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Where the Global Warming Data Is
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '09 at 06:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's premiere-cru deptartment:
Several readers noted the latest fallout from the Climate Research Unit's Climategate: the admission by the University of East Anglia that the raw data behind important climate research was discarded in the 1980s, "a time when climate change was seen as a less pressing issue" according to the Times (UK) article. The Telegraph quotes Phil Jones, beleagured head of the CRU: "Our global temperature series tallies with those of other, completely independent, groups of scientists working for NASA and the National Climate Data Centre in the United States, among others. Even if you were to ignore our findings, theirs show the same results. The facts speak for themselves; there is no need for anyone to manipulate them." Some of the data behind these other results can likely be found in a new resource that jamie located up at the Real Climate site: a compilation of links to a wide variety of raw data about climate. From the former link: "In the aftermath of the CRU email hack, many people have come to believe that scientists are unfairly restricting access to the raw data relating to the global rise in temperature. ... We have set up a page of data links to sources of temperature and other climate data, codes to process it, model outputs, model codes, reconstructions, paleo-records, the codes involved in reconstructions etc."

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Chrome OS Presents and Futures
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '09 at 04:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's ooh-shiny deptartment:
Many readers are submitting stories related to Google Chrome OS. ruphus13 points out a GigaOm opinion piece about how, if users end up rejecting its current cloud-only focus, the nacent OS may succeed as a netbook secondary operating system alongside Windows (in company with secondaries based on other Linux flavors, including Android). Engadget reviews a Chrome OS on a USB key setup that is claimed to offer eye-opening performance compared to running under virtualization. And an anonymous reader notes the 0.1 beta release of ChromeShell, which installs a "Chrome OS-like" environment that boots to the Chrome browser in ~3 seconds; users can switch to Windows later as desired.

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G-WAN, Another Free Web Server
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '09 at 02:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's dioing-it-in-a-hundred-k deptartment:
mssmss writes "Has anyone used G-WAN — a free (as in beer), supposedly fast and scalable Web server? The downside is it supports only C scripts, which the author claims is a plus since most programmers know C anyway. There is currently only a Windows release and no clear answer in their FAQs whether there would be Linux/Solaris releases. As an interesting aside, releasing a Web server while at the same time fighting a losing battle (PDF) with a large bank over a piracy claim of $200 million (the bank is alleged to have done the piracy) is quite a feat."

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Network Security While Traveling?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '09 at 01:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's moving-duck deptartment:
truesaer writes "I'll be spending all of next year backpacking through South America. In the past I've used Internet cafes while away, but this time I plan to bring a netbook and rely primarily on Wi-Fi hotspots. I'll be facing the same issues and risks that business travelers in hotels and airports face, as well as those encountered by millions of other backpackers, gap-year travelers, and students. Since my trip is so long I'll have no choice but to access my banking, credit card, and investment accounts on public networks. I will not have a system at home to connect through. Other than an effective firewall, a patched system, and the use of SSL, what else should I do to protect my information? Keep in mind that many places have very poor bandwidth and latency."

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German President Refuses To Sign Censorship Law
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '09 at 12:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's german-for-hot-potato deptartment:
thetinytoon writes "German federal president Horst Köhler has refused to sign a law to block child pornography that passed Parlament earlier this year, stating that he 'needs more information.' In Germany, the federal president has the right to reject a law only if its passage violated the order mandated by the constitution, or if it is obviously unconstitutional — he can't veto a law simply because he disagrees with it. The law was passed under a coalition government, but a different coalition took power before the law reached the president's desk. Political observers guess that the political parties would like to get rid of the law without losing face, but since it has already passed the Parlament, they can't simply abandon it."

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Archos Releases Dev Edition Firmware For Tablets
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '09 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's knock-yourselves-out deptartment:
Charbax writes "While Archos' current 'Archos 5 Internet Tablet with Android' is a 4.8" WVGA tablet that runs Android 1.5 (and perhaps 2.0 soon with the full Google Marketplace Experience), users of last year's 4.8" and 7" Archos Linux tablets have been complaining that Archos' firmware updates to its proprietary, embedded Linux OS were too infrequent, and added too little of the requested functionality. Under pressure from hackers demonstrating jailbreak methods, Archos has just now officially released (PDF) the open-source Special Developer Edition firmware based on Angstrom Linux, generated from a customized, open embedded build for last year's Archos 5 and 7 Internet Media tablets. If many talented developers join the community of Archos hackers to make software for this new Archos SDE firmware, then Android, Angstrom Linux, Maemo Mer, Qt and Ubuntu Linux could be expected to run smoothly on it soon. That could make it the ultimate pocket Linux Internet tablet for Linux hackers. Installing Archos' new SDE firmware permanently disables DRM playback and voids the warranty."

