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Daredevil TV Show Debuts; Early Reviews Positive
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '15 at 04:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sight-for-sore-eyes department:
An anonymous reader writes: Daredevil has been a staple of Marvel's superhero lineup since the 1960s. But Daredevil's most recent on-screen legacy was a terrible film in 2003 starring Ben Affleck. Since then, Marvel has gotten a lot better at adapting comics to the big and small screen. Yesterday saw the debut of a new Daredevil television series. It's a Netflix original, which means the whole first season went up at once. Early reviews of the show are quite complimentary. Slate praises the acting, and adds, "Daredevil is a bloody show that also bleeds: It has more interest in human bodies than much recent Marvel fare, and more interest in human beings as well. It's remarkably patient, resisting the urge to tell its viewers everything at once, a restraint largely enabled by the binge-y sprawl of the Netflix format." Ars Technica says the violence can be a bit over-the-top at times, but praises how the choreography and cinematography reflect the main character's blindness. The Verge simply says Daredevil raises the bar for superhero television, even though many new shows have found success recently.

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LG Split Screen Software Compromises System Security
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '15 at 03:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's low-grade department:
jones_supa writes: The Korean electronics company LG ships a split screen tool with their ultra wide displays. It allows users to slice the Windows desktop into multiple segments. However, installing the software seriously compromises security of the particular workstation. The developers required administrator access for the software, but apparently they hacked their way out. The installer silently disables User Account Control, and enables a policy to start all applications as Administrator. In the article there is also a video presentation of the setup procedure. It is safe to say that no one should be running this software in its current form.

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U.S. Gov't Grapples With Clash Between Privacy, Security
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '15 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's politicians-who-don't-know-which-way-the-wind-is-blowing department:
schwit1 writes:
WaPo: "For months, federal law enforcement agencies and industry have been deadlocked on a highly contentious issue: Should tech companies be obliged to guarantee U.S. government access to encrypted data on smartphones and other digital devices, and is that even possible without compromising the security of law-abiding customers?"

NSA director Adm. Michael S. Rogers wants to require technology companies to create a digital key that could open any smartphone or other locked device to obtain text messages or photos, but divide the key into pieces so that no one person or agency alone could decide to use it. But progress is nonexistent:

"The odds of passing a new law appear slim, given a divided Congress and the increased attention to privacy in the aftermath of leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. There are bills pending to ban government back doors into communications devices. So far, there is no legislation proposed by the government or lawmakers to require Internet and tech firms to make their services and devices wiretap-ready."


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Autonomous Cars and the Centralization of Driving
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '15 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's go-where-the-algorithm-lets-you department:
New submitter arctother writes: Taxicab Subjects has posted a response to a Morgan Stanley analyst's recent take on how driverless cars will shape society in the future. From the article: [R]eally, 'autonomy' is still not the right word for it. Just as the old-fashioned 'automobile' was never truly 'auto-mobile,' but relied, not only on human drivers, but an entire concrete infrastructure built into cities and smeared across the countryside, so the interconnected 'autonomous vehicles' of the future will be even more dependent on the interconnected systems of which they are part. To see this as 'autonomy' is to miss the deeper reality, which will be control. Which is why the important movement reflected in the chart's up-down continuum is not away from 'Human Drivers' to 'Autonomous' cars, but from a relatively decentralized system (which relies on large numbers of people knowing how to drive) to an increasingly centralized system (relying on the knowledge of a small number of people)."

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Plaque-busting Nanoparticles Could Help Fight Tooth Decay
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '15 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's reasons-to-put-nanotech-in-your-face department:
sciencehabit writes: Nanotechnology might soon save you a trip to the dentist. Researchers have developed tiny sphere-shaped particles that ferry a payload of bacteria-slaying drugs to the surface of the teeth, where they fight plaque and tooth decay on the spot (abstract). The approach could also be adapted to combat other plaquelike substances, known as biofilms, such as those that form on medical devices like orthopedic implants.

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Finding an Optimal Keyboard Layout For Swype
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '15 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's designed-for-2015 department:
New submitter Analog24 writes: The QWERTY keyboard was not designed with modern touchscreen usage in mind, especially when it comes to swype texting. A recent study attempted to optimize the standard keyboard layout to minimize the number of swype errors. The result was a new layout that reduces the rate of swipe interpretation mistakes by 50.1% compared to the QWERY keyboard.

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MIT May Help Lead Bitcoin Standards Effort
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '15 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's rename-it-MITcoin department:
gthuang88 writes: With everyone from PayPal merchants to Rand Paul starting to accept Bitcoins as payment, the race is on to develop technical standards for the virtual currency. Now MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito is getting ready to unveil a plan for MIT to become an independent, neutral home for standards development. Ito is enlisting cryptographer Ron Rivest and economist Simon Johnson to help with the effort, which could provide an academic alternative to the Bitcoin Foundation for conversations about the currency's future. Ito says, "I’m not pushing it, but I’m offering MIT as a neutral academic home for some of the conversations and the technical coordination. Which I think will give a lot more stability to Bitcoin, which right now is a little bit fragile."

