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Call In the Military To Blast Rogue Satellite?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 13 '10 at 07:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's star-wars-is-awesome deptartment:
coondoggie submitted a follow-up to the tale of the wandering satellite that might collide with other stuff in orbit. He asks "Will the military need to be called in to blow up the rogue Intelsat satellite meandering through Earth's orbit? Or maybe a NASA Space Shuttle could swing by and grab it? You may recall that in 2008, rather than risk that a large piece of a failing spy satellite would fall on populated areas, the government blasted it out of the sky. The physics of such a shot were complicated and the Navy had a less than 10-second window to hit the satellite as it passed over its ships in the Pacific Ocean. But it worked. Now word comes that a five-year-old Intelsat TV satellite is meandering in orbit and attempts to control it have proven futile. At issue now is that the satellite could smash into other satellites or ramble into other satellite orbits and abscond with their signals."

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German User Fined For Having an Open WI-Fi
Posted by News Fetcher on May 13 '10 at 07:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's half-of-you-are-guilty deptartment:
Kilrah_il writes "A German citizen was sued for copyright infringement because copyrighted material was downloaded through his network while he was on vacation. Although the court did not find him guilty of copyright infringement, he was fined for not having password-protected his network: 'Private users are obligated to check whether their wireless connection is adequately secured to the danger of unauthorized third parties abusing it to commit copyright violation,' the court said."

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Outsourcing Unit To Be Set Up In Indian Jail
Posted by News Fetcher on May 13 '10 at 06:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's you'll-love-the-benefits-package deptartment:
littlekorea writes "Indian outsourcing firm Radiant Info Systems has found yet another way to lower wages — hiring data entry clerks from a local prison. Some 200 inmates will be paid $2.20 a day to handle manual data entry tasks for Radiant's BPO deals in a pilot for the scheme. Radiant execs told The BBC that the deal will provide skills to inmates when they are released from prison. No doubt they would also be due for a pay rise." They're going to need to cut wages if they want to be competitive with the 100,000 US prisoners who work for 25 cents an hour.

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Researchers Build Evolving Brain Computer?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 13 '10 at 05:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's but-can-it-make-pie deptartment:
destinyland writes "We have mimicked how neurons behave in the brain," announces an international research team from Japan and Michigan Tech. They've built an "evolutionary circuit" in a molecular computer that evolves to solve complex problems, and the molecular computer also exhibits brain-like massive parallel processing. "The neat part is, approximately 300 molecules talk with each other at a time during information processing," says physicist Ranjit Pati of Michigan Tech. When viewed with a scanning tunneling microscope, the evolving patterns bear an uncanny resemblance to the human brain as seen by a Functional MRI. Using the electrically-charged tip of a tunneling microscope, they've individually set molecules to a desired state, essentially writing data to the system. And while conventional computers are typically built using two-state (0, 1) transistors, the molecular layer is built using a hexagonal molecule, and can switch among four conducting states — 0, 1, 2 and 3, suggesting it may ultimately have more AI potential than quantum computing."

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Google To Answer Your Questions Directly
Posted by News Fetcher on May 13 '10 at 05:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's what-is-the-air-speed-velocity-of deptartment:
RabbitWho writes "Last week Google launched a redesign of its search results page, and is now introducing some changes to the content of its results too. The company says it will directly answer 'millions of different fact-seeking searches' with short answers at the top of its results. Search for 'Catherine Zeta-Jones date of birth', for instance, and the date shows up at the top, along with where Google is pulling the information from. Google says the feature is based on Google Squared, the experimental search tool it rolled out a year ago that gathers facts from the around the web and presents them in an organized way. "

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Apple vs. Nokia vs. Google vs. HTC
Posted by News Fetcher on May 13 '10 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's ballroom-blitz deptartment:
Lanxon writes "Wired has published a lengthy investigation into the litigation underway among some of the world's biggest cell phone manufacturers, and what it means for the industry of patent lawsuits and patent squatting. 'According to a 2009 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, from 1995 to 2008 non-practising entities [patent trolls] have been awarded damages that are, on average, more than double those for practising entities. Consider Research In Motion's 2006 payout of over $612 million to Virginia-based patent-holding company NTP, to avoid its BlackBerry network being shut down in the US. As part of the settlement, NTP granted RIM a licence to use its patented technology; it has subsequently filed lawsuits against AT&T, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile, and Verizon.'"

