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SCOTUS Nominee Kagan on Free Speech Issues
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '10 at 05:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's she's-a-shoe-in-anyway deptartment:
DesScorp submitted one of a few stories I've seen about Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, who's confirmation hearings are supposed to start to day (despite being a formality given that she has the votes pretty much locked up). "SCOTUS nominee Elena Kagan hasn't left much of a paper trail during her legal career, which may make gauging her ideas and opinions somewhat difficult. But there are some positions she has made clear statements on, among them, pornography and "hate speech". In a 1993 University of Chicago seminar on the subject, Kagan argued that the government wasn't doing enough about the spread of porn or hate speech. She argued that new approaches were needed to fight their spread, as well as taking a fresh look at old approaches, such as obscenity laws. Kagan included herself among""those of us who favor some form of pornography and hate speech regulation" and told participants that "a great deal can be done very usefully" to crack down on such evils."

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ACTA Is Backta, New Round of Talks Start Today
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '10 at 05:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's forgive-me-rhyming-gods deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement resume today in Lucerne, Switzerland with the ninth round of talks. The Toronto Star highlights the mounting opposition to the deal from developing world countries such as India and China, while Michael Geist has posted a video of a recent lecture that provides background on the agreement and where things currently stand."

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VP8 Codec Coming To FFmpeg
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '10 at 04:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's small-fast deptartment:
Jim Buzbee writes "Interested in Google's VP8 codec? Well, so were the FFmpeg guys, so they went ahead and wrote their own native decoder in only 1400 lines of unique code. They were able to keep the line-count low by relying on heavy reuse from the existing H.264 codebase."

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Best Phone For a Wi-Fi-Only Location?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 28 '10 at 12:31 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's cutting-the-tower deptartment:
bendodge writes "I am planning on heading to a university in a remote area with very poor cellular service (the only signal is spotty Verizon voice, no data). However, the entire campus is thoroughly blanketed in Wi-Fi. I am trying to find the best and most economical 'Wi-Fi phone' or else hack one together. Belkin/Netgear sell what is essentially a portable Skype device for $180. These folks recommend outfitting an iPod Touch with a mic and VoIP apps. I am looking for something that can make and receive calls to and from landlines with incoming call notification. What experiences have Slashdot readers had and what would you recommend?"

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UK Video Game Tax Cuts Sabotaged?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 27 '10 at 10:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-wonder-if-it-rhymes-with-shmactivision deptartment:
ninjacheeseburger writes "Develop recently published an article claiming that the UK government was put under pressure by one of the biggest game companies in the world to cancel planned tax breaks for video game developers. This company had apparently viewed game tax relief as a measure that would have given the UK an unfair advantage over other nations."

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Kahn Academy Delivers 100,000 Lectures Daily
Posted by News Fetcher on June 27 '10 at 08:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's soup-to-nuts-to-linear-algebra deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "Working from the comfort of his home, Salman Kahn has made available over fifteen hundred mini-lectures to educate the world. Subjects range from math and physics to finance, biology, and current economics. Kahn Academy amounts to little more than a YouTube channel and one very, very devoted man. He is trying to provide education in the way he wished he had been taught. With over 100,000 video views a day, the man is definitely making a measurable difference for many students young and old. In his FAQ he explains how he knows he is being effective. What will probably ensure his popularity (and provide a legacy surpassing that of the most highly-paid educators) is that everything is licensed under Creative Commons 3.0. He only needs his time, a $200 Camtasia Recorder, an $80 Wacom Bamboo Tablet, and a free copy of SmoothDraw3. While the lecturing may not be quite up to the Feynman level, it's a great augmenter for advanced learners, and a lifeline for those without much access to learning resources."

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Verizon Charged Marine's Widow an Early Termination Fee
Posted by News Fetcher on June 27 '10 at 08:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's literal-charges deptartment:
In a decision that was reversed as soon as someone with half-a-brain in their PR department learned about it, Verizon charged a widow a $350 early termination fee. After the death of her marine husband, Michaela Brummund decided to move back to her home town to be with her family. Verizon doesn't offer any coverage in the small town so Michaela tried to cancel her contract, only to be hit with an early termination fee. From the article: "'I called them to cancel. I told them the situation with my husband. I even said I would provide a death certificate,' Michaela said. Despite the circumstances, Verizon is imposing a $350 early termination fee."

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Porting Lemmings In 36 Hours
Posted by News Fetcher on June 27 '10 at 07:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's first-in-line deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Aaron Ardiri challenged himself to port his classic PalmOS version of Lemmings to the iPhone, Palm Pre, Mac and Windows. The porting was done using his own dev environment, which creates native C versions of the game. He liveblogged the whole thing, and finished after only 36 hours with an iPhone version and a Palm Pre version awaiting submission, and free versions for Windows and Mac available on his site."

