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Linking Drought and Climate Change: Difficult To Do
Posted by News Fetcher on December 15 '14 at 01:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's connecting-the-dots department:
Geoffrey.landis writes An article about the current California drought on 538 points out that even though global climate warming may exacerbate droughts, it's nearly impossible to attribute any particular drought to climate warming: "The complex, dynamic nature of our atmosphere and oceans makes it extremely difficult to link any particular weather event to climate change. That's because of the intermingling of natural variations with human-caused ones." They also cite a Nature editorial pointing out the same thing about extreme weather.

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Sony Demands Press Destroy Leaked Documents
Posted by News Fetcher on December 15 '14 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's do-not-share department:
SydShamino writes In an effort that may run afoul of the first amendment, Sony, through their lawyer David Boies (of SCO infamy), has sent a letter to major news organizations demanding that they refrain from downloading any leaked documents, and destroy those already possessed. Sony threatens legal action to news organizations that do not comply, saying that "Sony Pictures Entertainment will have no choice but to hold you responsible for any damage or loss arising from such use or dissemination by you."

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Waze Causing Anger Among LA Residents
Posted by News Fetcher on December 15 '14 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's path-most-traveled department:
KindMind writes According to AP, Waze has caused trouble for LA residents by redirecting traffic from Interstate 405 to neighborhood side streets paralleling the interstate. From the article: "When the people whose houses hug the narrow warren of streets paralleling the busiest urban freeway in America began to see bumper-to-bumper traffic crawling by their homes a year or so ago, they were baffled. When word spread that the explosively popular new smartphone app Waze was sending many of those cars through their neighborhood in a quest to shave five minutes off a daily rush-hour commute, they were angry and ready to fight back. They would outsmart the app, some said, by using it to report phony car crashes and traffic jams on their streets that would keep the shortcut-seekers away. Months later, the cars are still there, and the people are still mad."

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Amazon UK Glitch Sells Thousands of Products For a Penny
Posted by News Fetcher on December 15 '14 at 11:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's best-discount-ever department:
An anonymous reader writes For about an hour on Friday a few lucky Amazon UK shoppers were able to take advantage of a price glitch which discounted thousands of marketplace products to the price of 1p. An Amazon spokesman said: "We are aware that a number of Marketplace sellers listed incorrect prices for a short period of time as a result of the third party software they use to price their items on Amazon.co.uk. We responded quickly and were able to cancel the vast majority of orders placed on these affected items immediately and no costs or fees will be incurred by sellers for these cancelled orders. We are now reviewing the small number of orders that were processed and will be reaching out to any affected sellers directly."

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Interviews: Ask Jonty Hurwitz About Art and Engineering
Posted by News Fetcher on December 15 '14 at 11:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's go-ahead-and-ask department:
samzenpus (5) writes "Jonty Hurwitz is an artist with a degree in engineering who says each one of his pieces is "a study on the physics of how we perceive space and is the stroke of over 1 billion calculations and algorithms." Recently, his nano sculpture project drew a lot of attention. With help from the Weizmann Institute of Science and using a 3D printing technique by the Institute of Microstructure Technology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Hurwitz created a number of sculptures that were so small they could fit in the eye of a needle, or on a human hair. Jonty has agreed to answer any questions you have big or very small. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post."

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The GPLv2 Goes To Court
Posted by News Fetcher on December 15 '14 at 10:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's laying-down-the-law department:
Jason Baker writes Despite its importance, the GPLv2 has been the subject of very few court decisions, and virtually all of the most important terms of the GPLv2 have not been interpreted by courts. This lack of court decisions is about to change due to the five interrelated cases arising from a dispute between Versata Software, Inc. and Ameriprise Financial, Inc.. These cases are dealing with four important terms in the GPLv2: 1) What are the remedies for breach of the terms of the GPLv2? 2) What is a "distribution" under the GPLv2 that triggers the obligations under the GPLv2? 3) Does the GPLv2 include a patent license? 4) What type of integration between proprietary code and GPLv2 licensed code will result in creating a "derivative work" and subject such proprietary code to the terms of the GPLv2?