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UN To Debate Lethal Autonomous Weapons
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '15 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's smart-money-is-on-the-lethal-autonomous-weapons department:
Hallie Siegel writes: Should robots be allowed to make life and death decisions? This will be the topic of heated debate at the United Nations (UN) Palais des Nations in Geneva next week (April 13-17th, 2015). As part of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), experts from all over the world will gather to discuss 'questions related to emerging technologies in the area of lethal autonomous weapons systems.' The Open Roboethics Research Initiative will be presenting public views at the debate.
Human rights groups are
urging the UN to ban such weapons. A new report titled "Mind the Gap" details the accountability issues that need to be solved before going any further. "A key concern with fully autonomous weapons is that they would be prone to cause civilian casualties in violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. The lack of meaningful human control that characterizes the weapons would make it difficult to hold anyone criminally liable for such unlawful actions."

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Stars Form Near Milky Way's Supermassive Black Hole
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '15 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's volatile-real-estate department:
New submitter Aspiring Astronomer writes: Scientists report that stars have likely formed near the supermassive black hole in the heart of the our galaxy. How does this happen, if a black hole exerts so much gravitational force that not even light can escape? Astronomers believe the black hole may actually facilitate the formation of these stars. According to study author Farhad Yusef-Zadeh, the gases and dusts constantly flowing toward black holes compress and heat up, creating enough disturbance to cause the materials to collapse and then form a star. Yusef-Zadeh speculates that in addition to stars forming near black holes, planets may form there, too. The disk around a protostar (a mass of gas and materials that form early in star formation) breaks off into clumps of matter, and when paired with the extreme force of a black hole, may cause the formation whole planets.

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220TB Tapes Show Tape Storage Still Has a Long Future
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '15 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's 11.73-libraries-of-congress-per-pony department:
alphadogg writes: IBM and Fujifilm have figured out how to fit 220TB of data on a standard-size tape that fits in your hand, flexing the technology's strengths as a long-term storage medium. The prototype Fujifilm tape and accompanying drive technology from IBM labs packs 88 times as much data onto a tape as industry-standard LTO-6 systems using the same size cartridge, IBM says. LTO6 tape can hold 2.5TB, uncompressed, on a cartridge about 4 by 4 inches across and 2 centimeters thick. The new technologies won't come out in products for several years.

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Cannabis Smoking Makes Students Less Likely To Pass University Courses
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '15 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's killing-your-buzz department:
Bruce66423 writes: A large scale European study shows that students who were unable to buy cannabis legally were 5% more likely to pass their University courses. Below-average students with no legal access to pot were 7.6% more likely to pass their courses, and the effect was five times more pronounced when dealing with courses involving math. One of the study's authors said, "We think this newfound effect on productivity from a change in legal access to cannabis is not negligible and should be, at least in the short run, politically relevant for any societal drug legalization and prohibition decision-making. In the bigger picture, our findings also indicate that soft drug consumption behavior is affected by their legal accessibility, which has not been causally demonstrated before. ... Considering the massive impact on cognitive performance high levels of THC have, I think it is reasonable to at least inform young users much more on consequences of consuming such products as compared with that of having a beer or pure vodka."

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Being Overweight Reduces Dementia Risk
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '15 at 04:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's correlation-is-easy department:
jones_supa writes Being overweight cuts the risk of dementia, according to the largest and most precise investigation into the relationship (abstract). The researchers were surprised by the findings, which run contrary to current health advice. The team at Oxon Epidemiology and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine analyzed medical records from 2 million people aged 55 on average, for up to two decades. Their most conservative analysis showed underweight people had a 39% greater risk of dementia compared with being a normal healthy weight. But those who were overweight had an 18% reduction in dementia, and the figure was 24% reduction for the obese. Any explanation for the protective effect is distinctly lacking. There are some ideas that vitamin D and E deficiencies contribute to dementia and they may be less common in those eating more. Be it any way, let's still not forget that heart disease, stroke, diabetes, some cancers and other diseases are all linked to a bigger waistline. Maybe being slightly overweight is the optimum to strike, if the recent study is to be followed.

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Nokia Networks Demonstrates 5G Mobile Speeds Running At 10Gbps Via 73GHz
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '15 at 11:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's that-is-one-packed-headline department:
Mark.JUK writes The Brooklyn 5G Summit appears to have provided a platform for Nokia Networks to demo a prototype of their future 5G (5th Generation) mobile network technology, which they claim can already deliver data speeds of 10 Gigabits per second using millimeter Wave (mmW) frequency bands of 73GHz. The demo also made use of 2×2 Multiple-Input and Multiple-Output (MIMO) links via single carrier Null Cyclic Prefix modulation and frame size of 100 micro seconds, although crucially no information about the distance of this demo transmission has been released and at 73GHz you'd need quite a dense network in order to overcome the problems of high frequency signal coverage and penetration.

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After EFF Effort, Infamous "Podcasting Patent" Invalidated
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '15 at 08:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's there-should-an-absurdity-check department:
Ars Technica reports some good news on the YRO front. An excerpt:

A year-and-a-half after the Electronic Frontier Foundation created a crowd-funded challenge to a patent being used to threaten podcasters, the patent has been invalidated.

