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PlayStation 4 'Orbis' Rumors: AMD Hardware, Hostile To Used Games
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '12 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's fans-clearly-want-more-broken-games department:
silentbrad writes "Kotaku reports some 'details' about Sony's next console given to them by a 'reliable source.' They say that the console's codename is Orbis, and it is planned for release by the 2013 holiday season. Developers are reportedly being told to plan for an AMD x64 CPU and AMD Southern Islands GPU. Further on, they mention that there will be no PS3 backwards compatibility and, like rumors about the next Xbox, will have anti-used game DRM. Specifically, 'new games for the system will be available one of two ways, either on a Blu-Ray disc or as a PSN download (yes, even full retail titles). If you buy the disc, it must be locked to a single PSN account. ... If you then decide to trade that disc in, the pre-owned customer picking it up will be limited in what they can do. ... it's believed used games will be limited to a trial mode or some other form of content restriction, with consumers having to pay a fee to unlock/register the full game.'"

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Canada To Stop Making Pennies
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '12 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's doesn't-make-any-cents department:
New submitter butilikethecookie writes with news that the 2012 federal budget for Canada calls for the Royal Canadian Mint to stop producing pennies. "The budget calls the lowly penny a 'burden to the economy.' 'It costs the government 1.6 cents to produce each new penny,' the budget says, adding the government will save about $11 million a year with its elimination (PDF). Some Canadians, it says, consider the penny more of a nuisance than a useful coin. ... Rounding prices will become the norm as the penny is gradually removed from circulation, the budget says. If consumers find themselves without pennies, cash transactions should be rounded to the nearest five-cent increment 'in a fair and transparent manner,' it says. Noncash payments such as checks and credit cards will continue to be settled by the cent, however."

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Global Online Freedom Act Approved By House Committee
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '12 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's who-watches-the-watchers department:
Fluffeh writes "While it is a bit disappointing that companies might need a law to avoid providing tools that censor free speech to overseas regimes, an updated version of a bill that's been floating around for a few years — the Global Online Freedom Act — has passed out of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights. The version that made it out of committee took out some controversial earlier provisions that had potential criminal penalties for those who failed to report information to the Justice Department. However, the Center for Democracy and Technology has raised some concerns: 'While some companies – such as GNI members Google, Microsoft, Websense, and Yahoo! – have stepped up and acknowledged these responsibilities in an accountable way, other companies have not been so forthright. GOFA, however, is a complex bill. While it presents a number of sensible and innovative mechanisms for mitigating the negative impact of surveillance and censorship technologies, it also raises some difficult questions: can export controls be meaningfully extended in ways that reduce the spread of (to borrow words from Chairman Smith) "weapons of mass surveillance" without diminishing the ability of dissidents to connect and communicate? How can – and should – U.S. companies engage with so-called "Internet-restricting" countries?'"

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Scientist Who Oversaw OPERA's Faster-Than-Light Neutrino Study Resigns
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '12 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's don't-shoot-the-messenger department:
New submitter Big Hairy Ian writes with this news from the BBC:
"The head of an experiment that appeared to show subatomic particles traveling faster than the speed of light has resigned from his post. Prof Antonio Ereditato oversaw results that appeared to challenge Einstein's theory that nothing could travel faster than the speed of light. Reports said some members of his group, called OPERA, had wanted him to resign. Earlier in March, a repeat experiment found that the particles, known as neutrinos, did not exceed light speed."

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CBS Uses Copyright To Scuttle Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II Episode
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '12 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's to-boldly-say-no-and-cackle-with-glee department:
McGruber writes "The NY Times ('Cookies Set to Cleared, Captain!') is reporting that CBS is blocking fan-generated internet series 'Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II' from making an episode using an unproduced script from the original series. In a statement, CBS said, 'We fully appreciate and respect the passion and creativity of the "Star Trek" fan and creative communities. This is simply a case of protecting our copyrighted material and the situation has been amicably resolved.'"
The original writer of the episode, sci-fi author Norman Spinrad, was enthusiastic about the production, and planned to direct it himself.

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Studies Link Pesticides To Bee Colony Collapse Disorder
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '12 at 08:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sorry-for-breaking-your-species department:
T Murphy writes "Neonicotinoid pesticides, designed to attack insects such as beetles and aphids, have been shown to harm bees' ability to navigate back to the hive. While initially assumed safe in low enough, non-fatal doses for bees, two papers have shown that may not be the case. Although the studies don't directly study the Colony Collapse Disorder, the scientists believe these pesticides are likely a contributing factor."

