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Transpacific Unity Fiber Optic Cable Leaves Japan
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '09 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's off-to-seek-its-fortune deptartment:
JoshuaInNippon writes "The 10,000 km (6,200 mile) long Unity fiber optic cable, funded by Google and five East Asian communication companies, left Japanese shores on November 1st to be laid along the northern Pacific Ocean floor. The Japanese end of the cable is expected to be fused to the American end sometime around November 11th. The cable, which was announced in February of 2008 at a cost of around $300 million USD, has the theoretical capacity of 7.68 Tbps, but will be set at a capacity of about 4.8 Tbps (supposedly equivalent to about 75 million simultaneous phone calls) during its initial use. When Unity begins full operation sometime early next year, it is projected to increase internet traffic capacity between the two regions by over 20%, a wonderful boost to transpacific relations!"

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For September, Book-Related Apps Overtook Games On iPhone
Posted by News Fetcher on November 02 '09 at 02:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's fall's-good-contemplative-reading-weather deptartment:
ruphus13 writes "In a sign that ebooks are rising in popularity, a recent survey by mobile analytics company Flurry revealed that users may be using the iPhone for more intellectual pursuits, and not just the visual sizzle. The 'book-related' apps on the iPhone overtook games in terms of new apps released. According to the post, 'Book-related apps saw an upsurge in launches in September ... So much so, that book-related applications overtook games in the App Store as a percentage of all released apps. The trend isn't an aberration. In October, one out of every five new applications launching on the iPhone was a book...Because from August 2008 to the same month in 2009, more apps were released in the 'games' category than any other and, as a result, the iPhone (and iPod touch) became a new handheld gaming platform, one that impacted Nintendo DS. '"

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Toyota Develops New Flower Species To Reduce Pollution
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '09 at 11:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's better-than-to-cause-it deptartment:
teko_teko writes "Toyota has created two flower species that absorb nitrogen oxides and take heat out of the atmosphere. The flowers, derivatives of the cherry sage plant and the gardenia, were specially developed for the grounds of Toyota's Prius plant in Toyota City, Japan. The sage derivative's leaves have unique characteristics that absorb harmful gases, while the gardenia's leaves create water vapour in the air, reducing the surface temperature of the factory surrounds and, therefore, reducing the energy needed for cooling, in turn producing less carbon dioxide (CO2)."

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Find DARPA's Balloons, Win $40K
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '09 at 08:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's in-related-news-no-easter-egg-hunt deptartment:
coondoggie writes "The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency today offered up a rather interesting challenge: find and plot 10 red weather balloons scattered at undisclosed locations across the country. The first person to identify the location of all the balloons and enter them on the challenge Web site will win a $40,000 cash prize. According to the agency, the balloons will be in readily accessible locations, visible from nearby roadways and accompanied by DARPA representatives. All balloons are scheduled to go on display at all locations at 10:00AM (ET) until approximately 4:00 PM on Saturday, December 5, 2009."

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Asimov Estate Authorizes New I, Robot Books
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '09 at 07:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's automatic-writing deptartment:
daria42 writes "In a move guaranteed to annoy long-term science fiction fans, the estate of legendary science fiction author Isaac Asimov, who passed away in 1992, has authorized a trilogy of sequels to his beloved I, Robot short story series, to be written by relatively unknown fantasy author Mickey Zucker Reichert. The move is already garnering opposition online. 'Isaac Asimov died forty years after they were first written. If he had wanted to follow them up, he would have. The author's intentions need to be respected here,' writes sci-fi/fantasy book site Keeping the Door."

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uTorrent To Build In Transfer-Throttling Ability
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '09 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's sideways-or-upwards deptartment:
vintagepc writes "TorrentFreak reports that a redesign of the popular BitTorrent client uTorrent allows clients to detect network congestion and automatically adjust the transfer rates, eliminating the interference with other Internet-enabled applications' traffic. In theory, the protocol senses congestion based on the time it takes for a packet to reach its destination, and by intelligent adjustments, should reduce network traffic without causing a major impact on download speeds and times. As said by Simon Morris (from TFA), 'The throttling that matters most is actually not so much the download but rather the upload – as bandwidth is normally much lower UP than DOWN, the up-link will almost always get congested before the down-link does.' Furthermore, the revision is designed to eliminate the need for ISPs to deal with problems caused by excessive BitTorrent traffic on their networks, thereby saving them money and support costs. Apparently, the v2.0b client using this protocol is already being used widely, and no major problems have been reported."

