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Jury Rules Google Violated Java Copyright, Google Moves For Mistrial
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '12 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's opening-a-big-can-of-worms department:
eldavojohn writes "Details are thin, but the long-covered Oracle v. Google trial has at least partially been decided in favor of Oracle. The jury says Google violated copyrights with Android when it used Java APIs to design the system. Google moved for a mistrial after hearing the incomplete decision. The patent infringement accusations have yet to be ruled upon."

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IEEE Approves Revision of Wireless LAN Standard
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '12 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's we-live-in-exciting-times department:
An anonymous reader writes "IEEE announced the publication of IEEE 802.11-2012, which defines the technology for the world's premier wireless LAN products. The new IEEE 802.11-2012 revision has been expanded significantly by supporting devices and networks that are faster and more secure, while offering improved Quality of Service and improved cellular network hand-off. The standard's relevance continues to expand with the emergence of new applications, such as the smart grid, which augments the facility for electricity generation, distribution, delivery and consumption with a two-way, end-to-end network for communications and control."

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Ask Slashdot: What's a Good Tool To Detect Corrupted Files?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '12 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's easy,-just-d%wn!o@%-Km3#-r*(;. department:
Volanin writes "Currently I use a triple boot system on my Macbook, including MacOS Lion, Windows 7, and Ubuntu Precise (on which I spend the great majority of my time). To share files between these systems, I have created a huge HFS+ home partition (the MacOS native format, which can also be read in Linux, and in Windows with Paragon HFS). But last week, while working on Ubuntu, my battery ran out and the computer suddenly powered off. When I powered it on again, the filesystem integrity was OK (after a scandisk by MacOS), but a lot of my files' contents were silently corrupted (and my last backup was from August...). Mostly, these files are JPGs, MP3s, and MPG/MOV videos, with a few PDFs scattered around. I want to get rid of the corrupted files, since they waste space uselessly, but the only way I have to check for corruption is opening them up one by one. Is there a good set of tools to verify the integrity by filetype, so I can detect (and delete) my bad files?"

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Astronomers Find Most Distant Protocluster of Galaxies
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '12 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's since-before-your-sun-burned-hot-in-space department:
The Bad Astronomer writes "Using the monster 8.2-meter Subaru telescope, astronomers have identified the most distant cluster of galaxies ever found: a collection of galaxies at a staggering distance of 12.7 billion light years. This is the most distant cluster ever seen that has been confirmed spectroscopically (PDF). Technically, it's a protocluster, since it's so young — seen only a billion years after the Big Bang itself — the cluster must still be in the process of formation."

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U.S. In Danger of Losing Earth-Observing Satellite Capability
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '12 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's well-that's-embarrassing department:
New submitter crazyjj writes "As reported in Wired, a recent National Research Council report indicates a growing concern for NASA, the NOAA, and USGS. While there are currently 22 Earth-observing satellites in orbit, this number is expected to drop to as low as six by the year 2020. The U.S. relies on this network of satellites for weather forecasting, climate change data, and important geologic and oceanographic information. As with most things space and NASA these days, the root cause is funding cuts. The program to maintain this network was funded at $2 billion as recently as 2002, but has since been scaled back to a current funding level of $1.3 billion, with only two replacement satellites having definite launch dates."

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Scientists 'Switch Off' Brain Cell Death In Mice
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '12 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's are-you-pondering-what-i'm-pondering department:
fishmike sends this excerpt from a Reuters report:
"Scientists have figured out how to stop brain cell death in mice with brain disease and say their discovery deepens understanding of the mechanisms of human neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. British researchers writing in the journal Nature (abstract) said they had found a major pathway leading to brain cell death in mice with prion disease, the mouse equivalent of Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease (CJD). ... Mallucci's team found that the buildup of mis-folded proteins in the brains of mice with prion disease activated a natural defense mechanism in cells, which switches off the production of new proteins. This would normally switch back on again, the researchers explained, but in these ill mice the continued build-up of misshapen proteins keeps the switch turned off. This is the trigger point leading to brain cell death, because key proteins essential for cell survival are not made. By injecting a protein that blocks the "off" switch, the scientists were able to restore the production of the survival proteins and halt the neurodegeneration."