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NASA Campaigns For Safer Launch Requirements
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '09 at 09:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's risk-is-not-our-business deptartment:
NASA officials will speak before members of Congress this week in an effort to gain support for more stringent launch safety considerations for the space shuttle's successor. Crew safety remains a major concern for lawmakers while they debate NASA's future and the potential integration of private companies into US space flight plans. "The demonstrated probability of a shuttle launch disaster is 1 in 129. NASA's 83 astronauts think those odds can be improved to 1 in 1,000. Independent safety experts agree. 'None of us want to repeat the accident history of the shuttle,' said retired Navy Vice Adm. Joseph Dyer, chairman of the Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, a group organized to oversee NASA programs after three astronauts died in the 1967 Apollo 1 launch pad fire. ... NASA's Astronaut Office began a re-evaluation of next-generation launch vehicle safety after the loss of Columbia's crew. The guiding principles laid out in a May 2004 report remain current, astronauts said. Launching astronauts into low Earth orbit is dangerous. But an order-of-magnitude reduction of risk is achievable 'and should therefore represent a minimum safety benchmark for future systems,' the report says."

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Google-Microsoft Crossfire Will Hit Consumers
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '09 at 08:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's why-i-wear-kevlar-when-searching deptartment:
theodp writes "Newsweek's Dan Lyons doesn't know who will be the winner in Google and Microsoft's search battle, but that's not stopping him from picking a loser — consumers. As we head towards a world where some devices may be free or really cheap, consumers should prepare to be bombarded by ads or pay a premium to escape them. 'The sad truth is that Google and Microsoft care less about making cool products than they do about hurting each other,' concludes Lyons. 'Their fighting has little to do with helping customers and a lot to do with helping themselves to a bigger slice of the money we all spend to buy computers and surf the Internet. Microsoft wants to ruin Google's search business. Google wants to ruin Microsoft's OS business. At the end of the day, they both seem like overgrown nerdy schoolboys fighting over each other's toys.'"

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Record-Breaking Black Friday For eBay's PayPal
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '09 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's conspicuous-consumption deptartment:
adeelarshad82 writes "eBay's PayPal division reported that PayPal processed 20 percent more transactions on Black Friday compared to last year. PayPal didn't release the total payment volume, but claimed that its Payflow Gateway system processes nearly a quarter of e-commerce, while its direct sales numbers reflect 12 percent of all e-commerce. In general, reports from a number of e-tailers and retailers indicated that consumers spent more on Black Friday than in 2008, when the United States was in the midst of a recession. However, it's still unclear whether shoppers bought more on Black Friday, when they could expect a discount on what usually is one of the busiest days in the holiday season, or whether the pattern will continue. In 2008, shoppers stopped buying in early December, a shock that the US economy felt well into 2009." How did your Black Friday turn out? Did you wait in endless lines and contribute to the trampling deaths of fellow shoppers, sit at home and help take down your favorite online retailer's servers, or eschew the process altogether?

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Google Eliminates Gizmo5 Client For Linux
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '09 at 05:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's poor-relation deptartment:
cuttheredwire writes "Evidence on the Gizmo5 forum (login required) confirms that since Google's takeover of Gizmo5, only the Windows, Mac, and iPhone clients are available for download from the official Web page. The Linux download link no longer works. This is a potential problem for happy Linux users with paid-up credit in their Gizmo5 accounts if they need to reinstall the software. A back-door download is still available, although it is speculated on the forums that it will go away soon. Does this mean that (as with other Google projects such as Google Talk) Linux will be the poor relation for Google Voice also?"

