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Amazon "Suppresses" Book With Too Many Hyphens
Posted by News Fetcher on December 22 '14 at 07:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what-until-they-get-a-load-of-this department:
An anonymous reader writes Author Graeme Reynolds found his novel withdrawn from Amazon because of excessive use of hyphens. He received an email from Amazon about his werewolf novel, High Moor 2: Moonstruck, because a reader had complained that there were too many hyphens. "When they ran an automated spell check against the manuscript they found that over 100 words in the 90,000-word novel contained that dreaded little line," he says. "This, apparently 'significantly impacts the readability of your book' and, as a result, 'We have suppressed the book because of the combined impact to customers.'"

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Tor Warns of Possible Disruption of Network Through Server Seizures
Posted by News Fetcher on December 22 '14 at 06:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's here-it-comes department:
itwbennett writes "Without naming the group responsible, the Tor project warned that it could face attempts to incapacitate its network in the next few days through the seizure of specialized servers called directory authorities. These servers guide Tor users on the list of distributed relays on the network that bounce communications around. 'We are taking steps now to ensure the safety of our users, and our system is already built to be redundant so that users maintain anonymity even if the network is attacked. Tor remains safe to use,' wrote 'arma' in a post Friday on the Tor project blog. The 'arma' developer handle is generally associated with project leader Roger Dingledine. There were no reports of a seizure by late Sunday. The project promised to update the blog and its Twitter account with new information."

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GCHQ Warns It Is Losing Track of Serious Criminals
Posted by News Fetcher on December 22 '14 at 06:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's where-are-they-now department:
An anonymous reader writes The Telegraph reports, "GCHQ has lost track of some of the most dangerous crime lords and has had to abort surveillance on others after Edward Snowden revealed their tactics ... The spy agency has suffered "significant" damage in its ability to monitor and capture serious organized criminals following the exposes by the former CIA contractor. Intelligence officers are now blind to more than a quarter of the activities of the UK's most harmful crime gangs after they changed their communications methods in the wake of the Snowden leaks. One major drug smuggling gang has been able to continue flooding the UK with Class A narcotics unimpeded for the last year after changing their operations. More intense tracking of others has either been abandoned or not started because of fears the tactics are now too easy to spot and will force the criminals to "go dark" and be lost sight of completely."

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Chromebook Gets "OK Google" and Intel's Easy Migration App
Posted by News Fetcher on December 22 '14 at 05:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's try-it-out department:
An anonymous reader points out that Chromebook users just got a couple of early gifts. "Chromebook's have had a good run thus far in the history, and most-recently they've had a stellar year of sales – famously beating out Apple's iPad. However, Google is not stopping there, as the company has decided to include and integrate 'OK Google' into their Chromebook tablets. As it turns out, the feature was possible all along with the code that had been included in the operating system, but was hidden well from user's direct line of sight. Intel has also shown a lot of support for Chromebooks, and the company has now released the Easy Migration app that will fittingly migrate data between Windows devices, iOS devices, and Android devices. The only catch is that users will have to be running a Chromebook that hosts an Intel processor. Intel has provided a website to check if your device is compatible, but it will surely be a significant hit for the Chromebook.."

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Major Security Vulnerabilities Uncovered At Frankfurt Airport
Posted by News Fetcher on December 22 '14 at 02:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's how-many-fluid-ounces-is-that? department:
jones_supa writes "According to a report published in this Sunday's edition of the mass-circulation Bild am Sonntag newspaper, investigators sent by the European Commission found it surprisingly easy to smuggle banned items past security at Frankfurt Airport. It said undercover investigators posing as passengers were able to smuggle weapons or other dangerous items through security every second time they tried to do so. One of the biggest problems was improperly trained staff, who were often not able to recognize dangerous items when viewing the screens they use to look at x-ray images of baggage. The staff is sourced via a privately owned service provider. Germany's Federal Police said they introduced new measures immediately after learning of the security deficits to ensure that passenger safety was guaranteed. Fraport AG, the company that operates the Germany's biggest airport, also took the findings seriously and begun an operation to retrain a total of 2,500 workers."

