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Slashdot Visits Metrix Create:Space in Seattle (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on February 21 '12 at 10:45 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's from-oscilloscopes-to-ceramics-and-back-again department:
Metrix Create:Space is full of people busily making electronics gadgets. And hats. And everything in between. Some of them saw the street-level sign and stopped in out of curiosity, while others are long-time createspace scenesters. It doesn't matter which you are, says Metrix founder Matt Westervelt. Come in and make something. Need new skills? They have workshops. And lots of great tools.

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Canonical Puts Ubuntu On Android Smartphones
Posted by News Fetcher on February 21 '12 at 10:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's maybe-my-phone-would-crash-less department:
nk497 writes "Canonical has revealed Ubuntu running on a smartphone — but the open source developer hasn't squashed the full desktop onto a tiny screen. Instead, the Ubuntu for Android system runs both OSes side by side, picking which to surface depending on the form factor. When a device — in the demo, it was a Motorola Atrix — is being used as a smartphone, it uses Android. When it's docked into a laptop or desktop setup, the full version of Ubuntu is used. Files, apps and other functionality such as voice calls and texting are shared between the two — for example, if a text message is sent to the phone when it's docked, the SMS pops up in Ubuntu, while calls can be received or made from the desktop." ZDnet has pictures; ExtremeTech has a story, too, including some words from Ubuntu CEO Jane Silber.

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Aging Eyes Blamed For Seniors' Health Woes
Posted by News Fetcher on February 21 '12 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's posting-this-from-the-villages department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Scientists have looked for explanations as to why certain conditions occur with age, among them memory loss, slower reaction time, insomnia and even depression looking at such suspects as high cholesterol, obesity, heart disease and an inactive lifestyle. Now Laurie Tarkan writes that as eyes age, less and less sunlight gets through the lens to reach key cells in the retina that regulate the body's circadian rhythm, its internal clock that rallies the body to tackle the day's demands in the morning and slows it down at night, allowing the body to rest and repair. 'Evolution has built this beautiful timekeeping mechanism, but the clock is not absolutely perfect and needs to be nudged every day,' says Dr. David Berson, whose lab at Brown University studies how the eye communicates with the brain. Dr. Patricia Turner, an ophthalmologist who with her husband, Dr. Martin Mainster has written extensively about the effects of the aging eye on health, estimate that by age 45, the photoreceptors of the average adult receive just 50 percent of the light needed to fully stimulate the circadian system, by age 55, it dips to 37 percent, and by age 75, to a mere 17 percent and recommend that people should make an effort to expose themselves to bright sunlight or bright indoor lighting when they cannot get outdoors and have installed skylights and extra fluorescent lights in their own offices to help offset the aging of their own eyes. 'In modern society, most of the time we live in a controlled environment under artificial lights, which are 1,000 to 10,000 times dimmer than sunlight and the wrong part of the spectrum,' says Turner. 'We believe the effect is huge and that it's just beginning to be recognized as a problem.'"

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Apache 2.4 Takes Direct Aim At Nginx
Posted by News Fetcher on February 21 '12 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's competition-drives-progress department:
darthcamaro writes "The world's most popular web server is out with a major new release today that has one key goal — deliver more performance than ever before. Improved caching, proxy modules as well as new session control are also key highlights of the release. 'We also show that as far as true performance is based — real-world performance as seen by the end-user- 2.4 is as fast, and even faster than some of the servers who may be "better" known as being "fast", like nginx,' Jim Jagielski, ASF President and Apache HTTP Server Project Management Committee, told InternetNews.com." Here's list of new features in 2.4.

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Moon May Not Be As Dead As We Thought
Posted by News Fetcher on February 21 '12 at 08:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's lunological-activity department:
rivin2e writes "It would seem our neighbor, the moon, has something hidden below the surface. 'Images collected by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter hints the moon has probably seen tectonic activity within the last 50 million years.' It would appear from the article that the moon is changing a lot more than we think, even if it doesn't seem like it. I, for one, am still waiting for that big black obelisk to be dug up." From NASA's press release: "A team of researchers analyzing high-resolution images obtained by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) show small, narrow trenches typically much longer than they are wide. This indicates the lunar crust is being pulled apart at these locations. These linear valleys, known as graben, form when the moon's crust stretches, breaks and drops down along two bounding faults. A handful of these graben systems have been found across the lunar surface."

