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Study: Video Gamer Aggression Result of Game Experience, Not Violent Content
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '14 at 06:16 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's random-number-generators-are-the-root-of-all-evil department:
An anonymous reader writes "A new study published in the March edition of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology indicates that a gamer's experience of a video game and not the content of the game itself can give rise to violent behavior. In other words, 'researchers found it was not the narrative or imagery, but the lack of mastery of the game's controls and the degree of difficulty players had completing the game that led to frustration.' Based on their findings, researchers note that even games like Tetris and Candy Crush can inspire violent behavior more so than games like World of Warcraft or Grand Theft Auto if they are poorly designed and difficult to play."

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A 2560x1440 VR Headset That's Mobile
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '14 at 04:31 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's will-only-cost-you-$2-billion department:
New submitter oldmildog writes: "GameFace Labs may very well be the furthest along in the quest to create a mobile VR headset. It's based on Android, and their latest prototype latest is the first VR headset (mobile or tethered) to include a 2560x1440 display, with 78% more pixels than 1080p based VR headsets like the Oculus Rift DK2. CEO Ed Mason said, 'The upgrade to 1280 x 1440 per eye is monumental. Individual pixels are hard to detect at first glance, making it a more immersive and comfortable experience in every single game and experience that we've tried. A lot of the ‘presence’ described by devs at the Valve [prototype VR headset] demonstration can be attributed to their use of higher resolution (and lower persistence) panels, which has a noticeable impact in suspending disbelief and tricking the brain."

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Zombie Plants Help To Spread Bacterial Pathogen
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '14 at 03:46 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's eschews-brains-for-sunlight department:
bmahersciwriter writes: "We've all heard stories about how parasites can 'zombify' organisms, getting them to mindlessly protect a brood or infect their peers. Now UK researchers have figured out how one bacterial pathogen co-opts the behavior of a plant, causing it to attract sap-sucking insects that help the bacteria spread to other plants. From the story in Nature News: 'The plant appears alive, but it's only there for the good of the pathogen,' says plant pathologist Saskia Hogenhout from the John Innes Centre in Norwich, UK. 'In an evolutionary sense, the plant is dead and will not produce offspring.' 'Many might balk at the concept of a zombie plant because the idea of plants behaving is strange,' says David Hughes, a parasitologist at Pennsylvania State University in University Park. 'But they do, and since they do, why wouldn't parasites have evolved to take over their behavior, as they do for ants and crickets?'"

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Snowden: NSA Spied On Human Rights Workers
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '14 at 03:01 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's also-on-non-human-rights-workers department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: "The Guardian reports that according to Edward Snowden, the NSA has spied on the staff of prominent human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. 'The NSA has specifically targeted either leaders or staff members in a number of civil and non-governmental organizations including domestically within the borders of the United States.' Snowden, addressing the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, said he did not believe the NSA was engaged in 'nightmare scenarios,' such as the active compilation of a list of homosexuals 'to round them up and send them into camps.' But he did say that the infrastructure allowing this to happen had been built.

Snowden made clear that he believed in legitimate intelligence operations but said the NSA should abandon its electronic surveillance of entire civilian populations. Instead, Snowden said, it should go back to the traditional model of eavesdropping against specific targets, such as 'North Korea, terrorists, cyber-actors, or anyone else.' Snowden also urged members of the Council of Europe to encrypt their personal communications and said that encryption, used properly, could still withstand 'brute force attacks' from powerful spy agencies and others. 'Properly implemented algorithms backed up by truly random keys of significant length all require more energy to decrypt than exists in the universe.'"


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Comcast Takes 2014 Prize For Worst Company In America
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '14 at 02:16 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it's-comcastic department:
halfEvilTech writes with news that Comcast has emerged victorious from Consumerist's annual Worst Company In America contest. Comcast narrowly edged out Monsanto in the finals with 51.5% of the vote. The reigning champion for the past two years, Electronic Arts, lost in the first round to Time Warner Cable. TWC made the quarterfinals, which is notable because Comcast has proposed a merger with TWC. In fact, Comcast submitted an FCC filing today explaining why they think the deal should be allowed. They say, 'the companies don’t overlap or compete against each other.' Other strong contenders for the Worst Company in America included Chase, SeaWorld, Wal-Mart, Bank of America, and Verizon.