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How a Massachusetts Man Invented the Global Ice Market
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '14 at 11:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's keeping-it-cool department:
An anonymous reader writes with the story of Frederic Tudor the man responsible for the modern food industry. "A guy from Boston walks into a bar and offers to sell the owner a chunk of ice. To modern ears, that sounds like the opening line of a joke. But 200 years ago, it would have sounded like science fiction—especially if it was summer, when no one in the bar had seen frozen water in months. In fact, it's history. The ice guy was sent by a 20-something by the name of Frederic Tudor, born in 1783 and known by the mid-19th century as the "Ice King of the World." What he had done was figure out a way to harvest ice from local ponds, and keep it frozen long enough to ship halfway around the world.

Today, the New England ice trade, which Tudor started in Boston's backyard in 1806, sounds cartoonishly old-fashioned. The work of ice-harvesting, which involved cutting massive chunks out of frozen bodies of water, packing them in sawdust for storage and transport, and selling them near and far, seems as archaic as the job of town crier. But scholars in recent years have suggested that we're missing something. In fact, they say, the ice trade was a catalyst for a transformation in daily life so powerful that the mark it left can still be seen on our cultural habits even today. Tudor's big idea ended up altering the course of history, making it possible not only to serve barflies cool mint juleps in the dead of summer, but to dramatically extend the shelf life and reach of food. Suddenly people could eat perishable fruits, vegetables, and meat produced far from their homes. Ice built a new kind of infrastructure that would ultimately become the cold, shiny basis for the entire modern food industry."


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Librarians: The Google Before Google
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '14 at 08:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's go-ahead-and-ask department:
An anonymous reader writes NPR has an article about the questions people ask librarians. Before the internet, the librarian was your best bet for a quick answer to anything on your mind. "We were Google before Google existed," NYPL spokesperson Angela Montefinise explains. "If you wanted to know if a poisonous snake dies if it bites itself, you'd call or visit us." The New York Public Library in Manhattan recently discovered a box of old reference questions asked by patrons and plans to release some in its Instagram account. Here are a few of the best:

I just saw a mouse in the kitchen. Is DDT OK to use? (1946)

What does it mean when you dream of being chased by an elephant? (1947)

Can you tell me the thickness of a U.S. Postage stamp with the glue on it? Answer: We couldn't tell you that answer quickly. Why don't you try the Post Office? Response: This is the Post Office. (1963)

Where can I rent a beagle for hunting? (1963)

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"Infrared Curtain" Brings Touchscreen Technology To Cheap Cars
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '14 at 06:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's go-ahead-and-touch department:
An anonymous reader writes with news about an affordable way to integrate touch screen technology in any car. "Although touchscreen controls are appearing in the dashboards of an increasing number of vehicles, they're still not something that one generally associates with economy cars. That may be about to change, however, as Continental has announced an "infrared curtain" system that could allow for inexpensive multi-touch functionality in any automobile. The infrared curtain consists of a square frame with a series of LEDs along two adjacent sides, and a series of photodiodes along the other two. Each LED emits a beam of infrared light, which is picked up and converted into an electrical signal by the photodiode located in the corresponding spot on the opposite side of the frame."

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Viacom's Messy Relationship With YouTube and The Rise of Stephen Colbert
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '14 at 04:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's birth-of-the-nation department:
Presto Vivace writes with this story about how Stephen Colbert became a YouTube Megastar. "Clips from The Colbert Report soon became a staple at YouTube, a startup that was making it easier for anyone and everyone to upload and watch home movies, video blogs, and technically-illicit-but-increasingly-vanilla clips of TV shows from the day before. And Colbert’s show was about to find itself at the center of a conflict between entertainment media and the web over online video that’s shaped the last decade. In fact, The Colbert Report has been defined as much by this back-and-forth between Hollywood and the web as by the cable news pundits it satirizes....A year after The Colbert Report premiere, Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock. Five months later, Viacom sued YouTube and Google for copyright infringement, asking for $1 billion in damages. The value of these videos and their audiences were clear. The Colbert Report and “Stephen Colbert” are mentioned three times in Viacom’s complaint against YouTube, as much or more than any other show or artist."

