An anonymous reader writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation awarded Yahoo a gold star for its diligence in fighting for user privacy in courts. From the release: 'In 2007, Yahoo received an order to produce user data under the Protect America Act (the predecessor statute to the FISA Amendments Act, the law on which the NSA’s recently disclosed Prism program relies). Instead of blindly accepting the government’s constitutionally questionable order, Yahoo fought back. The company challenged the legality of the order in the FISC, the secret surveillance court that grants government applications for surveillance. And when the order was upheld by the FISC, Yahoo didn’t stop fighting: it appealed the decision to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, a three-judge appellate court established to review decisions of the FISC. ... Yahoo went to bat for its users – not because it had to, and not because of a possible PR benefit – but because it was the right move for its users and the company. It’s precisely this type of fight – a secret fight for user privacy – that should serve as the gold standard for companies, and such a fight must be commended. While Yahoo still has a way to go in the other Who Has Your Back categories (and they remain the last major email carrier not using HTTPS encryption by default), Yahoo leads the pack in fighting for its users under seal and in secret.'" Although they did end up losing, and were forbidden from even mentioning the existence of the case until recently.
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
darthcamaro writes "The Linux Kernel Development Mailing List can be a hostile place for anyone. Now Intel developer Sarah Sharp is taking a stand and she wants the LKML to become a more civil place. Quoting her first message: 'Seriously, guys? Is this what we need in order to get improve -stable? Linus Torvalds is advocating for physical intimidation and violence. Ingo Molnar and Linus are advocating for verbal abuse. ... Violence, whether it be physical intimidation, verbal threats or verbal abuse is not acceptable. Keep it professional on the mailing lists.'" The entire thread is worth a read, but Linus isn't buying it: "Because if you want me to 'act professional', I can tell you that I'm not interested. I'm sitting in my home office wearing a bathrobe. The same way I'm not going to start wearing ties, I'm *also* not going to buy into the fake politeness, the lying, the office politics and backstabbing, the passive aggressiveness, and the buzzwords. Because THAT is what 'acting professionally' results in: people resort to all kinds of really nasty things because they are forced to act out their normal urges in unnatural ways.' He also offered cookies in exchange for joining the dark side. An earlier reply by Linus further explains why he thinks it is OK to be mean: most of the time, he's only yelling at people who should know better (cultivating a crew of lead developers bound to him by Stockholm Syndrome?).
sciencehabit writes "Europe's first farmers helped spread a revolutionary way of living across the continent. They also spread something else. A new study reveals that these early agriculturalists were fertilizing their crops with manure 8000 years ago, thousands of years earlier than previously thought."
Lasrick writes "John Mecklin explores the context that was missed when the LA Times and the San Diego Union Tribune reported on the closing of the remaining two San Onofre nuclear reactors: 'U-T San Diego published a similar flurry of well-reported stories that covered the basics of the reasons for the closure, as well as the impact on consumers, workers, and the electricity supply. At both papers, coverage included infographics that effectively explained the problem that forced the plant to close—vibration that caused wear in tubes for the plant's steam generators. (The Times's tick-tock takeout on the history of the steam generator snafu, published in July, is especially comprehensive.) The specifics of the San Onofre closing were covered well and thoroughly. The context within which those basics reside, however, was far less well-examined, and the two major newspapers closest to the San Onofre plant both therefore missed a real opportunity to inform readers about the major energy choices California and the country will need to make in the coming decade.' Excellent work at the Columbia Journalism Review."
hypnosec writes "Oracle will soon be announcing its decision to stop development of Sun virtualization technologies including Sun Ray Software and Hardware, Oracle Virtual Desktop Client, and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) product lines. In an update to its support policies [Oracle support login required] for virtualization software and hardware, the database company has revealed that this decision is a result of its efforts to 'tightly align Oracle's future desktop virtualization portfolio investments with Oracle Corporation's overall core business strategy.'"
sciencehabit writes "The tragic opera Rigoletto may move you to tears, but here's a more literal application of the moving power of sound. Sound waves with frequencies just above human hearing can levitate tiny particles and liquid droplets and even move them around, a team of engineers has demonstrated. The advance could open up new ways to handle delicate materials or mix pharmaceuticals."
ilikenwf writes "Hackaday's owner, Jason Calacanis, has decided to sell the popular hacking/modding site for around $540,000. Multiple parties are interested; the most promising buyer at the moment appears to be the current editors, who are attempting to buy the site via crowdsourcing and incorporate it under a nonprofit to keep the hacks flowing. One way or another, the site should survive."
tlhIngan writes "In an interesting move since Apple decided to partner with TSMC a few weeks ago, the Korea Economic Daily is reporting that Apple has re-signed a contract with Samsung to produce the A-series chips Apple uses to power its iPads, iPhones and iPods. TSMC is still to produce chips for Apple, though Samsung is poised to take over from 2015."