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Generating Alcohol Fuels From Electrical Current and CO2
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '12 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's we-have-those-things department:
New submitter AcMNPV writes "A news release from UCLA describes a new process for producing biofuels using microorganisms, electrical current and carbon dioxide (abstract). Quoting: 'Liao and his team genetically engineered a lithoautotrophic microorganism known as Ralstonia eutropha H16 to produce isobutanol and 3-methyl-1-butanol in an electro-bioreactor using carbon dioxide as the sole carbon source and electricity as the sole energy input. Photosynthesis is the process of converting light energy to chemical energy and storing it in the bonds of sugar. There are two parts to photosynthesis — a light reaction and a dark reaction. The light reaction converts light energy to chemical energy and must take place in the light. The dark reaction, which converts CO2 to sugar, doesn't directly need light to occur. "We've been able to separate the light reaction from the dark reaction and instead of using biological photosynthesis, we are using solar panels to convert the sunlight to electrical energy, then to a chemical intermediate, and using that to power carbon dioxide fixation to produce the fuel," Liao said.'"

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VISA, MasterCard Warn of 'Massive' Breach At Credit Card Processor
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '12 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's your-security:-priceless department:
concealment writes with news that VISA and MasterCard have been warning banks of an incident at a U.S. card processor that may have compromised as many as 10 million credit card numbers. From the article:
"Neither VISA nor MasterCard have said which U.S.-based processor was the source of the breach. But affected banks are now starting to analyze transaction data on the compromised cards, in hopes of finding a common point of purchase. Sources at two different major financial institutions said the transactions that most of the cards they analyzed seem to have in common are that they were used in parking garages in and around the New York City area."

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Army Reviews Controversial Drug After Afghan Massacre
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '12 at 07:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's manufacturing-crises department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Time Magazine reports that after the massacre in which Staff Sgt. Robert Bales allegedly killed 17 civilians in Afghanistan, the Pentagon has ordered an urgent review of the use of the anti-malarial drug mefloquine, also known as Lariam, known to have severe psychiatric side effects including psychotic behavior, paranoia and hallucinations. 'One obvious question to consider is whether he was on mefloquine (Lariam), an anti-malarial medication,' writes Elspeth Cameron Ritchie in Time. 'This medication has been increasingly associated with neuropsychiatric side effects, including depression, psychosis, and suicidal ideation.' The drug has been implicated in numerous suicides and homicides, including deaths in the U.S. military. For years the military used the weekly pill to help prevent malaria among deployed troops, however in 2009 the U.S. Army nearly dropped use of mefloquine entirely because of the dangers, using it only in limited circumstances, including sometimes in Afghanistan. Army and Pentagon officials would not say whether Bales took the drug, citing privacy rules. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Jonathan Woodson has ordered a new, urgent review to make sure that troops were not getting the drug inappropriately. 'Some deployed service members may be prescribed mefloquine (PDF) for malaria prophylaxis without appropriate documentation in their medical records and without proper screening for contraindications,' the order says. It notes that this review must include troops at 'deployed locations.'"

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Australian Federal Court Awards Damages To Artist For False Copyright Claim
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '12 at 06:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it's-a-start department:
New submitter BarryHaworth writes "In a decision handed down earlier this month, the Australian Federal Court awarded damages to Aboriginal artist Richard Bell over a false claim of copyright infringement. The claim related to a take-down notice claiming copyright infringement from film footage used in a trailer for a film being made by the artist. The court declared Mr. Bell the owner of the copyright and awarded him $147,000 in damages for lost sales of paintings and catalogues. At time of writing, YouTube does not appear to have caught up with the decision."

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Michigan State Professor Helps Brings Broadband Internet To Rural Africa (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '12 at 05:30 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's millions-of-new-Facebook-users-coming-soon department:
Roblimo writes "Assistant Professor Kurt DeMaagd, of Michigan State's Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies, and Media, runs a program that brings broadband Internet to villages in Tanzania that have never known connectivity better than what they get with non-smart cell phones. Lots of students are involved, and Kurt (who was one of Slashdot's co-founders many years ago) believes the students get as much out of the project as the people in Tanzania who are its primary beneficiaries. Setting up not only computer networks but also satellite communications and solar arrays in areas where you can't zip on down to the local computer or hardware store for parts you forgot teaches how to work under adverse conditions, and how to plan in advance instead of winging everything at the last minute. But we'll let Kurt DeMaagd, who is an engaging speaker, tell the story himself in this long (8:12) video."

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Climate Change To Drive Weather Disasters, Say UN Experts
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '12 at 05:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's things-people-will-get-mad-about department:
mdsolar writes "Climate change is amplifying risks from drought, floods, storms and rising seas, threatening all countries, but small island states, poor nations and arid regions in particular, UN experts warned on Tuesday. In its first-ever report on the question, the Nobel-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said man-made global-warming gases are already affecting some types of extreme weather. And, despite gaps in knowledge, weather events once deemed a freak are likely to become more frequent or more vicious, inflicting a potentially high toll in deaths, economic damage and misery, it said."

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Why Hubble Broke and How It Was Fixed
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '12 at 04:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's still-under-warranty department:
angry tapir writes "I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Charles (Charlie) Pellerin, who was NASA's director of astrophysics when the Hubble Space Telescope launched with its seemingly fatally flawed optical system. Pellerin went on to head up the servicing mission that finally fixed the telescope and for that was awarded NASA's highest honor, a Distinguished Service Medal. Since Hubble he has done a lot of thinking about the problems that led up to the error and how organizations can best avoid making similar mistakes."

