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Army Plots Its Smartphone Strategy
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '11 at 02:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's angry-army-birds department:
gManZboy writes "What kind of smartphone should a soldier have? Ahead of the impending expiration of two communications contracts, the Army's 5th Signal Command is prepping for the possibility of buying thousands of mobile devices. An RFI asks for BlackBerrys, 'emerging smartphones included but not limited to 4G devices such as Androids [and] iPhones,' tablet computers, and wireless broadband access devices. Also in the Army mobile vision: an apps marketplace."

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iOS App Acoustically Measures Distances Up To 25 Meters
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '11 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's new-tool-for-the-box department:
n01 writes "A recently published app for the iOS platform uses the propagation of sound waves to measure distances of up to 25 meters in a dual device mode. The technique works through repeatedly sending a chirp signal from the master device to which the other (reflector) device synchronizes itself and then replies in a similar fashion. A novel combination of techniques has been engineered to enhance the robustness in noisy environments, such as using an optimum-autocorrelation-signal and semi-automatic frequency calibration together with an averaging over multiple cycles."

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The IOCCC Competition Is Back
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '11 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's welcome-back department:
Rui Lopes writes "After a 5 year hiatus, the IOCCC (International Obfuscated C Code Contest) is back! This marks the 20th edition of the contest. Submissions are open between 12-Nov-2011 11:00 UTC and 12-Jan-2012 12:12 UTC. Don't forget to check this year's rules and guidelines."

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Is American Innovation Losing Its Shine?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '11 at 09:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's everything-used-to-be-better department:
kenekaplan writes "American ingenuity and innovation, the twin engine of the country's economy since World War II, is in danger of losing steam and job growth potential if federal legislators allow 'automatic' spending cuts to kick in next year rather than earmarking federal funds to advance education, research and manufacturing, according Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Susan Hockfield."

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In-Vitro Muscle Cells, It's What's For Dinner
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '11 at 07:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's just-like-mom-used-to-grow department:
wanzeo writes "Within the last decade, many of us have experienced the encroachment of ethics into our mealtime. Phrases such as vegetarian, vegan, organic, bST, GMO, etc. have become part of common grocery store advertising. The most recent addition to the list of ethically charged food is in-vitro meat, or meat that was cultured in a petri dish, and was never part of a live animal. The project has been brought to fruition by Mark Post, a biologist at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. Grown using animal stem-cells on a nutrient medium, the nearly see-through strips of muscle would need to be stacked nearly 3,000 times to approach the thickness of a burger. The practice promises to be more humane, sustainable, and efficient than conventional meats, with one analysis suggesting it would, 'use 35 to 60 percent less energy, emit 80 to 95 percent less greenhouse gas and use around 98 percent less land.' In a world where nearly half of all crop production is used to feed livestock, a move towards artificial meat may be inevitable."

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Canary Islands Eruption Could Create New Land
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '11 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-call-dibs department:
wanzeo writes "An undersea volcano is erupting off the coast of the Canary Islands, bringing the potential for new land formation. The lava peak has grown 100 meters from the ocean floor, and is now just 70 meters from the surface. It has been seen ejecting rocks from the sea and producing jets of water 20 meters high. Increasing seismic activity has been monitored since July, an indication that magma is rapidly moving toward the surface. Local residents have been evacuated because of the potential danger from falling rocks or violent steam explosions if the lava gets too close."

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The Privatization of Copyright Lawmaking
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '11 at 02:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's outsourcing-a-job-nobody-wants department:
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from TorrentFreak:
"The biggest misperception about [the Stop Online Piracy Act] is that it is somehow unprecedented or extraordinary. It is not. SOPA represents just the latest example of copyright law defined and controlled not by the government but by private entities. Copyright owners will deploy SOPA in the same way they have behaved in the past: to extend out their rights. They will disrupt sites that do not infringe a copyright, interfere with fair uses of copyrighted works, and take other steps that evade the limits that the Copyright Act sets on a copyright owner's actual rights."

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Workshops Begin In Australia On WikiLeaks Opera
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '11 at 11:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's this-is-a-thing-people-are-doing department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Betrayal, lust, secrecy, power: there's no shortage of dramatic intrigue in the story of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. Perhaps that's why work has begun on an opera based on the life of Julian Assange in Melbourne. Opera Australia held – with Julian Assange's approval – a series of in-house workshops last month after its artistic director, Lyndon Terracini, came up with the idea and asked composer Jonathan Dreyfus to write the music. 'It's got everything that a dramatic musical work needs,' says Eddie Perfect, who played Assange in the initial process. 'It's got heroes and villains. In fact, it's got a hero and villain combined in one.' The company has not yet committed to a full production, but if the opera goes ahead it will be the second time the WikiLeaks story has been presented on stage in Assange's native Australia. Stainless Steel Rat played at the Seymour Center in Sydney last June."