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US Air Force To Suffer From PS3 Update
Posted by News Fetcher on May 13 '10 at 03:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sounds-like-an-act-of-terrorism-to-me deptartment:
tlhIngan writes "The US Air Force, having purchased PS3s for supercomputing research, is now the latest victim of Sony's removal of the Install Other OS feature. It turns out that while their PS3s don't need the firmware update, it will be impossible to replace PS3s that fail. PS3s with the OtherOS feature are no longer produced since the Slim was introduced, so replacements will have to come from the existing stock of used PS3s. However, as most gamers have probably updated their PS3s, that used stock is no longer suitable for the USAF's research. In addition, smaller educational clusters using PS3s will share the same fate — unable to replace machines that die in their clusters." In related news, Sony has been hit with two more lawsuits over this issue.

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Exam Board Deletes C and PHP From CompSci A-Levels
Posted by News Fetcher on May 13 '10 at 01:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's who-needs-them deptartment:
VitaminB52 writes "A-level computer science students will no longer be taught C, C#, or PHP from next year following a decision to withdraw the languages by the largest UK exam board. Schools teaching the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance's (AQA) COMP1 syllabus have been asked to use one of its other approved languages — Java, Pascal/Delphi, Python 2.6, Python 3.1, Visual Basic 6, and VB.Net 2008. Pascal/Delphi is 'highly recommended' by the exam board because it is stable and was designed to teach programming and problem-solving."

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New Hardware Models Highlight Nintendo's No-Transfer Policy
Posted by News Fetcher on May 13 '10 at 12:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's inconvenience-is-an-art-form-these-days deptartment:
An article at Wired discusses the difficulties involved in transferring games that were purchased and downloaded online when users replace their Wii or DSi. "Neither the Wii nor Nintendo’s portable DSi consoles have an upgrade path for downloadable content, since games are tied not to user accounts but to specific machines. It’s impossible for a user to copy content from an old console to a new one. Even some Wii owners whose machines have malfunctioned said it was difficult, or impossible, to get Nintendo to transfer the software licenses at its headquarters." One gamer, who bought the recently released black Wii console, explained that she got Nintendo to transfer her games, but needed to "mail both of her Wii consoles to Nintendo, and wait two weeks," hardly a convenient solution.

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UK Court Rules Company Liable For Software Defects
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '10 at 11:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's lemon-law deptartment:
normsky writes "A software company's stipulation that it couldn't be held accountable for the poor performance of its software was unfair and could not be enforced, the High Court has said. 'Pursuant to the Sale of Goods Act 1979, a term is to be implied into the contract that Entirety would be fit for the purpose for which it was bought, namely that the system would increase revenue and occupancy levels and would allow quicker check-in and check-out, including accurately processing groups and making changes to group reservations while preserving the accuracy of the system. I am satisfied that Entirety was not fit for the purpose for which it was sold,' his Honour Judge Toulmin wrote."

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Court Grants RIAA Summary Judgement Motions vs. Limewire
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '10 at 08:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's pay-the-man deptartment:
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "District Court Judge Kimba Wood has granted some of the RIAA's key summary judgment motions in Arista Records v Lime Group. In her 59-page decision (PDF) she found Lime Group itself, as well as its CEO and a separate company, liable for intentionally inducing Limewire users to infringe plaintiffs' copyrights. The decision was not a final judgment, so it is not appealable. Additionally, it denied summary judgment on certain issues, and did not address any possible damages."

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Stanford Robot Car Capable of Slide Parking
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '10 at 06:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's no-human-would-drift-like-that deptartment:
kkleiner writes "Stanford's Junior, the robot car that took second place at DARPA's Grand Challenge in 2007, has learned how to perform a tire squealing 180 degree spin into a skin-tight parking space. Similar to a James Bond action scene, the maneuver is impressive and would be extremely difficult for a human to pull off. We won't be handing the keys over to robot cars anytime soon, but Stanford shows us that at least for some driving tasks robot cars can already meet or even exceed human ability."

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John Carmack To Cut Space Tourism Prices 50%
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '10 at 04:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's everything-must-go-to-space-sale deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Looks like John Carmack, through Armadillo Aerospace, will be battling Burt Rutan and Richard Branson to make space travel affordable. From the article: 'Space Adventures is going to use an Armadillo Technologies rocket to launch amateur astronauts 62 miles into the sky. Nothing new, except that they will do it at half the price of Virgin Galactic's ticket, and in a real rocket!' Perhaps I'll visit space, after all."

