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Meteorite Crashes Through Cottage In Oslo
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '12 at 06:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's knock-knock department:
An anonymous reader writes "Famous (in Norway) Norwegian astrophycisist Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard is ecstatic after a meteorite was found in an urban cottage in Oslo this weekend. This is the 14th meteorite that's been found in Norway, and only the second that crashed through a roof. It is not certain when the crash happened, since the cottage hasn't been used all winter, but on the 1st of March a big ball of fire was observed over the southern parts of Norway, and it is thought that this may be one of the pieces from that entry into the atmosphere. Maybe it's time to replace those tin foil hats with helmets?"

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MIT Fiber Points To Woven Glasses-Free 3D Displays
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '12 at 05:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's surround-sight department:
MrSeb writes "Electrical engineers and material scientists at MIT have created a fiber-borne laser that could be woven to form a flexible display that could project different 3D images in any number of directions, to any number of viewers. MIT's fiber is similar to standard telecoms fiber, but it has a tiny droplet of fluid embedded in the core. When laser light hits the fluid, it scatters, effectively creating a 360-degree laser beam. The core is then surrounded by layers of liquid crystal, which can be controlled like 'pixels,' allowing the laser light to escape from specific points anywhere along the length of the fiber. This means that you could have a display that shows one picture on the 'front' and another on the 'back' — or different, glasses-free 3D images for everyone sitting in front and behind. In the short term, the laser fiber is more likely have a significant application in photodynamic therapy, an area of medicine where drugs are activated using light. Photodynamic therapy is one of the only ways to treat cancer in a relatively non-invasive and non-toxic manner. MIT's laser could be threaded into almost any part of the body, where the ability to produce pixels of laser light at any point along its length would make it a highly accurate device."

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Prof. J. Alex Halderman Tells Us Why Internet-Based Voting Is a Bad Idea (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '12 at 05:00 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's paper-ballots-are-still-the-best department:
On March 2, 2012, Timothy wrote about University of Michigan Professor J. Alex Halderman and his contention that there is no way to have secure voting over the Internet using current technology. In this video, Alex explains what he meant and tells us about an experiment (that some might call a prank) he and his students did back in 2010, when they (legally) hacked a Washington D.C. online voting pilot project. This is, of course, a "professional driver on closed course; do not attempt" kind of thing. If you mess with voting software without permission, you might suddenly find the FBI coming through your door at 4 a.m., so please don't do it.

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Stratfor Breach Leads To Over $700k In Fraud
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '12 at 04:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's send-them-a-bill department:
wiredmikey writes "It isn't often that after a data breach involving credit cards, the public is given information on the exact amount money lost by consumers as a result. Thanks to the FBI, however, we now have a better understanding of what 60,000 stolen credit cards translates to financially, as this data was included in their investigation notes while working the Stratfor case. The last time the public had something close to actual stats from the source, we learned that the TJX breach cost Visa $68 million in 2007, two years after the TJX network was compromised by Albert Gonzalez. Yet, those were Visa's estimates. Now, in the aftermath of the Stratfor breach, the FBI has attributed $700,000 worth of charge fraud to the 60,000 credit card records taken during the network compromise. AntiSec supporters walked away with 860,160 usernames and passwords, in addition to the credit card records."

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Amoeboid Robot Moves Autonomously Without Centralized Brain
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '12 at 01:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's let's-build-something-creepy department:
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from MIT's Technology Review:
"A new blob-like robot described in the journal Advanced Robotics uses springs, feet, 'protoplasm' and a distributed nervous system to move in a manner inspired by the slime mold Physarum polycepharum. ... Researcher Takuya Umedachi of Hiroshima University has been perfecting his blob-bot for years, starting with early prototypes that used springs but lacked an air-filled bladder. ... Umedachi modeled his latest version on the 'true' slime mold, which has been shown to achieve a 'human-like' decision-making capacity through properties emerging from the interactions of its individual spores (abstract). Slime molds appear to have general computational abilities, and you've probably heard that they can solve mazes."

