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NASA To Deploy Four Spacecraft To Study Magnetic Reconnection
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '14 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's magnets-how-in-space-do-they-work department:
Zothecula writes: NASA has released a video depicting the initial deployment of an undertaking designed to study a phenomenon known as magnetic reconnection. "Reconnection happens when magnetic field lines explosively realign and release massive bursts of energy, while hurling particles out at nearly the speed of light in all directions. Magnetic reconnection powers eruptions on the sun and – closer to home – it triggers the flow of material and energy from interplanetary space into near-Earth space." The launch of the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission will see four identical spacecraft deployed from a single Atlas V rocket, set to lift off from cape Canaveral, Florida, no earlier than March next year.

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The Schizophrenic Programmer Who Built an OS To Talk To God
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '14 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's there's-an-app-for-everything-these-days department:
rossgneumann writes: Terry Davis, a schizophrenic programmer, has spent 10 years building an operating system to talk to God. He's done this work because God told him to. According to the TempleOS charter, it is "God's official temple. Just like Solomon's temple, this is a community focal point where offerings are made and God's oracle is consulted." [The TempleOS V2.17 welcome screen] greets the user with a riot of 16-color, scrolling, blinking text; depending on your frame of reference, it might recall DESQview, the Commodore 64, or a host of early DOS-based graphical user interfaces. In style if not in specifics, it evokes a particular era, a time when the then-new concept of "personal computing" necessarily meant programming and tinkering and breaking things.

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Revisiting Open Source Social Networking Alternatives
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '14 at 10:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's looking-for-entertainment department:
reifman writes Upstart social networking startup Ello burst on the scene in September with promises of a utopian, post-Facebook platform that respected user's privacy. I was surprised to see so many public figures and media entities jump on board — mainly because of what Ello isn't. It isn't an open source, decentralized social networking technology. It's just another privately held, VC-funded silo. Remember Diaspora? In 2010, it raised $200,641 on Kickstarter to take on Facebook with "an open source personal web server to share all your stuff online." Two years later, they essentially gave up, leaving their code to the open source community to carry forward. In part one of "Revisiting Open Source Social Networking Alternatives," I revisit/review six open source social networking alternatives in search of a path forward beyond Facebook.

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Top Counter-Strike Players Embroiled In Hacking Scandal
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '14 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's people-actually-get-excited department:
An anonymous reader writes Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is one of the world's fastest growing eSports, but the community has been rocked by scandal in the last week, with several top players being banned by Valve for using various hacking tools to improve their performance. With the huge Dreamhack Winter tournament taking place this weekend, the purge could not have come at a worse time for the game, and fans are now poring over the archives for other signs of foul play in top tier games — be sure to look out for these tell tale signs while playing.

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Two Google Engineers Say Renewables Can't Cure Climate Change
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '14 at 09:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's mined-all-mined department:
_Sharp'r_ writes Two Standford PhDs, Ross Koningstein and David Fork, worked for Google on the RE<C project to figure out how to make renewables cheaper than coal and solve climate change. After four years of study they gave up, determining "Renewable energy technologies simply won't work; we need a fundamentally different approach." As a result, is nuclear going to be acknowledged as the future of energy production?

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Kim Dotcom Regrets Not Taking Copyright Law and MPAA "More Seriously"
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '14 at 08:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's equal-treatment-under-law department:
concertina226 writes Kim Dotcom has spoken out about his long battle over copyright with the U.S. government and his regrets about the events that have led to his arrest ahead of his bail breach hearing on Thursday that could see him return to jail in New Zealand. "Would I have done things differently? Of course. My biggest regret is I didn't take the threat of the copyright law and the MPAA seriously enough," Dotcom said via live video link from his mansion in Auckland, New Zealand at the Unbound Digital conference in London on Tuesday. ... "We never for a minute thought that anyone would bring any criminal actions against us. We had in-house legal counsel, we had three outside firms working for us who reviewed our sites, and not once had any of them mentioned any form of legal risk, so I wish I had known that there was a risk."

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Cameron Accuses Internet Companies Of Giving Terrorists Safe Haven
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '14 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's not-quite-on-the-money department:
An anonymous reader writes with this snippet from The Guardian: "Internet companies are allowing their networks to be used to plot "murder and mayhem", David Cameron has said in response to the official inquiry into the intelligence agencies' actions ahead of the killing of Lee Rigby. He demanded that internet companies live up to their social responsibilities to report potential terror threats and said there was no reason for such firms to be willing to cooperate with state agencies over child abuse but not over combatting terrorism. His comments to the House of Commons came after the parliamentary intelligence and security committee concluded that the brutal murder of Rigby could have been prevented if an internet company had passed on an online exchange in which one of the killers expressed "in the most graphic terms" his intention to carry out an Islamist jihadi attack.

