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Yellowstone Supervolcano Eruptions Even Bigger Than Originally Thought
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '16 at 08:11 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's we-told-you-it-was-super department:
schwit1 writes: A recent study published in the Geological Society of America Bulletin identifies an area of great volcanic activity along the Snake River Plain between Oregon and Yellowstone. While scientists have long known that the supervolcano now under Yellowstone left a trail of mega-eruptions across the Pacific Northwest, an international research team has found evidence of only 12 distinct eruptions, contradicting earlier theories that the eruptions were more numerous and less extreme.

"The size and magnitude of this newly defined eruption is as large, if not larger, than better known eruptions at Yellowstone," said the study's lead author, Dr. Thomas Knott, in a University of Leicester press release, "and it is just the first in an emerging record of newly discovered super-eruptions during a period of intense magmatic activity between 8 and 12 million years ago."

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Linux 4.6 Brings NVIDIA GTX 900 Support, OrangeFS, Better Power Management
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '16 at 06:51 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's bleeding-edge-is-the-leading-edge department:
An anonymous reader writes: The Linux 4.6-rc1 kernel has been released. New to the Linux 4.6 kernel are a significant number of new features including NVIDIA GeForce GTX 900 open-source 3D support when using the closed-source firmware files, Dell XPS 13 Skylake laptop support, a fix for laptops that were limiting their own performance due to incorrectly thinking they were overheating, AHCI runtime power management support, Intel graphics power management features enabled by default, a new file-system (OrangeFS), and a range of other improvements.

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Researchers Prove Shakespeare's Skull Probably Isn't In His Grave
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '16 at 06:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's alas-poor-Yorick department:
An anonymous reader writes: 400 years after Shakespeare's interment in Stratford-upon-Avon, archaeological researchers scanned his grave with a ground-penetrating radar to confirm a legend that his skull was stolen by grave robbers. Under cover of night, three men crept toward the Holy Trinity Church with dimmed lanterns and an assortment of tools, according to an "anonymous author, who heard it from a guy, who heard it from his uncle Frank, who claimed to be the grave robber himself." The Washington Post reports this story, published in 1879 but believed to have occurred in 1794, now draws more credibility from the radar scan.
Ironically, the grave robbers was said to have been inspired by a British parliament member and phrenologist who'd promised 300 guineas for a chance to examine Shakespeare's skull, but who then reneged after learning it had been stolen from Shakespeare's grave.

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FAA Predicts 7 Million Drones By 2020
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '16 at 06:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's frequent-flyer department:
An anonymous reader writes: The FAA is predicting that the number of drones in the U.S. will increase to 7 million by 2020, though they're still prohibited within 15 miles of Washington D.C. Earlier this month a drone even performed the first FAA-sanctioned drone delivery to an urban area, carrying food, water and a first-aid kit in a box attached to a rope, while a team led by a 15-year-old pilot won the $250,000 first-place prize in the first World Drone Prix in Dubai. The FAA logged 538 drone incidents in the U.S. over the last six months, according to a new report released Friday, including hundreds of incidents in which drones approached airports. But while one incident involved a drone within 20 feet of a plane, "the majority of the incidents are minor," reports The Verge, "with pilots or bystanders reporting drones that are flying in restricted airspace without necessarily endangering anyone."

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Are Communications Records of Americans Retained Forever?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '16 at 06:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's called-me-maybe department:
An Illinois prosecutor announced Friday that a Seattle man was wrongly convicted in 2012 of the abduction and murder of a 7-year-old girl in 1957, reports the Seattle Times. It was believed to be the nation's oldest cold case, but reader Trachman raises an interesting concern:

He finally got an an alibi, which was a telephone call which he made in 1957. While it surely is a good thing that an innocence has been proven, the case is also an evidence that American's communication records are retained infinitely.

