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Mars Curiosity Rover's First Road Trip Planned
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '12 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's off-to-kill-cats department:
littlesparkvt writes "NASA has announced the first destination for the Curiosity Rover. They're sending it to 'Glenelg,' a natural intersection of three kinds of terrain. 'The trek to Glenelg will send the rover 1,300 feet (400 meters) east-southeast of its landing site. One of the three types of terrain intersecting at Glenelg is layered bedrock, which is attractive as the first drilling target. "We're about ready to load our new destination into our GPS and head out onto the open road," Grotzinger said. "Our challenge is there is no GPS on Mars, so we have a roomful of rover-driver engineers providing our turn-by-turn navigation for us." Prior to the rover's trip to Glenelg, the team in charge of Curiosity's Chemistry and Camera instrument, or ChemCam, is planning to give their mast-mounted, rock-zapping laser and telescope combination a thorough checkout. On Saturday night, Aug. 18, ChemCam is expected to "zap" its first rock in the name of planetary science. It will be the first time such a powerful laser has been used on the surface of another world.'"

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Genetically Engineering Babies a Moral Obligation, Says Ethicist
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '12 at 04:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's perfect-babies-only department:
Hugh Pickens writes "The Telegraph reports that Oxford Professor Julian Savulescu, an expert in practical ethics, says that creating so-called designer babies could be considered a 'moral obligation' as it makes them grow up into 'ethically better children' and that we should actively give parents the choice to screen out personality flaws in their children such as potential alcoholism, psychopathy and disposition to violence as it means they will then be less likely to harm themselves and others. 'Surely trying to ensure that your children have the best, or a good enough, opportunity for a great life is responsible parenting?' writes Savulescu, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics. 'So where genetic selection aims to bring out a trait that clearly benefits an individual and society, we should allow parents the choice. To do otherwise is to consign those who come after us to the ball and chain of our squeamishness and irrationality.' Savulescu says that we already routinely screen embryos and fetuses for conditions such as cystic fibrosis and Down's syndrome and couples can test embryos for inherited bowel and breast cancer genes. 'Whether we like it or not, the future of humanity is in our hands now. Rather than fearing genetics, we should embrace it. We can do better than chance.'"

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Google Seeks US Ban On iPhones, iPads, Macs
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '12 at 03:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's ask-big-then-compromise department:
theodp writes "Following up on an announcement that it would rid itself of 4,000 employees world-wide and renege on a deal with the State of Illinois, Google's Motorola Mobility unit said it has filed a new patent-infringement case against Apple, which seeks a ban on U.S. imports of devices including the iPhone, iPad and Mac computers. 'Apple's unwillingness to work out a license leaves us little choice but to defend ourselves and our engineers' innovations,' Motorola Mobility said in an e-mailed statement."

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Indian Gov't Bans Bulk SMS, Investigating Social Media
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '12 at 12:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's man-vs-the-state department:
saiful76 writes "Following mass exodus of people belonging to north-east states India from southern states of India, specially Bangalore, allegedly due to the threatening messages, the government has asked relevant agencies to scan all social media platforms to check for inflammatory and offensive content, following which, the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DIT) has issued an advisory to all intermediaries in terms of provisions of IT Act and Rules to take action for disabling all such content on priority. Cellphone operators have been told to block all bulk SMSs and videos — so nobody can send a message to more than five people at a time."

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Is MySQL Slowly Turning Closed Source?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 09:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's seems-like-a-reasonable-suspicion department:
mpol writes "Sergei from MariaDB speculated on some changes within MySQL 5.5.27. It seems new testcases aren't included with MySQL any more, which leaves developers depending on it in the cold. 'Does this mean that test cases are no longer open source? Oracle did not reply to my question. But indeed, there is evidence that this guess is true. For example, this commit mail shows that new test cases, indeed, go in this "internal" directory, which is not included in the MySQL source distribution.' On a similar note, updates for the version history on Launchpad are not being updated anymore. What is Oracle's plan here? And is alienating the developer community just not seen as a problem at Oracle?"

