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Copyright As Weapon In US Senate Campaign
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '10 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's so-that-wasn't-on-the-record-ma'am? deptartment:
kfogel writes "Sharron Angle, the Republican candidate for US Senate in Arizona, is using a copyright 'cease-and-desist' letter to stop her opponent, incumbent Harry Reid (currently majority leader in the US Senate), from reposting old versions of her campaign website. The old pages are politically sensitive because Angle campaigned from the far right in the primary, but is now toning that down for the general election." As kfogel notes, the letter "also accuses the Reid campaign of intending to impersonate Angle's campaign, which seems doubtful, but who knows?"

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Paperless Tickets Flourish Despite 'Grandma Problem'
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '10 at 04:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's can-you-say-first-sale-doctrine deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "Is a concert ticket a piece of property that its holder has the right to buy and sell as he sees fit, or is it merely a seat-rental contract subject to restrictions determined by its issuer? The Washington Post reports that in an effort to thwart scalpers and dampen ticket reselling on the so-called secondary market, musicians as diverse as Bruce Springsteen, Miley Cyrus, and Metallica have adopted 'paperless ticketing' for some or all of the seats at their live shows. Ticket issuers Ticketmaster and Veritix tout paperless tickets as a way to eliminate worries about lost, stolen, or counterfeit tickets, and to banish long will-call lines. But paperless tickets aren't really tickets at all, but essentially personal seat reservations, secured electronically like airline tickets. Fans buy tickets with a credit card and must then go to the venue with the same credit card and a photo ID to gain admittance. The problem is that Ticketmaster's paperless tickets can't be transferred from a buyer to a second party. The inability to pass along a seat creates what has become known in the industry as the 'grandma problem': it's almost impossible for a grandma living at one end of the country to buy a paperless ticket to giver to a grandchild living at the other end. Without the ability to transfer virtual tickets, brokers and dealers fear being run out of business, and consumers have a harder time selling unwanted tickets. 'People should be free to give away or sell their tickets to whomever they want, whenever they want,' says Gary Adler, a Washington attorney who represents the National Association of Ticket Brokers. 'An open market is really best for consumers.'"

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Photo Kiosks Infecting Customers' USB Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on July 06 '10 at 01:31 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's thumb-drive-condoms-in-aisle-four deptartment:
The Risky Biz blog brings news that Big W, a subsidiary of Woolworths, has Windows-based Fuji photo kiosks in at least some of its stores that don't run antivirus software, and are therefore spreading infections, such as Trojan-Poison-36, via customers' USB storage devices. Here is the account of the original reporter. "It's not just the lack of AV that's the problem... it appears there's been zero thought put into the problem of malware spreading via these kiosks. Why not just treat customers' USB devices as read-only? Why allow the kiosks to write to them at all? It would be interesting to find out which company — Fuji, Big W, or even some other third party — is responsible for the maintenance of the machines. It would also be interesting to find out if there are any liability issues here for Big W in light of its boneheaded lack of security planning."

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Finding a Research Mentor?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '10 at 11:00 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's there's-your-thesis-right-there deptartment:
bsomerville writes "As an aspiring social scientist preparing to apply to Ph.D. programs, I'm keen to find a faculty mentor somewhere in North America who shares my research interests. This is more difficult than I thought it would be. While links to program websites are readily available, I'm surprised to find no comprehensive collection of faculty research interests in my field (clinical psychology). Instead this information is buried several levels down in each university website. Is this a common problem across all fields? Is there some inherent reason why no wiki-type Web resource exists to meet this need? It seems like a text-searchable database could be built fairly quickly and maintained by users, saving countless aspiring grad students thousands of clicks through university websites."

