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Scientific Study Finds There Are Too Many Scientific Studies
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '15 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's my-study-can-beat-up-your-study department:
HughPickens.com writes: Chris Matyszczyk reports at Cnet that a new scientific study concludes there are too many scientific studies — scientists simply can't keep track of all the studies in their field. The paper, titled "Attention Decay in Science," looked at all publications (articles and reviews) written in English till the end of 2010 within the database of the Thomson Reuters (TR) Web of Science. For each publication they extracted its year of publication, the subject category of the journal in which it is published and the corresponding citations to that publication. The 'decay' the researchers investigated is how quickly a piece of research is discarded measured by establishing the initial publication, the peak in its popularity and, ultimately, its disappearance from citations in subsequent publications.

"Nowadays papers are forgotten more quickly. Attention, measured by the number and lifetime of citations, is the main currency of the scientific community, and along with other forms of recognition forms the basis for promotions and the reputation of scientists," says the study. "Typically, the citation rate of a paper increases up to a few years after its publication, reaches a peak and then decreases rapidly. This decay can be described by an exponential or a power law behavior, as in ultradiffusive processes, with exponential fitting better than power law for the majority of cases (PDF). The decay is also becoming faster over the years, signaling that nowadays papers are forgotten more quickly." Matyszczyk says,"If publication has become too easy, there will be more and more of it."


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NASA Launches Four Spacecraft To Study Earth-Sun Magnetism
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '15 at 10:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's space-magnets-how-do-they-work department:
An anonymous reader writes: Late Thursday NASA used an Atlas rocket to put four new, identical spacecraft into orbit. "The quartet of observatories is being placed into an oblong orbit stretching tens of thousands of miles into the magnetosphere — nearly halfway to the moon at one point. They will fly in pyramid formation, between 6 miles and 250 miles apart, to provide 3-D views of magnetic reconnection on the smallest of scales. Magnetic reconnection is what happens when magnetic fields like those around Earth and the sun come together, break apart, then come together again, releasing vast energy. This repeated process drives the aurora, as well as solar storms that can disrupt communications and power on Earth. Data from this two-year mission should help scientists better understand so-called space weather."

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BlackBerry's Latest Experiment: a $2,300 'Secure' Tablet
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '15 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's for-people-who-think-high-end-tablets-are-too-cheap department:
An anonymous reader writes: After missing the boat on smartphones, BlackBerry has been throwing everything they can at the wall to see what sticks. From making square phones to insisting users want physical keyboards, their only standard is how non-standard they've become. Now they're expanding this strategy to the tablet market with a security-centric tablet that costs $2,300. And they're not doing it alone — the base device is actually a Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.5. The tablet runs Samsung Knox boot tech, as well as software from IBM and encryption specialist Secusmart (which BlackBerry recently purchased). The device will be targeted at businesses and organizations who have particular need for secure devices.

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Senator: 'Plenty' of Domestic Surveillance We Still Don't Know About
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '15 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's they're-watching-you-right-now department:
An anonymous reader writes: In a recent interview, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has complained about the Obama administration's failure to shut down the NSA's bulk collection of phone metadata. This program and most other programs we've heard of were disclosed by Edward Snowden. But Snowden couldn't tell us everything. When asked if there were further domestic surveillance programs about which the public knows nothing, Senator Wyden said, "Yeah, there's plenty of stuff." The ones he knows about are classified, so he couldn't elaborate. "Even in cases where the public has been informed of government practices, Wyden warned the government still collects far too much information on millions of citizens with virtually no accountability."

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Prison Program Aims To Turn Criminals Into Coders
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '15 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hello-walls department:
Press2ToContinue writes with news that San Quentin, a notorious California prison, has started a program to teach a class of inmates to write code. The first class will last for six months, and the inmates are learning about programming for eight hours a day. The hope is to give them the skills to find a good job after they leave prison, which in turn would reduce their chances of recidivism. Since the state's Dept. of Corrections prohibits internet access, the class only "pretends" to be online — they can't use internet-based resources, and nobody on the outside can see or use the software they create. One of the class's backers said, 'Almost every week there's epiphanies. And most of the guys in here, they've never touched a computer before. They are progressing beyond our expectations."

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Lawsuit Over Quarter Horse's Clone May Redefine Animal Breeding
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '15 at 06:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's reasons-genetic-superhorses-will-take-over-the-world department:
schwit1 sends this report from the LA Times:
"Lynx Melody Too, a clone of a renowned quarter horse, is at the center of a lawsuit that could change the world of animal breeding and competition. Texas horse breeder Jason Abraham and veterinarian Gregg Veneklasen sued the American Quarter Horse Assn., claiming that Lynx Melody Too should be allowed to register as an official quarter horse. A Texas jury decided in their favor in 2013, but a three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that ruling in January, saying there was 'insufficient' evidence of wrongdoing by the association.

The suit is among the first to deal with the status of clones in breeding and competition, and its outcome could impact a number of fields, including thoroughbred horse racing and dog breeding. The quarter horse association is adamant that clones and their offspring have no place in its registry. "It's what AQHA was founded on — tracking and preserving the pedigrees of these American quarter horses," said Tom Persechino, executive director of marketing for the association. "When a person buys an American quarter horse, they want to know that my quarter horse has the blood of these horses running through it, not copies of it."


