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Wikipedia Works To Close Gender Gap
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '11 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes writes "The Wikimedia Foundation collaborated on a study of Wikipedia's contributor base last year and discovered that it was barely 13 percent women and set a goal to bring it up to 25 percent by 2015. But now the NY Times (reg. may be required) reports that progress in reaching that goal is running up against the traditions of the computer world and an obsessive fact-loving realm that is dominated by men and, some say, uncomfortable for women. 'The big problem is that the current Wikipedia community is what came about by letting things develop naturally,' says Kat Walsh, a member of the Wikimedia board. 'Trying to influence it in another direction is no longer the easiest path, and requires conscious effort to change.' Joseph Reagle says that Wikipedia shares many characteristics with the hard-driving hacker crowd including an ideology that resists any efforts to impose rules or even goals like diversity, as well as a culture that may discourage women. Adopting openness means being 'open to very difficult, high-conflict people, even misogynists,' adds Reagle, 'so you have to have a huge argument about whether there is the problem.'"

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Anonymous Isn't Anonymous Anymore
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '11 at 10:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Apparently some small security firm has been able to determine the real identity's of several key Anonymous hackers which is resulting in a ton of arrests. From the article: 'An international investigation into cyber-activists who attacked businesses hostile to WikiLeaks is likely to yield arrests of senior members of the group after they left clues to their real identities on Facebook and in other electronic communications, it is claimed.'"

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Are Flickr Images Abused By Foreign Businesses?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '11 at 08:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "My friend Drew was notified via Twitter that one of his Flickr images had been selected as poster child for freeloaders who abuse the benefits system in an Elsevier news story in the Netherlands. The original image clearly gives an CC BY-NC 2.0 license to the image which doesn't appear in the story — a story which generates revenue for Elsevier. My friend doesn't speak Dutch so he's a little confused about what, if anything, he can do in this situation. I'm reminded of a family's Christmas photo showing up on a billboard in Prague and I wonder if photo sharing sites are treated as free to abuse regardless of copyright by foreign businesses? Has anyone else heard of this sort of thing happening with images from social photo sharing sites?"

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NFL Teams Considering IPads To Replace Playbooks
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '11 at 07:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's deptartment:
bonch writes "Pete Walsh, technology head for the Dallas Cowboys, says he and other teams are considering iPads and other tablets as a replacement for paper playbooks, saving about 5,000 pages of printouts per game. Not only is it a huge savings in paper, but a lost iPad might also be remotely wiped to prevent a team's plays falling into the wrong hands. One concern is security and whether or not a tablet could be wirelessly hacked."

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Debian 6.0 Released In GNU/Linux, FreeBSD Flavors
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '11 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
itwbennett writes "After two years of work, the Debian Project has announced the release of Debian 6.0. 'There are many goodies in Debian 6.0 GNU/Linux, not the least of which is the new completely free-as-in-freedom Linux kernel, which no longer contains firmware modules that Debian developers found troublesome,' says blogger Brian Proffitt. And in addition to Debian GNU/Linux, Debian GNU/kFreeBSD is introduced as a technology preview. 'Debian GNU/kFreeBSD will port both a 32- and 64-bit PC version of the FreeBSD kernel into the Debian userspace, making them the first Debian release without a Linux kernel,' says Proffitt. 'The Debian Project is serious about the technology preview label, though: these FreeBSD-based versions will have limited advanced desktop features.' The release notes and installation manual have been posted, and installation images may be downloaded right now via bittorrent, jigdo, or HTTP."

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Tethered, Water-Powered Jetpack Provides Two Hours of Flight Time
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '11 at 02:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
arshadk writes "Unlike 'ordinary' jetpacks, the JetLev is actually two vehicles, tethered by a hose the thickness of your thigh. On the water is a small speedboat-like unit which contains a 250 horsepower motor and a pump. This is connected to the pack — into which you strap your frail body — by a 10-meter hose. The water is pumped from the sea or lake below up to the nozzles on the jetpack, providing a 1,900-Newton thrust, enough to lift a human weighing up to 150 kilos."

