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Methane-Trapping Ice May Have Triggered Gulf Spill
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '10 at 04:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's packs-a-punch deptartment:
sciencehabit writes with an excerpt from Science that begins: "Methane-trapping ice of the kind that has frustrated the first attempt to contain oil gushing offshore of Louisiana may have been a root cause of the blowout that started the spill in the first place, according to [UC Berkeley] professor Robert Bea, who has extensive access to BP p.l.c. documents on the incident. If methane hydrates are eventually implicated, the US oil and gas industry would have to tread even more lightly as it pushes farther and farther offshore in search of energy."

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Biggest Detector To Look For Gravitational Waves
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '10 at 03:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's mission-of-gravity deptartment:
Hugh Pickens sends in coverage in the Telegraph of a joint NASA-ESA experimental mission, to launch around 2020. It involves three spacecraft orbiting the Sun, separated by 3 million miles, each with a payload of two lasers and a 4.6-cm cube of gold-platinum alloy. The point of it all is to look for gravitational waves. The mission is called LISA, a reasonably non-strained acronym for Laser Interferometer Space Antenna. The Telegraph makes a point of LISA being the largest experiment ever constructed (in terms of its dimensions). Neither that newspaper nor the project page at NASA mentions how much the experiment will cost, but it's almost certainly an order of magnitude or more above the $66 million estimated for a gravitational wave detector the size of the galaxy, which we discussed last fall.

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"Serious Games" Industry Gains Traction
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '10 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's insert-serious-business-joke-here deptartment:
schliz writes "So-called 'serious games' are gaining traction in military, business, education, and medical applications as Gen X and Y come into power, iTnews reports. While game developers acknowledge the risk of trivializing real-world issues (as in the Six Days in Fallujah controversy), intelligently designed 'serious games' could allow complex situations to be presented in a simple way. Cisco, for example, has an amusing online games arcade that prepares networking professionals for a variety of certifications."

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Bill Gates Funds Seawater-Spraying Cloud Machines
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '10 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's blue-sky-of-death deptartment:
lucidkoan writes "Environmentalists have long argued about whether geoengineering (using technology to alter the climate) is a good way to tackle climate change. But the tactic has some heavy hitters on its side, including Bill Gates. The Microsoft founder recently announced plans to invest $300,000 into research for machines that suck up seawater and spray it into the air, seeding white clouds that reflect rays of sunlight away from Earth. The machines, developed by a San Francisco-based research group called Silver Lining, turn seawater into tiny particles that can be shot up over 3,000 feet in the air. The particles increase the density of clouds by increasing the amount of nuclei contained within."

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Canonical Bringing an Instant-On Ubuntu
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '10 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's feeling-the-heat-from-chrome-os deptartment:
Today at the Ubuntu Developers Summit, Mark Shuttleworth presented a few upcoming Ubuntu projects, including "Light" versions of the operating system for "both netbook and desktop, that are optimized for dual-boot scenarios." Shuttleworth also took the wraps off Unity, a new lightweight interface that will be included in Ubuntu Light and eventually in Ubuntu Netbook Edition as well. "First, we want to move the bottom panel to the left of the screen, and devote that to launching and switching between applications. That frees up vertical space for web content, at the cost of horizontal space, which is cheaper in a widescreen world. ... Second, we'll expand that left-hand launcher panel so that it is touch-friendly. With relatively few applications required for instant-on environments, we can afford to be more generous with the icon size there. ... Third, we will make the top panel smarter." Ars got a chance to try out a prototype of Unity, saying, "Its unique visual style melds beautifully with Ubuntu's new default theme and its underlying interaction model seems compelling and well-suited for small screens."

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Android Sales Surpass iPhone OS Sales
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '10 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's battle-for-second-place deptartment:
gollum123 writes with this excerpt from VentureBeat: "Smartphones based on Google's Android mobile operating system have outsold Apple's iPhone in the US during the first quarter of 2010, according to a report by research firm The NPD Group. The data places Android, with 28 percent of the smartphone market [last quarter], in second place behind RIM's Blackberry smartphone market share of 36 percent. Apple now sits in third place with 21 percent. NPD points to a Verizon buy-one-get-one-free promotion for all of its smartphones as a major factor in the first quarter numbers. Verizon saw strong sales for the Motorola Droid and Droid Eris Android phones, as well as the Blackberry Curve, thanks to its promotional offer. Verizon launched a $100 million marketing campaign for the Droid when it hit the market in November 2009, which likely attributed to strong sales in the first quarter as well." Preston Gralla notes that it's not all bad news for Apple; this report could help their case in upcoming antitrust discussions.

