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Programming

+ - 224 Ask Slashdot: Language With Access-Controlled Sandboxes

Submitted by ari_j
ari_j (90255) writes "I often find myself in need of a programming or scripting language with good access control. For instance, a multi-user game where each user's code and data should have only the access to other users' code and data that is expressly granted. Basically, I want the kind of access control one would expect from a good database system except I want that access control to apply to objects and method calls rather than to tables, rows, and columns. I also tire of rolling my own language. What are my turnkey or near-turnkey options?"
Canada

+ - 142 McGill University joins the MOOC platform EdX->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Harvard and MIT’s online learning consortium edX has announced the addition of six new universities to join their MOOC (Massive Online Open Courses) platform. Among them, McGill University (located in Montreal, Québec) will contribute with their McGillX courses in areas ranging from science to public policy."
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Science

+ - 127 Here's how the sequester's set to kick in at each federal research agency-> 1

Submitted by
carmendrahl
carmendrahl writes "Unless Congress and the White House act before March 1, the automatic across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester will kick in. And federal agencies are bracing for the fiscal impact. Federal agencies and the White House are releasing details about how these cuts will affect their operations. If the cuts take effect, expect fewer inspections to the food supply, cuts to programs that support cleanups at former nuclear plants, and plenty of researcher layoffs, among other things."
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Medicine

+ - 186 Doctors Identify Overused and Unnecessary Medical Procedures

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "The LA Times reports that in a new report aimed at improving healthcare and controlling runaway costs a coalition of leading medical societies has identified nearly 100 medical procedures, tests and therapies that are overused and often unnecessary. The medical interventions — including early caesarean deliveries, CT scans for head injuries in children and annual Pap tests for middle-aged women — may be necessary in some cases, the physician groups say but often they are not beneficial and may even cause harm. "We are very concerned about the rapidly escalating cost of healthcare," says Dr. Bruce Sigsbee. "This is not healthy for the country, and something has to be done." Each of the specialty medical societies has provided a list of five procedures that physicians and patients should question about the overuse of medical tests and procedures that provide little benefit and in some cases harm. For example, despite the popularity of early caesareans, there is growing evidence that babies born before 39 weeks' gestation have higher risks of learning disabilities and even death. American doctors also order nearly twice as many CT and MRI exams as doctors in other industrialized countries and they perform more knee replacements and deliver more babies by caesarean section. A growing number of experts have concluded that much medical care in the U.S. is wasteful and even dangerous for patients. A 2012 report from the independent Institute of Medicine estimated total waste in the system at 30%, or $750 billion a year. "Millions of Americans are increasingly realizing that when it comes to healthcare, more is not necessarily better," says Dr. Christine K. Cassel."
Google

+ - 117 RIAA: Anti-piracy Downranking by Google Not Yielding Results->

Submitted by hypnosec
hypnosec (2231454) writes "RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), the trade group of the top three recording labels in the US, has claimed that Google’s anti-piracy measures of downranking pirate sites is not yielding any results and that the accused sites are constantly appearing at the top of Google’s search results. In a blog post the RIAA questioned the success of Google’s strategy of demoting piracy websites and said, "We have found no evidence that Google’s policy has had a demonstrable impact on demoting sites with large amounts of piracy.""
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Chrome

+ - 182 The Chromebook Pixel is real, and expensive->

Submitted by Lirodon
Lirodon (2847623) writes "Just when you thought Google's rumored Chrome OS laptop, the Chromebook Pixel, was an elaborate fake, think again. This high-end Chromebook with a 12.85-inch high resolution touchscreen (available in both Wi-Fi only and Verizon LTE versions) and an Intel Core i5 processor under the hood is super fancy, and also super expensive: starting at $1299. Would you want to pay that much for what is essentially a premium netbook? Critics are divided..."
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+ - 191 The Deat of Slashdot-> 2

Submitted by OhSoLaMeow
OhSoLaMeow (2536022) writes "From the Daily Caller:
"A recently introduced bill in the Illinois state Senate would require anonymous website comment posters to reveal their identities if they want to keep their comments online. The bill, called the Internet Posting Removal Act, is sponsored by Illinois state Sen. Ira Silverstein. It states that a “web site administrator upon request shall remove any comments posted on his or her web site by an anonymous poster unless the anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post and confirms that his or her IP address, legal name, and home address are accurate.”
This could be the death of Slashdot: No more ACs."