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Research Finds That Electric Fields Help Neurons Fire
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '11 at 11:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "'[T]he brain is enveloped in countless overlapping electric fields, generated by the neural circuits of scores of communicating neurons. ... New work ... suggests that the fields do much more—and that they may, in fact, represent an additional form of neural communication. "In other words," says Anastassiou, the lead author of a paper about the work appearing in the journal Nature Neuroscience (abstract), "while active neurons give rise to extracellular fields, the same fields feed back to the neurons and alter their behavior," even though the neurons are not physically connected—a phenomenon known as ephaptic (or field) coupling. "So far, neural communication has been thought to occur almost entirely via traffic involving synapses, the junctions where one neuron connects to the next one. Our work suggests an additional means of neural communication through the extracellular space independent of synapses."' If this work is replicated, it could reveal that the brain is even more complicated and sophisticated than we thought — and raise new concerns about whether our cellphones and other electronic gizmos are affecting brain activity and memory. This is truly paradigm-busting work."

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Canada Courts Quash Gov't Decision On Globalive
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '11 at 08:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
sitkill writes "A Canadian Federal Court ruling has rejected the Tory Cabinet's decision to overturn a CRTC mandate not allowing Globalive (which is more commonly known in Canada as the mobile carrier Wind) to operate in Canada. This is a small vindication to the embattled CRTC, which has been recently in the spotlight for its decision on usage based billing, drawing criticism from the Tory Cabinet. The CEO, Mr. Lacavera, stressed that this would not result in Globalive's Wind Mobile being shut down, simply that it would require another round of wrangling with the regulator over how much foreign influence is acceptable in a Canadian telecommunications company."

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UnXis Group To Acquire SCO
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '11 at 05:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
Evil-G writes "In an email on Friday, SCO informed its partners that UnXis Inc. was chosen as the successful bidder for SCO's Unix software business on 26 January. The slightly convoluted phrasing is probably due to SCO's current reorganization under Chapter 11. On 16 February, the transaction is to be submitted for approval to the bankruptcy court where SCO's case is pending."

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Bill Gates Says Anti-Vaccine Effort Kills Children
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '11 at 03:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes writes "CNN has an interesting interview with Bill Gates who says that unbelievable progress is being made in both inventing new vaccines and making sure they get out to all the children who need them. The improvements could cut the number of children who die every year from about 9 million to half that. But Gates has harsh words for those who engage in anti-vaccine efforts, especially Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who falsified data to 'prove' a fraudulent link between vaccines and autism. 'It's an absolute lie that has killed thousands of kids,' says Gates. 'Because the mothers who heard that lie, many of them didn't have their kids take either pertussis or measles vaccine, and their children are dead today.'"

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US Gov't Pushing News Through China's Great Firewall
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '11 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "The US government's Broadcasting Board of Governors has revealed in a completed FOIA request the development, testing and planned use of Feed Over E-mail (FOE) to push news through China's firewall. This FOIA request (PDF) indicates that the US government is interested in making sure Chinese people receive up-to-date news, and it wants to expand the arsenal of anti-censorship tools (for news at least). The FOE project is GPLv3 and maintained by Sho Ho of BBG."

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Pentagon Sets Tone For Future Space Exploration
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '11 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
coondoggie writes "It obviously leans heavily on the military's concerns for outer space exploration, but the National Security Space Strategy (PDF) released yesterday by the Department of Defense outlines concerns like protection from space junk and system security that all space travelers in theory would want addressed. The NSSS document emphasizes the Obama administration's desire to protect US space assets and to further commercialize space but also to ensure that the US and international partners have unfettered access to outer space."

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Is Setting Up an Offshore IT Help Desk Ethical?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '11 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
theodp writes "Except for a few odd jobs,' wrote an advice seeker to The Ethicist (NYT, reg. may be required), 'I had been out of work for nine months when I was offered a job setting up an [IT] offshore help desk. Would it be ethical to accept the offer?' Randy Cohen, who pens The Ethicist column for the Times, not only advised the job seeker that it was indeed okay to help co-workers lose their jobs, but also seemed to suggest that it would be unethical for him not to offshore the jobs, saying: 'Some people feel we have a greater ethical duty to those closest to us — our neighbors — but in an era of global trade and travel, that is a recipe for tribalism and its attendant ills.' The job seeker, who noted his father's auto-industry job was outsourced, chose to ignore Cohen's ethics advice — as well as his own wife's — and declined the job out of principle. He continues to seek work. Comments?"

