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Personalized Search From Google Now Opt-Out
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '09 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's escort-on-the-road-to-enlightenment deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "CNet reports that 'Google now intends to deliver customized search results even to those searching its site without having signed into a Google account.' This may be what finally drives me to seriously experiment with cookie-free browsing. I consider non-personalized search results to be of value. They quasi-subconsciously give me a better perspective of the full range of information and ideas on the net. That, and I'm also a bit paranoid about a coming world with push-button infrastructure for personalized mis/disinformation."

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DARPA Network Challenge Lasts All of 9 Hours
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '09 at 05:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's now-they-can-buy-more-warm-clothes deptartment:
stillnotelf writes "A team based at MIT has won the DARPA Network Challenge. DARPA notes: 'The Challenge has captured the imagination of people around the world, is rich with scientific intrigue, and, we hope, is part of a growing "renaissance of wonder" throughout the nation,' said DARPA's director, Dr. Regina E. Dugan. 'DARPA salutes the MIT team for successfully completing this complex task less than 9 hours after balloon launch.' PDF with (scant) details. Hit the first link above for a map with the locations. How many did your team find?"

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Aussie, Finnish Researchers Create a Single-Atom Transistor
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '09 at 03:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's for-small-transitions deptartment:
ACKyushu writes "Researchers from Helsinki University of Technology (Finland), University of New South Wales (Australia), and University of Melbourne (Australia) have succeeded in building a working transistor whose active region comprises only a single phosphorus atom in silicon. The results have just been published in Nano Letters. The working principles of the device are based on sequential tunneling of single electrons between the phosphorus atom and the source and drain leads of the transistor. The tunneling can be suppressed or allowed by controlling the voltage on a nearby metal electrode with a width of a few tens of nanometers."

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Reducing One Amino Acid Could Increase Lifespan
Posted by News Fetcher on December 06 '09 at 12:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's for-compulsive-food-sorters deptartment:
John Bryson writes "Eating less of one amino acid might lengthen your life. There have been lots of previous studies showing that many species live long on highly restricted calories, but a lot of this benefit may be possible by only restricting one amino acid. Amino acids that have shown this have been tryptophan and methionine. A recent study, published online December 2 in Nature, a highly respected journal, may help explain some of the health benefits of restricted-calorie diets."

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Air Force Extends Plug-and-Play Spacecraft
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '09 at 09:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's can-we-get-an-analogy-upgrade? deptartment:
coondoggie writes "Looking to build strategic satellites in day if need be, rather than months, the Air Force is pushing forward with what it calls plug-and-play spacecraft. This week it awarded a $500,000 order to Northrop Grumman to begin designing the plug-and-play spacecraft 'bus' which will offer standard interfaces for a variety of payload components, much like a laptop computer that immediately recognizes new hardware when it's plugged in, Northrop stated. The order was awarded under a contract that has a ceiling of $200 million."

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Multiple-Display Power Tools For Linux?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '09 at 06:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's it's-a-hard-knock-life deptartment:
shift writes "I've used multiple monitors for years (currently 3) and find that Linux is lacking in power tools for such setups. Even Windows 7 has added the feature to move a window from screen to screen with keyboard shortcuts. Are any of the major desktop environments adding such features? I'm still stuck on FVWM and have define functions to swap the contents of screens as well as move windows from screen to screen and so on. But this just seems like such basic functionality people would want in multi-screen setups that I'm surprised I don't find any of these features in our latest desktop environments."

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Google Launches Dictionary, Drops Answers.com
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '09 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's urbandictionary-has-nuthin-to-fear deptartment:
ObsessiveMathsFreak writes "Google has expanded its remit once again with the quiet launch of Google Dictionary. Google word search definitions now redirect to Google Dictionary instead of to Google's long term thesaurus goto site, Answers.com, which is expected to take a serious hit in traffic as a result. Dictionary pages are noticeably more plain and faster loading than their Answers.com equivalents, and unusually feature web citations for the definitions of each word. This means that, unlike most dictionaries, Google considers ginormous a word."

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How To See Through an Invisibility Cloak
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '09 at 02:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's very-zen deptartment:
AMESN writes "Ways to bend light around objects and render them invisible are becoming a major field of scientific study and gaining ground. While no actual invisibility cloak exists yet, researchers are also theorizing on how to beat the perfect cloak."