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Apple and Samsung Already Working On A9 Processor
Posted by News Fetcher on December 15 '14 at 09:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's build-it-better department:
itwbennett writes According to a report in Korean IT Times, Samsung Electronics has begun production of the A9 processor, the next generation ARM-based CPU for iPhone and iPad. Korea IT Times says Samsung has production lines capable of FinFET process production (a cutting-edge design for semiconductors that many other manufacturers, including AMD, IBM and TSMC, are adopting) in Austin, Texas and Giheung, Korea, but production is only taking place in Austin. Samsung invested $3.9 billion in that plant specifically to make chips for Apple. So now Apple can say its CPU is "Made in America."

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Govt Docs Reveal Canadian Telcos Promise Surveillance Ready Networks
Posted by News Fetcher on December 15 '14 at 08:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's we'll-do-it-for-you department:
An anonymous reader writes "Michael Geist reports
that Canadian telecom and Internet providers have tried to convince
the government that they will voluntarily build surveillance
capabilities into their networks
. Hoping to avoid legislative
requirements, the providers argue that "the telecommunications
market will soon shift to a point where interception capability will
simply become a standard component of available equipment, and that
technical changes in the way communications actually travel on
communications networks will make it even easier to intercept
communications."


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How Birds Lost Their Teeth
Posted by News Fetcher on December 15 '14 at 08:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's no-more-floss department:
An anonymous reader writes A research team from the University of California, Riverside and Montclair State University, New Jersey, have found that the lack of teeth in all living birds can be traced back to a common ancestor who lived about 116 million years ago. From the article: "To solve this puzzle, the researchers used a recently created genome database that catalogues the genetic history of nearly all living bird orders--48 species in total. They were looking for two specific types of genes: one responsible for dentin, the substance that (mostly) makes up teeth, and another for the enamel that protects them. Upon finding these genes, researchers then located the mutations that deactivate them, and combed the fossil record to figure out when those mutations developed. They concluded that the loss of teeth and the development of the beak was a two-stage process, though the steps basically happened simultaneously. The paper states: 'In the first stage, tooth loss and partial beak development began on the anterior portion of both the upper and lower jaws. The second stage involved concurrent progression of tooth loss and beak development from the anterior portion of both jaws to the back of the rostrum.'"

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Why Didn't Sidecar's Flex Pricing Work?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 15 '14 at 08:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's you-get-what-you-pay-for department:
Bennett Haselton writes Sidecar is a little-known alternative to Lyft and Uber, deployed in only ten cities so far,
which lets drivers set their own prices to undercut other ride-sharing services.
Given that most amateur drivers would be willing to give someone a ride for far
less than the rider would be willing to pay, why didn't the flex-pricing option take off?
Keep reading to see what Bennet has to say.

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Small Bank In Kansas Creates the Bank Account of the Future
Posted by News Fetcher on December 15 '14 at 07:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's tomorrow's-deposits department:
HughPickens.com writes Nathaniel Popper writes at the NYT that the Citizens Bank of Weir, Kansas, or CBW, has been taken apart and rebuilt, from its fiber optic cables up, so it can offer services not available at even the nation's largest bank. In the United States the primary option that consumers have to transfer money is still the ACH payment. Requests for ACH transfers are collected by banks and submitted in batches, once a day, and the banks receiving the transfers also process the payments once a day, leading to long waits. ACH technology was created in the 1970s and has not changed significantly since. The clunky system, which takes at least a day to deliver money, has become so deeply embedded in the banking industry that it has been hard to replace. CBW went to work on the problem by using the debit card networks that power ATM cash dispensers. Ramamurthi's team engineered a system so that a business could collect a customer's debit card number and use it to make an instant payment directly into the customer's account — or into the account of a customer of almost any other bank in the country. The key to CBW's system is real-time, payment transaction risk-scoring — software that can judge the risk involved in any transaction in real time by looking at 20 to 40 factors, including a customers' transaction history and I.P., address where the transaction originated. It was this system that Elizabeth McQuerry, the former Fed official, praised as the "biggest idea" at a recent bank conference. "Today's banks offer the equivalent of 300-year-old paper ledgers converted to an electronic form — a digital skin on an antiquated transaction process," says Suresh Ramamurthi. "We'll now be one of the first banks in the world to offer customers a reliable, compliant, safe and secure way to instantly send and receive money internationally."