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Hackers Penetrate Nasdaq Computer Networks
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '11 at 10:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
PatPending tips a Wall Street Journal report claiming that hackers have repeatedly broken into the computer networks of the company running the Nasdaq Stock Exchange."The exchange's trading platform—the part of the system that executes trades—wasn't compromised, these people said. However, it couldn't be determined which other parts of Nasdaq's computer network were accessed. Investigators are considering a range of possible motives, including unlawful financial gain, theft of trade secrets and a national-security threat designed to damage the exchange. The Nasdaq situation has set off alarms within the government because of the exchange's critical role, which officials put right up with power companies and air-traffic-control operations, all part of the nation's basic infrastructure."

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Nearly 100,000 P2P Users Sued In the Past Year
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '11 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "The avalanche of copyright infringement lawsuits in the United States, mainly against BitTorrent users, are about to hit a dubious milestone. In total 99,924 defendants have been sued in the last 12 months, and new cases are being filed at a rapid rate. Adult companies in particular have embraced the profitable pay-up-or-else scheme where tens of millions of dollars are at stake."Though, as other readers point out, both judges and cable companies are getting tired of the endless subpoenas in P2P porn cases.

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ACLU's Mobile Privacy Developer Challenge
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '11 at 08:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Privacy groups announced a mobile privacy developer challenge yesterday. The competition, Develop for Privacy, challenges mobile app developers to create tools that help ordinary mobile device users understand and protect their privacy. It's sponsored by the ACLU of Northern California, the ACLU of Washington, and the Tor Project, with the assistance of the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner's Office. Submission deadline is May 31, 2011. The winner will be announced in August 2011 at an event in Las Vegas, coinciding with the DEFCON and Black Hat security conferences."

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Sputnik Moment Or No, Science Fairs Are Lagging
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '11 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "The NY Times is running a story about the response from some high school science teachers to Obama's State of the Union address. It's nice that he wants to celebrate science fair winners, they say, but his obsession with standardized math and reading test scores means they have no time to teach students the fundamentals of how to do science. 'I have so many state standards I have to teach concept-wise, it takes time away from what I find most valuable, which is to have them inquire about the world,' said one teacher."

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Sarah Palin Seeks To Trademark Her Name
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '11 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "The LA Times reports that former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has filed paperwork with the US Patent and Trademark Office in November to trademark her name. On her initial application, Palin listed usage of the trademark for a website featuring information about political issues; and educational and entertainment services, including motivational speaking in the fields of politics, culture, business and values. Legal experts say it is relatively unusual for politicians to formally trademark their names because they are generally not associated with commercially valuable products or services and that trademarking a name is more common for celebrities in the fields of entertainment, fashion or sports. 'Sarah is somebody who is now out of government and pursuing other activities, in particular, speaking engagements ... and it looks like she's looking to protect her name with those activities,' says attorney Claudia Ray."

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Viacom Closes MTV Games
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '11 at 04:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "The Escapist is reporting that the MTV Games division of Viacom is being closed. After selling off Harmonix for an alleged equivalent of a single Red Lobster Gift Card, it turns out that Viacom's division known as MTV Games has little left on its plate. There's some bickering over missed performance-based payments, and MTV Games failed to secure a publishing deal for all the Rock Band games in Europe — which appeared to be the final nail in the coffin for them."

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UK File-Sharing Lawyers ACS:Law Shut Up Shop Ahead of Court
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '11 at 02:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's deptartment:
nk497 writes "Controversial legal firm ACS Law and its sole file-sharing client Media CAT have shut down their businesses, days before a ruling is due in a case they brought to the UK Patent Court. ACS Law is infamous for sending out letters to alleged illegal file sharers, demanding payment and threatening law suits. Now that ACS has a case before a judge, it's trying to drop the cases, and has now completely closed its doors. The defendants' lawyers are trying to keep the case going, in order to be able to claim back costs." That sounds right in line with other recent ACS happenings, from getting upbraided by a judge to being blacklisted by an ISP, and even putting the brakes on the file-sharing cases themselves.

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