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Neutrino Data Could Spell Trouble For Relativity
Posted by News Fetcher on June 27 '10 at 06:00 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's stay-put-will-you deptartment:
Science News has an exploration of the deeper implications of neutrino oscillation, one experimental confirmation of which we discussed last month. "The new findings could even signal a tiny breakdown of Einstein's theory of special relativity... MINOS [for Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search] found that during a 735-kilometer journey from Fermilab to the Soudan Underground Laboratory in Minnesota, about 37 percent of muon antineutrinos disappeared — presumably morphing into one of the other neutrino types — compared with just 19 percent of muon neutrinos... That difference in transformation rates suggests a difference in mass between antineutrinos and neutrinos... With the amount of data collected so far, there's a 5 percent probability that the two types of particles weigh the same."

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Sen. Bond Disses Internet 'Kill Switch' Bill
Posted by News Fetcher on June 27 '10 at 03:00 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's clean-neat-simple-quick deptartment:
GovTechGuy writes "Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) has introduced his own cybersecurity legislation with Sen. Orrin Hatch, and he had some harsh words for a competing bill sponsored by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security. Bond said that bill, which has been criticized for allegedly giving the president a 'kill switch' over the Internet, weighs down the private sector with mandates and puts too much on the plate of the already overburdened Department of Homeland Security. Sen. Bond's bill would create a new position in the Pentagon, reporting directly to the President, in charge of coordinating all civilian cybersecurity. Any private-sector involvement would be voluntary and free from legal challenge, rather than mandated."

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Chase Bank May Drop Support of Chrome, Opera
Posted by News Fetcher on June 27 '10 at 01:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's chasing-last-century's-technology deptartment:
mwandaw writes "Banking giant JPMorgan Chase may drop support of some popular browsers because they do '...not all offer the minimum levels of security that we require while others may not perform well with our site.' After July 18 you may not be able to access the website with a browser that they do not support. The list of browsers they currently support seems outdated: Internet Explorer 6.0 and higher, Firefox 2.0 and higher, and Safari 3.0 and higher (for Macs only). With usage of IE6 plummeting and concerns about its security well known, the inclusion of that browser seems suspect. On the other extreme, rising star Chrome appears to be left out, too. What does Google think of that?"

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Verizon Charged Marine's Widow an Early Termination Fee
Posted by News Fetcher on June 27 '10 at 01:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's literal-charges deptartment:
In a decision that was reversed as soon as someone with half-a-brain in their PR department learned about it, Verizon charged a widow a $350 early termination fee. After the death of her marine husband, Michaela Brummund decided to move back to her home town to be with her family. Verizon doesn't offer any coverage in the small town so Michaela tried to cancel her contract, only to be hit with an early termination fee. From the article: "'I called them to cancel. I told them the situation with my husband. I even said I would provide a death certificate,' Michaela said. Despite the circumstances, Verizon is imposing a $350 early termination fee."

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The Pirate Bay's Founding Organization Shuts Down
Posted by News Fetcher on June 27 '10 at 12:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's mission-pretty-much-accomplished deptartment:
kcurtis sent the news that Piratbryån, the lobbying organization out of which The Pirate Bay sprang, has disbanded. (The torrent tracker is alive and well.) "Piratbyrån had many purposes, but could be described as a pro-piracy lobbying organization. It was founded in response to Antipiratbyrån, the local anti-piracy outfit in Sweden. The goal was to start a debate on copyright issues and how they affect society. Until then, most press in Sweden would simply take everything Antipiratbyrån said for granted. Internationally, Piratbyrån is mostly known for launching The Pirate Bay in the fall of 2003, just a few months after the group itself was founded. ... The final decision to disband the group came after Ibi Kopimi Botani, a prominent member and co-founder of the group, passed away. Without one of its greatest minds, the group would never be the same again, Piratbyrån's member felt."

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Company Protects Australians With It's "Portector"
Posted by News Fetcher on June 27 '10 at 11:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's webbing-for-the-web deptartment:
jalovick writes "With all the talk of Internet filtering in Australia and the high cost to implement the filter, an Australian technology distributor has come up with a cheaper solution to the governments Internet filter. The Kogan Portector."

