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Comparing Today's Computers To 1995's
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '12 at 11:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's pentium-80-how-I-miss-you department:
An anonymous reader writes "A look back at two articles from 1995, touting high end computers and 'must haves.' How times have changed... ...'Memory (RAM): We seem to have convinced most manufacturers to adopt eight megabytes as standard, compared with four megabytes in 1994. Don't buy less than eight. The difference in performance between an eight megabyte machine and a four-megabyte machine can be dramatic.'"

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Children Used To Steal Parents' Data
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '12 at 09:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's virtual-fagin department:
Barence writes "PC Pro's Davey Winder has revealed how pre-school children are being targeted by data thieves. Security vendors have uncovered a bunch of Flash-based games, colorful and attractive to young kids, which came complete with a remote access trojan. The trojan is usually installed behind a button to download more free games, but BitDefender even found one painting application where the very act of swiping the paintbrush over an online pet to change the color of the virtual animal was enough to trigger redirection to an infected site."

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"Open Source" Drug Development Company Launched
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '12 at 07:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's wisdom-of-the-drugged-crowd department:
First time accepted submitter awjourn writes "During his years working in pharma R&D, Tomasz Sablinski was frustrated by the industry's need for secrecy and it's utter inability to design patient-friendly drug trials. So he founded Transparency Life Sciences, a company that's developing three drugs based on input from patients and physicians, who log onto the company's site and voice their opinions about how drugs should be designed and tested."

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Submitting "Nuking the Fridge" To Scientific Peer Review
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '12 at 05:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's leave-Indiana-alone department:
An anonymous reader writes "George Lucas claims there was 'a 50/50 chance' Indiana Jones could survive the atomic blast in Legend of the Crystal Skull by hiding inside a refrigerator. Dr. David Shechner subjects this claim to rigorous peer review, and his findings are not good news for people looking to hide from nukes in appliances."

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Remote-Controlled Planes Used For Wildlife Conservation
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '12 at 05:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's conservation-on-a-budget department:
Damien1972 writes "Conservationists have converted a remote-controlled plane into a potent tool for conservation. The drone — an HK Bixler equipped with cameras, sensors and GPS — has been used to map deforestation, count orangutans and elephants, and get a bird's eye view of hard-to-access forest areas. During their 4 days of testing in Sumatra, the drone flew 30 missions without a single crash. A mission, which typically lasts about 25 minutes, can cover 50 hectares. The drone, full equipped, costs less than $2,000."

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Brain Scan Can Detect Autism In Infants
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '12 at 04:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's early-check department:
kkleiner writes "A new study shows that brain scans can detect autism in children as young as 6 months old. Researchers at University of North Carolina's Institute for Developmental Disabilities imaged the brains of 92 children who were at high risk for autism. Scans were performed when the children were 6 months, 1-year, and 2-years old. At 2 years, the age when children are typically diagnosed, 30 percent of the children were found to have autism. The researchers then compared the brain images of the autistic children with the others. They saw differences in the brain's white matter, the axon-laden pathways that transmit electrical signals to distant parts of the brain. Of the 15 pathways analyzed, 12 were significantly different between autistic and non-autistic children."

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MIT Lecturer Defends His Standing As Email Inventor
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '12 at 03:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's for-some-values-of-invented department:
hapworth writes "IT professionals were recently outraged to hear that the Smithsonian acquired some code from MIT lecturer VA Shiva Ayyadurai who has convinced no less august pubs than Time Magazine and The Washington Post that he invented email. While objectors howl on forums and message boards, VA Shiva Ayyadurai spoke up today to defend his standing as email's creator, claiming he doesn't regret not patenting it because he doesn't believe in software patents."

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Ask Slashdot: Best Mobile Phone Solution With No Data Plan?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '12 at 03:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's old-ways-are-best department:
New submitter clorkster writes "I am looking to upgrade my mobile phone. I have always bought the cheapest possible phone with the least features since I only use it to make calls and text. Further, I am opposed to paying for internet access twice and my home access is certainly more important and necessary. I am now running into the issue that my phone is too archaic to receive text messages from newer smart phones (they somehow become picture messages). Any thoughts on a good smart phone without data plan or an almost smart phone solution?"

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Obama's Privacy Bill of Rights: Just a Beginning
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '12 at 02:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's how-to-water-down-a-phrase department:
jfruh writes "Last night the White House hastily arranged a phone conference at which a 'Privacy Bill of Rights' was announced. It's an important document, not least because it affirms the idea that our data belongs to us, not to companies that happen to collect it. But it has a number of shortcomings, not least among them the companies aren't required to respect the rules laid out."