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RIM Firing (Nearly) Everybody
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '12 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's end-of-the-line department:
itwbennett writes "Research in Motion (RIM) reported grim Q4 results Thursday and announced sweeping personnel changes. Leading the parade of departing execs is Jim Balsillie, former co-CEO of the company, who has given up his board seat. David Yach, who has been CTO of software for the company for 13 years, is retiring. And Jim Rowan, chief operating officer of global operations, who has been with the company for four years, is leaving to pursue other interests."

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Australian National Broadband Network Releases 3-Year Plan
Posted by News Fetcher on March 30 '12 at 01:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's internet-to-the-people department:
New submitter pcritter writes "The Australian Government has just announced the 3-year roll-out plan for its ambitious National Broadband Network. The plan details 3.5 million premises (30%) across the country to be connected to the NBN by mid-2015. A map is available showing coverage areas. The plan represents a major milestone in the NBN project, which aims to connect all of Australia with high speed broadband by 2021, with the 93% of the population on fiber to the premises (FTTP) of speeds up to 1000Mbits, and the rest on fixed wireless or satellite."

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RoboBonobo: A Project To Outfit Apes With Tablets and Telepresence Bots
Posted by News Fetcher on March 29 '12 at 11:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's planet-of-the-metal-apes department:
MrSeb writes "Ken Schweller, a computer scientist and psychologist, and also the chairman of the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Iowa, has a vision: He wants to put wireless Android tablets in the hands of bonobo apes. The Great Ape Trust Sanctuary is home to seven bonobos, including the world-famous Kanzi, and two orangutans. So far the Sanctuary has focused almost exclusively on language, with the bonobos and their keepers communicating through lexigrams on a touch-screen TV. Now Schweller wants to go one step further and outfit the bonobos with wireless tablets running custom Bonobo Chat software, allowing the apes to communicate with their keepers (and other bonobos!) from anywhere in the Sanctuary, and to remotely control devices such as vending machines, doors, and the RoboBonobo. If all this wasn't weird (cool?) enough, the RoboBonobo is even outfitted with a water cannon (so the telepresent apes can play "chase games" with humans) and Schweller is trying to fund the whole thing with Kickstarter. If you're a big fan of apes (or Darwinism), be sure to donate."

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Swedish Teleco Firms Looking Into Block VoIP Claiming Losses In Earnings
Posted by News Fetcher on March 29 '12 at 11:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's too-cheap-calls department:
An anonymous reader writes "Telia, a Swedish telecommunications company, is now looking into possible solutions to block free VoIP services like Skype and Vibr, claiming the losses are beginning to take its toll on the total earnings. Critics are saying the companies have wrongly implemented outdated pricing models, and the act could threaten net transparency and Independence. A new report from regulators of the European phone market shows that more and more telecommunications companies will block their subscribers from using free services. The European Commission is investigating whether it is possible to prohibit the blocking of legal services online."

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YouTube Partially Unblocked In China
Posted by News Fetcher on March 29 '12 at 08:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's sneak-preview department:
hackingbear writes "After China unblocked certain sensitive keywords in search engine baidy.com last week, YouTube is now partially, quietly unblocked. Users inside China can, without bypassing the Great Firewall, visit the site, search for sensitive keywords, and see uncensored results and comments. The videos themselves, including those not related to politics, remain blocked, however. Given that the Chinese government likes to make major changes in gradual, experimental steps, it is unclear what this round of Internet loosening will lead to eventually. At the meantime, many netizens in the country express their welcome of the moves as a good start through microblogging."

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Judge Allows Bradley Manning Supporter To Sue Government Over Border Search
Posted by News Fetcher on March 29 '12 at 06:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's sticking-it-to-the-man department:
Fluffeh writes "David Maurice House, an MIT researcher and Bradley Manning supporter, was granted the right to pursue a case against the government on Wednesday after a federal judge denied the government's motion to dismiss. 'This ruling affirms that the Constitution is still alive at the US border,' ACLU Staff Attorney Catherine Crump said in a statement. 'Despite the government's broad assertions that it can take and search any laptop, diary or smartphone without any reasonable suspicion, the court said the government cannot use that power to target political speech.' The agents confiscated a laptop computer, a thumb drive, and a digital camera from House and reportedly demanded, but did not receive, his encryption keys. DHS held onto House's equipment for 49 days and returned it only after the ACLU sent a strongly worded letter."

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Independent Audit Finds Foxconn Violates Chinese Work Rules
Posted by News Fetcher on March 29 '12 at 04:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's history-repeating department:
doston writes "The first independent audit of Apple's supply chain found excessive working hours and health and safety issues at its largest manufacturer, piling more pressure on the technology giant. This investigation targeted Hon Hai Precision Industry which is known as Foxconn. The company says they will try to stop their overtime criminality by July, 2013. Will the public ever sour on Apple devices in light of the constant media attention on supplier working conditions?"

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