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Oracle's Java Claims Now Down To $230 Million
Posted by News Fetcher on February 21 '12 at 08:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's mere-pocket-change department:
jfruh writes "Hey, remember when Oracle decided to sue Google over claims that Android violated Oracle's Java patents and copyrights? How's that working out? Not so well, it seems! Oracle has been forced to take many of its patents out of the lawsuit due to lack of evidence, and the damages in play now are down to a little less than 4 percent of Oracle's original $6.1 billion claims."

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Google: IE Privacy Policy Is Impractical
Posted by News Fetcher on February 21 '12 at 07:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's like-a-landmine-with-redial department:
itwbennett writes "In response to Microsoft's claim that Google circumvented Internet Explorer privacy protections (following the discovery that Google also worked around Safari's privacy settings), Google on Monday said that IE's privacy protection, called P3P, is impractical to comply with."

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Ask Slashdot: Copy Protection Advice For ~$10k Software?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 21 '12 at 07:01 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's sue-you-sue-anybody department:
An anonymous reader writes I'm part owner of a relatively small video editing software company. We're not yet profitable, and our stuff turned up on thePirateBay recently. Some of our potential paying customers are using it without paying, and some non-potential customers are using it without paying. Our copy protection isn't that tough to crack, and I'd rather see the developers working on the product than the DRM (I'm convinced any sufficiently desirable digital widget will get copied without authorization). Would it be insane to release a 'not for commercial use' copy that does some spying and reporting on you, along with a spy-free version for ~$10,000? I feel like that would reduce the incentive to crack the paid version, and legit businesses (In the US anyway but we're trying to sell everywhere) would generally pay and maybe we could identify some of the people using it to make money without paying us (and then sue the one with the biggest pockets). What would you do?"

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Tech Billionaire-Backed Charter School Under Fire In Chicago
Posted by News Fetcher on February 21 '12 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's at-least-the-old-system-was-perfect department:
theodp writes " As a nonprofit venture philanthropy firm,' boasts the billionaire-backed NewSchools Venture Fund, 'we raise philanthropic capital from both individual and institutional investors, and then use those funds to support education entrepreneurs who are transforming public education.' One recipient of the NewSchools' largesse is The Noble Network of Charter Schools, which received a $5,300,000 NewSchools 'investment', as well as a $1,425,000 grant from NewSchools donor Bill Gates. One way that Noble Street College Prep has been transforming education, reports the Chicago Tribune, is by making students pay the price — literally — for breaking the smallest of rules (sample infractions). Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel defended Noble after a FOIA filing revealed the charter collected almost $190,000 in discipline 'fees' — not 'fines' — last year from its mostly low-income students, saying the ironically exempt-from-most-district-rules charter school gets 'incredible' results and parents don't have to send their children there. Beyond the Noble case, some are asking a bigger question: Should billionaires rule our schools?"

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With Push for OS X Focus, CUPS Printing May Suffer On Other Platforms
Posted by News Fetcher on February 21 '12 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's long-predicted-effect department:
CUPS is the popular open-source printing system that many projects have used successfully as a core, for desktop printing and as the basis of dedicated print servers. Reader donadony writes with word that Apple "has chosen to abandon certain Linux exclusive features, [while] continuing with popular Mac OS X features. The changeover is being attempted by Apple to set new printing standards that will not require 'drivers' in the future." However, as this message from Tim Waugh at Red Hat points out, all is not lost: "Where they are of
use for the Linux environment, those orphaned features will continue to
be maintained at OpenPrinting as a
separate project."

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Get a Glimpse At the Raspberry Pi Fedora Remix
Posted by News Fetcher on February 21 '12 at 05:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's what-if-one-came-with-every-display department:
TheNextCorner writes "What software runs on the Raspberry Pi $25 computer? This video shows some of the preparation of the software package, run from a SD card using the open source Fedora OS."

