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New Evidence Indicates Amelia Earhart Survived For a Time on Pacific Atoll
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '12 at 01:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's just-a-speck-against-the-sky department:
In light of new evidence publicly released Friday showing artifacts believed to have been Amelia Earhart's, the U.S. Navy is prepping a mission to investigate the area where they were found. Next month marks the 75th anniversary of Earhart's disappearance, but the just-announced discovery of personal effects and the evidence of cooking represents the most concrete evidence yet that she did not simply crash into the ocean.

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Ask Slashdot: Syncing Files With Remote Server While On the Road?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '12 at 12:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's hard-ways-is-best-ways department:
An anonymous reader writes "Here's a scenario: you are on a vacation trip for a couple of weeks — on the road. Lots of pictures — 2-300 per day. Maybe some text files with short notes etc. You have a camera with Eye-Fi, a PC, and a phone with WiFi and 3G. Files ends up on the PC (mobile storage), phone provides Internet connectivity. Now, if you wanted to upload all files pretty much as you go — given spotty access to Internet over G3 and WiFi — what would be the best way to do that automatically; set-it-and-forget-it style? I would like them to end up on my own server. rsync script? ownCloud? Some BitTorrent setup? Other? I'm thinking of interrupted file transfers due to no network, re-starts etc. And I would not want to lose any files; including scenarios where files gets deleted locally — that should not result in files getting automatically deleted on the server as well. Sure; I could perhaps use something like Dropbox but that would take the fun out of it."

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Another Step Forward In Small Scale Electrical Generators
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '12 at 11:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's still-won't-let-you-take-it-on-the-plane department:
NicknamesAreStupid writes "Product Design & Development reports another breakthrough in small scale solid oxide fuel cells. This methane-fueled cell achieves about 50% efficiency at around 2kW, enough to power an average home. It does so by efficiently recycling its heat to perpetuate the process. Of course, this is not practical for most homes, which only have natural gas that contains nearly one fifth impurities. However, that could change if gas suppliers refined their product."

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Students Looking For Easy A Target Online Courses, Where Cheating Is Easier
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '12 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's cloud-this-cloud-that-cloud-jump-ropes department:
An anonymous reader writes "As online courses become mainstream, some students are finding they are often easy to game. A group of clever students at one public university describe how they used a Google Doc during on open-book test for a new kind of 'cloud cheating.'" Instead of "cloud" all the time, can't we switch it up with "on the internet"?

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DirecTV CEO Scoffs At Competition From Apple TV
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '12 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's apple-interfaces-tend-to-impress department:
theodp writes "In a move that evokes memories of Steve Ballmer's initial pooh-poohing of the iPhone threat, DirecTV Chairman Michael White downplayed the Apple TV hype, expressing doubts that 'Apple's interface will be so much better than DirecTVs' that people will be willing to pay for an extra box. So, will White's statement — 'It's hard to see (it) obsoleting our technology' — come back to haunt him?"

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Despite Game-Related Glitches, AMD Discontinues Monthly Driver Updates
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '12 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's oh-the-humanity department:
MojoKid writes "Recently AMD announced that it would cease offering monthly graphics driver updates, and instead issue Catalyst versions only "when it makes sense." That statement would be a good deal more comforting if it didn't "make sense" to upgrade AMD's drivers nearly every single month. From 2010 through 2011, AMD released a new Catalyst driver every month like clock work. Starting last summer, however, AMD began having trouble with high-profile game releases that performed badly or had visual artifacts. Rage was one high-profile example, but there have been launch-day issues with a number of other titles, including Skyrim, Assassin's Creed, Bat Man: Arkham City, and Battlefield 3. The company responded to these problems by quickly releasing out-of-band driver updates. In addition, AMD's recent Catalyst 12.6 beta driver also fixes random BSODs on the desktop, poor Crossfire scaling in Skyrim and random hangs in Crysis 2 in DX9. In other words, AMD is still working to resolve important problems in games that launched more than six months ago. It's hard to put a positive spin on slower driver releases given just how often those releases are necessary."

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Why the GPL Licensing Cops Are the Good Guys
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '12 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's they've-got-a-good-track-record-too department:
Reader rtfa-troll writes: "'GPL enforcement by Software Freedom Conservancy puts electronics makers on notice, leaves business users untouched,' says Infoworld, going on to explain 'You are several orders of magnitude more likely to be raided by your proprietary suppliers, in the form of the Business Software Alliance, than to ever hear from SFC, let alone face any action. License compliance is a major and costly issue for proprietary software, but the case concerns an end-user license agreement (EULA), not a source license.' The article gives a good summary of why having GPL licenses enforced helps everybody, except for 'hardware manufacturers — typically those creating low-cost consumer and business electronics' who need to verify that they pass on the same rights to others as they received with the original code."

