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House of Commons Could Force Social Networks To Identify Trolls
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '12 at 07:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's we've-found-a-troll-may-we-burn-her? department:
concertina226 writes with this news snipped from Techworld UK: "Websites such as Facebook and Twitter could be forced to unmask so-called internet trolls, under new government proposals in the Defamation Bill. The move comes after a British woman won a landmark case to force Facebook to reveal the identities of internet trolls. On 30 May, Nicola Brookes from Brighton was granted a High Court order after receiving 'vicious and depraved' taunts on Facebook. The bill, which is being debated in the House of Commons [Tuesday], will allow victims of online abuse to discover the identity of their persecutors and bring a case against them. The move also aims to protect websites from threats of litigation for inadvertently displaying defamatory comments."

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Famous 'Uncanny Valley' Essay Translated, Published In Full
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '12 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's he-looks-amazingly-realistic-too department:
An anonymous reader writes "IEEE has published an English translation of the 1970 essay in which Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori introduced the now-famous concept of the Uncanny Valley. The original essay was in Japanese, and IEEE says this is the first publication of a translation authorized and reviewed by Mori. They also have an interview with Mori, who still thinks that robot designers should not attempt to 'cross' the Uncanny Valley."

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Search Tracking Purports To Show Effect of Racism On '08 Election
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '12 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's maybe-they-just-don't-like-the-guy department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Garance Franke-Ruta writes about a new study of racially charged search terms on Google that aims to predict the effects of the Bradley effect, a theory proposed to explain observed discrepancies between voter opinion polls and election outcomes in some U.S. elections where a white candidate and a non-white candidate run against each other. 'How much we are under-representing people who are intolerant and therefore unlikely to vote for Obama is an open question,' says Andrew Kohut, the president of Pew Research Center. 'I suspect not a great deal, but maybe some. And "maybe some" could be crucial in a tight election.' The study found that the percentage of an area's total Google searches from 2004-2007 that included the racially charged search for the word 'n****r' is a is a large and robust negative predictor of Obama's vote share. 'A one standard deviation increase in an area's racially charged search is associated with a 1.5 percentage point decrease in Obama's vote share, controlling for John Kerry's vote share,' writes Stephens-Davidowitz in the study. The results imply that, relative to the most racially tolerant areas in the United States, prejudice cost Obama between 3.1 percentage points and 5.0 percentage points (PDF) of the national popular vote in the 2008 election. This implies racial animus gave Obama's opponent roughly the equivalent of a home-state advantage, country-wide."

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FunnyJunk v. the Oatmeal: Copyright Infringement Complaints As Defamation
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '12 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's just-ask-l-ron's-successors-in-interest department:
An anonymous reader writes "Funny as it might sound, FunnyJunk's threat of litigation against The Oatmeal raises a very important issue: the extent to which artists can complain in public about perceived or actual infringement of their works by user-generated content websites. Does it matter if the content creator accused the website of condoning or participating in the infringement?" The short story is this: Numerous Oatmeal comics were posted without permission to FunnyJunk; Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman lambasted FunnyJunk in the form of a blog post. FunnyJunk responded with a suit (or rather the threat of a suit) accusing Inman of willful defamation, unless he ponies up $20,000, which he doesn't plan to do.

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Stroke Risk Spikes In Healthy Adults Who Don't Get Enough Sleep
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '12 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's use-this-fact-in-salary-negotiations department:
hessian writes "Attention, busy middle-aged folks. You may be healthy and thin, but if you habitually sleep less than six hours a night, you still could be boosting your risk of a stroke. That's the surprising conclusion of a new study being presented Monday at SLEEP 2012, the annual meeting of the nation's sleep experts."

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Russian Programmers Dominate At Google Code Jam
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '12 at 05:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's steady-diet-of-brain-food department:
New submitter Migala77 writes "Now that the third round for Google Code Jam is finished and only 25 contestants are left, we can look at which nationalities performed well and which didn't. Code Jam contestant foxlit has the stats, and some interesting things can be seen. Although there were over 3000 contestants from India in the qualification round (17% of the total) , only 3 of those managed to reach the third round (0.7% of the round 3 contestants) . This in contrast to Russia with 77 out of 747, and Belarus with 13 out of 114 reaching the third round. The U.S. performed somewhat below average too, with only 25 out of 2166 contestants making it to the third round."

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2013 H-1B Visa Supply Nearly Exhausted
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '12 at 04:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's better-luck-next-year department:
CowboyRobot writes with news on the FY2013 allocation of H-1B visas. From the article: "As of June 1, the government had issued 55,600 standard H-1B visas out of the annual allotment of 65,000, according to United States Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS). The feds also issued 18,700 H-1B visas reserved for graduates of advanced degree programs in the U.S., out of 20,000. " CowboyRobot continues, "Last year work visas did not run out until late November, but this year the pool of visas is almost entirely claimed and it's still only June. One interpretation of this is that the tech industry is hiring much more actively than it was a year ago. Some companies, such as Microsoft, have been lobbying to increase the number of available visas (currently limited to 65,000) while others argue that offering visas to foreign workers reduces job prospects for Americans."

