By timothy from Slashdot's whew-that's-a-relief-said-all-the-celebrities department
4chan might have introduced a DMCA policy
, but Reddit goes farther: VentureBeat reports that the online community known as The Fappening has been dissolved by Reddit
, in response to its use in posting and sharing many of the photos leaked from dozens of celebrities
This isn’t the first time Reddit has decided to take action to ban certain questionable communities from its site, as its previously killed other subreddits like Creepshots for similar invasions of privacy as well as banned well-known power users shown to enable such actions. ... Reddit system admin Jason Harvey (aka “alienth”) attempted to cool some of the fuss by starting that discussion about why the company decided to ban the subreddit. Most of it boils down to Reddit waiting too long to speak up about it before making the decision to ban, while assuming its users would mostly understand why it took place. ... “If Reddit is truly to be a platform that’s open in any way, it needs transparency when (heavy handed) actions such as these are taken,” said Reddit user SaidTheCanadian in response to Harvey, while also suggesting the company create a “public log” of sorts showing all banning actions as well as explanations for each instance of a banned community. “I don’t want to be part of a community where community voices are silenced without meaningful notice or explanation. (No one really does like that secret police feeling.)”
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By timothy from Slashdot's everybody's-got-a-theory department
It surely won't be the last theory offered, but a century and a quarter after the notorious crimes of Jack the Ripper, an "armchair detective" has employed DNA analysis on the blood-soaked shawl of one of the Ripper's victims, and has declared it in a new book an unambiguous match
with Jewish immigrant Aaron Kosminski
, long considered a suspect
. Kosminski died in 1919 in an insane asylum. The landmark discovery was made after businessman Russell Edwards, 48, bought the shawl at auction and enlisted the help of Dr Jari Louhelainen, a world-renowned expert in analysing genetic evidence from historical crime scenes. Using cutting-edge techniques, Dr Louhelainen was able to extract 126-year-old DNA from the material and compare it to DNA from descendants of [Ripper victim Catherine] Eddowes and the suspect, with both proving a perfect match.
(Also at The Independent
.) It's not the first time DNA evidence has been used to try to pin down the identidy of Jack the Ripper, but the claimed results in this case are far less ambiguous than another purported mitochondrial DNA connection promoted by crime novelist Patricia Cornwell in favor of artist William Sickert
as the killer in a 2002 book.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's people-one-day department
After several weeks of delay
, SpaceX has successfully launched from Cape Canaveral AsiaSat's communications satellite
, AsiaSat 6. This launch was originally intended to occur on August 27. However, due to a failure of an experimental SpaceX rocket during a test flight, the launch was delayed. The experimental rocket apparently malfunctioned because of a sensor error. The company stated that the same error wasn’t likely to occur in its regular Falcon 9 rocket, but wanted to “triple-check” its systems to be certain.
SpaceFlightInsider has a play-by-play on the launch process
and more details on the communications satellites aboard. . They note:[This] marked the fifth flight of the Falcon 9 in 2014. Since the company began using the booster, it had only been able to carry out about two launches annually of the rocket – until now. With the United States Air Force considering the rocket for use under the lucrative Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program and NASA already utilizing it to deliver cargo (and potentially crew) to the International Space Station, the rocket has become a popular player in terms of launch services.
The next mission that SpaceX should use the propulsive descent landing system on, is the launch of one of the firm’s Dragon spacecraft carrying out NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services 4 (SpX-4) mission – currently scheduled to take place on Sept. 19.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's political-economy department
The Washington Post carries a story from the Associated Press that says the big companies hit hardest by Judge Lucy Koh's ruling
in the "No Poaching" case have not suprisingly appealed that ruling
, which found that a proposed settlement of $324.5 million to a class-action lawsuit was too low. The suit, filed on behalf of 60,000 high-tech workers allegedlly harmed by anti-competitive hiring practices, will probably enter its next phase next January or March. (Judge Koh is probably
not very popular at Apple in particular
.) If you're one of those workers (or in an analogous situation), what kind of compensation or punitive action do you think is fair?Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's and-now-you're-safe department
An anonymous reader writes with this news from Carl Malamud
's Government Attic: "The FAA has released a set of cease and desist letters sent in 2012 and 2013 to people operating drone vehicles for a variety of purposes including: tornado research, inspecting gas well stacks, aerial photography, journalism education, and other purposes. Drone cease and desist letters sent during 2014 are available from the FAA upon request."
