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TSA To Retest Full Body Scanners For Radiation
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '11 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
cultiv8 writes with this excerpt from USA Today:"The Transportation Security Administration announced Friday that it would retest every full-body X-ray scanner that emits ionizing radiation — 247 machines at 38 airports — after maintenance records on some of the devices showed radiation levels 10 times higher than expected. The TSA says that the records reflect math mistakes and that all the machines are safe. Indeed, even the highest readings listed on some of the records — the numbers that the TSA says were mistakes — appear to be many times less than what the agency says a person absorbs through one day of natural background radiation.Even so, the TSA has ordered the new tests out of 'an abundance of caution to reassure the public,' spokesman Nicholas Kimball says. The tests will be finished by the end of the month, and the results will be released 'as they are completed,' the agency said on its website."

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Is Daylight Saving Time Bad For You?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '11 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "According to experts on circadian rhythms, the hour shift in sleep schedule from Daylight Saving Time can have serious effects on some people's health, particularly in people with certain pre-existing health problems. One study found that men were more likely to commit suicide during the first few weeks of Daylight Saving Time (DST) than at any other time during the year, and another study showed that the number of serious heart attacks jumps 6% to 10% on the first three workdays after DST begins. Dr. Xiaoyong Yang, an assistant professor of comparative medicine and cellular and molecular physiology at Yale University, theorizes that shifts in biologic rhythms could trigger harmful inflammatory or metabolic changes at the cellular level, to which these individuals may be more susceptible."

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CS Profs Debate Role of Math In CS Education
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '11 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
theodp writes "Worried that his love-hate relationship with math might force him to give up the pursuit of computer science, CS student Dean Chen finds comfort from an unlikely source — the postings of CS professors on the SIGSE mailing list. 'I understand that discussing the role of math in CS is one of those religious war type issues,' writes Brad Vander Zanden. 'After 30 years in the field, I still fail to see how calculus and continuous math correlate with one's ability to succeed in many areas of computer science...I have seen many outstanding programmers who struggled with calculus and never really got it.' Dennis Frailey makes a distinction between CS research and applied CS: 'For too long, we have taught computer science as an academic discipline (as though all of our students will go on to get PhDs and then become CS faculty members) even though for most of us, our students are overwhelmingly seeking careers in which they apply computer science.' Frailey adds that part of the problem may be that some CS Profs — math gods that they may be — are ill-equipped to teach CS in a non-mathematical manner: 'Let's be honest about another aspect of the problem — what can the faculty teach? For a variety of reasons, a typical CS faculty consists mainly of individuals who specialize in CS as a discipline, often with strong mathematical backgrounds. How many of them could teach a good course in cloud computing or multi-core systems or software engineering or any of the many other topics that the graduates will find useful when they graduate? Are such courses always relegated to instructors or adjuncts or other non-tenure-track faculty?' So, how does this jibe with Slashdotters' experience?"

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The Emergency Internet Bunkers
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '11 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
Barence writes "Should the Doomsday Clock ever strike midnight, we may well discover, finally, whether or not the internet really could survive a nuclear conflict. If it could, then a handful of datacenters dotted around the world would likely be all that remains of the multi-billion-dollar hosting industry. These secretive, high-security sites, tunneled out of mountains or housed behind the blast-proof doors of one-time NATO bunkers, are home to the planet's most secure hosting providers. This article profiles the emergency internet bunkers."

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Investigating the Performance of Firefox 4 and IE9
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '11 at 08:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
theweatherelectric writes "Mozilla's Robert O'Callahan has investigated the performance differences between Firefox 4 and IE9. He writes, 'As I explained in my last post, Microsoft's PR about "full hardware acceleration" is a myth. But it's true that some graphics benchmarks consistently report better scores for IE9 than for Firefox, so over the last few days I've been looking into that. Below I'll explain the details [of] what I've found about various commonly-cited benchmarks, but the summary is that the performance differences are explained by relatively small bugs in Firefox, bugs in IE9, and bugs in the benchmarks, not due to any major architectural issues in Firefox (as Microsoft would have you believe).'"

