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How Apple Sidesteps Billions In Global Taxes
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '12 at 04:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's floats-like-a-butterfly-stings-like-duty-free department:
An anonymous reader writes "An article at the NY Times explains the how the most profitable tech company in the world becomes even more profitable by finding ways to avoid or minimize taxes. Quoting: 'Apple's headquarters are in Cupertino, Calif. By putting an office in Reno, just 200 miles away, to collect and invest the company's profits, Apple sidesteps state income taxes on some of those gains. California's corporate tax rate is 8.84 percent. Nevada's? Zero. ... As it has in Nevada, Apple has created subsidiaries in low-tax places like Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the British Virgin Islands — some little more than a letterbox or an anonymous office — that help cut the taxes it pays around the world. ... Without such tactics, Apple's federal tax bill in the United States most likely would have been $2.4 billion higher last year, according to a recent study (PDF) by a former Treasury Department economist, Martin A. Sullivan. As it stands, the company paid cash taxes of $3.3 billion around the world on its reported profits of $34.2 billion last year, a tax rate of 9.8 percent."

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Facebook 'Likes' Aren't Protected Speech
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '12 at 03:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's don't-like-a-fire-in-a-crowded-theater department:
An anonymous reader writes "In what may win awards for the silliest-sounding lawsuit of the year, a case about whether Facebook 'likes' qualify for free speech protection under the First Amendment has ended in a decisive 'no.' In the run-up to an election for Sheriff, some of the incumbent's employees made their support for the challenger known by 'liking' his page on Facebook. After the incumbent won re-election, the employees were terminated, supposedly because of budget concerns. The employees had taken a few other actions as well — bumper stickers and cookouts — but they couldn't prove the Sheriff was aware of them. The judge thus ruled that 'merely "liking" a Facebook page is insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection. In cases where courts have found that constitutional speech protections extended to Facebook posts, actual statements existed within the record.'"

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Google Releases FCC Report On Street View Probe
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '12 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's fingers-and-cookie-jars department:
An anonymous reader writes with news that Google has released the full report of the FCC investigation into the incident in which its Street View cars collected personal data while mapping Wi-Fi networks. They are putting responsibility for the data gathering on a 'rogue engineer' who wrote the code for it without direction from management.
"Those working on Street View told the FCC they had no knowledge that the payload data was being collected. Managers of the Street View program said they did not read the October 2006 document [written by the engineer that detailed his work]. A different engineer remembered receiving the document but did not recall any reference to the collection of payload data. An engineer who worked closely with the engineer in question on the project in 2007, reviewing all of the codes line by line for bugs, says he did not notice that the software was designed to capture payload data. A senior manager said he preapproved the document before it was written."

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Face Recognition Maps History Via Art
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '12 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's computers-confused-by-lack-of-eyebrows department:
mikejuk writes "Face recognition techniques usually come with a certain amount of controversy. A new application, however, is unlikely to trigger any privacy concerns — because all of the subjects are long dead. 'FACES: Faces, Art, and Computerized Evaluation Systems' will attempt to apply face recognition software to portraits. Three University of California, Riverside researchers have just received funding to try and piece together the who's who in history. 'Almost every portrait painted before the 19th century was of a person of some importance. As families fell on hard times, many of these portraits were sold and the identities of these subjects were lost. The question we hope to answer is, can we restore these identities?' If the algorithm can be fine tuned we can look forward to the digitized collections of museums and art galleries around the world suddenly yielding a who-knew-who social network graph that could put more science, and computer science at that, into history."

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Kindle Fire Grabs Over Half of the U.S. Android Tablet Market
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '12 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's its-on-fire-heyo department:
New submitter DillyTonto writes "Amazon got shelled by analysts and the press after releasing a buggy first iteration of the Fire edition of the Kindle e-reader. Three weeks later the Kindle Fire owned 14 percent of the whole market for tablets. Three months later, more than half of all Android tablets sold in the U.S. are seven-inch Kindle Fires, despite a huge bias among buyers for 10-inch tablets. How could a heavily modded e-reader beat full-size tablets by major PC vendors? It's cheaper than any other tablet or e-reader on the market, for one thing. Also important is its focus on being an e-reader, 'because people buy hardware to have access to one app or function, then take the other things it can do as an additional benefit.'"

