Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
MarkWhittington writes, quoting himself: "PETA is incensed over an article in the Huffington Post that details that organization's unsettling practice of euthanizing animals in a Virginia facility that many have assumed is a no kill shelter. According to the New York Post, PETA wants to sue some of the people who have left comments on the article. The problem is that, following the practice of many on the Internet, many of the comments are under assumed names or are anonymous. PETA is attempting to discover the true identities of their critics so that it can sue them for defamation."
SandmanWAIX writes "In an embarrassing revelation today it appears as though the blueprints to the new Australian federal intelligence agency ASIO headquarters have been stolen, reportedly by a cyber attack originating from China. Several other governmental departments have been reported as being breached also. The blueprints which have been compromised include the security system, comms network, floor plan and server locations of the new ASIO headquarters located in the Australian capital city, Canberra."
retroworks writes "Bloomberg News reporter Adam Minter writes in today's Opinion section that several studies show that there's nothing really remarkable or scandalous about exports of used equipment to developing nations. 'Some is recycled; some is repaired and refurbished for reuse; and some is thrown into landfills or incinerators. Almost none of it, however, is "dumped" overseas.' Minter begins with the most recent study (PDF), released by the U.S. International Trade Commission in March 2013. Several other studies from Peru, Nigeria, Ghana and China show there was never an incentive for overseas buyers to pay money to import junk, and that most of the junk filmed by activists in the dumps in those nations was used for years (Nigeria has had TV since the 1970s). 'A 2011 study by the United Nations Environment Program determined that only 9 percent of the used electronics imported by Nigeria — a country that is regularly depicted as a dumping ground for foreign e-waste — didn't work or were unrepairable, and thus bound for a recycler or a dump. The other 91 percent were reusable and bound for consumers who couldn't afford new products.' The one data source Bloomberg cannot find is a data point for the widely reported 'statistic' that 80-90% of used electronics imported by Africans are burned or dumped. In the comment section, two advocates for legislation banning the exports object to the survey methodology of one of the studies. But the source of the original statistic, reported by Greenpeace and Basel Action Network in their fundraising campaigns, remains a mystery."
New submitter nekohayo writes "While Wayland/Weston 1.1 brought support to the Raspberry Pi merely a month ago, work has recently been done to bring true hardware-accelerated compositing capabilities to the RPi's graphics stack using Weston. The Raspberry Pi foundation has made an announcement about the work that has been done with Collabora to make this happen. X.org/Wayland developer Daniel Stone has written a blog post about this, including a video demonstrating the improved reactivity and performance. Developer Pekka Paalanen also provided additional technical details about the implementation." Rather than using the OpenGL ES hardware, the new compositor implementation uses the SoC's 2D scaler/compositing hardware which offers "a scaling throughput of 500 megapixels per second and blending throughput of 1 gigapixel per second. It runs independently of the OpenGL ES hardware, so we can continue to render 3D graphics at the full, very fast rate, even while compositing."
First time accepted submitter aravenwood writes "The New York Times and the Times of Israel report today that artificial intelligence and a network of 100 computers in a basement in Tel Aviv University are being used to match 320,000 fragments of documents dating as far back as the 9th century in an attempt to reassemble the original documents. Since the trove of documents from the Jewish community of Cairo was discovered in 1896 only about 4000 of them have been pieced together, and the hope is that the new technique, which involves taking photographs of the fragments and using image recognition and other algorithms to match the language, spacing, and handwriting style of the text along with the shape of the fragment to other fragments could revolutionize not only the study of this trove documents, which has been split up into 67 different collections around the world since its discovery, but also how humanities disciplines study documents like these. They expect to make 12 billion comparisons of different fragments before the project is completed — they have already performed 2.8 billion. Among the documents, some dating from 950, was the discovery of letters by Moses Maimonides and that Cairene Jews were involved in the import of flax, linen, and sheep cheese from Sicily."
awaissoft writes "Better Place hoped to transform the energy industry with electric cars and battery switching stations. Better Place wanted to make the world a better place by replacing gas stations with battery switching stations that would remove the driving mileage limitations from electric cars and eventually rid the world of fossil-fuel burning vehicles. But after six years and burning through $850 million, the company is filing for liquidation in an Israeli court. As reported by the Associated Press, Better Place's Board of Directors issued a written statement Sunday announcing that the company was winding down."
