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Why Do All Movie Tickets Cost the Same?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 03 '12 at 03:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's dollars-and-sense department:
gambit3 sends this quote from The Atlantic:
"Like tens of millions of Americans, I have paid money to see Mission: Impossible, which made $130 million in the last two weeks, and I have not paid any money to see Young Adult, which has made less than $10 million over the same span. Nobody is surprised or impressed by the discrepancy. The real question is: If demand is supposed to move prices, why isn't seeing Young Adult much cheaper than seeing Mission: Impossible?"

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Rare Moon Mineral Found On Earth
Posted by News Fetcher on January 03 '12 at 03:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's made-in-wisconsin department:
sciencehabit writes "A mineral previously known only from moon rocks and lunar meteorites has now been found on Earth. Researchers discovered the substance — dubbed tranquillityite after the Sea of Tranquility, where Apollo 11 astronauts landed on the Moon in July 1969— at six sites in Western Australia (abstract). The mineral occurs only in minuscule amounts and has no economic value, but scientists say it could be used for age-dating the rocks in which it occurs."

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Why Politicians Should Never Make Laws About Technology
Posted by News Fetcher on January 03 '12 at 03:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's internet-is-a-series-of-tubes department:
snydeq writes "As the world gets more and more technical, we can't let Luddites decide the fate of dangerous legislation like SOPA, writes Deep End's Paul Venezia. 'Very few politicians get technology. Many actually seem proud that they don't use the Internet or even email, like it's some kind of badge of honor that they've kept their heads in the sand for so long. These are the same people who will vote on noxious legislation like SOPA, openly dismissing the concerns and facts presented by those who know the technology intimately. The best quote from the SOPA debates: "We're operating on the Internet without any doctors or nurses on the room." That is precisely correct,' Venezia writes. 'The best we can do for the short term is to throw everything we can behind legislation to reinstate the Office of Technology Assessment. From 1974 through 1995, this small group with a tiny budget served as an impartial, nonpartisan advisory to the U.S. Congress on all matters technological.'"

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Judge Doesn't Care About Supreme Court GPS Case
Posted by News Fetcher on January 03 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's he-is-the-decider department:
nonprofiteer writes "The Supreme Court is currently deciding whether or not law enforcement needs a warrant before they put a GPS tracker on a person's car. A judge in St. Louis doesn't seem to care about that, though. He ruled last week (PDF) that the FBI didn't need a warrant to track the car of a state employee they suspected was collecting a paycheck without actually going to work. (Their suspicions were confirmed.) While in favor of corrupt government employees being caught, it's a bit disturbing that a federal judge would decide a warrant wasn't needed while the Supreme Court has said the issue is unclear."

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When Getting Rid of College Lectures Makes Sense
Posted by News Fetcher on January 03 '12 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's cutting-back-on-nap-time department:
timothy writes "NPR reports that Harvard physicist and professor Eric Mazur has largely gotten rid of the lecture in his classes, after finding that in lecture-based classes, students tend to commit to memory formulae and heuristics, but fail to develop deep understanding of concepts. Mazur has tried — and seemingly succeeded — to cultivate deeper learning with a combination of small group peer-instruction and a tight feedback loop based on in-class polling about particular problems. Joe Redish also teaches physics, at the University of Maryland, and says, 'With modern technology, if all there is is lectures, we don't need faculty to do it. ... Get 'em to do it once, put it on the Web, and fire the faculty.'"

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Remotely Pat Your Pet With Kinect and a Wiimote
Posted by News Fetcher on January 03 '12 at 01:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's petting-at-a-distance department:
MrSeb writes "Taylor Valtrop, an enterprising roboticist with a penchant for kitties, has crafted the mother of all Kinect (and Wiimote!) hacks: The teleoperation of a robot to groom a cat. Using a Nao, a $15,000 robot; a treadmill (for moving the robot forward); a head-mounted display (to see what the robot sees); Kinect (for tracking his movements); and two Wiimotes (to move the robot's hands), Valtrop is able to pat a cat with surprising accuracy and gentleness (except for where he accidentally hits the cat in the face)."

