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Artist's Catcopter Causes a Stir
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '12 at 11:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's poor-tatse department:
derekmead writes "I'm not sure that Dutch artist Bart Jansen had political commentary in mind when he created the Orvillecopter — combining a stuffed cat with a quadrotor, and naming it after Orville Wright — but indeed it's art, whose meaning will lie in the eye of the beholder. And for those that say stitching up a dead animal around the guts of a helicopter and flying it around is 'sick,' what of the massive drone industry, which, more than just producing a symbol, actually is creating flying death?"

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Xbox Second Screen Announced
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '12 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's take-another-look department:
kodiaktau writes "Microsoft has announced a feature called SmartGlass that provides a new set of features when viewing media on mobile or PC devices. Sources say that it will provide context focused advertising/product placement as well as metadata about the media you are currently viewing. Additionally the interface allows you to store viewing data and share between your desktop and mobile devices to continue viewing content between devices. From the article: 'SmartGlass also allows you to view the web on an Xbox 360 using Internet Explorer. The tablet or phone becomes the keyboard and you can easily browse web pages without having a physical keyboard in the living room.'"

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Online Social Networks Can Be Tipped By Less Than 1% of Their Population
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '12 at 10:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's you-are-all-individuals department:
An anonymous reader writes "A new algorithm developed by researchers at West Point seems to break new ground for viral marketing practices in online social networks. Assuming a trend or behavior that spreads in an online social network based on the classic 'tipping' model from sociology (based on the work of Thomas Schelling and Mark Granovetter), the new West Point algorithm can find a set of individuals in the network that can initiate a social cascade – a progressive series of 'tipping' incidents — which leads to everyone in the social network adopting the new behavior. The good news for viral marketers is that this set of individuals is often very small – a sample of the Friendster social network can be influenced when only 0.8% of the initial population is seeded. The trick is finding the seed set. The algorithm is described in a paper to be presented later this summer at the prestigious IEEE ASONAM conference."

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Report Says Schools Need 100Mbps Per 1,000 Users
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '12 at 09:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's won't-somebody-please-think-of-the-children department:
alphadogg writes "American schools need mega-broadband networks — and they need them soon, a new report says. Specifically, U.S. educational institutions will need networks that deliver broadband performance of 100Mbps for every 1,000 students and staff members in time for the 2014-15 school year. That's the conclusion reached by the State Educational Technology Directors Association. Why the need for speed? For one thing, more and more schools are using online textbooks and collaboration tools, said Christine Fox, director of educational leadership and research at SETDA. Broadband access must be 'ubiquitous' and 'robust,' she said, adding that schools should think of broadband as a 'necessary utility,' not as an add-on. The report, called 'The Broadband Imperative,' further suggests that schools should upgrade their networks to support speeds of 1Gbps per 1,000 users in five years."

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Ask Slashdot. Best Online Science Course?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '12 at 08:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's browsing-teachers department:
First time accepted submitter blubadger writes "Having slept through chemistry at school, I'm looking to fill in the gaps in my science education by following a short online course or two. I've been searching for 'Chemistry 101,' 'Basics of Physics,' 'Biology Primer,' and so on. There's some high-quality stuff on offer – from Academic Earth, MIT and others – but it tends to take the form of videos of traditional university lectures. I was hoping to cut through the chit-chat and blackboards and get straight into the infographics and animations that will help me understand complex ideas. Flash and HTML5 Canvas seem wasted on videos of lectures. If the quality were high enough I would be willing to pay. Have Slashdotters seen anything that fits the bill?"

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The Real-Life Doogie Howser
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '12 at 08:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's boy-wonder department:
An anonymous reader writes "Sho Yano this week will become the youngest student to get an M.D. from University of Chicago. He was reading at age 2, writing by 3, and composing music by his 5th birthday. He graduated from Loyola University in three years — summa cum laude, no less. When he entered U. of C.'s prestigious Pritzker School of Medicine at 12, it was into one of the school's most rigorous programs, where students get both their doctorate and medical degrees. Intelligence is not Yano's only gift — though according to a test he took at age 4, his IQ is too high to accurately measure and is easily above genius level. He is an accomplished pianist who has performed at Ravinia, and he has a black belt in tae kwon do. Classmates and faculty described him as 'sweet' and 'humble,' a hardworking, Bach-adoring, Greek literature-quoting student. And in his own words, 'I may not be the most outgoing person, but I do like to be around people.'"

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Redesigned Cooler Reinvents Tuberculosis Treatment
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '12 at 07:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's keeping-things-cool department:
First time accepted submitter sarfralogy writes with this news about a cooler redesigned by MIT that is saving lives. "It started with a basic soft drink cooler, a need for easier management of tuberculosis and $150,000 in innovation support. A big challenge in managing tuberculosis is keeping the medicine cool, in addition to tracking and monitoring dose administration. These challenges can be life-threatening, especially in less-developed countries, where refrigerators and fancy cooling devices are rare; ice must be trucked in on a daily basis to keep medicines at controlled temperatures. A redesigned cooler with the ability to keep the medicine cool and record when medicine is dispensed is aiming to solve both these problems. The design of the cooler is simple and practical — common characteristics of a scientifically sound experiment or innovation. It's nothing more than a standard soft drink cooler but the team from MIT's Little Devices Lab equipped the cooler with the ability to sound an alert when the temperature inside the cooler becomes too high and transmit data wirelessly using a cellphone transmitter whenever the cooler is opened."