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MplayerX Leaving Mac App Store
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 06:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's kicked-out-of-the-hothouse department:
New submitter technonono writes "MplayerX, a popular and free video player app on Mac OSX, is now leaving Mac App Store 'after arguing with Apple for three months.' The developer claims that Apple's sandboxing policies would strip the app into 'another lame Quicktime X,' which is unacceptable. The app is releasing updates on its own site, where users who bought it from the App Store would most likely never notice them. The situation was 'foretold' by Marco Arment, at least for one app."

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Kasparov Arrested By Russian Police
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 05:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's putin-on-the-fritz department:
New submitter perdelucena writes "Former world chess champion Garry Kasparov was arrested outside a Moscow court, where the verdict in the trial of the Pussy Riot group members was being announced on Friday, Russian police said."

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Gartner Buzzword Tracker Says "Cloud Computing" Still on Hype Wave
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's distingush-from-internet-kthxbye department:
If you're sick of the term "cloud" to refer to pretty much anything on "the internet" and consider that phrase a symptom of useless MBA, PHB, PowerPoint talking points oozing where they don't belong, sorry — you'll probably have to endure it for a while yet. Nerval's Lobster writes that Gartner's 2012 Hype Cycle of Emerging Technologies says that "Cloud computing" (along with a few other terms, such as "Near Field Communication" and "media tablets") is not just alive but growing.

"Gartner uses the report to monitor the rise, maturity and decline of certain terms and concepts, the better for corporate strategists and planners to predict how things will trend over the next few months or years. As part of the report, Gartner's analysts have built a Hype Cycle which positions technologies on a graph tracing their rise, overexposure, inevitable fall, and eventual rehabilitation as quiet, productive, well-integrated, thoroughly un-buzz-worthy technologies. Right now, Gartner views hybrid cloud computing, Big Data, crowdsourcing, and the 'Internet of Things' as on the rise, while private cloud computing, social analytics and the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon are coasting at the Peak of Inflated Expectations."

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The Olympic Live Stream: Observations, Recommendations, Predictions
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's hey-guys-not-enough-ads department:
lpress writes "The Tour de France and the Olympics were live streamed on the Web. The BBC streamed 2,500 hours of live coverage of the Olympics and NBC streamed the entire Tour de France and 302 events from all 32 Olympic sports. I watched both events as a fan and as an observer of the online content and the network performance. I blogged detailed descriptions of my experience and summarized it in 12 observations and recommendations. The summary concludes with predcitions about the way live events will be covered in the future — coverage of these events was an early step in a major shakeup of the way live events are produced, distributed and viewed."

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Google, Oracle Deny Direct Payments To Media
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 02:46 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's many-disappointed-critics department:
itwbennett writes "Earlier this month, the judge in the Oracle v. Google trial ordered the companies to disclose the names of bloggers and reporters who had taken payments from them. Not surprisingly, both companies have denied making direct payments to writers (with the exception of Florian Mueller of FOSSPatents, whose relationship to Oracle was disclosed in April). But Oracle has tattled on Google regarding some indirect connections. In particular, Oracle called out Ed Black for an article he wrote about the case for Forbes. And Jonathan Band, co-author of the book, 'Interfaces on Trial 2.0,' which Google cited in its April 3, 2012 copyright brief."
Groklaw has an in-depth look at the filings. Oracle's fingerpointing is based in part on this BBC article and this piece at The Recorder, both of which they entered into evidence. Google's filing (PDF) affirmed that they have not paid media for articles or done any quid pro quo in exchange for coverage. However, they acknowledged that many people receive money from Google through other means (the company's philanthropy, ad business, etc.), and asked the judge if he wanted further details about those instances.