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Anonymous Cowards, Deanonymized
Posted by News Fetcher on February 21 '12 at 05:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's we-know-who-you-are department:
mbstone writes "Arvind Narayana writes: What if authors can be identified based on nothing but a comparison of the content they publish to other web content they have previously authored? Naryanan has a new paper to be presented at the 33rd IEEE Symposium on Security & Privacy. Just as individual telegraphers could be identified by other telegraphers from their 'fists,' Naryanan posits that an author's habitual choices of words, such as, for example, the frequency with which the author uses 'since' as opposed to 'because,' can be processed through an algorithm to identify the author's writing. Fortunately, and for now, manually altering one's writing style is effective as a countermeasure."

In this exploration the algorithm's first choice was correct 20% of the time, with the poster being in the top 20 guesses 35% of the time. Not amazing, but: "We find that we can improve precision from 20% to over 80% with only a halving of recall. In plain English, what these numbers mean is: the algorithm does not always attempt to identify an author, but when it does, it finds the right author 80% of the time. Overall, it identifies 10% (half of 20%) of authors correctly, i.e., 10,000 out of the 100,000 authors in our dataset. Strong as these numbers are, it is important to keep in mind that in a real-life deanonymization attack on a specific target, it is likely that confidence can be greatly improved through methods discussed above — topic, manual inspection, etc."

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Hunters Shoot Down Drone of Animal Rights Group
Posted by News Fetcher on February 21 '12 at 02:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's thought-it-was-a-cyber-pigeon department:
Required Snark writes "A remote control drone operated by an animal rights group was shot down in South Carolina by a group of thwarted hunters. Steve Hindi, the group president said 'his group was preparing to launch its Mikrokopter drone to video what he called a live pigeon shoot on Sunday when law enforcement officers and an attorney claiming to represent the privately-owned plantation near Ehrhardt tried to stop the aircraft from flying.' After the shoot was halted, the drone was launched anyway, and at this point it was shot down. 'Seconds after it hit the air, numerous shots rang out,' Hindi said in the release. 'As an act of revenge for us shutting down the pigeon slaughter, they had shot down our copter.' 'It is important to note how dangerous this was, as they were shooting toward and into a well-travelled highway,' Hindi stated in the release."

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Hackers In Space: Designing A Ground Station
Posted by News Fetcher on February 21 '12 at 12:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's dod-responds-with-orbital-defense-platform department:
An anonymous reader writes with some new information on the happenings of the Hacker Space Program. From the article: "At the Chaos Communication Camp 2011 Jens Ohlig, Lars Weiler, and Nick Farr proposed a daunting task: to land a hacker on the Moon by 2034. The plan calls for three separate phases: Establishing an open, free, and globally accessible satellite communication network, put a human into orbit, and land on the Moon. Interestingly enough, there is already considerable work being done on the second phase of this plan by the Copenhagen Suborbitals, and Google's own Lunar X Prize is trying to spur development of robotic missions to the Moon. But what about the first phase? Answering the call is the 'Shackspace,' a hackerspace from Stuttgart, Germany, who've begun work on an ambitious project they're calling the 'Hackerspace Global Grid.'"

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The Pirate Bay On Track To Be Banned In the UK?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 20 '12 at 09:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's cue-rob-halford-stage-left department:
redletterdave writes with this excerpt fromthe International Business Times about the fate of the Pirate Bay in the UK: "Swedish filesharing website The Pirate Bay may soon be blocked in the UK after a London judge ruled that the site breaches copyright laws on a large scale, and that both the platform and its users illegally share copyrighted material like movies and music. In addition to finding legal fault with The Pirate Bay and its users, the British Phonographic Industry also wants all British ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay in the UK."