msm1267 writes "A researcher is expected to release Tortilla, an open source tool that anonymously routes TCP and DNS traffic through Tor, at the upcoming Black Hat conference. Tortilla provides a secure, anonymous means of routing traffic through Tor regardless of client software and without the need for a VPN or secure tunnel."
judgecorp writes "Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel has given her backing to proposed European privacy regulations and demanded that U.S. firms should meet German privacy rules. Merkel's stance comes as U.S. firms lobby against strict E.U. privacy proposals — but also follows revelations from Edward Snowden through German newspaper Der Spiegel, that the German authorities are helping the NSA spy on German citizens."
coolnumbr12 writes "Chris Sevier, a 36-year-old man from Tennessee, got so addicted to porn videos that his wife took his children and left him. Now he has sued Apple saying the company failed to install any filter in its devices to prevent his addiction. In a 50-page complaint, Sevier calls Apple a 'silent poisoner' responsible for the proliferation of 'arousal addiction, sex trafficking, prostitution, and countless numbers of destroyed lives.' Sevier is seeking damages from Apple, but said he we will drop the lawsuit if Apple agrees to sell devices with a 'safe mode.'"
vinces99 writes "Swarms of small earthquakes often precede a volcanic eruption. They can reach such rapid succession that they create a "harmonic tremor" that resembles sound made by some musical instruments. A new analysis of an eruption sequence at Alaska's Redoubt Volcano in March 2009 shows the harmonic tremor glided to substantially higher frequencies and then stopped abruptly just before six of the eruptions. Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey's Alaska Volcano Observatory have dubbed the highest-frequency harmonic tremor at Redoubt Volcano 'the screams' because the episodes reach such high pitch compared with a 1-to-5 hertz starting point. Alicia Hotovec-Ellis, a University of Washington doctoral student in Earth and space sciences and an author of two papers examining the phenomenon, has created a 10-second recording and a one-minute recording that provides a 60-times faster representation of harmonic tremor and small earthquakes."
An anonymous reader writes "Linus Torvalds decided to change the code name for Linux 3.11 and even submitted an alternate Tux Logo. Heise reports: 'For this release, Linus Torvalds changed the code name from "Unicycling Gorilla" to "Linux for Workgroups" and modified the logo that some systems display when booting: it now depicts a Tux holding a flag with a symbol that is reminiscent of the logo of Windows for Workgroups 3.11, which was released in 1993.'"
First time accepted submitter eionmac writes "The BBC reports that Archaeologists believe they have discovered the world's oldest lunar 'calendar' in an Aberdeenshire field. Excavations of a field at Crathes Castle found a series of 12 pits which appear to mimic the phases of the moon and track lunar months. A team led by the University of Birmingham suggests the ancient monument was created by hunter-gatherers about 10,000 years ago. The pit alignment, at Warren Field, was first excavated in 2004. The experts who analyzed the pits said they may have contained a wooden post. The Mesolithic calendar is thousands of years older than previous known formal time-measuring monuments created in Mesopotamia. The analysis has been published in the journal Internet Archaeology."
theodp writes "GeekWire reports that HP has named former Microsoft chief software architect Ray Ozzie to its Board of Directors. Ozzie, known for his early work on collaboration technologies including Lotus Notes, has been working on his own startup since leaving Microsoft in 2010. Ozzie recently sounded off on the NSA spygate affair, suggesting it's time to revisit the deal we made with the 9/11-privacy-devil."
judgecorp writes "Matt Smith, the current actor playing Doctor Who, doesn't use Facebook or Twitter, despite his geek icon status. He worries that social media encourages us to create "surrogate versions" or "celebrity versions" of ourselves. He also, arguably, doesn't need their help, being a celebrity already. Smith made the comments in St Petersburg, where he hosted the final of Microsoft's Imagine Cup for student inventors, won this year by a British team with a mesh music-playing application."
united_notions writes "An international team from UCSD and Philips Research have published a paper (article paywalled; extensive free related resources at UCS here) in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, showing the results of real-time magnetic resonance imaging conducted on a beatboxing performer. The authors make interesting comparisons to sounds in many minority languages around the world (such as the 'click' consonants in many African languages); they also show how beatboxing sounds can be represented using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)."
