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Google Apologizes For "Michelle Obama" Results
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '09 at 08:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's was-that-wrong? deptartment:
theodp writes "CNN reports that for most of the past week, when someone did a Google image search for 'Michelle Obama,' one of the first images that came up was a picture of the First Lady altered to resemble a monkey. After being hit with a firestorm of criticism over the episode, Google first banned the site that posted the photo, saying it could spread malware. Then, when the image appeared on another site, Google displayed the photo in its search results, but displayed an apologetic Google ad above it. On Wednesday morning, the racially offensive image appeared to have been removed from any Google Image searches for 'Michelle Obama.' Google officials could not immediately be reached for comment." Update — 15:38 GMT by SS: A reader pointed out that this article from the Guardian says the image was de-listed simply because it was removed from the blog where it was hosted rather than by any "deliberate" action from Google.

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Microsoft Issues Takedown Notices Over COFEE
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '09 at 08:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's horses-and-barn-doors deptartment:
Eugen tips news that Microsoft has sent DMCA takedown notices to several websites to stop them from offering the Computer Online Forensic Evidence Extractor (COFEE) tool for download after it was leaked earlier this month. One of the sites, Cryptome.org, has posted their correspondence with Microsoft over the software. "... Microsoft contacted Network Solutions, which hosts Cryptome, and since John Young, the owner of the website, wasn't too keen on losing his whole website for the sake of a single 15MB file, he removed the download link and sent Network Solutions a notice of compliance."

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Italian Prosecutors Seek Prison Sentences For Google Execs
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '09 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's badda-boom-badda-...-bing? deptartment:
angry tapir writes "Milan prosecutors have sought prison sentences ranging from six months to one year for four Google executives accused of violating Italy's privacy laws over the posting of a video showing the bullying of a handicapped teenage boy. The prosecutor's request was backed up by a request by lawyers representing the Milan city council for €300,000 (US$452,000) in moral and material damages. The case concerns the posting on Google Video of a three-minute mobile-phone video showing a handicapped boy being tormented by his classmates in a Turin school."

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Tag Images With Your Mind
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '09 at 06:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's typing-is-hard deptartment:
blee37 writes "Researchers at Microsoft have invented a system for tagging images by reading brain scans from an electroencephalograph (EEG). Tagging images is an important task because many images on the web are unlabeled and have no semantic information. This new method allows an appropriate tag to be generated by an AI algorithm interpreting the EEG scan of a person's brain while they view an image. The person need only view the image for as little as 500 ms. Other current methods for generating tags include flat out paying people to do it manually, putting the task on Amazon Mechanical Turk, or using Google Image Labeler."

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CIA Manual Thought Lost In 1973 Available On Amazon
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '09 at 05:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's there-is-no-manual-nor-has-there-ever-been-a-manual deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "At the height of the Cold War, the Central Intelligence Agency paid renowned magician John Mulholland $3,000 to write a manual on misdirection, concealment, and stagecraft. All known copies of the document were believed to be destroyed in 1973. Turns out one survived — and is now available on Amazon."

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Review Scores the "Least Important Factor" When Buying Games
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '09 at 02:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's arbitrary-numbers-are-arbitrary deptartment:
A recent report from a games industry analyst suggests that among a number of factors leading to the purchase of a video game — such as price, graphics and word of mouth — the game's aggregated review score is the least important measure. Analyst Doug Creutz said, "We believe that while Metacritic scores may be correlated to game quality and word of mouth, and thus somewhat predictive of title performance, they are unlikely in and of themselves to drive or undermine the success of a game. We note this, in part, because of persistent rumors that some game developers have been jawboning game reviewers into giving their games higher critical review scores. We believe the publishers are better served by spending their time on the development process than by 'grade-grubbing' after the fact."

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Google Apologizes For "Michelle Obama" Results
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '09 at 01:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's was-that-wrong? deptartment:
theodp writes "CNN reports that for most of the past week, when someone did a Google image search for 'Michelle Obama,' one of the first images that came up was a picture of the First Lady altered to resemble a monkey. After being hit with a firestorm of criticism over the episode, Google first banned the site that posted the photo, saying it could spread malware. Then, when the image appeared on another site, Google displayed the photo in its search results, but displayed an apologetic Google ad above it. On Wednesday morning, the racially offensive image appeared to have been removed from any Google Image searches for 'Michelle Obama.' Google officials could not immediately be reached for comment."

