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Brain Surgery Linked To Sensation of Spirituality
Posted by News Fetcher on February 11 '10 at 01:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's applied-psychology deptartment:
the3stars writes "'Removing part of the brain can induce inner peace, according to researchers from Italy. Their study provides the strongest evidence to date that spiritual thinking arises in, or is limited by, specific brain areas. This raises a number of interesting issues about spirituality, among them whether or not people can be born with a strong propensity towards spirituality and also whether it can be acquired through head trauma."One critic's quoted response: "It's important to recognize that the whole study is based on changes in one self-report measure, which is a coarse measure that includes some strange items."

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Why Apple Doesn't Market Squarely To Businesses
Posted by News Fetcher on February 11 '10 at 01:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's zen-guerillas deptartment:
snydeq writes "Despite feature enhancements that suggest otherwise, Apple remains lukewarm to any Mac and iPhone success in business environments. 'Apple has intentionally created a glass ceiling it has no intention of shattering. My conversations with Apple employees over the past decade have always been off the record when it comes to the topic of Macs in the enterprise. The company has had no intention of signaling any active plans to serve the enterprise,' InfoWorld's Galen Gruman writes. 'In a sense, Apple views enterprise sales as "collateral success" — a nice-to-have byproduct of its real focus: individuals, developers, and very small businesses ... likely because to do otherwise would greatly increase the complexity Apple would have to deal with.'"

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Document Management For Research With Annotation?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 11 '10 at 12:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's just-sort-by-document-size deptartment:
msimm writes "I'm currently looking for a document management system for personal and research-related use. Having looked at Alfresco and KnowledgeTree along with a slew of similar open source document management systems they seem to have a common set of features including version control, archiving, document permission/ownership and search/indexing. What I'd like, in order to help me manage my own continually growing collection of pdf/doc/odf/rtf/txt files, would be something that allowed me to view and annotate documents (and possibly collaborate/share notes) without requiring me to download, edit and re-upload each document. Obviously there are plenty of capable document management systems out there, so I really suspect I've simply missed something and am hoping someone can point me to a better way to index, search, collaborate and keep and share notes on the ever increasing glut of useful information I seem to use and collect."

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OpenOffice 3.2 Released
Posted by News Fetcher on February 11 '10 at 11:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's compatability-can-opener deptartment:
harmonise writes "Version 3.2 of the OpenOffice.org office suite is now available. This marks the tenth anniversary year of the office suite, with over three hundred million downloads recorded in total. The new features include faster start up times; improved compatibility with open standard (ODF) and proprietary file formats; improvements to all components, particularly the Calc spreadsheet, with over a dozen new or enhanced features; and the Chart module (usable throughout OpenOffice.org) has had a usability makeover as well as offering new chart types."

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Feds Push For Warrantless Cell Phone Tracking
Posted by News Fetcher on February 11 '10 at 10:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's unless-you-are-in-favor-of-child-abduction deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "An article at CNET is reporting on the Obama administration's push for warrantless tracking of the location of cell phones (Verizon Wireless stores location data for one year, for instance). The Justice Department says no warrant is necessary: 'Because wireless carriers regularly generate and retain the records at issue, and because these records provide only a very general indication of a user's whereabouts at certain times in the past, the requested cell-site records do not implicate a Fourth Amendment privacy interest.'"

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Anti-Piracy Windows 7 Update Phones Home Quarterly
Posted by News Fetcher on February 11 '10 at 10:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's who-owns-your-computer deptartment:
Lauren Weinstein sends in news of a major and disturbing Microsoft anti-piracy initiative called Windows Activation Technologies, or WAT. Here is Microsoft's blog post giving their perspective on what WAT is for. From Lauren's blog: "The release of Windows 7 'Update for Microsoft Windows (KB71033)' will change the current activation and anti-piracy behavior of Windows 7 by triggering automatic 'phone home' operations over the Internet to Microsoft servers, typically for now at intervals of around 90 days. ... These automatic queries will repeatedly — apparently for as long as Windows is installed — validate your Windows 7 system against Microsoft's latest database of pirated system signatures (currently including more than 70 activation exploits known to Microsoft). If your system matches — again even if up to that time (which could be months or even years since you obtained the system) it had been declared to be genuine — then your system will be 'downgraded' to 'non-genuine' status until you take steps to obtain what Microsoft considers to be an authentic, validated, Windows 7 license. ... KB71033... is scheduled to deploy to the manual downloading 'Genuine Microsoft Software' site on February 16, and start pushing out automatically through the Windows Update environment on February 23. ... [F]or Microsoft to assert that they have the right to treat ordinary PC-using consumers in this manner — declaring their systems to be non-genuine and downgrading them at any time — is rather staggering."

