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Doomsday Clock Could Move
Posted by News Fetcher on January 22 '15 at 12:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's closer-to-midnight department:
Lasrick writes The ominous minute hand of the 'Doomsday Clock' has been fixed at 5 minutes to midnight for the past three years. But it could move tomorrow. The clock is a visual metaphor that was created nearly 70 years ago by The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, whose Board of Governors boasts 18 Nobel laureates. Each year, the Bulletin's Science and Security Board assesses threats to humanity — with special attention to nuclear warheads and climate change — to decide whether the Doomsday Clock needs an adjustment. The event will be streamed live from the Bulletin's website at 11 am EST.

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Hands On With Microsoft's Holographic Goggles
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '15 at 09:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's check-it-out department:
First time accepted submitter mkukuluk writes Forget Google Glass — Jessi Hempel describes the amazing experience she had with the new Holographic goggles from Microsoft. From the article: "The headset is still a prototype being developed under the codename Project Baraboo, or sometimes just “B.” [inventor Alex] Kipman, with shoulder-length hair and severely cropped bangs, is a nervous inventor, shifting from one red Converse All-Star to the other. Nervous, because he’s been working on this pair of holographic goggles for five years. No, even longer. Seven years, if you go back to the idea he first pitched to Microsoft, which became Kinect. When the motion-sensing Xbox accessory was released, just in time for the 2010 holidays, it became the fastest-selling consumer gaming device of all time.
Right from the start, he makes it clear that Baraboo will make Kinect seem minor league."


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Google Plans Major Play In Wireless Partnering With Sprint and T-Mobile
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '15 at 07:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's here-comes-the-google department:
MojoKid writes There's a new report suggesting Google is partnering with select wireless carriers to sell its own branded wireless voice and data plans directly to consumers. According to sources and the "three people with knowledge of the plans," Google will tap into networks belonging to Sprint and T-Mobile for its new service, buying wholesale access to mobile voice and data in order to make itself a virtual network operator. That might sound disappointing on the surface. Had Google struck a deal with Verizon and AT&T, or even just Verizon, the deal could potentially have more critical mass, with great coverage backed by a company like Google and its services. The former might be a winning combination but at least this is a start. The project will be known as "Nova," which is reportedly being led by Google's Nick Fox, a longtime executive with the company. Apparently Fox has been overseeing this for some time now, and it seems likely a launch will take place this year.

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Ask Slashdot: Has the Time Passed For Coding Website from Scratch?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '15 at 05:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's best-tools-for-the-job department:
First time accepted submitter thomawack writes As a designer I always do webdesign from scratch and put them into CMSMS. Frameworks are too complicated to work into, their code is usually bloated and adaptable online solutions are/were limited in options. I know my way around html/css, but I am not a programmer. My problem is, always starting from scratch has become too expensive for most customers. I see more and more online adaptive solutions that seem to be more flexible, but I am a bit overwhelmed because there are so many solutions around. Is there something you can recommend?

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Tracking Down How Many (Or How Few) People Actively Use Google+
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '15 at 05:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's run-the-numbers department:
BarbaraHudson writes Business Insider is reporting that despite billions of sign-ups, almost nobody is publicly active on Google+. Analytics and visualization blogger Kevin Anderson studied data compiled by Edward Morbius, who says that just 9% of Google+'s 2.2 billion users actively post public content. "We've got a grand spanking total of 24 profiles out of 7,875 whose 2015 post activity isn't YouTube comments but Google+ posts. That a 0.3% rate of all profile pages, going back to our 2.2 billion profiles. No wonder Dave Besbris (Google+ boss) doesn't want to talk about numbers," Morbius writes. For those interested both his methodology and the scripts used can be found here.

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The Paradoxes That Threaten To Tear Modern Cosmology Apart
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '15 at 04:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's nobody-knows department:
KentuckyFC writes Revolutions in science often come from the study of seemingly unresolvable paradoxes. So an interesting exercise is to list the paradoxes associated with current ideas in science. One cosmologist has done just that by exploring the paradoxes associated with well-established ideas and observations about the structure and origin of the universe. Perhaps the most dramatic of these paradoxes comes from the idea that the universe must be expanding. What's curious about this expansion is that space, and the vacuum associated with it, must somehow be created in this process. And yet nobody knows how this can occur. What's more, there is an energy associated with any given volume of the universe. If that volume increases, the inescapable conclusion is that the energy must increase as well. So much for conservation of energy. And even the amount of energy associated with the vacuum is a puzzle with different calculations contradicting each other by 120 orders of magnitude. Clearly, anybody who can resolve these problems has a bright future in science but may also end up tearing modern cosmology apart.

