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Documentation Compliance Means MS Can Resume Collecting Protocol Royalties
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '09 at 09:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's only-took-seven-years deptartment:
angry tapir writes "Microsoft may begin collecting royalties again for licensing some protocols because clear technical documentation is now available, according to the US Department of Justice. The change comes after the DOJ issued its latest joint status report regarding its 2002 antitrust settlement with Microsoft. The settlement required Microsoft to make available technical documentation that would allow other vendors to make products that are interoperable with Windows."

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$860 Million In Fines Handed Out For LCD Price-Fixing
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '09 at 07:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hope-it-was-worth-it deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "Six companies have pleaded guilty to worldwide price fixing of Thin-Film Transistor Liquid Crystal Displays from Sept. 14, 2001, to Dec. 1, 2006. For violating the Sherman Act, the companies have agreed to pay criminal fines of over $860 Million. In addition, nine executives have been charged in the scandal. The pricing scam affected some of the largest companies at the time, including Apple, HP and Dell. (If you bought a TFT-LCD from them in that time frame, you may be one of the victimized consumers.) From the DOJ release, 'According to the charge, Chi Mei carried out the conspiracy by agreeing during meetings, conversations and communications to charge prices of TFT-LCD panels at certain pre-determined levels and issuing price quotations in accordance with the agreements reached. As a part of the conspiracy, Chi Mei exchanged information on sales of TFT-LCD panels for the purpose of monitoring and enforcing adherence to the agreed-upon prices.'"

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Sci-Fi Author Peter Watts Beaten, Charged During Border Crossing
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '09 at 05:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's canadian-writers-are-a-threat-to-freedom-eh deptartment:
JoeGee writes "On December 8th, Canadian sci-fi author Peter Watts, author of the Rifters trilogy and Blindsight, was crossing the US/Canadian border at Port Huron, Michigan when he was involved in an altercation with US Border Patrol agents. According to Watts, he was beaten, left half-naked in a cold cell, and finally dumped on the Canadian side of the border with no coat. A legal consultant from the Electronic Frontier Foundation was successful in helping a civil rights lawyer in Michigan free Watts. Watts faces US charges of assaulting a federal officer. Based on the accounts, one can assume Watts did so by hitting the officer's hand with his face. If convicted, Watts faces two years in a US Federal prison."

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Is Earth's Atmosphere an Import?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '09 at 04:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's one-thing-that-wasn't-made-in-china deptartment:
garg0yle writes "One of the questions about the formation of our planet is: where did the atmosphere come from? One theory is that the oxygen, nitrogen, and other gases were part of the coalescing ball, and 'seeped out' during the final stages of the planet's formation. However, a new article at Wired says isotopic analysis of krypton and xenon indicates that they (and the rest of our atmosphere) may be of extraterrestrial origin, either arriving via comets or being swept up from gas clouds."

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Slashdot Turns 100,000
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '09 at 03:15 PM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's has-it-been-that-long-already deptartment:
This entry represents the 100,000th story posted on Slashdot. Technically this is a bit late since we're missing the first few months of stories from the DB, but there are now 100k items in the story database and I thought that milestone was worthy of sharing with the universe. We've come a long way in the last 12 years, and while the site isn't always exactly what I want it to be, I'm very proud of the work done by our thousands of submitters and to the editors our readers have "affectionately" referred to as "The Slashdot Janitors" for so many years. Special grats to timothy who is just short of his 17,000th story and is far and away the most prolific person here. The hall of fame has a few other bits of trivia.

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Virtual Money For Real Lobbying
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '09 at 02:45 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's sheeple-happy-to-be-paid-shills deptartment:
ogaraf writes "Silicon Alley Insider is reporting that health-insurance industry group 'Get Health Reform Right' paid Facebook users with virtual currency to be used in Facebook games in exchange for lobbying their Congressional Rep. 'Instead of asking the gamers to try a product the way Netflix would, "Get Health Reform Right" requires gamers to take a survey, which, upon completion, automatically sends the following email to their Congressional Rep: "I am concerned a new government plan could cause me to lose the employer coverage I have today. More government bureaucracy will only create more problems, not solve the ones we have."'" Relatedly, Trailrunner7 illustrates growing concern over realistic spammer profiles in social networking sites and their potential to wreak havoc, especially if these two methods were combined. "Many spammers now have large staffs of people working on nothing but building out completely fake personas for non-existent users on social networking sites and blog networks. The spammers use these personas to create accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Blogspot and other sites that have high levels of user interaction."

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Apple Counter-Sues Nokia Over Patents
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '09 at 02:00 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's fight-fire-with-more-lawyers deptartment:
adeelarshad82 writes "About two months ago Nokia sued Apple for infringing Nokia patents in its iPhone. The 10 patents in the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. state of Delaware, relate to technologies fundamental for devices using GSM, UMTS and/or local area network (LAN) standards. The patents cover wireless data, speech coding, security and encryption and are infringed by all Apple iPhone models shipped since the iPhone was introduced in 2007. In the latest development to the case, Apple said Friday that it had filed its own suit against Nokia, countering Nokia's claims of patent infringement with its own."