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Carrier Ethernet 2 Aims For Global Connectivity
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '12 at 01:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's this-one-goes-in-your-ear-no-wait department:
alphadogg provides this extract from Network World: "The Metro Ethernet Forum has updated its Carrier Ethernet specification, hoping to standardize the use of Ethernet for global multicarrier services. 'With Carrier Ethernet 2, we're expanding Quality-of-Service [QoS] well beyond best efforts, and will now allow carriers to interconnect to provide worldwide [Ethernet] service,' said Bob Metcalfe, co-inventor of Ethernet, during a Metro Ethernet Forum Web conference held Thursday to announce the specification. The forum introduced Carrier Ethernet in 2005 as a set of extensions that describe how data communications carriers should use Ethernet in a consistent manner. The new specification, Carrier Ethernet 2, establishes an additional set of rules."

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Proposed Video Copy Protection Scheme For HTML5 Raises W3C Ire
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '12 at 01:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's have-you-have-your-ire-checked-lately? department:
suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from Ars Technica: "A new Web standard proposal authored by Google, Microsoft, and Netflix seeks to bring copy protection mechanisms to the Web. The Encrypted Media Extensions draft defines a framework for enabling the playback of protected media content in the Web browser. The proposal is controversial and has raised concern among some parties that are participating in the standards process. In a discussion on the W3C HTML mailing list, critics questioned whether the proposed framework would really provide the level of security demanded by content providers. The aim of the proposal is not to mandate a complete DRM platform, but to provide the necessary components for a generic key-based content decryption system. It is designed to work with pluggable modules that implement the actual decryption mechanisms."

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Nigerian Scam Artists Taken For $33,000
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '12 at 12:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's respectfully-for-your-most-elegant-attention-and-regards department:
smitty777 writes "An Australian woman who was being used by a group of Nigerian scam artists stole over $33,000 from the group who employed her. Her bank account was being used to funnel the cash from a dodgy internet car sales website. Irony aside, it makes one wonder how these folks ever got the nerve to go to the police with this matter. Those of you wondering, this article offers some answers to the question of why so many of these scams originate from this area."

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Are Smartphones Starting a Boom In DIY Medicine?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '12 at 11:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's say-aaaaaah-and-hit-send department:
An anonymous reader writes "How are you using smartphones and other portable devices to take charge of your medical care? The NY Times has an article about attachments to the iPhone for tracking blood sugar and blood pressure. There are also glorified web cams that take pictures of your ear drum, teeth or eyes to save you a trip to the doctor's. Some people are tracking the changes in their moles with an iPhone App. Is this the beginning of Med 2.0?" Odd as it sounds, I was able to be more quickly and reliably diagnosed with Lyme disease last fall because I'd taken some pictures on my phone of the lesion I'd wrongly thought was the result of a spider bite. Any camera would have worked, but I had my camera-equipped phone with me, rather than any other kind.

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Developer's View: Real Life Inspirations Or Abstract Ideas?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '12 at 10:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's why-in-my-day-no-electrons-at-all department:
StormDriver writes "According to writer Marc Prensky, most of us come from a generation of digital immigrants. It basically means the modern web developed during our lifetime, it is a place we migrated to, discovering its potential. But people aged 20 and younger are not like that at all. They are digital natives, they've spent their whole lives here. 'Hey, let's do a digital version of our college facebook' is a digital immigrant's idea, just like 'Hey, let's make something like a classifieds section of a newspaper, only this one will be online.' Or 'Hey, let's make an online auction housel.' 'Hey, let's make a place for online video rentals.' The thing is, recreating items, ideas and interactions from the physical realm on the Web already ran its course." To me, this sounds like the gripe that "Everything that can be invented, has been invented." There are a lot of real-life services and experiences that have yet to be replicated, matched, or improved upon in the online realm; I wouldn't want people to stop taking inspiration from "old fashioned" goods as starting points for digital products.

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Where Next-Generation Rare Earth Metals May Come From
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '12 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's when-two-minerals-love-each-other-very-much department:
retroworks writes "Great piece in The Atlantic by Kyle Wiens of IFIXIT.org, who visited and photographed the Molycorp Mountain Pass rare earth facility in California's Mojave Desert. The mine is the only source of rare earths in North America, one of the only alternatives to the mineral cartels in China, and one of the only sources for the key metals such as tantalum needed in cell phones. There is of course actually one other source of rare earth metals in the USA — recycled cell phones. Is the best 'state of the art' mining as good as the worst state of the art recycling? If the U.S. Department of Energy subsidizes the mine, will China open the floodgates and put it out of business? Or will electronics be manufactured with alternative materials before the mine ever becomes fully scaleable?"