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Survey Says To UK — Repeal Laws of Thermodynamics
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '10 at 09:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's einstein-is-next-up-against-the-wall deptartment:
mostxlnt writes "As we noted, the new Tory UK government has launched a website asking its subjects which laws they'd most like repealed. There are proposals up for repeal of the Laws of Thermodynamics: Second, Third, and all (discussion thread on this one closed by a moderator). One comment on the Third [now apparently deleted] elucidated: 'Without the Third Law of Thermodynamics, it would be possible to build machines that would last forever and provide an endless source of cheap energy. thus solving both potential crises in energy supply as well as solving the greenhouse gas problem in one step... simples... eh?'"

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Ban On Photographing Near Gulf Oil Booms
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '10 at 08:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's oiled-seabirds-are-camera-shy deptartment:
boombaard writes "The day before yesterday CNN's Anderson Cooper reported that, from now on, there is a new rule in effect, which de facto bars photographers from coming within 65 feet of any deployed boom or response vessel around Deepwater Horizon (official announcement). The rule, announced by the US Coast Guard, forbids 'photographers and reporters and anyone else from coming within 65 feet of any response vessel or booms out on the water or on beaches. In order to get closer, you have to get direct permission from the Coast Guard captain of the Port of New Orleans,' while 'violators could face a fine of $40,000 and Class D felony charges. What's even more extraordinary is that the Coast Guard tried to make the exclusion zone 300 feet, before scaling it back to 65 feet.'" Read below for the Coast Guard's statement on the new rule.

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Proximity Sensor Presents Latest iPhone 4 Issue
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '10 at 06:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's not-the-face-time-we-had-in-mind deptartment:
tekgoblin sends news of the latest iPhone 4 glitch being reported in user forums and elsewhere: the phone's proximity sensor seems not to be detecting nearby faces, as it is designed to do, in order to deactivate the screen during a call. The result is often unintended input. "On the iPhone 3GS, the proximity sensor was located to the left of the earpiece speaker. But that space on iPhone 4 is now occupied by the front-facing camera, and the proximity sensor is above the earpiece. What's not clear is whether the iPhone 4 screen's misbehavior is due to the new location of the sensor, or it's because Apple tweaked the sensor's responses in [some] way."

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HSBC Bank Sends Activated Debit Cards Through Mail
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '10 at 04:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's unstanched-cash-wound deptartment:
Knowzy writes "At least two divisions at HSBC Bank apparently failed card issuing 101 and are mailing out debit cards pre-activated. Because they are debit cards, fraudulent transactions come directly out of a victim's checking account. A similar report from 2004 suggests this issue is longstanding and widespread. When confronted with the evidence, HSBC would not commit to fixing this issue, preferring instead to offer vague statements like, 'Through our systems and analytics, we focus on the greatest and most active threats in an effort to avoid negatively impacting customer experience.'"

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Price Shocks May Be Coming For Helium Supply
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '10 at 03:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's squeaky-voice-price-inflation deptartment:
Ars has an update on the potential helium shortage we discussed a couple of years back. A Nobel laureate, Robert Richardson, argues for ending market distortions that are resulting in an artificially low price for helium, which is accelerating the projected exhaustion of the supply. "Richardson's solution is to rework the management of the Bush Dome [so named for reasons that have nothing to do with the politician] stockpile once again, this time with the aim of ensuring that helium's price rises to reflect its scarcity. In practical terms, he said that it would be better to deal with a 20-fold increase in price now than to deal with it increasing by a factor of thousands in a few decades when supply issues start to become critical. But he also made an emotional appeal, stating, 'One generation doesn't have the right to determine the availability forever.'"

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Customers Question Tech Industry's Takeover Spree
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '10 at 03:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's ask-sun-how-it's-going deptartment:
crimeandpunishment writes: "When it comes to the world's largest technology companies, is bigger better? Maybe for the companies, but maybe not for their customers. Tech companies, which have spent $350 billion buying other companies over the past few years, have marketed their acquisitions as beneficial for their customers, offering them a broader range of products, and making it easier for one-stop shopping. But changes in customer service may be offsetting any benefit. In the words of the chief information officer for a large association, 'When the smaller guys are gobbled up by bigger guys, in theory it's supposed to be better, but in our experience it's been worse.'"

