solareagle writes "Venezuelan President Maduro has declared war on 'bourgeois parasites' by taking over Daka, an electronics retailer similar to Best Buy. USA Today reports, 'National guardsmen, some of whom had assault rifles, were positioned around outlets of [Daka] ... Maduro has ordered to lower prices or face prosecution. Thousands of people lined up at the Daka stores hoping for a bargain after the government forced the companies to charge "fair" prices. "I want a Sony plasma television for the house," said Amanda Lisboa, 34, a business administrator who waited seven hours outside a Caracas store ... "It's going to be so cheap!" "This is for the good of the nation," Maduro said, referring to the military's occupation of Daka. "Leave nothing on the shelves, nothing in the warehouses Let nothing remain in stock!" Maduro said his seizures are the 'tip of the iceberg' and that other stores would be next if they did not comply with his orders.'"
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
An anonymous reader writes "Google today released Chrome version 31 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The new version includes support for Web payments, Portable Native Client, and 25 security fixes. 'Under the hood, PNaCl works by compiling native C and C++ code to an intermediate representation, rather than architecture-specific representations as in Native Client. The LLVM-style bytecode is wrapped into a portable executable, which can be hosted on a web server like any other website asset. When the site is accessed, Chrome fetches and translates the portable executable into an architecture-specific machine code optimized directly for the underlying device. This translation approach means developers don’t need to recompile their applications multiple times to run across x86, ARM or MIPS devices.' You can update to the latest release now using the browser's built-in silent updater, or download it directly from google.com/chrome."
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Senior Editor of Motherboard Brian Merchant went an entire month without eating regular food. Instead, the journalist whisked up a concoction called soylent, an efficient take on the future of nourishment and nutrition. Merchant says: 'It was my second day on Soylent and my stomach felt like a coil of knotty old rope, slowly tightening. I wasn't hungry, but something was off. I was tired, light-headed, low-energy, but my heart was racing. My eyes glazed over as I stared out the window of our rental SUV as we drove over the fog-shrouded Bay Bridge to Oakland. Some of this was nerves, sure. I had twenty-eight days left of my month-long all-Soylent diet—I was attempting to live on the full food replacement longer than anyone besides its inventor—and I felt woozy already. ... By the third week of Soylent, not eating food seemed normal. I saw a doctor, who said I was healthy; I was still losing weight, but nothing serious. Yet, given that a daily mixture of Soylent contains 2,400 calories, both Rob and Dr. Engel thought it was odd that I’d shed so much. Dr. Engel said that given my weight, height, and body mass, I should only require about 1,800 calories a day. I could still be adjusting to the new diet, or I could have such a hyperactive metabolism that before Soylent, I was tearing through hundreds of extra calories per day and staying trim.'"
MTorrice writes "With energy-efficient desalination techniques, water-starved communities could produce fresh water from salty sources such as seawater and industrial wastewater. But common methods like reverse osmosis require pumping the water, which uses a substantial amount of energy. So some researchers have turned to forward osmosis, because in theory it should use less energy. Now a team has demonstrated a forward osmosis system that desalinates salty water with the help of sunlight. The method uses a pair of hydrogels to absorb and squeeze out freshwater."
ananyo writes "The plague of non-reproducibility in science may be mostly due to scientists' use of weak statistical tests, as shown by an innovative method developed by statistician Valen Johnson, at Texas A&M University. Johnson found that a P value of 0.05 or less — commonly considered evidence in support of a hypothesis in many fields including social science — still meant that as many as 17–25% of such findings are probably false (PDF). He advocates for scientists to use more stringent P values of 0.005 or less to support their findings, and thinks that the use of the 0.05 standard might account for most of the problem of non-reproducibility in science — even more than other issues, such as biases and scientific misconduct."
wiredmikey writes "According to a recent survey of malware analysts at U.S. enterprises, 40% of the time a device used by a member the senior leadership team became infected with malware was due to executives visiting a pornographic website. The study, from ThreatTrack Security, also found that nearly six in 10 of the malware analysts have investigated or addressed a data breach that was never disclosed by their company. When asked to identify the most difficult aspects of defending their companies' networks from advanced malware, 67% said the complexity of malware is a chief factor; 67% said the volume of malware attacks; and 58% cited the ineffectiveness of anti-malware solutions."
