glance reveals that<tt>.app</tt> was pretty popular with 13 applications. Now begins the seven month objection period (but you have to be a large organization to lodge any). angry tapir writes in with info on how duplicate applications will be resolved. From the article: "The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has released statistics about the applications for new top-level domains — so-called 'dot word' domains along the lines of .web and <tt>.bank</tt> ... Two hundred and thirty of the domains proposed by applicants will become the subject of ICANN's dispute resolution process — which involves an attempt among applicants for the same domain to come to a joint arrangement, followed by an auction if that's unsuccessful. There were 751 conflicting applications for domains in total, which in many cases are likely to involve generic suffixes like <tt>.secure</tt>."

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Apple Yanks Toddler's Speech-Enabling App
Posted by News Fetcher on June 13 '12 at 04:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's like-taking-candy-apps-from-a-baby department:
theodp writes "TIME reports that four-year-old Maya Nieder's speech-enabling 'Speak for Yourself' app was yanked from the App Store by Apple due to an unresolved patent dispute at the behest of Prentke Romich Company (PRC) and Semantic Compaction Systems (SCS), makers of designated communication devices (not iPad apps). 'The issue of whether or not Apple should have pulled Speak for Yourself from the App Store before the case was decided is trickier. Obviously, Apple would rather be safe than sorry and remove a potentially problematic app instead of risking legal action. The problem, however, is that this isn’t some counterfeit version of Angry Birds.' 'My daughter cannot speak without this app,' writes Maya's mom, Dana. 'She cannot ask us questions. She cannot tell us that she's tired, or that she wants yogurt for lunch. She cannot tell her daddy that she loves him.' If you're so inclined, Dana suggests you drop a note to appstorenotices@apple.com."

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US Gov't Wants Megaupload Users To Pay For Their Data
Posted by News Fetcher on June 13 '12 at 01:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's megaupload-users-need-love-too department:
angry tapir writes "U.S. federal prosecutors are fine with Megaupload users recovering their data — as long as they pay for it. The government's position was explained in a court filing on Friday concerning one of the many interesting side issues that has emerged from the shutdown of Megaupload, formerly one of the most highly trafficked file-sharing sites. Prosecutors were responding to a motion filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in late March on behalf of Kyle Goodwin, an Ohio-based sports reporter who used Megaupload legitimately for storing videos. The government argues that it only copied part of the Megaupload data and the physical servers were never seized. Megaupload's 1,103 servers — which hold upwards of 28 petabytes of data — are still held by Carpathia Hosting. Goodwin's options, prosecutors said, are either pay — or sue — Carpathia, or sue Megaupload."

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A Digital Citizen's Bill of Rights
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '12 at 10:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's congress-shall-make-no-law department:
New submitter matt.a.f writes "Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) has published a first-draft Internet Bill of Rights, and it's open for feedback. He wrote, 'While I do not have all the answers, the remarkable cooperation we witnessed in defense of an open Internet showed me three things. First, government is flying blind, interfering and regulating without understanding even the basics. Second, we have a rare opportunity to give government marching orders on how to treat the Internet, those who use it and the innovation it supports. And third, we must get to work immediately because our opponents are not giving up.' Given the value of taking an active approach agains prospective laws such as SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA, I think it's very important to try to spread awareness, participation, and encourage elected officials to support such things."

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With Euro Zone Problems, Bitcoin Experiencing Boost In Legitimacy
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '12 at 08:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's any-old-port-in-the-storm department:
derekmead writes "Despite being used for drugs and beef jerky, Bitcoin is finding legitimate purposes. Bitcoin's decentralized convenience means international efficiency, in areas where local restrictions on money transfers to foreign companies make legal businesses cumbersome. 'I've been able to have cash in my bank account in a matter of hours using Bitcoin, rather than three days with traditional banking,' one British businessman in China told Reuters. In embattled Europe, Bitcoin offers some a viable alternative against central banks, said a Greek owner of an island bar and restaurant who accepts payment in Bitcoin. 'I don't put money in the banks. I trust the euro as a note, but I don't trust banks. I don't want them making money out of my earnings.' Indeed, Europe's financial woes are caused an unprecedented surge of interest in the alternative currency, as the continent loses economic credibility with each new bailout, according to a report by the Financial Post."

