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Plug vs. Plug — Which Nation's Socket Is Best?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '09 at 11:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's one-vote-for-three-prong-american deptartment:
CNETNate writes "Is the American mains socket really so much worse than the Italian design? And does the Italian socket fail at rivaling the sockets in British homes? This feature explores, in a not-at-all-parodic-and-anecdotal fashion, the designs, strengths and weaknesses of Earth's mains adapters. There is only one conclusion, and you're likely not to agree if you live in France. Or Italy. Or in fact most places." (For more plug pics and details, check out Wikipedia's list of the ones in current use.)

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FCC/DOT Want High-tech Cure For Distracted Driving
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '09 at 10:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's by-which-I-mean-actual-korea deptartment:
coondoggie writes "The Federal Communications Commission and the US Department of Transportation are teaming up to develop what they called high-tech solutions to the growing problem of distracted or inattentive drivers. The DOT and FCC said they will set up a working group to evaluate technology-based answers to the distracted driving problem and will improve outreach efforts to educate the public about the dangers of texting while driving, talking on cell phones while driving, and other distracting behavior that can lead to deadly accidents, the agencies stated." Meanwhile, Korea has overturned a ban on dashboard TV-watching for taxi drivers.

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Why a High IQ Doesn't Mean You're Smart
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '09 at 09:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's but-not-all-idiots-are-savant deptartment:
D1gital_Prob3 writes "How can a "smart" person act foolishly? Keith Stanovich, professor of human development and applied psychology at the University of Toronto, Canada, has grappled with this apparent incongruity for 15 years. He says it applies to more people than you might think. To Stanovich, however, there is nothing incongruous about it. IQ tests are very good at measuring certain mental faculties, he says, including logic, abstract reasoning, learning ability and working-memory capacity — how much information you can hold in mind."

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SORBS Blocklist Reportedly Sold For $451K
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '09 at 08:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's how-long-before-its-ruined deptartment:
palegray.net writes "SORBS, a well-known email blocklist provider, has reportedly been sold for $451k. Early reports indicate an acquisition by GFI, a company specializing in various communications services. In recent years, SORBS has been the target of frequent accusations of mismanagement and poor conduct, leading many to wonder if this turn in events might signal a chance for improved behavior. Citing lack of ISP support, the blocklist released statements earlier this year that they would be shuttering their operation."

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Murderer With 'Aggression Genes' Gets Reduced Sentence
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '09 at 08:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's blame-it-on-genetics deptartment:
Noiser writes "New Scientist reports: 'In 2007, Abdelmalek Bayout admitted to stabbing and killing a man and received a sentenced of 9 years and 2 months. An appeal court judge in Trieste, Italy, cut Bayout's sentence by a year after finding out he has gene variants linked to aggression.'"

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AT&T Sues Verizon Over "Map For That" Ads
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '09 at 07:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's sue-sue-sudio deptartment:
MahlonS writes "AP is reporting on a suit filed in Northern Georgia in which AT&T claims that Verizon's 'There's a Map for That' ads are misleading and amount to deceptive trade practices. Verizon had already agreed to modify their original ad to include a tag line that voice and data services are available outside 3G coverage areas." What's interesting is that on some level, this is actually a lawsuit over data visualization.

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Secret Copyright Treaty Leaks. It's Bad. Very Bad.
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '09 at 07:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's you-gotta-be-kidding-me deptartment:
Jamie found a Boing Boing story that will probably get your blood to at least a simmer. It says "The internet chapter of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret copyright treaty whose text Obama's administration refused to disclose due to 'national security' concerns, has leaked. It's bad." You can read the original leaked document or the summary. If passed, the internet will never be the same. Thank goodness it's hidden from public scrutiny for National Security.

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Bug In Most Linuxes Can Give Untrusted Users Root
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '09 at 06:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's patchin'-place deptartment:
Red Midnight and other readers brought to our attention a bug in most deployed versions of Linux that could result in untrusted users getting root access. The bug was found by Brad Spengler last month. "The null pointer dereference flaw was only fixed in the upcoming 2.6.32 release candidate of the Linux kernel, making virtually all production versions in use at the moment vulnerable. While attacks can be prevented by implementing a common feature known as mmap_min_addr, the RHEL distribution... doesn't properly implement that protection... The... bug is mitigated by default on most Linux distributions, thanks to their correct implementation of the mmap_min_addr feature. ... [Spengler] said many other Linux users are also vulnerable because they run older versions or are forced to turn off [mmap_min_addr] to run certain types of applications." The register reprints a dialog from the OpenBSD-misc mailing list in which Theo De Raadt says, "For the record, this particular problem was resolved in OpenBSD a while back, in 2008. We are not super proud of the solution, but it is what seems best faced with a stupid Intel architectural choice. However, it seems that everyone else is slowly coming around to the same solution."