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China Bans Military Personnel From Blogging
Posted by News Fetcher on June 27 '10 at 11:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's online-traps deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "China has banned all 2.3M members of its military from blogging — even personal, non-military blogs. From the announcement of the new regulation: 'Soldiers cannot open blogs on the Internet no matter (whether) he or she does it in the capacity of a soldier or not. The Internet is complicated and we should guard against online traps.' While the official word seems to not be translated to English yet, the same apparently goes for websites or homepages owned by soldiers; there is no indication as to whether or not this applies to sites like Facebook or Renren (which the USMC bans). Similarly, as of 2007, the US requires active duty soldiers to clear any posting with a superior officer, and Israel had to cancel an operation due to a Facebook status update. A military blog aggregating site claims only a few Chinese military blogs indexed, but it looks like as of June 15 that list may have shortened."

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Security For Open Source Web Projects?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 27 '10 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's get-your-hands-on-some-military-level-ice deptartment:
PoissonPilote writes "I'm currently developing a multi-player, browser-based game, using the good old HTML, JavaScript, PHP & MySQL combination. Progress is good so far, and the number of players is slowly but steadily increasing. At the beginning of the project, I decided to put the entirety of my game under the MIT license, so that anyone could study the code or even start their own server for the game. However, with the increasing popularity of my project, I am starting to worry about security issues. Even though I consider myself decent at web development and am pretty sure I'm not making any classic mistakes (SQL injection, cross-site scripting, URL forgery, etc.), I am no web security expert. I didn't find any relevant examples to compare my game to, as most open source games are written in a compiled language, and no web server is at stake in those cases. Some web developer friends told me not to release the source code at all; others told me to release it only when the game will be shut down. Naturally, I'm not satisfied by either of these solutions. What approach would you recommend?"

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ICANN Approves .xxx Suffix For Porn Websites
Posted by News Fetcher on June 27 '10 at 08:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's if-you-build-it deptartment:
An anonymous reader tips news that ICANN has officially approved the creation of a .xxx suffix for porn sites, confirming the rumors we discussed on Thursday. While this resolves a 10-year debate on the subject, the Guardian notes that "many pornography companies are unhappy with the idea of a dedicated space online because they expect that as soon as .xxx is implemented, conservative members of the US Congress will lobby to make any sex-related website re-register there and remove itself from other domains such as .com or .org." Others are more confident, like Stuart Lawley of ICM Registry, the company sponsoring the new TLD. "Mr. Lawley said more than 100,000 domains had preregistered. He said he expected that when the dot-xxx domains opened for business, nine to 12 months from now, some 500,000 domains would register, or roughly 10 percent of the five million to six million adult online sites."

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MIT Says Natural Gas Best To Lower Carbon Emissions
Posted by News Fetcher on June 27 '10 at 07:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's pelican-friendly-solution deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "This week MIT released a comprehensive, hundred-page report entitled 'The Future of Natural Gas' that outlined the many scenarios the United States faces when aiming to reduce carbon emissions. From the NY Times recap: 'The scenario goes like this, according to MIT: Nuclear power, renewable energy and carbon capture and sequestration are relatively expensive next to gas. Conventional coal is no longer a major source of power generation in the United States. "Natural gas is the substantial winner in the electric sector: The substitution effect, mainly gas generation for coal generation, outweighs the demand reduction effect."' Will this urging help to produce a policy shift from renewable energy (like wind) to natural gas for the United States?"

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BBC To Create Internet Protocol TV Standard
Posted by News Fetcher on June 27 '10 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's five-years-too-late deptartment:
Robadob sends word that the BBC has been granted approval for Project Canvas, "a partnership between the BBC, ITV, BT, Five, Channel 4, and TalkTalk to develop a so-called Internet Protocol Television standard." The approval came with several interesting requirements: "Project Canvas must always remain free-to-air but users 'may be charged for additional pay services that third parties might choose to provide via the Canvas platform, for example video on demand services, as well as the broadband subscription fees.' Access to Project Canvas must not be 'bundled with other products or services' and 'listing on the electronic program guide will be awarded in a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner." In addition, a preliminary draft of the tech specs for the project must be published within 20 working days, in order to allow broadcasters and manufacturers of set-top boxes to adopt the new standards. Significantly, "Other broadcasters and content providers must have access to the platform."

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Intel, NVIDIA Take Shots At CPU vs. GPU Performance
Posted by News Fetcher on June 27 '10 at 04:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's army-boots deptartment:
MojoKid writes "In the past, NVIDIA has made many claims of how porting various types of applications to run on GPUs instead of CPUs can tremendously improve performance — by anywhere from 10x to 500x. Intel has remained relatively quiet on the issue until recently. The two companies fired shots this week in a pre-Independence Day fireworks show. The recent announcement that Intel's Larrabee core has been re-purposed as an HPC/scientific computing solution may be partially responsible for Intel ramping up an offensive against NVIDIA's claims regarding GPU computing."

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