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Microsoft, Yahoo Finalize Search Agreement
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '09 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's keeping-up-with-the-googses deptartment:
Joe Quimby writes "Microsoft and Yahoo have finalized and executed their Web-search agreement after five months of deliberation, the companies announced Friday. Microsoft and Yahoo reached a revenue-sharing agreement in July to combine their search businesses. Under the 10-year agreement, Yahoo's Web search would be powered by Bing and Yahoo would retain most ad revenue from its site."

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US Air Force Confirms New Stealth Aircraft
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '09 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's watching-you-from-on-high deptartment:
DesScorp writes "Aviation Week reports that the USAF has confirmed the existence of a new, formerly secret stealth aircraft, designated RQ-170 Sentinel, developed at Lockheed's legendary Skunk Works. Rumors of a secret new jet have been flying since 2007, with longtime aviation journalist Bill Sweetman dubbing the possible aircraft 'The Beast of Kandahar' because of the urban legend-like reports from Afghanistan. The aircraft is a UAV, a pilot-less drone that appears to have some kind of reconnaissance-only mission for the time being. It's a tailless flying wing that resembles a fighter-sized B-2 bomber."

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"Accidental" Download Sending 22-Year-Old Man To Prison
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '09 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's do-not-pass-go deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Two years ago, Matthew White searched Limewire for porn. He was looking for 'College Girls Gone Wild,' but ended up downloading some images of child pornography. This was accidental, according to White, and he quickly deleted the images. A year later, the FBI showed up on his family's doorstep and asked to search the computer. After thorough sleuthing, the FBI found some images 'deep within the hard drive.' According to White, the investigators agreed that he himself could not have accessed the files anymore. Matthew now faces 20 years in jail for possession of child pornography. On advice from his lawyer, he intends to plead guilty so that he will 'hopefully' end up with 3.5 years in jail, 10 years probation and a registration as a sex offender. 'The FBI could not comment on this specific case, but said if child pornography is ever downloaded accidentally, the user needs to call authorities immediately. They may confiscate your computer, but it's better than the alternative.'"

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MIT & Harvard On Brain-Inspired A.I. Vision
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '09 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-can-see-clearly-now deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from TGDaily: "Researchers from Harvard and MIT have demonstrated a way to build better artificial visual systems with the help of low-cost, high-performance gaming hardware. [A video describing their research is available.] 'Reverse engineering a biological visual system — a system with hundreds of millions of processing units — and building an artificial system that works the same way is a daunting task,' says David Cox, Principal Investigator of the Visual Neuroscience Group at the Rowland Institute at Harvard. 'It is not enough to simply assemble together a huge amount of computing power. We have to figure out how to put all the parts together so that they can do what our brains can do.' The team drew inspiration from screening techniques in molecular biology, where a multitude of candidate organisms or compounds are screened in parallel to find those that have a particular property of interest. Rather than building a single model and seeing how well it could recognize visual objects, the team constructed thousands of candidate models, and screened for those that performed best on an object recognition task. The resulting models outperformed a crop of state-of-the-art computer vision systems across a range of test sets, more accurately identifying a range of objects on random natural backgrounds with variation in position, scale, and rotation. Using ordinary CPUs, the effort would have required either years or millions of dollars of computing hardware. Instead, by harnessing modern graphics hardware, the analysis was done in just one week, and at a small fraction of the cost."

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Scientific Journal Nature Finds Nothing Notable In CRU Leak
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '09 at 06:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's nothing-to-see-here-move-along deptartment:
eldavojohn writes with an update to the CRU email leak story we've been following for the past two weeks. The peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature has published an article saying the emails do not demonstrate any sort of "scientific conspiracy," and that the journal doesn't intend to investigate earlier papers from CRU researchers without "substantive reasons for concern." The article notes, "Whatever the e-mail authors may have said to one another in (supposed) privacy, however, what matters is how they acted. And the fact is that, in the end, neither they nor the IPCC suppressed anything: when the assessment report was published in 2007 it referenced and discussed both papers." Reader lacaprup points out related news that a global warming skeptic plans to sue NASA under the Freedom of Information Act for failing to deliver climate data and correspondence of their own, which he thinks will be "highly damaging." Meanwhile, a United Nations panel will be conducting its own investigation of the CRU emails.

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FCC Inquires About Controversial Verizon Fees
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '09 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's just-what-do-you-think-you're-up-to deptartment:
olsmeister writes "As previously noted here on Slashdot, Verizon Wireless has been increasing their early termination fees and actively charging non-data customers who accidentally press the wrong button and go online. The FCC has now sent them a letter asking why. The PDF of the letter can be viewed online. Maybe someone at the FCC does read Slashdot."