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Placebo Effect Caught In the Act In Spinal Nerves
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '09 at 05:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's time-to-shut-down deptartment:
SerpensV passes along the news that German scientists have found direct evidence that the spinal cord is involved in the placebo effect (whose diminishing over time we discussed a bit earlier). "The researchers who made the discovery scanned the spinal cords of volunteers while applying painful heat to one arm. Then they rubbed a cream onto the arm and told the volunteers that it contained a painkiller, but in fact it had no active ingredient. Even so, the cream made spinal-cord neural activity linked to pain vanish. 'This type of mechanism has been envisioned for over 40 years for placebo analgesia,' says Donald Price, a neuroscientist at the University of Florida in Gainesville, who was not involved in the new study. 'This study provides the most direct test of this mechanism to date.'"

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Firefox Passes IE6 In Browser Share
Posted by News Fetcher on November 04 '09 at 02:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's die-already deptartment:
Jared sends word of Ars Technica coverage of Net Applications' monthly browser share numbers. What's significant this time is that Firefox has finally passed IE6 in worldwide share. "Internet Explorer remains ahead of the rest of the competition, but since month after month it continues to lose ground to all other browsers, Firefox has now finally surpassed IE6, which is easily the most hated version of Microsoft's browser. ... In October, all browsers except for IE and Opera showed positive growth. Between October and September, Internet Explorer dropped a significant 1.07 percentage points (from 65.71 percent to 64.64 percent) and Firefox moved up a sizeable 0.32 percentage points (from 23.75 percent to 24.07 percent). ... Although IE's decline seems to be unceasing, the real shame is that the old versions have more share than the newer ones (we can only hope that as Windows 7 gains popularity, this trend will reverse)." Ars presents a graph with their own site's browser share picture, and as you might expect it's very different from the general population's.

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Could GPS Keep Tabs On Your Pets?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '09 at 11:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's lassie-tracking deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Google Latitude has already made headlines for allowing phone users to locate their friends, and there are countless other iPhone and Android phone apps already designed to transmit your location — but could pets be the next big thing in GPS tracking? A number of device manufacturers are marketing GPS technology as a futuristic tool for tracking your cat or dog, and even discovering exactly where they've been. These devices are sold under a number of names and brands, including Sportdog, LoCATor, RoamEO, Petcell, Zoombak and Pettrack."

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Toyotas Suddenly Accelerate; Owners Up In Arms
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '09 at 09:00 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's off-to-a-bad-start deptartment:
cyclocommuter writes "Some Toyota owners are up in arms as they suspect that accidents have been caused by some kind of glitch in the electronic computer system used in Toyotas that controls the throttle. Refusing to accept the explanation of Toyota and the federal government (it involves the driver's-side floor mat), hundreds of Toyota owners are in rebellion after a series of accidents caused by what they call 'runaway cars.' Four people have died." The article notes: "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has done six separate investigations of such acceleration surges in Toyotas since 2003 and found no defect in Toyota's electronics."

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The Machine SID Duplication Myth
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '09 at 06:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's no-harm-in-seeing-double deptartment:
toppings writes "Microsoft Technical fellow Mark Russinovich explains why he is now retiring NewSID, which has been used by IT departments for years when deploying Windows to new systems from customized clone images. Russinovich writes: 'The reason that I began considering NewSID for retirement is that, although people generally reported success with it on Windows Vista, I hadn't fully tested it myself and I got occasional reports that some Windows component would fail after NewSID was used. When I set out to look into the reports I took a step back to understand how duplicate SIDs could cause problems, a belief that I had taken on faith like everyone else. The more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that machine SID duplication — having multiple computers with the same machine SID — doesn't pose any problem, security or otherwise. I took my conclusion to the Windows security and deployment teams and no one could come up with a scenario where two systems with the same machine SID, whether in a Workgroup or a Domain, would cause an issue. At that point the decision to retire NewSID became obvious.' He concludes: 'It's a little surprising that the SID duplication issue has gone unquestioned for so long, but everyone has assumed that someone else knew exactly why it was a problem. To my chagrin, NewSID has never really done anything useful and there's no reason to miss it now that it's retired. Microsoft's official policy on SID duplication will also now change and look for Sysprep to be updated in the future to skip SID generation.'"