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The Psychology of Achievement In Playing Games
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '09 at 12:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's no-you-don't-get-points-for-reading-this deptartment:
A post on Pixel Poppers looks at the psychological underpinnings of the types of challenges offered by different game genres, and the effect those challenges have on determining which players find the games entertaining. Quoting: "To progress in an action game, the player has to improve, which is by no means guaranteed — but to progress in an RPG, the characters have to improve, which is inevitable. ... It turns out there are two different ways people respond to challenges. Some people see them as opportunities to perform — to demonstrate their talent or intellect. Others see them as opportunities to master — to improve their skill or knowledge. Say you take a person with a performance orientation ('Paul') and a person with a mastery orientation ('Matt'). Give them each an easy puzzle, and they will both do well. Paul will complete it quickly and smile proudly at how well he performed. Matt will complete it quickly and be satisfied that he has mastered the skill involved. Now give them each a difficult puzzle. Paul will jump in gamely, but it will soon become clear he cannot overcome it as impressively as he did the last one. The opportunity to show off has disappeared, and Paul will lose interest and give up. Matt, on the other hand, when stymied, will push harder. His early failure means there's still something to be learned here, and he will persevere until he does so and solves the puzzle."

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Ants That Can Count
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '09 at 11:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's ants-plus-math-equals-doom deptartment:
thisIsOdd writes "NPR had a recent report about scientists at the University of Ulm who suggest that ants in desert environments count to help them get to and from their homes. Because the desert's windiness and sandiness is not conducive the 'smell-trail' method, where ants squeeze certain glands that leave a chemical trail, scientists were puzzled by the fact that these desert ants were able to leave and successfully return to their nest. The theory is called the 'pedometer theory,' and the experiment used to test it involves manipulating the leg length of some of these ants. Ants with longer legs would pass the nest on the way home, and ones with shorter legs came up... well... short."

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Tokyo Students Design a New Robotic Muscle Suit
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '09 at 08:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's we-can-make-it-better deptartment:
angry tapir writes "Students at Tokyo's University of Science have developed a new version of their muscle suit, a wearable robotic suit that assists the muscles when carrying out strenuous tasks. The original version of the suit, which has been in production for several years, provides assistance to the arms and back but the new version provides assistance to the back only. That means it is lighter and more compact than the original model."

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Obama Wants Computer Privacy Ruling Overturned
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '09 at 04:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's let-me-see-what-you-got-there deptartment:
schwit1 writes "The Obama administration is seeking to reverse a federal appeals court decision that dramatically narrows the government’s search-and-seizure powers in the digital age. Solicitor General Elena Kagan and Justice Department officials are asking the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its August ruling that federal prosecutors went too far when seizing 104 professional baseball players’ drug results when they had a warrant for just 10. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

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Google's Reach Hits Your Tivo
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '09 at 03:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's no-more-intestinal-products-please deptartment:
accido writes "As reported by The LA Times, Google has now decided to expand its marketing and data collection to include what you watch on your Tivo. The data collected would help Google, who sells TV ads, show who watches which commercials and who skips right over them. The article outlines how this could be bad for Networks who cash in weather you watch the ad or not. Does this mean fewer commercials for viewers? Not likely, but one can hope."

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KDE Rebrands, Introduces KDE Plasma Desktop
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '09 at 02:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's postitioning-for-clarity deptartment:
Jiilik Oiolosse writes "The KDE community has killed the term K Desktop Environment (previously the Kool Desktop Environment). 'KDE' had previously ambiguously referred to both the community, and the complete set of programs and tools produced by the KDE community which together formed a desktop user interface. This set of tools, including the window manager, panels and configuration utilities, which KDE terms a 'workspace,' will now be shipped under the term 'KDE Plasma Desktop.' This allows KDE to ship a separate workspace called 'Plasma Netbook,' and independently market the various KDE applications as usable in any workspace, whether it be the Plasma Desktop, Windows, or XFCE."

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Astronomers Invent "Galaxy Game"
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '09 at 01:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's like-a-visit-to-the-optometrist deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports that astronomers have invented a game to help uncover the basis of galactic collisions, showing players images of colliding galaxies and asking them to match those to simulations. These galactic mergers could be the key to why the Universe contains a mixture of different galaxies — some with trailing spiral arms, others more like compact balls of stars and astronomers say that humans are 'much better than computers' at spotting the patterns and similarities. 'The strength of the game is that it takes results from many people,' says Dr Chris Lintott from Oxford University, one of the members of the Galaxy Zoo team. The developers describe the game as a 'cosmic fruit machine.' The game shows players one real galaxy image and, on command, eight randomly selected simulations pop into the "slots" surrounding that image. The aim is for players to choose the simulations that look most similar to the real galaxy and take those through to the 'next round' to examine them further. The simulated images show the different aspects of galaxy formation, so as people play, they will generate data that will help astronomers' understand these collisions. 'These collisions take millions of years to unfold,' says Anthony Holincheck, a graduate student at George Mason University and another member of the team. 'All we get from the Universe is a single snapshot of each one. [With] simulations, we will be able to watch each cosmic car crash unfold in the computer.'"