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Businesses Struggle To Control Social Networking
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '10 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's some-struggles-are-doomed-to-failure deptartment:
Lucas123 writes "Businesses in highly regulated industries are trying to strike a balance between workers who use social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to communicate and trying to satisfy federal requirements to monitor, capture and audit all forms of electronic communications. As with instant messaging a decade ago, corporations are first blocking all access to the applications, and then considering what tools may be available to control them in the future. A cottage industry is being built around software that can not only control access to social networking websites but also ensure conversations over those websites can be stored for electronic discovery purposes."

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Hacking Vim 7.2
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '10 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it deptartment:
briancarper writes "Vim is an open-source text editor with a power and flexibility matched only by the steepness of its learning curve. As the author of this book states, 'Vim Can Do Everything' but configuring it to do so is sometimes daunting. Hacking Vim 7.2 aims to help the average Vimmer get the most out of customizing Vim, for fun and productivity." Read on for the rest of briancarper's review.

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Twitter Bug Lets Users Force Others To Follow Them
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '10 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's take-that-conan deptartment:
Several readers have sent word of a Twitter bug which has been allowing users to make any other user follow them by simply tweeting "accept (username)". People have been abusing it to make the accounts of various celebrities and publications follow them. Twitter acknowledged the bug and disabled the follow/unfollow system until they can get it fixed.

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Record-Breaking Galaxy Cluster Found
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '10 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's deeper-field deptartment:
The Bad Astronomer writes "Astronomers are reporting that they have detected the most distant cluster of galaxies ever seen: a mind-smashing 9.6 billion light years away, 400 million light years more distant than the previous record holder. The cluster, handily named SXDF-XCLJ0218-0510, was seen in infrared images by the giant Subaru telescope, and confirmed with spectroscopy and the X-ray detection of million-degree gas (a smoking gun of clusters). Every time astronomers push back the record for clusters, they learn more about the early conditions of the Universe, so this cluster will provide insight into how the Universe itself changed over the first few billion years after the Big Bang."

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HP's Slate To Be Replaced By WebOS Tablet?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '10 at 08:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's mondays-can-be-so-boring deptartment:
itwbennett writes "Last week the rumor mill was rumbling about the demise of HP's Slate. 'This past weekend brought fresh rumors to the surface,' writes blogger Peter Smith. 'Now the insiders are saying that the Slate will be reborn as the HP Hurricane, and it will run WebOS. That makes perfect sense given HP's recent purchase of Palm and HP's declaration that they were 'doubling down on WebOS.' More surprising is the rumored launch date of Q3 of this year, which seems like a pretty fast turn-around. Particularly so if HP ditches the Atom and goes with an ARM processor, which Electronista suggests it would have to do.'"

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Defense Chief Urges Big Cuts In Military Spending
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '10 at 07:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's nasa-quick-get-in-there deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says the Pentagon is wasting money it will no longer get, and focused on targets as diverse as the large number of generals and admirals, the layers of bureaucracy in the Pentagon, and the cost of military health care. 'The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, opened a gusher of defense spending that nearly doubled the base budget over the last decade,' Gates says. 'Military spending on things large and small can and should expect closer, harsher scrutiny. The gusher has been turned off, and will stay off for a good period of time.' Gates, a Republican who was carried over as Defense Secretary from the Bush administration, has already canceled or trimmed 30 weapons programs with long-term savings predicted at $330 billion, but is now seeking to convert as much as 3% of spending from 'tail' to 'tooth' — military slang for converting spending from support services to combat forces. While this may not seem like a significant savings in the Pentagon's base budget, cuts of any size are certain to run hard against entrenched constituencies. Gates's critique of top-heavy headquarters overseas was underscored by the location of the speech — the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. President Eisenhower, the supreme allied commander in Europe during World War II, warned the nation of the menacing influence of an emerging 'military-industrial complex' in his farewell address as president in 1960. 'Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals,' said Eisenhower, 'so that security and liberty may prosper together.'"

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3rd-Grader Busted For Jolly Rancher Possession
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '10 at 07:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's step-away-from-the-candy deptartment:
theodp writes "A third-grader in a small Texas school district received a week's detention for merely possessing a Jolly Rancher. Leighann Adair, 10, was eating lunch Monday when a teacher confiscated the candy. Her parents said she was in tears when she arrived home later that afternoon and handed them the detention notice. But school officials are defending the sentence, saying the school was abiding by a state guideline that banned 'minimal nutrition' foods. 'Whether or not I agree with the guidelines, we have to follow the rules,' said school superintendent Jack Ellis."