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NASA Solar Probe Blasts Toward Rendezvous With Sun
Posted by News Fetcher on February 11 '10 at 09:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's bring-me-danny-boyle deptartment:
coondoggie writes "NASA this morning used a United Launch Alliance Atlas rocket to blast its 6,800lb Solar Dynamics Observatory into an orbit 22,300 miles above Earth. The $808 million spacecraft will ultimately study the Sun and send back what NASA called a prodigious rush of pictures about sunspots, solar flares and a variety of other never-before-seen solar events. The idea is to get a better idea of how the Sun works and let scientists better forecast the space weather to offer earlier warnings to protect astronauts and satellites, NASA said."

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10 Microsoft Acquisitions and What They Mean Now
Posted by News Fetcher on February 11 '10 at 08:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's if-you-can't-beat-it-buy-it deptartment:
FrankPoole writes "CRN takes a look at the past five years of Microsoft's acquisition history, which totals $13 billion and more than 7,000 new employees, and highlights 10 deals and how they've affected the software giant. While some larger acquisitions stand out for better or worse, such as Danger and aQuantive, there are some smaller, blink-and-you'll-miss-it deals that have proved pivotal for Microsoft's push into new areas such as virtualization. And Microsoft's recent acquisition track record may lend credence to the heavy criticism levied against the company by former employees like Dick Brass."

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Simulated Hack To Test US Government Response
Posted by News Fetcher on February 11 '10 at 08:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's i'm-sure-that-will-work-out-fine deptartment:
superapecommando writes "Security industry analysts and lawmakers will get an unprecedented chance next week to evaluate how the government might respond to a hack attack on critical infrastructure targets.The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), a Washington-based non-profit established in 2007 by several lawmakers, will host a simulated nation-wide cyber-attack next Tuesday for a group of former administration and national security officials, who will be playing the roles of Cabinet members."

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StarCraft II Beta To Begin This Month
Posted by News Fetcher on February 11 '10 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's zerg-inc deptartment:
mrxak writes "It's official; Activision Blizzard's much-anticipated sequel to 12-year-old StarCraft is going to enter closed beta 'this month,' according to company President Mike Morhaime during an investor conference call. This comes in the wake of the SC2 beta forums showing up briefly on Battle.net. If you've got a Battle.net account, it's probably not too late to opt-in for upcoming Blizzard beta tests."

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Google Rejects Australian Censorship Proposal
Posted by News Fetcher on February 11 '10 at 07:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's i-blame-hormes deptartment:
Xiroth writes "Google has rejected overtures from the Australian government to censor YouTube clips that had been given a RC rating by Australian classification authority, the OFLC. According to a Google spokesperson: 'YouTube has clear policies about what content is not allowed, for example hate speech and pornography, and we enforce these, but we can't give any assurances that we would voluntarily remove all Refused Classification content from YouTube," Iarla Flynn said."The scope of RC is simply too broad and can raise genuine questions about restrictions on access to information. RC includes the grey realms of material instructing in any crime from [painting] graffiti to politically controversial crimes such as euthanasia, and exposing these topics to public debate is vital for democracy.'"

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Mozilla Wrongly Accused Sothink Addon of Malware
Posted by News Fetcher on February 11 '10 at 06:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's sorry-bout-that deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "Mozilla has admitted to wrongly accusing Sothink of distributing a video downloader with a trojan virus as a Firefox addon. From their official blog: 'We've worked with security experts and add-on developers to determine that the suspected trojan in Version 4.0 of Sothink Video Downloader was a false positive and the extension does not include malware.' Before you go download that addon, however, keep in mind that Sothink has come under fire before for GPL violations and dishonesty."

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Star Wars TV Show Tainted By Memories of Jar Jar
Posted by News Fetcher on February 11 '10 at 06:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's thats-a-lot-of-taint deptartment:
bowman9991 writes "Can George Lucas' new Star Wars TV series, the first Star Wars spin off with real actors, atone for the flawed follow-ups to his original classics? Producer Rick McCallum calls the new series "much darker," a "much more character-based series" and "more adult," while George Lucas himself calls it more like the first Star Wars film. The new TV show takes place in the "dark times" between the last prequel Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, when most of the Jedi and anti-emperor politicians were hunted down and killed. The characters of Boba Fett, C-3PO, and the Emperor Palpatine will return, and casting has now begun. Mark Hamill, the actor who played Luke Skywalker from the original movies, believes George Lucas lost his way, "making it bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger until you're just exploding with special effects all over the screen like some fireworks display," but thinks the new show is a "positive" step forward. Hopefully George Lucas can wipe the memory of Jar Jar Binks, Anakin and Padme's romance, his shameless merchandising, and some lame attempts at humor from everyone's minds once and for all."