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US Judge Orders Twitter To Give Up WikiLeaks Data
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '11 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
cultiv8 writes "A US judge Friday ordered Twitter to hand over the data of three users in contact with the activist site WikiLeaks. 'US Magistrate Judge Theresa Buchanan rejected arguments raised by the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and a host of private attorneys representing the Twitter account holders, who had asserted that their privacy was protected by federal law, the First Amendment, and the Fourth Amendment. Buchanan rejected each of the arguments in quick succession, saying that there was no First Amendment issue because activists "have already made their Twitter posts and associations publicly available." The account holders have "no Fourth Amendment privacy interest in their IP addresses," she said, and federal privacy law did not apply because prosecutors were not seeking contents of the communications.'"

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China Switching To Home-Grown Chips For Supercomputers
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '11 at 05:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's deptartment:
rubycodez writes "The Tianhe-1A system will be the last Chinese supercomputer to use imported Intel and AMD processors. By years end, China's own 64 bit MIPS-compatible 65nm 8-core 1GHz version of the Godsen (Longsoon family) processors will be used, including 10,000 of them for the 'Dawning 6000' supercomputer. Yes, the chips can and usually do run GNU/Linux, but also can run FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and NetBSD."

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European Court of Justice Rejects Stem-Cell Patents
Posted by News Fetcher on March 12 '11 at 02:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's deptartment:
ianare writes "The European Court of Justice Friday issued a preliminary opinion that procedures involving human embryonic stem cells are not patentable — even if the process in question does not involve the direct destruction of embryos — because they are tantamount to making industrial use of human embryos, which 'would be contrary to ethics and public policy.'"

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Nuclear Emergency Declared At 2 Plants In Japan
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '11 at 11:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "CBC reports that Japan has declared a state of emergency and called for mass evacuations near two nuclear power plants following cooling systems failures that led to radiation escaping from a reactor at one location. The emergency declarations, which include five reactors at the two plants, followed Friday's 8.9-magnitude earthquake off the country's northeast coast. In a troubling announcement, Japan Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency official Ryohei Shiomi said a monitoring device outside the plant detected radiation that is eight times higher than normal and an evacuation zone has been expanded from three kilometres around the plant to 10 kilometres."

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Hacking a Car With Music
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '11 at 08:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's deptartment:
itwbennett writes "Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, and the University of Washington have identified a handful of ways a hacker could break into a car, including attacks over the car's Bluetooth and cellular network systems, or through malicious software in the diagnostic tools used in automotive repair shops. But their most interesting attack focused on the car stereo. By adding extra code to a digital music file, they were able to turn a song burned to CD into a Trojan horse. When played on the car's stereo, this song could alter the firmware of the car's stereo system, giving attackers an entry point to change other components on the car. This type of attack could be spread on file-sharing networks without arousing suspicion, they believe. 'It's hard to think of something more innocuous than a song,' said Stefan Savage, a professor at the University of California."

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Tsunami Warnings Now Faster, More Accurate
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '11 at 05:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's deptartment:
CWmike writes "As the deadly tsunami generated by Friday's massive earthquake off the coast of Japan headed toward the United States, scientists at NOAA's Center for Tsunami Research tracked its progress in real-time. Dozens of deep-ocean tsunami-monitoring sensors more than three miles beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean picked up information on the silent swell of water and transmitted it by way of a satellite to the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, Wash. here, scientists crunched the data and quickly developed real-time predictions about how and when the tsunami would reach select locations in Hawaii, Alaska and the US west coast. The models predicted the wave arrival time, estimated wave height and the likely extent of inundation for about 50 communities likely to be affected."

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Apple vs. Microsoft: a Tale of Two Mobile Updates
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '11 at 04:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's deptartment:
snydeq writes "The latest mobile updates from Apple and Microsoft provide a stark contrast, one emblematic of the differences between the two companies, InfoWorld's Ted Samson writes. Militantly on time, Apple's iOS 4.3 update offers significant new functionality, total disregard for what Apple considers outdated systems, and mandated silencing of user complaints. Microsoft, meanwhile, has finally managed to push out an alleged February update to a subset of users, along with a lamentation about having to deal with handset and carrier fragmentation."

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Ask Slashdot: Worst Computer Scene In TV or Movies?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '11 at 03:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
Cuban Devil writes "Yesterday I rented a copy of The Social Network. I won't comment on the story, but the Zuckerberg character's narrated performance on hacking Harvard servers made me wonder: what's the worst computer-related acting performance ever? I leave here my vote: Independence Day, when I had to see Mr. Goldblum upload a virus, using a Mac, when it did not connect even to an ethernet network, compromising the entire alien fleet. What other major technological gaffes have you seen?"