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Methane Producing Dinosaurs May Have Changed Climate
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '12 at 08:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's it's-getting-hot-in-here department:
Hugh Pickens writes "The Telegraph reports that huge plant-eating dinosaurs called sauropods may have produced enough greenhouse gas by breaking wind to alter the Earth's climate. Scientists believe that, just as in cows, methane-producing bacteria aided the digestion of sauropods by fermenting their plant food. 'A simple mathematical model suggests that the microbes living in sauropod dinosaurs may have produced enough methane to have an important effect on the Mesozoic climate,' says study leader Dr Dave Wilkinson. 'Indeed, our calculations suggest that these dinosaurs could have produced more methane than all modern sources — both natural and man-made — put together.' The key factor is the total mass of the animals which included some of the largest animals to walk the Earth, such as Diplodocus, which measured 150 feet and weighed up to 45 tons. Medium-sized sauropods weighed about 20 tons and lived in herds of up to a few tens of individuals per square kilometer so global methane emissions from the animals would have amounted to around 472 million tons per year, the scientists calculated. Sauropods alone may have been responsible for an atmospheric methane concentration of one to two parts per million (ppm), say the scientists and studies have suggested that the Earth was up to 10C (18F) warmer in the Mesozoic Era. ''The Mesozoic trend to sauropod gigantism led to the evolution of immense microbial vats unequaled in modern land animals. Methane was probably important in Mesozoic greenhouse warming. Our simple proof-of-concept model suggests greenhouse warming by sauropod megaherbivores could have been significant in sustaining warm climates.'"

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Verizon To Begin Offering "Text To 911" Service
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '12 at 08:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's alert-the-authorities department:
An anonymous reader writes "In a move that will likely elicit a 'why didn't they implement that sooner?' response, Verizon in the next 12 months will begin implementing a 'text to 911' feature that, as the name implies, will enable users contact 911 operators via text message to report an emergency. The feature will be particularly helpful for the hearing and/or speech impaired, and for folks who find themselves in dangerous situations where making a voice 911 call isn't advisable. Beginning in early 2013, Verizon will start rolling out the feature in various metropolitan areas before progressing to a nationwide rollout soon thereafter. In many respects, this move has been a long time coming, and something the FCC has been championing for a few years."

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Microsoft Creates Kinect-Like System Using Laptop Speaker & Microphone
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '12 at 07:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's echo-of-the-future department:
MrSeb writes "Microsoft Research, working with the University of Washington, has developed a Kinect-like system that uses your computer's built-in microphone and speakers to provide object detection and gesture recognition, much in the same way that a submarine uses sonar. Called SoundWave, the new technology uses the Doppler effect to detect any movements and gestures in the proximity of a computer. In the case of SoundWave, your computer's built-in speaker is used to emit ultrasonic (18-22KHz) sound waves, which change frequency depending on where your hand (or body) is in relation to the computer. This change in frequency is measured by your computer's built-in microphone, and then some fairly complex software works out your motion/gesture. The obvious advantage of SoundWave over a product like Kinect is that it uses existing, commodity hardware; it could effectively equip every modern laptop with a gesture-sensing interface. The Microsoft Research team is reporting a 90-100% accuracy rate for SoundWave, even in noisy environments."

