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Judge Rules Pi-Based Music Is Non-Copyrightable
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '12 at 08:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-don't-go-stealing-from-feigenbaum department:
New submitter AnalogDiehard writes "A copyright case alleging infringement of a 1992 Lars Erickson song 'The Pi Symphony' by Michael John Blake's 'What Pi Sounds Like' was dismissed by U.S. District Court Judge Michael H. Simon. Both pieces were conceived by assigning numbers to musical notes, then deriving a melody based on the pattern defined by a finite set of numbers in Pi. Judge Simon wrote in his legal opinion, intentionally announced on Pi day (3/14), that 'Pi is a non-copyrightable fact.' While the Judge did not invalidate the Erickson copyright, he ruled that 'Mr. Erickson may not use his copyright to stop others from employing this particular pattern of musical notes.' The judge further ruled that the two pieces were not sufficiently similar — for instance, its harmonies, structure and cadence are all different."

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Verizon Says Hactivists Now Biggest Corporate Net Threat
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '12 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's is-that-hat-dark-grey-or-light-grey? department:
alphadogg writes "Hactivists — not cybercriminals — were responsible for the majority of personal data stolen from corporate and government networks during 2011, according to a new report from Verizon. The Verizon 2012 Data Breach Investigation Report found that 58% of data stolen in 2011 was the result of hactivism, which involves computer break-ins for political rather than commercial gain. In previous years, most hacking was carried out by criminals, Verizon said. Altogether, Verizon examined 855 cybersecurity incidents worldwide that involved 174 million compromised records. This is the largest data set that Verizon has ever examined, thanks to its cooperation with law enforcement groups including the U.S. Secret Service, the Dutch National High Tech Crime Unit and police forces from Australia, Ireland and London."

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The Sounds of Tech Past
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '12 at 07:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's I-love-the-sound-of-a-mimeograph-in-the-morning department:
itwbennett writes "If you're of a certain generation, the screech of a modem, the stuttering song of the dot matrix printer, and the wet slap of a mimeograph machine can transport you to simpler (or at least slower) times. JR Raphael has rounded up 20 tech sounds on the brink of extinction for your listening torture. We're only sorry we don't have smell-o-vision to bring you that sweet mimeograph scent."

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Ask MIT Researchers About Fusion Power
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '12 at 07:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can-you-build-me-a-reactor department:
Nuclear fusion power is the process of fusing light nuclei together to release energy, and ultimately, to put electricity on the grid. Today, we have six researchers from MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center here to answer your questions about fusion power, tokamaks, and public support and funding in the U.S. for this research. The Obama Administration's budget request for fiscal year 2013 is paying for the U.S. share of ITER construction out of the domestic program, starting with the closure of the MIT fusion lab. The interviewees are ready to answer technical and policy questions, so don't be shy! And, as always, please break unrelated questions into separate posts. Read on for information about the researchers who will answer your questions.

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Apple vs. Nokia, RIM and Motorola On Nano-SIM Standard
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '12 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's wish-they'd-fight-more-to-improve-interfaces department:
angry tapir writes "Next week, two proposals for a new, smaller SIM card, dubbed nano-SIM — one backed by Apple and the other by Nokia, Research In Motion and Motorola Mobility — will go head-to-head as ETSI (the European Telecommunications Standards Institute) decides which card future smartphones and tablets will use. Measuring approximately 12 millimeters by 9 millimeters, the new SIM will be about 30 percent smaller than the micro-SIM. The thickness of the cards has been reduced by about 15 percent, according to Giesecke & Devrient. The nano-SIM is also approximately 60 percent smaller than traditional-size SIM cards."

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When Social Media Meets TV, Are the Results Worth Watching?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '12 at 05:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's officer-ben-sherman-hadn't-always-worn-a-tutu department:
blackbearnh writes "Forums and chat groups are letting fans organize and discuss their favorite shows with increasing ease, but what happens when the writers and producers of TV shows start paying attention? An article in today's Christian Science Monitor takes a look at how the production staff of recent shows has interacted with their fan base, and how the fans are having an increasing influence on not only the popularity, but also the plot and characters."

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Amiga Returns With Lackluster Linux-Powered Mini PC
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '12 at 05:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's ok-they're-not-calling-it-that department:
crookedvulture writes "Commodore has revealed the Amiga mini, a small-form-factor system that runs a custom Linux distro dubbed Commodore OS Vision. A trailer for the OS hardly inspires confidence, and the rest of the system doesn't help. While the Amiga mini features a high-end Intel desktop CPU and modern conveniences like Blu-ray, USB 3.0, and 802.11n Wi-Fi, it's stuck with one of the slowest graphics chips Nvidia makes. Some of the other specifications are head-scratchers, too. The mini comes with a whopping 16GB of RAM but only a terabyte of storage. You'll have to pay extra to get an SSD, which makes the $2500 asking price particularly onerous. The case, Blu-ray drive, and power supply are being made available separately, but at $345, they're hardly a bargain. Add this to the list of nostalgia-baiting remakes that don't live up to their inspiration."

