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Gnome 2.30 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '10 at 09:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's new-and-improved deptartment:
Hypoon writes "The GNOME project is proud to release this new version of the GNOME desktop environment and developer platform. Among the hundreds of bug fixes and user-requested improvements, GNOME 2.30 has several highly visible changes: new features for advanced file management, better remote desktop experience, easier notes synchronization and a generally smoother user experience. Learn more about GNOME 2.30 through the detailed release notes and the press release."

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Fossil of Ant-Eating Dinosaur Discovered In China
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '10 at 07:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's ancient-picnic-defender deptartment:
thomst writes "Charles Q. Choi of LiveScience reports that a farmer in southern Henan Province in China has dug up the first known ant-eating dinosaur, a half-meter-long theropod (the dinosaur family to which T. Rex belongs), whose fossilized remains were described as 'fairly intact'. The 83- to 89-million-year-old pygmy dinosaur has been named named Xixianykus zhangi by Xig Xu, De-you Wang, Corwin Sullivan, David Hone, Feng-lu Han, Rong-hao Yan, and Fu-ming Du, whose paper on the critter, A basal parvicursorine (Theropoda: Alvarezsauridae) from the Upper Cretaceous of China, was published in the March 29 issue of Zootaxa (the abstract is available in PDF format for free, the full article is paywall-protected.)"

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The End of the Road For Texting Truckers
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '10 at 07:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's six-days-on-the-road-and-I'm-gonna-text-home-tonight deptartment:
crimeandpunishment writes "The US Transportation Department is calling for a permanent ban on texting while driving, for interstate truck and bus drivers. An interim ban has been in place since January. The government says it is doing everything it can to make roads safer by reducing the threat of distracted drivers. The Transportation Department says nearly 6,000 people were killed and half a million injured in crashes involving distracted drivers in 2008."

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Office Guardian Angel Worse Than Clippy
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '10 at 04:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's you-never-knew-how-good-you-had-it deptartment:
ZWilder writes "Remember 'Clippy', the annoying anthropomorphic paper clip foisted upon unsuspecting users of Office? Well Microsoft has taken the concept behind Clippy and 'turned the dial up to 11' with its new, even more intrusive animated life-coach, known as 'Guardian Angel.' Patented in 2006, Guardian Angel is 'an intelligent personalized agent' that 'monitors and evaluates a user's environment to assist in decision-making processes on behalf of the user.' Like a manlier Fairy Godmother. Or a similarly omniscient HAL from '2001: A Space Oddysey.'"

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World's Smallest Superconductor Discovered
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '10 at 03:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's none-more-small deptartment:
arcticstoat writes "One of the barriers to the development of nanoscale electronics has potentially been eliminated, as scientists have discovered the world's smallest superconductor. Made up of four pairs of molecules, and measuring just 0.87nm, the superconductor could potentially be used as a nanoscale interconnect in electronic devices, but without the heat and power dissipation problems associated with standard metal conductors."

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Microsoft Claims Google Chrome Steals Your Privacy
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '10 at 03:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's our-competitor-is-bad deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft is going on the offensive against Google, accusing the search giant of creating a browser that does not respect user privacy. The company posted a video, embedded below, on TechNet Edge with the following description: 'Watch a demo on how Google Chrome collects every keystroke you make and how Internet Explorer 8 keeps your information private through two address bars and In Private browsing.' Microsoft's first criticism is Chrome's combining the address bar and the search box into a single entry box; IE8 keeps those fields separate. 'By keeping these boxes separate, your privacy is better protected and the addresses of the sites you're visiting aren't automatically shared with Microsoft, or anyone else,' says IE product manager Pete LePage."

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"Supertaskers" Can Safely Use Mobile Phones While Driving
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '10 at 02:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's all-the-children-are-above-average deptartment:
nk497 writes "While most of us are dangerous when texting, chatting on a phone or being otherwise distracted while driving, one in 40 are actually just fine with such distractions. In a small study, such 'supertaskers' were just as good at driving when carrying on a conversation over a hands-free phone as they were when fully focused. That said, the researchers warned that most people are much worse at driving while chatting and shouldn't do it, adding: 'Given the number of individuals who routinely talk on the phone while driving, one would have hoped that there would be a greater percentage of supertaskers.'" That 1 in 40 aside, reader crimeandpunishment writes "The US Transportation Department is calling for a permanent ban on texting while driving, for interstate truck and bus drivers. An interim ban has been in place since January. The government says it is doing everything it can to make roads safer by reducing the threat of distracted drivers."