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Jim Blasko Explains 'Unbreakable Coin' (Video 2 of 2)
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '15 at 03:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's is-it-cryptocurrency-or-cryptic-currency? department:
Today, the conclusion of my talk with Jim Blasko (here's part 1), who encourages you to go start your own crypto currency, because it's a fun exercise and because every entrant adds new ideas to the mix. As you'd expect, he's bullish about both his own Unbreakable Coin and cryptocurrencies more generally; how any given given currency performs, though, is an open question: U.S. dollars, Euros, or Yen may not go experience any meteoric rises, but their stability, even with inflation, is a nice feature, and so is their worldwide convertibility.

Regulation, speculation, fraud, and cultural fashions all play a role in making new currencies risky; reader mbkennel yesterday asked an insightful question: "Are you up to loaning bitcoin or something less popular for 10 years?" Confidence in any given currency can be tested with the terms current holders are willing to accept to make loans payable in that same currency. (On the other hand, if large companies will accept it in payment, they've probably got an idea that a given currency will be around next month or next year.) If you've bought any form of crypto currency, what's been your experience, and what do you expect in 10 years? (Alternate Video Link)

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Silk Road 2.0 Deputy Arrested
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '15 at 02:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's book-him department:
An anonymous reader writes With the Ulbricht trial ongoing in a case over the original Silk Road, Homeland Security agents have made another arrest in the Silk Road 2.0 case more than two and a half months after the site was shut down. This time they arrested Brian Richard Farrell who went by the moniker "DoctorClu." From the article: "Homeland Security agents tracked Silk Road 2.0 activity to Farrell's Bellevue home in July, according to an affidavit by Special Agent Michael Larson. In the months that followed, agents watched his activities and interviewed a roommate who said Farrell received UPS, FedEx and postal packages daily. One package was found to contain 107 Xanax pills, Larson said. That led to a search on Jan. 2 that recovered computers, drug paraphernalia, silver bullion bars worth $3,900, and $35,000 in cash, Larson said."

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Oracle Releases Massive Security Update
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '15 at 02:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's protect-ya-neck department:
wiredmikey writes Oracle has pushed out a massive security update, including critical fixes for Java SE and the Oracle Sun Systems Products Suite. Overall, the update contains nearly 170 new security vulnerability fixes, including 36 for Oracle Fusion Middleware. Twenty-eight of these may be remotely exploitable without authentication and can possibly be exploited over a network without the need for a username and password.

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US Senate Set To Vote On Whether Climate Change Is a Hoax
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '15 at 01:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's who's-to-blame department:
sciencehabit writes The U.S. Senate's simmering debate over climate science has come to a full boil today, as lawmakers prepare to vote on measures offered by Democrats that affirm that climate change is real—with one also noting that global warming is not "a hoax." In an effort to highlight their differences with some Republicans on climate policy, several Democrats have filed largely symbolic amendments to a bill that would approve the Keystone XL pipeline. They are designed to put senators on the record on whether climate change is real and human-caused.

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What Will Google Glass 2.0 Need To Actually Succeed?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '15 at 12:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's laying-out-the-plan department:
Nerval's Lobster writes As previously rumored, Google has discontinued selling Google Glass, its augmented-reality headset... but it could be coming out with something new and (supposedly) improved. The company has placed a relentlessly positive spin on its decision: "Glass was in its infancy, and you took those very first steps and taught us how to walk," reads a posting on the Google+ page for Glass. "Well, we still have some work to do, but now we're ready to put on our big kid shoes and learn how to run." Formerly a project of the Google X research lab, Glass will now be overseen by Tony Fadell, the CEO of Google subsidiary (and Internet of Things darling) Nest; more than a few Glass users are unhappy with Google's decision. If Google's move indeed represents a quiet period before a relaunch, rather than an outright killing of the product, what can it do to ensure that Glass's second iteration proves more of a success? Besides costing less (the original Glass retailed for $1,500 from Google's online storefront), Google might want to focus on the GoPro audience, or simply explain to consumers why they actually need a pair of glasses with an embedded screen. What else could they do to make Glass 2.0 (whatever it looks like) succeed?

