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Samsung Places A Big Bet on Quantum-Dot TV, Acquires QD Vision
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '16 at 07:40 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's hope-they-don't-catch-on-fire department:
Quantum-dot televisions promise "better picture quality and are also cheaper to manufacture than organic light-emitting diode sets," ZDNet reports. And now Samsung has confirmed their acquisition of Massachusetts-based QD Vision for $70 million, according to this article shared by Dthief:

QD Vision, previously known as Color IQ, is a specialist in quantum dot display technology. Developed for displays including PC monitors and television sets, quantum-dot technology uses semiconductor nanoparticles to change the properties of quantum dots, improving color definition and sharpness... QD Vision will become part of Samsung's research and development unit in the hope of creating quantum-dot LED displays suitable for the consumer market which could, in turn, become a strong competitor against OLED displays... The agreement follows Samsung's pledge earlier this year to launch a total of 14 SUHD television models this year, all of which use quantum dot technology.

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New 'Doom 3' Mod Successfully Ports It Into Virtual Reality
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '16 at 05:00 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's virtual-frags department:
When it comes to VR ports of popular games, "Doom 3's fluid weapon handling, interactivity, and general creepiness put it in a different class entirely," writes Motherboard. An anonymous reader quotes their report:
Using the graphically enhanced "BFG" version of 2004's Doom 3, the mod from "Codes4Fun" skillfully ports to game to the HTC Vive, generally making it look as though it was designed for the platform all along. Swedish YouTuber SweViver recently posted a video showing off his first spin with it... SweViver walks and runs about naturally using only the Vive controller's touchpad...the video shows him jumping and using the mod's impressive hand-tracking to handle his gun and flashlight separately as they float before him in place of the controllers in his hands. At one point, he even whips out virtual fists that let him pummel things with the controllers' left and right triggers.
His conclusion? "This is probably the first AAA game that actually works on the Vive."

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Crowdsourced Volunteers Search For Solutions To Fake News
Posted by News Fetcher on November 27 '16 at 02:11 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's help-me-hive-mind department:
Upworthy co-founder Eli Pariser is leading a group of online volunteers hunting for ways to respond to the spread of fake news. An anonymous reader quotes Wired UK:
Inside a Google Doc, volunteers are gathering ideas and approaches to get a grip on the untruthful news stories. It is part analysis, part brainstorming, with those involved being encouraged to read widely around the topic before contributing. "This is a massive endeavour but well worth it," they say...

At present, the group is coming up with a list of potential solutions and approaches. Possible methods the group is looking at include: more human editors, fingerprinting viral stories then training algorithms on confirmed fakes, domain checking, the blockchain, a reliability algorithm, sentiment analysis, a Wikipedia for news sources, and more.
The article also suggests this effort may one day spawn fake news-fighting tech startups.

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Scientists Believe There's Finally A Cure For The Common Cold
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '16 at 08:41 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's nothing-to-sneeze-at department:
schwit1 writes:
After decades of research, the fabled cure for the common cold could be on its way in the form of a nasal spray called SynGEM, the brainchild of a Dutch biotechnology company. After successful tests on mice and rats (yes, they get colds too), 36 human volunteers at London's Imperial College are now trying out the spray.
While colds can be caused by hundreds of different viruses, just three viruses are responsible for 80% of them -- and yet colds are responsible for 40% of the sick days taken in the U.S., according to another article, as well as 75 million doctor visits (costing $7.7 billion) every year, plus another $2.9 billion for cold medications. One experimental medicine professor at London's Imperial College London has spent the last 30 years researching colds and flu, and though a cure has never been found, he now tells the Daily Mail, "I think we are on the verge of it. I really do."

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Black Friday Protest Sites Included An Amazon Warehouse
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '16 at 07:21 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's shopper-showdowns department:
An anonymous reader writes:
Friday a group of protesters picketed Amazon's warehouse in Dunfermline, Scotland, alleging workers there face "up to 60 hours per week for little more than the minimum wage," according to an article in The Courier. "They also claim that new workers are tracked and monitored every minute of their working day and sacked if they fail to meet targets... Amazon has dismissed the claims, insisting that the firm values its employees and maintains a 'culture of direct dialogue' with them."