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Education Company Monitors Social Media For Test References
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '15 at 06:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's learning-how-to-spy-via-standardized-tests department:
theodp writes: As if people haven't found enough to hate about the new 11+ hour K-12 PARCC standardized testing, the Washington Post reports that Pearson, the world's largest education company, is monitoring social media during the administration of the PARCC Common Core test to detect any security breaches, saying it is "obligated" to alert authorities when any problems are discovered. The monitoring of social media was revealed in a message that a New Jersey School Superintendent sent to colleagues about a "Priority 1 Alert" initiated by Pearson in response to a student who referenced a PARCC test question in an after-school Tweet. The news was broken in a blog entry by former NJ Star-Ledger reporter Bob Braun, who also posted the Superintendent's message and called the monitoring of social media nothing less than "spying." Pearson has a contract of more than $100 million to administer the PARCC in New Jersey.

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Microsoft Has Received Million Pieces of Feedback For Windows 10
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '15 at 04:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what-do-you-really-think department:
jones_supa writes Microsoft's Windows Insider lead, Gabe Aul, has announced that the company has received one million pieces of feedback through the Windows 10 Technical Preview Feedback app. The app opens right from the Start Menu and it has been critical to the operating system's development allowing testers to send details to Microsoft about what they think of Windows, problems they have been facing, and if there are any improvements they would like to see. The app has been part of both desktop and phone flavors of the OS. Microsoft seems to have made a real effort lately to listen to consumer feedback and has been opening up avenues to discuss new features for some time. Have you sent feedback through the app?

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Uber Sued Over Driver Data Breach, Adding To Legal Woes
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '15 at 04:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's hits-keep-coming department:
wabrandsma writes with news about the latest trouble facing Uber. "Uber Technologies Inc has been hit with a proposed class action lawsuit over a recently disclosed data breach involving the personal information of about 50,000 drivers, the latest in a series of legal woes to hit the Internet car service. The suit, filed Thursday in federal court in San Francisco by Sasha Antman, an Uber driver in Portland, Oregon, says the company did not do enough to prevent the 2014 breach and waited too long — about five months — to disclose it. Antman says Uber violated a California law requiring companies to safeguard employee's personal information."

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Intel Will Reportedly Land Apple As a Modem Chip Customer
Posted by News Fetcher on March 15 '15 at 01:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's new-partners department:
itwbennett writes After so many years of spinning its wheels, Intel is reportedly about to make a big step into mobile by providing Apple with LTE modem chips for its hot-selling iPhone. The news comes courtesy of VentureBeat, which cites two separate sources of the plans. The story says Apple will begin using Intel's new 7360 LTE modem processor in place of a Qualcomm chip, which has been there for a few generations.

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Russia Abandons Super-Rocket Designed To Compete With SLS
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '15 at 10:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's forget-about-it department:
schwit1 writes Russia has decided to abandon an expensive attempt to build an SLS-like super-rocket and will instead focus on incremental development of its smaller but less costly Angara rocket. "Facing significant budgetary pressures, the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, has indefinitely postponed its ambitious effort to develop a super-heavy rocket to rival NASA's next-generation Space Launch System, SLS. Instead, Russia will focus on radical upgrades of its brand-new but smaller Angara-5 rocket which had its inaugural flight in Dec. 2014, the agency's Scientific and Technical Council, NTS, decided on Thursday, March 12." For Russia's space industry, it appears that these budgetary pressures have been a blessing in disguise. Rather than waste billions on an inefficient rocket for which there is no commercial demand — as NASA is doing with SLS (under orders from a wasteful Congress) — they will instead work on further upgrades of Angara, much like SpaceX has done with its Falcon family of rockets. This will cost far less, is very efficient, and provides them a better chance to compete for commercial launches that can help pay for it all. And best of all, it offers them the least costly path to future interplanetary missions, which means they might actually be able to make those missions happen. To quote the article again: "By switching upper stages of the existing Angara from kerosene to the more potent hydrogen fuel, engineers might be able to boost the rocket's payload from current 25 tons to 35 tons for missions to the low Earth orbit. According to Roscosmos, Angara-A5V could be used for piloted missions to the vicinity of the Moon and to its surface." In a sense, the race is now on between Angara-A5V and Falcon Heavy.

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Microsoft Has Received Million Pieces of Feedback For Windows 10
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '15 at 07:16 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what-do-you-really-think department:
jones_supa writes Microsoft's Windows Insider lead, Gabe Aul, has announced that the company has received one million pieces of feedback through the Windows 10 Technical Preview Feedback app. The app opens right from the Start Menu and it has been critical to the operating system's development allowing testers to send details to Microsoft about what they think of Windows, problems they have been facing, and if there are any improvements they would like to see. The app has been part of both desktop and phone flavors of the OS. Microsoft seems to have made a real effort lately to listen to consumer feedback and has been opening up avenues to discuss new features for some time. Have you sent feedback through the app?