HonorPoncaCityDotCom writes "Stanley Coren reports that a number of new television stations are providing programming specifically designed for dogs and while many people report that their dogs completely ignore what is visible on television, with modern resolution and quicker imaging, more dogs have become potential television viewers. The increase in dog viewership is primarily attributed to the way the dog's eye works. The image on a standard television screen is updated 60 times per second and since a human's flicker fusion frequency is only 55 Hz, the image appears continuous and the gradually changing images give us the illusion of movement. However dogs can discern flickers at up to 80 Hz so with the increased availability of high-resolution digital screens that are refreshed at a much higher rate, the images are less likely to appear to be flickering to the canine eye. Presentation factors are also an issue. Dogs are most likely to respond to images that have been captured at the eye level of a dog with a low camera angle where there are moving things like animals or birds. But even if that requirement is fulfilled, most dogs do not watch television because the TV is normally placed at a comfortable eye level for human beings and dogs do tend not to scan upward, and therefore do not notice the TV images. All of which brings us to DogTV, the first cable network to deliver 24-hour programming for dogs that lets you flip on the channel while you go out for the day as your pet is stimulated, entertained and relaxed. 'If the dog wasn't enjoying it, he would find something else to do, like nibble on the end of a sofa,' says veterinarian Ann E. Hohenhaus."
An anonymous reader writes "Here is an article by Dr.Joe Stiglitz on how intellectual property reinforces inequality by allowing patent owners to seek rent (aka license / sue) instead of delivering goods to the society. From the article: 'At first glance, the case, Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, might seem like scientific arcana: the court ruled, unanimously, that human genes cannot be patented, though synthetic DNA, created in the laboratory, can be. But the real stakes were much higher, and the issues much more fundamental, than is commonly understood. The case was a battle between those who would privatize good health, making it a privilege to be enjoyed in proportion to wealth, and those who see it as a right for all — and a central component of a fair society and well-functioning economy. Even more deeply, it was about the way inequality is shaping our politics, legal institutions and the health of our population.'"
An anonymous reader writes "A Swedish professor of sociology has nominated Snowden for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. Giving him the prize would also 'save the Nobel Peace Prize from the disrepute that incurred by the hasty and ill-conceived decision to award U.S. President Barack Obama' the prize, according to professor Stefan Svallfors. He notes ultimately that at great personal cost, 'Edward Snowden has helped to make the world a little bit better and safer.'"
mspohr points out an opinion piece from Joe Mathews that "makes the argument that California's economic life depends on global connections. 'Our leading industries — shipping, tourism, technology, and entertainment — could not survive, much less prosper, without the trust and goodwill of foreigners. We are home to two of the world's busiest container ports, and we are a leading exporter of engineering, architectural, design, financial, insurance, legal, and educational services. All of our signature companies — Apple, Google, Facebook, Oracle, Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Chevron, Disney — rely on sales and growth overseas. And our families and workplaces are full of foreigners; more than one in four of us were born abroad, and more than 50 countries have diaspora populations in California of more than 10,000.' It quotes John Dvorak: 'Our companies have billions and billions of dollars in overseas sales and none of the American companies can guarantee security from American spies. Does anyone but me think this is a problem for commerce?' It points out that: 'Asian governments and businesses are now moving their employees and systems off Google's Gmail and other U.S.-based systems, according to Asian news reports. German prosecutors are investigating some of the American surveillance. The issue is becoming a stumbling block in negotiations with the European Union over a new trade agreement. Technology experts are warning of a big loss of foreign business.' The article goes on to suggest that perhaps a California constitutional amendment confirming privacy rights might help (but would not guarantee a stop to Federal snooping)."
New submitter jarold writes to note that Samsung has launched two extra-large cellphones: a 6.3 inch LTE ready version, and a 5.8 inch version. "Branded as Galaxy Mega, one would struggle to fit [either in a] pocket or use it with just one hand. The good thing, it is only 8mm thin and weighs under 200 grams. More portable than a tablet, it comes with a durable polycarbonate body. Unlike most of Samsung's latest smartphones, it does not have a super AMOLED panel. Instead, it has an HD super clear LCD display, which is bright enough to please most users. It features split screen and multitasking between video and other apps." For a phone that big, users might need to brush up on their side-talking skills.
cold fjord writes that, as promised last month, telegraph service in India is being honorably retired: "Only 7 years behind the US. From Forbes: '... in India, where I'm now sojourning, telegraph service has survived as a basic means of communication since the British East India Company sent the first telegram from Calcutta to nearby Diamond Harbor in 1850... As of July 15, the state company that runs the telegraph service is shutting it down. ... "For long, the telegraph was eyed with suspicion as an emblem of imperial rule," editorialized The Indian Express ... "Yet it brought various parts of the country together and eventually entered the traffic of everyday life. When the telegraph winds up, one of the oldest markers of a modern India will be lost. Stop" — the word that typically ended brief telegraphic phrases rather than periods. Until fairly recently, several hundred thousand messages a day moved over the wires of the telegraph system ...' From NBC: 'When it was completed in 1856, the Indian telegraph stretched over 4,000 miles ... Tom Standage, author of "The Victorian Internet" writes, the early telegraph networks were responsible for "hype, skepticism, hackers, on-line romances and weddings, chat-rooms, flame wars, information overload, predictions of imminent world peace."'"