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Atari Vault Hits Steam, Play 100 Classic Games On PC
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '16 at 06:51 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's retro-gaming-ftw department:
An anonymous reader quotes an article on SlashGear: Classic and retro video game fans will be eager to hear that Atari Vault has just landed on PC via Steam, making it the easiest way possible to enjoy 100 of the most iconic arcade and home console titles from the early generation of gaming. This eliminates the need to use emulators and ROMs to enjoy games like Asteroids, Centipede, Pitfall, and Pong, not to mention it being cheaper than buying several included titles individually.

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Names That Break Computers
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '16 at 06:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Little-Bobby-Tables department:
Reader Thelasko writes: The BBC has a story about people with names that break computer databases. "When Jennifer Null tries to buy a plane ticket, she gets an error message on most websites. The site will say she has left the surname field blank and ask her to try again."

Thelasko compares it to the XKCD comic about Bobby Tables, though it's a real problem that's also been experienced by a Hawaiian woman named Janice Keihanaikukauakahihulihe'ekahaunaele, whose last name exceeds the 36-character limit on state ID cards. And in 2010, programmer John Graham-Cumming complained about web sites (including Yahoo) which refused to accept hyphenated last names.
Programmer Patrick McKenzie pointed the BBC to a 2011 W3C post highlighting the key issues with names, along with his own list of common mistaken assumptions. "They don't necessarily test for the edge cases," McKenzie says, noting that even when filing his own income taxes in Japan, his last name exceeds the number of characters allowed.

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Slashdot Asks: Do You Support Nuclear Energy?
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '16 at 06:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's isotopic-topics department:
Reader mdsolar writes that for the first time a majority of Americans have told Gallup they oppose nuclear energy. Support peaked at 62% in 2010, but "as Americans have paid less at the pump, their level of worry about the nation's energy situation has dropped to 15-year-low levels," Gallup reports. Their latest poll found 44% of respondents still supported nuclear energy, while 54% opposed it, a trend which could eventually affect the future of nuclear power. The New York Times reports that operating licenses will expire for 36 of America's 99 reactors between 2029 and 2035. What do you think? How strongly do you support (or oppose) generating electricity with nuclear energy?

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IBM Researchers Propose Device To Dramatically Speed Up Neural-Net Learning
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '16 at 06:51 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's brain-in-a-box department:
skywire writes: We've all followed the recent story of AlphaGo beating a top Go master. Now IBM researchers Tayfun Gokmen and Yurii Vlasov have described what could be a game changer for machine learning — an array of resistive processing units that would use stochastic techniques to dramatically accelerate the backpropagation algorithm, speeding up neural network training by a factor of 30,000. They argue that such an array would be reliable, low in power use, and buildable with current CMOS fabrication technology.

"Even Google's AlphaGo still needed thousands of chips to achieve its level of intelligence," adds Tom's Hardware. "IBM researchers are now working to power that level of intelligence with a single chip, which means thousands of them put together could lead to even more breakthroughs in AI capabilities in the future."

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India Aims To Become 100% Electric Vehicle Nation By 2030
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '16 at 06:51 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's forward-thinking department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report on NDTV: The Indian government is working on a scheme to provide electric cars on zero down payment for which people can pay out of their savings on expensive fossil fuels, for becoming 100% electric vehicle nation by 2030. "India can become the first country of its size which will run 100 per cent of electric vehicles. We are trying to make this program self-financing," said Piyush Goyal, Power Minister. That's forward thinking. However, it's not clear whether the Indian government is also committing to 100% renewable energy -- because if the electricity comes from coal, it might not help with curtailing the pollution level.

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Six Charged For Hacking Lottery Terminals To Spew Only Winning Tickets
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '16 at 06:51 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's gaming-the-system department:
An anonymous reader cites an article on The Register: Six people have been charged with exploiting a bug in lottery terminals to print off winning tickets on demand. Connecticut prosecutors say the group conspired to manipulate automated ticket dispensers to run off '5 Card Cash' tickets that granted on-the-spot payouts in the US state. According to the Hartford Courant, a group of shop owners and employees set up the machines to process a flood of tickets at once, which caused a temporary display freeze. This allowed operators to see which of the tickets about to be dispensed would be winning ones, cancel the duff ones, and print the good ones, it's alleged. The winning tickets would be cashed and billed to the state lottery.

