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Linus Thinks Virtualization Is 'Evil'
Posted by News Fetcher on August 19 '11 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's know-who-else-used-virtualization? department:
Front page first-timer crdotson writes "Linus said in an interview that he thinks virtualization is 'evil' because he prefers to deal with the real hardware. Hardware virtualization allows for better barriers between systems by running multiple OSes on the same hardware, but OS-level virtualization allows similar barriers without a hypervisor between the kernel and the hardware. Should we expect more focus on OS-level virtualization such as Linux-VServer, OpenVZ, and LXC?"

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Book Review: The Python Standard Library By Example
Posted by News Fetcher on August 19 '11 at 11:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it department:
thatpythonguy writes "Addison-Wesley publishers has released The Python Standard Library By Example, another Python book that strategically fits in between programming cookbooks and library reference manuals. It brings the Python standard library that much closer to Python programmers and helps make them more proficient in their trade." Read below for Ahmed's first Slashdot review. The Python Standard Library by Example
author Doug Hellmann
pages 1344
publisher Addison-Wesley Professional
rating 8 of 10
reviewer Ahmed Al-Saadi
ISBN 978-0-321-76734-9
summary A unique guide to the Python standard library that is between a cookbook and a reference manual

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How Volunteers Rebuilt WW2 Computers
Posted by News Fetcher on August 19 '11 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's quite-the-enigma department:
nk497 writes "A single photograph, scraps of circuit diagrams drawn from memory and a pile of disused components – it isn't much to go on, but from such meager beginnings, engineers rebuilt one of the precursors to the modern computer. The Tunny decryption machine – on display at The Museum of National Computing at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire in the UK – was a feat of engineering both during World War II when it was created, and over the past five years when it was rebuilt by retired BT engineers."

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A TV That Knows and Shares What You're Watching
Posted by News Fetcher on August 19 '11 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can't-hide-your-jersey-shore-addiction-from-skynet department:
holy_calamity writes "A technology will be appearing soon in TVs that fingerprints what is onscreen and sends that information to an internet server able to identify the content, whether it's live TV or another source, like a DVD. Web pages and mobile apps using the same connection as the TV can access that information using an API, allowing online content to dynamically provide relevant information and ads to be more targeted. Startup Flingo, which developed the technology, says one of the top 5 TV brands in the US will launch a set with the Sync Apps system in coming months."

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Windows 8 To Fight Piracy With the Cloud
Posted by News Fetcher on August 19 '11 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's arrr-me-hearties department:
MrSeb writes "With the latest Windows 8 build (8064) that has been delivered to Intel, it's clear that the company is taking strides to make sure that its upcoming OS isn't quit so easy to pirate. For starters, the generic volume license keys that were so easily exploited during the early days of Windows 7 leaks will no longer be an option for pirates. Product keys also won't be shipped in the prodkey.txt file included in the build packages. Instead, installers will need to retrieve a unique key from a Microsoft web page. There's also a good possibility that the recently-surfaced fast booting patent could come into play as well. If Microsoft does indeed have designs on using a remote server to push OS code to systems at boot time, that code would be a very clever place to embed activation-related programming. Even if a crack was discovered, it would be neatly undone during a subsequent start-up sequence — similar to the way Microsoft's now-idle Windows Steady State could turn back the clock an entire Widows installation after rebooting."
Microsoft has also indirectly confirmed in a recent blog post that Windows 8 will make use of an app store.

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Firefox 7.0 Beta Released
Posted by News Fetcher on August 19 '11 at 09:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's another-day-another-version department:
An anonymous reader sends word that the first Firefox 7.0 beta has been released. One of the big areas of focus for this version will be performance enhancements. One optimization "Reduces memory use and improves performance areas including responsiveness, startup and page load time, even in complex websites and Web apps." Another addresses one of Firefox users' long-standing gripes: "The JavaScript garbage collector works more frequently to free up memory and improve performance when you have many tabs open or keep Firefox running for a long time."

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American Grant Writing: Race Matters
Posted by News Fetcher on August 19 '11 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's taking-for-granted department:
PHPNerd writes "You might expect that science, particularly American science, would be color-blind. Though fewer people from some of the country's ethnic minorities are scientists than the proportions of those minorities in the population suggest should be the case, once someone has got bench space in a laboratory, he might reasonably expect to be treated on merit and nothing else. Unfortunately, a study just published in Science suggests that is not true. The study looked at the pattern of research grants awarded by the NIH and found that race matters a lot. Moreover, Asian and Hispanic scientists do just as well as white ones. Black scientists, however, fair badly."

