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Does Showing a Horrific Video Serve a Legitimate Journalistic Purpose?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 09:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sensitive-topics department:
HughPickens.com writes: Erik Wemple writes at the Washington Post that Fox News recently took the controversial step of posting a horrific 22-minute video online that shows Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh being burned to death. Fox warned internet users that the presentation features "extremely graphic video." "After careful consideration, we decided that giving readers of FoxNews.com the option to see for themselves the barbarity of ISIS outweighed legitimate concerns about the graphic nature of the video," said Fox executive John Moody. "Online users can choose to view or not view this disturbing content."

< article continued at Slashdot >

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GnuPG Gets Back On Track With Funding
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's pulling-together department:
jones_supa writes: Soon after the poor state of the GnuPG was unveiled, the online community has rallied to help Werner Koch. He wanted to hire a full-time programmer to work on the project alongside him and to ensure that he's not living on the brink of bankruptcy all the time. Immediately after the article was published, it was revealed that he got a one-time grant of $60,000 from the Linux Foundation's Core Infrastructure Initiative. Also, the community donated over $150,000, and Facebook and Stripe have each pledged to provide $50,000 per year. All in all, it looks like Werner Koch won't be worried about funding for quite some time. The problem remains: it's very likely that other projects just as important as this one are probably facing the same kind of issues, but it would be nice to hear about them before they get in trouble, and not after.

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Google-Advised Disney Cartoon Aims To Convince Preschool Girls Coding's Cool
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 08:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's chocolate-frosted-logic-bombs department:
theodp writes: Cereal and fast food companies found cartoons an effective way to market to children. Google is apparently hoping to find the same, as it teams with Disney Junior on a cartoon to help solve its computer science "pipeline" problem. The LA Times reports the tech giant worked with the children's channel on the new animated preschool series Miles From Tomorrowland, in an effort to get kids — particularly girls — interested in computer science. The program, which premieres Friday, introduces the preschool crowd to Miles Callisto, a young space adventurer, and his family — big sister (and coder extraordinaire) Loretta and their scientist parents Phoebe and Leo. Google engineers served as consultants (YouTube video) on the show. "When we did our computer science research, we found the No. 2 reason why girls in particular are not pursuing it as a career is because their perception was fairly negative and they associated it as a field for boys," said Julie Ann Crommett, Google's program manager for computer science in media. Can't wait for the episode where Google and Disney conspire to suppress Loretta's wages!

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Bipartisan Bill Would Mandate Warrant To Search Emails
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 07:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's of-barn-doors-and-horses department:
jfruh writes: Bills were introduced into both the House and Senate yesterday that would amend the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, requiring a warrant to search Americans' email messages stored on third-party servers even if they're more than 180 days old. The current version of the law was passed in 1986, and was written in an environment where most email users downloaded emails to their computer and erased them after reading them.

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Farmers Struggling With High-Tech Farm Equipment
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hammers-break-all-encryption department:
An anonymous reader writes: Farming is a difficult profession. One of the constants throughout the generations is that if you're working out in the field all day, machinery eventually breaks down. Farmers tend to deal with this harsh reality by becoming handy at basic repair — but that strategy is starting to fail in the digital age. Kyle Wiens, founder of iFixit, writes about the new difficulties in repairing your broken tractors and other equipment. Not only do you often need experience in computer software, but proprietary technology actively blocks you from making repairs.

"Dave asked me if there was some way to bypass a bum sensor while waiting for the repairman to show up. But fixing Dave's sensor problem required fiddling around in the tractor's highly proprietary computer system—the tractor's engine control unit (tECU): the brains behind the agricultural beast. One hour later, I hopped back out of the cab of the tractor. Defeated. I was unable to breach the wall of proprietary defenses that protected the tECU like a fortress. I couldn't even connect to the computer. Because John Deere says I can't." Wiens also tells us about Farm Hack, a community that has sprung up to build a library of open source tools and knowledge for dealing with high-tech modification and repair in agriculture.


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UK's Most Secretive Court Rules GCHQ Mass Internet Surveillance Was Unlawful
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 06:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's prepare-to-not-be-punished department:
Hammeh writes: Today marks the first time in its history that the Investigative Powers Tribunal (IPT), who are responsible for oversight and complaints relating to all of the UK intelligence agencies, upheld a complaint against GCHQ, stating that accessing data provided to them by the NSA was in breach of human rights. The ruling comes as the saga into online privacy continues to unfold. Last year, the same court ruled that internal surveillance of British citizens did not breach human rights. The difference: NSA data is claimed to have sidestepped the protections provided by the UK legal system. The tribunal also noted that although the UK government was willing to admit that Prism and Upstream existed (both NSA programs outed by Edward Snowden), they would not comment on the existence or non-existence of the Tempora program.