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How To Execute People In the 21st Century
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '15 at 04:16 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's end-of-the-road department:
HughPickens.com writes Matt Ford writes in The Atlantic that thanks to a European Union embargo on the export of key drugs, and the refusal of major pharmaceutical companies to sell them the nation's predominant method of execution is increasingly hard to perform. With lethal injection's future uncertain, some states are turning to previously discarded methods. The Utah legislature just approved a bill to reintroduce firing squads for executions, Alabama's House of Representatives voted to authorize the electric chair if new drugs couldn't be found, and after last years botched injection, Oklahoma legislators are mulling the gas chamber.

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Mike Godwin Interviewed
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '15 at 03:16 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's nationalsozialistische-deutsche-arbeiterpartei department:
theshowmecanuck writes CBC Radio in Canada has just posted an interview with Mike Godwin, the originator of the famous Godwin's Law. Unbelievably it comes after a week where Canadian politicians started flinging the H word at each other. Part of the interview reads: "I really wanted people not to make silly or glib comparisons that really show no awareness of history... and I think that to that extent Godwin's Law has succeeded."

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Electrical Engineering Employment Declines Nearly 10%, But Developers Up 12%
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '15 at 02:16 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's end-of-the-engineer department:
dcblogs writes The number of people working as electrical engineers declined by 29,000 last year, continuing a long-standing trend, according to government data. But the number of software developers, the largest IT occupational category, increased by nearly 12%,or a gain of 132,000 jobs. There were 1.235 million people working as software developers last year, and 271,000 electrical engineers, according U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

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MIT Launches Three-pronged Effort To Thwart Cyber Attacks
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '15 at 01:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's that-should-do-it department:
alphadogg writes MIT is attacking cybersecurity from three angles: technical, regulatory and managerial through three programs and in partnership with major corporations. The initiatives include participants from across several MIT schools as well as from outside the university with a goal of making it harder for attackers to succeed in efforts to break into networks, disrupt them, and steal and destroy data. The technical challenge will be met by the school's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) in cooperation with a group of industry partners – BAE Systems, BBVA, Boeing and Raytheon – that will meet periodically to be briefed about ongoing research."

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Ask Slashdot: Mouse/Pointer For a Person With Poor Motor Control
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '15 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's ideas-welcome department:
First time accepted submitter wb8wsf writes I recently found that a friend of mine is losing the ability to do fine-grained motor control. This means that writing, and mouse usage is going down hill.
Watching her was hard. I'd like to come up with possible solutions for her, but I'm not sure anything I know of such as a trackball, trackpoint, etc would be of much use. So far I haven't found much wandering the net. Any pointers or ideas would be most welcome.


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Tested: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Update W/ Intel Broadwell, Self-Encrypting SSD
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '15 at 11:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's check-it-out department:
MojoKid writes Lenovo just revamped the ThinkPad X1 Carbon and in this third generation of the machine, they've adopted Intel's latest 5th generation Core Series Broadwell processors, along with a few other updates. In addition, they've retooled the keyboard and trackpad area, returning back to more traditional roots versus the second generation machine, which was met with some criticism due to its adaptive function key row and over-simplified, buttonless trackpad. Notable upgrades to this 3rd gen model are a faster Core i5-5300U processor and a self-encrypting Opal2 compliant SSD. Performance-wise, the new ThinkPad offers up some of the best numbers in utlrabooks currently, though battery life is a bit middle of the road, but still able to last over 8 hours under light, web-driven workloads."

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Algorithm Clones Facial Expressions And Pastes Them Onto Other Faces
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '15 at 10:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's I-want-that-smile department:
KentuckyFC writes Various researchers have attempted to paste an expression from one face on to another but so far with mixed results. Problems arise because these algorithms measure the way a face distorts when it changes from a neutral expression to the one of interest. They then attempt to reproduce the same distortion on another face. That's fine if the two faces have similar features. But when the faces differ in structure, as most do, this kind of distortion looks unnatural. Now a Chinese team has solved the problem with an algorithm that divides a face into different regions for the mouth, eyes, nose, etc and measures the distortion in each area separately. It then distorts the target face in these specific regions while ensuring the overall proportions remain realistic. At the same time, it decides what muscle groups must have been used to create these distortions and calculates how this would change the topology of the target face with wrinkles, dimples and so on. It then adds the appropriate shadows to make the expression realistic. The result is a way to clone an expression and paste it onto another entirely different face. The algorithm opens the way to a new generation of communication techniques in which avatars can represent the expressions as well as the voices of humans. The film industry could also benefit from an easy way to paste the expressions of actors on to the cartoon characters they voice.

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Steve Jobs's Big Miss: TV
Posted by News Fetcher on March 14 '15 at 09:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's blow-up-your-tv-throw-away-your-paper department:
jfruh writes Steve Jobs was a well-known audiophile and music lover, which helps explain why Apple transformed the music industry in the '00s with the iPod and iTunes. But according to a new biography soon to be released, Apple may have failed to do the same for TV because of Steve Jobs's disdain for the medium. One of his first acts upon returning to the company was to kill the flashy, expensive 20th Anniversary Macintosh, in part because it had a built-in TV tuner. "Apple will never make a TV again," Jobs declared.

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