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And Now, the Cartoon News
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words-depending-on-bitrate department:
theodp writes "Would you read a cartoon version of Slashdot? Quality stuff, not half-baked MS-Paint posts like 'Introducing Microsoft Monocle and Self-Driving Bentley'. Erin Polgreen has big plans for illustrated journalism. In October, Polgreen will be launching Symbolia, a tablet-based magazine of illustrated journalism, through Apple's App Store. 'Illustrated journalism draws you in, Polgreen explains. 'It's accessible in a way 5,000 words of text isn't. Regardless of age, gender or anything, you grasp it faster than most journalism.' Polgreen follows in the footsteps of other cartoonist-journalists, including Joe Kubert (RIP), Joe Sacco, and Josh Neufeld."

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Inside the Grum Botnet
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's creamy-nougat-filling department:
tsu doh nimh writes "An examination of a control server seized in the recent takedown of the Grum spam botnet shows the crime machine was far bigger than most experts had assumed. A PHP panel used to control the botnet shows it had just shy of 200,000 systems sending spam when it was dismantled in mid-July. Researchers also found dozens of huge email lists, totaling more than 2.3 billion addresses, as well evidence it was used for phishing and malware attacks in addition to mailing pharmacy spam. Just prior to its takedown, Grum was responsible for sending about one in six spams worldwide."

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Astronomers Watch Star Devouring Planet
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's om-nom-nom department:
jamstar7 writes "According to Universe Today, 'Astronomers have witnessed the first evidence of a planet's destruction by its aging star as it expands into a red giant. "A similar fate may await the inner planets in our solar system, when the Sun becomes a red giant and expands all the way out to Earth's orbit some five-billion years from now," said Alex Wolszczan, from Penn State, University, who led a team which found evidence of a missing planet having been devoured by its parent star (abstract, pre-print). Wolszczan also is the discoverer of the first planet ever found outside our solar system. The planet-eating culprit, a red-giant star named BD+48 740, is older than the Sun and now has a radius about eleven times bigger than our Sun. The evidence the astronomers found was a massive planet in a surprising and highly elliptical orbit around the star — indicating a missing planet — plus the star's wacky chemical composition.' Five billion years or so is a long way off, so it's likely none of us has to worry about it. But still, watching a star eating its own planets is not only cool in its own right, but also provides food for thought as to how to keep the human species going long after the Sun starts going off the main sequence into red giant-hood. And, of course, putting more funding into astronomers' and physicists' hands now can give us a closer estimate of when it'll happen. It's all in the math..."

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The Worst Job At Google: a Year of Watching Terrible Things On the Internet
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's rather-flip-burgers department:
Cutting_Crew writes "Gizmodo has called attention to a story that describes the worst job you can get at Google: wading through and blocking objectionable content, which includes watching decapitations and beastiality. A ex-Google-employee who did just that tells his own story of a year-long stint of looking at the most horrible things on the internet. In the end, he needed therapy, and since he was a contractor, he was let go instead of being hired as a full time employee."

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US To Drive 3,000 Wi-Fi Linked Vehicles In Massive Crash Avoidance Trial
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's trying-to-break-fewer-things department:
coondoggie writes "The US Department of Transportation said it will run a massive road test of cars, trucks and buses linked together via WiFi equipment in what the agency says will be the largest test of automated crash avoidance technology to date. The test will be conducted by the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), and feature mostly volunteer participants whose vehicles have been outfitted with vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication devices."

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Should Medical Apps Be Regulated?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's what-could-possibly-go-wrong department:
maximus1 writes "There's a tidal wave of medical-related apps coming to smartphones and tablets that will be used by doctors and patients alike. But how should the medical establishment deal with them? Neurologist Steven Levine, currently working on an app for stroke victims, thinks they should be treated like new medicines: developed using scientific peer review and subject to regulation by the government or professional associations. Obstetrician Kurian Thott, developer of an app called iRounds that helps communication between doctors, thinks they should be released quickly and the market should decide which take off. What do you think?"

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10 Internet Connections At Same Time
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's for-when-nine-just-don't-cut-it department:
An anonymous reader writes "As a follow-up to the story about Verizon being forced to allow tethering, the engineers at Connectify climbed on the roof and made a video showing an 85Mbps download rate through a combination of a tethered Verizon mobile phone and all of the available open Wi-Fi networks. It's a darn shame that they cancelled the unlimited 3G on the Kindle; tether 20 of those bad boys and you could have had a real Internet connection."

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Kmscon Project Seeks To Replace Linux Virtual Terminal
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's that's-a-big-itch-you've-got department:
An anonymous reader writes "Phoronix reports on the progress of kmscon, David Herrmann's virtual console project that aims to supersede the Linux kernel's virtual terminal. kmscon takes advantage of modern Linux features such as kernel mode setting, direct rendering, and udev to provide hardware-accelerated rendering, full internationalization, monitor hot-plugging, and proper multi-seat support. A recent blog post by Herrmann addresses some of his frequently heard questions and criticisms about the kmscon project."

