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China Plans To End Executed Prisoner Organ Donations Within 5 Years
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '12 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's have-you-considered-the-patch? department:
An anonymous reader writes "China said that it planned to end the practice of taking organs from executed prisoners within five years, according to the state media report on Friday. Instead, China's vice minister of health Dr. Huang Jiefu said that the country will rely on a new national donation system for organ transplants at a conference in the city of Hangzhou on Thursday."

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Amateur Astronomer Spots Strange Cloud Formations On Mars
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '12 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's he-loves-it department:
techfun89 writes "Mars has returned to our evening skies as it does every two years. This time it is getting even more attention and buzz than it normally would. Amateur astronomer Wayne Jaeschke of West Chester Pennsylvania noticed an unusual protrusion in the planet's southern hemisphere, preceding the sunrise terminator. Several things may have contributed to this strange 'cloud formation.' One possibility is a meteoric impact event, where dust was spewed up into the atmosphere. Another could be a major dust storm, which are typical on Mars. While the other possibility is the more mundane, that these observations were caused by a mere optical illusion via a type of glint that occurred due to having just the right combination of lighting and atmospheric conditions. Some suggest volcanic activity, though this is unlikely given it has been 20 to 200 million years since lava has flowed on Mars."

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UT-Dallas Professor Adds 'Enemies' Feature To Facebook
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '12 at 06:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's antisocial-networking department:
An anonymous reader writes "Many people have called for a 'dislike' button on Facebook, but the service has not allowed it. A professor's app lets users add 'enemies,' in what he says is critique of the service's advertiser-friendly niceness. Will Zuckerberg let the app stand or ban it?"

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Animating From Markup Code To Rendered Result
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '12 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's be-sure-to-preview-your-comment-below department:
New submitter lulalala writes "Writing documents using markup languages isn't always easy. Take Wikipedia, for example: one often needs time to relocate the current focus when they switch between previewing and editing mode. Now with Gliimpse, one can watch the markup code gradually turn into the rendered result. The demonstration on Youtube simply looks amazing, and shows that the software supports many markup languages, including LaTex Mathematics."

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NHTSA Suggestion Would Cripple In-Car GPS Displays
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '12 at 04:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's this-must-just-be-a-bad-dream department:
bricko writes "The recently issued National Highway Transportation Safety Agency guidelines for automakers to minimize distraction for in-vehicle electronics included a proposal to freeze maps on navigation systems. No more scrolling maps...just static pictures. 'Every current installed navigation system uses the car as a fixed point, and shows the map moving around it. NHTSA wants that changed so as to keep the map fixed. Even showing the position of the car moving on the map could be considered a dynamic image. The recommendation seems to suggest that the position of the car could only be updated every couple of seconds. Likewise, the map could be refreshed once the car has left the currently displayed area. This recommendation would essentially make navigation unusable. The system could still give an auditory warning for the next turn, but without being able to glance down at the map and see how close the next street is would likely lead to a lot of missed turns and resultant frustration.'"

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Ask Slashdot: How Would Room-Temp Superconductors Affect Us?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '12 at 03:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's I'd-care-more-about-electric-cars department:
Bananatree3 writes "While we have sci-fi visions of room temperature superconductors like in the movie Avatar, the question still remains: How would the discovery of a such a material impact our everyday lives? How would the nature of warfare change? How would the global economy react? What are the cultural pros and cons of such a technological shift?" And just as important, in what contexts would you want to see it first employed?

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Open Source Payday
Posted by News Fetcher on March 25 '12 at 12:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's and-ya-takes-yer-chances department:
itwbennett writes "The recent Slashdot discussion on the open source community's attitude on profits neglected an important point: 'no profits' doesn't mean 'no money.' There are plenty of open source not-for-profit organizations that take in millions of dollars in order to pursue their public-minded missions, and some pay their employees handsomely. Brian Proffitt combed through the latest publicly available financial information on 18 top FLOSS organizations to bring you the cold, hard numbers."