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RIAA Insists On 3rd Trial In Thomas Case
Posted by News Fetcher on February 11 '10 at 05:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's if-at-first-you-don't-succeed deptartment:
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Not satisfied with the reduced $54,000 verdict which the Judge allowed it in Capitol Records v. Thomas-Rasset, representing approximately 6500 times the amount of their actual damages, the RIAA has decided to take its chances on a third trial, at which it could only win a verdict that is equal to, or less than, $54,000. Since a 3rd trial in and of itself makes no economic sense, and since the RIAA's lawyers inappropriately added 7 pages of legal argument to their 'notice', it can only be assumed that the reason they are opting for a 3rd trial is to hope that they can somehow bait the Judge into making an error that will help them on an appeal."

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Australian Senate Hears Open Source Is Too Expensive
Posted by News Fetcher on February 11 '10 at 02:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's you-get-what-you-pay-for deptartment:
schliz writes "The Australian Government Information Management Office says that the cost of a platform change could cost more than it saves. It was pushed to investigate open source software to reduce its AUD$500m budget at a Senate meeting yesterday. From the article: 'Agencies are obliged to consider value for money on each occasion they apply a software,' spokesperson Graham Fry said. 'If the cost of assessing it [open source] was greater than the cost of the software, you would have to think twice.'"

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Armed Robot Drones To Join UK Police Force
Posted by News Fetcher on February 11 '10 at 12:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's you-have-30-seconds-to-comply deptartment:
Lanxon writes "British criminals should soon prepare to be shot at from unmanned airborne police robots. Last month it was revealed that modified military aircraft drones will carry out surveillance on everyone from British protesters and antisocial motorists to fly-tippers. But these drones could be armed with tasers, non-lethal projectiles and ultra-powerful disorienting strobe lighting apparatus, reports Wired. The flying robot fleet will range from miniature tactical craft such as the miniature AirRobot being tested by one police force, to BAE System's new 12m-wide armed HERTI drone as flown in Afghanistan."

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Experts Closing In On Google Attack Coders
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '10 at 09:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's sniff-them-out deptartment:
ancientribe writes "The targeted attacks out of China that hit Google, Adobe, and other U.S. organizations are still ongoing and have affected many more companies than the original 20 to 30 reported. Security experts now say they are getting closer to identifying the author or authors of the malware used to breach Google and other organizations."

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Six-legged Robot Teaches Itself To Walk
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '10 at 07:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's machine's-first-steps deptartment:
rabiddeity writes "An undergraduate at the University of Arizona has built a six legged robot from scratch. The robot, which is equipped with sensors on each foot, teaches itself to walk and orients itself via an onboard camera. A similar design might be used to explore unstable environments such as collapsed buildings or rocky landscapes."

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Subversive Groups Must Now Register In South Carolina
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '10 at 05:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's are-you-now-or-have-you-ever-been-a-member-of-the-communist-party deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "The Raw Story reports that terrorists who want to overthrow the United States government must now register with South Carolina's Secretary of State and declare their intentions — or face a $25,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison. The 'Subversive Activities Registration Act' passed last year in South Carolina and now officially on the books states that 'every member of a subversive organization, or an organization subject to foreign control, every foreign agent and every person who advocates, teaches, advises or practices the duty, necessity or propriety of controlling, conducting, seizing or overthrowing the government of the United States ... shall register with the Secretary of State.'"

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When Will AI Surpass Human Intelligence?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '10 at 04:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's I'm-afraid-I'm-smarter-than-you-dave deptartment:
destinyland writes "21 AI experts have predicted the date for four artificial intelligence milestones. Seven predict AIs will achieve Nobel prize-winning performance within 20 years, while five predict that will be accompanied by superhuman intelligence. (The other milestones are passing a 3rd grade-level test, and passing a Turing test.) One also predicted that in 30 years, 'virtually all the intellectual work that is done by trained human beings...can be done by computers for pennies an hour," adding that AI "is likely to eliminate almost all of today's decently paying jobs.' The experts also estimated the probability that an AI passing a Turing test would result in an outcome that's bad for humanity...and four estimated that probability was greater than 60% — regardless of whether the developer was private, military, or even open source."

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