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How the Syrian Games Industry Crumbled Under Sanctions and Violence
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '12 at 06:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's no-games-no-peace department:
Fluffeh writes "Syria's games industry now looks like just another collateral casualty of dictator Bashar Al-Assad's struggle to hold power. 'Life for Syrian game developers has never been better,' joked Falafel Games founder Radwan Kasmiya, 'You can test the action on the streets and get back to your desktop to script it on your keyboard.' Any momentum Syria may have been building as a regional game development hub slowed considerably in 2004, when then-US President George W. Bush levied economic sanctions against the country. Under the sanctions, Syria's game developers found themselves cut off from investment money they needed to grow, as well as from other relationships that were just as important as cash. 'Any [closure of opportunity] is devastating to a budding games company as global partnerships are completely hindered,' said Rawan Sha'ban of the Jordanian game development company Quirkat. 'Even at the simplest infrastructure level, game development engines [from the US] cannot be purchased in a sanctioned country.'"

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Aussie Politician Threatens To Contact Employers of Satirical Article "Likers"
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '12 at 05:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what-not-to-do department:
Chuq writes "Tasmanian Liberal candidate for Bass, Andrew Nikolic, was the subject of a satirical article by NewExaminer on Facebook. Nikolic didn't like it, which is understandable. However he then went to considerable lengths to identify the people who liked the article, find out their employers (via their Facebook profiles) and 'name and shame' them on a follow-up post on his own page. Andrew Nikolic has a history of poorly handling conflicting views on his Facebook page, resulting in creation of another page, 'Andrew Nikolic blocked me.'"

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South Korea Plans Hashtag-Inspired Skyscraper
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '12 at 05:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's ampersand-estates department:
cylonlover writes "The hashtag or "#" symbol has taken on a lot more use in recent years, especially with the rise of social media tools like Twitter, where it's used to highlight popular topics. So in a way, it's a fitting model for an apartment building designed to act as a self-contained neighborhood, which is exactly the idea behind the Cross # Towers planned for South Korea. Dutch architectural firm, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), is modeling the look of the proposed building after the familiar symbol, by placing two interlocking bridges between two skyscrapers, which will also support outdoor park areas to mimic the sort of spaces you'd normally find on the ground."

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Did a Genome Copying Mistake Lead To Human Intelligence?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '12 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's happy-accidents department:
A new study suggest that the sophistication of the human brain may be due to a mistake in cell division long ago. From the article: "A copyediting error appears to be responsible for critical features of the human brain that distinguish us from our closest primate kin, new research finds.

When tested out in mice, researchers found this 'error' caused the rodents' brain cells to move into place faster and enabled more connections between brain cells."

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Brazil Retailer Using Facebook Likes On Its Clothing Hangers
Posted by News Fetcher on May 07 '12 at 01:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's friend-your-shirt department:
TheGift73 writes "Retailer, C&A, is putting 'real-time Likes' counters on its hangers in locations around Brazil. The Like data is taken from C&A's Facebook page, where the company has listed its various wares for people to interact with. When a person Likes an item, that Like shows up on the hanger. It is meant to help customers with purchasing decisions. If they are unsure of one item, they can see how many people online think the product is a good buy."

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What Various Studies Really Reveal About File-Sharing
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '12 at 10:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's have-some-media department:
Dangerous_Minds writes "Drew Wilson of ZeroPaid has an interesting look at file-sharing. It all started with a review of a Phoenix study that was used to promote SOPA. Wilson says that the study was long on wild claims and short on fact. While most writers would simply criticize the study and move on, Wilson took it a step further and looked in to what file-sharing studies have really been saying throughout the years. What he found was an impressive 19 of 20 studies not getting any coverage. He launched a large series detailing what these studies have to say on file-sharing. The first study suggests that file-sharing litigation was a failure. The second study said that p2p has no effect on music sales. The third study found that the RIAA suppresses innovation. The fourth study says that the MPAA has simply been trying to preserve its oligopoly. The fifth study says that even when one uses the methodology of one download means one lost sale, the losses amount to less than $2 per album. The studies, so far, are being posted on a daily basis and are certainly worth the read."