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Sir Richard Branson Quietly Shelves Virgin Submarine Plan
Posted by News Fetcher on December 15 '14 at 07:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's under-the-sea department:
An anonymous reader writes with news that Sir Richard Branson's goal of diving to the deepest part of the ocean has been put on indefinite hold. "Sir Richard Branson has quietly shelved his latest adventure: an ambitious plan to pilot a submarine to the deepest points of the world's five oceans. The entrepreneur had a grand scheme to explore both space and sea. But his plan for the first rocket ship charging passengers for trips to the edge of space is in jeopardy after the craft crashed during a test flight, killing a pilot. Now Sir Richard's dream of exploring the lowest points on Earth is also on hold. Virgin Oceanic's DeepFlight Challenger submarine was unveiled in a blaze of publicity in April 2011, with Sir Richard describing its mission as 'the last great challenge for humans.' He had hoped the 18ft-long submarine, designed to 'fly' along the ocean floor, would make its maiden voyage to the bottom of the Pacific's Mariana Trench – at a depth of 36,000ft, the lowest known point on Earth – by the end of 2011, or failing that, by 2012."

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Eric Schmidt: To Avoid NSA Spying, Keep Your Data In Google's Services
Posted by News Fetcher on December 15 '14 at 06:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's no-snooping-zone department:
jfruh writes Google Chairman Eric Schmidt told a conference on surveillance at the Cato Institute that Edward Snowden's revelations on NSA spying shocked the company's engineers — who then immediately started working on making the company's servers and services more secure. Now, after a year and a half of work, Schmidt says that Google's services are the safest place to store your sensitive data.

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Sony Pictures Leak Reveals Quashed Plan To Upload Phony Torrents
Posted by News Fetcher on December 15 '14 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's trial-balloon department:
retroworks writes Motherboard.vice offers an interesting scoop from the hacked Sony Pictures email trove. A plan championed by Polish marketing employee Magda Mastalerz was to upload false versions of highly-pirated Sony programming, effectively polluting torrent sites with false positives. For example, a "Hannibal"-themed anti-piracy ad to popular torrent sites disguised as the first episode. Sony Pictures legal department quashed the idea, saying that if pirate sites were illegal, it would also be illegal for Sony Pictures to upload onto them. There were plans in WW2 to drop phony counterfeit currency to disrupt markets, and I wonder why flooding underground markets with phony products isn't widespread. Why don't credit card companies manufacture fake lists of stolen credit card numbers, or phony social security numbers, for illegal trading sites? For that matter, would fake ivory, fake illegal porn, and other "false positives" discourage buyers? Or create alibis?

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SpaceX Set To Create 300 New US Jobs and Expand Facilities
Posted by News Fetcher on December 15 '14 at 03:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's even-leases-are-bigger-in-texas department:
littlesparkvt writes The SpaceX manufacturing plant in McGregor , TX is set to spend $46 million on an expansion that would create 300 full-time jobs. SpaceX is proposing to invest $46.3 million in the site during the next five years. They will spend $32.4 million in real property improvements and $13.9 million in personal property improvements.