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A Conversation with Ubuntu's Jono Bacon (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '14 at 02:01 PM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's the-world's-leading-death-metal-free-software-advocate department:
You've probably heard Jono Bacon speak at a Linux or Open Source conference. Or maybe you've heard one of his podcasts or read something he's written in his job as Ubuntu's community manager or even, perhaps, read The Art of Community, which is Jono's well-regarded book about building online communities. Jono also wrote and performed the heavy metal version of Richard M. Stallman's infamous composition, The Free Software Song. An excerpt from the Jono version kicks off our interview, and the complete piece (about two minutes long) closes the video. Please note that this video is a casual talk with Jono Bacon, the person, rather than a talk with the "official" Ubuntu Jono Bacon. So please, pull up a chair, lean back, and join us. (Alternate Video Link)

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Google Chrome 34 Is Out: Responsive Images, Supervised Users
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '14 at 01:16 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's onward-and-upward department:
An anonymous reader writes "Google today released Chrome version 34 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The new version includes support for responsive images, an unprefixed version of the Web Audio API, and importing supervised users. You can update to the latest release now using the browser's built-in silent updater, or download it directly from google.com/chrome."

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Sony and Toyota Bring Real-Life Racing Into the Game World
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '14 at 01:01 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's driving-in-a-circle department:
cartechboy writes: "Racing games on consoles are fun, but, ultimately, they aren't real. The difference between racing around a track on a TV screen and being behind the wheel of a real car on the asphalt is substantial — there's no reset button in real life. But Sony and Toyota have teamed up to blur that line with a new Sports Drive Logger device. It's a USB data logger that maps your real-world lines around a local racing circuit using the car's data systems and GPS coordinates. Using satellite positioning, pedal depression, steering angle, gear selection, engine revs, and vehicle speed, the Sports Drive Logger replicates this data in Gran Turismo 6. You use this data in the game's telemetry screen, or watch a virtual representation of the laps you've just driven, and even compare that data against your friend's data. If you're brave enough, you can compare your data to that of a professional driver's. Unfortunately this system is only available on the Japanese-spec Toyota GT 86 (a near-twin to the Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ in the U.S.) — for now."

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China Approves Microsoft-Nokia Deal, Gets Patent Concessions In Return
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '14 at 12:01 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's go-big-or-go-home department:
itwbennett writes: "On Tuesday, China's Ministry of Commerce gave conditional regulatory approval to Microsoft's purchase of Nokia's Devices & Services business. The $7.2 billion deal means that Microsoft could very soon produce its own smartphones using the Windows Phone operating system. In return, China is requiring Microsoft and Nokia to make promises on fair patent use, fearing that the proposed acquisition between the two companies could spell trouble for the nation's Android device makers."

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Rover Curiosity Discovers Australia-Shaped Rock On Mars
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '14 at 11:31 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's let's-send-our-prisoners-there department:
astroengine writes: "NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has begun science operations in a new area of study nicknamed 'the Kimberly' after the Western Australian region. But in a new image uploaded to the Mars Science Laboratory raw image archive, it seems 'the Kimberly' is a little more Australian than mission managers originally thought. As spotted by @CoUdErMaNn on Twitter, Curiosity's Navcam photographed a rather interesting-looking rock formation just in front of the rover. The rock, which appears to have been formed through some erosion process, will likely fascinate geologists for some time. But at first glance the rock also appears to take the shape of Australia."