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"Advanced Life Support" Ambulances May Lead To More Deaths
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '14 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's bring-the-machine-that-goes-beeeeeeeeeep department:
HughPickens.com writes Jason Kane reports at PBS that emergency treatments delivered in ambulances that offer "Advanced Life Support" for cardiac arrest may be linked to more death, comas and brain damage than those providing "Basic Life Support." "They're taking a lot of time in the field to perform interventions that don't seem to be as effective in that environment," says Prachi Sanghavi. "Of course, these are treatments we know are good in the emergency room, but they've been pushed into the field without really being tested and the field is a much different environment." The study suggests that high-tech equipment and sophisticated treatment techniques may distract from what's most important during cardiac arrest — transporting a critically ill patient to the hospital quickly.

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Conglomerate Rock From Mars: (Much) More Precious Than Gold
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '14 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's not-to-mention-the-worth-of-the-nougat department:
An anonymous reader writes It's the oldest rock on Earth--and it's from Mars. A 4.4-billion-year-old martian meteorite, found in a dozen pieces in the western Sahara, has ignited a frenzy among collectors and scientists; prices have reached $10,000 a gram, and museums and universities are vying for slivers of it. It is the only known martian meteorite made of sediment, a conglomerate of pebbles and other clumps of minerals from when the planet was warm, wet, and possibly habitable. The story of the discovery of the rock and its significance is fascinating, as well as the details presented about the economics of rare space materials. Apropos, this older story about missing moon rocks.

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Researchers Say the Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '14 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's just-like-a-healthcare-system-that-everyone-enjoys department:
Beeftopia sends this excerpt from an article at BusinessWeek:
"There’s no evidence of any way, shape, or form that there’s a shortage in the conventional sense," says Hal Salzman, a professor of planning and public policy at Rutgers University. "They may not be able to find them at the price they want. But I’m not sure that qualifies as a shortage, any more than my not being able to find a half-priced TV." ... The real issue, say Salzman and others, is the industry’s desire for lower-wage, more-exploitable guest workers, not a lack of available American staff. "It seems pretty clear that the industry just wants lower-cost labor," Dean Baker, the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, wrote in an e-mail. A 2011 review (PDF) by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that the H-1B visa program, which is what industry groups are lobbying to expand, had "fragmented and restricted" oversight that weakened its ostensible labor standards. "Many in the tech industry are using it for cheaper, indentured labor," says Rochester Institute of Technology public policy associate professor Ron Hira, an EPI research associate and co-author of the book Outsourcing America.

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Sony Pictures Computer Sytems Shut Down After Ransomware Hack
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '14 at 02:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's try-long-enough-and-you-find-a-soft-target department:
MojoKid writes: It appears that Sony Pictures has become the victim of a massive ransomware hack, which has resulted in the company basically shutting down its IT infrastructure. According to an unnamed source, every computer in Sony's New York Office, and every Sony Pictures office across the nation, bears an image from the hacker with the headline "Hacked By #GOP" which is then followed by a warning. The hacker, or group, claims to have obtained corporate secrets and has threatened to reveal those secrets if Sony doesn't meet their demands.

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Slack Now Letting Employers Tap Workers' Private Chats
Posted by News Fetcher on November 25 '14 at 12:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's will-save-BOFH-the-trouble-of-keylogging-you department:
itwbennett writes: Chat app maker Slack is hoping to make inroads in the enterprise with a new paid plan that will include an optional feature called Compliance Exports that will let administrators access their team's communications, encompassing public and private messages. The tool is far-reaching, potentially including the edit history for workers' messages as well as messages workers have marked for deletion, if the supervisor so desires.

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Attack of the One-Letter Programming Languages
Posted by News Fetcher on November 24 '14 at 09:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's alphabet-soup department:
snydeq writes: The programming world is fast proliferating with one-letter programming languages, many of which tackle specific problems in ways worthy of a cult following, writes InfoWorld's Peter Wayner in this somewhat tongue-and-check roundup of the more interesting entrants among this trend. "They're all a bit out there, with the possible exception of C. ... Each offers compelling ideas that could do the trick in solving a particular problem you need fixed.'"