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RIM's Future Hangs On Developer Support For 'New BlackBerry'
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '12 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's if-you-build-it-they-may-or-may-not-come department:
alphadogg writes "With its future up for grabs, Research in Motion at its annual BlackBerry World conference next week will focus on simplifying development for its soon-to-be-unveiled BlackBerry 10 operating system. HTML5 is one key technology in that strategy to create a viable ecosystem of applications for a new generation of mobile devices expected to ship by year-end. The simplicity is needed because BB10, based on a real time kernel acquired with RIM's buyout of QNX Software Systems in 2010, is a complete break with the software that runs on standard BlackBerry smartphones. 'It's a bit of a challenge,' says Tyler Lessard, formerly a RIM vice president in charge of the global developer program, and since October 2011 chief marketing officer at mobile security vendor Fixmo. 'There's very little or no compatibility between the old and new operating systems. Existing apps can't be carried forward to QNX and BB 10. The question is, once the BlackBerry 10 smartphones launch, can RIM have an adequate catalog of apps?'"

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Optus Loses Second Battle In Aussie TV-Timeshifting Battle
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '12 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's copyright-dominance-games department:
beaverdownunder writes "After winning an initial legal battle to continue its mobile 'TV Now' terrestrial-television re-broadcasting service, Optus has lost a second battle in Australian Federal court. The Optus system 'time-shifted' broadcast signals by two minutes, and then streamed them to customers' mobile phones. In the previous ruling, the judge sided with Optus' argument that since the customer requested the service, they were the ones recording the signal, and thus it was fair-use under Australian copyright law. However, the new ruling declared Optus to be the true entity recording and re-distributing the broadcasts, and thus in violation of the law. There has been no word yet on whether Optus will appeal the decision, but as they could be retroactively liable for a great deal of damages, it is almost certain that they will."

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Microsoft Backs Away From CISPA Support, Citing Privacy
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '12 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's seeing-which-way-the-wind-is-blowing department:
suraj.sun writes "CISPA, the hotly-contested cybersecurity bill making its way through Congress, has been supported by Microsoft since it was introduced. However, the company now tells CNET that any such legislation must 'honor the privacy and security promises we make to our customers,' while also 'protecting consumer privacy.' As you may recall, the U.S. House passed CISPA on Thursday. The Obama administration has threatened to veto the bill. Quoting CNET: 'That's a noticeable change — albeit not a complete reversal — from Microsoft's position when CISPA was introduced in November 2011. To be sure, Microsoft's initial reaction to CISPA came before many of the privacy concerns had been raised. An anti-CISPA coalition letter (PDF) wasn't sent out until April 16, and a petition that garnered nearly 800,000 signatures wasn't set up until April 5. What makes CISPA so controversial is a section saying that, "notwithstanding any other provision of law," companies may share information with Homeland Security, the IRS, the NSA, or other agencies. By including the word "notwithstanding," CISPA's drafters intended to make their legislation trump all existing federal and state laws, including ones dealing with wiretaps, educational records, medical privacy, and more.'"

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Ivy Bridge Running Hotter Than Intel's Last-gen CPU
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '12 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's water-under-the-bridge department:
crookedvulture writes "The launch of Intel's Ivy Bridge CPUs made headlines earlier this week, but the next-gen processor's story is still being told. When overclocked, Ivy Bridge runs as much as 20C hotter than its Sandy Bridge predecessor at the same speed, despite the fact that the two chips have comparable power consumption. There are several reasons for these toasty tendencies. The new 22-nm process used to fabricate the CPU produces a smaller die with less surface area to dissipate heat. Intel has changed the thermal interface material between the CPU die and its heat spreader. Ivy also requires a much bigger step up in voltage to hit the same speeds as Sandy Bridge."