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Sony's Plan To Tighten Security and Fight Hacktivism
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '12 at 10:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's try-making-people-less-angry department:
mask.of.sanity writes "Sony Entertainment Network is rebuilding its information security posture to defend against hacktivism. It includes a security operations center that serves as a nerve center collating information on everything from staff phone calls, to CCTV, to PlayStation gamers. If it is successful, the counter intelligence-based system will be deployed across the entire company. 'At Sony, we are modifying our programs to deal less with state-sponsored [attacks] and more with socially-motivated hackers. It will be different,' said Chief Security Officer Brett Wahlin."

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Sci-Fi/Fantasy Artist Jean 'Moebius' Giraud Dies At 73
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '12 at 09:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's rest-in-peace department:
Dr Herbert West writes:
"According to io9, 'Today is an incredibly sad day for fans of comic books, concept art, and downright anything science fiction. Artist Jean 'Moebius' Giraud, who provided some of the most stunning scifi and fantasy art ever to grace a page, has succumbed to illness at the age of 73.' It's pretty hard to overstate the impact he had on film, comic books, and illustration in general. You can name most any fantasy or science fiction related piece of culture from the last 30 or 40 years, and chances are he provided concept art for it or was involved in some way. Alien, Dune, Heavy Metal, Tron (original AND the new one), The Abyss, Masters of the Universe, The Fifth Element, Willow... the list goes on. With the recent passing of Ralph McQuarrie, it's been a tough week for scifi and fantasy artists."

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Computer Games That Defined RPGs In the 1980s
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '12 at 07:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's when-letters-were-awesome-graphics department:
adeelarshad82 writes "The 1980s were huge for RPGs. This genre was one of the most defining game forms in the computer gaming world. A recently published article strolls down the memory lane to look back at classic computer games that both defined and extended the definition of the RPG in the 1980s. The roundup includes some obvious ones like Ultima and The Bard's Tale, and others which you may never have heard of."

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Did Benjamin Franklin Invent Daylight Saving Time?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '12 at 04:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's just-tell-me-who-to-blame department:
An anonymous reader writes "While living in Paris, Ben Franklin was struck by how many hours of daylight were being wasted to sleep during the summer months. He wrote an open letter to a Parisian journal lamenting the wasted expenditures on candlewax, and presented his back-of-the-quillpad estimates of the cost savings if the entire population arose an hour or two earlier. However, Franklin did not specifically mention moving the clocks ahead; instead, he suggested official means for enforcement (rationing the sale of candlewax to families) and encouragement (ringing church bells at sunrise). The clock-shifting technique which we know and love was credited to the New Zealander George Vernon Hudson, who proposed it in 1895. DST was first widely adopted by warring countries during World War I as a way of conserving coal needed for military purposes. This launched a debate over DST's usefulness that continues to the present day (particularly by people stumbling about in their bathrooms). Of course, Franklin is also associated with other questionable ideas, including bifocals, lightning rods, electric current flowing from the positive to negative terminal, leaking official documents to fan opposition, and an independent United States of America."
New research suggests the daylight saving time change will lead to lower productivity tomorrow as the lost sleep makes workers more likely to slack (PDF).

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X-Prize Founder Wants Ideas For Fixing Education
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '12 at 03:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can't-be-solved-by-a-few-friends-in-a-garage department:
An anonymous reader writes "X-Prize Founder Peter Diamandis, speaking at SXSW, says he wants to set up a $10 million prize for fixing education — but he needs help figuring out how to target the problem. From the article: 'He said he has considered multiple directions that an Education X Prize could take, such as coming up with better ways to crowd-source education, or rewarding the creation of "powerful, addictive game" that promotes education. But he isn’t sure which way to go. There’s no shortage of high-tech visionaries and tycoons these days, running around with ideas about how to fix education. Many of them are finding, though, that technology alone isn’t enough. Exciting ideas founder quickly if they don’t sustain motivation in students who perform at widely different levels. Other challenges include the need to engage effectively with school districts, teachers and parents.'"