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AT&T Kills $10 Texting Plan, Pushes $20 Plan
Posted by News Fetcher on August 19 '11 at 08:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's giving-thumb-customers-the-finger department:
Hugh Pickens writes "AT&T is scrapping its 1,000-texts-for-ten-bucks plan and replacing it with a plan that offers unlimited texts for $20. Users who don't want the unlimited plan can opt to pay 20 cents per text. Current AT&T subscribers are grandfathered in, so you can stick with whatever plan you selected when you signed your contract. 'The vast majority of our messaging customers prefer unlimited plans and with text messaging growth stronger than ever, that number continues to climb among new customers,' says AT&T. The news has not been received warmly in the tech blogosphere. 'AT&T calls this "streamlining." We call it what it is: an outrageous, gigantic scam,' writes Sam Biddle in Gizmodo. 'AT&T's taken away new customers' option to spend less, whereas carriers like Verizon still offer tiered texting plans for varying budgets.'"

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The Dark Side of the Tech Patent Wars
Posted by News Fetcher on August 19 '11 at 08:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's is-there-a-light-side department:
GMGruman writes "Bill Snyder warns that the tech patent wars are going nuclear, and could vaporize tech jobs in the process. He likens the situation to medicine, where so much money now goes to pay for insurance and 'defensive medicine,' rather than for actual care. In the tech world, he fears that the same will occur with patents, forcing companies to spend ever more money on patents and lawyers — and less on innovation and staff."

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Canadian Library to Loan Out People
Posted by News Fetcher on August 19 '11 at 08:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's line-up-by-isbn department:
Wouldn't it be easier to learn Chinese from a native speaker than from a book, or explore a religion from an actual practitioner rather than words on a page? A library in Surrey, B.C. thinks so and has introduced a "human library" program. Visitors will be able to "check-out" real people to learn about their experiences and specific knowledge. From the article: "...The goal is to break down stereotypes and start discussions, said deputy chief librarian Melanie Houlden. 'What we're aiming to do is bring the library to life for people. There are huge repositories of experience and knowledge in their own brains,' she said." As long as you stay out of the horror section, this sounds like a great idea.

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Chinese Researchers Propose Asteroid Deflection Mission
Posted by News Fetcher on August 19 '11 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's bruce-willis-need-not-apply department:
wisebabo writes "Researchers in China have proposed sending a solar sail-driven probe to hit the asteroid Apophis to make sure it has no chance of going through a 'keyhole' near earth in 2029. If it goes through the keyhole, then it will hit the earth seven years later. The reason why they need to use a solar sail is because they want the very small probe (~10kg) to hit the asteroid in the opposite direction, a retrograde orbit which would otherwise require an insane amount of fuel (after being put on an escape trajectory, it would need to first cancel out the earth's orbital momentum and then basically speed up to a likewise high velocity in the opposite direction). They are doing this to hit the asteroid at a very high impact speed. While Apophis may not literally be capable of wiping us out (it 'only' weighs 46 million kilograms), it might be able to wreck our civilization."
Read on for the rest of wisebabo's thoughts.

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Google Highlights Trouble In Detecting Malware
Posted by News Fetcher on August 19 '11 at 06:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's gotta-check-under-all-the-bits department:
JohnBert writes "Google issued a new study (PDF) on Wednesday detailing how it is becoming more difficult to identify malicious websites and attacks, with antivirus software proving to be an ineffective defense against new ones. The company's engineers analyzed four years worth of data comprising 8 million websites and 160 million web pages from its Safe Browsing service, which is an API that feeds data into Google's Chrome browser and Firefox and warns users when they hit a website loaded with malware. Google said it displays 3 million warnings of unsafe websites to 400 million users a day."

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Wikipedia May Censor Images
Posted by News Fetcher on August 19 '11 at 06:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's good-thing-there's-no-other-nudity-on-the-internet department:
KiloByte joins the ranks of accepted submitters, writing
"To appease 'morality' watchdogs, Wikipedia is contemplating the introduction of a censorship feature, where images would be flagged for containing sexual references, nudity, 'mass graves,' and so on. At least in the initial implementation, it is supposed to be 'opt-in.' However, with such precedents as the UK censoring artistic nudity, Turkey censoring references to the Armenian genocide or China's stance on information about the Tiananmen massacre (note that any sensitive photos, like the Tank Man, are already absent!), I find it quite hard to believe this feature won't be mandatory for some groups of readers — whether it's thanks to an oppressive government, an ISP or a school."