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Here's What Your Car Could Look Like In 2030
Posted by News Fetcher on November 24 '14 at 09:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's just-make-sure-there's-room-for-a-cot department:
Nerval's Lobster writes: If you took your cubicle, four wheels, powerful AI, and brought them all together in unholy matrimony, their offspring might look something like the self-driving future car created by design consultants IDEO. That's not to say that every car on the road in 2030 will look like a mobile office, but technology could take driving to a place where a car's convenience and onboard software (not to mention smaller size) matter more than, say, speed or handling, especially as urban areas become denser and people potentially look at "driving time" as a time to get things done or relax as the car handles the majority of driving tasks. Then again, if old science-fiction movies have proven anything, it's that visions of automobile design thirty or fifty years down the road (pun intended) tend to be far, far different than the eventual reality. (Blade Runner, for example, posited that the skies above Los Angeles would swarm with flying cars by 2019.) So it's anyone's guess what you'll be driving a couple decades from now.

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Officer Not Charged In Michael Brown Shooting
Posted by News Fetcher on November 24 '14 at 08:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's completely-non-controversial-topics department:
An anonymous reader writes: A grand jury in Missouri has decided there is no probable cause to charge police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. "A grand jury of nine whites and three blacks had been meeting weekly since Aug. 20 to consider evidence. At least nine votes would have been required to indict Wilson. The Justice Department is conducting an investigation into possible civil rights violations that could result in federal charges." Government officials and Brown's family are urging calm in Ferguson after the contentious protests that followed Brown's death.

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How the Pentagon's Robots Would Automate War
Posted by News Fetcher on November 24 '14 at 05:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's peace-reigns-when-the-war-servers-are-down-for-scheduled-maintenance department:
rossgneumann writes: Pentagon officials are worried that the U.S. military is losing its edge compared to competitors like China, and are willing to explore almost anything to stay on top—including creating robots capable of becoming fighting machines. A 72-page document throws detailed light on the far-reaching implications of the Pentagon's plan to monopolize imminent "transformational advances" in biotechnology, robotics and artificial intelligence, information technology, nanotechnology, and energy.

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Raspberry Pi-Powered Body Illusion Lets You Experience Parkinson's
Posted by News Fetcher on November 24 '14 at 05:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's powerful-perspective department:
hypnosec writes: Analogue, a theater/art group, has developed an interactive installation called "Transports," powered by the Raspberry Pi, that lets you experience symptoms of Parkinson's disease. In the illusion, a person's mind is tricked into believing that his/her hand is the hand shown in a point-of-view video, and the motorized glove worn by the user gives the feeling of tremors associated with Parkinson's. The glove recreates tremors, the ones experienced by patients, at 6 hertz – the upper limit of what is experienced by people with Parkinson's disease. Users are asked to follow instructions fed through headphones while using the glove, which creates an illusion of a virtual limb. They are supposed to mimic the movements of a man on the screen and manipulate real cutlery as he does.

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Big IT Vendors Mostly Mum On Commercial Drone Plans
Posted by News Fetcher on November 24 '14 at 04:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's playing-possum department:
alphadogg writes: Word that the Federal Aviation Administration might take a very hard line on commercial drone use has those with designs on such activity nervous. But as for big enterprise IT vendors, it's really hard to tell what they think because they're keeping any plans in this field very hush-hush. More consumer oriented companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Google are active, but companies like IBM and HP are quiet, while Microsoft affirms it has nothing doing. A former FAA lawyer says sitting on the sidelines even during this unsure regulatory period is probably not a great idea. "I have a hard time believing they don't have some sort of programs in place," attorney Mark Dombroff says.

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Regin Malware In EU Attack Linked To US and British Intelligence Agencies
Posted by News Fetcher on November 24 '14 at 03:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's guess-who department:
Advocatus Diaboli writes The Regin malware, whose existence was first reported by the security firm Symantec on Sunday, is among the most sophisticated ever discovered by researchers. Symantec compared Regin to Stuxnet, a state-sponsored malware program developed by the U.S. and Israel to sabotage computers at an Iranian nuclear facility. Sources familiar with internal investigations at Belgacom and the European Union have confirmed to The Intercept that the Regin malware was found on their systems after they were compromised, linking the spy tool to the secret GCHQ and NSA operations.

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Google Chrome Will Block All NPAPI Plugins By Default In January
Posted by News Fetcher on November 24 '14 at 02:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's end-of-the-line department:
An anonymous reader writes Google today provided an update on its plan to remove Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI) from Chrome, which the company says will improve the browser's security, speed, and stability, as well as reduce complexity in the code base. In short, the latest timeline is as follows: Block all plugins by default in January 2015, disable support in April 2015, and remove support completely in September 2015. For context, Google first announced in September 2013 that it was planning to drop NPAPI. At the time, Google said anonymous Chrome usage data showed just six NPAPI plugins were used by more than 5 percent of users, and the company was hoping to remove support from Chrome "before the end of 2014, but the exact timing will depend on usage and user feedback."

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