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Ohm's Law Survives To the Atomic Level
Posted by News Fetcher on January 06 '12 at 05:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's smaller-the-better department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Moore's Law, the cornerstone of the semiconductor industry, may get a reprieve from its predicted demise. As wires shrink to just nanometers in diameter, their resistivity tends to grow exponentially, curbing their usefulness as current carriers. But now a team of researchers has shown that it is possible to fabricate low-resistivity nanowires at the smallest scales imaginable by stringing together individual atoms in silicon as small as four atoms (about 1.5 nanometers) wide and a single atom tall. The secret is to introduce phosphorus along that line because each phosphorus atom donates an electron to the silicon crystal, which promotes electrical conduction. They then encase the nanowires entirely in silicon, which makes the conduction electrons more immune to outside influence. By embedding phosphorus atoms within a silicon crystal with an average spacing of less than 1 nanometer, the team achieved a diameter-independent resistivity, which demonstrates ohmic scaling to the atomic limit. 'That moves the wires away from the surfaces and away from other interfaces,' says physicist says Michelle Simmons. 'That allows the electron to stay conducting and not get caught up in other interfaces.' The wires have the carrying capacity of copper, indicating that the technique might help microchips continue their steady shrinkage over time and may even extend the life of Moore's Law. 'Fundamentally, we have shown that we can maintain low resistivities in doped silicon wires down to the atomic scale,' says Simmons, adding that it may not be ready for production now, but, 'who knows 20 years from now?'"

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Is the Canadian Arctic the Future of Astronomy?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 06 '12 at 02:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's planets-and-poutine department:
sciencehabit writes "Frigid temperatures, dry air, and endless nights should, in theory, make the polar regions top spots for ground-based optical astronomy. So far, Antarctica has been getting all the action, with a handful of optical telescopes peering into the sky from the icy continent. But a new study indicates that the Canadian high Arctic is also a good spot for ground-based optical astronomy. In fact, the great white north offers some practical advantages over the Antarctic."

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Shopping Center Tracking System Condemned by Civil Rights Campaigners
Posted by News Fetcher on January 06 '12 at 12:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's on-the-do-not-track-list department:
hypnosec writes "Civil rights campaigners have spoken out against a technology used by several shopping centers in the UK to track consumers using their mobile signals. The shopping centers claim that the technology helps them provide better services to consumers and retailers without compromising privacy. The system, called the Footpath, allows them to know how people are spending time in a shopping center, which spots they visit the most and even the route they take while walking around. Several consumer and civil rights groups, including Big Brother Watch, say consumers must be given a choice on whether they want their movement tracked or not." We covered a similar tracking system here in the U.S. last month.

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Symantec Looks Into Claims of Stolen Source Code
Posted by News Fetcher on January 05 '12 at 09:32 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's all-your-code-are-belong-to-us department:
wiredmikey writes "A group of hackers claim to have stolen source code for Symantec's Norton Antivirus software. The group is operating under the name Dharmaraja, and claims it found the data after compromising Indian military intelligence servers. So far it's unclear if the claims are a significant threat, as the information posted thus far by the hackers includes a document dated April 28, 1999, that Symantec describes as defining the application programming interface (API) for the virus Definition Generation Service. However, a second post entitled 'Norton AV source code file list' includes a list of file names reputedly contained within Norton AntiVirus source code package. Symantec said it is still in the process of analyzing the data in the second post, a Symantec spokesperson said."

