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KDE Plasma 5.3 Beta Brings Lot of Improvements
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '15 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's gui-not-gooey department:
jones_supa writes: The KDE project today announced the release of KDE Plasma 5.3 beta. It brings better power management, improved Bluetooth support, improved widgets, Wayland support, new media center, and nearly 350 bugfixes. The power management improvements include settings that can be independently configured per activity, there is a new energy usage monitor available in KInfoCenter, and a battery applet identifies applications that hog power. Bluetooth applet brings added support for blocking and unblocking devices. New touchpad module has been added as well. The combined window manager and compositor KWin is now able to start a nested XWayland server, which acts as a bridge between the old X11 and the new Wayland world.

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Google Sunsetting Old Version of Google Maps
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '15 at 06:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's nothing-beats-mapblast's-vector-directions department:
New submitter Robertgilberts writes with word that Google is dropping the old version of Maps. The new version of Google Maps came out of preview back in February 2014 and was in beta for several months before that. The only way to access the old version of Google Maps was via a special URL or if you had a very old browser that did not support the new version of Google Maps. Consolation prize: There will still be a lighter-weight version, which "drops out many of the neat Google Maps features in exchange for speed and compatibility."

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Seattle CEO Cuts $1 Million Salary To $70K, Raises Employee Salaries
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '15 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's motivations-vary department:
First time accepted submitter fluffernutter writes Dan Price started his company, Gravity Payments, out of university when he was 19. Now he is cutting his $1 million salary to $70,000 and promising to raise all his employees' salaries. Dan is quoted as saying he made the move because "I think this is just what everyone deserves."Good business practice? Silly boosterism? Enlightened self-interest?

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Can Online Reporting System Help Prevent Sexual Assaults On Campus?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '15 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's vote-early-and-often department:
jyosim writes Studies have shown that as many as 90 percent of campus rapes are committed by repeat offenders. A new system is designed to help identify serial assaulters, by letting students anonymously report incidents in order to look for patterns. But some argue that having the ability to report someone with just the click of a button may not be a good thing. Andrew T. Miltenberg, a New York lawyer who represents young men accused of sexual misconduct, says though the system seems well intended, he is concerned about dangers it may pose to students who are accused. 'We're all guilty of pressing send on an angry text or email that, had we had to put it into an actual letter and proofread, we probably wouldn't have sent,' he says.

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How Many Hoaxes Are On Wikipedia? No One Knows
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '15 at 05:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's citation-not-sufficient department:
An anonymous reader writes The Washington Post's Caitlin Dewey has written a lengthy feature covering one of Wikipedia's most intractable problems: carefully inserted hoax information that is almost impossible to detect. Dewey's investigation starts with the recent discovery of the nonexistent Australian god "Jar'Edo Wens" (which lasted almost ten years), and discusses a Wikipediocracy post about a recent experiment by critic Greg Kohs, in which 30 articles received cleverly-chosen minor falsehoods. More than half survived for more than two months. Included is also a chart showing that editing participation in Wikipedia has "atrophied" since 2007. It is quite rare to see a feature in a major media outlet as critical as this, of Wikipedia and its little-known internal problems. Especially on the heels of a very favorable CBS 60 Minutes report. As Kohs says, "I think this has proved, beyond a reasonable doubt, that it's not fair to say Wikipedia is 'self-correcting.'"

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The Voting Machine Anyone Can Hack
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '15 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's vote-now-vote-often department:
Presto Vivace writes about a study published by the Virginia Information Technology Agency outlining just how bad the security of the AVS WINVote machine is. "Virginia election officials have decertified an electronic voting system after determining that it was possible for even unskilled people to surreptitiously hack into it and tamper with vote counts. The AVS WINVote, made by Advanced Voting Solutions, passed necessary voting systems standards and has been used in Virginia and, until recently, in Pennsylvania and Mississippi. It used the easy-to-crack passwords of 'admin,' 'abcde,' and 'shoup' to lock down its Windows administrator account, Wi-Fi network, and voting results database respectively, according to a scathing security review published Tuesday by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency. The agency conducted the audit after one Virginia precinct reported that some of the devices displayed errors that interfered with vote counting during last November's elections."

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The Car That Knows When You'll Get In an Accident Before You Do
Posted by News Fetcher on April 16 '15 at 01:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's keep-your-eyes-on-the-road-your-hands-upon-the-wheel department:
aurtherdent2000 sends word about a system designed to monitor drivers to determine when they're about to do something wrong. "I'm behind the wheel of the car of the future. It's a gray Toyota Camry, but it has a camera pointed at me from the corner of the windshield recording my every eye movement, a GPS tracker, an outside-facing camera and a speed logger. It sees everything I'm doing so it can predict what I'm going to do behind the wheel seconds before I do it. So when my eyes glance to the left, it could warn me there's a car between me and the exit I want to take. A future version of the software will know even more about me; the grad students developing what they’ve dubbed Brains4Cars plan to let drivers connect their fitness trackers to the car. If your health tracker 'knows' you haven’t gotten enough sleep, the car will be more alert to your nodding off."