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Startup Testing Mobile Farmbots
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '11 at 08:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's robot-get-me-carrots department:
An anonymous reader writes "Wired reports on Harvest Automation, a Massachusetts company developing small robots that can perform basic agricultural labor. The ones currently being tested in greenhouses and plant nurseries are 'knee-high, wheeled machines.' 'Each robot has a gripper for grasping pots, a deck for carrying pots, and an array of sensors to keep track of where it is and what's around it. Teams of robots zip around nursery fields, single-mindedly spacing and grouping plants. Key to making the robots flexible and cost-effective is designing them to work only with information provided by their sensors. They don't construct a global map of their environment, and they don't use GPS. The robots have sensors that detect boundary markers, a laser range finder to detect objects in front of them, and a gyroscope for navigating by dead reckoning. The robots determine how far they've traveled by keeping track of wheel rotations.'"

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Ask Slashdot: Crowdfunding For Science — Can It Succeed?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '11 at 04:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-will-pay-you-a-quarter-to-invent-time-travel department:
jearbear writes "Can crowdfunding work for science? Having raised nearly $40,000 for scientific research in 10 days for projects as diverse as biofuel catalyst design to the study of cellular cilia to deploying seismic sensor networks (that attach to your computer!) to robotic squirrels, the #SciFund Challenge is taking off like a rocket. Might this be a future model for science funding in the U.S. and abroad? What would that mean?"

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Is There an Institutional Bias Against Black Tech Entrepreneurs?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '11 at 03:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's world-white-web department:
An anonymous reader writes sends this excerpt from CNN:
"The vast majority of top executives at the leading Silicon Valley tech firms are white men. Women and Asians have made some inroads, but African-American and Latino tech leaders remain a rarity. About 1% of entrepreneurs who received venture capital in the first half of last year are black, according to a study by research firm CB Insights. ... 'The tech industry is pretty clubby,' said Hank Williams, an African-American entrepreneur in the NewMe program who had success in the Internet boom of the 1990s. 'There are really no people of color in Silicon Valley.' Others say the issue could be rooted deep within the black community. The NewMe co-founders said African-American families don't typically encourage business leaders or programmers to pursue interests in tech."

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Commercial Space: Spirit of Apollo Or Spirit of Solyndra?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '11 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's little-of-column-a-little-of-column-b department:
MarkWhittington writes "Andrew Chaikin, the author of A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts, believes that the spirit of Apollo no longer resides at NASA, but rather in the nascent commercial space companies such as SpaceX. This assessment is disputed by many, who see in the Obama administration program of government subsidies for commercial space the spirit of Solyndra."

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Google Music Downloads To Go Ahead Without Sony Or Warner
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '11 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's they'll-never-stop-arguing department:
An anonymous reader writes "Google has sent out press invitations to an event on Wednesday where it's expected they'll unveil their long-rumored Google Music download service. CNET reports that while Google already has an agreement in place with Universal, talks with Sony and Warner Music Group are still in progress, and won't be finished by the time Google Music launches. 'The negotiations between Google and the labels by and large have not gone well for either side. The labels are eager for a serious iTunes competitor to emerge and believe Google has the technological know-how, money, and Internet presence to give iTunes a run for its money. ... Yet, the company is once again launching a major part of its music service without acquiring licenses and this may serve to widen the rift between the company and some of the labels. '"

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Predicting US Supreme Court Justice Votes
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '11 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's indulge-your-cynicism department:
New submitter Pierre Bezukhov writes "Researchers Roger Guimera and Marta Sales-Pardo of Spain set out to ask whether one of the nine Supreme Court justices could be plucked from the bench and replaced with an algorithm that does not take into account the law or the case at issue, but does take into account the other justices' votes and the court's record. These researchers say their computational models, using methods developed to analyze complex social networks, are just as accurate in predicting a justice's decision as forecasts from legal experts. 'We find that Supreme Court justices are significantly more predictable than one would expect from "ideally independent" justices in "ideal courts,"' that is, free agents independently evaluating cases on their merits, free of ideology, the study said."

