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MIT Designs Aircraft That Uses 70% Less Fuel Than Conventional Planes
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '10 at 12:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's in-other-news-aircraft-refuelers-laid-off deptartment:
greenrainbow writes "Today a team of researchers at MIT unveiled their design for an airplane that uses 70% less fuel than conventional aircraft. The MIT design comes thanks to a NASA-funded initiative to increase fuel efficiency, lower emissions, and allow planes to take off on shorter runways. The team accomplished all of NASA's set goals with their innovative D-series plane, lovingly referred to as the 'double bubble,' which has thinner, longer wings and a smaller tail, and engine placement at the rear of the plane instead of on the wings."

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iPhone SDK Agreement Shuts Out HyperCard Clone
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '10 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's equal-opportunity-rejection deptartment:
Halo1 writes "Demonstrating it's not just about Flash, Apple has officially rejected for the first time another alternative iPhone development environment following its controversial iPhone SDK Agreement changes. Even though RunRev proposed to retool its HyperCard-style development environment to directly expose all of the iPhone OS's APIs, Steve Jobs still rejected its proposal. The strength of RunRev's business case, with a large-scale iPad deployment project in education hinging on the availability of its tool, does not bode well for projects that have less commercial clout. Salient point: at last February's shareholders' meeting, Jobs went on the record saying that something like HyperCard on the iPad would be great, 'but someone would have to create it.'"

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Scientists Question Safety of New Airport Scanners
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '10 at 11:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's don't-bombard-your-customers-with-radiation deptartment:
An anonymous reader sends this quote from a story at NPR about the accelerated deployment of new scanning machines at airports: "Fifty-two of these state-of-the-art machines are already scanning passengers at 23 US airports. By the end of 2011, there will be 1,000 machines and two out of every three passengers will be asked to step into one of the new machines for a six-second head-to-toe scan before boarding. About half of these machines will be so-called X-ray back-scatter scanners. They use low-energy X-rays to peer beneath passengers' clothing. That has some scientists worried. ... The San Francisco group thinks both the machine's manufacturer, Rapisca, and government officials have miscalculated the dose that the X-ray scanners deliver to the skin — where nearly all the radiation is concentrated. The stated dose — about .02 microsieverts, a medical unit of radiation — is averaged over the whole body, members of the UCSF group said in interviews. But they maintain that if the dose is calculated as what gets deposited in the skin, the number would be higher, though how much higher is unclear."

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Doctors Seeing a Rise In "Google-itis"
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '10 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's sounds-like-rickets-to-me deptartment:
It's one of the fastest-growing health issues that doctors now face: "Google-itis." Everyone from concerned mothers to businessmen on their lunch break are typing in symptoms and coming up with rare diseases or just plain wrong information. Many doctors are bringing computers into examination rooms now so they can search along with patients to alleviate their fears. "I'm not looking for a relationship where the patient accepts my word as the gospel truth," says Dr. James Valek. "I just feel the Internet brings so much misinformation to the (exam) room that we have to fight through all that before we can get to the problem at hand."

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Programming Clojure
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '10 at 10:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "Programming Clojure by Stuart Halloway was very near to the perfect book for me. It covers many things common to many Lisp languages while highlighting in moderate detail the things that make Clojure unique and worthy of some attention. It spends a large amount of time dealing with the intricacies of interfacing fluidly with Java (down to a package rewrite inside a large project). This fits me perfectly as a Java programmer and I now feel ready to experiment with peppering functional language capabilities into an object oriented language. The book also strives to show how to simplify multithreading through functional programming, which is good because I find multithreading in Java a serious headache that few are good at. Programming Clojure, released in May 2009, is currently the only book out there devoted to Clojure, and the introduction is written by the language's creator, Rich Hickey, who says, 'What is so thrilling about Stuart's book is the extent to which he "gets" Clojure.' The book earns its place on the Pragmatic Bookshelf by guiding the user through rewriting a part of Ant into a new build tool called Lancet — adding to the project what you just learned about Clojure at the end of each chapter." Keep reading for the rest of eldavojohn's review.

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Software Recognizes Sarcastic Tweets
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '10 at 09:30 AM
By StoneLion from Slashdot's sure-it-can deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Even humans sometimes fail to recognize sarcasm and irony; can machines do better? An algorithm that identifies sarcastic tweets (PDF) on Twitter and sarcastic sentences in product reviews on Amazon will be presented next week in the International Conference for Weblogs and Social Media in Washington, DC, and in the Computational Natural Language Learning in Sweden in July. A team from the Hebrew University, Israel, has developed an algorithm that identifies sarcastic sentences by using a machine learning technique in which a small number of sarcastic sentences act as seeds for the software to learn and generalize upon. The algorithm can then identify sarcastic sentences that are nothing like the examples. The variety of recognized sarcastic sentences is impressive, though the results are not perfect. But again, we don't do it so well ourselves, do we?"