But around the world, more than 1 million people celebrated Buy Nothing Day on Friday, according to the editor in chief of Adbusters, saying their event has now spread to more than 60 countries. The Adbusters.org site suggested protesters stage zombie walks to parody the mindlessness of consumerism, and urged credit card-cutting ceremonies as well as "Whirl-Marts," where large groups of people "silently drive your shopping carts around in a long, inexplicable conga line without ever actually buying anything." The site is also sharing downloadable images which can be printed out for posters "to insert into public spaces."

One prominent retailer even closed both its physical and online stores Friday and gave all of its 12,000 employees the day off, according to USA Today. REI, which sells outdoor recreational equipment, was encouraging people to take advantage of Friday's free admission to many state parks for the second year in a row, and as many as 2.7 million people "pledged to participate" using the company's hashtag, #OptOutside.

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Lawrence Lessig Calls For The Electoral College to Choose Clinton Over Trump
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '16 at 04:42 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's elections-vs-electors department:
Lawrence Lessig's new op-ed in the Washington Post argues against the idea "that the person who lost the popular vote this year must nonetheless become our president." (Paywalled version here, free version here.) Lessig points out that the electoral college results have already been ignored twice in U.S. history -- in 1824 and 1876.
The Constitution says nothing about "winner take all." It says nothing to suggest that electors' freedom should be constrained in any way...They were to be citizens exercising judgment, not cogs turning a wheel.
Complaining that the electoral college weights the votes in Wyoming roughly four times as heavily as the votes in Michigan, Lessig argues that the popular vote should be respected, and that the authors of the U.S. Constitution "left the electors free to choose. They should exercise that choice by leaving the election as the people decided it: in Clinton's favor." Meanwhile, Politico is reporting that six electors, "mostly former Bernie Sanders supporters who hail from Washington state and Colorado," are already urging electors pledged to Clinton and Trump to instead coalesce around "a consensus pick like Mitt Romney or John Kasich." And the ethics lawyers for both President Obama and President Bush both told one liberal site "that if Trump continues to retain ownership over his sprawling business interests by the time the electors meet on December 19, they should reject Trump."
Finally, from the original submission:
Even Donald Trump has called the Electoral College a "total sham." Is it time for the Electoral College to reflect the popular vote?

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Own An Open Source RISC-V Microcontroller
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '16 at 04:42 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's RISC-y-business department:
"Did you ever think it would be great if hardware was open to the transistor level, not just the chip level?" writes hamster_nz, pointing to a new Crowd Supply campaign for the OnChip Open-V microcontroller, "a completely free (as in freedom) and open source 32-bit microcontroller based on the RISC-V architecture." hamster_nz writes:

With a completely open instruction-set architecture and no license fees for the CPU design, the RISC-V architecture is well positioned to take the crown as the 'go to' design for anybody needing a 32-bit in their silicon, and Open-V are crowd-sourcing their funding for an initial manufacturing run of 70,000 chips, offering options from a single chip to a seat in the design review process. This project is shaping up to be a milestone for the coming Open Source Silicon revolution, and they are literally offering a seat at the table. Even if you don't end up backing the project, it makes for very interesting reading.

Their crowdfunding page argues "If you love hacking on embedded controllers, breaking down closed-source barriers, having the freedom to learn how things work even down to the transistor level, or have dreamed of spinning your own silicon, then this campaign is for you."

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Science Journals Caught Publishing Fake Research For Cash
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '16 at 04:42 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's speaking-of-fake-news department:
Tuesday a Canadian journalist described his newest victory in his war on fake-science journals. An anonymous reader writes:

In 2014, journalist Tom Spears intentionally wrote "the world's worst science research paper...a mess of plagiarism and meaningless garble" -- then got it accepted by eight different journals. ("I copied and pasted one phrase from a geology paper online, and the rest from a medical one, on hematology...and so on. There are a couple of graphs from a paper about Mars...") He did it to expose journals which follow the publish-for-a-fee model, "a fast-growing business that sucks money out of research, undermines genuine scientific knowledge, and provides fake credentials for the desperate."

But earlier this year, one such operation actually purchased two prominent Canadian medical journals, and one critic warns they're "on a buying spree, snatching up legitimate scholarly journals and publishers, incorporating them into its mega-fleet of bogus, exploitative, and low-quality publications.â So this summer, Spears explains to Vice, "I got this request to write for what looked like a fake journal -- of ethics. Something about that attracted me... one morning in late August when I woke up early I made extra coffee and banged out some drivel and sent it to them."
He's now publicizing the fact that this formerly-respectable journal is currently featuring his submission, which was "mostly plagiarized from Aristotle, with every fourth or fifth word changed so that anti-plagiarism software won't catch it. But the result is meaningless. Some sentences don't have verbs..."