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Best Language For Experimental GUI Demo Projects?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 20 '12 at 07:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's through-the-looking-glass-again department:
New submitter GrantRobertson writes with a question about quickly developing prototypes for new interface design concepts "My research/tinkering will be along two main lines: (1) Devising entirely new graphical user interface elements, mostly in 2D, though often in a true or simulated 3-D space. I am working on ways to visualize, navigate, and manipulate very, VERY large data-sets of academic research information. (2) Computer based education software, though of a type never seen before. This will combine some of the GUI elements invented in (1) as well as displaying standard HTML or HTML5 content via a browser engine My requirements are: (A) A decent IDE ecosystem; (B) A decent set of libraries, but ones that don't lock me in to a particular mind-set like Swing does in Java. (Boxes in boxes in boxes, Oh My!); (C) An ability to easily draw what I want, where I want and make any surface of that 3D object become a source for capturing events; (D) Ease of cross-platform use. (So others can easily look at my examples and run with them.); (E) No impediments to open-source licensing my code or for others to go commercial with it either (as I have seen when I looked into Qt). So, should I just stick with Java and start looking outside the box for GUI toolkits? Or is there something else out there I should be looking at?"

I'm not sure what impediments Qt has to proprietization of software since it's LGPL nowadays; in any case, Qt Quick and GNOME's Clutter seem like they could be a useful. Read on for more context.

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European Parliament To Exclude Free Software With FRAND
Posted by News Fetcher on February 20 '12 at 05:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's free-software-to-the-back-of-the-bus department:
First time submitter jan.van.gent writes "The European Parliament is on the verge of adopting a directive reforming standards, reform which would introduce FRAND patent licensing terms, an undefined term which has been seen as a direct attack on the fundamental principles of Free and Open Source software. The Business Software Alliance has been very active trying to get FRAND terms into the directive."

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LIDAR Map Shows Height of Earth's Forests
Posted by News Fetcher on February 20 '12 at 04:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's for-tax-purposes department:
Hkibtimes writes about a recently released map of the Earth's forests. From the article: "A group of scientists from NASA and the University of Maryland have created a unique map that shows the heights of the Earth's forests. The map ... has been created using 2.5 million carefully screened and globally distributed laser pulse measurements sent from space."

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Russian Scientists Revive Plant From 30,000-Year-Old Seeds
Posted by News Fetcher on February 20 '12 at 03:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's to-make-a-new-type-of-vodka department:
An anonymous reader writes "It was an Ice Age squirrel's treasure chamber, a burrow containing fruit and seeds that had been stuck in the Siberian permafrost for over 30,000 years. From the fruit tissues, a team of Russian scientists managed to resurrect an entire plant in a pioneering experiment that paves the way for the revival of other species. The Silene stenophylla is the oldest plant ever to be regenerated, the researchers said, and it is fertile, producing white flowers and viable seeds. ... 'The squirrels dug the frozen ground to build their burrows, which are about the size of a soccer ball, putting in hay first and then animal fur for a perfect storage chamber,' said Stanislav Gubin, one of the authors of the study, who spent years rummaging through the area for squirrel burrows. 'It's a natural cryobank.'"

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Carbohydrate-Based Synthesis To Replace Petroleum Derived Hydrocarbons?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 20 '12 at 03:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's new-incentives-for-fixing-old-problems department:
someWebGeek writes "From PhysOrg's 'Taking biofuel from forest to highway,' University of British Columbia biofuel expert Jack Saddler says, 'we will become less dependent on fossil fuels and will become more dependent on fuels made from the sugars and chemicals found in plants.' Nothing too new there; the idea of biofuels eventually taking over from petroleum distillates has been around for ages. However, Saddler contends further that 'Similar to an oil refinery that processes crude oil to make thousands of supplementary products like plastics, dyes, paints, etc., the biorefinery would use leftover agricultural and forest material to make many of the same products, but from a sustainable and renewable resource.' I remember my organic chem instructor back in '81 telling us that eventually the textbooks would have to be rewritten. There would be no presumption of fractional distillation of thousands of basic compounds from petroleum, and the teaching emphasis would shift to synthesis from simple hydrocarbons. He noted that we'd all miss 'the good, ole days' when synthetic fibers, plastics, etc. were cheap... or even an economically viable option. I can live without rayon, but, dang, I'm gonna miss polyvinyl chloride!"

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