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Dutch Agency Admits Mistakes In UN Climate Report
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '10 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's would-you-sign-my-hockey-stick deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "The AP reports that the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency has taken the blame for one of the glaring errors that undermined the credibility of a seminal, 3,000-page UN report last year on climate change, and disclosed that it had discovered more small mistakes. However, the review by the agency also claims that none of the errors affected the fundamental conclusion by a UN panel of scientists: that global warming caused by humans already is happening and is threatening the lives and well-being of millions of people. The Dutch agency reported in 2005 that 55 percent of the Netherlands is below sea level, when only 26 percent is. The second previously reported error claimed the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035, which the Dutch agency partly traced to a report on the likely shrinking of glaciers by the year 2350. The original report also said global warming will put 75 million to 250 million Africans at risk of severe water shortages in the next 10 years, but a recalculation showed that range should be 90 million to 220 million. The analysis said future IPCC reports should have a more robust review process, and should look more closely at where information comes from."

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Russian Cargo Ship Docks At ISS On Second Try
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '10 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-free-after-thirty-minutes deptartment:
FleaPlus writes "Following up on a story from a few days ago about an unmanned Russian cargo ship's initial aborted attempt at docking with the International Space Station, Space.com reports that the vehicle made a second pass on July 4, which succeeded. Russian engineers believe the initial abort was triggered when the (normally reliable) Progress spacecraft detected interference between a remote control system on the ISS and Progress's camera. It successfully docked on the second try by using the autonomous system instead."

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TSA Internally Blocking Websites With 'Controversial Opinions'
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '10 at 12:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's less-filling-tastes-great deptartment:
sterlingda writes "The Transportation Security Administration is blocking certain websites from the federal agency's computers, including halting access by staffers to any Internet pages that contain a 'controversial opinion,' according to an internal email obtained by CBS News. The new rules came into force on July 1, and prevent TSA employees from accessing such content, though what is deemed 'controversial opinion' is not explained."

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IBM Supercomputer Cooled With Hot Water
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '10 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's do-not-try-this-at-home deptartment:
1sockchuck writes "IBM has deployed an innovative supercomputer cooled by hot water in a Zurich computer lab. The Aquasar supercomputer employs a chip-level liquid cooling system that can use water at temperatures as high as 60 degrees C (140 degrees F), and as a result consumes up to 40 percent less energy than a comparable system using room-level air-cooling. The system also uses waste heat to provide warmth to buildings, reducing Aquasar's carbon footprint even further."

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Symbian, the Biggest Mobile OS No One Talks About
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '10 at 11:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's no-death-grip-or-kill-switch-stories deptartment:
blackbearnh writes "The iPhone vs. Android wars are in full swing, but no one talks about the mobile operating system that most of the world uses: Symbian. Part of that, perhaps, is that the Symbian developer infrastructure is so different from the Wild West approach that Apple and Google take. Over at O'Reilly Answers, Paul Beusterien, who is the Head of Developer Tools for the Symbian Foundation, talks about why Symbian gets ignored as a platform despite the huge number of handsets it runs on. Quoting: 'Another dimension is the type of developer community. [Historically, Symbian's type of developers] were working for consulting houses or working at phone operator places or specifically doing consulting jobs for enterprise customers who wanted mobile apps. So there's a set of consulting companies around the world that have specialized in creating apps for Symbian devices. It's a different kind of dynamic than where iPhone has really been successful at attracting just the hobbyist, or the one- or two-person company, or the person who just wants to go onto the web and start developing.'"

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ATM Vendors Threaten, Stop Research Presentation
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '10 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's money-inside-atms-wants-to-be-free deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "A presentation about 'The Underground Economy', by Italian white hat hacker and security expert Raoul Chiesa, was replaced at the last minute during last week's Hack In The Box conference. The reason behind this cancellation was that Chiesa received legal pressure from ATM vendors over the fact that the originally scheduled presentation covers details of various techniques and exploits of vulnerabilities that cyber criminals use to break into ATMs — flaws that have been known for a long time."