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What's Keeping You On XP?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 03 '12 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's bosses-and-laziness department:
Hugh Pickens writes "PC World reports that Windows XP lost more than 11 percent of its share from September to December 2011, to post a December average of 46.5 percent, a new low for the aged OS as users have gotten Microsoft's message that the operating system should be retired. Figures indicate that Windows 7 will become the most widely used version in April, several months earlier than previous estimates. Two months ago, as Microsoft quietly celebrated the 10th anniversary of XP's retail launch, the company touted the motto 'Standing still is falling behind' to promote Windows 7 and demote XP. In July, Microsoft told customers it was 'time to move on' from XP, reminding everyone that the OS would exit all support in April 2014. Before that, the Internet Explorer team had dismissed XP as the 'lowest common denominator' when they explained why it wouldn't run IE9. The deadline for ditching Windows XP is in April 2014, when Microsoft stops patching the operating system. 'Enterprises don't want to run an OS when there's no security fixes,' says Michael Silver, an analyst with Gartner Research rejecting the idea that Microsoft would extend the end-of-life date for Windows XP to please the 10% who have no plans to leave the OS. 'The longer they let them run XP, the more enterprises will slow down their migration.'"

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Are Engineers Natural Libertarians Or Technocrats?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 03 '12 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's those-are-your-only-choices department:
uctpjac writes "This openDemocracy article uses Scott Adams' presidential bid to argue that however much engineers — especially Silicon Valley types — like to think that they're libertarians, they are in fact much more likely to be control-freak technocrats. Quoting: 'Sensibly if uncharismatically, Adams has pledged if elected to delegate most of his decisions to people who know more than him, and flip-flop on any issue where new evidence causes him to modify his position. His worldview has its limitations – he underestimates the value of ways of thinking other than the engineer's, and it's naïve of him to claim his approach to policy is purely pragmatic and non-ideological.' Is this a fair account? Has the author wrongly read Dilbert, or wrongly interpreted the relationship between the engineering mindset and Adams' representation of it in the cartoon strip?"

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Fujitsu To Develop Vigilante Computer Virus For Japan
Posted by News Fetcher on January 03 '12 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's which-will-lead-to-anti-anti-virus-viruses department:
wiedzmin writes "Japanese Defense Ministry has awarded Fujitsu a contract to develop a vigilante computer virus, which will track down and eliminate other viruses, or rather — their sources of origin. Are 'good' viruses a bad idea? Sophos seems to think so, saying, 'When you're trying to gather digital forensic evidence as to what has broken into your network, and what data it may have stolen, it's probably not wise to let loose a program that starts to trample over your hard drives, making changes.'"

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Online Clearinghouse Offers To Defend Privacy
Posted by News Fetcher on January 03 '12 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's slaying-the-facebook-dragon department:
jfruhlinger writes "Privacy may have become a hot-button issue in the Internet age, but the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse has been fighting against corporate privacy violations for 20 years now. Today, they've launched an online complaint center that will hopefully help keep your private data private. Fill out the online form and the PRC will follow up with the privacy compliance officer at the company in question, or investigate whether a complaint to a government agency is in order."

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German Hackers Propose Uncensorable Global Grid — With Satellites
Posted by News Fetcher on January 03 '12 at 10:16 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's das-klingt-aber-gut department:
braindrainbahrain writes "The members of the Stuttgart Hackerspace have taken it upon themselves to launch their own space program. The immediate goal of the Hacker Space Program is to create an uncensorable internet in space beyond the control of terrestrial entities using a network of ground stations and communications satellites. In the longer term (think the year 2035), they'd like to put a hacker astronaut on the moon!"

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Instead of a Wheel Chair, How About an Exoskeleton?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 03 '12 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's yes-please department:
New submitter the_newsbeagle writes "This year, Ekso Bionics will roll out its most sophisticated exoskeleton ever. The company's robotic walking suit, called the Ekso, allows paraplegics to get back on their feet and walk on their own. The first commercial model will be sold to rehab hospitals for on-site physical therapy, but the company plans to have a model ready for at-home physical therapy by the end of 2012. In a few years, they plan to sell an Ekso that a paraplegic person can wear to the post office, to work, etc."

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Chile Forbids Carriers From Selling Network-Locked Phones
Posted by News Fetcher on January 03 '12 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's as-regulations-go-not-a-bad-idea department:
An anonymous reader writes "As from today, network operators in Chile are no longer allowed to sell carrier-locked phones, and must unlock free of charge all devices already sold to costumers through a simple form on their respective websites. The new regulation came into effect in preparations for the rollout of Mobile Number Portability, set to begin on January 16th. This is one among other restrictions that forbid carriers to lock in the customers through 'abusive clauses' in their contracts, one of which was through selling locked devices. Now if a customer wishes to change carriers he/she needs only to have the bills up to date and the process of porting the number should only take 24 hours."