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Software

+ - 193 Microsoft, BSA and Others Push for Appeal on Oracle vs. Google Ruling->

Submitted by sl4shd0rk
sl4shd0rk (755837) writes "In 2012, Oracle took Google to court over the use of Java in Android. Judge William Alsup brought the ruling that the structure of APIs could not be copyrighted at all. Emerging from the proceedings, it was learned that Alsup himself had some programming background and wasn't bedazzled by by Oracle's thin arguments on the range-checking function. The ruling came, programmers rejoiced and Oracle vowed Appeal. It seems that time is coming now, nearly a year later, as Microsoft, BSA, EMC, Netapp, et al. get behind Oracle to overturn Alsup's ruling citing "destabilization" of the "entire software industry"."
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+ - 185 Troll complaint dismissed; subscriber not necessarily infringer->

Submitted by
NewYorkCountryLawyer
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The courts are finally starting to get it, that the subscriber to an internet access account which has been used for a copyright infringement is not necessarily the infringer. In AF Holdings v. Rogers, a case in the Southern District of California, the Chief Judge of the Court has granted a motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim where the only evidence the plaintiff has against defendant is that defendant appears to have been the subscriber to the internet access account in question. In his 7-page opinion (PDF), Chief Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz noted that "just because an IP address is registered to an individual does not mean that he or she is guilty of infringement when that IP address is used to commit infringing activity"."
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Google

+ - 252 DRM Lawsuit Filed By Independent Bookstores Against Amazon, 'Big Six' Publishers->

Submitted by
concealment
concealment writes "Three independent bookstores are taking Amazon and the so-called Big Six publishers (Random House, Penguin, Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan) to court in an attempt to level the playing field for book retailers. If successful, the lawsuit could completely change how ebooks are sold.

The class-action complaint, filed in New York on Feb 15., claims that by entering into confidential agreements with the Big Six publishers, who control approximately 60 percent of print book revenue in the U.S., Amazon has created a monopoly in the marketplace that is designed to control prices and destroy independent booksellers."

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News

+ - 121 Iran Centrifuge Magnet Story Technically Questionable->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Yousaf Butt, who deconstructed the AP's unsourced graph that alleged nuclear activity in Iran, has a story just posted that takes down the recently reported issue of Iran's alleged attempts to buy 100,000 magnets for its centrifuges (reported in the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/iranian-buying-spree-raises-concerns-about-major-expansion-of-nuclear-capacity/2013/02/13/2090805c-7537-11e2-8f84-3e4b513b1a13_story.html)."
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Software

+ - 160 Why My Team Went with DynamoDB Over MongoDB->

Submitted by
Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes "Software developer Jeff Cogswell, who matched up Java and C# and peeked under the hood of Facebook's Graph Search, is back with a new tale: why his team decided to go with Amazon's DynamoDB over MongoDB when it came to building a highly customized content system, even though his team specialized in MongoDB. While DynamoDB did offer certain advantages, it also came with some significant headaches, including issues with embedded data structures and Amazon's sometimes-confusing billing structure. He offers a walkthrough of his team's tips and tricks, with some helpful advice on avoiding pitfalls for anyone interested in considering DynamoDB. "Although I’m not thrilled about the additional work we had to do (at times it felt like going back two decades in technology by writing indexes ourselves)," he writes, "we did end up with some nice reusable code to help us with the serialization and indexes and such, which will make future projects easier."
 "

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+ - 174 Drinking Coffee in Middle Age Promotes Longevity

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "If you can never decide whether you want coffee or tea in the morning, these new findings will make the decision easier. Scientists have recently discovered that drinking coffee can add years to a person's life. The study, which involved nearly half a million older Americans, revealed that the risk of death decreased the more cups of coffee participants consumed."

+ - 145 USPS to launch line of smart clothing->

Submitted by SpaceGhost
SpaceGhost (23971) writes "The Washington Post reports that the United States Postal Service has contracted with Wahconah Group, Inc. to produce a line of USPS branded smart clothing. Per USPS Licensing manager Steven Mills “This agreement will put the Postal Service on the cutting edge of functional fashion... The main focus will be to produce Rain Heat & Snow apparel and accessories using technology to create ‘smart apparel’ — also known as wearable electronics.” USPS Spokesman Roy Betts reports that the line will be found in premium department stores and specialty stores starting in 2014. The Washington Post points out that the USPS had done a similar retail line in the 1980s sold exclusively at Post Offices, but the line was discontinued after lobbyists complained of competition with the private sector"
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Power

+ - 158 Scientists develop a way to extract energy from coal without burning it ->

Submitted by Time_Ngler
Time_Ngler (564671) writes "Scientists have developed a new method to utilize the power from coal, by having it chemically react with iron-oxide pellets. Working over a span of 10 years with a budget of $15 million, barring any unforeseen problems, the new process should be ready to go into commercial production within the next 5 years. The reaction does not produce carbon dioxide and leaves water and coal ash as its byproducts. Furthermore, the iron used in the reaction can be recycled."
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Science