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Computer Activities for Those with Speech and Language Difficulties?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '09 at 03:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's yr-voice-is-yr-password deptartment:
An anonymous reader writes "My girlfriend is training to be a speech and language therapist here in the UK (speech pathologist in the US). A number of clients are guys who enjoy playing computer games, and for a variety of reasons some have no incentive to try and improve their speech. The issue is it can obviously inhibit options for jobs/other aspects of life etc. I was trying to think of fun computer based activities for those with speech and language difficulties that encourage individuals to speak and furthermore to speak with greater clarity. Or games/activities that might encourage them to do more speech work. The first options that sprang to mind were the online games with team speak/team talk for those with mild difficulties. The sampling/accent issue might force them to speak with greater clarity or wish to have that ability. Obviously, they can just type. Any thoughts?"

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BitTorrent To Build In Transfer-Throttling Ability
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '09 at 02:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's sideways-or-upwards deptartment:
vintagepc writes "TorrentFreak reports that a redesign of the popular BitTorrent protocol allows clients to detect network congestion and automatically adjust the transfer rates, eliminating the interference with other Internet-enabled applications' traffic. In theory, the protocol senses congestion based on the time it takes for a packet to reach its destination, and by intelligent adjustments, should reduce network traffic without causing a major impact on download speeds and times. As said by Simon Morris (from TFA), 'The throttling that matters most is actually not so much the download but rather the upload – as bandwidth is normally much lower UP than DOWN, the up-link will almost always get congested before the down-link does.' Furthermore, the revision is designed to eliminate the need for ISPs to deal with problems caused by excessive BitTorrent traffic on their networks, thereby saving them money and support costs. Apparently, the v2.0b client using this protocol is already being used widely, and no major problems have been reported."

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Appeal For Commuter GPS Logs To Aid Electric Cars
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '09 at 01:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's where-did-you-go-this-summer deptartment:
holy_calamity writes "A team at Carnegie Mellon University have begun a project seeking to design a kit to cheaply convert second hand cars into cheap electric ones suitable for commuting, if little else. They hope to rely heavily on smart management software to extract as much efficiency as possible from regenerative breaking, and knowledge of terrain from GPS tracking. But they are hampered by a lack of public data on how commuters actually drive. Their solution is to appeal to GPS users to upload .gpx log files of their commute to the team's site. The data is plugged into a simulator that reveals how much cheaper an electric car could do your journey, and an anonymised public dataset will be created. A programming contest will award a production electric car to the coder who designs the best management algorithm using it."

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Apple Says Booting OS X Makes an Unauthorized Copy
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '09 at 12:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's slice-the-ram-nodes-to-find-copy-four deptartment:
recoiledsnake writes "Groklaw has an extensive look at the latest developments in the Psystar vs. Apple story. There's a nice picture illustrating the accusation by Apple that Psystar makes three unauthorized copies of OS X. The most interesting however, is the last copy. From Apple's brief: 'Finally, every time Psystar turns on any of the Psystar computers running Mac OS X, which it does before shipping each computer, Psystar necessarily makes a separate modified copy of Mac OS X in Random Access Memory, or RAM. This is the third unlawful copy.' Psystar's response: 'Copying a computer program into RAM as a result of installing and running that program is precisely the copying that Section 117 provides does not constitute copyright infringement for an owner of a computer program. As the Ninth Circuit explained, permitting copies like this was Section 117's purpose.' Is Apple seriously arguing that installing a third party program and booting OS X results in copyright infringement due to making a derivative work and an unauthorized copy?"