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Apple Threatens Steve Jobs Doll Maker With Lawsuit
Posted by News Fetcher on January 05 '12 at 07:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's no-doll-for-you department:
redletterdave writes "Apple has allegedly threatened to sue Chinese company 'In Icons' over its eerily realistic 12-inch action figure of Steve Jobs, the company's late founder and CEO. The 1:6 scale model, which was said to be distributed by DiD Corp. in late February, comes with the clothes and accessories popularized by Jobs, such as the black faux turtleneck, blue jeans and sneakers. The figurine is packaged in a box that looks like Walter Isaacson's 'Steve Jobs' biography cover, and also comes with a 'One More Thing...' backdrop, as well as two red apples, including one with a bite in it. To make it extra creepy, the doll's realistic head sculpt features Jobs' famous unblinking stare. Apple reportedly wrote 'In Icons', telling the Chinese manufacturer that any toy that resembles Apple's logo or products, or Job's name or appearance, is a 'criminal offense.' Attorneys believe a Steve Jobs action figure released after his death violates the 'right of publicity,' which is a state law that protects one's image, voice, photograph, identity or signature from being used commercially without consent. Furthermore, California's Celebrity Rights Act in 1985 protects a celebrity's personality rights up to 70 years after their death."

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AP and 28 News Groups To Collect Fees From Aggregators
Posted by News Fetcher on January 05 '12 at 05:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's that-link-will-cost-you department:
jjp9999 writes "The Associated Press is launching the NewsRight project to make aggregators pay for content. Some of the top names in the news industry are currently on board, including New York Times Co. and Washington Post Co, and they're currently negotiating with Gannett, Tribune, Cox and News Corp. The project will license original news from the media companies and collect royalties from aggregators. The use of lawsuits and threats of lawsuits are already on the agenda. NewsRight's first salesperson starts work this week."

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Microsoft In Talks To Buy Nokia's Smartphone Division?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 05 '12 at 04:31 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's how-much-were-you-asking? department:
lightbox32 writes "Analyst Eldar Murtazin, announced today that Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer was soon to meet his Nokia counterpart Stephen Elop to finalize the purchase of Nokia's smartphone division, which would see patents, staff, and some plants transferred to Microsoft, for an undisclosed price. From the article: '“Steve Ballmer, Andy Lees and Stephen Elop and Kai Ostamo will meet in Las Vegas to finalize agreement about Nokia smartphone unit. Bye Nokia,” he tweeted on Thursday morning."

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Thick Dust Alters NASA Mars Rover Plans
Posted by News Fetcher on January 05 '12 at 03:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's mars-wants-clear-weather! department:
coondoggie writes "NASA's long-running Mars rover Opportunity is getting ready for the harsh Martian winter, but this year for the first time in its nearly eight-year history it needs a sunnier location to continue its work. NASA said the rover, which depends on solar power for energy, is sitting just south of Mars' equator and has worked through four Martian southern hemisphere winters. Being closer to the equator than its now defunct twin rover, Spirit, Opportunity has not needed to stay on a Sun-facing slope during previous winters but now its solar panels carry a thicker coating of Martian dust than before."

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Mouse Sperm Cells Grown In Vitro
Posted by News Fetcher on January 05 '12 at 02:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's keep-my-etchings-in-the-lab department:
smitty777 writes "In what is being hailed as a breakthrough in male infertility, researchers from Muenster and Ben Gurion Universities were able to actually grow mouse sperm cells in a petri dish. Researchers feel this is just a short step away from human in vitro sperm cell production. The details of how this will be accomplished are still being worked out. FTA: '[According to Professor Richard Sharpe], "What this research shows is that it will be possible to make human sperm outside the body. The germ cells just need the right environment. That's the tricky part getting them to think they are in the testes." Professor Sharpe believes that one novel way may make.it possible. He proposes using a live mouse as a "host" to make human sperm. He said: "What you would do is take some human testicular tissue with germ cells and place that under the skin of the mouse and use it to incubate the cells. You could then extract any sperm and use it in fertility treatment. But we would have to demonstrate that there were no mouse cells present in the extracted sperm if we were to use this technique and I believe that's possible."'"

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Australian Deported From Bahrain Over Facebook Posts
Posted by News Fetcher on January 05 '12 at 02:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's bah-humbug department:
An anonymous reader writes "Australian English instructor Tony Mitchell recently moved to Bahrain where he was offered a job at the state-run Polytechnic University. He described himself as a witness of the various horrifying events in the struggling country (see The Atlantic's four-part series). Mitchell was eventually fired, evicted, and forced to flee because of posts he made on Facebook."