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ACLU Sues To Protect Your Right To Swear
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '10 at 08:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's seven-words-you-can-always-say-in-public deptartment:
The ACLU is suing the police in Pennsylvania for issuing tickets to people who swear. They argue that it is every American's constitutional right to drop an F-bomb. From the article: "'Unfortunately, many police departments in the commonwealth do not seem to be getting the message that swearing is not a crime,' said Marieke Tuthill of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. 'The courts have repeatedly found that profanity, unlike obscenity, is protected speech.'" This is a big f*cking deal.

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Seagate Confirms 3TB Hard Drive
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '10 at 08:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's remember-when-20meg-was-infinity deptartment:
Stoobalou writes "After a few weeks of rumours, Seagate's senior product manager Barbara Craig has confirmed that the company is announcing a 3TB drive later this year, but the move to 3TB of storage space apparently involves a lot more work than simply upping the areal density. The ancient foundations of the PC's three-decade legacy has once again reared its DOS-era head, revealing that many of today's PCs are simply incapable of coping with hard drives that have a larger capacity than 2.1TB."

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Is Diaspora the Future of Free Software Funding?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '10 at 07:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's better-than-nothing deptartment:
Glyn Moody writes "Diaspora, the free software project to create a distributed version of Facebook, has been much in the news recently — not least because it has raised $170,000 in just a few weeks. But what's also interesting is the way they've raised that money: through a series of graded rewards for pledges of financial support. This is an approach adopted by some forward-thinking musicians: for example, Jill Sobule funded her last album in the same way, garnering $75,000 in pledges from fans. Is this a model that could be applied to other free software projects, or is it just a one-off?"

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California Moves To Block Texas' Textbook Changes
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '10 at 06:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's wurds-our-hard deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "Yesterday the Texas textbook controversy was reported internationally but the news today heats up the debate as California, a state on the other side of the political spectrum, introduces legislation that would block these textbook changes inside California. Democrat Senator Leland Yee (you may know him as a Senator often tackling ESRB ratings on video games) introduced SB 1451 that would require California's school board to review books for any of Texas' changes and block the material if it is found. The bill's text alleges that said changes would be "a sharp departure from widely accepted historical teachings" and "a threat to the apolitical nature of public school governance and academic content standards in California.""

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Why I Steal Movies (Even Ones I'm In)
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '10 at 05:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's no-not-me-him deptartment:
Jamie found a link saying 'Like a billion other people, I download things illegally. I'm also an actor, writer and director whose income depends on revenue from DVDs, movies and books.This leads to many conflicts in my head, in my heart, and in bars.'

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Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Has Passport Confiscated
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '10 at 05:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's no-more-colbert-for-you deptartment:
Taco Cowboy writes "The Australian founder of the whistleblower website Wikileaks had his passport confiscated by police when he arrived in Melbourne last week. While Assange has made himself particularly unpopular with the US military by publishing video of attacks on civilians in Iraq, he's been something of a thorn in the side for the Australian government too. Last year, Wikileaks published a list of websites which were to be banned under the government's proposed internet filter. While the aim of the filter is to block extreme pornography and the like, the blacklist included a number of more prosaic sites such as those of a travel company and a dentist.

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Scientists Propose Guaranteed Hypervisor Security
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '10 at 04:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's can't-write-there deptartment:
schliz writes "NCSU researchers are attempting to address today's 'blind trust' of virtualization with new security techniques that 'guarantee' malware does not infect hypervisors. Their 'HyperSafe' software uses the Write-Protect bit on hypervisor hardware, as well as a technique called restricted pointer indexing, which characterizes the normal behavior of the system and prevents any deviation. A proof-of-concept prototype has been tested on BitVisor and Xen, in research that will be presented (PDF) at an IEEE conference today."

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Linux 2.6.34 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on May 17 '10 at 01:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's fresh-bits deptartment:
diegocg writes "Linux 2.6.34 has been released. This version adds two new filesystem, the distributed filesystem Ceph and LogFS, a filesystem for flash devices. Other features are a driver for almost-native KVM network performance, the VMware balloon driver, the 'kprobes jump' optimization for dynamic probes, new perf features (the 'perf lock' tool, cross-platform analysis support), several Btrfs improvements, RCU lockdep, Generalized TTL Security Mechanism (RFC 5082) and private VLAN proxy arp (RFC 3069) support, asynchronous suspend/resume, several new drivers and many other small improvements. See the full changelog here."