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Mozilla CEO Firestorm Likely Violated California Law
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '14 at 11:31 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it's-ok-california-laws-aren't-like-real-people-laws department:
theodp (442580) writes "While the rise and fall of Brendan Eich at Mozilla sparked a debate over how to properly strike a balance between an employee's political free speech and his employer's desire to communicate a particular corporate 'culture,' notes Brian Van Vleck at the California Workforce Resource Blog, the California Labor Code has already resolved this debate. 'Under California law,' Van Vleck explains, 'it is blatantly illegal to fire an employee because he has donated money to a political campaign. This rule is clearly set forth in Labor Code sections 1101-1102.' Section 1102 begins, 'No employer shall coerce or influence or attempt to coerce or influence his employees through or by means of threat of discharge or loss of employment to adopt or follow or refrain from adopting or following any particular course or line of political action or political activity.' Corporate Counsel's Marlisse Silver Sweeney adds, 'Mozilla is adamant that the board did not force Eich to resign, and asked him to stay on in another role. It also says that although some employees tweeted for his resignation, support for his leadership was expressed by a larger group of employees. And this is all a good thing for the company from a legal standpoint.' As Eich stepped down, Re/code reported that Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker said Eich's ability to lead the company had been badly damaged by the continued scrutiny over the hot-button issue. 'It's clear that Brendan cannot lead Mozilla in this setting,' Baker was quoted as saying. 'I think there has been pressure from all sides, of course, but this is Brendan's decision. Given the circumstances, this is not surprising.' Van Vleck offers these closing words of advice, 'To the extent employers want to follow in Mozilla's footsteps by policing their employees' politics in the interests of 'culture,' 'inclusiveness,' or corporate branding, they should be aware that their efforts will violate California law.'"

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Apple, Google, and Amazon's Quest For One Remote Control Is Futile
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '14 at 11:16 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's your-houseguests-will-never-be-able-to-operate-your-tv department:
smaxp writes: "If the cable and satellite live television providers were to comment on the latest Amazon Fire TV or reports of the new Google Android and Apple TVs, it would likely be in the voice and character of Charlton Heston: 'We will give up our remotes when they are pried from our cold dead hands.' Amazon's Fire TV and the rumored Google Android and Apple TVs excite and then disappoint. At first glance, it looks like cable and satellite television are about to be outflanked and the eternal struggle with the TV remote and set-top box will be solved with an intuitive interface to search both live television and archival content from streamed online video companies such as Netflix. Sadly, it isn't so. The cable and satellite companies that provide live television have made sure this won’t happen, because putting Amazon in the forefront would make live television providers’ brands less relevant. Amazon would then also have a wedge to pry its way into the live television ecosystem."

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Windows 8.1 Update Released, With Improvements For Non-Touch Hardware
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '14 at 10:01 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's don't-touch-me-there-or-there-or-there department:
DroidJason1 (3589319) writes "Microsoft has released the highly anticipated Windows 8.1 Update, adding numerous improvements for non-touch consumers based on feedback. It is also a required update for Windows 8.1, otherwise consumers will no get any future security updates after May 2014. Most of the changes in the update are designed to appease non-touch users, with options to show apps on the desktop taskbar, the ability to see show the taskbar above apps, and a new title bar at the top of apps with options to minimize, close, or snap apps."

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Stem-Cell Research Funding Institute Is Shuttered
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '14 at 09:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's politics-is-political department:
An anonymous reader writes "The National Institutes of Health, the top funder of biomedical research in the U.S., has closed a program designed to bring induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) from the lab to the clinic. It has made no public mention of the closure, but the website has been deleted and Nature News reports that the center director, Mahendra Rao, resigned his post in frustration after the program allocated funds to only one clinical trial in its last round of funding."

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Smart Car Tipping Trending In San Francisco
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '14 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's siphoning-next-the-gas-from-this-tesla department:
First time accepted submitter hackajar1 (1700328) writes "Is it a crime of opportunity or another page in the current chapter of Anti-Tech movement in San Francisco? Either way, the new crime trending in San Francisco invloves tipping Smart Cars on their side. While they only take 3 — 4 people to tip, this could just be kids simply having "fun" at the very expensive cost of car owners. Alternatively it could be part of a larger movement in San Francisco against anyone associated with HiTech, which is largely being blamed for neighborhood gentrification and rent spikes in recent years." This sounds like a story that would catch the ears of veteran reporter Roland Hedley.