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Controlled Quantum Levitation Used To Build Wipeout Track
Posted by News Fetcher on January 05 '12 at 01:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's why-youtube-exists department:
First time accepted submitter gentryx writes "Researchers at the Japan Institute of Science and Technology have build a miniature Wipeout track (YouTube video) using high temperature superconductors and quantum levitation. Right now this is fundamental research, but in the future large scale transportation systems could be build with technology akin to this. I have a different vision: let Nintendo sell this as an accessory for the Wii U. I'd buy several of these tracks, let the gliders race through the whole house and track them on our TV!"

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Ask Slashdot: Mirrorless, Interchangeable Lens Camera Advice?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 05 '12 at 12:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-what-about-light-field department:
jehan60188 writes "I want a camera that's better than my phone, but I don't have the technical knowledge to fully appreciate a DSLR. I think the MILC style will be a happy compromise, but I'm concerned that it might be all 'marketing' and no 'technology.' I don't have a lot of demands, but I do like taking macro shots of things from time to time. Also, my sister is going to China in a few months, so a telephoto lens would probably be good for sight seeing (since I could employ optical zoom instead of the imaginary 'digital zoom')."

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Vint Cerf On Human Rights: Internet Access Isn't On the List
Posted by News Fetcher on January 05 '12 at 11:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's coffee-ice-cream-narrowly-beat-it-out department:
Gallenod writes "In an op-ed for the New York Times, Vint Cerf writes that civil protests around the world, sparked by Internet communications, 'have raised questions about whether Internet access is or should be a civil or human right.' Cerf argues that 'technology is an enabler of rights, not a right itself,' and contends that for something to be considered a human right, it 'must be among the things we as humans need in order to lead healthy, meaningful lives, like freedom from torture or freedom of conscience. It is a mistake to place any particular technology in this exalted category, since over time we will end up valuing the wrong things.'"

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Makers Keep Flogging 3D TV, Viewers Keep Shrugging
Posted by News Fetcher on January 05 '12 at 11:17 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-it's-got-three-dee! department:
A Wired article (as carried by CNN) attempts to answer the question of why 3D television hasn't caught on. The reasons listed there (high price, paltry content, the need for 3D glasses for typical sets, headaches and strain) all seem to be on the money, in themselves, but I think don't go far enough. 3D on a set small enough for home use outside a high-end home-theater rig seems to me like a clever novelty that I can't even enjoy unless I've given it my full attention. It's nothing like the jump from black-and-white to color, or even the jump from my old 19" Trinitron TV circa 1993 years ago to a flat panel display. On the big screen, it's another story — there, 3D can be arresting and involving, even when it's exaggerated (and it is). On home sets, even quite large ones, to my eye 3D usually looks phony and out of place. Never mind that the content is limited and often expensive, or that there are competing standards for expensive glasses to wear — I just don't like that the commitment is greater than that required for casual, conventional TV; I can't readily scan email, skim through a magazine, or keep watching out the corner of my eye from another room. (I'm hoping to find some actually watchable no-glasses 3D sets at CES next week, but I'm skeptical.)

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UK Executive 'Forced Out of Job' For Posting CV Online
Posted by News Fetcher on January 05 '12 at 10:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's hr-dept-on-patrol department:
First time accepted submitter sweetpea86 writes "An executive who uploaded his CV to LinkedIn was forced to quit his job because he ticked a box stating he was interested in 'career opportunities'. John Flexman is demanding hundreds of thousands of pounds in compensation from his former employer, gas exploration firm BG Group, where he earned £68,000 pounds a year as a Graduate and Development Manager. He is thought to be the first person in the UK to bring a case for constructive dismissal. The case highlights a grey area around employees' use of social networks such as LinkedIn. According to Kate Hodgkiss, Partner at law firm DLA Piper, employers have every right to seek to protect confidential company information by restricting LinkedIn and other profiles, but cannot prevent employees from looking for a new job. The news echoes a report in December that a Californian Twitter user was being sued for $340,000 by his former employer for taking his online followers with him when he switched jobs. PhoneDog launched legal proceedings against Noah Kravitz, seeking damages of $2.50 a month per follower for eight months."

