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The Courts

George Zimmerman Acquitted In Death of Trayvon Martin 1737

Posted by timothy
from the you-can-now-stop-submitting-the-news dept.
theodp writes "Following nearly three weeks of testimony, a jury of six women in the George Zimmerman trial has found the former neighborhood watch volunteer not guilty of second-degree murder. He was also found not guilty of the lesser offense of manslaughter, which the jury also weighed."
The Courts

Whistleblowing IT Director Fired By FL State Attorney 569

Posted by timothy
from the also-he-was-probably-using-a-computer dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Ben Kruidbos, the IT director for the Florida State Attorney's Office who'd spoken up when important cellphone evidence he'd extracted from Trayvon Martin's cellphone was withheld by the state from the defense, was fired by messenger at 7:30 PM Friday, after closing arguments in the Zimmerman case. He was told that he could not be 'trusted to set foot in this office,' and that he was being fired for incompetence. Kruidbos had received a merit pay raise earlier this year. The firing letter also blames him for consulting a lawyer, an obvious sign of evil."
Biotech

A Scientist's Quest For Perfect Broccoli 118

Posted by timothy
from the how-about-sweeter-kale dept.
HonorPoncaCityDotCom writes "For all the wonders of fresh broccoli, in most parts of the country it is only available from local growers during the cooler weeks at either end of the growing season, nowhere near long enough to become a fixture in grocery stores or kitchens. But now Michael Moss writes in the NY Times that Thomas Bjorkman is out to change all that by creating a new version of the plant that can thrive in hot, steamy summers like those in New York, South Carolina or Iowa and is easy and inexpensive enough to grow in large volumes. And Bjorkman's quest doesn't stop there: His crucifer is also crisp, subtly sweet and utterly tender when eaten fresh-picked and aims to maximize the concentration of glucoraphanin, a mildly toxic compound used by plants to fight insects that in humans may stimulate our bodies' natural chemical defenses to aid in preventing cancer and warding off heart disease. The Eastern Broccoli Project's goal is to create a regional food network for an increasingly important and nutritious vegetable that may serve as a model network for other specialty crops to help shift American attitudes toward fruits and vegetables by increasing their allure and usefulness in cooking, while increasing their nutritional loads. 'If you've had really fresh broccoli, you know it's an entirely different thing,' says Bjorkman, a plant scientist at Cornell University. 'And if the health-policy goal is to vastly increase the consumption of broccoli, then we need a ready supply, at an attractive price.'"
Government

Reconciling Human Rights With Ubiquitous Online Surveillance 133

Posted by timothy
from the fine-words-butter-no-parsnips dept.
Max_W writes "Here is the text of Article #12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 'No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.' U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay said yesterday 'While concerns about national security and criminal activity may justify the exceptional and narrowly-tailored use of surveillance programs, surveillance without adequate safeguards to protect the right to privacy actually risks impacting negatively on the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.' Is it realistic to expect the compliance with this article from the world's major players in the age of large storage disks, fast networks and computers? Or are we entering a new brave world, a new phase of human civilization, where quaint notions of privacy and traditional moral principles are becoming ridiculous? Then what to do with the Article #12? Shall it be 'intentionally left blank'? Shall it be updated to a new wording? What words could they be?" In the U.S. and the EU, government bodies are fond of coming up with domain-specific bills of rights, not so big on publicly striking out the various guarantees.
Intel

Casting a Jaundiced Eye On AnTuTu Benchmark Claims Favoring Intel 82

Posted by timothy
from the surely-there's-a-perfectly-innocent-explanation dept.
MojoKid writes "Recently, industry analysts came forward with the dubious claim that Intel's Clover Trail+ low power processor for mobile devices had somehow seized a massive lead over ARM's products, though there were suspicious discrepancies in the popular AnTuTu benchmark that was utilized to showcase performance. It turns out that the situation is far shadier than initially thought. The version used in testing with the benchmark isn't just tilted to favor Intel — it seems to flat-out cheat to accomplish it. The new 3.3 version of AnTuTu was compiled using Intel's C++ Compiler, while GCC was used for the ARM variants. The Intel code was auto-vectorized, the ARM code wasn't — there are no NEON instructions in the ARM version of the application. Granted, GCC isn't currently very good at auto-vectorization, but NEON is now standard on every Cortex-A9 and Cortex-A15 SoC — and these are the parts people will be benchmarking. But compiler optimizations are just the beginning. Apparently the Intel code deliberately breaks the benchmark's function. At a certain point, it runs a loop that's meant to be performed 32x just once, then reports to the benchmark that the task completed successfully. Now, the optimization in question is part of ICC (the Intel C++ compiler), but was only added recently. It's not the kind of procedure you'd call by accident. AnTuTu has released an updated "new" version of the benchmark in which Intel performance drops back down 20-50%. Systems based on high-end ARM devices again win the benchmark overall, as they did previously."
Businesses