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Wikimedia Confusion Swirls In Wake of Porn Charges
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '10 at 10:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's crisp-execution deptartment:
Contridictory stories are circulating after Fox News's pursuing of Wikimedia Foundation for hosting pornography reportedly resulted in Jimmy Wales personally removing some pornographic material from its servers, then giving up his special editing privileges under pressure. Fox News reported that Wikimedia is "in chaos"; this report was picked up by VentureBeat and others. Wales denies that there is any chaos (any more than usual that is) at Wikimedia. The Fox News report apparently relied on a single unnamed source, and Wales said "They don't even bother to contact me before publishing nonsense." The background: on April 27 Fox News published an exclusive report about porn on Wikimedia servers, then followed up by contacting organizations that had donated to Wikimedia to ask them what they thought about it. In the aftermath, Wales took a position in support of purging porn from Wikimedia Commons. This all started when estranged Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger contacted the FBI with an allegation of child porn on Wikipedia.

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Using Augmented Reality To Treat Cockroach Phobia
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '10 at 08:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's virtually-fixed deptartment:
RichDiesal writes "In this blog post, I describe a new use for augmented reality — treating people for cockroach phobia. A recent paper in the academic journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking discusses a system where people suffering from cockroach phobia sit at a desk with a virtual reality headset. The headset has a camera on the front so that patients see the desk they're sitting at — but covered in cockroaches. In the study, researchers managed to elicit a fear response to virtual cockroaches similar to what would be experienced with real cockroaches. Sounds like a little slice of hell to me."

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Getting Started Contributing Back To Open Source
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '10 at 07:00 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's foot-in-the-door deptartment:
markfreeman writes "The one burning need I have felt over the last year was to get involved with open source as a contributor. I have wanted to help with documentation, advocacy, and most of all, with programming. Here's the story of how I got started, thanks to openhatch.org (which calls itself 'an open source involvement engine') and how you can too."

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LimeWire Likely To Shut Down Soon
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '10 at 02:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's and-then-there-was-one-fewer deptartment:
suraj.sun quotes from a CNET story: "A federal court judge has likely dealt a death blow to LimeWire, one of the most popular and oldest file-sharing systems, according to legal experts. On Wednesday... US District Judge Kimba Wood granted summary judgment in favor of the... [RIAA], which filed a copyright lawsuit against LimeWire in 2006. In her decision, Wood ruled Lime Group, parent of LimeWire software maker Lime Wire, and founder Mark Gorton committed copyright infringement, induced copyright infringement, and engaged in unfair competition. 'It is obviously a fairly fatal decision for them,' said [an industry defense lawyer]. 'If they don't shut down, the other side will likely make a request for an injunction and there's nothing left but to go on to calculating damages.'" The article notes that LimeWire is used by nearly 60 percent of the people who download songs.

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10-Year Cell Phone / Cancer Study Is Inconclusive
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '10 at 01:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's definite-maybe deptartment:
crimeandpunishment writes "A major international (retrospective) study into cell phones and cancer, which took 10 years and surveyed almost 13,000 people, is finally complete... and it's inconclusive. The lead researcher said, 'There are indications of a possible increase. We're not sure that it is correct. It could be due to bias, but the indications are sufficiently strong... to be concerned.' The study, conducted by the World Health Organization and partially funded by the cellphone industry, looked at the possible link between cell phone use and two types of brain cancer. It will be published this week."

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Texas Schools Board Rewriting US History
Posted by News Fetcher on May 16 '10 at 01:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's nation-chosen-by-god deptartment:
suraj.sun picked up a Guardian (UK) piece on the Texas school board and their quest to remake US education in a pro-American, Christian, free enterprise mode. We've been keeping an eye on this story for some time, as it will have an impact far beyond Texas. From the Guardian: "The board is to vote on a sweeping purge of alleged liberal bias in Texas school textbooks in favour of what Dunbar says really matters: a belief in America as a nation chosen by God as a beacon to the world, and free enterprise as the cornerstone of liberty and democracy. ... Those corrections have prompted a blizzard of accusations of rewriting history and indoctrinating children by promoting rightwing views on religion, economics and guns while diminishing the science of evolution, the civil rights movement and the horrors of slavery. ... Several changes include sidelining Thomas Jefferson, who favoured separation of church and state, while introducing a new focus on the 'significant contributions' of pro-slavery Confederate leaders during the civil war. ... Study of Sir Isaac Newton is dropped in favour of examining scientific advances through military technology."

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