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When Are You Dead?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's as-soon-as-the-organleggers-spot-you department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Dick Teresi writes in the WSJ that becoming an organ donor seems like a noble act, but what doctors won't tell you is that checking yourself off as an organ donor when you renew your driver's license means you are giving up your right to informed consent, and that you may suffer for it, especially if you happen to become a victim of head trauma. Even though they compromise only 1% of deaths, victims of head trauma are the most likely organ donors. Patients who can be ruled brain dead usually have good organs, while organs from people who die from heart failure, circulation, or breathing deteriorate quickly. But here's the weird part. In at least two studies before the 1981 Uniform Determination of Death Act, some 'brain-dead' patients were found to be emitting brain waves, and at least one doctor has reported a case in which a patient with severe head trauma began breathing spontaneously after being declared brain dead. Organ transplantation — from procurement of organs to transplant to the first year of postoperative care — is a $20 billion per year business, with average recipients charged $750,000 for a transplant. At an average of 3.3 donated organs per donor, that is more than $2 million per body. 'In order to be dead enough to bury but alive enough to be a donor, you must be irreversibly brain dead. If it's reversible, you're no longer dead; you're a patient,' writes David Crippen, M.D. 'And once you start messing around with this definition, you're on a slippery slope, and the question then becomes: How dead do you want patients to be before you start taking their organs?'"

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Accused LulzSec Members Left Trail of Clues Online
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '12 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's didn't-need-sherlock-for-this-one department:
Trailrunner7 writes "When the long arm of the law reached in to arrest members of Anonymous's senior leadership on Tuesday, speculation immediately turned to the identities of the six men behind the Guy Fawkes mask. With the benefit of hindsight, it turns out that many had been hiding in plain site, with day jobs, burgeoning online lives and — for those who knew where to look — plenty of clues about their extracurricular activities on behalf of the world's most famous hacking crew. Two of the accused, Darren Martyn (aka 'pwnsauce,' 'raepsauce,' and 'networkkitten,') and Donncha O'Cearbhail, formerly known as Donncha Carroll (aka 'Palladium'), sported significant online footprints and made little effort to hide their affinity for hacking. In other areas, however, Martyn (who was reported to be 25, but claimed to be 19), seemed to be on his way to bigger and better things. He was a local chapter leader of the Open Web Application Security Project in Galway, Ireland. He spent some of his free time with a small collective of computer researchers with Insecurety Research, under the name 'infodox.'"

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A Better Way To Program
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '12 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's creativity-by-slider-bars department:
mikejuk writes "This video will change the way you think about programming. The argument is clear and impressive — it suggest that we really are building programs with one hand tied behind our backs. Programmers can only understand their code by pretending to be computers and running it in their heads. As this video shows, this is increadibly inefficient and, as we generally have a computer in front of us, why not use it to help us understand the code? The key is probably interactivity. Don't wait for a compile to complete to see what effect your code has on things — if you can see it in real time then programming becomes much easier."

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USS Enterprise Takes Its Final Voyage
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '12 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's looking-for-nuclear-wessels department:
westlake writes "The AP is reporting that the world's first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, U.S.S. Enterprise, is to be retired after fifty years of active service — the longest of any warship in U.S. naval history. Its final deployment will take it to the Middle East and last for seven months. The big ship has become notoriously difficult to keep in repair. As an old ship and the only one in its class, breakdowns have become frequent and replacement parts often have to be custom made. Despite its place in naval history and popular culture, Enterprise will meet its end at the scrap yard rather than being preserved at a museum. This is expected to happen in 2015, after the nuclear fuel has been removed."

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NVIDIA Challenges Apple's iPad Benchmarks
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '12 at 09:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's insert-poker-analogy department:
MojoKid writes "At the iPad unveiling last week, Apple flashed up a slide claiming that the iPad 2 was 2x as fast as Nvidia's Tegra 3, while the new iPad would be 4x more powerful than Team Green's best tablet. NVIDIA's response boils down to: 'it's flattering to be compared to you, but how about a little data on which tests you ran and how you crunched the numbers?' NVIDIA is right to call Apple out on the meaningless nature of such a comparison, and the company is likely feeling a bit dogpiled given that TI was waving unverified webpage benchmarks around less than two weeks ago. That said, the Imagination Technologies (PowerVR) GPUs built into the iPad 2 and the new iPad both utilize tile-based rendering. In some ways, 2012 is a repeat of 2001 — memory bandwidth is at an absolute premium because adding more bandwidth has a direct impact on power consumption. The GPU inside NVIDIA's Tegra 2 and Tegra 3 is a traditional chip, which means it's subject to significant overdraw, especially at higher resolutions. Apple's comparisons may be bogus, but Tegra 3's bandwidth issue they indirectly point to aren't. It will be interesting to see NVIDIA's next move and what their rumored Tegra 3+ chip might bring."