In late 2013, after small podcasters started getting threat letters from Personal Audio LLC, the EFF filed what's called an "inter partes review," or IPR, which allows anyone to challenge a patent at the US Patent and Trademark Office.

The order issued today by the USPTO lays to rest the idea that Personal Audio or its founder, Jim Logan, are owed any money by podcasters because of US Patent No. 8,112,504, which describes a "system for disseminating media content representing episodes in a serialized sequence."


The article points out, though, that the EFF warns Personal Audio LLC is seeking more patents on podcasting. Mentioned within: Adam Carolla's fight against these patents and our Q&A with Jim Logan.

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Would-Be Bomber Arrested In Kansas; Planned Suicide Attack on Ft. Riley
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '15 at 08:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's well-that's-not-nice department:
The Associated Press (as carried by the Boston Herald) reports that a 20-year old Topeka man has been arrested as he attempted to arm what he believed to be a thousand-pound bomb outside Ft. Riley, Kansas. John T. Booker Jr. is alleged to have planned an attack in conspiracy with others who were actually FBI agents; Booker's postings to Facebook in March 2014 about his desire to die as a martyr brought him to the FBI's attention, and the FBI sting operation which ended in his arrest began after these posts. Booker had been recruited by the U.S. Army in February of last year, but his enlistment was cancelled shortly thereafter.

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Google Lollipop Bricking Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '15 at 05:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's upgrade-is-not-always-the-right-word department:
First time accepted submitter Zape (303550) writes The Lollipop update has turned sour for me and several other Nexus 7, Gen 2 (and Nexus 5) owners. It seems that I'm not alone in having my tablet boot to the Google Logo since a couple of days after updating to Android 5.0.2. Now Nexus 5 owners are reporting a reboot loop in Android 5.1. My device, like many others, is a couple of months out of warranty, but worked great until the latest OTA update from Google. They branded it, and they updated it, but Google claims it is between the buyers and ASUS, the manufacturer.

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Massive Lincoln Archive Goes Live On 150th Anniversary of His Assassination
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '15 at 05:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's good-year-for-the-war-buffs department:
Lucas123 writes The Lincoln Project, a joint digitization project sponsored by The University of Illinois and the Abraham Lincoln Association, has been identifying transcribing, annotating, and imaging all documents written by or to Abraham Lincoln during his lifetime. Those 100,000 or so documents are now online for the public to view. The documents cover three eras: Lincoln's time practicing law from 1836 to 1861; his personal life from birth in February, 1809 through March 3, 1861; and his time as president. The archive contains images of some of the most historically significant documents penned by Lincoln, such as one of the five original copies of the Gettysburg Address. It also contains more personal moments, such as a letter he wrote before he became president to an 11-year-old girl responding to her request that he grow a beard to hide his skinny face.

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How Flight Tracking Works: a Global Network of Volunteers
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '15 at 04:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's tapping-into-ocd department:
An anonymous reader writes If a website can show the flight path and all those little yellow planes in real time, how can they not know where Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went down? Answering that involves understanding a little about how flight-tracking sites work, where they get their data, and the limitations of existing technologies. It also involves appreciating a relatively new approach that the two large flight-tracking companies, Texas-based FlightAware and Sweden-based Flightradar24 are rushing to expand, a global sensor system known as ADS-B, which broadcasts updates of aircraft GPS data in real time. ADS-B is slowly superseding the ground-based radar systems that have been used for decades, becoming central not only to flight tracking but also to the future of flight safety. And it's powered, in part, by thousands of dedicated aviation hobbyists around the globe.

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BitTorrent Launches Beta of Torrent-Based Browser Project Maelstrom
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '15 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's bits-and-pieces-from-all-over department:
An anonymous reader writes BitTorrent today launched Project Maelstrom, the company's distributed browser, in beta. The company also released new tools on GitHub that let developers and publishers build content for the browser. Announced in December, BitTorrent described Project Maelstrom, then just an invite-only alpha, as "the first torrent-based browser." The launch today is an open beta, meaning anyone can now try an early version of Maelstrom. You do, however, need a Windows computer. Windows users can download the beta now from here. Since the alpha, BitTorrent says it has improved stability, integrated support for automatic updates, and added DHT visualization for users when loading torrents.

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The Myth of Going Off the Power Grid
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '15 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's tell-that-to-my-hamster-wheel-colony department:
Lasrick writes: Dawn Stover uses Elon Musk's announcement that Tesla will soon be unveiling plans for a battery that could power your home as a starting point to explore the idea that "going off the grid" is going to solve climate change. "The kind of in-house energy storage he is proposing could help make renewables a bigger part of the global supply. But headlines announcing that a Tesla battery 'could take your home off the grid' spread misconceptions about what it takes to be self-sufficient — and stop global warming." Stover worries that shifting responsibility for solutions to climate change from governments to individuals creates an 'every-man-for-himself' culture that actually works against energy solutions and does little to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, "smart grid" technology would be much more efficient: "With a smarter grid, excess electricity generated by solar panels and wind turbines could be distributed to a network of on-the-grid home and car batteries. Some utilities have also experimented with using home water heaters as an economical substitute for batteries."

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