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The Math Formula That Lead To the Financial Crash
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '12 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can-we-blame-fermat-for-this department:
New submitter jools33 writes "The BBC has a fascinating story about how a mathematical formula revolutionized the world of finance — and ultimately could have been responsible for its downfall. The Black-Scholes mathematical model, introduced in the 70s, opened up the world of options, futures, and derivatives trading in a way that nothing before or since has accomplished. Its phenomenal success and widespread adoption lead to Myron Scholes winning a Nobel prize in economics. Yet the widespread adoption of the model may have been responsible for the financial crisis of the past few years. It's interesting to ponder how algorithms and formulas that we work on today could fundamentally influence humanity's future."

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New Particle Discovered At CERN
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '12 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's lhc-stories-not-about-the-higgs department:
New submitter ph4cr writes with news that a new particle has been discovered at CERN that confirms theoretical predictions. A pre-print of the academic paper is available at the arXiv (PDF). From the article:
"Physicists from the University of Zurich have discovered a previously unknown particle composed of three quarks in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) particle accelerator. A new baryon could thus be detected for the first time at the LHC. The baryon known as Xi_b^* confirms fundamental assumptions of physics regarding the binding of quarks. ... In the course of proton collisions in the LHC at CERN, physicists Claude Amsler, Vincenzo Chiochia and Ernest Aguiló from the University of Zurich's Physics Institute managed to detect a baryon with one light and two heavy quarks. The particle Xi_b^* comprises one 'up,' one 'strange' and one 'bottom' quark (usb), is electrically neutral and has a spin of 3/2 (1.5). Its mass is comparable to that of a lithium atom. The new discovery means that two of the three baryons predicted in the usb composition by theory have now been observed."

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Monkeypox Scare Grounds Flight In Chicago
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '12 at 04:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's when-that's-the-good-news department:
Hugh Pickens writes "AP reports that when a Delta Airlines flight touched down at Midway International Airport in Chicago, the passengers looked out the window to see the jet surrounded by fire trucks, police cars and ambulances. Health officials came through the door wearing facemasks and other protective gear. As it turns out the bedbugs that infest hotels appear to be the source of red marks on a 50-year old Minnesota woman that prompted health officials to quarantine the jet for fear they were dealing with something much more serious: monkeypox. Lise Sievers called her mother during a layover in Detroit and told her that one of the children she visited and is trying to adopt in Uganda had some pus-filled red bumps and also mentioned she had some small bumps of her own, a rash that she suspected was the handiwork of bedbugs. Those two very different bumps — one with pus, one without — got jumbled up in Siever's mother's mind, and she called a hospital near her Indiana home to ask about treatment for her daughter. 'She told them her daughter is on a flight back from Uganda and has some red bumps which are pussing and what should she do to treat them,' says Roger Sievers. 'She was looking for some general advice.' Health officials feared they were looking for monkeypox, a rare and sometimes fatal disease mostly in found in central and western Africa. After the passengers waited on the plane for a couple of hours, officials brought good news. 'They came back down and told my mom it was bed bug bites and they started releasing people.'"

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Squadron of Lost WWII Spitfires To Be Exhumed In Burma
Posted by News Fetcher on April 28 '12 at 01:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-they're-out-of-date department:
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt that sounds like a good Neal Stephenson plot point: "Like a treasure chest stuffed with priceless booty, as many as 20 World War II-era Spitfire planes are perfectly preserved, buried in crates beneath Burma — and after 67 years underground, they're set to be uncovered. The planes were shipped in standard fashion in 1945 from their manufacturer in England to the Far East country: waxed, wrapped in greased paper and tarred to protect against the elements. They were then buried in the crates they were shipped in, rather than let them fall into enemy hands, said David Cundall, an aviation enthusiast who has spent 15 years and about $200,000 in his efforts to reveal the lost planes."

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Graphene Helps a Robot Creep Like an Inchworm
Posted by News Fetcher on April 27 '12 at 10:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's whole-new-line-dance-in-the-making department:
LilaG writes "To develop new materials for robotics, scientists have developed graphene-based actuators that convert electricity into motion. In robots, actuators act like muscles, driving the movement of mechanical arms and fins. Most actuator materials, such as ceramics and conductive polymers, respond slowly, require a lot of power, or provide very little force. To make speedy, strong actuators, Chinese researchers coated graphene paper with the polymer polydiacetylene. Graphene provides a highly conductive, flexible backing for the fragile polymer crystals, which deform in response to electrical current. The actuators can bend 200 times per second and generate more force than most current materials. Using a sheet of the material, the scientists built a simple inchworm robot that arches and relaxes to crawl forward."