Say What? Wading Through the Nonsense In Microsoft's Re-Org Memo 165

Posted by timothy
from the spend-more-time-with-family dept.
curtwoodward writes "Steve Ballmer's attempt to reorganize Microsoft into a more focused company will define his legacy as CEO. So you'd think the wordsmiths in Redmond would take a little time ensuring their message was crystal-clear, right? Not exactly. Ballmer's big, gung-ho memo to Microsofties, posted on the company's website, is chock full of nonsense and corporate executive doublespeak — or, as Ballmer might say, `high-value experiences' that will `involve repartitioning the work' and `drive partners across our integrated strategy and its execution.' Huh?" Honest language in corporate communications is a rare quality. I suspect there's a special language-butchering training course that most C-level executives enthusiastically complete.
Input Devices

Ask Slashdot: Low-Latency PS2/USB Gaming Keyboards? 177

Posted by timothy
from the edge-of-the-edge-cases dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I've a cheap but low latency mouse (A4Tech) and I noticed my trusty old wired Logitech PS/2 keyboard seems at least 50ms slower (if not more) than the mouse when I test with those reaction time sites. I even increased finger travel distance over my mouse button to make it fairer and the difference still remains. So either the tests are slower with keyboards or my keyboard is high latency. Assuming the latter any suggestions for a good reasonably priced gaming keyboard? Extra function keys might be nice but since my hands aren't big what would be better is being able to output a custom key/combo if you hold down (special?) keys while pressing another key. For example I could configure it so if I hold down "Special Key 1" with pinkie or thumb and press 4 it actually outputs 9, and if I hold down shift as well it outputs shift+9 (and not just 9). Being able to replace the capslock key function and have it behave as another key (or a special modifier) would be a bonus — I've never needed capslock and have probably used it more by mistake than for its normal function, or to test how badly a PC has hung."
Google

Google Patents Displaying Athletes On Sports Fields 52

Posted by timothy
from the all-an-elaborate-joke dept.
theodp writes "Just about anyone that's familiar with sports has seen position and depth charts, in which athletes are portrayed on the athletic fields their sport is played on. But that didn't stop Google from asking for — and the USPTO granting — a patent on displaying pictures of athletes on the fields on which their sport is played, or in legal-speak, its Method, System, and Graphical User Interface for Personalized Online Sports Team Charts. 'One aspect of the invention,' explains Google, 'involves a graphical user interface on a computer that includes a graphic of an athletic playing field or a portion thereof, and a plurality of player positions on the athletic field. At least some of the player positions contain thumbnail images selected by a first user. The thumbnail images provide links to corresponding profiles in an online social network.' Six Googlers, including Orkut Buyukkokten, were credited as inventors in the 2007 patent application."
Space

When Space Weather Attacks Earth 176

Posted by timothy
from the nature-black-and-cold-and-harsh dept.
Lasrick writes "Brad Plumer details the 1859 solar storm known as the Carrington Event. Pretty fascinating stuff: 'At the time, it was a dazzling display of nature. Yet if the same thing happened today, it would be an utter catastrophe...That's not a lurid sci-fi fantasy. It's a sober new assessment by Lloyd's of London, the world's oldest insurance market. The report notes that even a much smaller solar-induced geomagnetic storm in 1989 left 6 million people in Quebec without power for nine hours.'"
Databases

Ask Slashdot: Learning DB the Right Way; Books, Tutorials, or What? 106

Posted by timothy
from the first-you'll-need-to-choose-a-safeword dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I have deep experience programming in many languages, and I've some exposure to SQL through PostgreSQL. My math goes so far as trig and algebra, with a little statistics. So far, I've learned enough to be dangerous: mostly via other people's code, experimenting, the PostgreSQL docs, etc. I've been successful using the DB in various ways, but I know I am missing a great deal (and probably doing it wrong, at that.) When DB articles come up on Slashdot, I don't recognize a good deal of the terminology. What is the best way for a technical person to learn SQL/DB work using PostgreSQL? Books? Tutorials? I should mention I don't have local access to a university or people with DB knowledge; have to do this on my own, so books or the Internet are pretty much my options."
Cellphones