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How Chemistry Stymies Attempts To Regulate Synthetic Drugs
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '12 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's welcome-to-the-drug-war-here's-your-scorecard department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Brandon Keim reports that the war on drugs has a new front with chemists fabricating synthetic mimics of marijuana, dissociative drugs and stimulants, and so far lawmakers appear to be a losing the war as every time a new compound is banned, overseas chemists synthesize a new version tweaked just enough to evade the letter of the law in a giant game of chemical Whack-a-Mole. "Manufacturers turn these things around so quickly. One week you'll have a product with compound X, the next week it's compound Y," says forensic toxicologist Kevin Shanks. "It's fascinating how fast it can occur, and it's fascinating to see the minute changes in chemical structure they'll come up with. It's similar, but it's different."

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Facebook Smartphone a Dumb Idea, Says Farhad Manjoo
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '12 at 04:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's it'd-have-to-have-a-pretty-fancy-gimmick department:
beaverdownunder writes "Farhad Manjoo examines Facebook's rumoured entry into the smartphone market, concluding, 'So what would be the point in using the Facebook phone? Well, remember, it will be cheap. But so are lots of Android phones. If Facebook makes a phone, then, the device will necessarily spark a battle for the low end of the phone market, with each company offering ever-cheaper devices in the hopes of cashing in on some future advertising bonanza. If you're looking for a cheap, ad-heavy phone based on a dubious business model, you should rejoice. Otherwise, try to stifle your yawns.'"

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Canadian Agency Investigates US Air Crash
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '12 at 03:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's sounds-like-a-law-school-hypothetical department:
knorthern knight writes "When 2 light civilian planes collide in U.S. airspace in Virginia, the usual response includes calling in the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) to investigate and make recommendations based on their results. But what do you do when the crash involves two planes piloted by a crash investigator with the FAA and the chief medical officer with the NTSB? In order to avoid conflict of interest by American investigators working for these agencies, the investigation has been turned over to to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada as a neutral 3rd party."

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US Warns Users of Child-Porn Blackmail Ransomware
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '12 at 12:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's nefarious-evildoers department:
coondoggie writes "The nasty Trojan known as Citadel malware, which is based on Zeus, has typically been used to extort money from online banking users, but a new variant is making the rounds that tries to get your money by saying you looked at child porn sites and must pay a violation fee to the U.S. Department of Justice. This variation, called Reveton, lures the victim to a drive-by download website, at which time the ransomware is installed on the user's computer, says the U.S. Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Once installed, the computer freezes and a screen is displayed warning the user they have violated United States Federal Law."

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NASA Tool Shows Where Forest Is Being Cut Down
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '12 at 09:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's cutting-through-your-neck-of-the-woods department:
terrancem writes "A new tool developed by NASA and other researchers shows where forest is being chopped down on a quarterly basis. The global forest disturbance alert system (GloF-DAS) is based on comparison of MODIS global vegetation index images at the exact same time period each year in consecutive years. GloF-DAS could help users detect deforestation shortly after it occurs, offering the potential to take measures to investigate clearing before it expands."

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Copyright Infringer Tries To Shut Down Reporting On Her Infringement
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '12 at 06:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's would-you-like-some-goose-with-your-gander? department:
An anonymous reader writes "Further to the previous story on Slashdot where attorney Candice Schwager threw threats to sue a photographer who reported a DMCA violation against her for infringing use of his photography: Candice has now made a DMCA threat of her own against Petapixel, a photography site that reported on her infringement. The kicker? She's sent the DMCA notice an apparent six times not to Petapixel's registrar or their hosting service, but to Godaddy, her own registrar."

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Ask Slashdot: Tips For Designing a Modern Web Application?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '12 at 03:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's use-a-lot-of-blink-tag department:
New submitter sdoca writes "I am a Java developer and for the past number of years I have mainly been working on server side code. I have an idea for a webpage/application that I would like to develop. For the general public, it will be a site where they can view upcoming events, filter them by type, date etc. and view details of events they're interested in. There will also be an admin section to the app where organizations who want to post their events can log in and set them up. In the long term, writing a view-only version as an Apple and/or Android app is on the radar, but I want to focus on the generic web app for now. I'm not sure what languages/frameworks to look at using for the webpage portion of my project. Many (many!) years ago, I wrote some applets. After that I did some work in WebObjects and after that I tinkered with Wicket. I have no experience with PHP and would like to stay in my Java comfort zone as much as possible, but want to use the right tool. I'm concerned about browser compatibility issues. Chrome didn't exist when I last did web page development. I'm looking for good resources (books, internet) that will guide me through the potential issues and your recommendations for a web development framework."