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China Trials Its First 3D TV Channel
Posted by News Fetcher on January 03 '12 at 08:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's smell-o-rama-next department:
rtoz writes with the news that Chinese viewers will soon be able to watch a 3D TV channel service, to be opened in late January. Excerpting: "The first stations for the 3D trial are China Central Television, Beijing Television, Tianjing Broadcasting TV, Jiangsu TV and Shenzhen TV. 3D programs will be offered daily from 10:30 am to midnight. The programs include animation, sports, documentaries, TV dramas, entertainment and live broadcasting of big events, such as CCTV New Year's Gala and the London 2012 Olympic Games. The stations will charge no viewing fees during the early phase of operation."

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Feature Phones Make Java ME, Not Android, the #2 Mobile Internet OS
Posted by News Fetcher on January 03 '12 at 07:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's feature-creature department:
bonch writes "According to a report from NetApplications, which has measured browser usage data since 2004, Oracle's Java Mobile Edition has surpassed Android as the #2 mobile OS on the internet at 26.80%, with iOS at 46.57% and Android at 13.44%. And the trend appears to be growing. Java ME powers hundreds of millions of low-end 'feature phones' for budget buyers. In 2011, feature phones made up 60% of the install base in the U.S." Looking at the linked chart, it looks Java ME's been ahead of Android for all of 2011, too, except for the month of October.

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Ask Slashdot: Which Web Platform Would You Use?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 03 '12 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's support-babies-pie-and-goodness department:
New submitter datavirtue writes "I'm about to embark on developing active content (database driven, and web services) for the first time for my website and I have grown to love PHP. Knowing that there are other web development platforms available, and noticing some disdain for PHP in some circles, I'm curious to know which platforms slashdotters prefer along with the reasons why. Before I get started into heavy development I would like to get some opinions and more facts. Why shouldn't I use PHP?"

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EU Proposal Would Encourage Web Users To Flag Suspicious Web Pages
Posted by News Fetcher on January 03 '12 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's dude-karma-is-so-prior-art department:
littlekorea writes "Web surfers in Europe might soon be asked to 'flag' for law enforcement follow-up any web content they suspect incites terrorism, under an plan a group of EU governments has put to the internet industry. The plan asks for ISPs, search engines, web hosts and everyday users to play a larger role in identifying suspect content. Google already has a similar feature on YouTube — will we see it in the browser?"

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Bob Anderson, the Man Behind Vader's Lightsaber, Dies at 89
Posted by News Fetcher on January 03 '12 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's sad-news-for-the-new-year department:
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Australia's ABC News: "Bob Anderson, an Olympic swordsman who staged fights for films including the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings trilogy, has died at the age of 89. ... Anderson donned Darth Vader's black helmet and fought light-sabre battles in two of the three original Star Wars films, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, but his role was not initially publicised." The accompanying video clips are great; I never thought about anyone being in the Vader suit besides David Prowse.

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RIM's Playbook On Clearance
Posted by News Fetcher on January 03 '12 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's 64GB-sounds-nice-doesn't-it? department:
symbolset writes "Engadget reports that the much-maligned RIM Playbook tablet has hit the clearance skids. I've confirmed that all three models (16GB, 32GB, 64GB) are for sale on RIM's website for the same price: $299, or up to $400 off. The site says until February 4, but presumably that's 'or while supplies last.' If you're into clearance merch and rooting, the Engadget article includes instructions on getting Android and the Android market on the thing. If you'd rather have a tablet made for Android, the original Acer Iconia A500 may be a better choice at only a few dollars more — but without the capacious internal storage."

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Chaos Communication Congress Releases Talks
Posted by News Fetcher on January 03 '12 at 05:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's all-hail-the-chaos department:
First time accepted submitter jehan60188 writes with this excerpt from an article from Hack a Day: "The 28th Annual Chaos Communication Congress just wrapped things up on December 31st and they've already published recordings of all the talks at the event. These talks were live-streamed, but if you didn't find time in your schedule to see all that you wanted, you'll be happy to find your way to the YouTube collection of the event. The topics span a surprising range. We were surprised to see a panel discussion on depression and suicide among geeks ... which joins another panel called Queer Geeks, to address some social issues rather than just hardcore security tech. But there's plenty of that as well with topics on cryptography, security within web applications, and also a segment on electronic currencies like Bitcoins.'"

The CCC wiki has a list of mirrors with downloads in multiple formats (including WebM).

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