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WHO To Investigate Handling of Swine Flu Information, Vaccine Orders
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '10 at 11:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's here-little-piggy deptartment:
krou writes "With swine flu fading in the UK (projected winter deaths of 65,000 have been downgraded to 1,000, and new cases are decreasing) the UK government has been left with millions of unused vaccines, and (unlike its contract with Baxter) no clear break-clause to get out of its contract with GlaxoSmithKlein. Although the amount paid for vaccines has not been disclosed, it likely cost the UK government several hundred million pounds. Other governments are also in a similar position: the US ordered 251 million doses of the vaccine, and France and Germany are aiming to cut back on their orders considerably. To say that the case for the pandemic has been over-estimated appears to be an understatement. Now, the WHO has announced that it is to investigate whether or not it bowed to pressure from drugs companies to overplay the threat." (Continues, below.)

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Robotics Prof Fears Rise of Military Robots
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '10 at 08:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's oh-you-worry-too-much deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Interesting video interview on silicon.com with Sheffield University's Noel Sharkey, professor of AI & robotics. The white-haired prof talks state-of-the-robot-nation — discussing the most impressive robots currently clanking about on two-legs (hello Asimo) and who's doing the most interesting things in UK robotics research (something involving crickets apparently). He also voices concerns about military use of robots — suggesting it won't be long before armies are sending out fully autonomous killing machines."

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IE 0-Day Flaw Used In Chinese Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '10 at 05:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's zero-is-where-you-start-counting deptartment:
bheer writes "A zero-day attack on IE was used to carry out the cyber attack on Google and others that's been getting so much ink recently, reports The Register quoting McAfee's CTO. While the web (and security) community has been pointing out the problems with IE's many security flaws (and its sluggish update cycle) in the past, IE shows no sign of vanishing from the corporate landscape."

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Cliff Click's Crash Course In Modern Hardware
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '10 at 03:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's first-there-were-the-dinosaurs deptartment:
Lord Straxus writes "In this presentation (video) from the JVM Languages Summit 2009, Cliff Click talks about why it's almost impossible to tell what an x86 chip is really doing to your code due to all of the crazy kung-fu and ninjitsu it does to your code while it's running. This talk is an excellent drill-down into the internals of the x86 chip, and it's a great way to get an understanding of what really goes on down at the hardware and why certain types of applications run so much faster than other types of applications. Dr. Cliff really knows his stuff!"

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Obama Appointee Sunstein Favors Infiltrating Online Groups
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '10 at 02:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's freedom-of-somethingeruther deptartment:
megamerican writes "President Barack Obama's appointee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs advocated in a recent paper the 'cognitive infiltration' of groups that advocate 'conspiracy theories' like the ones surrounding 9/11 via 'chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine' those groups. Sunstein admits that 'some conspiracy theories, under our definition, have turned out to be true' Sunstein has also recently advocated banning websites which post 'right-wing rumors' and bringing back the Fairness Doctrine. You can find a PDF of his paper here. For decades (1956-1971), the FBI under COINTELPRO focused on disrupting, marginalizing and neutralizing political dissidents, most notably the Black Panthers. More recently CENTCOM announced it would be engaging bloggers 'who are posting inaccurate or untrue information, as well as bloggers who are posting incomplete information.' In January 2009 the USAF released a flow-chart for 'counter-bloggers' to 'counter the people out there in the blogosphere who have negative opinions about the U.S. government and the Air Force.'"

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Powerful Linux ISP Router Distribution?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '10 at 02:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's love-doesn't-scale deptartment:
fibrewire writes "I'm building a Wireless ISP using commercial grade, low cost equipment. My main stumbling block is that I cannot find a decent open source ISP class routing distribution. Closest thing to even a decent tool is Ubiquiti's AIRControl — but even it doesn't play well with other network monitoring software. I've used Mikrotik's RouterOS for five years, but it just isn't built for what I need. I don't mind paying licensing fees, but $300K for a Cisco Universal Broadband Router is out of my budget. Has anyone seen any good open-source/cheap hardware/software systems that will scale to several thousand users?"