A bit more from the article: "Industry lobby group Partnership for A New American Economy last month released a study that claims the U.S. will face a shortage of 224,000 tech workers by 2018 unless immigration rules are loosened."

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ICANN Draws Ire Over Batching For Dot.word Domains
Posted by News Fetcher on June 12 '12 at 01:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's punch-the-monkey department:
angry tapir writes "ICANN has been subjected to more criticism over the process of creating new 'dot.word' generic top-level domains. Registry services companies have criticised ICANN for processing the 1900 or so applications for new gTLDs in batches, which means that it will take significantly longer for some new domains to go live than others. The real kicker is the process for choosing who goes in which batch: 'Digital archery' — essentially an applicant nominates a particular time then tries to click a button in a browser as close to that time as possible. I should have taken advantage of all those 'punch the monkey' ads in the good ol' days."

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DNA Modifications Change As We Age
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '12 at 11:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's activate-the-gene-sequence department:
sciencehabit writes "As we age, the core of our biological being — the sequence of our DNA, which makes up our genes — remains the same. Yet recent research suggests that more subtle chemical changes to our DNA occur as we age. Now, a comparison of the DNA of a newborn baby with that of a centenarian shows that the scope of these changes can be dramatic, and they may help explain why our risk of cancer and other diseases increases as we get older."

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European ISPs Ask ITU To Limit Net Neutrality
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '12 at 08:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's have-some-cable-tee-vee-instead department:
judgecorp writes "The UN telecoms body, the ITU is busy writing new regulations for international telecoms — and European service providers, through their body ETNO have urged ITU to enshrine a two-tier Internet by defining a right for service providers to charge more for end-to-end quality of service, as opposed to best efforts connection. The two-tier Internet is opposed by Net Neutrality advocates, and has been outlawed in the Netherlands."

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FBI Hunt For Child Porn FBI Thwarted By Tor
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '12 at 06:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's cost-of-anonymous-communication department:
v3rgEz writes "Documents released by the FBI provide an unusual inside look at how the agency is struggling to penetrate 'darknet' Onion sites routed through Tor, the online privacy tool funded in part by government grants to help global activists. In this case, agents were unable to pursue specific leads about an easily available child pornography site, while files withheld indicate that the FBI has ongoing investigations tied to the Silk Road marketplace, a popular, anonymous Tor site for buying and selling drugs and other illegal materials."

Sounds similar to the problems that plagued freenet.

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Patent Granted on Mandatory Digital Keys to Prevent Textbook Piracy
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '12 at 05:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's arm-the-lawsuit-cannon department:
First time accepted submitter discussM tipped us to a story about a recently granted patent in which "a system and method preventing unauthorized access to copyrighted academic texts is provided in which trademark licenses, discussion boards, and grade content are integrated into a web-based system that aligns the interests of teaching professionals, students, and publishers while also enhancing the overarching academic mission to create and disseminate knowledge." Quoting Torrent Freak: "As part of a course, students will have to participate in a web-based discussion board, an activity which counts towards their final grade. To gain access to the board students need a special code, which they get by buying the associated textbook." But don't worry too much, from Ars: "Beyond the legal questions, other experts suggested forcing students to buy texts through such a system is unlikely to be implemented. Professors have few incentives to make it more difficult and to compel students even more than they already are to buy textbooks, digital or analog. (A 2011 survey from UC Riverside found that 78 percent of undergraduates 'bought fewer books, bought cheaper books or read books on reserve to help meet expenses.')"

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New Curiosity Rover Landing Target May Save Months Travel to Prime Destination
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '12 at 04:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's behold-the-power-of-technology department:
coondoggie writes with an update on the Mars Science Laboratory. From the article: "Even as it hurtles towards an August 5 rendezvous with the red planet, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is being fine-tuned for a more precise landing and better operations once it reaches its destination. NASA today gave a status report for the MSL which was launched November 2011, and is still over 17.5 million kilometers away from Mars. Of major interest today was the fact NASA said it has narrowed landing target for the Mars rover, Curiosity letting it touch down closer to its ultimate destination for science operations, but also closer to the foot of a mountain slope that poses a landing hazard, the agency said."

From NASA: "The larger ellipse, 12.4 miles (20 kilometers) by 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) was already smaller than the landing target area for any previous Mars mission, due to this mission's techniques for improved landing precision. Continuing analysis after the Nov. 26, 2011, launch resulted in confidence in landing within an even smaller area [handy diagram], about 12 miles by 4 miles (20 by 7 kilometers). Using the smaller ellipse, the Mars Science Laboratory Project also moved the center of the target closer to the mountain, which holds geological layers that are the prime destination for the rover. ... 'We're trimming the distance we'll have to drive after landing by almost half,' said Pete Theisinger, Mars Science Laboratory project manager ... 'That could get us to the mountain months earlier.'"