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Possible Dark Matter Signs At the Core
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '09 at 04:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's quantum-two-hyperdrive deptartment:
Scientific American has a piece on speculation that dark matter may be behind diffuse radiation in the galactic center. Beginning in 2003, researchers led by Douglas Finkbeiner noticed a curious excess of microwave radiation in the WMAP data, after all known sources of such radiation were accounted for. Data from NASA's Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope resulted in a similar anomoly in gamma rays. "A paper posted to the physics preprint Web site arXiv.org on October 26 and submitted to the Astrophysical Journal points to a possible signature of dark matter in the Milky Way, although the study's authors are careful to keep their observations empirical and table such speculation... In the new paper [the researchers] describe the Fermi gamma-ray haze and make the claim that it confirms the synchrotron origin of the WMAP microwave haze. And as with the microwave haze, the authors argue that the electrons responsible for the gamma-ray haze appear to originate from an unknown astrophysical process. ... 'We are absolutely in the process of exploring the Fermi haze in the context of dark matter physics,' [one of them] says."

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The Story Behind a Failed HPC Startup
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '09 at 04:00 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's build-it-and-they-will-come-if-you-don't-run-out-of-money-first deptartment:
jbrodkin writes 'SiCortex had an idea that it thought would take the supercomputing world by storm — build the most energy-efficient HPC clusters on the planet. But the recession, and the difficulties of penetrating a market dominated by Intel-based machines, proved to be too much for the company to handle. SiCortex ended up folding earlier this year, and its story may be a cautionary tale for startups trying to bring innovation to the supercomputing industry.'

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Some Early Adopters Stung By Ubuntu's Karmic Koala
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '09 at 02:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's arrows-in-back deptartment:
Norsefire writes to mention a Register piece reporting that early adopters are having a tough time with Karmic Koala, Ubuntu's latest release. "Ubuntu 9.10 is causing outrage and frustration, with early adopters wishing they'd stuck with previous versions of the Linux distro. Blank and flickering screens, failure to recognize hard drives, defaulting to the old 2.6.28 Linux kernel, and failure to get encryption running are taking their toll, as early adopters turn to the web for answers and log fresh bug reports in Ubuntu forums." Whas has been your experience if you've moved to Karmic?

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In Test, Windows 7 Vulnerable To 8 Out of 10 Viruses
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '09 at 02:00 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's take-your-shots deptartment:
As Windows 7's market share passes 3.6%, up from 1.9% the day before launch, llManDrakell notes an experiment they did over at Sophos. They installed Windows 7 on a clean machine — with no anti-virus protection — with User Access Control in its default configuration. They threw at it the next 10 virus/worm samples that came in the door. Seven of them ran; UAC stopped only one baddie that had run in the absense of UAC. "Lesson learned? You still need to run anti-virus on Windows 7."

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Spring Design Sues Barnes & Noble Over Nook IP
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '09 at 12:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's first-out-the-gate deptartment:
bth writes to let us know that Barnes & Noble has been sued by a company called Spring Design, which alleges that the recently announced Nook e-book reader infringes its intellectual property. This isn't a patent troll kind of situation; rather, the claim is misappropriation of trade secrets. Spring Design claims that they have been developing a dual-screen, Android-based e-book reader since 2006, filing patents all the while; and that they showed pretty much everything to Barnes & Noble in the expectation of working together with them to bring their reader to market.

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Anti-Counterfeiting Deal Aims For Global DMCA
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '09 at 12:00 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's by-whose-authority deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement continue on Wednesday as the US, Europe, Japan, Korea, Canada, Australia, and a handful of other countries secretly negotiate a copyright treaty that includes statutory damages, new search and seizure power, and anti-camcording rules. Now the substance of the Internet chapter has leaked, with information that the proposed chapter would create a 'Global DMCA' with anti-circumvention rules, liability for ISPs, and the possibility of three-strikes and you're out requirements."

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The Tech Aboard the International Space Station
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '09 at 11:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's networking-in-circles deptartment:
CNETNate writes "With its own file server for uploaded Hollywood blockbusters, a 10Mbps Internet connection to Earth, and around a hundred IBM ThinkPad notebooks, the consumer technology aboard the $150 billion International Space Station is impressive. It's the responsibility of just two guys to maintain the uptime of the Space Station's IT, and they have given CNET an in-depth interview to explain what tech's aboard, how it works, and whether Windows viruses are a threat to the astronauts. In a related feature, the Space Station's internal network (which operates over bandwidth of just 1Mbps) and its connected array of Lenovo notebooks is explained, along with the tech we could see in the future."

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