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Google Switching To EXT4 Filesystem
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '10 at 01:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's make-money-with-open-source deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Google is in the process of upgrading their existing EXT2 filesystem to the new and improved EXT4 filesystem. Google has benchmarked three different filesystems — XFS, EXT4 and JFS. In their benchmarking, EXT4 and XFS performed, as impressively as each other. However, in view of the easier upgrade path from EXT2 to EXT4, Google has decided to go ahead with EXT4."

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Augmented Reality To Help Mechanics Fix Vehicles
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '10 at 12:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's insert-overlaid-part-a-into-slot-b deptartment:
kkleiner writes "ARMAR, or Augmented Reality for Maintenance and Repair, is a head mounted display unit that provides graphic overlays to assist you in making repairs. An Android phone provides an interface to control the graphics you view during the process. Published in IEEE, and recently tested with the United States Marine Corps on an armored turret, ARMAR can cut maintenance times in half by guiding users to the damaged area and displaying 3D animations to demonstrate the appropriate tools and techniques."

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Kodak Sues Apple & RIM Over Preview In Cameras
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '10 at 12:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's about-that-rent-we're-seeking deptartment:
Dave Knott writes "Kodak is suing Apple and Research In Motion over technology related to digital cameras in their iPhone and BlackBerry smart phones. The complaint specifically relates to photo preview functionality which Kodak claims infringes on their patents. The company is asking for unspecified monetary damages and a court order to end the disputed practices. Kodak has amassed more than 1,000 digital-imaging patents, and almost all of today's digital cameras rely on that technology. Kodak has licensed digital-imaging technology to about 30 companies, including mobile-device makers such as LG Electronics Inc., Motorola Inc., Nokia Corp. and Sony Ericsson, all of which pay royalties to Kodak."

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Checking In On Project Natal
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '10 at 11:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's project-nascent deptartment:
itwbennett writes "A couple of interesting articles followed Robbie Bach's announcement at CES that Project Natal, Microsoft's controller-free Xbox 360 control system, will be shipping in time for the 2010 holiday season, writes blogger Peter Smith. First, Popular Science has a nice look at how Project Natal works, focusing mostly on the software and how 'Microsoft engineers are teaching the Natal 'brain' what various parts of the human body look like so that Natal can tell your ascot from your elbow.' Microsoft is staying mum on the hardware, although Smith notes that we know it involves an infrared camera. 'If you don't care about how the tech works but just want to know if it'll be worth buying,' writes Smith, 'you might be interested in an interview with Robbie Bach in the Financial Post. In the interview Bach claims that 70%-80% of Xbox 360 developers are working on some kind of Natal-enabled gaming software, and he assures us that first-party studios are also hard at work.'"

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Google Attackers Identified as Chinese Government
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '10 at 11:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's well-this-isn't-good deptartment:
forand writes Researchers, examining the attacks on Google and over 20 other companies in December, have determined 'the source IPs and drop server of the attack correspond to a single foreign entity consisting either of "agents of the Chinese state or proxies thereof."'"

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Tynt Insight Is Watching You Cut and Paste
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '10 at 10:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's peeking-at-your-poke deptartment:
jerryasher writes "In recent weeks I've noticed that when I copy and paste text from Wired and other websites, the pasted text has had the url of the original website appended to it. Cool, and utterly annoying, and how do I make that stop? Tynt Insight is a piece of Javascript that sends what you copy to Tynt's webservers and adds the backlinks. Tynt calls that a service for the site owner, many people call that a privacy invasion. Worse, there are some reports that it sends not just what you copy, but everything you select. And Tynt provides no opt outs. Not cookie based, not IP based, but stop it you creeps angry phone call based. It ain't a pure useful service, and it ain't a pure privacy invasion. But I sure wish they'd go away and have had the decency to never start up in the first place. I block it on Firefox with Ghostery."