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'Son of ACTA' Worse Than Original
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '11 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "TechDirt has the latest on the leaked US proposals for the 'Son of ACTA' treaty and it looks worse than the original. It's practically a checklist for how to kill innovation while making lawyers rich. In particular, they call for expanding what's patentable, blocking people from buying copyrighted goods in other countries and taking them home, expanding liability for ISPs whose users commit acts of infringement, forcing ISPs to identify their users to anyone on demand, and getting rid of third-party patent review while expanding the presumption that they're valid. The only way it could get any worse would be if it were enacted in law."

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NASA To Host Open Source Summit
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '11 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
PyroMosh writes "'On March 29 & 30, NASA will host its first Open Source Summit at Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. This event will bring together engineers and policy makers across NASA and respected members of the open source community to discuss the challenges with the existing open source policy framework, and propose modifications that would make it easier for NASA to develop, release, and use open source software.' It's nice to see NASA keeping up the spirit of give-and-take that OSS is built around."

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Game Maker Says 40% of iTunes In-App Buys Are Fraud
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '11 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
chicksdaddy writes "Hong Kong-based Lakoo, maker of the Empire Online game, says that 4 in 10 in-application purchases by users of the iOS version of its MMORPG are fraudulent, and made through compromised iTunes accounts. But Apple has turned a deaf ear to its requests for help to stop the bogus activity."

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Improving Nature's Top Recyclers
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '11 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
aarondubrow sends in this snippet from an article at the Texas Advanced Computing Center:"Over billions of years, fungi and bacteria have evolved enzymes to convert abundant cellulosic plant matter into sugars to use as energy sources to sustain life. It's a great trick, but unfortunately, these enzymes don't work fast enough...yet. So computational scientists at NREL, in collaboration with a large experimental enzyme engineering group, set about trying to understand and design enhanced enzymes to ... lower the cost of biomass-derived fuel to serve the global population (abstract)."

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Brazilian Spider Bite May Become the Next Viagra
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '11 at 01:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Scientists believe a spider could lead to a breakthrough in sexual health after finding a single bite can cause a four-hour erection. According to the report, researchers at the Medical College of Georgia believe the venom of the Brazilian wandering spider could lead to a new cure for erectile dysfunction. Dr Kenia Nunes, a physiologist at the college, said it works in a different way to Viagra. 'This is good because we know that some patients don't respond to the conventional therapy. This could be an optional treatment for them,' she said. Her study, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, involved experiments using hypertensive rats with severe erectile dysfunction."

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What Data Mining Firms Know About You
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '11 at 12:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
storagedude writes "Time writer Joel Stein spent three months learning what data mining companies know about him. After learning everything the companies had profiled about him (some of it inaccurate) — social security number, age, marital status, religion, income, debt, interests, browsing and spending habits — he had a surprising reaction: complacency. '... oddly, the more I learned about data mining, the less concerned I was. Sure, I was surprised that all these companies are actually keeping permanent files on me. But I don't think they will do anything with them that does me any harm. There should be protections for vulnerable groups, and a government-enforced opt-out mechanism would be great for accountability. But I'm pretty sure that, like me, most people won't use that option. Of the people who actually find the Ads Preferences page — and these must be people pretty into privacy — only 1 in 8 asks to opt out of being tracked. The rest, apparently, just like to read privacy rules."

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Smartphone Device Detects Cancer In an Hour
Posted by News Fetcher on March 11 '11 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
kkleiner writes "Scientists at the Center for Systems Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital have integrated a microNMR device that accurately detects cancer cells and integrates with a smartphone (abstract). Though just a prototype, this device enables a clinician to extract small amounts of cells from a mass inside of a patient, analyze the sample on the spot, acquire the results in an hour, and pass the results to other clinicians and into medical records rapidly. How much does the device cost to make? $200. Seriously, smartphones just got their own Samuel L. Jackson-esque wallet."Reader Stoobalou points out other cancer-related news that Norwegian researchers have found a group of genes that increase a person's risk to develop lung cancer.

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