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Nothing To Fear But Fearlessness Itself?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '09 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's now-that-halloween-is-over deptartment:
theodp writes "In a post last August, Robert X. Cringely voiced fears that Goldman Sachs and others were not so much evil as 'clueless about the implications of their work,' leaving it up to the government to fix any mess they leave behind. 'But what if government runs out of options,' worried Cringely. 'Our economic policy doesn't imagine it, nor does our foreign policy, because superpowers don't acknowledge weakness.' And now his fears are echoed in a WSJ opinion piece by Peggy Noonan titled 'We're Governed by Callous Children.' She writes, 'We are governed at all levels by America's luckiest children, sons and daughters of the abundance, and they call themselves optimists but they're not optimists — they're unimaginative. They don't have faith, they've just never been foreclosed on. They are stupid and they are callous, and they don't mind it when people become disheartened. They don't even notice.' With apologies to FDR, do we have nothing to fear but fearlessness itself?"

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1,600 Names Suggested Daily For FBI's Watch List
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '09 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's by-reading-this-article-you-have-been-added deptartment:
schwit1 writes with this excerpt from the Washington Post: "During a 12-month period ended in March this year, for example, the US intelligence community suggested on a daily basis that 1,600 people qualified for the list because they presented a 'reasonable suspicion,' according to data provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee by the FBI in September and made public last week. ... The ever-churning list is said to contain more than 400,000 unique names and over 1 million entries. The committee was told that over that same period, officials asked each day that 600 names be removed and 4,800 records be modified. Fewer than 5 percent of the people on the list are US citizens or legal permanent residents. Nine percent of those on the terrorism list, the FBI said, are also on the government's 'no fly' list."

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Scams and Social Gaming
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '09 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sign-up-now-for-fifteen-free-slashbucks deptartment:
TechCrunch is running a story about the prevalence of scams and shady monetization techniques in popular social games on Facebook and MySpace. As an alternative to buying in-game currency with real money, many games make use of lead-generation offers — letting players sign up for a trial service or take a survey in exchange for the currency. The system is rife with scams, and many game developers turn a blind-eye to them, much to the detriment of the players and the legitimate advertisers — not to mention the games that rightly disallow these offers and fall behind in profits. The article asserts that Facebook and MySpace themselves are complicit in this, failing to crack down on the abuses they see because they make so much money from advertising for the most popular games.

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The Most Influential People In Open Source
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '09 at 07:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's surprising-lack-of-beards deptartment:
mmaney writes "As part of its 2009 open source best practices research, MindTouch asked C and VP level open source executives who they thought are the most influential people in the industry today. The list is ranked by the effect these individuals have had on the open source industry. Over 50 votes from executives in Europe and North America were cast. There were a few surprises from outside of the open source industry. Steve Ballmer got a mention because of his negative remarks on the open source industry and its subsequent positive impact. Vivek Kundra was mentioned because of his contributions to the industry inside the US Federal Government. Notably absent, however, are any influential women." Relatedly, Matt Asay (who is also on the list) writes about the decreased need for open-source evangelism, noting that several people on the list are there "not because they're open-source cheerleaders, but because they have helped vendors and customers alike understand how to get the most from open-source investments."

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Evolution's Path May Lead To Shorter, Heavier Women
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '09 at 06:00 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's short-but-neither-brutish-nor-nasty deptartment:
Hugh Pickens writes "Yale University researchers believe that if evolutionary pressures of sexual selection and reproductive fitness continue for another 10 generations, the trends detected in their study may mean that the average woman in 2409 AD will be 2 cm shorter, 1 kg heavier, will bear her first child five months earlier, and enter menopause 10 months later. 'There is this idea that because medicine has been so good at reducing mortality rates, that means that natural selection is no longer operating in humans,' says Stephen Stearns of Yale University. 'That's just plain false.' Stearns and his team studied the medical histories of 14,000 residents of the Massachusetts town of Framingham, using medical data from a study going back to 1948 spanning three generations, and found that shorter, heavier women had more children than lighter, taller ones. Women with lower blood pressure and cholesterol were also more likely to have large families as were women who gave birth early or had a late menopause. More importantly, these traits are then passed on to their daughters, who also, on average, had more children. The study has not determined why these factors are linked to reproductive success, but it is likely that they indicate genetic, rather than environmental, effects. 'The evolution that's going on in the Framingham women is like average rates of evolution measured in other plants and animals,' says Stearns. 'These results place humans in the medium-to-slow end of the range of rates observed for other living things.'"