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Schools Funded By Gates and Zuckerberg Ordered Closed In Uganda
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '16 at 03:21 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's government-ordered-recess department:
Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg are two investors in Bridge International Academies. But in Uganda, the group's 63 schools have been "ordered to shut down in a matter of weeks, leaving the lives of thousands of pupils in limbo." An anonymous reader quotes CNN:

Uganda's High Court has described the Bridge International Academies...as unsanitary and unqualified, and has ordered it to close its doors in December because it ignored Uganda's national standards and put the "life and safety" of its 12,000 young students on the line. The Director of Education Standards for the Ministry, Huzaifa Mutazindwa, told CNN that the nursery and primary schools were not licensed, the teachers weren't qualified and that there was no record of its curriculum being approved.

Bridge's Uganda director denies the allegations, says the government hasn't even granted them an audience, and "suggested that the opposition against BIA was because the campuses competed against local state-run and private schools," according to CNN. Their reporter also found two educator advocates who complained that Bridge's schools were actually a privatized, profit-making entity targeting the poor. There's strong arguments on both sides, but it's all raising a lot of questions about how technology should be used in school programs, as well as how they should be funded.

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Yesterday Saw $3.3 Billion In Online Purchases
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '16 at 02:04 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's shopping-around department:
Friday humanity set a new record for the most money ever spent online in a single day -- and the most ever purchased on mobile devices. An anonymous reader writes:
Online sales reached $3.34 billion yesterday, up 11.3% from the same day last year, according to a new report from Adobe Digital Insights. And most of that traffic came from mobile devices. In fact, yesterday became "the first day to ever generate over a billion dollars in online sales from mobile devices," according to their report. Although 64% of online sales came from desktop computers, 55% of the traffic to shopping sites still came from mobile devices -- 45% from smartphones, and 10% from tablets. (Just three years ago, only 20% of Black Friday sales came from mobile devices.)

The top-grossing products appeared to be iPads and Macbooks, Microsoft's Xbox, and Samsung and LG TVs, while the top-grossing toys were electric scooters, drones, Nerf guns and LEGO sets. The products mostly likely to be "out of stock" yesterday included the new NES Classic and the Nintendo 3DS XL Solgaleo Lunala (black edition), the Playstation VR bundle (and the PS4 "Call of Duty: Black Ops" bundle), and the Xbox One S bundle for Madden NFL 17.
The day after Black Friday is now being touted as "Small Business Saturday," a tradition started in 2010 when American Express partnered with the non-profit National Trust for Historic Preservation (and some civic-minded groups in Boston) to encourage people to shop in their local brick-and-mortar stores. American Express reported a $1.7 billion increase in sales on Small Business Saturday in 2015, "with 95 million customers reporting shopping small at local retailers, salons, restaurants and more."

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Open-Source Hardware Makers Unite To Start Certifying Products
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '16 at 02:03 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's on-board-with-OSHWA department:
An anonymous reader quotes InfoWorld on the new certifications from the Open Source Hardware Association:
The goal of certification is to clearly identify open-source hardware separate from the mish-mash of other hardware products. The certification allows hardware designs to be replicated. For certification, OSHWA requires hardware creators to publish a bill-of-materials list, software, schematics, design files, and other documents required to make derivative products. Those requirements could apply to circuit boards, 3D printed cases, electronics, processors, and any other hardware that meets OSHWA's definition of open-source hardware...OSHWA will host a directory for all certified products, something that doesn't exist today because the community is so fragmented.

After signing a legally-binding agreement, hardware makers are allowed to use the Open Hardware mark, which one of their board members believes will help foster a stronger sense of community among hardware makers. "People want to be associated with open source."