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Meebo Discontinuing All Services Except for Meebo Bar
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '12 at 03:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's and-you-though-microsoft-was-fast department:
An anonymous reader writes with news of Meebo's fate, a mere six days after being acquired by Google. From the article: "Meebo, which began in 2005 as a browser based instant messaging program, will now cease most of its services by next month. The IM service supported various IM platforms such as Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, AIM, ICQ, MySpaceIM, Facebook Chat, Google Talk, CafeMom and others."

Their cash cow, the Meebo bar, will "...continue to be available to site publishers and will see continued improvements and new features in the weeks and months ahead." With Meebo killing off their messenger, are there any good Android chat alternatives that aren't tied to Google Talk?

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US Senators Concerned With Surveillance Bill "Loophole"
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '12 at 02:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's lets-have-a-look department:
zer0point writes "The law lets U.S. agencies monitor the communications of foreigners outside the U.S. But two senators are questioning whether a loophole allows the storage and search of messages from Americans that are picked up inadvertently while foreigners are being monitored. The intelligence community has repeatedly said it takes steps to minimize the data collected on Americans. Among the senators’ concerns: that the administration hasn’t been able to estimate how many people in the U.S. have had their information reviewed under the program."

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Google and Facebook Top Biggest Web Tracker List
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '12 at 01:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's I-see-what-you-did-there department:
itwbennett writes "A new report from Evidon, whose browser plug in Ghostery tracks Web trackers, makes it plain that 'if you want to worry about somebody tracking you across the Web, worry about Google,' writes blogger Dan Tynan. Google and Facebook, and their various services, occupy all of the top 5 slots on the Evidon Global Tracker Report's list of the most prolific trackers. 'And if you have any tracking anxiety left over, apply it to social networks like Facebook, G+, and Twitter,' adds Tynan."

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Honoring Alan Turing, "Father of Computer Science"
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '12 at 01:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's happy-birthday department:
alphadogg writes "Google's Vint Cerf and others are spearheading celebrations in Silicon Valley and the UK this month to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing's birth. 'The man challenged everyone's thinking,' says Vint Cerf, Google's chief Internet evangelist, in an interview with Network World. 'He was so early in the history of computing, and yet so incredibly visionary about it.' Cerf — who is president-elect of the Association for Computing Machinery and general chair of that organization's effort to celebrate the upcoming 100th anniversary of Turing's birth on June 23 — says that it's tough to overstate the importance of Turing's role in shaping the world of modern computing. Turing's accomplishments included his breakthrough Turing machine, cracking German military codes during WWII and designing a digital multiplier called the Automated Computing Machine."

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NuStar Observatory To Launch On Wednesday
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '12 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's space-eyes department:
First time accepted submitter TWToxicity writes " NuSTAR is to be launched from a Pegasus XL rocket carried by an Orbital Science Corp. L-1011 "Stargazer" plane. It will orbit at 550 km above Earth's surface. A week after launch, NuSTAR will deploy its 10 meter boom, which allows the telescope to focus X-rays and capture images that will help scientists survey black holes in other galaxies, study the black hole at the heart of the Milky Way, and study supernovae to discover hoe atomic elements are formed."

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Committee Lowers Nobel Prize Award
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '12 at 12:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's economics-of-the-prize department:
Snirt writes "The Nobel Committee has chosen to lower this year's Nobel prize winnings by two million kronor ($283,030) due to turbulence in the current economic climate.
The prize now stands at 8 million kronor, down from the 10 million of 2011.
'The reason behind this
decision is that the financial
markets are really unstable and there are reasons to suspect that this turbulence will continue for a while still,' said Lars Heikensten, head of the Nobel Committee, to the TT
news agency. 'Long term, we aim to raise the figure, even though we think that the Nobel Prize's value should lie in the prize
itself and not the prize money,' he said. While Heikensten admits that it was a 'tough decision' to cut the prize money, he told the news agency that it's not the first time the prize sum has been altered, adding that it has been lowered and raised several times over the past few years."


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Adopt the Cloud, Kill Your IT Career
Posted by News Fetcher on June 11 '12 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's not-my-problem department:
snydeq writes "IT professionals jumping into the cloud with both feet beware: It's irresponsible to think that just because you push a problem outside your office, it ceases to be your problem. 't's not just the possibility of empty promises and integration issues that dog the cloud decision; it's also the upgrade to the new devil, the one you don't know. You might be eager to relinquish responsibility of a cranky infrastructure component and push the headaches to a cloud vendor, but in reality you aren't doing that at all. Instead, you're adding another avenue for the blame to follow. The end result of a catastrophic failure or data loss event is exactly the same whether you own the service or contract it out.'"

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