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Do You Hate Being Called an "IT Guy?"
Posted by News Fetcher on November 29 '09 at 02:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's tech-genius-will-do-nicely deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "The phrase 'IT' is so overused, I'm not sure what it means any more. OK, maybe it's an ego thing, but I spent a lot of years in grad school, lots of years getting good at creating software, and lots of years getting good at creating technical products and I don't want the same label as the intern who fixes windoze. I'm looking at a tech management job at a content company that is trying to become a software company, and they refer to everything about software development, data center operations, and desktop support as 'IT.' I'd like to tell the CEO before I take the job that we have to stop referring to all these people as 'IT people' or I'm not going to be able to attract and retain the top-tier talent that is required. Am I just being petty? Should I just forget it? Change it slowly over time? These folks are really developing products, but we don't normally call software creators 'product developers.' Just call them the 'Tech Department' or the 'Engineering Deptartment?'"

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iPhone App Store Rejects Find a New Home
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '09 at 11:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's huddled-masses deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "A new site called App Rejections (somewhat slashdoted already) aims to provide a home for misfit apps. With Apple offering no documents or discussions on the matter of application rejections, this site might become a popular place to pick forbidden fruit. Could a third party horn in on Apple's monopoly in the iPhone application market?"

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STS-129 Ascent Video Highlights
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '09 at 08:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's only-five-launches-left deptartment:
An anonymous reader sends in this link to a video of 12-/12 minutes of Space Shuttle pr0n. The people at the Johnson Space Center put together this video of the assent of STS-129 using multiple imagery assets — ground, air, booster, and the shuttle itself. The booster's-eye view of splashdown and immersion is something you don't see every day. As a bonus, another anonymous reader shared a beautiful photo of the shuttle flying over rugged terrain after it separated from the ISS last week.

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Microsoft's Top Devs Don't Seem To Like Own Tools
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '09 at 06:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's frankly-speaking deptartment:
ericatcw writes "Through tools such as Visual Basic and Visual Studio, Microsoft may have done more than any other vendor to make drag and drop-style programming mainstream. But its superstar developers seem to prefer old-school modes of crafting code. During the panel at the Professional Developers Conference earlier this month, the devs also revealed why they think writing tight, bare-metal code will come back into fashion, and why parallel programming hasn't caught up with the processors yet." These guys are senior enough that they don't seem to need to watch what they say and how it aligns with Microsoft's product roadmap. They are also dead funny. Here's Jeffrey Snover on managed code (being pushed by Microsoft through its Common Language Runtime tech): "Managed code is like antilock brakes. You used to have to be a good driver on ice or you would die. Now you don't have to pump your brakes anymore." Snover also joked that programming is getting so abstract, developers will soon have to use Natal to "write programs through interpretative dance."

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Modeling the Economy As a Physics Problem
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '09 at 02:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's gazintas-and-comezoutas deptartment:
University of Utah physicist Tim Garrett has published a study that approaches the economy and its relation to global warming as a physics problem — and comes to some controversial conclusions: that rising carbon dioxide emissions cannot be stabilized unless the world's economy collapses or society builds the equivalent of one new nuclear power plant each day. The study was panned by economists and was rejected by several journals before its acceptance in the journal Climatic Change. "[Garrett discovered that] Throughout history, a simple physical constant... links global energy use to the world's accumulated economic productivity, adjusted for inflation. So it isn't necessary to consider population growth and standard of living in predicting society's future energy consumption and resulting carbon dioxide emissions. ... 'I'm not an economist, and I am approaching the economy as a physics problem,' Garrett says. 'I end up with a global economic growth model different than they have.' Garrett treats civilization like a 'heat engine' that 'consumes energy and does "work" in the form of economic production, which then spurs it to consume more energy,' he says. That constant is 9.7 (plus or minus 0.3) milliwatts per inflation-adjusted 1990 dollar. So if you look at economic and energy production at any specific time in history, 'each inflation-adjusted 1990 dollar would be supported by 9.7 milliwatts of primary energy consumption,' Garrett says. ... Perhaps the most provocative implication of Garrett's theory is that conserving energy doesn't reduce energy use, but spurs economic growth and more energy use."

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A Dual-Screen 10.1" Laptop In Time For the Holidays
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '09 at 01:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's netbook-with-a-two-page-spread deptartment:
JoshuaInNippon writes "Japanese computer manufacture Kohjinsha has announced that it will begin selling a 10.1" dual-screen laptop on Dec. 11 — in Japan only. While it is not the first dual-screen laptop, a title claimed by the monstrous 17" Lenovo Thinkpad W700ds series, the Kohjinsha sure looks much more portable and stylish. The Thinkpad's extra screen pulls out slightly from one side for about a 40% increase on its display, whereas on the Kohjinsha's two full separate screens spread out symmetrically from the center. While specs are admittedly lower than the Thinkpad, the DZ series certainly wins on cost. The starting price will be ¥79,800, about $900, in Japan (exporters will likely mark that price up slightly), compared with the Thinkpad at well over $2,000. Kohjinsha says the laptop is great for working on 'large business documents' (e.g. excessively wide spreadsheets), or watching videos while surfing the Web, which is likely what most users will be doing with it. The timing and the price certainly make the Kohjinsha DZ series a tempting toy idea for holiday giving — perhaps to oneself."