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The Magic of Pallets
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '14 at 03:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's none-better department:
HughPickens.com writes Jacob Hodes writes in Cabinet Magazine that there are approximately two billion wooden shipping pallets in the holds of tractor-trailers in the United States transporting Honey Nut Cheerios and oysters and penicillin and just about any other product you can think of. According to Hodes the magic of pallets is the magic of abstraction. "Take any object you like, pile it onto a pallet, and it becomes, simply, a "unit load"—standardized, cubical, and ideally suited to being scooped up by the tines of a forklift. This allows your Cheerios and your oysters to be whisked through the supply chain with great efficiency; the gains are so impressive, in fact, that many experts consider the pallet to be the most important materials-handling innovation of the twentieth century." Although the technology was in place by the mid-1920s, pallets didn't see widespread adoption until World War II, when the challenge of keeping eight million G.I.s supplied—"the most enormous single task of distribution ever accomplished anywhere," according to one historian—gave new urgency to the science of materials handling. "The pallet really made it possible for us to fight a war on two fronts the way that we did." It would have been impossible to supply military forces in both the European and Pacific theaters if logistics operations had been limited to manual labor and hand-loading cargo.

< article continued at Slashdot >

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26 Foot Long Boat 3D Printed In 100,000 Different Pieces
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '14 at 02:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's look-for-straight-edges department:
First time accepted submitter Talk Prizes writes Hung-Chih Peng, a Taiwanese artist, has decided to 3D print a boat measuring 26 feet in length. The piece, called "The Deluge – Noah's Ark" is a twisted wrecked boat which he had to 3D print in 100,000 different pieces and then glue it all together. "...The Deluge is Peng’s way of showing the inability that humans have exhibited in rectifying uncontrollable catastrophic challenges. Climate change, ecological crises, and environmental pollution are all changes that this planet is facing, yet seemingly humans do not have a way to correct these problems. The work is meant as a metaphor for showing the battle being waged by Mother Nature on the accelerated development of industrialized civilization."

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Cuba Says the Internet Now a Priority
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '14 at 01:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's lots-of-farmville-to-catch-up-on department:
lpress writes Cuba first connected to the Internet in 1996 through a Sprint link funded by the US National Science Foundation. A year later the Cuban government decided to contain and control it. Now they say the Internet is a priority. If so, they need a long term plan, but they can get started with low cost interim measures. There is virtually no modern infrastructure on the island, but they could aggressively deploy satellite technology at little cost and, where phone lines could support it, install DSL equipment.

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Finland Announces an Anti-Laser Campaign For Air Traffic
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '14 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's stop-pointing department:
jones_supa writes Trafi, the Finnish Pilots' Association and STUK, the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority have launched a joint campaign against air traffic interference with the title "Lasers Are Not Toys". Ilkka Kaakinen from Trafi says that laser pointers interfering with air traffic is a real problem in Finland. "We receive reports of several cases of laser interference every month and every one of them is potentially dangerous", Kaakinen says. Last year, 60 cases of laser pointer interference were reported in Finland, and the figure for this year was at 58 in November. Despite the continuing interference, only one person has been caught misusing a laser pointer in this way in Finland. That single person was not convicted of a crime, as the court was not able to establish intent. Kaakinen says that other countries hand down severe punishments for interfering with air traffic, even years-long stretches in prison. He also reminds that it is important for users of laser pointers to understand that the devices are not toys, and that children should be warned of the potential danger in using them irresponsibly – or ideally, not given one at all.

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Anonymous Claims They Will Release "The Interview" Themselves
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '14 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's If-you-cancel-my-release-I-shall-become-more-popular-than-you-can-possibly-imagine department:
An anonymous reader writes In a series of tweets the hacker collective Anonymous says they will release "The Interview" to the masses if Sony won't. A few of the tweets read: "Seriously @Sony we warned you. We infiltrated your systems long before North Korea. We thought you'd take it as a warning and fix your s@#t." and "We're not with either side, we just want to watch the movie too and soon you too will be joining us. Sorry, @SonyPictures."

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Judge: It's OK For Cops To Create Fake Instagram Accounts
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '14 at 11:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's pay-no-attention-to-the-man-behind-the-ip-address department:
An anonymous reader writes with a ruling that seems obvious in a case about police making a fake Instagram account. A federal judge in New Jersey has signed off on the practice of law enforcement using a fake Instagram account in order to become "friends" with a suspect — thus obtaining photos and other information that a person posts to their account. "No search warrant is required for the consensual sharing of this type of information," United States District Judge William Martini wrote in an opinion published last Tuesday. In other news, an undercover officer still doesn't need to tell you that he or she is a member of law enforcement if you ask.