+ - 148 Coal Plants Are Victims of Their Own Economics->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "During the presidential campaign last fall, a single message was repeated endlessly in Appalachian coal country: President Barack Obama and his Environmental Protection Agency, critics said, had declared a "war on coal" that was shuttering U.S. coal-fired power plants and putting coal miners out of work. Not so, according to a newly-presented analysis of coal plant finances and economics. Instead, coal is losing its battle with other power sources mostly on its merits."
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PlayStation (Games)

+ - 118 Sony Announces Playstation 4->

Submitted by
_0x783czar
_0x783czar writes "Sony has today announced their next generation console, the Playstation 4. It is slated to have an x86 based AMD chipset, which is why Sony is describing the new console as a "Super Charged PC". They also hope that the x86 architecture will make it easier for developers to create games, since they will be able to write the code for the same architecture as a PC. No pictures have yet been released to show what this new console will look like, aside from the the controller: which will have a touch-pad and & camera tracked light. This new console will also focus heavily on social interaction and aims to provide an easy way to pause and share video of your last few minutes of gameplay. In addition to this, it is reported to also have the ability to let your friends remotely control your character in game so as to help you get through a difficult spot; or even just to watch as spectators. Sony hopes to have this new console compete with the Wii U and the upcoming XBox 720 (name pending), but many people are still skeptical since no actual pictures of the console have been released. "Pics or it didn't happen.""
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+ - 151 Ask Slashdot - All new computer parts [burglary]

Submitted by sc30317
sc30317 (2594629) writes "Dear Slashdotters, I am in a bit of an unusual conundrum; my house got robbed on Friday, and all of our electronics got stolen. Everything. Now, I have to go out and buy all new electronics with the insurance money. We had 5 TVs (don't ask), 3 Laptops, a Bose Sound dock with iPod, a digital camera and a Desktop stolen. It's looking like I am going to get around $10K from the insurance company to replace everything. What would you do if you had to replace ALL of your technology in your house at once?
I'm thinking:

* Replace TVs
* Nice Desktop
* New speakers
* New, cool stuff I don't know about (suggestions welcome)

I already added a DVR security system, so hopefully the new things won't get burgled! Looking for suggestions to utilize my money in order to get the best stuff. Also, no windows computers allowed in my house [because this IS slashdot, after all]

Thanks,
sc30317"

+ - 176 Are Mosquitos Becoming More Intelligent?-> 1

Submitted by Copper Nikus
Copper Nikus (1615089) writes "An article at the BBC makes a shocking claim about mosquitoes. It appears some individual insects in the wild have developed the ability to ignore the very popular DEET repelent after a first exposure. Imagine what misery this will bring to the human race if this trait spreads to the general mosquito population through the process of evolution through natural selection (or through divine intervention if you happen to be a creationist)."
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Space

+ - 197 Millionaire Plans 501 Day Mission to Mars in 2018->

Submitted by littlesparkvt
littlesparkvt (2707383) writes "Millionaire Dennis Tito became the first paying customer to make a trip to the International Space Station and now he wants to launch a privately funded mission to Mars in 2018. Dennis paid a reported 20 Million to ride aboard a Russian rocket to the International Space Station and has since stayed out of the spotlight, until now."
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Piracy

+ - 211 RIAA: Google Failing to Demote Pirate Websites->

Submitted by
Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes "The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) claims that Google has failed in its attempt to lower the search-results rankings of so-called “pirate” Websites. “We have found no evidence that Google’s policy has had a demonstrable impact on demoting sites with large amounts of piracy,” read the report’s summary (PDF). “These sites consistently appear at the top of Google’s search results for popular songs or artists.” Last August, Google indicated that it would start lowering the search-result rankings of Websites with high numbers of “valid” copyright removal notices. “This ranking change should help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily—whether it’s a song previewed on NPR’s music website, a TV show on Hulu or new music streamed on Spotify,” Amit Singhal, Google’s senior vice president of Engineering, wrote in a corporate blog posting at the time. Google, which receives millions of copyright removal notices every month, also offers a counter-notice tool for those who believe their Websites have been unfairly targeted for copyright violations."
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Cloud

+ - 140 Microsoft Azure overtakes Amazon's cloud in performance test ->

Submitted by alphadogg
alphadogg (971356) writes "Microsoft Azure's cloud outperformed Amazon Web Services in a series of rigorous tests conducted by Nasuni, a storage vendor that annually benchmarks cloud service providers (CSPs). Nasuni uses public cloud resources in its enterprise storage offering, so each year the company conducts a series of rigorous tests on the top CSPs' clouds in an effort to see which companies offer the best performing, most reliable infrastructure. Last year, Amazon Web Services' cloud came out on top, but this year Microsoft Azure outperformed AWS in performance and reliability measures. AWS is still better at handling extra-large storage volumes, while Nasuni found that the two OpenStack powered clouds it tested — from HP and Rackspace — were lacking, particularly at larger scales."
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Cellphones