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Pirate Party Gaining Strength In Germany
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '12 at 07:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's patches-for-all department:
bs0d3 writes "For the third consecutive regional election, The German Pirate Party has breached the five-percent mark needed to enter the state parliament, winning 8.2 percent of the vote in state of Schleswig-Holstein. From the article: 'The big winners on the night were the Pirates, an upstart party that has shaken up the staid world of German politics with a campaign based on more transparency in the political process and internet freedom.'"

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Unblocking The Pirate Bay the Hard Way Is Fun
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '12 at 04:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's long-way-around department:
TheGift73 writes in with a link for those of you who like to do things the hard way. "Now that The Pirate Bay is being blocked by ISPs in the UK, millions of people have a new interest in accessing the site, even if they didn't before. The reasons for this are simple. Not only do people hate being told what they can and can't do, people – especially geeks – love solving problems and puzzles. Unlocking The Pirate Bay with a straightforward proxy is just too boring, so just for fun let's go the hard way round."

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Ask Slashdot: What Language Should a Former Coder Dig Into?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '12 at 03:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's getting-your-chops-back department:
An anonymous reader writes "I was a consultant for nearly 20 years and I got into projects where I had to work with a huge variety of software, operating systems, hardware, programming languages, and other assorted technologies. After retiring from that I have spent the last 10 years in a completely different sector. Now I find myself wanting to really focus on coding for personal reasons. You can imagine how out-of-touch I am since I never really was more than a hack to begin with. I can learn syntax and basics in a weekend, question is, what Language should I become native to? Never liked anything 'lower-level' than C, and I don't have the funds to 'buy' my development environment....help me Slashdot, you're my only hope."

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Some USAF Pilots Refuse To Fly F-22 Raptor
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '12 at 01:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's conscientious-objector department:
Hugh Pickens writes "The LA Times reports that some of the nation's top aviators are refusing to fly the radar-evading F-22 Raptor, a fighter jet with ongoing problems with the oxygen systems that have plagued the fleet for four years. 'We are generally aware of a small number of pilots who have expressed reservations about flying the F-22, and each of those cases will be handled individually through established processes,' says Maj. Brandon Lingle, an Air Force spokesman. Concern about the safety of the F-22 has grown in recent months as reports about problems with its oxygen systems have offered no clear explanations why there have been 11 incidents in which F-22 pilots reported hypoxia-like symptoms. 'Obviously it's a very sensitive thing because we are trying to ensure that the community fully understands all that we're doing to try to get to a solution,' says Gen. Mike Hostage, commander of Air Combat Command. Meanwhile Sen. John McCain says that the jets, which the Air Force call the future of American air dominance, are a waste of their $79 billion price tag and serve no role in today's combat environment. 'There is no purpose, no mission in Afghanistan or Iraq, unless you believe that al Qaeda is going to have a fleet of aircraft,' says McCain, a former combat pilot himself. '[The F-22] has not flown a single combat mission... I don't think the F-22 will ever be seen in the combat it was designed to counter, because that threat is no longer in existence.'"

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Biochemist Creates CO2-Eating Light That Runs On Algae
Posted by News Fetcher on May 06 '12 at 12:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's but-will-it-clean-my-desk? department:
An anonymous reader writes "Biochemist Pierre Calleja has a solution to reducing carbon emissions that doesn't require us to cut back on our use of carbon-producing devices. Calleja has developed a lighting system that requires no electricity for power. Instead it draws CO2 from the atmosphere and uses it to produce light as well as oxygen as a byproduct. The key ingredient to this eco-friendly light? Algae. Certain types of algae can feed off of organic carbon as well as sunlight, and in the process produce carbohydrate energy for themselves as well as oxygen as a waste product. Cajella's lamps consist of algae-filled water along with a light and battery system. During the day the algae produce energy from sunlight that is then stored in the batteries. Then at night the energy is used to power the light. However, as the algae can also produce energy from carbon, sunlight isn't required for the process to work. That means such lights can be placed where there is no natural light and the air will effectively be cleaned on a daily basis."

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