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Science Journals Caught Publishing Fake Research For Cash
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '16 at 12:28 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's speaking-of-fake-news department:
Tuesday a Canadian journalist described his newest victory in his war on fake-science journals. An anonymous reader writes:

In 2014, journalist Tom Spears intentionally wrote "the world's worst science research paper...a mess of plagiarism and meaningless garble" -- then got it accepted by eight different journals. ("I copied and pasted one phrase from a geology paper online, and the rest from a medical one, on hematology...and so on. There are a couple of graphs from a paper about Mars...") He did it to expose journals which follow the publish-for-a-fee model, "a fast-growing business that sucks money out of research, undermines genuine scientific knowledge, and provides fake credentials for the desperate."

But earlier this year, one such operation actually purchased two prominent Canadian medical journals, and one critic warns they're "on a buying spree, snatching up legitimate scholarly journals and publishers, incorporating them into its mega-fleet of bogus, exploitative, and low-quality publications.â So this summer, Spears explains to Vice, "I got this request to write for what looked like a fake journal -- of ethics. Something about that attracted me... one morning in late August when I woke up early I made extra coffee and banged out some drivel and sent it to them."
He's now publicizing the fact that this formerly-respectable journal is currently featuring his submission, which was "mostly plagiarized from Aristotle, with every fourth or fifth word changed so that anti-plagiarism software won't catch it. But the result is meaningless. Some sentences don't have verbs..."

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Delete Yourself From Many Internet Sites By Pressing This Button
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '16 at 10:53 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's forget-me-now department:
Two Swedish developers have created a site offering a way to wipe your entire existence off the internet in a few clicks. schwit1 quotes The Next Web: When logging into the website with a Google account it scans for apps and services you've created an account for, and creates a list of them with easy delete links. Every account it finds gets paired with an easy delete link pointing to the unsubscribe page for that service. In a few clicks you're freed from it, and depending on how long you need to work through the entire list, you can be account-less within the hour.
I'm a little uncomfortable giving a stranger's web site access to my personal information - even if it is for the purpose of deleting it altogether. But the original submission ends with an interesting question. "Can we get this for government databases too?"

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Fidel Castro Is Dead
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '16 at 10:53 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's leftist-leaders department:
Striek quotes the New York Times: Fidel Castro, the fiery apostle of revolution who brought the Cold War to the Western Hemisphere in 1959 and then defied the United States for nearly half a century as Cuba's maximum leader, bedeviling 11 American presidents and briefly pushing the world to the brink of nuclear war, died Friday. He was 90. His death was announced by Cuban state television. In declining health for several years, Mr. Castro had orchestrated what he hoped would be the continuation of his Communist revolution, stepping aside in 2006 when he was felled by a serious illness. He provisionally ceded much of his power to his younger brother Raul, now 85, and two years later formally resigned as president. Raul Castro, who had fought alongside Fidel Castro from the earliest days of the insurrection and remained minister of defense and his brother's closest confidant, has ruled Cuba since then, although he has told the Cuban people he intends to resign in 2018.

Kebertson shares an AP article which remembers a book proclaiming "Castro's Last Hour" -- in 1982. And Miamicanes jokes there'll be celebrations among Castro-haters in Miami, sharing a CNN article which notes that in the end, Castro "lived long enough to see a historic thaw in relations between Cuba and the United States."

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False Porn-on-CNN Report Shows How Quickly Fake News Spreads
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '16 at 10:53 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's raunchy-rumors department:
Slashdot reader xtsigs writes: "No, despite what you read, CNN did not run porn for 30 minutes Thursday, as was reported by Fox News, the New York Post, Variety and other news organizations, several of which later corrected their stories," reports USA Today. The story goes on to explain how the story started (a single tweet), how it was quickly picked up by media outlets (without verifying if CNN actually did, in truth, broadcast porn), how it was then retracted by some outlets (but not others).
Other outlets jumped on the story of the story while, as of early Saturday morning some sites are still running the original story claiming CNN did, in fact, broadcast 30 minutes of porn.

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O'Reilly Discounts Every eBook By 50%
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '16 at 09:34 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's cyber-Saturday department:
On Friday, O'Reilly Media announced "Our Cyber Monday sale starts now."
An anonymous reader writes: They're offering a 50% discount on every ebook they publish -- over 14,000 titles from O'Reilly, No Starch Press, Pearson, A Book Apart, Make, Packt, and 25 other book publishers. (And they're offering a 60 percent discount on orders over $100.) Just use the code CYBER16 when checking out to claim the discount. The sale continues through Tuesday morning at 5 a.m. PST.