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Journal Offers Flat Fee For 'All You Can Publish'
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '12 at 07:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's information-wants-to-be-free-ish department:
ananyo writes "In what publishing experts say is a radical experiment, a new open-access venture is asking its authors for only a one-off fee to secure a lifetime membership that will allow them to publish free, peer-reviewed research papers. The venture, called PeerJ, formally announced its launch on 12 June. The model represents a big departure for science publishing, which has traditionally been dominated by two basic business models: either subscribers pay for access, or authors pay for each publication — often thousands of dollars — with access being free."

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Ask Slashdot: Best Headphones, Earbuds, Earphones?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '12 at 06:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's boombox-and-duct-tape-no-longer-cut-it department:
alexbgreat writes "What do you think is the best set of head-mounted loudspeakers for the money, with a cost of less than $50? Here are some featuresthat would be stupendous to have (in descending order of importance): noise isolation (not cancellation), flat/near flat response (I need to be able to hear bass, but I don't need my eardrums blown out), long-term comfort (earbuds usually hurt for me), and durability. Over-ear is preferred to anything on- or in-ear. Boom mics are permissible, as I may well use it as a broadcast intercom headset."
If you have experience using headphones from different price ranges, feel free to share that as well.

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How Technology Promotes World Peace
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '12 at 04:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's everybody's-too-busy-browsing-lolcats-to-fight department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Ayesha & Parag Khanna write in the Atlantic that there are many important differences between the U.S.-China relationship of today and the U.S.-Soviet relationship before the outbreak of the Cold War. One is that the U.S. and China are deeply intertwined through geo-economic interdependence, and the rapid and global diffusion of technology is accelerating these changes. 'As the global economy has become more integrated, states have greater interest in cooperating and less interest in conflict, which can lead to a kind of mutually assured economic destruction,' write the Khanna. 'If military power is inherently competitive — the stronger your army and the weaker your neighbor's, the more powerful you become — then economic power is more cooperative. After all, much of America's power today is economic, but that power would decrease if China's economy collapses.' This economic inter-dependence, the theory goes, promotes peace, but technological power is also cooperative in this way, perhaps even more so. For example, medical research crosses borders, as do the pharmaceuticals or treatments that research can produce. China can increase its power by developing better solar panels — perhaps in part by building on foreign technologies — then turn around and sell them to other high-energy-consuming states, making us all better off. Like economics, technology doesn't just increase cooperation, it is the cooperation. 'The increasingly integrated global system is shaping the states within it, much as individual powers shape the system. The question is thus not who controls technology, but the way in which we develop, guide, and control it collectively.'"

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Why Smart People Are Stupid
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '12 at 03:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's gotta-be-the-shoes department:
nicholast writes "There's a good piece by Jonah Lehrer at the New Yorker about why smart people are often more likely to make cognitive errors than stupid people. The article examines research about the shortcuts that our brains take while answering questions, and explains why even the smartest people take these shortcuts too. Quoting: 'One provocative hypothesis is that the bias blind spot arises because of a mismatch between how we evaluate others and how we evaluate ourselves. When considering the irrational choices of a stranger, for instance, we are forced to rely on behavioral information; we see their biases from the outside, which allows us to glimpse their systematic thinking errors. However, when assessing our own bad choices, we tend to engage in elaborate introspection. We scrutinize our motivations and search for relevant reasons; we lament our mistakes to therapists and ruminate on the beliefs that led us astray. The problem with this introspective approach is that the driving forces behind biases—the root causes of our irrationality—are largely unconscious, which means they remain invisible to self-analysis and impermeable to intelligence. In fact, introspection can actually compound the error, blinding us to those primal processes responsible for many of our everyday failings.'"