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Judges Can't "Friend" Lawyers in Florida
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '09 at 01:15 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's lawyers-don't-have-friends-anyway deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that Florida's Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee has found in a recent opinion that judges and lawyers can no longer be Facebook friends. The committee says that when judges 'friend' lawyers who may appear before them, it creates the appearance of a conflict of interest, since it 'reasonably conveys to others the impression that these lawyer "friends" are in a special position to influence the judge.' Stephen Gillers, a legal ethics expert at New York University, says the Florida rule goes too far. 'In my view, they are being hypersensitive because in the case of a truly close friendship between a judge and a lawyer involved in a case, the other side can simply seek to disqualify the judge. Judges do not "drop out of society when they become judges," Gillers says. "The people who were their friends before they went on the bench remained their friends, and many of them were lawyers." Still, legal sycophants can take heart: lawyers can declare themselves Facebook "fans" of judges, the committee says, "as long as the judge or committee controlling the site cannot accept or reject the lawyer's listing of himself or herself on the site."'"

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Science Gifts For Kids?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '09 at 12:30 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's explosives-always-go-over-well deptartment:
beernutmark writes "I have two science-loving kids ages 7 and 9. My youngest knew Neil deGrasse Tyson's name at age 4. With the holidays coming up, I am looking to get them some quality science related tools. Two items on the list are a quality Microscope and/or a real rock-hounding kit. I am looking for any other gift suggestions for this year or future years (or even for younger kids for other readers) and hints on good sources."

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Researchers Create Cheap, Flexible, Plastic Flash Memory
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '09 at 12:00 PM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's cheap-plastic-now-cutting-edge deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at the University of Tokyo, led by electrical engineering professor Takao Someya, have created a new kind of low-cost, plastic, flash memory storage device. Although not as dense or stable as its silicon cousin, the plastic flash memory is useful because of its low cost, simple manufacturing process, and potential use in e-paper or other flexible devices. To demonstrate the memory, Someya's group integrated a 676-memory-cell device with a rubber pressure sensor. The flexible sensor-memory device, which is less than 700 micrometers thick, can record pressure patterns and retain them for up to a day."

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Arrington Responds To the JooJoo, Files Suit
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '09 at 11:00 AM
By ScuttleMonkey from Slashdot's time-to-make-a-reality-tv-series deptartment:
itwbennett writes "Not normally 'one to enjoy a casual read of a lawsuit,' blogger Peter Smith admits to finding the suit Michael Arrington is filing against Fusion Garage over the JooJoo (nee CrunchPad) fascinating. 'Skip to page 4, starting with item 11,' says Smith. 'At this point I don't know what to think, Every time I get close to pretty much accepting Arrington's story at face value, he pulls something that makes me stop and reexamine his arguments.' For example, says Smith, in one bullet point in Arrington's latest salvo, he calls out the press, saying 'it is irresponsible for press to link to the pre-sale site.' 'This attempt to directly sway the press away from Fusion Garage really spikes my suspicion meter' says Smith. 'After all, Arrington is the press. If I started writing screeds advising him on what he should or should not say about a product, what would he think?'"

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Global Deforestation Demoed In Google Earth
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '09 at 10:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's woodman-spare-that-tree deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "On Google's official blog, they claim a 'new technology prototype that enables online, global-scale observation and measurement of changes in the earth's forests.' Ars has more details on what Google unveiled at Copenhagen. If you have Google Earth installed, you can find a demonstration here. Many organizations and government agencies are on board with this initiative to put deforestation before the eyes of the public. If only satellite data of North America existed before the logging industry swept in!" It's interesting to contemplate the implications for intelligence gathering of Google's automated tools to compare satellite photos.

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Big Dipper "Star" Actually a Sextuplet System
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '09 at 10:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's toil-and-trouble deptartment:
Theosis sends word that an astronomer at the University of Rochester and his colleagues have made the surprise discovery that Alcor, one of the brightest stars in the Big Dipper, is actually two stars; and it is apparently gravitationally bound to the four-star Mizar system, making the whole group a sextuplet. This would make the Mizar-Alcor sextuplet the second-nearest such system known. The discovery is especially surprising because Alcor is one of the most studied stars in the sky. The Mizar-Alcor system has been involved in many "firsts" in the history of astronomy: "Benedetto Castelli, Galileo's protege and collaborator, first observed with a telescope that Mizar was not a single star in 1617, and Galileo observed it a week after hearing about this from Castelli, and noted it in his notebooks... Those two stars, called Mizar A and Mizar B, together with Alcor, in 1857 became the first binary stars ever photographed through a telescope. In 1890, Mizar A was discovered to itself be a binary, being the first binary to be discovered using spectroscopy. In 1908, spectroscopy revealed that Mizar B was also a pair of stars, making the group the first-known quintuple star system."

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Method To Repair Damaged Adult Nerves Discovered
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '09 at 09:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's reconnecting-the-dots deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers have discovered a promising method to regrow damaged nerves in adults. Brain and spinal-cord injuries typically leave people with permanent impairment because the injured nerve fibers (axons) cannot regrow. A study from Harvard and Carleton University, published in the December 10 issue of the journal Neuron, shows that axons can regenerate vigorously in a mouse model when a gene that suppresses natural growth factors is deleted. Here is the journal article (subscription required to view more than the abstract)."