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Millions In China Live In Energy Efficient Caves
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '12 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's cave-sweet-cave department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Barbara Demick reports in the LA Times that more than 30 million Chinese people live in caves, many of them in Shaanxi province, where the Loess plateau, with its distinctive cliffs of yellow, porous soil, makes digging easy and cave dwelling a reasonable option. The better caves protrude from mountains and are reinforced with brick masonry. Some are connected laterally so a family can have several chambers. Electricity and even running water can be brought in. 'Most aren't so fancy, but I've seen some really beautiful caves: high ceilings and spacious with a nice yard out front where you can exercise and sit in the sun,' says Ren, who works as a driver in the Shaanxi provincial capital, Xian. 'It's cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It's quiet and safe.' In recent years, architects have been reappraising the cave in environmental terms, and they like what they see. 'It is energy efficient. The farmers can save their arable land for planting if they build their houses in the slope. It doesn't take much money or skill to build,' says Liu Jiaping, director of the Green Architecture Research Center in Xian and perhaps the leading expert on cave living. Liu helped design and develop a modernized version of traditional cave dwellings that in 2006 was a finalist for a World Habitat Award, sponsored by a British foundation dedicated to sustainable housing. Meanwhile, a thriving market around Yanan means a cave with three rooms and a bathroom (a total of 750 square feet) can be advertised for sale at $46,000. 'Life is easy and comfortable here. I don't need to climb stairs. I have everything I need,' says 76-year-old Ma Liangshui. 'I've lived all my life in caves, and I can't imagine anything different.'"

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Australian Greens Demand Public Access To Cloak and Dagger Anti-Piracy Meetings
Posted by News Fetcher on March 22 '12 at 01:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's we-can-handle-the-truth department:
Fluffeh writes "Continuing the recent stories on the secret, closed door, FOI blocked talks, the Australian Greens have filed a motion in the Senate requesting that the Government release documents regarding its closed door meetings on Internet piracy which the Attorney-General's Department has blocked from being released under Freedom of Information laws. This morning, Greens Communications Spokesperson Scott Ludlam filed an order in the Senate that the Government disclose details of the most recent meeting. 'The Government refuses to reveal almost any information about the attendees, the substance or the outcomes of the meeting,' he said in a separate statement. 'A Freedom of Information request from a journalist looks like it's been met with maximum resistance.'"

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Disaster Strikes Norwegian Government Web Portal
Posted by News Fetcher on March 21 '12 at 11:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's norwegian-blues department:
An anonymous reader writes "Altinn.no is a web service run by the Norwegian government, on which citizens can find, fill out and deliver forms electronically. Every year Norwegian citizens can also log in to check their tax results. This year, as every year, the site was unable to cope with the traffic generated from everyone wanting to check their taxes at the same time. New this year, however, was that once people were finally able to log in, a significant amount of people were logged in as someone else. Users then had access to all financial data of this unfortunate person over two years back in time, in addition to the financial information of his wife and the company he worked for. Altinn shut down some 15 minutes later, and has been down since."

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Mystery Rising Within Mercury
Posted by News Fetcher on March 21 '12 at 08:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's rising-mecury department:
astroengine writes "Something besides volcanic eruptions and asteroid and comet impacts has sculpted the surface of Mercury — an unknown process, possibly still going on today, that causes the ground to swell from the inside out. The evidence, collected by NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft currently orbiting the innermost planet, is scattered all over Mercury, including a dramatic finding that half of the floor of the biggest crater on the planet has been raised above the walls. The MESSENGER team's findings were announced at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston on Wednesday and will be published in this week's Science."

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New Doctor Who Companion Announced
Posted by News Fetcher on March 21 '12 at 06:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's hanging-out-with-the-doctor department:
eternaldoctorwho writes "Jenna-Louise Coleman will be the newest companion to the Doctor (Matt Smith) on the hit series, Doctor Who. The announcement came earlier today on the BBC's Twitter page devoted to the program, along with some other details about the upcoming season of the show. Miss Coleman is also known for her previous roles on Emmerdale and Captain America: The First Avenger."

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Sprint CEO Defends Company's Decision To Bet It All On the iPhone
Posted by News Fetcher on March 21 '12 at 06:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's put-it-all-on-different department:
zacharye writes "Sprint chief executive Dan Hesse is being watched closely by the company's board of directors, but the CEO has to answer to investors and subscribers as well. Last year in October, Hesse revealed that the company is placing a massive $15.5 billion bet on Apple's iPhone, and in a recent interview, Hesse defended the move, which has been criticized by a number of industry watchers. From the article: '“Subsidizes are heavy for the iPhone. This is the reason why a high percentage of new customers is important,” Hesse said during the interview. “But iPhone customers have a lower level of churn and they actually use less data on average than a high-end 4G Android device. So from a cost point of view and a customer lifetime value perspective. They’re more profitable than the average smartphone customer.”'"