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Ask the Space Command Team About All Things Sci-Fi
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '12 at 07:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's set-pahsers-to-fund department:
Marc Zicree, Doug Drexler, David Raiklen, and Neil Johnson are the guys behind the fastest funded film project ever on Kickstarter, Space Command. The project will feature a number of Star Trek vets behind the camera and a number of Trek actors are also involved, including Armin Shimerman, George Takei, Ethan Phillips and Robert Picardo. The team has graciously agreed to take some time from trying to make a crowd-funded movie, building spaceships, and exploring alien worlds to answer your questions. Ask as many as you like but please confine your questions to one per post.

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ARM Expects 20-Nanometer Processors By Late 2013
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '12 at 06:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's coming-soon department:
angry tapir writes "ARM chips made with an advanced, 20-nanometer manufacturing process could appear in smartphones and tablets by as soon as the end of next year, the head of ARM's processor division said Monday. The more advanced chips should allow device makers to improve the performance of their products without reducing battery life, or offer the same performance with longer battery life."

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When Continental Drift Was Considered Pseudoscience
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '12 at 06:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's drifting-to-the-truth department:
Lasrick writes "I Love this article in Smithsonian by Richard Conniff. One of my geology professors was in grad school when the theories for plate tectonics, seafloor spreading, etc., were introduced; he remembered how most of his professors denounced them as ridiculous. The article chronicles the introduction of continental drift theory, starting a century ago with Alfred Wegener. From the article: 'It was a century ago this spring that a little-known German meteorologist named Alfred Wegener proposed that the continents had once been massed together in a single supercontinent and then gradually drifted apart. He was, of course, right. Continental drift and the more recent science of plate tectonics are now the bedrock of modern geology, helping to answer vital questions like where to find precious oil and mineral deposits, and how to keep San Francisco upright. But in Wegener’s day, geological thinking stood firmly on a solid earth where continents and oceans were permanent features.'"

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Microsoft Certificate Was Used To Sign Flame Malware
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '12 at 05:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's signing-dirty department:
wiredmikey writes "Microsoft disclosed that 'unauthorized digital certificates derived from a Microsoft Certificate Authority' were used to sign components of the recently discovered Flame malware. 'We have discovered through our analysis that some components of the malware have been signed by certificates that allow software to appear as if it was produced by Microsoft,' Microsoft Security Response Center's Jonathan Ness wrote in a blog post. Microsoft is also warning that the same techniques could be leveraged by less sophisticated attackers to conduct more widespread attacks. In response to the discovery, Microsoft released a security advisory detailing steps that organizations should take in order block software signed by the unauthorized certificates, and also released an update to automatically protect customers. Also as part of its response effort, Microsoft said its Terminal Server Licensing Service no longer issues certificates that allow code to be signed."

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What Struck Earth in 775?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '12 at 05:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's park-that-anywhere department:
ananyo writes "Just over 1,200 years ago, the planet was hit by an extremely intense burst of high-energy radiation of unknown cause, scientists studying tree-ring data have found. The radiation burst, which seems to have hit between 774 and 775, was detected by looking at the amounts of the radioactive isotope carbon-14 in tree rings that formed during the 775 growing season in the Northern Hemisphere. The increase in 14C levels is so clear that the scientists conclude that the atmospheric level of 14C must have jumped by 1.2% over the course of no longer than a year, about 20 times more than the normal rate of variation (abstract). Yet, as the only known events that can produce a 14C spike are supernova explosions or giant solar flares, and neither event was observed at the time, astronomers have a cosmic mystery on their hands."

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Antivirus Firms Out of Their League With Stuxnet, Flame
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '12 at 04:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's doesn't-say-much-good-for-their-product department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Mikko Hypponen, Chief Research Officer of software security company F-Secure, writes that when his company heard about Flame, they went digging through their archive for related samples of malware and were surprised to find that they already had samples of Flame, dating back to 2010 and 2011, that they were unaware they possessed. 'What this means is that all of us had missed detecting this malware for two years, or more. That's a spectacular failure for our company, and for the antivirus industry in general.' Why weren't Flame, Stuxnet, and Duqu detected earlier? The answer isn't encouraging for the future of cyberwar. All three were most likely developed by a Western intelligence agency as part of covert operations that weren't meant to be discovered and the fact that the malware evaded detection proves how well the attackers did their job. In the case of Stuxnet and DuQu, they used digitally signed components to make their malware appear to be trustworthy applications and instead of trying to protect their code with custom packers and obfuscation engines — which might have drawn suspicion to them — they hid in plain sight. In the case of Flame, the attackers used SQLite, SSH, SSL and LUA libraries that made the code look more like a business database system than a piece of malware. 'The truth is, consumer-grade antivirus products can't protect against targeted malware created by well-resourced nation-states with bulging budgets,' writes Hypponen, adding that it's highly likely there are other similar attacks already underway that we haven't detected yet because simply put, attacks like these work. 'Flame was a failure for the antivirus industry. We really should have been able to do better. But we didn't. We were out of our league, in our own game.'"