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Bitcoin Exec To Spend Two Years Behind Bars For Silk Road Transactions
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '14 at 10:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's end-of-the-road department:
mrspoonsi writes Charlie Shrem, former Bitcoin Foundation board member and CEO of the now-defunct exchange BitInstant, has been sentenced to two years in prison for helping Silk Road users anonymously swap cash for digital currency. Silk Road, as you know, was the online marketplace infamous for hosting anonymous drug and gun sales that was busted by the FBI back in 2013. A version 2.0 went up shortly after that, but it suffered the same fate as its predecessor this November. Based on evidence gathered during the crackdown, Shrem agreed to partner with Robert M. Faiella to trade over $1 million in cash from buyers. Faiella was the one with direct contact to buyers, hiding behind the name BTCKing to post ads promoting his dollar-to-Bitcoin business on the marketplace.

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US Seeks China's Help Against North Korean Cyberattacks
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '14 at 09:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's thanks-but-no-thanks department:
An anonymous reader writes The United States has declined an offer by North Korea for a joint investigation into the hacking of Sony Pictures and asked China to help block cyber attacks. "We have discussed this issue with the Chinese to share information, express our concerns about this attack, and to ask for their cooperation," a senior administration official said. "In our cybersecurity discussions, both China and the United States have expressed the view that conducting destructive attacks in cyberspace is outside the norms of appropriate cyber behavior." China has so far seemed less than sympathetic: "Any civilized world will oppose hacker attacks or terror threats. But a movie like The Interview, which makes fun of the leader of an enemy of the U.S., is nothing to be proud of for Hollywood and U.S. society," said an editorial in The Global Times, a tabloid sister paper to China's official The People's Daily. "No matter how the U.S. society looks at North Korea and Kim Jong Un, Kim is still the leader of the country. The vicious mocking of Kim is only a result of senseless cultural arrogance."

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Dish Pulls Fox News, Fox Business Network As Talks Break Down
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '14 at 08:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's no-fox-for-you department:
An anonymous reader writes Fox News and Fox Business were pulled by Dish Network over the weekend, as both continue to argue over a fee agreement. From the article: "Dish said in a statement early Sunday morning that 21st Century Fox had blocked access to the two networks after Dish balked when rates for other networks owned by the media conglomerate were made a part of the negotiations. Tim Carry, executive vice president of distribution at Fox News Channel, countered in a statement that "Dish prematurely ceased distribution of Fox News in an attempt to intimidate and sway our negotiations. It is unfortunate that the millions of Fox News viewers on Dish were used as pawns by their provider. Hopefully they will vote with their hard earned money and seek another one of our other valued distributors immediately."

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Can Rep. John Culberson Save NASA's Space Exploration Program?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '14 at 07:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's getting-the-money department:
MarkWhittington writes The Houston Chronicle's Eric Berger has published the seventh in his series of articles about the American space program and what ails it. The piece focuses on Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, who has two fascinating aspects. The first is that he is taking over the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees NASA funding. The second is that he has a keen appreciation for the benefits of space exploration for its own sake and not just for his Houston area district.

Culberson wants to save NASA and the space program from his fellow politicians and return it to its true glory. He favors sending American astronauts back to the moon and a robotic space probe to Jupiter's moon Europa. He would like to enact budget reforms that take funding decisions away from the Office of Management and Budget and gives them solely to Congress. He favors a steady increase in NASA funding to pay for a proper program of space exploration. To say the least, he has his work cut out for him.


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Google+ Will Make Your Videos Look Better
Posted by News Fetcher on December 21 '14 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's won't-fix-your-awkward-breathing-into-the-microphone department:
ErnieKey writes: A new Google+ feature for uploaded videos has been released that automatically enhances lighting, color, and stability. Soon, it'll also enhance speech in videos. "As more and more people now also take videos with their smartphones, it makes sense for Google to bring some of the technologies it has developed for photos (and YouTube) to these private videos, as well. Google has long offered a similar feature for YouTube users, so there is likely some overlap between the two systems here. While YouTube offers the option to 'auto-fix' videos, though, it doesn't automatically prompt its users to do this for them. YouTube also offers a number of manual tools for changing contrast, saturation and color temperature that Google+ doesn’t currently offer."

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