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The Mathematics of 'Legitimate Rape' and Pregnancy
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 09:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's you-said-rape-twice department:
Hugh Pickens writes "James Hamblin, MD writes in the Atlantic that it's unclear how common the misconception that women rarely become pregnant after rape may be, but remarks by Missouri Senatorial nominee Todd Akin that 'if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down' (video) may provide some benefit as a learning opportunity. 'From a holistic perspective, one might hypothesize that a woman's body could respond to the extreme stress and trauma of enduring rape in such a way that she would be physiologically more likely to miscarry (or not to conceive at all),' writes Hamblin. After all there is a multi-million dollar alternative reproductive health market aimed at optimizing an environment for conception so there could be something to a theory that the other, much darker end of that spectrum functions analogously. But that hypothesis doesn't hold, to any relevant degree. A widely-cited 1996 study from the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology sampled over 4,000 women and found that the rape-related pregnancy rate was 5.0 percent and studies from other countries have reported the percentage to be even greater."

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Ask Slashdot: Recording Business Meeting Audio On an Intranet?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's wait-til-the-parrot-union-finds-out-about-this department:
dousette writes "I have been tasked with modernizing our company's board room. Replacing the overhead projector with a more modern LCD projector is a no-brainer, speakers are easy enough to wire off of the HDMI projector, but one of the requirements that has me stumped is the recording of minutes. The existing system uses wired microphones connected to a cassette player, and what I would love to replace this with are some sort of Ethernet microphone that could stream directly to a Windows file share. Does such an animal exist? Do you have any other suggestions for the room that I might be missing?" So if you wanted to bypass a stand-alone system, how would you go about dumping audio straight to your network?

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"Knitted" Wi-Fi Routers Create Failover Network For First Responders
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 08:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's fire-department-do-you-read-me department:
wiredmikey writes "Wireless Internet routers used in homes and offices could be knitted together to provide a communications system for emergency responders if the mobile phone network fails, German scientists reported on Monday. In many countries, routers are so commonplace that they could be used by police and fire departments if cell towers and networks are down or overwhelmed by people caught up in an emergency, they say. This rich density means that an emergency network could piggyback on nearby routers, giving first responders access to the Internet and contact with their headquarters. The researchers suggest that routers incorporate an emergency 'switch' that responders can activate to set up a backup network, thus giving them a voice and data link through the Internet. This could be done quite easily without impeding users or intruding on their privacy, the study argues. Many routers already have a 'guest' mode, meaning a supplementary channel that allows visitors to use a home's Wi-Fi." This is a cool angle on mesh networking — reminds me of the emergency response capabilities of ham radio; if it sounds intriguing, remember that even sparse networks can make use of this kind of networking with the right antennas. Related: even without touching the hardware on your router, you can do some meshing around with Byzantium.

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BitCoin Card To Launch In 2 Months, Says BitInstant
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's cash-back-on-that-purchase? department:
hypnosec writes "Charlie Shrem, co-founder of BitInstant LLC, has confirmed that a BitCoin-funded international debit/credit card should be available very soon. Giving a time frame of 6-8 weeks, Shrem said over an IRC chat session that the card will function like any other credit or debit card, and that it can be used at places where MasterCard is being accepted. Shrem has also said that the initial 1000-odd cards will be given for free and subsequent cards will carry a charge of around $10. Any transaction that is carried out through the card [will incur a] 1% BitCoin transfer fee on top of the $1.50 ATM withdrawal fee."

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Amazon Wants To Replace Tape With Slow But Cheap Off-Site "Glacier" Storage
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's steady-as-she-goes department:
Nerval's Lobster writes with a piece at SlashCloud that says "Amazon is expanding its reach into the low-cost, high-durability archival storage market with the newly announced Glacier. While Glacier allows companies to transfer their data-archiving duties to the cloud — a potentially money-saving boon for many a budget-squeezed organization—the service comes with some caveats. Its cost structure and slow speed of data retrieval make it best suited for data that needs to be accessed infrequently, such as years-old legal records and research data. If that sounds quite a bit like Amazon Simple Storage Service, otherwise known as Amazon S3, you'd be correct. Both Amazon S3 and Glacier have been designed to store and retrieve data from anywhere with a Web connection. However, Amazon S3 — 'designed to make Web-scale computing easier for developers,' according to the company — is meant for rapid data retrieval; contrast that with a Glacier data-retrieval request (referred to as a 'job'), where it can take between 3 and 5 hours before it's ready for downloading."

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Mirrors Finished For James Webb Space Telescope
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-it-can-develop-self-awareness department:
eldavojohn writes "On August 15th, sendoff ceremonies were held at Ball Aerospace (subcontractor to Northrop Grumman) for the 18 gold-coated, ultrasmooth, 4.2-foot (1.3 meters) hexagonal beryllium primary mirror segments that will comprise the 21.3-foot (6.5 m) primary mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Over 90% of the back material was taken out of these mirrors to make them light enough so that 18 could be launched into space where they must operate at minus 400 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 240 degrees Celsius). The mirrors will be adjusted by computer controlled actuators that are vital to JWST producing high-quality sharp images. The tennis court sized JWST will reside at L2 and is hyped to allow us to see 'back to the beginning of time.' NASA has provided a video of the computer animated metamorphosis with many more videos at the JWST site."