The text of the letters (bureaucratically polite, but bureaucratically firm) often starts with notes indicating to the UAV operators to whom they were sent that the FAA became interested in them because it "became aware of" their web sites, or even because someone tipped them off about an article in a community newsletter. The letters go on to outline the conditions under which the FAA allows the operation of unmanned aircraft, and specifically notes:Those who use UAS only for recreational enjoyment, operate in accordance with Advisory
arcular 91-57. This generally applies to operations in remotely populated areas away
from airports, persons and buildings, below 400 feet Above Ground Level, and within
visual line of sight. On February 6, 2007 the FAA published UAS guidance in the Federal
Register, 14 CPR Part 91 / Docket No. FAA-2006-25714 I Unmanned Airaaft
Operations in the National Airspace System. Toward the end of the docket it says,
''The FAA recognizes that people and companies other than modelers might be flying UAS
with the mistaken understanding that they are legally operating under the authority of AC
91-57. AC 91-57 only applies to modelers, and thus specifically excludes Its use by
pecions or companies for business purposes."Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's blood-of-the-living department
As reported by The Los Angeles Times, the World Health Organization is endorsing blood transfusions from Ebola survivors
as a treatment for those currently infected. The idea behind blood transfusion is similar to vaccination by other means, though (at least as discussed here) administered only after a patient has been infected: "The blood plasma of people who have recovered from Ebola contains antibodies that were successful in fighting off the virus. If these antibodies are pumped into an infected person, they might help the recipient fight the disease as well."
The article mentions that while there is little evidence to back the efficacy in preventing Ebola, "Transfusions were used to treat a small number of patients during the 1995 Kikwit Ebola outbreak in Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to Dr. Oyewale Tomori, a professor of virology at Redeemer's University in Nigeria. A study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases after the outbreak reported that eight patients received transfusions, and only one of them died."
The idea of blood transfusions has critics, too: Dr. William Shaffner of Vanderbilt University is skeptical, sayinghe was surprised that the WHO would make transfusions a priority in the ongoing crisis because they are labor-intensive, making it difficult to serve a large number of patients.
"You can't do this en masse," Schaffner said. "This is going to be a desperate attempt to provide something for a relatively small number of patients." Finding suitable donors may also prove more challenging than WHO officials expect, he warned. Malnutrition and other health concerns could make it more difficult to draw blood from people. "These are people who have recovered from Ebola," Schaffner said. "When are they hale and hearty enough to actually do a donation?"Read Replies (1)
By timothy from Slashdot's all-I've-got-are-these-damn-nepalese-coins department
Businessweek (in a story spotted via Tyler Cowen's Marginal Revolution
) profiles ThinkTank Learning, a college-admission consultancy founded by Steven Ma, and largely catering to ambitious Asian immigrants like Ma, and their offspring — kids who'd like to go to elite schools, and can afford to have Ma's firm help them navigate the path to getting in. It's a statistics driven system, and backed by a money-back guarantee, so long as the applicant meets certain requirements: ThinkTank will refund their tens of thousands of dollars in fees if they don't make it into the sort of school that the the ThinkTank algorithms say they will. Basically, they've reverse engineered the admissions policies at schools, particularly elite schools like MIT, Stanford, and the Ivies
, and done so well enough to know which factors in a student's portfolio can be tweaked to increase their odds of getting into the big-name schools. A slice: [Ma's] proprietary algorithm assigns varying weights to different parameters, derived from his analysis of the successes and failures of thousands of students he’s coached over the years. Ma’s algorithm, for example, predicts that a U.S.-born high school senior with a 3.8 GPA, an SAT score of 2,000 (out of 2,400), moderate leadership credentials, and 800 hours of extracurricular activities, has a 20.4 percent chance of admission to New York University and a 28.1 percent shot at the University of Southern California. Those odds determine the fee ThinkTank charges that student for its guaranteed consulting package: $25,931 to apply to NYU and $18,826 for USC. Read Replies (0)