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Iranian Crackdown Goes Global
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '09 at 01:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's innocuous-backup-account deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Tehran's leadership faces its biggest crisis since it first came to power in 1979, as Iranians at home and abroad attack its legitimacy in the wake of June's allegedly rigged presidential vote. An opposition effort, the 'Green Movement,' is gaining a global following of regular Iranians who say they never previously considered themselves activists. The regime has been cracking down hard at home. And now, a Wall Street Journal investigation shows, it is extending that crackdown to Iranians abroad as well. Part of the effort involves tracking the Facebook, Twitter and YouTube activity of Iranians around the world, and identifying them at opposition protests abroad. People who criticize Iran's regime online or in public demonstrations are facing threats intended to silence them."

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Open Source Attempt To Crack GSM Encryption
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '09 at 12:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's phone-you-break-could-be-your-own deptartment:
Lexta writes with an interesting tidbit from IEEE Spectrum: "'Karsten Nohl, chief research scientist with H4RDW4RE, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based security research firm, is mounting what could be the most ambitious attempt yet to compromise the GSM phone system.' The intended approach is to create an open source project to spread the computation of a giant look-up table across more than 80 machines. Interestingly, they've openly stated that nVidia's CUDA technology will be used to execute parallel elements of the problem on GPUs as well."

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ISS Can Now Watch Sea Traffic From Space
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '09 at 11:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's three-letter-agencies-rejoice deptartment:
gyrogeerloose writes "During its last mission, astronauts from the Space Shuttle Atlantis installed an Automatic Identification System antenna on the outside of the International Space Station that will allow astronauts aboard the ISS to monitor signals from the AIS transmitters mandated to be installed on most large ocean-going craft. Although these VHF signals can be monitored from the Earth's surface, their horizontal range is generally limited to about 75 km (46 mi), leaving large areas of the ocean unwatched. However, the signals easily reach the 400 km (250 mi) orbit of the ISS. The European Space Agency sees this experiment as a test platform for a future AIS-monitoring fleet of satellites that will eventually provide worldwide coverage of sea traffic."

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Microsoft, Yahoo Finalize Search Agreement
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '09 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's keeping-up-with-the-googses deptartment:
Joe Quimby writes "Microsoft and Yahoo have finalized and executed their Web-search agreement after five months of deliberation, the companies announced Friday. Microsoft and Yahoo reached a revenue-sharing agreement in July to combine their search businesses. Under the 10-year agreement, Yahoo's Web search would be powered by Bing and Yahoo would retain most ad revenue from its site."

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US Air Force Confirms New Stealth Aircraft
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '09 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's watching-you-from-on-high deptartment:
DesScorp writes "Aviation Week reports that the USAF has confirmed the existence of a new, formerly secret stealth aircraft, designated RQ-170 Sentinel, developed at Lockheed's legendary Skunk Works. Rumors of a secret new jet have been flying since 2007, with longtime aviation journalist Bill Sweetman dubbing the possible aircraft 'The Beast of Kandahar' because of the urban legend-like reports from Afghanistan. The aircraft is a UAV, a pilot-less drone that appears to have some kind of reconnaissance-only mission for the time being. It's a tailless flying wing that resembles a fighter-sized B-2 bomber."

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"Accidental" Download Sending 22-Year-Old Man To Prison
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '09 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's do-not-pass-go deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Two years ago, Matthew White searched Limewire for porn. He was looking for 'College Girls Gone Wild,' but ended up downloading some images of child pornography. This was accidental, according to White, and he quickly deleted the images. A year later, the FBI showed up on his family's doorstep and asked to search the computer. After thorough sleuthing, the FBI found some images 'deep within the hard drive.' According to White, the investigators agreed that he himself could not have accessed the files anymore. Matthew now faces 20 years in jail for possession of child pornography. On advice from his lawyer, he intends to plead guilty so that he will 'hopefully' end up with 3.5 years in jail, 10 years probation and a registration as a sex offender. 'The FBI could not comment on this specific case, but said if child pornography is ever downloaded accidentally, the user needs to call authorities immediately. They may confiscate your computer, but it's better than the alternative.'"