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SSL Pulse Project Finds Just 10% of SSL Sites Actually Secure
Posted by News Fetcher on April 27 '12 at 07:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's decimation-of-another-kind department:
Trailrunner7 writes "A new project that was setup to monitor the quality and strength of the SSL implementations on top sites across the Internet found that 75 percent of them are vulnerable to the BEAST SSL attack and that just 10 percent of the sites surveyed should be considered secure. The SSL Pulse project, set up by the Trustworthy Internet Movement, looks at several components of each site's SSL implementation to determine how secure the site actually is. The project looks at how each site is configured, which versions of the TLS and SSL protocols the site supports, whether the site is vulnerable to the BEAST or insecure renegotiation attacks and other factors. The data that the SSL Pulse project has gathered thus far shows that the vast majority of the 200,000 sites the project is surveying need some serious help in fixing their SSL implementations."

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Slackware: I'm Not Dead Yet!
Posted by News Fetcher on April 27 '12 at 04:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's dude-it's-just-temporarily-slack department:
New submitter xclr8r writes "The longtime tinkering and learning distro of Linux Slackware found itself at the center of rumors and speculation when its website was down for a few days. Caitlyn Martin, developer of Linux Yarok, voiced concerns in DistroWatch and declared that she would be basing the new project off a distro with a more secure future. Meanwhile contributors continued to plug along with additions to the change log. Eventually Eric Hameleers expanded on his initial communication of 'old hardware — lack of funds' to a more thorough explanation quoted in the article. Have your pop up blocker ready."

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VeriSign Could Add 220 New Top Level Domains
Posted by News Fetcher on April 27 '12 at 03:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's it's-like-bitcoin-for-registrars department:
darthcamaro writes "At the end of this month, the first round of applications for ICANN's expansion of the generic Top Level Domains will close. While we still don't how many applications in total there will be, we now know that VeriSign — the company that runs .com and .net is backing at least 220 of them."

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Sun's Twin Discovered — the Perfect SETI Target?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 27 '12 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's do-they-have-oil department:
astroengine writes "There are 10 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy that are the same size as our sun. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that astronomers have identified a clone to our sun lying only 200 light-years away. Still, it is fascinating to imagine a yellow dwarf that is exactly the same mass, temperature and chemical composition as our nearest star. In a recent paper reporting on observations of the star — called HP 56948 — astronomer Jorge Melendez of the University of San Paulo, Brazil, calls it 'the best solar twin known to date.' Using HP 56948 as a SETI target seems like a logical step, says Melendez."

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Hobbit Film Underwhelms At 48 Frames Per Second
Posted by News Fetcher on April 27 '12 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's change-is-scary department:
bonch writes "Warner Bros. aired ten minutes of footage from The Hobbit at CinemaCon, and reactions have been mixed. The problem? Peter Jackson is filming the movie at 48 frames per second, twice the industry standard 24 frames per second, lending the film a '70s era BBC-video look.' However, if the negative response from film bloggers and theater owners is any indication, the way most people will see the movie is in standard 24fps."

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Engineers Ponder Easier Fix To Internet Problem
Posted by News Fetcher on April 27 '12 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's have-you-tried-turning-it-off-and-then-on-again department:
itwbennett writes "The problem: Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) enables routers to communicate about the best path to other networks, but routers don't verify that the route 'announcements.' When routing problems erupt, 'it's very difficult to tell if this is fat fingering on a router or malicious,' said Joe Gersch, chief operating officer for Secure64, a company that makes Domain Name System (DNS) server software. In a well-known incident, Pakistan Telecom made an error with BGP after Pakistan's government ordered in 2008 that ISPs block YouTube, which ended up knocking Google's service offline. A solution exists, but it's complex, and deployment has been slow. Now experts have found an easier way."

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