Microsoft Sues US Customs For Allowing Imports of Banned Motorola Phones 87

Posted by timothy
from the we-seek-this-rent-wholeheartedly dept.
SmartAboutThings writes "Microsoft filed a lawsuit on Friday accusing the United States Customs of secretly meeting with Google representatives to allow imports of Motorola devices that are infringing on Microsoft's ActiveSync technology and therefore should be banned." The article lists 18 (older) Android devices that are named in the complaint; Xoom owners just got some street cred.
Graphics

Wayland 1.2.0 Released With Weston 122

Posted by timothy
from the somewhere-there's-a-kid-named-wayland-weston dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Wayland 1.2 & Weston 1.2 have been released. Features of this quarterly update to the X.Org/Mir display competitor is support for color management, a new input method framework, a Raspberry Pi renderer/back-end, HiDPI output scaling, multi-seat improvements, and various other changes for this next-generation Linux desktop display protocol and compositor."
Transportation

Smartphones May Help Reduce Traffic In the Near Future 144

Posted by timothy
from the watch-out-for-the-regulatory-capture dept.
crazyvas writes "From the New York Times: 'Experts say services that use smartphones to connect drivers and passengers could help end the reign of single-occupant cars (and unending traffic) in Los Angeles.' One would hope that combined with a recent article from Time stating that Generation Y doesn't think car ownership is cool this might pave the way for less car traffic, more efficient public transit, more pedestrians and bikers, even leading to a healthier population?"
Privacy

Microsoft's Cooperation With NSA Either Voluntary, Or Reveals New Legal Tactic 193

Posted by timothy
from the man-in-the-middle-attack dept.
holy_calamity writes "When Microsoft re-engineered its online services to assist NSA surveillance programs, the company was either acting voluntarily, or under a new kind of court order, reports MIT Technology Review. Existing laws were believed to shelter companies from being forced to modify their systems to aid surveillance, but experts say the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court may now have a new interpretation. Microsoft's statement about its cooperation with NSA surveillance doesn't make it clear whether it acted under legal duress, or simply decided that to helping out voluntarily was in its best interest."
Businesses

Texas & Florida Vie For Private Lunar Company Golden Spike's HQ 38

Posted by timothy
from the let's-settle-this-out-back dept.
MarkWhittington writes "The Denver Post reported on July 12, 2013 that Texas and Florida, already embroiled in a fight over which state will be the venue for SpaceX's commercial space port, are now vying to be the site of the headquarters of a company that, while smaller, has much loftier ambitions. Golden Spike, the Boulder, Colorado based company that proposes to start commercial space flights to the moon with paying customers, is being courted by Texas and Florida to leave Colorado and to relocate its headquarters in either state."
IOS

eBay Dips Toes Into 3-D Printing Market With iOS App 26

Posted by timothy
from the now-ebay-fakes-can-be-genuine dept.
An anonymous reader writes "eBay has announced a new iOS app called eBay Exact that lets you buy customizable 3D-printed merchandise on the go. You can download the new addition now directly from Apple's App Store. The products in question are available from three leading 3D printing companies, according to eBay: Brooklyn-based MakerBot, France-based Sculpteo, and Toronto, Canada-based Hot Pop Factory. Currently, customers can choose from only about 20 items, ranging from technology accessories to jewelry, but that number is likely to grow fairly quickly."
Books

Are Amazon Vine Reviews of Technical Books a Joke? 126

Posted by timothy
from the you-should-try-the-craiglist-personals dept.
First time accepted submitter jasax writes "As an Amazon frequent buyer, I rely quite a lot on reviews of the books I want. However, some caution is in order: the (bad) quality of Amazon's reviews and reviewers under the Amazon Vine program has already been news in Slashdot. Today I was shocked by a practical result of that program. This second edition (published in 2012) of a very specialized system identification book has 12 reviews: the oldest (dated 2007) certainly targets the first edition. The remaining 11 reviews are all from 'Vine Reviewers' (VRs). All seem to be ignorant of what 'System Identification in the Frequency Domain' really is. None of the reviews is tagged with a 'Verified Amazon Purchase'; most (if not all) are 'small talk reviews' peppered with technical phrases cloning the publisher's book description, and some of the reviews are ridiculous, to say the least. If this sample of reviewing by VRs really is the norm, then the bottom line is that the Vine program is totally irrelevant and unreliable — at least for technical books."

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