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Illinois Students Suspected of Cyberbullying Must Provide Social Media Passwords
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '15 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-can-trust-us department:
derekmead writes: School districts in Illinois are telling parents that a new law may require school officials to demand the social media passwords of students if they are suspected in cyberbullying cases or are otherwise suspected of breaking school rules. The law (PDF), which went into effect on January 1, defines cyberbullying and makes harassment on Facebook, Twitter, or via other digital means a violation of the state's school code, even if the bullying happens outside of school hours. A letter sent out to parents in the Triad Community Unit School District #2, a district located just over the Missouri-Illinois line near St. Louis, that was obtained by Motherboard says that school officials can demand students give them their passwords.

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Microsoft Reveals Windows 10 Will Be a Free Upgrade
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '15 at 11:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's try-it-free department:
mpicpp was one of many to point out this bit of news about Windows 10."Microsoft just took another big step toward the release of Windows 10 and revealed it will be free for many current Windows users. The company unveiled the Windows 10 consumer preview on Wednesday, showcasing some of the new features in the latest version of the operating system that powers the vast majority of the world's desktop PCs. The developer preview has been available since Microsoft first announced Windows 10 in the fall, but it was buggy, limited in scope and very light on new features. Importantly, Windows 10 will be free for existing Windows users running versions of Windows back to Windows 7. That includes Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and Windows Phone. Microsoft specified it would only be free for the first year, indicating Windows would be software that users subscribe to, rather than buy outright. Microsoft Corporate Vice President of the Operating Systems Group Joe Belfiore showed off some of the new features in Windows 10. While Microsoft had already announced it would bring back the much-missed Start Menu, Belfiore revealed it would also have a full-screen mode that includes more of the Windows 8 Start screen. He said Windows machines would go back and forth between to two menus in a way that wouldn't confuse people. Belfiore also showed a new notification center for Windows, which puts a user's notifications in an Action Center menu that can appear along the right side, similar to how notifications work in Apple OS X. Microsoft Executive Vice President of Operating Systems Terry Myerson revealed that 1.7 million people had downloaded the Windows 10 developer preview, giving Microsoft over 800,000 individual piece of feedback. Myerson explained that Windows 10 has several main intents: the give users a mobility of experience from device to device, instill a sense of trust in users, and provide the most natural ways to interact with devices."

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Moot Retires From 4chan
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '15 at 10:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's fare-thee-well department:
vivaoporto writes Moot bids his final farewell as the administrator of the (in)famous imageboard. The full resignation letter can be read on the site blog (it's cool, it's SFW) but for those who are not brave enough to dwell in the "underbelly of the internet" here are some excerpts: "I founded 4chan eleven and a half years ago at the age of 15, and after more than a decade of service, I've decided it's time for me to move on. 4chan has faced numerous challenges... [B]ut the biggest hurdle it's had to overcome is myself. As 4chan's sole administrator, decision maker, and keeper of most of its institutional knowledge, I've come to represent an uncomfortably large single point of failure. I've spent the past two years working behind the scenes to address these challenges,... [T]he site isn't in danger of going under financially any time soon,... and while I've still been calling the shots, I've delegated many of my responsibilities to a handful of trusted volunteers, most of whom have served the site for years. That foundation will now be put to the ultimate test, as today I'm retiring as 4chan's administrator.... I look forward to one day returning to 4chan as its Admin Emeritus or just another Anonymous,... I'm humbled to have had the privilege of both founding and presiding over what is easily one of the greatest communities to ever grace the Web."

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The Tech Industry's Legacy: Creating Disposable Employees
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '15 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's train-your-replacement-to-train-your-replacement department:
An anonymous reader writes: VentureBeat is running an indictment of the tech industry's penchant for laying off huge numbers of people, which they say is responsible for creating a culture of "disposable employees." According to recent reports, layoffs in the tech sector reached over 100,000 last year, the highest total since 2009. Of course, there are always reasons for layoffs: "Companies buy other companies and need to rationalize headcount. And there's all that disruption. Big companies, in particular, are seeing their business models challenged by startups, so they need to shed employees with skills they no longer need, and hire people with the right skills."

