By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's arm-the-lawsuit-cannon department
First time accepted submitter discussM
tipped us to a story about a recently granted patent in which "a system and method preventing unauthorized access to copyrighted academic texts
is provided in which trademark licenses, discussion boards, and grade content are integrated into a web-based system that aligns the interests of teaching professionals, students, and publishers while also enhancing the overarching academic mission to create and disseminate knowledge." Quoting Torrent Freak: "As part of a course, students will have to participate in a web-based discussion board, an activity which counts towards their final grade. To gain access to the board students need a special code
, which they get by buying the associated textbook." But don't worry too much, from Ars: "Beyond the legal questions, other experts suggested forcing students to buy texts through such a system is unlikely to be implemented
. Professors have few incentives to make it more difficult and to compel students even more than they already are to buy textbooks, digital or analog. (A 2011 survey from UC Riverside found that 78 percent of undergraduates 'bought fewer books, bought cheaper books or read books on reserve to help meet expenses.')"Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's behold-the-power-of-technology department
writes with an update on the Mars Science Laboratory
. From the article: "Even as it hurtles towards an August 5 rendezvous with the red planet, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is being fine-tuned for a more precise landing and better operations once it reaches its destination. NASA today gave a status report for the MSL which was launched November 2011, and is still over 17.5 million kilometers away from Mars. Of major interest today was the fact NASA said it has narrowed landing target for the Mars rover, Curiosity letting it touch down closer to its ultimate destination for science operations, but also closer to the foot of a mountain slope that poses a landing hazard, the agency said."
From NASA: "The larger ellipse, 12.4 miles (20 kilometers) by 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) was already smaller than the landing target area for any previous Mars mission, due to this mission's techniques for improved landing precision. Continuing analysis after the Nov. 26, 2011, launch resulted in confidence in landing within an even smaller area
[handy diagram], about 12 miles by 4 miles (20 by 7 kilometers). Using the smaller ellipse, the Mars Science Laboratory Project also moved the center of the target closer to the mountain, which holds geological layers that are the prime destination for the rover. ... 'We're trimming the distance we'll have to drive after landing by almost half,' said Pete Theisinger, Mars Science Laboratory project manager ... 'That could get us to the mountain months earlier.'"Read Replies (0)
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's and-you-though-microsoft-was-fast department
An anonymous reader writes with news of Meebo's fate, a mere six days after being acquired by Google
. From the article: "Meebo, which began in 2005 as a browser based instant messaging program, will now cease most of its services by next month. The IM service supported various IM platforms such as Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, AIM, ICQ, MySpaceIM, Facebook Chat, Google Talk, CafeMom and others."
Their cash cow, the Meebo bar, will "...continue to be available to site publishers and will see continued improvements and new features
in the weeks and months ahead." With Meebo killing off their messenger, are there any good Android chat alternatives that aren't tied to Google Talk?Read Replies (0)