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What Drugs Do Astronauts Take?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '09 at 02:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's just-boosterspice-for-me-thanks deptartment:
astroengine writes "Science fiction is stuffed full of examples of pill-popping space explorers and aliens enjoying psychedelic highs. After all, space is big; it can get boring/scary/crazy up there. It's little wonder, then, that our current space explorers consume a cocktail of uppers, downers, tranquilizers and alcohol to get the job done. Robert Lamb on tranquilizers in the space station: 'Sure, it hardly makes for a civilized evening aboard ISS, but it beats someone blowing the hatch because they think they saw something crawling on one of the solar panels.'"

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New Aliens Vs. Predator Game Doesn't Make It Past AU Ratings Board
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '09 at 12:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's gauntlet-thrown deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Australia refused to give Rebellion's new Aliens Vs. Predator game a rating, effectively banning it in the country. Rebellion says it won't be submitting an edited version for another round of classifications, however. (As Valve did with Left 4 Dead 2.) They said, 'We will not be releasing a sanitized or cut down version for territories where adults are not considered by their governments to be able to make their own entertainment choices.'"

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Man Controls Cybernetic Hand With Thoughts
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '09 at 11:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-thought-john-connor-destroyed-that-thing deptartment:
MaryBethP writes "Scientists in Italy announced Wednesday that Pierpaolo Petruzziello, a 26-year-old Italian who had lost his left forearm in a car accident, was successfully linked to an artificial limb that was controlled by electrodes implanted in his arm and connected to the median and ulnar nerves. He has learned to control the artificial limb with his mind. According to CNet, Petruzziello says he could feel sensations in it, as if the lost arm had grown back again. The BBC has a brief video showing the arm in operation."

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Emulating New Super Mario Bros. Wii At 1080p
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '09 at 10:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's super-high-def-mario deptartment:
KingofGnG writes "An impressive confirmation of the Dolphin Wii emulator's capabilities comes from a YouTube video, which shows off recently-added video clips of New Super Mario Bros. Wii in full HD. It demonstrates the growing compatibility of Dolphin with the latest games published for the Nintendo console."

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Microsoft Tweaks Browser Ballot As EU Deal Nears
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '09 at 09:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's roll-1d6-and-a-browser-will-be-assigned-to-you deptartment:
CWmike writes "Microsoft has revamped the browser ballot screen demanded by European Union antitrust regulators and may get final approval as early as Dec. 15, a source familiar with the case has told Computerworld. As first reported by Bloomberg, Microsoft modified the ballot screen after rivals, including Opera Software and Mozilla, demanded changes. Last month, Opera, Mozilla and Google submitted change requests to the European Commission, asking that the order of the browsers be randomized and that the ballot be displayed in its own application, not in Internet Explorer. According to the source, who asked not to be identified because the terms of the settlement have not been officially approved, the top five browsers — IE, Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Apple's Safari — will appear in random order each time the ballot is displayed."

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SETI@home Project Responds To School Firing
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '09 at 07:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's correcting-dim-reporters deptartment:
SETIGuy writes "SETI@home Project Scientist Eric Korpela has responded to many of the allegations made by Higley Unified School District administrator Denise Birdwell regarding the difficulties caused by the installation of SETI@home, which led to the recent firing of the school's technology supervisor. One of the project's founders, David Gedye, takes issue with Dr. Birdwell's claim that 'an educational institution ... cannot support the search for E.T.' Meanwhile, the fired supervisor denies misusing school computers."

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Intel Kills Consumer Larrabee Plans
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '09 at 05:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's vapor-what deptartment:
An anonymous reader tips news that Intel has canceled plans for a consumer version of their long-awaited and oft-delayed Larrabee chip, opting instead to use it as a development platform product. From VentureBeat: "'Larrabee silicon and software development are behind where we had hoped to be at this point in the project,' said Nick Knuppfler, a spokesman for Intel in Santa Clara, Calif. 'Larrabee will not be a consumer product.' In other words, it’s not entirely dead. It’s mostly dead. Instead of launching the chip in the consumer market, it will make it available as a software development platform for both internal and external developers. Those developers can use it to develop software that can run in high-performance computers. But Knuppfler said that Intel will continue to work on stand-alone graphics chip designs. He said the company would have more to say about that in 2010."

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Why Open Source Phones Still Fail
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '09 at 04:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's strange-and-spooky deptartment:
adeelarshad82 writes "Truly open-development, open-source phones like the Nokia N900 will never hit the mainstream in the US because wireless carriers in the country hate the unexpected, writes PCMag's Sascha Segan. The open-source philosophy is all about unexpected, disruptive ideas bubbling upwards, and that drives network planners nuts. So, you get unsatisfactory hybrids like Google Android, which uses some open-source components but locks third-party developers into a crippled Java sandbox. The bottom line is that while Linux the OS, the kernel and the memory manager are attractive to phone manufacturers, Linux the philosophy and users banding together ad hoc to create new things is anathema to wireless carriers."

