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Building 2011's Sub-$200 Computer
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '11 at 05:16 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's trade-one-form-of-depreciation-for-another department:
adeelarshad82 links to PC Magazine's recent account (updating a similar quest detailed last year) "to see if a decent PC could put together for less than $200. Turns out that between some great deals, an AMD processor, and a Linux OS, it can actually be done." They actually come out with a decent-enough system for that money — but omitting an optical drive in a full-size desktop computer build seems something like cheating.

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JavaScript Toolkit V1.1.0 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '11 at 04:16 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's new-toolkit-to-blame department:
First time accepted submitter Mensa Babe writes "Oliver Morgan, the original author of the JavaScript Toolkit, or just 'The Toolkit' as it is known in the JavaScript community, has just announced the release of the long awaited version 1.1.0, with better documentation and added function support. Quoting the project documentation: '[JavaScript] Toolkit offers a large number of integrated methods and utilities to help enrich the javascript object library. Javascript was built originally for browsers and as such lacks a large number of data utility methods with are seen in languages such as Python and Ruby. However times have changed and JavaScript is being used more and more in backend platforms. JS Toolkit aims to bridge that gap and provide everyone a modern developer needs to produce fast, secure and tidy code quick and easily.' The Toolkit fully supports ECMAScript 5 and runs on the most important virtual machines that we have today, including Node.JS, V8, Rhino, RingoJS, and many others. It continues to be actively developed."

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Bezos Discloses Failure of Blue Origin Rocket Test Flight
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '11 at 03:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's discovering-ways-not-to-make-lightbulbs department:
astroengine writes "An experimental suborbital space vehicle developed by Blue Origin, a space startup founded by Amazon.com chief Jeff Bezos, was lost during a test flight last week. During the secretive flight, the vehicle reached an altitude of 45,000 feet and attained a velocity of Mach 1.2. Soon after, things went horribly wrong. 'A flight instability drove an angle of attack that triggered our range safety system to terminate thrust on the vehicle,' said an upbeat Bezos in Friday's statement."

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Android Tricorder Killed By CBS
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '11 at 03:16 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's was-about-to-grab-it-actually department:
First time accepted submitter josn writes "Today I found out that Moonlight's Tricorder app, which I always install on Android devices, is gone. Google received a DMCA letter from CBS. I think it is a shame that CBS thinks it needs to kill a free and open source project giving a add-less app. I for one sent a message to CBS explaining that this fan-supported app is not bad, but good for them, and asked them to reconsider. I hope, especially for the author who must have spent a lot of time in this app, that they do."

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The Guardian and the Wikileaks Encryption Key
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '11 at 03:01 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's cascade-of-decisions department:
rtfa-troll writes "Bruce Schneier has a good article explaining how the Guardian released the encryption key for the Wikileaks cables and destroyed the main protection against release of informer's personal information. The comments in Schneier's blog fill in details of how exactly Wikileaks secondary file security protections were also bypassed. Now the Guardian has an article that Assange risks arrest by Australia over the latest leaks which include information about an Australian intelligence officer. they even say "We deplore the decision of WikiLeaks to publish the unredacted state department cables, which may put sources at risk," and go on to state that "The decision to publish by Julian Assange was his, and his alone.", something which seems clearly debunked in the analysis on Schneier's blog."

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What Google+ Games Needs To Beat Facebook
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '11 at 02:46 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's zero-update-spam department:
donniebaseball23 writes "Google's new games offering on Google+ has only been around a few weeks, and it's been getting mixed reactions. According to veteran game designer Ed Del Castillo, the potential is there to beat Facebook at its own game, if Google improves in the right areas, which he outlines as evolved content, player discovery and a push for HTML5. 'Overall, the quality of Google+ gaming isn't bad. It's just another Facebook with fewer games and fewer friends. It's a baby step in a time where successful companies, like Apple, are taking huge strides. The good news is that they didn't blow it. They have a good base to build on,' he said."

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Report Warns of Space Junk Reaching a Tipping Point
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '11 at 02:31 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's bad-news-for-the-shuttle-oh-wait department:
intellitech sends this excerpt from a Reuters report:
"The amount of debris orbiting the Earth has reached a tipping point for collisions, which would in turn generate more of the debris that threatens astronauts and satellites, according to a U.S. study released on Thursday (PDF). ... The amount of orbital debris tracked by the U.S. Space Surveillance Network jumped from 9,949 cataloged objects in December 2006 to 16,094 in July 2011, with nearly 20 percent of the objects stemming from the destruction of the Chinese FENGYUN 1-C satellite, the National Research Council said. ... the panel made two dozen recommendations for NASA to mitigate and improve the orbital debris environment, including collaborating with the State Department to develop the legal and regulatory framework for removing junk from space. The study, 'Limiting Future Collision Risk to Spacecraft: An Assessment of NASA's Meteoroid and Orbital Debris Programs,' was sponsored by NASA."