These are all DRM-free ebooks (in multiple formats), and there's even some "early release" editions -- advance copies distributed before their official publication. The discount also applies to new titles like "Head First Python" as well as old-school classics like "Learning Perl". Right now their best-sellers are "Wicked Cool Shell Scripts", "Modern Linux Administration", and "You Don't Know JS: Up and Going" -- but again, the discount applies to any ebook that they sell, and they also still have their selection of free programming texts.

Tim O'Reilly was one of the first people interviewed by Slashdot -- more than 17 years ago.

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Has The 'Hour of Code' Turned Into a Giant Corporate Infomercial?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '16 at 08:11 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's hour-of-Minecraft department:
It happens every December. During "Computer Science Education Week," schools around the world dedicate a special hour towards getting kids excited about programming. But theodp writes: With Microsoft, Apple, and Google vying for the opportunity to put their products in front of tens of millions of K-12 students, The Register's Andrew Orlowski opines that the Hour of Code is turning into a giant corporate infomercial for kids. "Parents, such as the late Steve Jobs, tend to ration their children's use of technology," notes Orlowski. "But would Jobs, who consistently praised the value of broad liberal arts, approve of an hour of [Microsoft] Minecraft? It's doubtful." Google, he adds, is keen on dishing out its VR headsets to students and, not to be undone, Apple is also muscling in with an hour of code [and offering free workshops at Apple Stores].
This year Microsoft is even introducing a special online 'Hour of Code' edition" of Minecraft, according to the article, which points out that last year 31 million schoolchildren just spent their "Hour of Code" playing Minecraft.

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Advertising Company AppNexus Bans Breitbart News Over Hate Speech
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '16 at 05:31 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's offensive-language department:
Mark Wilson quotes a report from BetaNews: Right-wing website Breitbart -- the darling of the so-called alt-right movement (which it defines as being "younger people who are anti-globalists, very nationalist [and] terribly anti-establishment") -- has been blocked by a leading ad exchange. The site, home to Milo Yiannopoulos (also known as @Nero and banned from Twitter) will no longer be permitted to sell ad space via AppNexus. The move comes after an audit by AppNexus found that Breitbart was in violation of its policies on hate speech and incitement to violence. AppNexus's spokesperson Joshua Zeitz told the BBC: "We use a number of third-party standards to determine what is and isn't hate speech, and if we detect a pattern of speech that could incite violence or discrimination against a minority group, we determine that to be non-compliant and we simply won't serve ads against it. I'm not going to put the examples out there because I'm not going to engage in a tit-for-tat on what is compliant." Bloomberg, which was the first publication to report on the news, noted that AppNexus' investors included Microsoft, News Corp and Sir Martin Sorrell's WPP.

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Apple Is Working With LG On Next-Gen 3D Camera For 2017 iPhone, Says Report
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '16 at 02:51 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's next-gen-products department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from 9to5Mac: A brief report in The Korea Economic Daily claims that Apple is working with LG on a new dual camera module "which enables 3D photographing." LG already supplies the dual-camera module used in the iPhone 7 Plus. The LG Innotek system is said to be destined for one or more of next year's iPhone models, but the report is unclear what 3D applications Apple might have in mind. Apple has patents for 3D object and gesture recognition going back many years. However, it is likely nothing more than the next generation of Portrait Mode, which uses parallax effect to create a 3D model of a scene in order to identify foreground and background in what is captured by the twin cameras. Apple may be aiming to bring Portrait Mode to all iPhone models next year, which would require a more compact dual-camera module.

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An Underground Ice Deposit On Mars Is Bigger Than New Mexico
Posted by News Fetcher on November 26 '16 at 12:11 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's bigger-than-expected department:
schwit1 quotes a report from Popular Mechanics: A single underground deposit of ice on Mars contains about as much water as there is in Michigan's Lake Superior, according to new research from NASA. The deposit rests in the mid-northern latitudes of the Red Planet, specifically in the Utopia Planitia region. Discovered by the Shallow Subsurface Radar (SHARD) instrument on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), the deposit is "more extensive in area than the state of New Mexico," according to a NASA press release. It ranges in thickness from about 260 feet to about 560 feet, and has a composition that's 50 to 85 percent water ice, with what appears to be dust or larger rocky particles mixed in as well. None of the ice is exposed to the surface. At various points the dirt covering it is in between 3 and 33 feet thick.

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