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MIT & Harvard On Brain-Inspired A.I. Vision
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '09 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-can-see-clearly-now deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from TGDaily: "Researchers from Harvard and MIT have demonstrated a way to build better artificial visual systems with the help of low-cost, high-performance gaming hardware. [A video describing their research is available.] 'Reverse engineering a biological visual system — a system with hundreds of millions of processing units — and building an artificial system that works the same way is a daunting task,' says David Cox, Principal Investigator of the Visual Neuroscience Group at the Rowland Institute at Harvard. 'It is not enough to simply assemble together a huge amount of computing power. We have to figure out how to put all the parts together so that they can do what our brains can do.' The team drew inspiration from screening techniques in molecular biology, where a multitude of candidate organisms or compounds are screened in parallel to find those that have a particular property of interest. Rather than building a single model and seeing how well it could recognize visual objects, the team constructed thousands of candidate models, and screened for those that performed best on an object recognition task. The resulting models outperformed a crop of state-of-the-art computer vision systems across a range of test sets, more accurately identifying a range of objects on random natural backgrounds with variation in position, scale, and rotation. Using ordinary CPUs, the effort would have required either years or millions of dollars of computing hardware. Instead, by harnessing modern graphics hardware, the analysis was done in just one week, and at a small fraction of the cost."

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Scientific Journal Nature Finds Nothing Notable In CRU Leak
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '09 at 06:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's nothing-to-see-here-move-along deptartment:
eldavojohn writes with an update to the CRU email leak story we've been following for the past two weeks. The peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature has published an article saying the emails do not demonstrate any sort of "scientific conspiracy," and that the journal doesn't intend to investigate earlier papers from CRU researchers without "substantive reasons for concern." The article notes, "Whatever the e-mail authors may have said to one another in (supposed) privacy, however, what matters is how they acted. And the fact is that, in the end, neither they nor the IPCC suppressed anything: when the assessment report was published in 2007 it referenced and discussed both papers." Reader lacaprup points out related news that a global warming skeptic plans to sue NASA under the Freedom of Information Act for failing to deliver climate data and correspondence of their own, which he thinks will be "highly damaging." Meanwhile, a United Nations panel will be conducting its own investigation of the CRU emails.

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FCC Inquires About Controversial Verizon Fees
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '09 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's just-what-do-you-think-you're-up-to deptartment:
olsmeister writes "As previously noted here on Slashdot, Verizon Wireless has been increasing their early termination fees and actively charging non-data customers who accidentally press the wrong button and go online. The FCC has now sent them a letter asking why. The PDF of the letter can be viewed online. Maybe someone at the FCC does read Slashdot."

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What Drugs Do Astronauts Take?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '09 at 02:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's just-boosterspice-for-me-thanks deptartment:
astroengine writes "Science fiction is stuffed full of examples of pill-popping space explorers and aliens enjoying psychedelic highs. After all, space is big; it can get boring/scary/crazy up there. It's little wonder, then, that our current space explorers consume a cocktail of uppers, downers, tranquilizers and alcohol to get the job done. Robert Lamb on tranquilizers in the space station: 'Sure, it hardly makes for a civilized evening aboard ISS, but it beats someone blowing the hatch because they think they saw something crawling on one of the solar panels.'"

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New Aliens Vs. Predator Game Doesn't Make It Past AU Ratings Board
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '09 at 12:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's gauntlet-thrown deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "Australia refused to give Rebellion's new Aliens Vs. Predator game a rating, effectively banning it in the country. Rebellion says it won't be submitting an edited version for another round of classifications, however. (As Valve did with Left 4 Dead 2.) They said, 'We will not be releasing a sanitized or cut down version for territories where adults are not considered by their governments to be able to make their own entertainment choices.'"

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Man Controls Cybernetic Hand With Thoughts
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '09 at 11:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-thought-john-connor-destroyed-that-thing deptartment:
MaryBethP writes "Scientists in Italy announced Wednesday that Pierpaolo Petruzziello, a 26-year-old Italian who had lost his left forearm in a car accident, was successfully linked to an artificial limb that was controlled by electrodes implanted in his arm and connected to the median and ulnar nerves. He has learned to control the artificial limb with his mind. According to CNet, Petruzziello says he could feel sensations in it, as if the lost arm had grown back again. The BBC has a brief video showing the arm in operation."

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