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NASA Mars Satellite Snaps 1st Public-Picked Photos
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '10 at 01:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's at-least-it-wasn't-uranus deptartment:
coondoggie writes "NASA today said it took eight high-resolution photos of Mars that were chosen through a public suggestion box the space agency put up in January. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, or HiRISE camera, aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is nicknamed 'the people's camera,' NASA stated. Through the suggestion box known as HiWish, NASA has received nearly 1,000 suggestions. The first eight images of areas the public selected are available online."

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Yale Delays Move To Gmail
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '10 at 12:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-it's-in-the-cloud deptartment:
Mortimer.CA writes "The Yale Daily News is reporting that the move to Gmail has been postponed. After further consultations with faculty and staff, the concerns raised 'fell into three main categories: problems with "cloud computing" (the transfer of information between virtual servers on the Internet), technological risks and downsides, and ideological issues.' In the latter category, 'Google was not willing to provide ITS with a list of countries to which the University's data could be sent [i.e., replicated], but only a list of about 15 countries to which the data would not be sent.'"

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Graph-View of Collaborative Development At GitHub
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '10 at 12:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's better-art-than-most-coffee-shops deptartment:
VindictivePantz writes "In an interesting graphical view on collaborative development, FlowingData writes: 'GitHub is a large community where coders can collaborate on software development projects. People check code in and out, make edits, etc. Franck Cuny maps this community (with Gephi), based on information in thousands of user profiles.'"

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House of Commons Finds No Evidence of Tampering In Climate E-mails
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '10 at 11:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's this-won't-change-your-mind deptartment:
dwguenther writes "The first of several British investigations into the e-mails leaked from one of the world's leading climate research centers has largely vindicated the scientists involved. The House of Commons' Science and Technology Committee said Wednesday that they'd seen no evidence to support charges that the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit ... had tampered with data or perverted the peer review process to exaggerate the threat of global warming." According to the article, the head of committee which produced the report "said the lawmakers had been in a rush to publish something before Britain's next national election, which is widely expected in just over a month's time"; two further inquiries are to examine the issue more closely. The "e-mails appeared to show scientists berating skeptics in sometimes intensely personal attacks, discussing ways to shield their data from public records laws, and discussing ways to keep skeptics' research out of peer-reviewed journals," but the committee concluded that East Anglia researcher Phil Jones was not part of a conspiracy to hide evidence that weakens the case for global warming.

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New Method Could Hide Malware In PDFs, No Further Exploits Needed
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '10 at 11:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's deploy-linux-countermeasures deptartment:
Trailrunner7 writes "A security researcher has managed to create a proof-of-concept PDF file that executes an embedded executable without exploiting any other security vulnerabilities. The PDF hack, when combined with clever social engineering techniques, could potentially allow code execution attacks if a user simply opens a rigged PDF file. With Adobe Reader, the only thing preventing execution is a warning. Disabling JavaScript will not prevent this."

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IsoHunt Told To Pull Torrent Files Offline
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '10 at 10:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's please-label-excerpts deptartment:
suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from Ars Technica: "The founder of popular Bit Torrent site IsoHunt, Gary Fung, has been ordered to remove the .torrent files for all infringing content — an order that could result in the site shutting down. US District Judge Stephen Wilson issued the order last week after years of back-and-forths over the legality of IsoHunt and Fung's two other sites (Torrentbox and Podtropolis). Fung claims he's still hoping for a more agreeable resolution that won't result in IsoHunt closing its doors, but for now, things aren't looking good for the torrent site."