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Tapering Waveguide Captures a Rainbow
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '09 at 12:15 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's you-fight-with-light-surely-that-is-forbidden deptartment:
SubComdTaco passes along news of researchers in the US who have trapped a rainbow in a tapering waveguide. The research is described (PDF) on the arXiv. "In 2007, Ortwin Hess of the University of Surrey in Guildford, UK, and colleagues proposed a technique to trap light inside a tapering waveguide [made of metamaterials]... The idea is that as the waveguide tapers, the components of the light are made to stop in turn at ever narrower points. That's because any given component of the light cannot pass through an opening that's smaller than its wavelength. This leads to a 'trapped rainbow.' ... Now Vera Smolyaninova of Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland, and colleagues have used a convex lens to create the tapered waveguide and trap a rainbow of light. They coated one side of a 4.5-mm-diameter lens with a gold film..., and laid the lens — gold-side down — on a flat glass slide which was also coated with film of gold. Viewed side-on, the space between the curved lens and the flat slide was a layer of air that narrowed to zero thickness where the lens touched the slide — essentially a tapered waveguide. When they shone a multi-wavelength laser beam at the... gilded waveguide, a trapped rainbow formed inside. This could be seen as a series of colored rings when the lens was viewed from above with a microscope: the visible light leaked through the thin gold film."

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Microsoft Advice Against Nehalem Xeons Snuffed Out
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '09 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's keep-that-under-your-hat deptartment:
Eukariote writes "In an article outlining hidden strife in the processor world, Andreas Stiller has reported the scoop that Microsoft advised against the use of Intel Nehalem Xeon (Core i7/i5) processors under Windows Server 2008 R2, but was pressured by Intel to refrain from publishing this advisory. The issue concerns a bug causing spurious interrupts that locks up the Hypervisor of Server 2008. Though there is a hotfix, it is unattractive as it disables power savings and turbo boost states. (The original German-language version of the article is also available.)"

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Herschel Spectroscopy of Future Supernova
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '09 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's that's-a-big-star deptartment:
davecl writes "ESA's Herschel Space Telescope has released its first spectroscopic results. These include observations of VYCMa, a star 50 times as massive as the sun and soon to become a supernova, as well a nearby galaxy, more distant colliding starburst galaxies and a comet in our own solar system. The spectra show more lines than have ever been seen in these objects in the far-infrared and will allow astronomers to work out the detailed chemistry and physics behind star and planet formation as well as the last stages of stellar evolution before VYCMa's eventual collapse into a supernova. More coverage is available at the Herschel Mission Blog, which I run."

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What the iPod Tells Us About the World Economy
Posted by News Fetcher on November 28 '09 at 09:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's we-look-for-things-that-make-us-go deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "Edmund Conway has an interesting article in the Telegraph where he analyzes where the money goes when you buy a complex electronic device marked 'Made in China,' and why a developed economy doesn't need a trade surplus in order to survive. For his example, Conway chooses a 30GB video iPod 'manufactured' in China in 2006. Each iPod, sold in the US for $299, provides China with an export value of about $150, but as it turns out, Chinese producers really only 'earned' around $4 on each unit. 'China, you see, is really just the place where most of the other components that go inside the iPod are shipped and assembled.' Conway says that when you work out the overall US balance of payments, it shows that most of the cash for high tech inventions has flowed back to the United States as a direct result of the intellectual property companies own in their products. 'While the iPod is manufactured offshore and has a global roster of suppliers, the greatest benefits from this innovation go to Apple, an American company, with predominantly American employees and stockholders who reap the benefits,' writes Conway. 'As long as the US market remains dynamic, with innovative firms and risk-taking entrepreneurs, global innovation should continue to create value for American investors and well-paid jobs for knowledge workers. But if those companies get complacent or lose focus, there are plenty of foreign competitors ready to take their places.'"

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