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Google Responds To EU Antitrust Claims In Android Blog Post
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 11:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's wait-a-minute department:
An anonymous reader writes Earlier today the European Union released a Statement of Objection against Google, asserting that the search giant's dominance violating antitrust rules and Android products hindering equal opportunities for market access among its rivals. Google has now released an official blog post in response to the Commission's proposed investigation. Regarding its Android devices, Hiroshi Lockheimer, VP of Engineering at Android writes: "The European Commission has asked questions about our partner agreements. It's important to remember that these are voluntary—again, you can use Android without Google—but provide real benefits to Android users, developers and the broader ecosystem." He continues: "We are thankful for Android's success and we understand that with success comes scrutiny. But it's not just Google that has benefited from Android's success. The Android model has let manufacturers compete on their unique innovations [...] We look forward to discussing these issues in more detail with the European Commission over the months ahead."

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Spitzer Space Telescope Finds New Planet
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 08:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's I-see-you department:
Aspiring Astronomer sends word of the discovery of one of the farthest known exoplanets. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has teamed up with a telescope on the ground to find a remote gas planet about 13,000 light-years away, making it one of the most distant planets known. The discovery demonstrates that Spitzer -- from its unique perch in space -- can be used to help solve the puzzle of how planets are distributed throughout our flat, spiral-shaped Milky Way galaxy. Are they concentrated heavily in its central hub, or more evenly spread throughout its suburbs? 'We don't know if planets are more common in our galaxy's central bulge or the disk of the galaxy, which is why these observations are so important,' said Jennifer Yee of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a NASA Sagan fellow. Yee is the lead author of one of three new studies that appeared recently in the Astrophysical Journal describing a collaboration between astronomers using Spitzer and the Polish Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment, or OGLE."

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Nuclear Fusion Simulator Among Software Picked For US's Summit Supercomputer
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 06:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's how-about-a-nice-game-of-chess department:
An anonymous reader writes Today, The Register has learned of 13 science projects approved by boffins at the US Department of Energy to run on the 300-petaFLOPS Summit. These software packages, selected for the Center for Accelerated Application Readiness (CAAR) program, will be ported to the massive parallel machine, and are hoped to make full use of the supercomputer's architecture.They range from astrophysics, biophysics, chemistry, and climate modeling to combustion engineering, materials science, nuclear physics, plasma physics and seismology.

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Longer Video Shows How Incredibly Close Falcon Stage Came To Successful Landing
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 04:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's close-but-no-cigar department:
Bruce Perens writes In the video here, the Falcon 9 first stage is shown landing with a tilt, and then a thruster keeps the rocket vertical on the barge for a few seconds before it quits, followed by Kabooom with obvious significant damage to the barge. It looks like this attempt was incredibly close to success. Given fixes, a successful first-stage recovery seems likely.

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India's Net Neutrality Campaign Picks Up Steam, Sites Withdraw From Internet.org
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 03:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's leaving-the-ship department:
First time accepted submitter arvin (916235) writes The Huffington Post reports on prominent Indian websites withdrawing from Facebook's internet.org initiative. The net neutrality debate in the country has focused on zero-rating, where ISPs offer a free data plan which provides access to a set of websites that pay to be included. Internet.org provides free access to Facebook, Bing, Wikipedia and a few other websites. Another similar service, Airtel Zero, lost its flagship partner as e-commerce company Flipkart withdrew following a social media backlash.

Net neutrality activists believe that as these plans proliferate, access to the open internet will become extremely expensive or unavailable, innovation will slow as for startups are prevented from reaching the market, and the competitive consumer ISP market will be replaced with a cartel negotiating against internet companies. In a campaign similar to that in the US, over 630,000 Indians sent responses to their regulator through the website savetheinternet.in.


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Gyro-Copter Lands On West Lawn of US Capitol, Pilot Arrested
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 02:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's just-mail-your-taxes-next-time department:
An anonymous reader writes that Doug Hughes, 61, a mailman from Ruskin, Florida was arrested for landing a gyro-copter on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. "A 61-year-old Florida mailman was arrested Wednesday after he landed a gyrocopter on the U.S. Capitol west lawn. The gyrocopter was carrying the pilot and 535 stamped letters for members of Congress urging 'real reform' to campaign finance laws. Doug Hughes told the Tampa Bay Times ahead of the afternoon stunt that he notified authorities 'well over an hour in advance of getting to the no-fly zone, so they know who I am and what I'm doing.' Capitol police sent dogs and a bomb squad to the scene. Nothing hazardous was found. A city block from the Capitol had been cordoned off."