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Firefox 3.6 Support Ends April 2012
Posted by News Fetcher on January 05 '12 at 10:02 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's slow-motion-shutdown department:
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla for some time after switching to the rapid release process talked about releasing Extended Support Releases that would give companies and organizations some breathing space in the race to test and deploy new browser versions. With the first ESR release (which will be Firefox 10), comes the Firefox 3.6 end of life announcement. Firefox 3.6 users will receive update notifications in April to update the browser to the latest stable version by then."

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Windows 8 To Include Built-in Reset, Refresh
Posted by News Fetcher on January 05 '12 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's control-z department:
MrSeb writes "Microsoft, in its infinite wisdom, will provide push-button Reset and Refresh in Windows 8. Reset will restore a Windows 8 PC to its stock, fresh-from-the-factory state; Refresh will reinstall Windows 8, but keep your documents and installed Metro apps in tact. For the power users, Windows 8 will include a new tool called recimg.exe, which allows you to create a hard drive image that Refresh will use (you can install all of your Desktop apps, tweak all your settings, run recimg.exe... and then, when you Refresh, you'll be handed a clean, ready-to-go computer). Reset and Refresh are obviously tablety features that Windows 8 will need to compete against iOS and Android — but considering Windows' malware magnetism and the number of times I've had to schlep over to my mother's house with a Windows CD... these features should be very welcome on the desktop, too."

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California State Senator Proposes Funding Open-Source Textbooks
Posted by News Fetcher on January 05 '12 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's benefit-the-commonwealth department:
bcrowell writes "Although former Governor Schwarzenegger's free digital textbook initiative for K-12 education was a failure,
state senator Darrell Steinberg has a
new idea for the state-subsidized
publication of college textbooks
(details in the PDF links at the bottom). Newspaper editorials seem positive. It will be interesting to see if this works any better at the college level than it did for K-12, where textbook selection has traditionally been very bureaucratic. This is also different from Schwarzenegger's FDTI because Steinberg proposes spending state money to help create the books. The K-12 version suffered from legal uncertainty about the Williams case,
which requires equal access to books for all students — many of whom might not have computers at home.
At the symposium where the results of
the FDTI's first round were announced, it became apparent that the only businesses interested in
participating actively were not the publishers but computer manufacturers like Dell and Apple, who wanted to sell
lots of hardware to schools."


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Germans Increase Office Efficiency With "Cloud Ceiling"
Posted by News Fetcher on January 05 '12 at 08:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's little-fluffy-clouds department:
Griller_GT writes "According to the top researchers of the Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organization (IAO) in Stuttgart, the human mind is set up to work at its best under the open sky, with changing illumination caused by clouds passing overhead. The unvarying glare of office lighting is sub-optimal, therefore, and in order to wring the last ounce of efficiency from German workers whose productivity has already been pushed to unprecedented heights they have decided to rectify this with a LED cloud ceiling."

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US Threatens Spain For Not Implementing SOPA-Like Law
Posted by News Fetcher on January 05 '12 at 08:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's inigo-montoya-on-high-alert department:
SharkLaser writes "In a leaked letter sent to Spain's outgoing President, the US ambassador warned that if Spain didn't pass SOPA-like file-sharing site blocking law, Spain would risk being put into United States trade blocklist. United States government interference in Spain's intellectual property laws have been suspected for a long time, and now the recent leaks of diplomatic cables confirm this. Apart from the cables leaked earlier, now another cable dated December 12th says U.S. expresses "deep concern" over the failure to implement SOPA-style censorship law in the country. 'The government has unfortunately failed to finish the job for political reasons, to the detriment of the reputation and economy of Spain,' read the letter. Racing against the clock in the final days of the government, Solomont had one last push. 'I encourage the Government of Spain to implement the Sinde Law immediately to safeguard the reputation of Spain as an innovative country that does what it says it will, and as a country that breeds confidence,' he wrote."

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