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Stand and Deliver Teacher Jaime Escalante Dies
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '10 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's national-hero deptartment:
DesScorp writes "Jaime Escalante, the math teacher portrayed in the hit '80s movie Stand and Deliver, has died of cancer at age 79. Escalante is legendary for creating the advanced math 'pipeline' program at Garfield High in East Los Angeles in the '70s and '80s, an area populated mostly by poorer Hispanic families. Escalante's students eventually outpaced even richer schools in advanced placement tests for calculus. Escalante refused to accept excuses from his students or community about why they couldn't succeed, and demanded a standard of excellence from them, defying the notion that poor Hispanic kids just weren't capable of advanced work. While Escalante became a celebrity because of the hit movie about his efforts, jealousy from other teachers ... as well as red tape from teacher's unions and the public school bureaucracy, resulted in Escalante and his hand-picked teachers leaving Garfield. Since his departure, Garfield has never replicated Escalante's success with math students, and Reason Magazine reported on the shameful way in which others tore down what Escalante and his teachers worked so hard to build."

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Councilman Booted For His Farmville Obsession
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '10 at 09:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's think-of-the-crops deptartment:
Dimitar Kerin won't have to decide if he should tend his crops or pay attention to Plovdiv City Council business anymore. The committee voted him off 20-19, saying that he obviously "needs more time for his virtual farm." From the article: "Kerin was not alone in his obsession among council members. Council chairman Ilko Iliev had previously warned several of them that the new wireless network and laptops provided to all 51 council members were not to be used for playing games on social media sites during budget meetings. Kerin was singled out for continuing to manage his farm and milk his cows despite Iliev's warnings. "

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MIT Finds 'Grand Unified Theory of AI'
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '10 at 08:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's no-excuse-for-haley-joel-osment deptartment:
aftab14 writes "What's brilliant about this (approach) is that it allows you to build a cognitive model in a fantastically much more straightforward and transparent way than you could do before," says Nick Chater, a professor of cognitive and decision sciences at University College London. "You can imagine all the things that a human knows, and trying to list those would just be an endless task, and it might even be an infinite task. But the magic trick is saying, 'No, no, just tell me a few things,' and then the brain — or in this case the Church system, hopefully somewhat analogous to the way the mind does it — can churn out, using its probabilistic calculation, all the consequences and inferences. And also, when you give the system new information, it can figure out the consequences of that."

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Facebook Kills Dataset of Crawled Public Profiles
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '10 at 07:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's creapy-crawlies deptartment:
holy_calamity writes "Internet entrepreneur Pete Warden wrote a crawler that collated the public profiles of 210 million Facebook profiles and was set to release an anonymised version to researchers. The pages crawled can be read by any web user, and the robots.txt did not forbid crawling. However, Facebook claimed he had violated its terms of service and threatened legal action. Fearing costs, Warden has now destroyed his dataset. For a snapshot of the insights that data could have allowed, see Warden's post on how the friend networks of the 120 million US users in his data segregated into seven clusters." Of course, if he had it, this means anyone who wants it made their own version of this.

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Lawmakers Ask For FTC Investigation of Google Buzz
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '10 at 07:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's always-with-the-investigating deptartment:
angry tapir writes "Eleven U.S. lawmakers have asked the FTC to investigate Google's launch of its Buzz social-networking product for breaches of consumer privacy. The representatives — six Democrats and five Republicans from the House Energy and Commerce Committee — noted in their letter that Google's roll-out of Buzz exposed private information of users to Google's Gmail service to outsiders. In one case, a 9-year-old girl accidentally shared her contact list in Gmail with a person who has a "sexually charged" username, the lawmakers said in the letter."

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Gaming in the 4th Dimension
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '10 at 06:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's still-haven't-solved-3d deptartment:
Wolf pointed me to a video clip demonstrating the game "Miegakure is a platform game where you explore the fourth dimension to solve puzzles.There is no trick; the game is entirely designed and programmed in 4D." Nothing to download yet.

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Will Smith in for Independence Day 2 & 3
Posted by News Fetcher on March 31 '10 at 05:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's exploding-national-monuments deptartment:
bowman9991 writes "If one isn't enough, there are reports that 2 sequels to Roland Emmerich's 1996 alien invasion blockbuster Independence Day are in the works. Will Smith is back too. Apparently he delayed a sequel earlier by asking for too much money." Other rumors include using an iPad to destroy the alien space ships this time, and letting Obama fly a bi-plane. Data will have a 5 minute monologue about what it means to be human.

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