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Nokia Offers Glimpse of Symbian Facelift
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '09 at 03:30 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's don't-give-up-the-ghost deptartment:
Barence writes to mention that Nokia is giving users a first glimpse at what promises to be a completely overhauled Symbian user experience this coming year. Nokia's chief exec blamed the user interface — as opposed to the OS itself — as the root problem. "The company will roll out a completely re-engineered user interface in 2010, aimed at addressing many of the criticisms associated with the OS. 'We will reduce the clutter and improve the input methods including multi-touch and single tap,' Kallasvuo told delegates. 'It should be just two taps to get to your favorite music or videos, rather than eight. We'll improve browser experience so that it's a quicker, flash improved, media experience with pinch-to-zoom and so on.' And, Kallasvuo wasn't stopping there. Aside from completely redesigning the interface, he also suggested that future Symbian OSes would be much faster."

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MIT and the DARPA Network Challenge
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '09 at 02:45 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's 99-red-baboons deptartment:
mit_team writes "As you might have heard, DARPA has announced a network challenge in the vein of the DARPA grand challenge. In this challenge, participants are tasked with finding 10 red weather balloons distributed throughout the continental US for 8 hours on December 5. The idea is to get this to be a crowd-sourcing kind of activity, where people will use social media tools to solve this problem. Our group, the MIT Red Balloon Challenge Team, based out of the MIT Media Lab, has created a system where you get money not just for finding balloons, but for getting people to join the hunt who find the balloons, or for getting people who get people who find balloons, etc. First you have to sign up. Then you can send invitations to others to join through your own unique URL, crediting you with recruiting them. While our team is interested in winning the contest, we are also interested in studying information diffusion in social networks. Does Twitter spread information faster than blogs? Is your blog effective at spreading information? We could use your help in getting out the word. If you sign up and blog about us you will be able to see the impact that your blog has on getting out the word in real time. Win money, help science, and help charity! Kind regards, The MIT Red Balloon Challenge Team"

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Woman Filming Sister's Birthday Party Gets Charged With Felony Movie Piracy
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '09 at 02:15 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's ignorance-knows-no-bounds deptartment:
A 22-year-old woman from Chicago recently spent two nights in jail and could face up to three years in prison for taping four minutes of the new movie "Twilight: New Moon". Samantha Tumpach and family threw her sister a surprise birthday party at the theater and captured much of it on video, unfortunately two "very shot segments" was enough to make theater managers want to press charges. "Tumpach insisted she recorded no more than three minutes while in the theater — and said not all of the video she shot was of the movie. There's footage of she and her relatives singing to her sister, she said. 'We sang "Happy Birthday" to her in the theater,' Tumpach said. She also took pictures of family members in the theater before the film began, but an usher who saw the photo session never issued them a warning, Tumpach said."

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Organovo Has Its First Commercial 3D Bio-Printer
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '09 at 01:30 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's company-with-a-lot-of-heart(s) deptartment:
kkleiner writes "Organovo and strategic partner Invetech hope in 2010 to release a commercial version of their 3D organ printer capable of producing very basic tissues like blood vessels. While it is still limited to simple tissue structures (full organs are a long ways off), Organovo plans to deliver the printers to various research institutions interested in organ and tissue production. Working with these institutions, Organovo hopes to one day progress to creating a system that can print organs as easily as other 3D printers print plastic figurines."

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Salon.com Editor Looks Back At Paywalls
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '09 at 12:45 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's shooting-yourself-in-the-foot deptartment:
Techdirt pointed out an interesting retrospective by Scott Rosenberg, former managing editor of Salon.com, about their experiments with paywalls and how repercussions can last a lot longer than some might expect. "More important, by this point the public was, understandably, thoroughly confused about how to get to read Salon content. It took many years for our traffic to begin to grow again. Paywalls are psychological as much as navigational, and it's a lot easier to put them up than to take them down. Once web users get it in their head that your site is 'closed' to them, if you ever change your mind and want them to come back, it's extremely difficult to get that word out."

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Hearst Launching Kindle Competitor and Platform "By Publishers, For Publishers"
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '09 at 12:15 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's thinking-bigger-picture deptartment:
The Hearst Corporation has announced their intention to launch an e-reader competitor to Amazon's Kindle and a supporting store and platform that is much more "publisher friendly." More details are available form their official press release this morning. "Launching in 2010, Skiff provides a complete e-reading solution that includes the Skiff Service platform, Skiff Store and Skiff-enabled devices. Skiff will sell and distribute newspapers, magazines, books, blogs and other content. Skiff gives periodical publishers tools to maintain their distinct visual identities, build and extend relationships with subscribers, and deliver dynamic content and advertising to a range of dedicated e-readers and multipurpose devices."

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