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Why Facebook's Network Effects Are Overrated
Posted by News Fetcher on June 04 '12 at 01:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's on-sober-reflection department:
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from a contrarian take on the power of Facebook from hacker Benjamin Mako-Hill: "A lot of people interested in free software, and user autonomy and network services are very worried about Facebook. Folks are worried for the same reason that so many investors are interested: the networks effects brought by hundreds of millions of folks signed up to use the service. ... Facebook is vulnerable to the next thing more than many technology firms that have benefited from network effects in the past. If users are given compelling reasons to switch to something else, they can with less trouble and they will. That compelling reason might be a new social network with better features or an awesome distributed architecture that allows freedom for users and the ability of those users to benefit from new and fantastic things that Facebook's overseers would never let them have and without the things Facebook's users suffer through today. Or it might be a sexier proprietary box to store users' private information. It doesn't mean that I'm not worried about Facebook. I remain deeply worried. It's just not very hard for me to imagine the end."

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Ask Slashdot: Provisioning Internet For Condo Association?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '12 at 10:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's connected-vending-machines-in-the-lobby department:
An anonymous reader writes "I am on a committee to evaluate internet options for a medium sized condo association (80 units — 20 stories) in a major metropolitan area (Chicago). What options are out there? What questions should one ask of the various sales representatives? How should access be distributed within the building (wireless APs, ethernet cable). Does it make sense to provide any additional condo wide infrastructure (servers, services)? How much should it cost? How much dedicated bandwidth is required to support a community of this size?"

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Nintendo Reveals Wii U's Miiverse Social Network
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '12 at 07:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's spellchecker-hates-it department:
chrb writes "Nintendo has announced that its new Wii U console will feature a social network called the Miiverse in which users can video chat, see what others are playing, share game content and swap tips." And with a nod to Zawinski's Law, "The redesigned Wii U GamePad features dual sticks, a touch screen that supports finger and stylus interaction, motion and gyroscope sensors, and the ability to act as a TV remote. The Wii U GamePad has its own dedicated Web browser and can share images and video to a TV so that everyone can enjoy the shared content."

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First Steps With the Raspberry Pi
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '12 at 04:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's free-in-cracker-jacks department:
An anonymous reader writes "The Raspberry Pi received an extraordinary amount of pre-launch coverage. It truly went viral with major news corporations such as the BBC giving extensive coverage. Not without reason, it is groundbreaking to have a small, capable computer retailing at less than the price of a new console game. There have been a number of ventures that have tried to produce a cheap computer such as a laptop and a tablet but which never materialised at these price points. Nothing comes close to the Raspberry Pi in terms of affordability, which is even more important in the current economic climate. Producing a PC capable of running Linux, Quake III-quality games, and 1080p video is worthy of praise." Beyond praise, though, this article details the hooking-up and mucking-about phases, and offers some ideas of what it's useful for.

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The Nice Guy At the World's Largest Weapons Expo
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '12 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's dasani-army-sneaks-up-with-6-pack-ring department:
pigrabbitbear writes "It was the second day of the Special Operation Forces Exhibition in Amman, Jordan, and the temperature outside the convention center was around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with a typical chance of rain of zero. Drones of various sizes hovered in the hot blue desert sky. Inside, Ed Atchley had set up a booth for his company, Aspen Water Inc., right next to a 30mm chain gun designed to sink things like helicopters and Somali pirate ships. Atchley had traveled from his headquarters in Richardson, Texas, to the largest weapons trade show in the world, mainly because he makes 'the army's smallest, lightest, least expensive, high output, reverse osmosis water purifier,' he says, and people in the Middle East – including soldiers – get very thirsty."

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Worst Companies At Protecting User Privacy: Skype, Verizon, Yahoo
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '12 at 02:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's race-to-the-bottom department:
First time accepted submitter SmartAboutThings writes "Apple and Microsoft are one of the worst companies at protecting our privacy, according to EFF's privacy report. Dropbox, Twitter and Sonic have some of the best scores." "Sonic" is California ISP Sonic.net, which tops the field with the EFF's only 4-star rating. Of ISPs with national presence, ATT and Comcast come in with a single star apiece, and Verizon gets a goose egg.

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New Evidence Indicates Amelia Earhart Survived For a Time on Pacific Atoll
Posted by News Fetcher on June 03 '12 at 01:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's just-a-speck-against-the-sky department:
In light of new evidence publicly released Friday showing artifacts believed to have been Amelia Earhart's, the U.S. Navy is prepping a mission to investigate the area where they were found. Next month marks the 75th anniversary of Earhart's disappearance, but the just-announced discovery of personal effects and the evidence of cooking represents the most concrete evidence yet that she did not simply crash into the ocean.

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