+ - 223 White House Petition To Make Unlocking Phones Legal Passes 100,000 Signatures

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A White House petition to make unlocking cell phones legal again has passed the 100,000 signature mark. Passing the milestone means the US government has to issue an official response. On January 26th, unlocking a cell phone that is under contract became illegal in the U.S. Just before that went into effect, a petition was started at whitehouse.gov to have the Librarian of Congress revisit that decision. "It reduces consumer choice, and decreases the resale value of devices that consumers have paid for in full. The Librarian noted that carriers are offering more unlocked phones at present, but the great majority of phones sold are still locked.""

+ - 152 Password Protected Phone = Privacy in Canada->

Submitted by
codegen
codegen writes "The Ontario Court of Appeal has just ruled that the police can search your cellphone if you are arrested without a warrant if it is not password protected. But the ruling also stated that if it is password protected, then the police need a warrant. Previous to this case there was no decision on if the police could search your phone without a warrant in Canada."
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+ - 123 What to send a colleague (IT engineer / geek) as a get well soon gift?

Submitted by Ben Fitzgerald
Ben Fitzgerald (664712) writes "One of my colleagues is off ill at the moment and we were thinking of sending some fruit or flowers as a get well gift, but we thought that sounded a little lame. What would Slashdotters recommend as better ideas on a similar budget to send a techie to show we care and brighten their day while they are convalescing?"
Graphics

+ - 189 Blender 2.66 released->

Submitted by hochl
hochl (759409) writes "The Blender Foundation has announced a new release of the popular, free 3D design program Blender. From the release page: The Blender Foundation and online developer community is proud to present Blender 2.66. This release contains long awaited features like rigid body physics simulation, dynamic topology sculpting and matcap display. Other new features include Cycles hair rendering, support for high pixel density displays, much better handling of premultiplied and straight alpha transparency, a vertex bevel tool, a mesh cache modifier and a new SPH particle fluid dynamics solver."
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Power

+ - 171 New process that takes the energy from coal without burning it->

Submitted by
rtoz
rtoz writes "Ohio State students had come up with a scaled-down version of a power plant combustion system with a unique experimental design--one that chemically converts coal to heat while capturing 99 percent of the carbon dioxide produced in the reaction.

Typical coal-fired power plants burn coal to heat water to make steam, which turns the turbines that produce electricity. In chemical looping, the coal isn't burned with fire, but instead chemically combusted in a sealed chamber so that it doesn't pollute the air.

This new technology, called coal-direct chemical looping, was pioneered by Liang-Shih Fan, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and director of Ohio State's Clean Coal Research Laboratory"

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NASA

+ - 215 NASA's basement nuclear reactor->

Submitted by cylonlover
cylonlover (1921924) writes "If Joseph Zawodny, a senior scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center, is correct, the future of energy may lie in a nuclear reactor small enough and safe enough to be installed where the home water heater once sat. Using weak nuclear forces that turn nickel and hydrogen into a new source of atomic energy, the process offers a light, portable means of producing tremendous amounts of energy for the amount of fuel used. It could conceivably power homes, revolutionize transportation and even clean the environment."
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The Media

+ - 100 Murder, Journalism, and the Twitterverse

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "David Bullard writes that one of the most interesting things about the case of Oscar Pistorius, the disabled Olympian who killed his model girlfriend on the morning of Valentine's day, is the amount of social media activity it has spawned and how Twitter is offering a frighteningly accurate real time measure of public opinion on the case. "Early on Thursday morning there was enormous sympathy for Pistorius as the story of the "accidental" shooting was reported," writes Bullard. "That evaporated within a few hours as the police announced that they believed they were looking at a murder case." By Monday, even if there had been insufficient evidence to pin a murder charge on Pistorius, the Twitterverse had worked itself into a frenzy of hatred with the mob baying for blood. "Bizarrely, the investigation into the tragic death of Reeva Steenkamp became a sort of grotesque social media reality show with everyone invited to play. The Twitterverse was never short of opinion, most of it uninformed and much of it swayed by the latest revelation, whether confirmed or not." The story also points to a new relationship between online and print journalism that may offer a glimpse of the future. Journalists at the bail hearing are able to release short bulletins via Twitter while more established news sources like newspapers follow up with more detailed analysis. "It seems an ideal symbiotic relationship and undoubtedly sets the agenda for news reporting in the future; gobbets of need to know stuff in real time all within 140 characters followed by the expanded story on a website and in a newspaper.""

The reason that every major university maintains a department of mathematics is that it's cheaper than institutionalizing all those people.

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