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Blogger Humiliates Town Councillors Into Resigning
Posted by News Fetcher on November 01 '09 at 04:45 AM
By kdawson from Slashdot's speaking-truth-to-power deptartment:
Dr_Barnowl writes "In an occurrence first postulated in sci-fi and later lampooned by stick figures, it seems that a blogger has actually been responsible for the mass resignation of elected officials — a British town council — largely by calling them 'jack***es' and Nazis. What's next? The deposition of a president with 'your mom' smacktalk?"

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The Golden Age of Infinite Music
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '09 at 11:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's in-the-air deptartment:
Over at the BBC, music journalist John Harris speculates on what may become of the music business now that we have entered the golden age of infinite music. "I've just poured the music-related contents of my brain into a book, and I would imagine that 30-ish years worth of knowledge about everyone from Funkadelic to The Smiths has probably cost me a five-figure sum, a stupid amount spent on music publications, and endless embarrassed moments spent trying to have a conversation with those arrogant blokes who tend to work in record shops. Last weekend, by contrast, I had a long chat about music with the 16-year-old son of a friend, and my mind boggled. At virtually no cost, in precious little time and with zero embarrassment, he had become an expert on all kinds of artists, from English singer-songwriters like Nick Drake and John Martyn to such American indie-rock titans as Pavement and Dinosaur Jr. Though only a sixth-former, he seemingly knew as much about most of these people as any music writer. Like any rock-oriented youth, his appetite for music is endless, and so is the opportunity..."

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Plowing Carbon Into the Fields
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '09 at 08:00 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's going-green-can-be-exhausting deptartment:
OzPeter writes "A wheat farmer in Australia has eliminated adding fertilizer to his crop by the simple process of injecting the cooled diesel exhaust of his modified tractor into the ground when the wheat is being sown. In doing so he eliminates releasing carbon into the atmosphere and at the same time saves himself up to $500,000 (AUD) that would have been required to fertilize his 3,900 hectares in the traditional way. Yet his crop yields over the last two years have been at least on par with his best yields since 2001. The technique was developed by a Canadian, Gary Lewis of Bio Agtive, and is currently in trial at 100 farms around the world."

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Microsoft's Lost Decade
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '09 at 04:45 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's no-skill-at-herding-cats deptartment:
theodp writes "Newsweek's Daniel Lyons (that's Fake Steve to you) explains why Steve Ballmer is no Bill Gates, arguing that what most hurt Microsoft was BillG's decision to step down as CEO in January 2000: 'Gates was a software geek. He understood technology. Ballmer is a business guy.' And the problem with putting non-techies in charge of tech companies, concludes Lyons, is that they have blind spots. So while Microsoft's revenues nearly tripled from $23B to $58B on Ballmer's watch, says Lyons, the company became bureaucratic and lumbering, slowing down while the rest of the world — including Google, Apple and Amazon — sped up."

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Zombies As American Zeitgeist Proxies
Posted by News Fetcher on October 31 '09 at 02:30 PM
By kdawson from Slashdot's look-what-plan-9-started deptartment:
blackbearnh writes "No doubt, there will be more than a few brain-munching glassy-eyed zombies showing up on the typical doorstep tonight, demanding brains, brains, brains, or at least some Milk Duds. But according to this essay over on Forbes.com, zombies are more than just the trendy monster on the block, they are to Americans what Godzilla is to Japanese: a personification of our fear of science and technology. 'It seems you can't throw a half-eaten cerebrum these days without hitting a posse of zombies brought to life by some kind of biological mishap (28 Days Later, Resident Evil, Planet Terror, Quarantine). Like Godzilla, zombies keep up with the times, always ready to mirror whatever aspect of science and technology people feel most uncertain about at the moment.'"

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