An anonymous reader writes "Techcrunch takes a look at why so many people seem to make fun of Google Glass. From the article: 'Google Glass isn't even on sale yet and there is already a noticeable backlash against Google's first experiment in wearable computing. It's odd to see a product that was greeted with so much hype a year ago endure the love-hate cycle so quickly – even though there are only a few thousand units in the wild. Sure, we've done our share to popularize "glasshole" as a way to describe its users, but the backlash seems to go beyond the usual insidery tech circles.'"
garymortimer writes "Germany's national railway company, Deutsche Bahn, plans to test small drones to try to reduce the amount of graffiti being sprayed on its property. The idea is to use airborne infra-red cameras to collect evidence, which could then be used to prosecute vandals who deface property at night. A company spokesman said drones would be tested at rail depots soon."
Zothecula writes "Robots are getting down to the size of insects, so it seems only natural that they should be getting insect eyes. A consortium of European researchers has developed the artificial Curved Artificial Compound Eye (CurvACE) which reproduces the architecture of the eyes of insects and other arthropods. The aim isn't just to provide machines with an unnerving bug-eyed stare, but to create a new class of sensors that exploit the wide field of vision and motion detecting properties of the compound eye."
An anonymous reader writes "Unlike most Bond villains, 70-year-old James Turrell has turned a 389,000-year-old extinct volcano into something other than a secret hideout; he's turned it into a naked-eye observatory. From the article: 'Inside, the crater's naturally lit viewing rooms are precision-engineered to observe specific celestial events. While outside, Turrell has reformed the rim of the crater to create a beautiful "vaulting effect" of the sky in a way that we almost never see it. "I'm very interested in how we perceive, because that's how we construct the reality in which we live," Turrell says, "and I like to tweak that a little bit. I make structures that arrest and apprehend light for our perception."'"
New submitter geirlk writes "Toms Hardware reports that 'Group program manager of Xbox Incubation & Prototyping Jeff Henshaw recently told OXM that for every console Microsoft builds, it will provision the CPU and storage equivalent of three Xbox One consoles in the cloud. This allows developers to assume that there's roughly three times the resources immediately available to their game. Thus, developers can build bigger, persistent levels that are more inclusive for players.'"
First time accepted submitter jahard writes "It's not clear yet whether the preliminary look will result in anything more. The FTC and the Justice Department don't investigate behemoths like Google on a lark, so there's at least a decent chance they'll find reason to look deeper. But according to several online ad sources, the evidence is mixed, and some–even at least one competitor–say Google is playing fair with its so-called 'stack' of ad technologies. Contacted for comment, Google provided only a terse statement: 'We have not heard anything from the FTC regarding any new antitrust investigation.'"
Taco Cowboy writes "Those of you who like free beer, watch out! The practice of fracking for shale gas may ruin the beer you drink. Under the 'Reinheitsgebot,' or German purity law, brewers have to produce beer using only malt, hops, yeast and water. 'The water has to be pure and more than half [of] Germany's brewers have their own wells which are situated outside areas that could be protected under the government's current planned legislation on fracking,' said a Brauer-Bund spokesman. The Brauer-Bund beer association is worried that fracking for shale gas, which involves pumping water and chemicals at high pressure into the ground, could pollute water used for brewing and break a 500-year-old industry rule on water purity."
An anonymous reader writes "The hilariously named 'Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property' has finally released its report, an 84-page tome that's pretty bonkers. But there's a bit that stands out as particularly crazy: a proposal to legalize the use of malware in order to punish people believed to be copying illegally. The report proposes that software would be loaded on computers that would somehow figure out if you were a pirate, and if you were, it would lock your computer up and take all your files hostage until you call the police and confess your crime. This is the mechanism that crooks use when they deploy ransomware."
An anonymous reader writes "It's reported that Yahoo has formally put in a bid to buy Hulu only a week after adding Tumblr to the family. From the article: 'Yahoo just spent $1.1 billion of its cash hoard to acquire Tumblr, a blogging site with 300 million mostly young-ish visitors and 24 billion minutes of usage per month. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's team can slap a lot of tasteful, personalized native ads into the Tumblr content streams to monetize the fast growing site. It's the same way that Facebook and Twitter hope to get into the tens of billions in revenue league, but it's a long and winding road. Now Yahoo is taking a run at Hulu, with its 4 million subscribers paying $7.99 per month, original programming , and more than 70,000 full TV episodes. Hulu could immediately put Yahoo's video efforts and revenue in a different league.'"