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Prices Drive Australians To Grey Market For Hardware and Software
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's markets-should-be-bright-green department:
An anonymous reader writes "The Australian government has been running an inquiry into why technology is so much more expensive to buy down under than in the US. In response to the price difference, many consumers are turning to the Internet to buy tech that is imported through unofficial channels at cheaper prices from the U.S. Not to miss out on sales, some retailers are starting to set up special websites that sell this way too. The so-called 'grey market' can save you cash, but could it cost you more in the long run? This article looks at some of the potential problems for people buying technology this way." A companion article examines some of the nitty-gritty of price differences between Australia and the U.S., including the observation that entry-level salaries skew higher in Australia.

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Stanford's Self Driving Car Tops 120mph On Racetrack
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's really-fast-baby-on-board department:
kkleiner writes with this snippet: "Just as Google's self-driving Prius goes for distance, recently passing 300,000 miles, Stanford's self-driving Audi TTS instead has the need for speed. The Audi, known as Shelley, sped around the Thunderhill Raceway track north of Sacramento topping 120 miles per hour on straightaways. The less than two and a half minutes it took to complete the 3-mile course is comparable to times achieved by professional drivers." Now if only Montana could take a cue from Montana's rules for self-driving cars, and bring back "reasonable and prudent" speed regulation, driving out west could get a lot more exciting.

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Windows 8 Gets Personal Use License For Homebuilt PCs
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 05:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's putting-it-all-together department:
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Geek.com: "Microsoft has never really acknowledged or supported those among us who choose to build their own PCs. Windows licensing is usually offered in three forms: full retail product license, retail upgrade license, and OEM license. If you want to build your own machine at the moment, Microsoft expects you to buy a full retail copy of Windows. With Windows 8 that all changes and Microsoft has decided to actively support individuals who want to build their own machines or run Windows 8 as a virtual machine. That support comes in the form of a new license option called the Personal Use License for System Builder (PULSB). With PULSB, Microsoft is dumping the full retail license used in previous versions. Instead it is offering a version of Windows 8 to be installed as the main operating system on a single system meant for personal use, or in a virtual machine running on an existing PC (running any legal OS such as Windows 7, Mac OS X, or your favorite flavor of Linux)."

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Jury In Apple v. Samsung Case May Have to Agree on 700 Points
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 04:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's vexing-jury-members-for-fun-and-profit department:
puddingebola writes "Jurors in the Apple v. Samsung case will receive a 100 page 'instructions to the jury' document. They will also receive a multi-page form with numerous questions to come to a verdict. From the article: 'The document, which both sides have yet to agree on, is still in its draft stage. In Samsung's case, it's 33 questions long, and stretched across 17 pages. For Apple, it's 23 questions spread over nine pages.' Perhaps this is standard in patent trials? Perhaps road sobriety tests will soon include hopping on one foot while juggling?"

As usual, Groklaw has the juicy details on the battle over writing the jury instructions.

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Near-universal Mexican Healthcare Coverage Results From Science-informed Changes
Posted by News Fetcher on August 21 '12 at 01:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's dismemberment-by-u.s.-backed-drug-cartels-not-covered department:
ananyo writes about improvement to Mexico's healthcare system. From the article: "A revamp of Mexico's beleaguered health-care system is proving to be a runaway success and offers a model for other nations seeking to reform their own systems, according to a review published this week in The Lancet (abstract). The key to the scheme's success is the way in which it has modified its reforms in response to scientific assessments of their effectiveness, the authors say. Launched in a law in 2003, the Mexican scheme was designed to sort out widespread inefficiencies and inconsistencies in the country's health-care system. Some 50 million Mexicans — nearly half the country's population — who previously were not covered by health insurance are now enrolled, leading the scheme's architects to claim that the country has near-universal health-care coverage. As well as the increased coverage, the scheme has seen the number of conditions treated under Mexican public health insurance nearly quintuple. Admittedly, the former health minister Julio Frenk, now dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, is a co-author on the paper."

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German Government Wants Google To Pay For the Right To Link To News Sites
Posted by News Fetcher on August 20 '12 at 11:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's can't-link-this department:
First time accepted submitter presroi writes "Al Jazeera is reporting on the current state of plans by the German government to amend the national copyright law. The so-called 'Leistungsschutzrecht' (neighboring right) for publishers is introducing the right for press publishers to demand financial compensation if a company such as Google wants to link to their web site. Since the New York Times reported on this issue in March this year, two draft bills have been released by the Minister of Justice and have triggered strong criticism from the entire political spectrum in Germany, companies and activist bloggers.(Full disclosure: I am being quoted by Al Jazeera in this article)"

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