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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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Sony Announces First 3D Blu-ray Disc Players
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '10 at 02:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's please-remaster-that-boring-casablanca deptartment:
angry tapir writes "Sony has announced a new 3D Blu-ray Disc player and upgrades to existing players so that they will be able to show high-definition 3D movies too. The company introduced the BDP-S470 Blu-ray Disc model and upgraded existing home theater systems, which will be able to play Blu-ray movies when related firmware for the devices is released later this year. Movies based on the Blu-ray 3D specification, which was finalized by the Blu-ray Association in December, can be shown on the players."

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Iran Suspends Google's Email Service
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '10 at 01:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's single-payer-system deptartment:
appl_iran writes "Iran's telecommunications agency announced that it would be suspending Google's email services permanently, saying it would roll out its own national email service." From the short article linked: "An Iranian official said the measure was meant to boost local development of Internet technology and to build trust between people and the government, according to the Wall Street Journal." Funny way to go about that.

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What Objects To Focus On For School Astronomy?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '10 at 01:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's satellites-and-moonbeams deptartment:
IceDiver writes "I am a teacher in a small rural school. My Grade 9 students are doing a unit on astronomy this spring. I have access to a 4" telescope, and would like to give my students a chance to use it. We will probably only be able to attempt observations on a couple of nights because of weather and time restrictions. I am as new to telescope use as my students, so I have no idea what objects would look good through a 4" lens. What observations should I attempt to have my students make? In other words, how can I make best use of my limited equipment and time to give my students the best experience possible?"

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Telecom Conference SUPERCOMM Shelved For 2010
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '10 at 12:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's great-schwag-bazaar-in-the-sky deptartment:
itwbennett writes "Once the largest telecom show in the United States, and arguably the world, SUPERCOMM has been shelved for financial reasons, the Telecommunications Industry Association announced yesterday. Blogger Tom Henderson speculates that the new emphasis on mobility rather than the landline infrastructure is partly to blame. (The Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and CTIA Wireless are the beneficiaries of this shift.) But part of the blame also has to go to the decline of multivendor conferences and trade shows, which Henderson attributes to vendors wanting their own shows where they can 'control the message.'"

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The Art of Unit Testing
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '10 at 11:46 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it deptartment:
FrazzledDad writes "'We let the tests we wrote do more harm than good.' That snippet from the preface of Roy Osherove's The Art of Unit Testing with Examples in .NET (AOUT hereafter) is the wrap up of a frank description of a failed project Osherove was part of. The goal of AOUT is teaching you great approaches to unit testing so you won't run into similar failures on your own projects." Keep reading for the rest of FrazzledDad's review.

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Italian Court Rules ISPs Must Block Access To Pirate Bay
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '10 at 11:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's triremes-on-patrol deptartment:
introt writes "After first being blocked in 2008, an Italian court has once again ruled that ISPs in the nation must block access to the infamous torrent tracker The Pirate Bay, leaving millions of users without access to one of the most popular sites on the planet. In the original case, after an appeal by the Pirate Bay, the Court of Bergamo ruled that foreign websites cannot be blocked over alleged copyright infringement. Fast forward until today and the Supreme Court has ruled that ISPs can indeed be forced to block torrent sites, even if they are foreign-based."

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Linux Foundation Announces 2010 "We're Linux" Video Contest
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '10 at 10:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's get-yer-edit-on deptartment:
prourl writes "The Linux Foundation (LF), the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced the 2010 'We're Linux' video contest. The contest seeks to find the best user-generated videos that demonstrate what Linux means to those who use it and inspire others to try it." Sadly, the winner will almost certainly be edited in Final Cut Pro on a Mac ;)

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Google's Experimental Fiber Network
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '10 at 09:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's contact-me-please deptartment:
gmuslera writes "Not enough speed from your ISP? Google seems to go into that market too. "We're planning to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States. We'll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We plan to offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.". The goal isnt just to give ultra fast speed for some lucky ones, but to test under that conditions things like new generations of apps, and deployment techniques that take advantage of it." If they need a test neighborhood, I'm sure mine would be willing.

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Power to the Pop-Ups
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '10 at 08:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's this'll-make-him-popular deptartment:
Slashdot frequent contributor Bennett Haselton writes a piece advocating for Pop-Ups and even more obtrusive advertising. But not for the reasons you might think. He says "Annoying pop-up ads have been a great friend to Internet freedom, by enabling the operation of proxy sites that would be too expensive to operate otherwise. With the rising costs of making new proxy sites to stay ahead of the "censorware" companies, even more intrusive ads could be an even bigger friend to Internet freedom. Got any ideas for how those more intrusive ads could work?" Clicky clicky below to read his point.

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Hackers Attack AU Websites To Protest Censorship
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '10 at 08:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's and-it-has-a-funny-name-too deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "A band of cyber-attackers have taken down the Australian Parliament House website and hacked Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's website in coordinated protests against government plans to filter the Internet. The group responsible, called Anonymous, is known for coordinated Internet attacks against Scientology and other groups in the past. It recently turned its attention against the AU government after it said in December that it would block access to sites featuring material such as rape, drug use, bestiality and child sex abuse."

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New Russian Botnet Tries To Kill Rivals
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '10 at 07:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's there-can-be-only-one deptartment:
alphadogg writes "An upstart Trojan horse program has decided to take on its much-larger rival by stealing data and then removing the malicious program from infected computers. Security researchers say that the relatively unknown Spy Eye toolkit added this functionality just a few days ago in a bid to displace its larger rival, known as Zeus. The feature, called "Kill Zeus," apparently removes the Zeus software from the victim's PC, giving Spy Eye exclusive access to usernames and passwords. Zeus and Spy Eye are both Trojan-making toolkits, designed to give criminals an easy way to set up their own "botnet" networks of password-stealing programs. These programs emerged as a major problem in 2009, with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation estimating last October that they have caused $100 million in losses."