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You'll Soon Be Able To 'Holoport' Anywhere In the World With Microsoft VR Tech
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '16 at 06:51 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's fascinating-world-of-ar department:
An anonymous reader cites an article on The Next Web: Microsoft research manager Shahram Izadi is showing off the company's latest innovation using HoloLens: 'holoportation,' enabling him to appear as if he's there in real-time, anywhere in the world. His image is captured in 3D by cameras placed around the room. This is then stitched together, compressed and transmitted so someone else can see, hear and interact with him as though he's right there with them. You can even playback previous interactions, as though "walking into a living memory," and miniaturize the content to make it easier to consume. "Imagine being able to virtually teleport from one place to another," he says. Well, if you're the owner of a HoloLens, you soon could do. Microsoft's HoloLens is arguably the front-runner in the nascent, but fast-evolving, augmented reality space. The company's technology has previously been seen used by astronauts and scientists to "walk on the Mars surface" without stepping out of their office on Earth. It's fascinating to see how Microsoft continues to further innovate in this field.

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Canada and USA Feds Unite To Fight Spammers and Telemarketers
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '16 at 06:51 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's don't-call-me-maybe department:
Reader Freshly Exhumed writes: Telemarketers in Canada and the USA have essentially been bypassing each nation's do-not-call registry by basing their efforts from the other or from off-shore locations, while cross border spam remains rampant. Now the CRTC, Canada's telecom and broadcast regulator, has announced it signed a partnership agreement with the Federal Trade Commission of the United States to fight against spam and calls from pesky telemarketers. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) consists of all unsolicited telecommunications, unsolicited commercial email (spam), and other "illegal electronic threats" that cover anti-spam laws in the United States and Canada.

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Uber Recruiting Engineers By Randomly Sending Coding Game To Play During Rides
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '16 at 06:51 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's creative-recruiting department:
An anonymous reader links to a Business Insider report: Uber has found a new way to lure engineers to work for the fast-growing startup. The taxi-aggregator service tests coding skills of select riders during their ride. Uber insists that it is not using individual information to identify recruits, but are just identifying geographies where tech jobs are concentrated to find candidates. "The option to play gives interested riders the opportunity to show us their skills in a fun and different way -- whether they code on the side or are pursuing a career as a developer," a Uber spokesperson said. If they accept the test, Uber challenges the ride with three coding problems to solve, each with a 60-second countdown, and scores them based on their answers. Uber is not the only Silicon Valley giant which has found a "creative" way to hire people. Last year, we saw Google offer at least one person a job based on his search queries.

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Canada and USA Feds Unite To Fight Spammers and Telemarketers
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '16 at 09:22 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's don't-call-me-maybe department:
Reader Freshly Exhumed writes: Telemarketers in Canada and the USA have essentially been bypassing each nation's do-not-call registry by basing their efforts from the other or from off-shore locations, while cross border spam remains rampant. Now the CRTC, Canada's telecom and broadcast regulator, has announced it signed a partnership agreement with the Federal Trade Commission of the United States to fight against spam and calls from pesky telemarketers. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) consists of all unsolicited telecommunications, unsolicited commercial email (spam), and other "illegal electronic threats" that cover anti-spam laws in the United States and Canada.