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9th Circuit Will Revisit "Innocence of Muslims" Takedown Order
Posted by News Fetcher on December 15 '14 at 12:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's aeshetics-and-obligations department:
The Associated Press, as carried by ABC News, reports that "An 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena will hear arguments Monday by Google, which owns YouTube, disputing the court's decision to remove Innocence of Muslims from the popular video sharing service." At the heart of the earlier take-down order, which was the result of a 2-1 split from a 3-judge panel, is the assertion of copyright by actress Cindy Lee Garcia, who appeared in the film, but in a role considerably different from the one she thought she was playing.

Google is supported in its appeal by an unusual alliance that includes filmmakers, Internet rivals such as Yahoo and prominent news media companies such as The New York Times that don't want the court to infringe on First Amendment rights. Garcia has support from the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Musicians. If the court upholds the smaller panel's ruling, YouTube and other Internet companies could face takedown notices from others in minor video roles.

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How Identifiable Are You On the Web?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 14 '14 at 09:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's your-unique-aroma department:
An anonymous reader writes How identifiable are you on the web? This updated browser fingerprinting tool implements the current state of the art in browser fingerprinting techniques(including canvas fingerprinting) to show you how unique your browser is on the web.

Good food for thought when three-letter agencies talk about "mere metadata."

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Apparent Islamic Terrorism Strikes Sydney
Posted by News Fetcher on December 14 '14 at 06:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's serious-thoughts department:
An anonymous reader send this link to a developing situation in Sydney, Australia, being reported on via live feed at the Guardian, and covered by various other news outlets as well. According to CNN's coverage, "CNN affiliate Seven Network said that at least 13 people are being held at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe. It published a photograph of people inside the cafe holding a black flag with Arabic writing on it. The flag reads: "There is no God but God and Mohammed is the prophet of God."

From The New York Times' coverage: The police have shut down parts of the city’s transport system, and closed off the mall area. They would not confirm how many people were being held hostage inside the cafe, nor whether those inside are armed.

Local media reports said that the airspace over Sydney had been closed and the famed Sydney Opera House evacuated. Television images showed heavily armed officers with their weapons trained on the cafe.


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Microsoft To Open Source Cloud Framework Behind Halo 4 Services
Posted by News Fetcher on December 14 '14 at 04:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's part-of-a-continuing-series department:
angry tapir writes Microsoft plans to open-source the framework that helps developers of cloud services like those behind Halo 4. Project Orleans is a framework built by the eXtreme Computing Group at Microsoft Research using .NET, designed so developers who aren't distributed systems experts can build cloud services that scale to cope with high demand and still keep high performance. The Orleans framework was used to build several services on Azure, including services that are part of Halo 4. The code will be released under an MIT license on GitHub early next year.

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Spanish Media Group Wants Gov't Help To Keep Google News In Spain
Posted by News Fetcher on December 14 '14 at 03:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's what's-english-for-bully? department:
English-language site The Spain Report reports that Google's response to mandated payments for linking to and excerpting from Spanish news media sources — namely, shutting down Google News in Spain — doesn't sit well with Spanish Newspaper Publishers' Association, which

issued a statement [Thursday] night saying that Google News was "not just the closure of another service given its dominant market position," recognising that Google's decision "will undoubtedly have a negative impact on citizens and Spanish businesses. Given the dominant position of Google (which in Spain controls almost all of the searches in the market and is an authentic gateway to the Internet), AEDE requires the intervention of Spanish and community authorities, and competition authorities, to effectively protect the rights of citizens and companies."

Irene Lanzaco, a spokeswoman for AEDE, told The Spain Report by telephone that "we're not asking Google to take a step backwards, we've always been open to negotiations with Google" but, she said: "Google has not taken a neutral stance. Of course they are free to close their business, but one thing is the closure of Google News and quite another the positioning in the general index."

Asked if the newspaper publishers' association had received any complaints from its members since Wednesday's announcement by Google, Mrs. Lanzaco refused to specify, but said: "Spanish publishers talk to AEDE constantly."


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