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MPAA Considers Major Changes After Sony Hack
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 05:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's changing-things-up department:
Earthquake Retrofit shares this story about changes that may be coming to the MPAA prompted by the Sony hack. "Fissures revealed by the hacking at Sony Pictures Entertainment have raised the prospect of profound change at one of Hollywood's oldest institutions: the Motion Picture Association of America. In a behind-the-scenes drama, the Sony Pictures chairman, Michael Lynton, last month told industry colleagues of a plan to withdraw from the movie trade organization, according to people who have been briefed on the discussions. He cited the organization’s slow response and lack of public support in the aftermath of the attack on Sony and its film The Interview, as well as longstanding concerns about the cost and efficacy of the group. Reversing course in mid-January, as the Oscar nominations were being announced, Mr. Lynton stayed in. But he and other studio executives are now discussing proposals that could alter the structure, mandate and governance of a 93-year-old organization that has been the policy front for Hollywood’s major film studios."

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The US Navy Wants More Railguns and Lasers, Less Gunpowder
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 02:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's all-the-better-to-shoot-you-with department:
coondoggie writes Speaking before nearly 3,000 attendees at the Naval Future Force Science and Technology (S&T) EXPO in Washington, D.C, Admiral Jonathan Greenert Chief of Naval Operations charged his audience to reduce reliance on gunpowder in a wide-ranging speech on the future technogical needs of the Navy. “Number one, you’ve got to get us off gunpowder,” said Greenert, noting that Office of Naval Research-supported weapon programs like Laser Weapon System (LaWS) and the electromagnetic railgun are vital to the future force. “Probably the biggest vulnerability of a ship is its magazine—because that’s where all the explosives are." Weapons like LaWS have a virtually unlimited magazine, only constrained by power and cooling capabilities onboard the vessel carrying them. In addition, Greenert noted the added safety for Sailors and Marines that will come from reducing dependency on gunpowder-based munitions.

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Uber Will Add Panic Button and Location/Journey Sharing In India
Posted by News Fetcher on February 06 '15 at 12:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's keeping-it-safe department:
mpicpp sends word about new Uber safety measures coming soon to India. "Late last year, Uber announced plans for tighter safety measures in India following the rape of a passenger using its service in December. Now it has confirmed that two major features — an in-app panic button and journey/location sharing — will roll out to users in India on February 11

The company went public with the launch date after Times Of India reported that the Mumbai transportation department was considering a ban on its service over its apparent approach to safety. Authorities are reportedly "not happy with Uber representatives' responses during various meetings held to consider measures for passengers' safety."

Uber cleared the air on its plans to settle "some misconceptions" around its safety policy — which already includes more stringent background checks and a dedicated emergency response team. That will be boosted when the in-app panic button, which alerts local police when triggered, and a 'safety net' feature, which goes beyond Uber's existing 'share my ETA' feature to let customers share details of their location and trip with up to five other people, go live in India next week."


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With Insider Help, ID Theft Ring Stole $700,000 In Apple Gift Cards
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '15 at 09:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's a-whole-lot-of-apples department:
itwbennett writes The Manhattan District Attorney's office has indicted five people for using personal information stolen from around 200 people to fund the purchase of hundreds of thousands of dollars in Apple gift cards, which in turn were used to buy Apple products. "Using stolen information to purchase Apple products is one of the most common schemes employed by cybercrime and identity theft rings today," District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement. "We see in case after case how all it takes is single insider at a company—in this instance, allegedly, a receptionist in a dentists' office—to set an identity theft ring in motion, which then tries to monetize the stolen information by purchasing Apple goods for resale or personal use," he said.

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LEGO Contraption Allows Scientists To Safely Handle Insects
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '15 at 07:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's build-and-study department:
sciencehabit writes Researchers have built contraption from LEGOs that can move and rotate insects every which way while keeping them stable and positioned under a microscope. The design improves on previous insect manipulators because it's cheap, customizable, and easy to build. As natural history museums work on digitizing their voluminous collections—taking high-resolution photographs of each precious beetle, bee, and dragonfly in their possession—they have to handle insects repeatedly. Now the job will be easier on the entomologists, and more insect specimens will be able to hang on to their wings—all thanks to LEGOs.

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Homemade RC Millennium Falcon Is the Drone You've Always Dreamed of Flying
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '15 at 05:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's drone-that-made-the-kessel-run-in-less-than-twelve-parsecs department:
MojoKid writes Here's a dose of Rebel goodness to tide you over while you wait for the next Star Wars trailer. A drone enthusiast in France recently graced the web with a few videos of a self-built quadcopter with a shell designed to look like the Millennium Falcon. It's enough to make a Star Wars fan tear up. The drone features a blue thruster light, just like the real Millennium Falcon, and has bright front lights as well. Its creator, who goes by "Oliver C", has some serious modding skills. The shape of the Millennium Falcon presented Oliver with some challenges, but he has the balance more or less handled by the time the spaceship (or quadcopter) takes its first flight outside.

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YouTube Launches Multi-Angle Video Experiment
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '15 at 05:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's different-view department:
jones_supa writes YouTube is experimenting with a fun feature already known from DVDs: videos that let you switch between different camera angles while the video is playing. These multi-angle videos are only an experiment right now and there's only one demo video that actually showcases this feature so far. Provided that the user can supply multiple camera streams, YouTube tells that the multiplexing will be automatic, but that the technology is not ready to scale to everyone yet. If you want to give this a try, head over to Madilyn Bailey's channel. The YouTube team took her performance at the most recent YouTube Music Night and set it up as a multi-angle video.