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Microsoft Wins Windows XP WGA Lawsuit
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '10 at 07:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's patch-this deptartment:
Rish writes "A lawsuit that accused Microsoft of misleading consumers to download and install an update for Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) under the guise that it was critical security update has been tossed out. Last month, a federal judge refused to certify the lawsuit as a class action, which would have meant anyone who owned a Windows XP PC in mid-2006 could join the case without having to hire an attorney, and on Friday the same judge dismissed the case completely."

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Opera for iPhone to Test Apple's Resolve
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '10 at 06:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's that's-not-gonna-work deptartment:
Barence writes "Opera is launching a version of its Mini browser for the iPhone in what could prove a landmark decision for Apple's app gatekeepers. Apple has been traditionally hostile to rival browsers, with Mozilla claiming that Apple made it "too hard" for its rivals to develop a browser for the iPhone. However, Opera remains bullishly confident that it's app will be approved. "We have not submitted Opera Mini to the Apple App store," an Opera spokesperson told PC Pro. "However, we hope that Apple will not deny their users a choice in web browsing experience."" I can't imagine what would motivate them to do that.

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Hearts Actually Can Break
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '10 at 05:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's tako-tsubo deptartment:
DesScorp writes "It seems that there's a grain of truth to one old wives' tale; it turns out that you really can die of a broken heart, especially if you're a post-menopausal woman. The Wall Street Journal reports on a phenomena called 'broken-heart syndrome,' which often occurs after great emotional distress. Quoting: 'In a conventional heart attack, an obstructed artery starves the heart muscle of oxygenated blood, quickly resulting in the death of tissue and potentially permanently compromising heart function. In contrast, the heart muscle in broken-heart-syndrome patients is stunned in the adrenaline surge and appears to go into hibernation. Little tissue is lost.' In the article a doctor notes, 'The cells are alive, but mechanically or electrically disabled.' Documented cases track heart attacks in people with seemingly healthy hearts after the grief of the death of a loved one. Intense feelings can cause the heart actually to change shape. Doctors call this 'tako-tsubo,' after the Japanese phrase for 'octopus trap,' so called because the syndrome was first identified by a Japanese doctor who noticed the strange shape in the left ventricle. Doctors note that while strong emotions like grief are usually associated with the syndrome, stress or a migraine can also trigger such heart attacks."

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Appeals Court Rules On Internet Obscenity Standards
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '10 at 03:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's net-for-seven-year-olds deptartment:
dark_requiem writes "The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that online content can be judged by the standards of the strictest community that is able to access it. The court upheld the conviction of pornography producer Paul F. Little, aka Max Hardcore, for violating obscenity laws in Tampa, despite the fact that the 'obscene' material in question was produced and sold in California. From the article: 'The Atlanta-based court rejected arguments by Little's attorneys that applying a local community standard to the Internet violates the First Amendment because doing so means material can be judged according to the standards of the strictest communities. In other words, the materials might be legal where they were produced and almost everywhere else. But if they violate the standards of one community, they are illegal in that community and the producers may be convicted of a crime. ... Jurors in Little's trial were told to judge the materials on the basis of how "the average person of the community as a whole — the Middle District of Florida" — would view the material.'"

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Blizzard Previews Revamped Battle.net
Posted by News Fetcher on February 10 '10 at 02:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's find-out-precisely-how-bad-you-are deptartment:
Blizzard updated the official StarCraft II site today with a preview of how the revamped Battle.net will function. They emphasize the social features, competitive matchmaking system, and the ease of sharing mods and maps. Quoting:"When the legacy Battle.net service introduced support for user-created mods such as DotA, Tower Defense, and many others, these user-created game types became immensely popular. But while Battle.net supported mods at a basic level, integration with tools and the mod community wasn't where it needed to be for a game releasing in 2010. The new Battle.net service will see some major improvements in this area. StarCraft II will include a full-featured content-creation toolkit — the same tools used by the StarCraft II design team to create the single-player campaign. To fully harness the community's mapmaking prowess, Battle.net will introduce a feature called Map Publishing. Map Publishing will let users upload their maps to the service and share them with the rest of the community immediately on the service. This also ties in with the goal of making Battle.net an always-connected experience — you can publish, browse, and download maps directly via the Battle.net client. Finding games based on specific mods will also be much easier with our all-new custom game system, placing the full breadth of the modding community's efforts at your fingertips."

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Is Internet Explorer 6/7 Support Required Now?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 09 '10 at 11:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's slaying-dinosaurs deptartment:
k33l0r writes "Following Google's announcement ending support for Internet Explorer 6, I find myself wondering whether we (Web developers) really need to continue providing support for IE6 and IE7. Especially when creating Web sites intended for technical audiences, wouldn't it be best to end support for obsoleted browsers? Would this not provide additional incentives to upgrade? Recently I and my colleagues had to decide whether it was worth our time to try to support anything before IE8, and in the end we decided to redirect any IE6/7 user-agent to a separate page explaining that the site is not accessible with IE 6 or 7. This was easy once we saw from our analytics that fewer than 5% of visitors to the site were using IE at all. Have you had to make a choice like this? If so, what was your decision and what was the reasoning behind it?"

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