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Nouveau NVIDIA Driver To Enter Linux 2.6.33 Kernel
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '09 at 09:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's no-excuses deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Not only is DRBD to be included in the Linux 2.6.33 kernel, but so is the Nouveau driver. The Nouveau driver is the free software driver that was created by clean-room reverse engineering NVIDIA's binary Linux driver. It has been in development for several years with 2D, 3D, and video support. The DRM component is set to enter the Linux 2.6.33 kernel as a staging driver. This is coming as a surprise move after yesterday Linus began ranting over Red Hat not upstreaming Nouveau and then Red Hat attributing this delay to microcode issues. The microcode issue is temporarily worked around by removing it from the driver itself and using the kernel's firmware loader to insert this potentially copyrighted work instead."

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How To Build a Quantum Propulsion Machine
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '09 at 08:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's magnetoelectric-quantum-wheel deptartment:
KentuckyFC writes "According to quantum mechanics, a vacuum will be filled with electromagnetic waves leaping in and out of existence. It turns out that these waves can have various measurable effects, such as the Casimir-Polder force, which was first measured accurately in 1997. Just how to exploit this force is still not clear. Now, however, a researcher at an Israeli government lab suggests how it could be possible to generate propulsion using the quantum vacuum. The basic idea is that pushing on the electromagnetic fields in the vacuum should generate an equal and opposite force. The suggestion is that this can be done using nanoparticles that interact with the vacuum's electric and magnetic fields, generating the well-known Lorentz force. In most cases, the sum of Lorentz forces adds up to zero. But today's breakthrough is the discovery of various ways to break this symmetry and so use the quantum vacuum to generate a force. The simplest of these is simply to rotate the particles. So the blueprint for a quantum propulsion machine described in the paper is an array of addressable nanoparticles that can be rotated in the required way. Although such a machine will need a source of energy, it generates propulsion without any change in mass. As the research puts it with magesterial understatement, this might have practical implications."

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Three Lawmakers Ask For Enforcement Against Leak Sites
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '09 at 07:30 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's rest-of-the-world-perhaps-you've-heard-of-it deptartment:
eldavojohn writes "You may recall the TSA demonstrating how tech-savvy it is by releasing a document with redactions intact. Now three Republican lawmakers are asking what's being done to prosecute those hosting the document (e.g. Cryptome and Wikileaks). In a letter to the DHS (PDF), Charles Dent (R-PA), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), and Peter T. King (R-NY) asked, 'How has [sic] the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration addressed the repeated reposting of this security manual to other websites, and what legal action, if any, can be taken to compel its removal?' And they asked if the DHS is 'considering issuing new regulations pursuant to its authority in Section 114 of Title 49, United States Code, and are criminal penalties necessary or desirable to ensure such information is not reposted in the future?' King is the representative who announcing a probe into Wikileaks after the half million 9/11 pager messages were released."

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Red Hat Open Sources SPICE Desktop Virtualization
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '09 at 06:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's one-desktop-at-a-thyme deptartment:
laxl writes "Linux vendor Red Hat has open sourced the Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environment (SPICE) virtual desktop protocol it acquired last year with Qumranet, which used SPICE for its own commercial desktop-virtualization product, called SolidIce. SPICE can be used to deploy virtual desktops from a server out to remote computers, such as desktop PCs and thin-client devices. It is similar to other rendering protocols used for remote desktop management such as Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol or Citrix's Independent Computing Architecture. SPICE supports rendering virtual instances of Windows XP and Windows 7, as well as Red Hat Enterprise Linux. According to Red Hat, SPICE has advantages over other protocols in that it can dynamically customize desktop instances to fit specific operating environments. According to the article, most of the SPICE code is available under the GNU GPLv2, though parts are also licensed under LGPL- and BSD-styled licenses."

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AT&T's Net Neutrality Doublethink
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '09 at 06:15 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's like-mccain-said deptartment:
GMGruman writes "George Orwell would be proud of AT&T, as Bill Snyder explains in this blog post, for its new ads saying it supports Net neutrality when in fact it is working actively to scuttle proposed FCC rules that would clearly ban discriminatory practices against different types of data, such as video streaming or VoIP. It's also trying to get government subsidies to build a substandard broadband network for the under-served areas of the US If it and its carrier partners win, 'Internet freedom' will mean freedom for carriers to be the 21st century's robber barons."

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Mozilla Exec Urges Switch From Google To Bing
Posted by News Fetcher on December 11 '09 at 05:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's what-about-flimpy-and-torgo? deptartment:
Andorin writes "Asa Dotzler, Mozilla's director of community development, has published a brief blog post in which he recommends that Firefox users move from using Google as their main search engine to Bing, citing privacy issues. Disregarding the existence of alternative search engines such as Ask and Yahoo, Dotzler asserts that Bing's privacy policy is better than Google's. Dotzler explains the recommendation with a quote from Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google: 'If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place. If you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines — including Google — do retain this information for some time...' Ars Technica also covers the story."

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