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Motorola Reinvents the RAZR
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '11 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's remember-when-clamshells-were-hip department:
zacharye writes with news that Motorola has reinvented their popular RAZR clam-shell phone as an Android smartphone. The new device is 4G LTE-capable and 7.1mm thick, and it contains "a 1.2GHz dual-core TI OMAP processor, a 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED display, 1GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture, an LED flash, an HDMI-out port, noise cancellation capabilities, 16GB of built-in storage and a 16GB microSD card pre-installed." iFixit did a teardown of the phone, finding that the construction necessary for such thinness will make repairs problematic.

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Judge Makes Divorcing Couple Swap Facebook Passwords
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '11 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's be-careful-whom-you-poke department:
PolygamousRanchKid writes with news of a recent court order during divorce proceedings: both parties must give their social networking passwords to the other, so that each side can snoop for evidence. From the article:
"Everyone knows that evidence from social networking sites comes in handy for lawsuits and divorces. Attorneys usually get that material by visiting someone’s page or asking that they turn over evidence from their page, not by signing into their accounts. But judges are sometimes forcing litigants to hand over the passwords to their Facebook accounts. Should they be? What was the reason behind the court-authorized hacking in the Gallion case? ... While all may be ‘fair’ in love and war (and personal injuries), password exchanges like this are not kosher according to Facebook’s terms of service. I wonder if Judge Shluger is aware that his order violates Facebook’s TOS, which require that users not hand over their passwords to anyone else. Shluger did, at least, try to limit the privacy invasiveness of his order by telling the parties not to prank each other. 'Neither party shall visit the website of the other’s social network and post messages purporting to be the other,' he included in the order."

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X-ray Facility To Simulate Conditions At Earth's Core
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '11 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-think-hillary-swank-can-answer-your-questions department:
Diggester sends this quote from an article at the BBC:
"The ID24 beam line at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility will use X-ray beams to subject iron and other materials to extraordinary temperatures and pressures. How the X-rays are absorbed should give insight into the mysterious processes going on at and near the Earth's core. For example, the work could unravel why the Earth's magnetic field can 'flip.' ... The samples are compressed at a pressure millions of times higher than that on the Earth's surface. High-power lasers are then fired through the diamonds at the samples, heating them to higher than 10,000C. Then X-rays are used as a probe to determine the precise composition and chemistry of samples."

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Icelandic MP To Challenge US Court Ruling On Twitter Privacy
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '11 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's ain't-over-'till-it's-over department:
JabrTheHut writes "The Guardian has a story of how Icelandic MP Birgitta Jonsdottir, a former WikiLeaks volunteer, is challenging the U.S.'s acquisition of Twitter account information, IP addresses, mailing addresses and even bank information. The U.S. says it wanted these details to help with its investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Jonsdottir said, 'This is a huge blow for everybody that uses social media. We have to have the same civil rights online as we have offline. Imagine if the U.S. authorities wanted to do a house search at my home, go through my private papers. There would be a hell of a fight. It's absolutely unacceptable.'"

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Chevy Volt Fire Prompts Safety Investigation For EV Batteries
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '11 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's four-door-the-burninator department:
Three weeks after undergoing a crash test, a Chevy Volt caught fire. The car's battery was determined as the cause of the fire, though GM said its protocols for deactivating the battery following a crash would have prevented it. Either way, the National Highway Traffic Safety Association is now on the case. They're planning additional testing of the batteries, though they were quick to say, "Based on the available data, N.H.T.S.A. does not believe the Volt or other electric vehicles are at a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered vehicles. In fact, all vehicles — both electric and gasoline-powered — have some risk of fire in the event of a serious crash." According to the president of an engineering firm, "If a lithium battery is pierced by steel, a chemical reaction will take place that starts raising the temperature and can result in a fire... If the piercing is small, that reaction can take days or weeks to occur."

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A Job Fair For Jobs In India — In California
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '11 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's borders-aren't-everything department:
dcblogs writes "Indian and U.S. companies are holding a job fair at the San Jose Convention Center this weekend for jobs in India. The job fair is aimed at Indian workers in the U.S., but anyone with an interest in working overseas can attend. India is pitched as a 'sea of opportunity' in a PowerPoint presentation about the job fair. That's in contrast to another slide that makes the obvious point that the U.S. has 'barely recovered from a downturn,' with 'signs that it's headed for another.'"

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