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Hubble Shoots Movies of Stellar Jets
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '11 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's pretty-pictures department:
With his first accepted submission, aglider writes "A number of different science publications are reporting on a recent announcement made by NASA and Hubblesite.org. Quoting: 'A team of scientists [headed by Rice astronomer Patrick Hartigan] has collected enough high-resolution Hubble Space Telescope images over a 14-year period to stitch together time-lapse movies of powerful jets ejected from three young stars. The jets, a byproduct of gas accretion around newly forming stars, shoot off at supersonic speeds in opposite directions through space.' The report is also accompanied by a number of photos and, of course, astounding small movies. The complete scientific study, which dates back to 2011.07.20, has been published in the Astrophysical Journal (subscription needed) but is also available on the ESA's Space Telescope site (PDF)."

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Journal Editor Resigns Over Flawed Global Warming Paper
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '11 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's owning-up department:
Layzej writes "Remote Sensing Editor-in-Chief Wolfgang Wagner resigned earlier today (PDF) over a global warming study published in his journal that was said to cast doubt on global warming models but was later found to be flawed. Wagner stated that the paper most likely contained fundamental methodological errors and false claims. He further expressed dismay over how 'the authors and like-minded climate skeptics have much exaggerated the paper's conclusions in public statements.' The author of the paper, Dr. Roy Spencer, has responded to the resignation."

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Did Apple Impersonate Police To Recover the Lost iPhone 5?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '11 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's yes-no-maybe department:
zacharye writes "This whole lost iPhone 5 prototype story just got whole lot more interesting. According to SF Weekly, six investigators claiming to be members of the San Francisco police department descended upon one Bernal Heights, San Francisco man's home in search of a lost iPhone 5 prototype that CNET originally reported had been left in a bar. The scary part? The SFPD does not seem to be aware of such an investigation. Instead, it appears as though they may have actually been members of Apple's security team allegedly impersonating police officers."
So far this claim seems to be developing solely through media communications; in order for the SFPD to start an investigation, the man whose house was searched would need to speak with the police directly.

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Mining Browsing History With Google Cookie Data
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '11 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's is-it-the-90s-again department:
mikejuk writes "Recent research reveals details on how Google's SID cookie can be used to discover what websites a user has visited. In principle, the cookie is a low security risk because it doesn't allow acess to any data without authentication — thus it is sometimes transmitted in the clear and easy to intercept. With a little help from Google Search History and the 'Visited Pages' filter, researchers were able to list up to 80% of the pages visited by volunteer victims. Throw into the mix the 'social' filter and you can discover a lot more."

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China Calls For Even Firmer Internet Control
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '11 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you're-doing-it-wrong department:
eldavojohn writes "Chinese state media has published a long article detailing why China needs to take even firmer stances on sites like Twitter and the internet as a whole, or risk backlash to the Communist Party from 'Internet opinion.' The commentary warned, 'Unless administration is vigorous, criminal forces, hostile forces, terrorist organizations and others could manipulate public sentiment by manufacturing bogus opinion on the Internet, damaging social stability and national security.' China seized upon the London riots recently to justify tighter internet censorship. The article, of course, ends with the conclusion that 'Clearly, in the future when developing and applying new Internet technologies, there must first be a thorough assessment, adopting even more prudent policies and enhancing foresight and forward thinking in administration.' While this provides China with their Emmanuel Goldstein and his Brotherhood, it should be noted that the People's Daily is often over the top."

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Atari C&Ds Emulators, Site About Asteroids
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '11 at 11:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's screaming-into-the-abyss department:
An anonymous reader writes "Atari Inc. has launched another round of cease-and-desist letters targeted at what remains of its fan community. Having threatened homebrewers for the Atari 2600 and 8-bit systems, as well as emulator authors for mobile platforms like Android, they're now upping the ante by menacing Atari emulator authors on the Dreamcast and sites with Asteroids in the name (though in fairness, that site apparently once hosted a version of the Asteroids game). The working theory is that the company is planning a big push into the mobile market, and is trying to eliminate everything it believes could threaten its latest attempts at reviving the brand name. However, the emulators in question appear to have no copyrighted content from Atari, so it's unclear what exactly Atari believes the infringing material to be."

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Biological 'Logic Circuit' Destroys Cancer Cells
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '11 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's just-don't-teach-them-how-to-hate department:
intellitech writes "Researchers led by ETH professor Yaakov Benenson and MIT professor Ron Weiss have successfully incorporated diagnostic biological information processing in human cells. In a study recently published in Science (abstract), they describe a multi-gene synthetic 'logic circuit' whose task is to distinguish between cancer and healthy cells, and subsequently target cancer cells for destruction. This circuit works by sampling and integrating five intracellular, cancer-specific molecular factors and their concentration. The circuit makes a positive identification only when all factors are present in the cell, resulting in highly precise cancer detection. Researchers hope it can serve a basis for very specific anti-cancer treatments."