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Supermassive Black Hole Is Thrown Out of Galaxy
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '10 at 04:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's moving-to-better-quarters deptartment:
DarkKnightRadick writes "An undergrad student at the University of Utrecht, Marianne Heida, has found evidence of a super massive black hole being tossed out of it's galaxy. According to the article, the black hole — which has a mass equivalent to 1 billion suns — is possibly the culmination of two galaxies merging (or colliding, depending on how you like to look at it) and their black holes merging, creating one supermassive beast. The black hole was found using the Chandra Source Catalog (from the Chandra X-Ray Observatory). The direction of the expulsion is also possibly indicative of the direction of rotation of the two black holes as they circled each other before merging."

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Researchers Create Logic Circuits From DNA
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '10 at 03:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's growing-a-faster-computer deptartment:
separsons writes "Researchers at Duke University recently used DNA to craft tiny chips used in computers and electronic circuits. By mixing DNA snippets with other molecules and exposing them to light, researchers created self-assembling, DNA-based logic circuits. Once perfected the tech could serve as an endlessly abundant, cheap alternative to silicon semiconductors. Chris Dwyer, lead researcher on the project, says that one grad student using DNA to make self-assembling circuits could produce more logic circuits in one day than the global silicon chip industry can create in an entire month!"

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Peppermint OS One Review
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '10 at 02:00 PM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's does-it-come-in-an-altoid-tin deptartment:
JimLynch writes "I've covered a lot of remastered versions of Ubuntu since DLR launched. But, every once in a while, I bump into one that is particularly interesting to review. Peppermint OS One is definitely in that category. Peppermint OS One is a web-centric Ubuntu remaster that passes up common desktop applications like OpenOffice.org in favor of web-based alternatives such as Google Docs. And it doesn't stop with office applications either; Peppermint OS One integrates video sites like YouTube and Hulu right into the desktop experience."

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FBI To Prosecute 'Money Mules'
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '10 at 01:15 PM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's sorry-about-that-nigeria-thing deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "A top FBI official said today that the agency is planning a law enforcement sweep against so-called "money mules," individuals willingly or unwittingly roped into helping organized computer crooks launder money stolen through online banking fraud, writes Krebsonsecurity.com. The author says he has interviewed more than 150 money mules, and find most fit into one of two camps: the not-so-bright, and those who suspect something's not right, but do it anyway. From the story: "I find most mules fit into the latter group, and you can usually tell because these individuals often will admit to having set up a new account for the job" separate from where they keep their meager savings or checking. When pressed as to why they did this, if they're honest most will say they weren't sure about the whole arrangement and wanted to protect their investments just in case their employers turned out to be less-than-honest."

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Telecom Plan To Take Over the Internet Isn't Real
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '10 at 12:32 PM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's well-color-me-fooled deptartment:
wiredog writes "The Telcos' Secret Anti-Net Neutrality Strategy is actually a student project. The "No Net Brutality" campaign idea was one of the four finalists created as an assignment for a two-and-a-half week "think tank MBA" program. The other finalists were a project promoting free speech in Venezuela, one supporting education reform in Poland, and one dealing with sales taxes rates in Washington, D.C. ("No Net Brutality" came in third. The Polish reform idea won.)"

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Steam Client for Mac Launches, Linux Client On the Way
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '10 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's three-cheers deptartment:
CyDharttha writes with news that the Mac version of Steam went live today, along with Mac versions of Portal, Team Fortress 2, and many other games. Valve plans to make more games available every Wednesday. Several publications are also reporting that a Linux version of Steam has been confirmed, and is expected within the next few months. Quoting Phoronix: "Found already within the Steam store are Linux-native games like Unreal Tournament 2004, World of Goo, and titles from id Software such as Enemy Territory: Quake Wars and Doom 3. Now that the Source Engine is officially supported on Linux, some Source-based games will be coming over too. Will we finally see Unreal Tournament 3 surface on Linux too? Only time will tell, but it is something we speculated back in 2008. Postal III is also being released this year atop the Source Engine and it will be offering up a native client. We have confirmed that Valve's latest and popular titles like Half-Life 2, Counter-Strike: Source, and Team Fortress 2 are among the first of the Steam Linux titles, similar to the Mac OS X support. The released Linux client should be available by the end of summer."

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Matplotlib For Python Developers
Posted by News Fetcher on May 12 '10 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it deptartment:
Craig Maloney writes "Ever since there was a collection of numbers, it seems that invariably someone will want a graph of those numbers. There are literally hundreds of different styles of graphs, and almost as many programs and tools to make those graphs. Matplotlib, a library and toolkit for the Python language, provides an easy and effective way to make some impressive graphics with little more than a smattering of Python. Matplotlib for Python Developers is equally impressive at distilling the core set of features of Matplotlib in a way that shows the reader how to get the most out the Matplotlib toolkit." Read below for the rest of Craig's review.

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