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Heavy Social Media Users Trapped In Endless Cycle of Depression
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '16 at 09:22 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's it's-a-trap department:
An anonymous reader quotes an article on The Independent: The more time young adults spend on social media, the more likely they are to become depressed, a study has found. Of the 19- to 32-year-olds who took part in the research, those who checked social media most frequently throughout the week were 2.7 times more likely to develop depression than those who checked least often. The 1,787 U.S. participants used social media for an average 61 minutes every day, visiting accounts 30 times per week. Of them a quarter were found to have high indicators of depression. Dr Brian Primack, the director of Pitt's Centre for Research on Media, Technology and Health, led the study, said, "One strong possibility is that people who are already having depressive symptoms start to use social media more, perhaps because they do not feel the energy or drive to engage in as many direct social relationships." Update: 03/26 17:06 GMT by M : Oops -- as many of you correctly pointed out, we originally covered this story on Friday. Apologies for the error. Thanks!

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Uber Recruiting Engineers By Randomly Sending Coding Game To Play During Rides
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '16 at 08:02 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's creative-recruiting department:
An anonymous reader links to a Business Insider report: Uber has found a new way to lure engineers to work for the fast-growing startup. The taxi-aggregator service tests coding skills of select riders during their ride. Uber insists that it is not using individual information to identify recruits, but are just identifying geographies where tech jobs are concentrated to find candidates. "The option to play gives interested riders the opportunity to show us their skills in a fun and different way -- whether they code on the side or are pursuing a career as a developer," a Uber spokesperson said. If they accept the test, Uber challenges the ride with three coding problems to solve, each with a 60-second countdown, and scores them based on their answers. Uber is not the only Silicon Valley giant which has found a "creative" way to hire people. Last year, we saw Google offer at least one person a job based on his search queries.

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Why Learning To Code Won't Save Your Job
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '16 at 08:02 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's technology-shaping-future department:
Over the years, several governments and organizations have become increasingly focused on teaching kids how to code. It has given rise to startups such as Codecademy, KhanAcademy and Code.org that are making it easier and more affordable for many to learn how to program. Many believe that becoming literate in code is as essential as being educated in language, science, and math. But can this guarantee you a job? And can coding help you save that job? An anonymous reader cites an interesting article on Fast Company which sheds more light into this: Looking for job security in the knowledge economy? Just learn to code. At least, that's what we've been telling young professionals and mid-career workers alike who want to hack it in the modern workforce. Unfortunately, many have already learned the hard way that even the best coding chops have their limits. More and more, 'learn to code' is looking like bad advice. Anyone competent in languages such as Python, Java, or even Web coding like HTML and CSS, is currently in high demand by businesses that are still just gearing up for the digital marketplace. However, as coding becomes more commonplace, particularly in developing nations like India, we find a lot of that work is being assigned piecemeal by computerized services such as Upwork to low-paid workers in digital sweatshops. This trend is bound to increase.

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Patent That Cost Microsoft Millions Gets Invalidated
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '16 at 06:32 AM
By manishs from Slashdot's trolling-the-patent-troll department:
An anonymous reader links to a report on Ars Technica: One of the oldest and most profitable patent trolls, Uniloc, has been shot down. Its US Patent No. 5,490,216, which claims to own the concept of "product activation" in software, had all claims ruled invalid by the Patent Trademark and Appeals Board (PTAB). The process through which PTAB eliminated the patent is called an "inter partes review," or IPR. The IPR process, created by the America Invents Act, is an increasingly popular and effective way for defendants to challenge patents outside federal courts. It was Uniloc's lawsuit against Microsoft that provided the company with its original headlines. Uniloc said that Microsoft's system of checking software licenses -- in other words, type in a key number and have your software validated violated -- the patent. That case led to a $388 million jury verdict against Microsoft.

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Layoffs Reflect New Turbulence At High-Flying 3D Robotics
Posted by News Fetcher on March 26 '16 at 06:32 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's plug-away department:
BVBigelow quotes a report from Xconomy: 3D Robotics, the drone maker that began life in Tijuana and San Diego, has been consolidating its operations after stumbling in its bid to go head-to-head against China's DJI, the world's biggest maker of consumer drones. In an interview with Xconomy, CEO Chris Anderson confirmed that 3DR has been reorganizing to focus its drone business on enterprise customers, but downplayed the significance of the high-flying robotic company's layoffs over the past six months.

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