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Google Attackers Identified as Chinese Government
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '10 at 10:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's well-this-isn't-good deptartment:
forand writes Researchers, examining the attacks on Google and over 20 other companies in December, have determined "the source IPs and drop server of the attack correspond to a single foreign entity consisting either of "agents of the Chinese state or proxies thereof.""

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Disaster Recovery For Haiti's Cell Phone Networks
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '10 at 09:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's what-the-world-needs-now deptartment:
spun writes "A disaster recovery team from Trilogy International Partners, LLC was among the first responders to arrive after the quake in Haiti. After seeing to the safety of their staff, they worked quickly to bring up emergency generators and restore service to the devastated country. Winners of a State Department medal for their previous work in Haiti, the company appears to be a model not only for proper disaster recovery response, but also for ethical corporate behavior. Their quick action has no doubt saved thousands of lives, but Haiti still needs our help." Keith Calder, who used to work on Slashdot ad stuff before we had big corporate owners, is now a film producer of last summer's Battle for Terra. They are giving away signed copies of the DVD to the first 100 people who make $25+ red cross donations. It would be cool to see generous Slashdot Sci-Fi fans make a difference. If you are curious or voyeuristic about the devastation, Google Maps has satellite photos.

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Martian Microbe Fossils, Not So Debunked Anymore
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '10 at 09:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's it's-raining-little-green-men deptartment:
rubycodez writes "Three meteorites, including one that has been in a British museum for over a century, are going to be put under the electron microscope and ion microprobe by NASA. We're 'very, very close to proving there is or has been life [on Mars],' said David McKay, chief of astrobiology at Johnson Space Center."

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Does Your PC Really Need a SysRq Button Anymore?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '10 at 07:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's i-don't-even-use-vowels deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Ever wondered what the SysRq key on your keyboard does? Lenovo has decided it's so rarely used that it has started removing the key from some new Thinkpad Edge laptops. We already know that Lenovo are something of the fastidious scientists when it comes to keyboard design. Last time they fiddled with the age-old key layout, it was after painstaking research to count exactly how many times users press the Delete and Escape keys. Now it seems another relic of computer keyboards is starting to disappear."

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Human Males Evolve At a Faster Pace Than Females
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '10 at 06:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's can't-say-i'm-surprised deptartment:
Tisha_AH writes "A report by the Whitehead Institute indicates that the human Y chromosome present in males is evolving at a furious pace. Across the chromosome there can be as much as a 33% difference within humans alone. The portions of the chromosome evolving fastest are related to sperm production"

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China Emphasizes Laws As Google Defies Censorship
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '10 at 05:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's going-to-war deptartment:
Lomegor writes "Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said on Thursday that all companies are welcome to operate in China but that they must do so under local laws. Although not explicitly, this is in some way a response to Google threat to leave the country. China also stated that they strict cyber laws and that the it forbids any kind of "hacking attack"; when asked if those laws apply to the government as well it was quickly avoided. "It is still hard to say whether Google will quit China or not. Nobody knows," the official in the State Council Information Office was quoted as saying." I sure would love to be a fly on the wall of these discussions. We certainly live in interesting times.

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Challenge To US Government Over Seized Laptops
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '10 at 05:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's we-the-computerless-people deptartment:
angry tapir writes "The policy of random laptop searches and seizures by US government agents at border crossings is under attack again: The American Civil Liberties Union is working with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers to find lawyers whose laptops or other electronic devices were searched at US points of entry and exit. The groups argue that the practice of suspicionless laptop searches violates fundamental rights of freedom of speech and protection against unreasonable seizures and searches."

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New Assassin's Creed Next Year, Will Have Multiplayer
Posted by News Fetcher on January 14 '10 at 03:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's two-assassins-one-creed deptartment:
Ubisoft has announced that the next stand-alone Assassin's Creed title will come out next year, and it will be the first in the series to come with an online multiplayer mode. The company also said it will be "shoring up its focus on competitive AAA core titles on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3" in the coming year, making mention of upcoming releases for the Tom Clancy game series and a new Prince of Persia title.

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