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Double Fine Adventure Crosses $2.5 Million In Kickstarter Funding
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '12 at 08:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's people-pay-for-things-they-want department:
An anonymous reader writes "Double Fine Adventure, the crowd-funded adventure game from Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert (of Monkey Island fame), just crossed the $2.5 million mark in funding on Kickstarter. So far, about 73,000 enthusiastic backers have contributed an average of $35 dollars each, with 3 extravagant backers going as far as to contribute $10,000 (earning them a lunch with Schafer and Gilbert, among other goodies). The total sum is over 6 times the amount Schafer and Gilbert were initially hoping to raise ($400,000). Schafer released a few pictures showing what he's doing with all the money. The project has received attention in mainstream media (sort of), with NPR's Morning Edition covering the story."

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MIME Attachments Are 20 Years Old Today
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '12 at 07:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's trapped-in-a-box department:
judgecorp writes "MIME email attachments have been around for 20 years, and we now send a trillion every day. The mountains of emails in corporate archives now contain vital information, says MIME inventor Nathaniel Borenstein, which can be mined to expose conspiracies and make businesses more efficient. He also says a one-penny tax on attachments would make him as rich as Germany — if it weren't for the fact that such a charge would have killed MIME."

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Online Learning Becomes Court-Ordered Community Service
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '12 at 06:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's fighting-crime-with-knowledge department:
An anonymous reader writes "Yahoo Finance reports that convicted criminal offenders can serve their court-ordered community service hours online by taking educational courses through Community Service Help. According to the article, there is a high correlation between criminal activity and lack of education. Who knew? 'About 40 percent of all U.S. prison inmates never finished high school, and nearly 44 percent of jail inmates did not complete high school. More current data shows that hasn't changed. In Washington, D.C., for instance, 44 percent of Department of Corrections inmates are not high school graduates. Less than 2 percent had 16 years or more of schooling.'"

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Nuclear Disaster In Japan Could Have Been Mitigated, Say Industry Insiders
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '12 at 04:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's can't-plan-for-every-possibility department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Some insiders from Japan's tightly knit nuclear industry have stepped forward to say that Tepco and regulators had for years ignored warnings of the possibility of a larger-than-expected tsunami in northeastern Japan, and thus failed to take adequate countermeasures, such as raising wave walls or placing backup generators on higher ground. 'March 11 exposed the true nature of Japan's postwar system, that it is led by bureaucrats who stand on the side of industry, not the people,' says Shigeaki Koga, a former director of industrial policy at the Ministry of Economics, Trade and Industry. Eight years ago, as a member of an influential cabinet office committee on offshore earthquakes in northeastern Japan, Kunihiko Shimazaki, professor emeritus of seismology at the University of Tokyo, warned that Fukushima's coast was vulnerable to tsunamis more than twice as tall as the forecasts of up to 17 feet put forth by regulators and Tepco, but government bureaucrats running the committee moved quickly to exclude his views from debate as too speculative and 'pending further research.' Then in 2008, Tepco's own engineers made three separate sets of calculations that showed Fukushima Daiichi could be hit by tsunamis as high as 50 feet. 'They completely ignored me in order to save Tepco money,' says Shimazaki."

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Profile of a Real-Life Jedi Academy
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '12 at 03:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's mind-tricks-for-manhattan-landlords department:
dkleinsc writes "The NYTimes ran a profile of the New York Jedi Club, an organization dedicated to teaching the ways of the Force. Jedi Grandmaster Flynn Michael, a sound engineer and (by his own proclamation) an 'over-the-top geek,' connected the ideas of the Jedi with dance, martial arts, sword-fighting and Tibetan Buddhism to form the curriculum."

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