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State Legislatures Attempt To Limit TSA Searches
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '12 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's they-never-have-a-bin-for-your-dignity department:
OverTheGeicoE writes "Here's a familiar story: a breast cancer survivor's mastectomy scars showed up on a TSA scan, which forced a horrifying pat-down ('feel-up' in her words) of the affected area. The woman decided that she would not subject herself to that again, and was barred from a later flight from Seattle to Juneau for that reason. But now the story takes an interesting turn: the woman is Alaska State Rep. Sharon Cissna, and once she finally made it back to Alaska she started sponsoring legislation to restrict TSA searches. Her many bills, if passed, would criminalize both pat-downs and 'naked scanning,' as well as require better health warnings for X-ray scanners and even studies of airport screenings' physical and psychological effects. Other states, including Utah and Texas, are considering similar legislation. For example, Texas State Rep. David Simpson is preparing to reintroduce his Traveler Dignity Act again in 2013 if he is re-elected. The last time that bill was being considered the Federal government threatened to turn all of Texas into a 'no-fly zone'."

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Interrupted Sleep Might Be the Best Kind
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '12 at 08:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's helps-me-remember-my-dreams-too department:
Hugh Pickens writes writes "BBC reports that a growing body of evidence from both science and history suggests that eight-hours of uninterrupted sleep may be unnatural as a wealth of historical evidence reveals that humans used to sleep in two distinct chunks called first and second sleep. A book by historian Roger Ekirch, At Day's Close: Night in Times Past, unearths more than 500 references to a segmented sleeping pattern — in diaries, court records, medical books and literature, from Homer's Odyssey to an anthropological account of modern tribes in Nigeria. 'It's not just the number of references — it is the way they refer to it, as if it was common knowledge,' says Ekirch. References to the first and second sleep started to disappear during the late 17th Century with improvements in street lighting, domestic lighting and a surge in coffee houses — which were sometimes open all night. Today most people seem to have adapted quite well to the eight-hour sleep, but Ekirch believes many sleeping problems may have roots in the human body's natural preference for segmented sleep which could be the root of a condition called sleep maintenance insomnia, where people wake during the night and have trouble getting back to sleep. 'Our pattern of consolidated sleep has been a relatively recent development, another product of the industrial age, while segmented sleep was long the natural form of our slumber, having a provenance as old as humankind,' says Ekrich, adding that we may 'choose to emulate our ancestors, for whom the dead of night, rather than being a source of dread, often afforded a welcome refuge from the regimen of daily life.'"

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Internet Giants To Honor the 'No' In 'No Tracking'
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '12 at 07:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's mighty-gracious-of-them department:
theodp writes "The WSJ reports that a coalition of Internet giants including Google has agreed to support a do-not-track button to be embedded in most Web browsers — a move that the industry had been resisting for more than a year. The new do-not-track button isn't going to stop all Web tracking. The companies have agreed to stop using the data about people's Web browsing habits to customize ads, and have agreed not to use the data for employment, credit, health-care or insurance purposes. But the data can still be used for some purposes such as 'market research' and 'product development' and can still be obtained by law enforcement officers. Meanwhile, after Google got caught last week bypassing privacy settings on Safari, and was accused of also circumventing IE's P3P Privacy Protection feature, CBS MoneyWatch contacted Mozilla to see if it had noticed Google bypassing Firefox's privacy controls. After reports that Google ponied up close to a billion dollars to Mozilla to beat out a Microsoft bid, this seems to be one of those have-you-stopped-beating-your-wife type questions that has no good answer. Anyway, according to a statement attributed to Alex Fowler, global privacy and public policy lead for Mozilla: 'Our testing did not reveal any instances of Google bypassing user privacy settings.'"

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Why Canada Does Not Belong On the US Piracy Watchlist
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '12 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's they've-already-boarded-just-look-at-a-map department:
An anonymous reader writes "Each year, the U.S. government places Canada on its piracy watch list,
claiming that it is a pirate country similar to China or Russia. This
year, Professor Michael Geist and Public Knowledge teamed up to respond to
myths
about Canadian copyright law with a submission
to the USTR focusing on how Canadian law provides adequate and
effective protection, how
enforcement is stronger than often claimed, why Canada is not a piracy
haven, and why Bill C-11 does not harm the interests of rights holders
(critics of Bill C-11 digital lock rules will likely think this is
self-evident)."


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Academics Not Productive Enough? Sack 'em
Posted by News Fetcher on February 23 '12 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's wish-I-could-sack-'em-for-being-poor-teachers department:
ananyo writes "One hundred academics at the University of Sydney, Australia, have this week been told they will lose their jobs for not publishing frequently enough. The move is part of a wider cost-cutting plans designed to pay for new buildings and refurbishment to the university. Letters were posted to researchers on Monday 20 February, informing them their positions were being terminated because they hadn't published at least four 'research outputs' over the past three years. It is unclear which research fields the academics work in. Another 64 academics were told they had a choice between leaving and moving to a teaching-only position, he said."

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