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A Peace Plan To End the Flash-on-iPhone Fight
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '10 at 06:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's why-can't-we-all-just-get-along deptartment:
GMGruman writes "As the pro- and anti-Flash camps have hardened their positions, the editors at InfoWorld have come up with a four-point peace plan that would allow Flash on the iPhone while addressing Apple's very real concerns over performance, stability, and security. Readers can vote and comment on the peace plan, which InfoWorld hopes will result in serious talks between Apple and Adobe."

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Obama Will Nominate Elena Kagan To the Supreme Court
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '10 at 05:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's let-the-battle-begin deptartment:
Mr Pink Eyes writes "President Obama has made his choice to fill the vacancy in the Supreme Court that was left by the retirement of Justice Stevens. According to this article that choice will be Elena Kagan."

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7Gbps Wi-Fi Networking Kit Could Launch In 2010
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '10 at 05:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's yeah-sure-right-uh-huh deptartment:
Mark.JUK writes "Wireless Local Area Networking (WLAN 802.11) adapters capable of speeds 'up to' 7Gigabits / per second (Gbps) could be in stores by the end of this year. The Wireless Gigabit Alliance (WiGig), which seeks to advance the worldwide adoption and use of 60GHz wireless networking technology, has published a unified specification for its approach and opened an Adopter Program. The move means that WiGig members can now begin developing Wi-Fi kit that uses the unlicensed 60GHz spectrum."

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Obama Calls Today's Ubiquitous Gadgets and Information "a Distraction"
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '10 at 04:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's what-pegs-your-truth-meter-precisely deptartment:
zaphod was one of several readers unhappy with the sentiment expressed in President Obama's graduation address to the students of Virginia's Hampton University, writing: "According to Obama, 'information becomes a distraction' when it comes to iPads, the Xbox, etc. (All items he admits not knowing how to use.) He's basically saying we are getting too much information too quickly, and from 'unreliable sources.' Of course, he's referring to talk radio, blogs and other mediums that tend to disagree with his political views." CNET has a slightly different, less critical reaction, focusing on the differences among the actual devices named; they note that the Xbox is not an iPad.

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Researchers Demo Hardware Attacks Against India's E-Voting Machines
Posted by News Fetcher on May 10 '10 at 01:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's only-the-good-guys-bother-to-explicate deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "India, the world's largest democracy, votes entirely on government made electronic voting machines that authorities claim are 'tamperproof,' 'infallible,' and 'perfect,' but last week security researchers proved that they can be manipulated to steal elections. A team led by Hari Prasad, Professor J. Alex Halderman, and Rop Gonggrijp released an awesome video that shows off hardware hacks they built. These machines are much simpler than e-voting designs used in the US, but as the research paper explains, this makes attacking the hardware even easier. Halderman's students at the University of Michigan took only about a week to build a replacement display board that lies about the vote totals, and the team also built a pocket-sized device that clips onto the memory chips, with the machine powered on, and rewrites the votes. Clippy says, 'It looks like you're trying to rig an election ...'"

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Mpeg 7 To Include Per-Frame Content Identification
Posted by News Fetcher on May 09 '10 at 10:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's you're-watching-us-and-vice-versa deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "NEC has announced that its video content identification technology has been incorporated in the upcoming Mpeg 7 video standard, allowing for each video frame to have its own signature, meaning that even minute changes to the file such as adding subtitles, watermarks or dogtags, and of course cutting out adverts, will alter the overall signature of the video. According to NEC this will allow the owners of the video to automatically 'detect illegal copies' and 'prevent illegal upload of video content' without their consent. NEC also claims that its technology will do away with the current manual checking by members of the movie industry and ISPs to spot dodgy videos."

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The Status of Routing Reform — How Fragile is the Internet?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 09 '10 at 07:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's hopefully-comcast-is-not-the-standard-bearer deptartment:
crimeandpunishment points out the Associated Press's look (as carried by SkunkPost) "at an issue the government has been aware of for more than 20 years, but still isn't fixed and continues to cause internet outages: a flaw in the routing system that sends data from carrier to carrier. Most outages are innocent and fixed quickly, but there's growing concern the next one could be devastating. A general manager at Renesys Corporation, which tracks the performance of Internet data routes, says 'It amazes me every day when I get into work and find it's working.'"

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