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Canadian Court Sides With Online Anonymity
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '11 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's probably-protecting-his-anti-bruins-rants department:
bs0d3 writes "Michael Geist said of a recent Canadian court ruling, 'Anonymous speech can be empowering — whistleblowers depend upon it to safeguard their identity and political participants in some countries face severe repercussions if they speak out publicly — but it also carries the danger of posts that cross the line into defamation without appropriate accountability.' Although I disagree that defamation is an acceptable reason for a court to find someone's identity, the outcome of this trial seems favorable. The court was not asked to determine whether the posts at issue were in fact defamatory. Rather, it simply faced the question of whether it should order the disclosure of personal information about the posters themselves so that someone could proceed with a defamation lawsuit. The court relied on 'Warman v. Fournier,' a previous Canadian defamation case and asked, '(1) Whether there was a reasonable expectation of anonymity; (2) Whether the plaintiff established a prima facie case of wrongdoing by the poster; (3) Whether the plaintiff tried to identify the poster and was unable to do so; and (4) Whether the public interest favoring disclosure outweigh the legitimate interests of freedom of expression and right to privacy of the persons sought to be identified if the disclosure is ordered." In this case the order to identify the poster was denied. Since the plaintiff did not identify the specific defamatory words, she failed to establish a prima facie case of defamation. Moreover, the court also ruled that the posters had a reasonable expectation of anonymity and that there were insufficient efforts to try to identify them."

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Mr. President, There Is No (US) Engineer Shortage
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '11 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's just-a-philosophy-major-surplus department:
McGruber writes "Vivek Wadhwa has written an article in the Washington Post titled, 'Mr. President, there is no engineer shortage,' which addresses the perceived national shortage of engineers. Wadhwa slams China for its practice of applying the 'engineer' label to auto mechanics and technicians, yet fails to slam the US for its practice of applying the 'engineer' label to sanitation workers, building janitors, boiler operators, FaceSpace coders, MSCEs and DeVry graduates. He also says, 'Some of [the U.S.'s] best engineers are not doing engineering, and some of its best potential engineers are not even studying engineering, leaving us short-changed in solving the important problems of the day.'"

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Man Becomes Artist When He Sleeps
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '11 at 09:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's talented-dreamer department:
During the day 37-year-old Lee Hadwin is a nurse with no particular love or talent for art, but when he sleeps it's a different story. Lee has been sleep-drawing since he was 4 and is now quite good. Some of his pieces have sold for six figures. Despite numerous tests, doctors can't explain how he's able to draw and paint while he's not conscious, or even what stage of sleep he's in while he works. From the article: "Still, the North Wales native doesn't want to make art his career. He never studied art, and is lousy at drawing when awake. 'Art has never interested me at all,' says Hadwin, as quoted by the BBC. But just in case, he now prepares by leaving a sketchpad, brushes, and other art supplies in his bedroom."

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WikiLeaks Publishes Cable Archive In Full
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '11 at 08:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's letting-it-all-hang-out department:
We recently discussed news that WikiLeaks had complained of a password leak which threatened the encryption of unredacted documents contained in the Cablegate archive. Now, reader solanum writes with this update:
"According to the Guardian, 'WikiLeaks has published its full archive of 251,000 secret US diplomatic cables, without redactions, potentially exposing thousands of individuals named in the documents to detention, harm or putting their lives in danger. The move has been strongly condemned by the five previous media partners – the Guardian, New York Times, El Pais, Der Spiegel and Le Monde – who have worked with WikiLeaks publishing carefully selected and redacted documents.' In the same article The Guardian gives further explanation of the controversy reported earlier, suggesting that Assange went against standard protocol in providing the master password to the newspaper."

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Why Microtransactions In Games Are Amoral
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '11 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's there-are-good-hats-and-evil-hats department:
Sludge writes "Graham Jans, a founder of the Vancouver Design Dojo and designer of Zombie Minesweeper, provides well-thought-out reasons why microtransactions in games are an amoral concept that can be used for good or evil, defying the typical knee-jerk reaction to Zynga-style use of microtransactions as a cynical tool designed to siphon the maximum amount of money from your wallet. Quoting: 'As well, such a thing could be a tool for benevolence. A developer could tune the length between releases to offer just a little more content for the same price, if they felt that was the right thing to do. In fact, most of the factors in microtransactions work this way. The negative reputation these systems have comes from factors that are tuned to maximize profit and abuse players for their money. But that's not an inherent trait in the system; you could just as easily use it to ensure your own bankruptcy!'"

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Chinese Submersible Planning For Record Dive
Posted by News Fetcher on September 02 '11 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's under-miles-of-water department:
An anonymous reader writes "You may have heard that China sent a manned research sub down to the ocean deep this summer, marking a personal depth record of 5,000 meters (next year it will aim for a world record of 7,000 meters). Here's a story about the sub based on an interview with its designer in Wuxi, China. It's got some interesting new details: the designer had never actually seen a submersible before he set out to build the deepest diving research sub in the world; all the stuff he's built before has ended up in warehouses because the Chinese government only funded technological development, not use."

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