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US Congress Probes iOS App Developers On Privacy
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '12 at 09:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's they're-looking-for-tips department:
hypnosec writes with the arguably welcome news that "[The U.S.] Congress is gathering further information on iOS developers and how they deal with and implement privacy policies. The Next Web got hold of a letter from Congress which had been sent out to Tapbots, along with some 32 other iOS developers, including both Twitter and Facebook, and the devs of Path, SoundCloud, Foodspotting and Turntable.fm. The apps were picked due to the fact that they come under the social networking umbrella in the 'essentials' area of the App Store. The letter begins: 'We are writing to you because we want to better understand the information collection and use policies and practices of apps for Apple's mobile devices with a social element.' What follows is a series of eight questions designed to gather more details regarding the popularity of the app in question, and the privacy policy it holds to (and how it's made known to users)."

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Space Junk Forced Astronauts Into ISS Escape Capsules
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '12 at 07:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's april-fools! department:
According to a story from CNN, "A piece of a debris from a Russian Cosmos satellite passed close enough to the International Space Station on Saturday that its crew was ordered into escape capsules as a precaution, NASA said.
The six crew members were told to take shelter late Friday in their Soyuz capsules after it was determined there was a small possibility the debris could hit the station, the U.S. space agency said in a statement."
This isn't the first time it's happened, either. The escape capsules (actually, they're Soyuz spacecraft) must be nice to have on hand, but I'd hate to have to test their efficacy.

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XBMC V11 Eden Has Been Released
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '12 at 06:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's such-nice-apples-you've-got-there department:
New submitter themib writes "After only two release candidates XBMC v11.0 Eden has been released. The latest version contains many updates and new features, including: Addon Rollbacks, Confluence improvements, Dirty region rendering, a new JPEG decoder, movie scraping, better network support, a new upgraded Weather service. This announcement also heralds the new XBMCbuntu Final."

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NASA's Kepler Discovers 11 Systems Hosting 26 Planets
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '12 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's such-nice-hosts-they-are department:
An anonymous reader writes "NASA's Kepler mission has discovered 11 new planetary systems hosting 26 confirmed planets. These discoveries nearly double the number of verified planets and triple the number of stars known to have more than one planet that transits, or passes in front of, the star. Such systems will help astronomers better understand how planets form."

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Brazilian Schoolchildren Tagged By Computer Chips
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '12 at 03:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's combine-two-fetishes-into-one department:
New submitter smi.james.th writes with an AP story, and extracts from it: "'Grade-school students in a northeastern Brazilian city are using uniforms embedded with computer chips that alert parents if they are cutting classes, the city's education secretary, Coriolano Moraes, said Thursday.' Personally I don't find this too inspiring. Mr. Orwell certainly has warned the world about this."

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Red Wine and the Secret of Superconductivity
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '12 at 01:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's just-ask-bender department:
cold fjord writes "Red wine is a popular marinade for meat, but it turns out that it may become a popular treatment for creating iron based superconductors as well (Link to academic paper): 'Last year, a group of Japanese physicists grabbed headlines around the world by announcing that they could induce superconductivity in a sample of iron telluride by soaking it in red wine. They found that other alcoholic drinks also worked--white wine, beer, sake and so on — but red wine was by far the best. The question, of course, is why. What is it about red wine that does the trick? Today, these guys provide an answer, at least in part. Keita Deguchi at the National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba, Japan, and a few buddies, say the mystery ingredient is tartaric acid and have the experimental data to show that it plays an important role in the process. . . It turns out that the best performer is a wine made from the gamay grape--for the connoisseurs, that's a 2009 Beajoulais from the Paul Beaudet winery in central France.'"

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China Unblocks Sensitive Keywords
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '12 at 12:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's ip-traps-ready department:
hackingbear writes "Reports from overseas (in Chinese) [Google translation] and Hong Kong-based Chinese media report that China appears to have unblocked several sensitive political keywords. Using Baidu.com, the country's leading search engine, users within the mainland border find, in Chinese, uncensored web page links and images using keywords like
Tiananmen and 'June 4'. (Readers can click on the first one to view the images.) Given that the unblocking of these sensitive keywords comes one week after Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao publicly denounced left-wing leader Bo Xilai's movement of 'striking down the ganster while reviving the red culture' as going down the path of Cultural Revolution, it could signal the silent start of a major political change."