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California To Drop State Rock Over Asbestos Concerns
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '10 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's your-tax-dollars-at-work deptartment:
Diamonddavej writes "The LA Times reports that Californian legislators are close to dropping the translucent green rock Serpentine as the state rock of California because of its tenuous association with chrysotile asbestos. Sen. Gloria Romero declares in her bill (SB 624) that Serpentine should be dropped as California's state rock because it 'contains the deadly mineral chrysotile asbestos, a known carcinogen, exposure to which increases the risk of the cancer mesothelioma.' The bill has backing from mesothelioma support groups. Critics point out that Serpentine is a group of 20 different minerals, and Californian Serpentine rarely contains much chrysotile, never mind its dangerous fibrous asbestos form. Its is suspected that lawyers involved in asbestos compensation claims and clean up companies will profit from the bill. Vast tracts for California where bedrock is made of Serpentine could be declared hazardous to health... even if it contains no crysotile at all! It looks like SB 624 will be passed; it won unanimous bi-partisan support from an Assembly committee last week."

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Reading E-Books Takes Longer Than Reading Paper Books
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '10 at 08:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's almost-as-slow-as-a-post-fireworks-news-day deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "PC World reports on a study showing that reading from a printed book — versus an e-book on any of the three tested devices, an iPad, Kindle 2, and PC — was a faster experience to a significant degree. Readers measured on the iPad reported reading speeds, on average, of 6.2 percent slower than their print-reading counterparts, while readers on the Kindle 2 clocked in at 10.7 percent slower. Jacob Nielsen had each participant read a short story by Ernest Hemingway. Each participant was timed, then quizzed to determine their comprehension and understanding of what they just read. Nielsen also surveyed users' satisfaction levels after operating each device (or page). For user satisfaction, the iPad, Kindle, and book all scored relatively equally at 5.8, 5.7, and 5.6 on a one-to-seven ranking scale (seven representing the best experience). The PC, however, did not fare so well, getting a usability score of 3.6."

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Is PC Gaming Set For a Comeback?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '10 at 07:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's we'll-enjoy-our-mice-and-keyboards-while-you-flail-around deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "A combination of factors like console penetration, piracy, and the huge inherent variability in PC hardware setups have made the PC a third-class citizen for many gaming genres, especially the kind of high-adrenaline action games that were once the PC's bread and butter. Epic is a company that has been vocal in its shift toward consoles, with many controversial statements dropped over the years in reference to piracy being the reason. So it was with some surprise that we noted Epic's VP, Mark Rein, pointing out recently that the PC is as important as ever. Why the turnaround? This article suggests that the extended length of the current console generation will drive some developers back to the PC as new games push up against hardware limits."

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A Look Back At Bombing the Van Allen Belts
Posted by News Fetcher on July 05 '10 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's shiny-and-fallout-y deptartment:
An anonymous reader points out a recent story at NPR describing one of the greatest lightshows in history — a US hydrogen bomb test 250 miles above the Pacific Ocean in 1962. The mission came about after James Van Allen confirmed the existence of radiation belts around the earth that now bear his name. As it turns out, the same day Van Allen announced his findings at a press conference, he "agreed with the military to get involved with a project to set off atomic bombs in the magnetosphere to see if they could disrupt it." According to NPR, "The plan was to send rockets hundreds of miles up, higher than the Earth's atmosphere, and then detonate nuclear weapons to see: a) If a bomb's radiation would make it harder to see what was up there (like incoming Russian missiles!); b) If an explosion would do any damage to objects nearby; c) If the Van Allen belts would move a blast down the bands to an earthly target (Moscow! for example); and — most peculiar — d) if a man-made explosion might 'alter' the natural shape of the belts." The article is accompanied by a podcast and a video with recently declassified views of the test. They also explain how the different colors of light in the sky were produced.

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