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Historic Heat In North America Turns Winter To Summer
Posted by News Fetcher on March 21 '12 at 04:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's hotter-than-hot department:
An anonymous reader writes "A huge, lingering ridge of high pressure over the eastern half of the United States brought summer-like temperatures to North America in March 2012. The warm weather shattered records across the central and eastern United States and much of Canada. From the article: 'Records are not only being broken across the country, they're being broken in unusual ways. Chicago, for example, saw temperatures above 26.6Celsius (80Fahrenheit) every day between March 14-18, breaking records on all five days. For context, the National Weather Service noted that Chicago typically averages only one day in the eighties each in April. And only once in 140 years of weather observations has April produced as many 80Fahrenheit days as this March.'"

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ModMyPi Raspberry Pi Case Offers 5% Back To the Foundation
Posted by News Fetcher on March 21 '12 at 04:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's case-by-case department:
An anonymous reader writes "The Raspberry Pi Model B is now available to purchase, but most people are still waiting for new stock to be manufactured and delivered. In the meantime you can prepare for the tiny PC's arrival by figuring out what to do about a case. The fact the Raspberry Pi ships without a case doesn't cause a problem when using it, but encasing it in plastic will help protect and keep the dust off the components. Geek.com has already reported on one case design from hobbyist designer Marco Alici, but now another one has appeared that actually has a release date, color options, and an extra incentive to purchase it."

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Surviving the Cashless Cataclysm
Posted by News Fetcher on March 21 '12 at 03:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's life-on-a-card department:
MrSeb writes "There's been a lot of noise about Sweden becoming a cashless economy, and the potential repercussions that it might cause, most notably the (apparent) annihilation of privacy. Really, though, I think this is a load of hot air. Physical money might be on the way out, but that doesn't mean the end of anonymous, untraceable cash — it'll just become digital. If Bitcoin has taught us anything, it's possible to create an irreversible, cryptographic currency — but so far it has failed because it doesn't have sovereign backing. What if the US or UK (or any other country for that matter) issued digital cash? We would suddenly have an anonymous currency that can be kept on credit chips (or smartphones) and traded, just like paper money. No longer would handling money require expensive cash registers, safes, and secure collections; your smartphone could be your point of sale. It won't be easy to get governments to pass digital cash into law, though, not with big banks and megacorps lobbying for centralized, electronic, traceable currency. Here's hoping Sweden makes the right choice when the referendum to retire physical money finally rolls around."

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Garden Gnome Tests Earth's Gravity
Posted by News Fetcher on March 21 '12 at 02:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's he's-not-heavy department:
sciencehabit writes "Researchers have long hypothesized that objects weigh less at Earth's equator because the planet's spin and shape lessen gravity's pull here versus at the poles. Satellite accelerometers have confirmed this, but a digital scale manufacturer decided to test things the old-fashioned way. Enter the Kern garden gnome. When placed on a scale at the South Pole, the intrepid ornament weighed 309.82 grams versus 307.86 grams at the equator, a difference of 0.6%."

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New Samsung TV Watches You Watching It
Posted by News Fetcher on March 21 '12 at 02:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's who's-watching-who? department:
CanHasDIY writes "Straight out of 1984, Samsung has unveiled a new series of televisions with integrated cameras and microphones, complete with facial and voice recognition software. Best of all, there appears to be no physical indication of the mic and camera's status, so consumers have no way of knowing when they're being monitored, or by whom... and if you don't find the idea of a TV that watches you creepy enough, apparently Samsung's Terms of Service include a clause allowing third-party apps to make use of the monitoring system, and use the data gathered for their own purposes. Nothing Orwellian about that..."

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University Makes 80,000 Einstein Documents Publicly Available
Posted by News Fetcher on March 21 '12 at 01:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what-do-you-think-Einstein? department:
orgelspieler writes "The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has scanned in some 80,000 of Albert Einstein's documents. According to the university's press release, the documents cover more than just scientific matters. The broad range of subjects include his solution to the Jewish-Arab conflict, a postcard to his mother, and a letter from one of his mistresses asking for assistance getting to America. Some documents have been translated and annotated and are completely searchable."

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ICANN Ethical Conflicts Are Worse Than They Seem
Posted by News Fetcher on March 21 '12 at 12:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's a-few-bad-apples department:
hapworth writes "In light of outgoing ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom's admission that the board is mired in conflicts of interest, another ICANN insider has spoken up to say the ethical issues go way deeper than what Beckstrom pointed to. Beau Brendler, chairman of the North American Internet user advisory committee to ICANN (NARALO), lists ICANN's executive committee members and their individual conflicts, stating that the 'public interest is not well served by a structure and executive leadership that's conflicted by the same industry it's supposed to oversee.' Brendler says the truth about ICANN's 'hundreds' of ethical conflicts has been buried for years and is only starting to come to light because of a 'few rebellious voices.'"

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