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Whose Cameras Are Watching New York Roads?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '12 at 03:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's hope-it's-the-model-un department:
NormalVisual writes "License-plate reading cameras are popping up on utility poles all over St. Lawrence County in upstate New York, but no one is willing to say who they belong to. One camera was found by a utility crew, removed from the pole, and given to the local police. 'Massena Police Chief Timmy Currier said he returned it to the owner, but wouldn't say how he knew who the owner was, nor would he say who he gave it to....(Andrew) McMahon, the superintendent at Massena Electric Department, said one of his crews found a box on one of their poles and took it down because "it was in the electric space," the top tier of wires on the pole above the telephone and cable TV wires, and whoever put it there had taken a chance with electrocution. He said they had never received a request or been informed about its placement.'"

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No Intelligent Aliens Detected In Gliese 581
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '12 at 02:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's beam-me-sideways-this-time department:
astroengine writes "Using an Australian very long baseline array (VLBA) of three radio antennae, the first very long baseline interferometry (VLBI) campaign has been carried out on a SETI target star: the famous Gliese 581 red dwarf. However, after 8 hours of observing the star — thought to play host to six exoplanets, two of which are in the star's 'habitable zone' — no alien signals were detected. This result isn't surprising, as the likelihood of us stumbling across intelligent aliens living in the Gliese 581 system transmitting radio is extremely slim, but it does validate VLBI as a very exciting means of using the vast amount of exoplanetary data (coming from missions such as the Kepler space telescope) for 'directed SETI' projects."

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SpaceX Brownsville Space Port Opposed By Texas Environmentalists
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '12 at 12:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's come-see-the-matamoros-cult-killing-site department:
MarkWhittington writes "The proposed SpaceX space port in Brownsville, Texas, has run into opposition from an environmental group. Environment Texas is conducting a petition drive to stop the project. According to a news release by the group, the proposed space port, which would include a launch pad and control and spacecraft processing facilities, would be 'almost surrounded' by a park and wildlife refuge. Environment Texas claims the launching of rockets would 'scare the heck' out of every creature in the area and would 'spray noxious chemicals all over the place.' The petition will demand SpaceX build the space port elsewhere." I suspect a lot of people in Brownsville are instead looking forward to the jobs, tourists and excitement that a spaceport would bring.

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New Rules Bring a "Credit Rating" For Users of Chinese Social Network
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '12 at 12:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's orwell-was-at-least-fiction department:
An anonymous reader links this article describing a newly installed set of rules affecting the already put-upon Internet users of China, specifically affecting users of social network Sina Weibo: "Sina Weibo users each will now receive 80 points to begin with, and this can be boosted to a full 100 points by those who provide their official government-issued identification numbers (like Social Security numbers in the U.S.) and link to a cellphone account. Spreading falsehoods will lead to deductions in points, among other penalties. Spreading an untruth to 100 other users will result in a deduction of two points. Spreading it to 100-1,000 other users will result in a deduction of five points, as well as a week's suspension of the account. Spreading it to more than 1,000 other users will result in a deduction of 10 points, as well as a 15-day suspension of the account." The article explains (in truth, not very helpfully) the extent to which users' freedom to talk freely will be curtailed; the long list of what not to do "includes using 'nonconforming' or false images to mislead," "exaggerating events," "presenting already [resolved] events as ongoing," "efforts to incite ethnic tensions and violence and hurt ethnic unity" and "efforts to spread cultist or superstitious thinking; spreading rumors to disrupt social harmony." (And of course the catch-all: "other activities stipulated by authorities.")

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Light Table IDE Finds Funding Success
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '12 at 10:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's ok-but-dark-table-next department:
omar.sahal writes "Chris Granger's Light Table IDE, covered here previously on Slashdot, has been successfully funded by a Kickstarter campaign. 7,317 backers brought in $316,720, obliging Chris to support the Python Programming language with his first release. Chris and his team have also been successful in being funded by Y Combinator. Here's some more background (video) on the concepts developed by Bret Victor found in Light Table.

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Geezers Pick Stronger Passwords Than Young'uns
Posted by News Fetcher on June 02 '12 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's as-many-characters-as-the-post-it-will-hold department:
McGruber writes "Joseph Bonneau, a computer scientist at the University of Cambridge, calculated the password strengths of nearly 70 million Yahoo! users. He compared the strengths of passwords chosen by different demographic groups and compared the results. People over the age of 55 pick passwords double the strength of those chosen by people under 25 years old." Does this mean that the younger users are more cavalier and naive, or are they simply more cynical about the actual value of strong passwords in the era of large-scale user-database compromises?

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