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Man Pleads Guilty To Selling Fake Chips To US Navy
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '09 at 12:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's vinegar-was-ersatz-too deptartment:
itwbennett writes "Neil Felahy of Newport Coast, California, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and counterfeit-goods trafficking for his role in a chip-counterfeiting scam. Felahy, along with his wife and her brother, operated several microchip brokerage companies under a variety of names, including MVP Micro, Red Hat Distributors, Force-One Electronics and Pentagon Components. 'They would buy counterfeit chips from China or else take legitimate chips, sand off the brand markings and melt the plastic casings with acid to make them appear to be of higher quality or a different brand,' the US Department of Justice said in a press release. The chips were then sold to Naval Sea Systems Command, the Washington, D.C., group responsible for maintaining the US Navy's ships and systems, as well as an unnamed vacuum-cleaner manufacturer in the Midwest."

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Magento Beginner's Guide
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '09 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it deptartment:
coder4hire writes "The shopping cart systems that power online stores have evolved from simple homebrew solutions in the CGI era to far more powerful open source packages, such as osCommerce. But even the later systems are frequently criticized as suffering from poorly-written code and inadequate documentation — as well as for being difficult to install and administer, and nearly impossible to enhance with new functionality and improved site styling, at least without hiring outside help. These problems alone would explain the rapidly growing interest in the latest generation of shopping cart systems, such as Magento, purported to be outpacing all others in adoption. In turn, technical publishers are making available books to help developers and site owners get started with this e-commerce alternative, such as Magento: Beginner's Guide, written by William Rice." Read on for the rest of Michael's review.

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Australian Govt. Proposes Internet "Panic Button" For Kids
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '09 at 10:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's panic-panic-panic deptartment:
CuteSteveJobs writes "Children who feel they are being bullied, harassed or groomed online could call for help instantly using a 'panic button' on their PCs under a plan by the Australian Government's cyber-safety working group. The button shall look like a 'friendly dolphin,' who will connect the child victim instantly to police or child protection groups. Australian Internet Censorship Advocate Hetty 'Save the Children' Johnson says the Internet needs something like 000 or 911. Will this be another scheme wasting taxpayer dollars in lieu of parental supervison, or could it actually work? Are 1 in 4 children really sexually abused by the Internet? Can flaming and trolling be classified as bullying?"

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Jetman Attempts Intercontinental Flight
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '09 at 10:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's a-jetwing-and-a-prayer deptartment:
Last year we ran the story of Yves Rossy and his DIY jetwings. Yves spent $190,000 and countless hours building a set of jet-powered wings which he used to cross the English Channel. Rossy's next goal is to cross the Strait of Gibraltar, from Tangier in Morocco and Tarifa on the southwestern tip of Spain. From the article: "Using a four-cylinder jet pack and carbon fibre wings spanning over 8ft, he will jump out of a plane at 6,500 ft and cruise at 130 mph until he reaches the Spanish coast, when he will parachute to earth."

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Contributors Leaving Wikipedia In Record Numbers
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '09 at 09:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's three-phases-of-web-sites deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "CNET reports that the volunteers who create Wikipedia's pages, check facts and adapt the site are abandoning Wikipedia in unprecedented numbers with tens of thousands of editors going “dead” — no longer actively contributing and updating the site — a trend many experts believe could threaten Wikipedia’s future. In the first three months of 2009 the English-language version of Wikipedia suffered a net loss of 49,000 contributors, compared with a loss of about 4,900 during the same period in 2008. “If you don’t have enough people to take care of the project it could vanish quickly," says Felipe Ortega at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid who created a computer system to analyze the editing history of more than three million active Wikipedia contributors in ten different languages. "We’re not in that situation yet. But eventually, if the negative trends follow, we could be in that situation.” Contributors are becoming disenchanted with the process of adding to the site which is becoming increasingly difficult says Andrew Dalby, author of The World and Wikipedia: How We are Editing Reality and a regular editor of the site. “There is an increase of bureaucracy and rules. Wikipedia grew because of the lack of rules. That has been forgotten. The rules are regarded as irritating and useless by many contributors.” Arguments over various articles have also taken their toll. "Many people are getting burnt out when they have to debate about the contents of certain articles again and again," adds Ortega."

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STEREO Satellites Spot Solar Flare Tsunami
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '09 at 08:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's gonna-need-more-spf deptartment:
westtxfun writes "The STEREO satellites recently confirmed the existence of solar mega-tsunamis when they captured height data after a sunspot recently erupted. The scale of this tsunami literally dwarfs the Earth's diameter — it was 62,000 miles high and raced across the surface at 560,000 mph! STEREO A and B orbit 90 degrees apart and luckily, one was overhead while the other saw the eruption on the limb. This gave NASA scientists enough data to confirm the tsunami wasn't a shadow, solving a modern solar mystery. The images are simply stunning, to boot."

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