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HSA Foundation Formed By AMD, ARM, Ti, Imagination, and MediaTek
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '12 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can-never-have-too-many-foundations department:
New submitter Phopojijo writes "To wrap up his 'Programmers Guide to a Universe of Possibility' keynote during the 2012 AMD Fusion Developer Summit, Phil Rogers of AMD announced the establishment of the Heterogeneous System Architecture Foundation. The foundation has been instituted to create and maintain open standards to ease programming for a wide variety of processing resources including discrete and integrated GPUs. Founding members include ARM, Texas Instruments, Imagination, MediaTek, Texas Instruments, as well as AMD. Parallels can be drawn between this and AMD's 'virtual gorilla' initiative back from the late 1990's."

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Pro-ACTA Site Says 'Get the Facts'
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '12 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's just-the-facts-ma'am department:
Glyn Moody writes "We hear a lot about politicians and countries rejecting ACTA, but not so much from the treaty's supporters. Here's a new site, called 'ACTA Facts,' which invites Europeans to 'get the facts' on how wonderful ACTA really is. Judging by its content, this one will be about as successful as Microsoft's 'Get the Facts' campaign a few years ago, which tried to dissuade people from using GNU/Linux. For example, a new report linked to by the site claims that ACTA could 'boost European output by a total of €50 billion, and create as many as 960,000 new jobs.' Unfortunately, that's based on numerous flawed assumptions, including the idea that countries like China and India are going to rush to join ACTA, when the treaty is actually designed as a weapon against them, as they have already noticed."

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iOS Tops Android For Number of New App Projects From Developers
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '12 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's easier-to-code-for-just-the-one-button department:
Analytics firm Flurry recently posted a report comparing the new projects being undertaken by developers for mobile apps on Android and iOS. According to their data, significantly more projects are started for iOS than for Android. The gap has been slowly shrinking over the past few quarters, but it's still bigger than it was a year ago. "For every 10 apps that developers build, roughly 7 are for iOS. While Google made some gains in Q1 2012, edging up to over 30% for the first time in a year, we believe this is largely due to seasonality, as Apple traditionally experiences a spike in developer support leading up to the holiday season." The iPad's dominance of the tablet market is one of several reasons for the gap. "In Flurry’s estimation, the fragmentation of the Android platform is increasing the cost and complexity of app development, perhaps curbing third-party investment in software."

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Police Using YouTube To Tell Their Own Stories
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's who-watches-the-watchers-who-watch-the-watchers department:
stevegee58 writes "Posting videos to YouTube allegedly showing police misconduct has become commonplace these days. Now police themselves are posting their own videos to refute misconduct claims. 'After a dozen Occupy Minnesota protesters were arrested at a downtown demonstration, the group quickly took to the Internet, posting video that activists said showed police treating them roughly and never warning them to leave. But Minneapolis police knew warnings had been given. And they had their own video to prove it. So they posted the footage on YouTube, an example of how law enforcement agencies nationwide are embracing online video to cast doubt on false claims and offer their own perspective to the public.'"

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Diablo 3 Banhammer Dropped Just Before RMAH Goes Live
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '12 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-do-not-envy-their-customer-service-reps department:
eldavojohn writes "One thing Diablo 3 has that many other games do not is a 'Real Money Auction House' (RMAH), which went live today for players with two factor authentication. Of course, mere hours before that, Blizzard publicly announced they would follow through on their promises. Accounts they have identified as cheaters and botters have been banned 'by the thousands.' No official number is out, but the news is indicating that as people get off of work and return home to their bot-wives and bot-kids they may find themselves without a valid Battle.net account (possibly tied to other games like SCII and WoW). Blizzard has also included many fixes to remove/dissuade many other exploits but if their past arcane attitude toward the 'gamers of the game' is any indication, thousands will be unhappy."

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