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Why "Designed For Security" Is a Dubious Designation
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 01:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's protect-ya-neck department:
itwbennett writes The list of products designed to be security enhanced that turned out to be anything but seems to get longer by the day. In just the latest instance, reported by Wired last week, the crowd-funded privacy-enhancing home router Anonabox had to be recalled after an independent researcher discovered serious security flaws in the product. But security experts caution that the real problem may be bigger than vulnerabilities hidden in application code: "Designed for security products don't just have to be good. They have to be beyond reproach," explains John Dickson, a Principal at the Denim Group. "All it takes is one guy with a grudge to undo you."

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The Crazy-Tiny Next Generation of Computers
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 01:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's getting-small department:
An anonymous reader writes University of Michigan professors are about to release the design files for a one-cubic-millimeter computer, or mote. They have finally reached a goal set in 1997, when UC Berkeley professor Kristopher Pister coined the term "smart dust" and envisioned computers blanketing the Earth. Such motes are likely to play a key role in the much-ballyhooed Internet of Things. From the article: "When Prabal Dutta accidentally drops a computer, nothing breaks. There’s no crash. The only sound you might hear is a prolonged groan. That’s because these computers are just one cubic millimeter in size, and once they hit the floor, they’re gone. 'We just lose them,' Dutta says. 'It’s worse than jewelry.' To drive the point home, Dutta, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of Michigan, emails me a photo of 50 of these computers. They barely fill a thimble halfway to its brim."

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How Brain Pacemakers Treat Parkinson's Disease
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's keeping-it-under-control department:
the_newsbeagle writes Pharmaceutical research for neuropsychiatric disorders hasn't produced many breakthroughs lately, which may explain why there's so much excitement around "electroceutical" research. That buzzy new field encompasses deep brain stimulation (DBS), in which an implanted stimulator sends little jolts through the neural tissue. DBS has become an accepted therapy for Parkinson's and other motor disorders, even though researchers haven't really understood how it works. Now, new research may have found the mechanism of action in Parkinson's patients: The stimulation reduces an exaggerated synchronization of neuron activity in the motor cortex.

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Chinese Ninebot Buys US Rival Segway
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's lean-into-it department:
An anonymous reader writes Xiaomi-backed startup Ninebot, a Chinese maker of electric-powered personal transportation products, has acquired U.S. rival Segway – the two-wheeler upright scooter which has become a running joke, synonymous with various comedic appearances (such as in U.S. sitcom Arrested Development and the 2009 comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop), and the death of its owner at the hands of an unfortunate Segway-induced cliff fall. However Gao Lufeng, chief executive, still recognizes the potential of the Segway and has bought the U.S. company for an undisclosed amount. Lufeng confirmed that Ninebot had also secured $80mn in funding from Xiaomi and venture capital firm Sequoia Capital.

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Magician Turned Professor Talks About the Math Behind Shuffling Cards
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's nothing-up-my-sleeve department:
An anonymous reader writes with this story about magician and professor of mathematics and statistics at Stanford University Persi Diaconis. "Now a professor of mathematics and statistics at Stanford University, Diaconis has employed his intuition about cards, which he calls 'the poetry of magic,' in a wide range of settings. Once, for example, he helped decode messages passed between inmates at a California state prison by using small random 'shuffles' to gradually improve a decryption key. He has also analyzed Bose-Einstein condensation — in which a collection of ultra-cold atoms coalesces into a single 'superatom' — by envisioning the atoms as rows of cards moving around. This makes them 'friendly,' said Diaconis, whose speech still carries the inflections of his native New York City. 'We all have our own basic images that we translate things into, and for me cards were where I started.' In 1992, Diaconis famously proved — along with the mathematician Dave Bayer of Columbia University — that it takes about seven ordinary riffle shuffles to randomize a deck. Over the years, Diaconis and his students and colleagues have successfully analyzed the effectiveness of almost every type of shuffle people use in ordinary life."

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MIT Celebrates 10 Years of SCIgen Bogus CompSci Paper Generator With New Tool
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 10:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's making-it-all-up department:
alphadogg writes Three MIT grads this week are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their clever SCIgen program, which randomly generates computer science papers realistic enough to get accepted by sketchy technical conferences and publishers, with a brand new tool designed to poke even more fun at such outfits. Just a bit late for April Fool's Day, the new SCIpher program from the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab alums enables users to hide messages inside randomly-generated calls for papers from phony conferences whose names are so ridiculous that they sound legit. An MIT spokesman says the new tool is really just a way for geeky friends to mess with each other, whereas SCIgen pointed out major flaws in the worlds of scientific journals and conferences.

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NVIDIA's New GPUs Are Very Open-Source Unfriendly
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's returning-to-par department:
An anonymous reader writes: The Nouveau driver developers working on open-source support for the GeForce 900 Maxwell graphics cards have found this new generation to be "very open-source unfriendly" and restricting. NVIDIA began requiring signed firmware images, which they have yet to provide to Nouveau developers, contrary to their earlier statements. The open-source developers have also found their firmware signing to go beyond just simple security precautions. For now the open-source NVIDIA driver can only enable displays with the GTX 900 series without any hardware acceleration.

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