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Japanese CCTV Camera Can Scan 36 Million Faces/Second
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '12 at 11:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's once-met-alex-jones-at-mt-carmel-compound department:
An of-course anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from the always-fun Infowars.com: "A new camera technology from Hitachi Hokusai Electric can scan days of camera footage instantly, and find any face which has EVER walked past it. Its makers boast that it can scan 36 million faces per second. The technology raises the spectre of governments – or other organisations – being able to 'find' anyone instantly simply using a passport photo or a Facebook profile. The 'trick' is that the camera 'processes' faces as it records, so that all faces which pass in front of it are recorded and stored instantly. Faces are stored as a searchable 'biometric' record, placing the unique mathematical 'faceprint' of anyone who has ever walked past the camera in a database."

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Militarizing Your Backyard With Python and AI
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '12 at 10:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's it-puts-the-squirrel-in-the-bucket department:
mikejuk writes "Kurt Grandis took some cutting edge and open source AI tools, Python, an Arduino and a SuperSoaker and built the (almost) perfect squirrel hosing machine. The project involved Open Computer Vision (OpenCV), an a SVM learning procedure that he trained to tell the difference between a squirrel and a non-squirrel. After 'perfecting' the classifier the hardware came next — a SuperSoaker Mark I was used as the 'water cannon.' A pair of servos were used to aim the gun and a third to pull the trigger."

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Windows 8 and Screen Resolution: WXGA Still Most Popular
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '12 at 10:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's how-tight-are-your-pixels? department:
jones_supa writes "The Building Windows 8 blog comes up with a detailed post explaining the improved support of Windows 8 regarding different screen sizes, resolutions and pixel densities. Early on, the Windows team explored an inch-based scaling system, but found out that bitmaps would look blurry when scaled to unpredictable sizes. They ended up choosing three predefined scale percentages: 100%/140%/180%. The article goes on pondering the best solutions to make each app look good on different screens. Also shown: the distribution of resolutions being used today with Windows 7, 1366x768 having a huge lead at 42%."

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New Cyber Security Bills Open Door To Gov't, Corporate Abuse
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '12 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's concentrated-incentives-diffuse-objections department:
Gunkerty Jeb writes with a selection from Threatpost about upcoming legislation to watch out for: "EFF looked at two bills making their way through Congress: The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (S. 2105), sponsored by Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) of Connecticut and the Secure IT Act (S. 2151), sponsored by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) . The digital rights group claims that the quality of both bills ranges from 'downright terrible' to 'appropriately intentioned.' Each, however, is conceptually similar and flawed, EFF said."

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'Space Freighter' On Its Way to Resupply International Space Station
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '12 at 07:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's all-out-of-nerf-ammo department:
SchrodingerZ writes "An ATV 'Space truck' [launched Friday] from Kourou base in French Guiana to the International Space Station. 'The robotic truck is heading to the International Space Station (ISS) with new supplies of food, water, air, and fuel.' It launched at 04:34 GMT for a 63 minute flight into orbit. At 20 tonnes, the ATV is the biggest ship servicing the station now that the U.S. shuttles have been retired . The Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) launched with a Ariane 5 carrier rocket, it is the 'third such craft to be sent to the station by Esa (European Space Agency).' It will dock with the ISS on the night of the 28th and 29th, Paris time."

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US Puts Tariff On Chinese Solar Panels
Posted by News Fetcher on March 24 '12 at 06:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's why-not-just-sink-5%-of-the-ships? department:
retroworks writes "Two stories in Digitimes make a puzzle of economic policy. USA and European tax incentives and stimulus increase steady demand for solar panels. The Chinese government subsidizes production of solar panels to meet this growing demand. The U.S. and EU complain, and place tariffs on Chinese solar panels. Do allegations that China has used government funding to subsidize the production trump our desire for cheaper solar power? Subsidizing demand led to subsidized production. In other words, one market interference (subsidized demand for solar) leads to its counterpoint, government tariff and taxation of the same product."

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