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Trouble At OnLive
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-exactly-blue-skies-in-the-cloud department:
Lashat writes "News of trouble at cloud gaming provider OnLive is trickling out of various sources. According to Forbes, all employees received their walking papers today. Rumors of a shutdown, buyout, or re-formation as a new company are plentiful, but the company hasn't announced anything yet. The article quotes an email sent to InXile CEO Brain Fargo from an employee within the company: 'I wanted to send a note that by the end of the day today, OnLive as an entity will no longer exist. Unfortunately, my job and everyone else's was included. A new company will be formed and the management of the company will be in contact with you about the current initiatives in place, including the titles that will remain on the service. It has been an absolute pleasure working with you and I'm sure our path with cross again.' OnLive's Director of Corporate Communications told Forbes, 'No, let me be clear. We are not going out of business.'"
While the question of whether OnLive-as-an-entity will continue is still up in the air, an internal source confirmed to Gamasutra that OnLive's entire staff has been laid off, and OnLive employees were seen outside headquarters with 'moving boxes.' Kotaku says the company has filed for protection against creditors in California (not bankruptcy, but similar).

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Paul Ryan's Record On Science and Government
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's no-interest-in-underwater-utopias department:
sciencehabit writes "U.S. Representatives Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) don't have much in common when it comes to politics. Kucinich is a very liberal Democrat who's leaving Congress this January after being defeated in a primary election by a more moderate colleague. Ryan is a conservative leader and now the Republican Party's presumptive candidate for vice president. A dozen years ago, however, the two men found one thing they could agree on—killing the National Ignition Facility, a multibillion dollar laser fusion project at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. The article goes on to explore other impacts Ryan could have on science as VP."

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Surfing Robot Tracks Great White Sharks
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's well-obviously department:
ackthpt writes "A network of fixed buoys and solar powered surfing robots called Wave Gliders are set to track Great White Sharks in the Pacific, off the California coast near San Francisco, between Monterey Bay and Tomales Point. According to PhysOrg, 'The self-propelled wave and solar-powered glider is part of a new network of data receivers on fixed buoys will pick up signals from acoustic tags on animals passing within 1,000 feet and transmit the data to a research team on shore, led by Stanford University Marine Sciences Prof. Barbara Block.' Related to the project is 'Shark Net,' a new iOS app 'available free of charge at the Apple app store, created by Dr. Block and her colleagues with developers from TOPP, EarthNC and Gaia GPS to enable a direct, personal connection between the public and wild marine animals and to raise public awareness of the ocean wilderness teeming with life just off North America's West Coast.'"

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iPhone Bug Allows SMS Spoofing
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's working-as-intend-ish department:
Trailrunner7 writes "The iPhone SMS app contains a quirky bug that could allow someone to send a user a text message that appears to come from any number that the sender specifies. The researcher who discovered the bug said it could be used by attackers to spoof messages from a bank or credit card company and send the victim to a target site controlled by the attacker. The issue lies in the way iOS implements a section of the SMS message called User Data Header, which has a number of options, one of which allows the user to change the phone number that the text message appears to come from. The advent of mobile banking apps, some of which use SMS messages for out-of-band authentication, makes this kind of attack vector perhaps more worrisome and useful for attackers than it would seem at first blush."

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US Astronomy Facing Severe Budget Cuts and Facility Closures
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's but-i-like-pie-in-the-sky department:
Nancy_A writes "The U.S. astronomy budget is facing unprecedented cuts, including the potential closure of several facilities. A new report by the National Science Foundation's Division of Astronomical Sciences says available funding for ground-based astronomy could undershoot projected budgets by as much as 50%. The report recommends the closure – called 'divestment' in the new document — of iconic facilities such as the Very Long Baseline Array and the Green Bank Radio Telescope, as well as shutting down four different telescopes at the Kitt Peak Observatory by 2017."