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Samsung Claims Breakthrough In Graphene Chip Design
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '14 at 08:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's wopr-will-run-much-faster-after-the-upgrade department:
jfruh (300774) writes "Graphene, a carbon-based crystalline lattice that is extremely strong, lightweight, and an excellent conductor of electricity and heat, is coveted as a potential base for semiconductor chip design, and Samsung, working with the Sungkyungkwan University School of Advanced Materials Science and Engineering, has claimed a big jump towards that goal. With IBM also making progress in this realm, the days of silicon could actually be numbered."

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For the First Time, Organ Regenerated Inside a Living Animal
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '14 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's casio-not-wurlitzer department:
ananyo (2519492) writes "Scientists at Edinburgh University have successfully persuaded an organ to regenerate inside an animal. As they report in the journal Development, they have treated, in mice, an organ called the thymus, which is a part of the immune system that runs down in old age. Instead of adding stem cells they have stimulated their animals' thymuses to make more of a protein called FOXN1. This is a transcription factor (a molecular switch that activates genes). The scientists knew from earlier experiments that FOXN1 is important for the embryonic development of the thymus, and speculated that it might also rejuvenate the organ in older animals. They bred a special strain of mice whose FOXN1 production could be stimulated specifically in the thymus by tamoxifen, a drug more familiar as a treatment for breast cancer. In one-year-olds, stimulating FOXN1 production in the thymus caused it to become 2.7 times bigger within a month. In two-year-olds the increase was 2.6 times. Moreover, when the researchers studied the enlarged thymuses microscopically, and compared them with those from untreated control animals of the same ages, they found that the organs' internal structures had reverted to their youthful nature."

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German Wikipedia Has Problems With Paid Editing — and Threats of Violence
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '14 at 07:31 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's next-time-we-leave-the-rest-of-the-horse department:
metasonix (650947) writes "As German journalist Marvin Oppong learned recently, there are a number of people who work to make articles about certain corporations and trade groups on German Wikipedia 'look better.' And when Oppong published his discoveries, one reaction was an openly violent threat, aimed at him, posted on de-WP's 'Kurier' noticeboard. Just as with English Wikipedia, it is apparently a 'terrible crime' to criticize German Wikipedia, even when Jimbo Wales's 'bright line' rule on paid editing is being violated. Unlike English WP, the Germans will threaten to 'curbstone' people for saying it."

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Evidence Aside, FBI Says Russians Out To Steal Ideas From US Tech Firms
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '14 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's post-bolsheviks-in-the-washroom department:
v3rgEz (125380) writes "It sounds like a scare from 1970s Cold War propaganda or a subplot from the popular TV series "The Americans," but the FBI says the threat is real: Russian investment firms may be looking to steal high-tech intelligence from Boston-area companies to give to their country's military. Many of the firms under scrutiny are in the Boston area, including those partnered with a number of area biotech companies and with ties to MIT." And while the FBI says this could be happening, as the article points out, this pronouncement seems to be based on plausibility rather than specific incidents of such theft. One relevant excerpt: "The FBI warning comes as the Obama administration has increased pressure on Russia for its annexation of the former Ukrainian territory of Crimea by levying sanctions on some business leaders close to President Vladimir Putin. In March, the US Commerce Department banned new licenses for the export to Russia of defense-related products and “dual-use” technologies that could have military applications."

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European Court of Justice Strikes Down Data Retention Law
Posted by News Fetcher on April 08 '14 at 06:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's wish-the-u.s.-would-one-up-'em department:
New submitter nachtkap (951646) writes with some good news, as reported by the BBC: "The EU's top court has declared 'invalid' an EU law requiring telecoms firms to store citizens' communications data for up to two years. The EU Data Retention Directive was adopted in 2006. The European Court of Justice says it violates two basic rights — respect for private life, and protection of personal data. Germany's supreme court did call on the ECJ to look into this issue as well."

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