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13-Year-Old Uses Fibonacci Sequence For Solar Power Breakthrough
Posted by News Fetcher on August 19 '11 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's one-one-two-three-five-eureka department:
An anonymous reader tips news of 7th grader Aidan Dwyer, who used phyllotaxis — the way leaves are arranged on plant stems in nature — as inspiration to arrange an array of solar panels in a way that generates 20-50% more energy than a uniform, flat panel array. Aidan wrote,
"I designed and built my own test model, copying the Fibonacci pattern of an oak tree. I studied my results with the compass tool and figured out the branch angles. The pattern was about 137 degrees and the Fibonacci sequence was 2/5. Then I built a model using this pattern from PVC tubing. In place of leaves, I used PV solar panels hooked up in series that produced up to 1/2 volt, so the peak output of the model was 5 volts. The entire design copied the pattern of an oak tree as closely as possible. ... The Fibonacci tree design performed better than the flat-panel model. The tree design made 20% more electricity and collected 2 1/2 more hours of sunlight during the day. But the most interesting results were in December, when the Sun was at its lowest point in the sky. The tree design made 50% more electricity, and the collection time of sunlight was up to 50% longer!"His work earned him a Young Naturalist Award from the American Museum of Natural History and a provisional patent on the design.

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RKK Energia Confirms Private Trip To the Moon
Posted by News Fetcher on August 19 '11 at 04:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's where-can-i-sign-up department:
Teancum writes "RKK Energia, the prime contractor for the Russian space program and the company who builds the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, recently confirmed negotiations are underway with space tourism company Space Adventures for a privately financed crewed flight around the Moon. While the offer and purchase of at least one seat has been discussed earlier, this is the first time Energia has confirmed the negotiations and has gone into at least some details in terms of what they are expecting to have happen with this flight and the approximate timeframe for when this flight would take place: sometime in 2016 or 2017."

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What If Aliens Came To Save the Galaxy From Mankind?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 19 '11 at 02:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's captain-alien's-gonna-kill-humanity department:
astroengine writes with an amusing piece in Discovery. From the article: "In a study carried out by NASA and Pennsylvania State University scientists, several intelligent extraterrestrial encounter scenarios are examined. One of the scenarios is a sci-fi favorite: what if we encounter an alien race hellbent on destroying us? However, there's a twist. This isn't mindless thuggery on behalf of the aliens, and they're not killing us to get at our natural resources; they have a cause. They want to exterminate us for the greater good of the Milky Way."

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A Chat With Zavilia, a Tool For Identifying Rioters
Posted by News Fetcher on August 19 '11 at 01:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's crowd-state-opression department:
HansonMB writes with an interview in Motherboard.tv. From the article: "Social media isn't just great for starting 'social unrest,' it's proving to be quite helpful for quashing it too. Not long after the bricks began to fly in London's latest kerfuffle, locals angry over raging mobs scrambled to assist the police in their attempt to identify street-fighters and free-for-all hooligans ... Now with more than 1,000 people charged over the chaos, a few citizen groups continue to provide web-based rioter identification platforms, in hopes of being good subjects, maintaining the country's pursuit of order, and keeping their neighborhoods safe."

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Pricing: Apple Defies Australian Government
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '11 at 10:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's higher-prices-down-under department:
daria42 writes "This week it was revealed that Apple has still not responded to Australia's Federal Parliament on the issue of why the prices of its products are significantly higher in Australia than they are in the US, five months after the query was first raised by a member of parliament from Australia's governing Labor party. Apple has refused to issue a statement on the matter or even acknowledge the issue. What will it take to get Apple to open up — a national enquiry?"

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PS3 Enjoys Retail-Wide Sales Spike After Price Cut
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '11 at 09:16 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's gamers-have-short-memories department:
donniebaseball23 writes "Sony, after nearly two years on standing firm on PS3's price, dropped the console to $249, and it's been having an immediate impact. GameStop has already noted a 'significant' increase in PS3 sales, while big box retailer Target confirmed an 'immediate lift' in sales and recommended PS3 as a 'great option' for its customers. Not only that, but leading e-tailer Amazon saw PS3 sales explode by 400% in the days after the price cut. All told, in the months ahead, analysts are expecting Sony to see as much as a 30% sales bump for PS3 this holiday season."

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Ridley Scott To Direct New Blade Runner Movie
Posted by News Fetcher on August 18 '11 at 07:16 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's deckard-shot-first department:
In his first accepted submission, fwarren writes "Alcon Entertainment, best known for the movie The Blind Side purchased the rights to Blade Runner earlier this year. The next order of business? Hire Ridley Scott. Scott has signed on to make a new Blade Runner movie. At this point it is not known whether it will be a sequel or a prequel. With no script or writer at this point. I think it is safe to say that it will be roller coaster ride for the next few years."

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