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Is Windows 8 Microsoft's Riskiest Bet?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sometimes-you've-gotta-roll-the-hard-8 department:
Microsoft has rolled out many new products and many revisions of old products over the past couple of decades. The releases haven't always gone well, as in the case of Windows Vista, but Redmond has managed to ride out the rough patches. However, Windows 8 is an even more dramatic revamp of one of Microsoft's top products than Vista was. At the same time, they're piling their tablet hopes onto Windows 8 as well. Does this make it Microsoft's riskiest bet ever?
"Thus the problem facing Microsoft: How to convince Windows users to rush out and buy an upgrade of a perfectly good (and relatively new, at least by Windows standards) operating system? Compounding the issue is the new Windows 8 design, with a Start screen that discards the traditional desktop interface in favor of a bunch of colorful tiles linked to applications. That revamp is supposed to make Windows 8 more touch-screen friendly, and thus optimized for tablet use; but it could turn off consumers who don’t like change, not to mention businesses that shudder at the idea of retraining their workers in new ways of doing things. ... if Surface and the other Windows 8 tablets fail to make an impact on the market, then Microsoft will have lost a major chance at seizing the new paradigm, which is centered on mobility and the cloud. Meanwhile, that same paradigm shift is drifting the center of peoples’ computing lives from desktops and laptops to smartphones and tablets—which puts Windows’ traditional center of strength at long-term risk.

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Cables Show US Seeks Assange
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's desperately-seeking-julian department:
prakslash writes "The Sydney Morning Herald reports that diplomatic cables they obtained show the U.S. investigation into possible criminal conduct by Julian Assange has been ongoing for more than a year, despite denials by the U.S. State Department and the Australian Foreign Minister. Further, the Australian diplomats expect that the U.S. will seek to extradite Assange to the U.S. on charges including espionage and conspiracy relating to the release of classified information by WikiLeaks."

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Microthrusters For Small Satellites
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's or-install-50,000-of-them-for-large-satellites department:
An anonymous reader writes "A research team led by Paulo Lozano at MIT's Space Propulsion Lab and Microsystems Technology Lab have shown off a microthruster array capable of powering small satellites. The tiny, flat design could obviate the need for bulky propellant tanks. 'To explain how the thruster works, Lozano invokes the analogy of a tree: Water from the ground is pulled up a tree through a succession of smaller and smaller pores, first in the roots, then up the trunk, and finally through the leaves, where sunshine evaporates the water as gas. Lozano's microthruster works by a similar capillary action: Each layer of metal contains smaller and smaller pores, which passively suck the ionic liquid up through the chip, to the tops of the metallic tips. The group engineered a gold-coated plate over the chip, then applied a voltage, generating an electric field between the plate and the thruster's tips. In response, beams of ions escaped the tips, creating a thrust. The researchers found that an array of 500 tips produces 50 micronewtons of force — an amount of thrust that, on Earth, could only support a small shred of paper. But in zero-gravity space, this tiny force would be enough to propel a two-pound satellite.'"

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Google Employees Find 60 Security Holes In Adobe Reader
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's is-that-all department:
sl4shd0rk writes "Upon examining the PDF Engine behind Google Chrome, Google employees Mateusz Jurczyk and Gynvael Coldwind discovered numerous holes. This led them to also test Adobe Reader, which turned up around 60 holes which could crash the PDF reader, 40 of them being potential attack vectors. The duo notified Adobe, who promised fixes, but as of the latest updates (Tuesday of this week) for Windows and Macintosh, 16 of the reported flaws are still present (the Linux version has been ignored). To prove it, Mateusz and Gynvael obfuscated the info and released it, saying the unpatched holes could easily be found. The Google employees therefore recommend that users refrain from opening any PDF documents from external sources in Adobe Reader."

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Humble Bundle For Android 3 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on August 17 '12 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's still-waiting-on-the-humble-bundle-for-blackberry-os department:
alancronin writes with news that the Humble Bundle for Android 3 has gone live, with a selection of games that run on Android, Linux, Mac, and Windows. As with previous bundles, buyers can choose how much they want to pay, and what portion of the proceeds go to the developers or to charity. From the article:
"The latest bundle includes the games BIT.TRIP BEAT, Fieldrunners, SpaceChem, and Uplink, along with each of their soundtracks. Plus, if you donate above the average price, which is currently $6.07, you can also get the puzzle game Spirits. ... The average purchase price is currently $6.07, with Linux users typically paying the most. Linux users have paid an average of $8.83, followed by Mac users at $6.59 and Windows users at $5.42. "

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