But the article argues that this is often just a smokescreen. "The notion here is that somehow these companies are backed into a corner, with no other option than to fire people. And that's just not true. These companies are making a choice. They're deciding that it's faster and cheaper to chuck people overboard and find new ones than it is to retrain them. The economics of cutting rather than training may seem simple, but it's a more complex calculation than most people believe. ... Many of these companies are churning through employees, laying off hundreds on one hand, while trying to hire hundreds more."


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Microbots Deliver Medical Payload In Living Creature For the First Time
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '15 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's unless-you-count-star-trek department:
Zothecula writes: Researchers working at the University of California, San Diego have claimed a world first in proving that artificial, microscopic machines can travel inside a living creature and deliver their medicinal load without any detrimental effects. Using micro-motor powered robots propelled by gas bubbles made from a reaction with the contents of the stomach in which they were deposited, these miniature machines have been successfully deployed in the body of a live mouse.

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Gender and Tenure Diversity In GitHub Teams Relate To Higher Productivity
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '15 at 08:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's bad-news-for-my-clone-army department:
New submitter Bogdan Vasilescu writes: Diversity in teams is a double-edged sword. Increased team diversity results in more varied backgrounds and ideas, providing the team with access to broader information, enhanced creativity, adaptability, and problem solving skills. However, due to greater perceived differences in values, norms, and communication styles in more diverse teams, members become more likely to engage in stereotyping, cliquishness, and conflict.

In a recent study, researchers from University of California, Davis and Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands have analyzed the effects of gender and tenure diversity on productivity and turnover for more than 23,000 open-source projects on GitHub. Using regression modeling, they showed that after controlling for team size and other confounds (such as a project's age, development model, or amount of social activity), both gender and tenure diversity are positive and significant predictors of productivity, together explaining a small but significant fraction of the data variability. On an economic and societal scale, these findings suggest that added investments in educational and professional training efforts and outreach for female programmers will likely result in added overall value.

The paper describing the results (preprint PDF here) will be presented at the prestigious ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, in Seoul, South Korea, in April 2015.


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DARPA Wants Atlas Robot To Go Wireless
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '15 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's need-mobility-to-kill-all-humans department:
mikejuk writes: Atlas is a humanoid robot, one of the most advanced in the world. But it's always had cables that provided it with power and made it look a little like a dog on a leash. It was designed to provide a hardware platform for teams competing in the DARPA Robotics Challenge — a competition designed to encourage the construction of an effective disaster response robot. DARPA now says the finals of the challenge later in the year will require that the robots be completely wireless.

Power will be supplied by an onboard 3.7 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. That battery will drive a variable-pressure pump which operates all of the hydraulic systems. The pump makes ATLAS much quieter, but introduces a complication for the teams: it can be run at low pressure to save power and then switched to high pressure to get harder work done. Managing power consumption will be a very difficult task, but DARPA has also upped the prize money to $3.5 million in total.


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Time For Microsoft To Open Source Internet Explorer?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '15 at 07:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's if-you-can't-beat-'em department:
An anonymous reader writes: Ars Technica's Peter Bright argues that it's time for Microsoft to make Internet Explorer open source. He points out that IE's major competitors are all either fully open source (Firefox), or partially open source (Chrome, Safari, and Opera), and this puts Microsoft at a huge disadvantage. Bright says, "It's time for Microsoft to fit in with the rest of the browser industry and open up Trident. One might argue that this argument could be made of any software, and that Microsoft should by this logic open source everything. But I think that the browser is special. The community that exists around Web standards does not exist in the same way around, say, desktop software development, or file system drivers, or user interfaces. Development in the open is integral to the Web in an almost unique way. ... Although Microsoft has endeavored to be more open about how it's developing its browser, and which features it is prioritizing, that development nonetheless takes place in private. Developing in the open, with a public bug tracker, source code repositories, and public discussion of the browser's future direction is the next logical step."

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Facebook Will Let You Flag Content As 'False'
Posted by News Fetcher on January 21 '15 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's things-that-definitely-certainly-won't-ever-be-abused-at-all department:
jfruh writes: If you're tired of seeing fake or misleading news articles posted by your friends to Facebook and then spreading like wildfire, you might be in luck. In a system that's something like Slashdot comment moderation on a grand scale, you'll now be able to flag a story as false. Links that have been flagged this way by many users will appear less frequently in people's newsfeeds, or with a disclaimer attached.

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