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GPG Programmer Werner Koch Is Running Out of Money
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '15 at 04:31 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's open-secret department:
New submitter jasonridesabike writes "ProPublica reports that Werner Koch, the man behind GPG, is in financial straits: "The man who built the free email encryption software used by whistleblower Edward Snowden, as well as hundreds of thousands of journalists, dissidents and security-minded people around the world, is running out of money to keep his project alive. Werner Koch wrote the software, known as Gnu Privacy Guard, in 1997, and since then has been almost single-handedly keeping it alive with patches and updates from his home in Erkrath, Germany. Now 53, he is running out of money and patience with being underfunded."

(You can donate to the project here..)

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Radioshack Declares Bankruptcy
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '15 at 04:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's end-of-the-line department:
gemtech writes RadioShack has declared bankruptcy today. As reported Monday, the company has struck a deal to sell up to 2,400 of its approximately 4,000 stores to Sprint. From the article: "RadioShack said the remaining stores are expected to close. The company's franchise locations, as well as stores in Mexico and Asia, are not included in the deal. The bankruptcy announcement is no surprise. The New York Stock Exchange suspended trading of its shares on Monday. And RadioShack workers have told CNNMoney that some locations have already been converted to clearance stores."

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Verizon Dropping Data Rates, But Current Customers Have To Call
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '15 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's oh-you-mean-you-didn't-like-getting-slammed? department:
New submitter executioner writes with this news from Consumerist: In spite of Verizon Wireless' recent boasts that it's 'a leader, not a follower,' a new announcement from the nation's biggest wireless company shows that Big V is indeed following the competition down the path of charging customers less for their data plans. However, current Verizon subscribers will need to let the company know they want to save money (or get more data). It's a little confusing, so stick with us for a moment. Verizon MORE Everything customers who currently have monthly data allotments of 1GB, 2GB, 3GB, or 4GB will have an option on how they want to save.They can either get more data for their money by getting 1GB of additional data per month for no extra charge OR they can have their bill reduced by $10/month.So someone with a 2GB plan is currently paying $50/month. If they take the free data option, that goes to 3GB for the same price. Or they can elect to stick with the 2GB and their data bill drops to $40/month.

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Programming Safety Into Self-Driving Cars
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '15 at 02:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-just-not-plan-c department:
aarondubrow writes Automakers have presented a vision of the future where the driver can check his or her email, chat with friends or even sleep while shuttling between home and the office. However, to AI experts, it's not clear that this vision is a realistic one. In many areas, including driving, we'll go through a long period where humans act as co-pilots or supervisors before the technology reaches full autonomy (if it ever does). In such a scenario, the car would need to communicate with drivers to alert them when they need to take over control. In cases where the driver is non-responsive, the car must be able to autonomously make the decision to safely move to the side of the road and stop. Researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst have developed 'fault-tolerant planning' algorithms that allow semi-autonomous machines to devise and enact a "Plan B."

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What Happened To the Photography Industry In 2014?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '15 at 01:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's it-got-even-more-nervous department:
Iddo Genuth writes 2013 was the worst year for the photography industry in decades — but what happened in 2014 and will the upcoming blitz of cameras (including the super resolution Canon 5D S with 50MP sensor to be announced tomorrow) change everything in 2015? The official numbers published by CIPA (the Camera & Imaging Products Association) are out and they tell a story of a struggling photography industry trying to stay afloat in a sea of smartphones. Will it survive? This is the big question all of the photography manufacturers are facing over the past two years, and eventually what does it all mean for us as consumers? One thing that tiny phones lack, no matter their megapixel count, is the space for a heavy glass or large sensors, which seems to leave a lot of room even for small(ish) but dedicated cameras.

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The Poem That Passed the Turing Test
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '15 at 12:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's stuff-it-in-the-ceiling department:
merbs writes In 2011, the editors of one of the nation's oldest student-run literary journals selected a short poem called "For the Bristlecone Snag" for publication in its Fall issue. The poem seems environmentally themed, strikes an aggressive tone, and contains a few of the clunky turns of phrase overwhelmingly common to collegiate poetry. It's unremarkable, mostly, except for one other thing: It was written by a computer algorithm, and nobody could tell.

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Facebook Brings React Native To Native Mobile Development
Posted by News Fetcher on February 05 '15 at 12:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's reflex-hammer-writ-lare department:
the_insult_dog writes Despite a lack of dev tools, samples, tutorials, documentation or even a blog post or press release, Facebook's announcement that it's bringing the popular React.js JavaScript library to iOS and Android native mobile development stirred up comments like "groundbreaking" and "game changing." In a series of videos from the recent React.js Conference 2015, Facebook engineers said they're rejecting the "write-once, run-anywhere pipe dream" in favor of a "learn-once, write-anywhere" paradigm. All efforts to duplicate native performance and look-and-feel actually feel like "s__t", an engineer said in explaining the company's new approach to native development in a conference keynote video. Yet to be proven, with tools in the works, it's supposedly a huge success internally at Facebook and experts said the new approach could shake up the whole mobile dev industry.

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