An anonymous reader writes "Bill Gates has written an article in Wired outlining his strategy to improve people's lives through philanthropy and investment in technology and the sciences. He says, 'We want to give our wealth back to society in a way that has the most impact, and so we look for opportunities to invest for the largest returns. That means tackling the world's biggest problems and funding the most likely solutions. That's an even greater challenge than it sounds. I don't have a magic formula for prioritizing the world's problems. You could make a good case for poverty, disease, hunger, war, poor education, bad governance, political instability, weak trade, or mistreatment of women. ...I am a devout fan of capitalism. It is the best system ever devised for making self-interest serve the wider interest. This system is responsible for many of the great advances that have improved the lives of billions—from airplanes to air-conditioning to computers. But capitalism alone can't address the needs of the very poor. This means market-driven innovation can actually widen the gap between rich and poor. ... We take a double-pronged approach: (1) Narrow the gap so that advances for the rich world reach the poor world faster, and (2) turn more of the world's IQ toward devising solutions to problems that only people in the poor world face.'"
gbooch writes "The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, is not just a museum of hardware, but also of software. The Museum has made public such gems as the source code for MacPaint, Photoshop, and APL, and now code from the Apple II. As their site reports: 'With thanks to Paul Laughton, in collaboration with Dr. Bruce Damer, founder and curator of the Digibarn Computer Museum, and with the permission of Apple Inc., we are pleased to make available the 1978 source code of Apple II DOS for non-commercial use. This material is Copyright © 1978 Apple Inc., and may not be reproduced without permission from Apple.'"
Nerval's Lobster writes "Microsoft once demanded that its managers place their subordinates on a scale from 'top' to 'poor,' a practice that fueled some epic backstabbing within divisions. Last year, a Microsoft contractor with knowledge of the company's internal review processes told Slashdot that Microsoft was actively working to fix that system; just this week, the company announced that stack ranking was well and truly dead (and that's certainly one way to fix it). 'Lisa Brummel, head of human resources for the company, sent an e-mail to employees notifying them of the change today, according to my contacts,' ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley wrote. According to the memo, there are 'no more ratings,' 'no more curves,' and 'Managers and leaders will have flexibility to allocate rewards in the manner that best reflects the performance of their teams and individuals, as long as they stay within their compensation budget.' They're trying to encourage more teamwork and collaboration throughout the company. As we discussed on Saturday, Yahoo is adopting this method just as Microsoft is abandoning it."
Lemeowski writes "Time has been good to Linux and the kernel community, with the level of participation and volume of activity reaching unprecedented levels. But as core Linux kernel developers grow older, there's a very real concern about ensuring younger generations are getting involved. In this post, Open Access supporter Luis Ibanez shares some exciting stats about recent releases of the Linux kernel, but also warns that 'Maintaining the vitality of this large community does not happen spontaneously. On the contrary, it requires dedication and attention by community members on how to bring new contributors on board, and how to train them and integrate them alongside the well-established developers.'"
An anonymous reader writes "A federal judge in Vermont has denied a motion to suppress evidence filed by three defendants in a child porn case. The three had alleged their Fourth Amendment rights were violated when police used an automated P2P query-response tool to gather information from their computers. That information subsequently led to their arrest and indictments. The judge held (PDF) that the defendants had either inadvertently, or otherwise, made the information available for public download on a P2P network and therefore couldn't assert any privacy claims over the data."
MojoKid writes "At APU13 today, AMD announced a full suite of new products and development tools as part of its push to improve HSA development. One of the most significant announcements to come out the sessions today-- albeit in a tacit, indirect fashion, is that Kaveri is going to pack a full 512 GPU cores. There's not much new to see on the CPU side of things — like Richland/Trinity, Steamroller is a pair of CPU modules with two cores per module. AMD also isn't talking about clock speeds yet, but the estimated 862 GFLOPS that the company is claiming for Kaveri points to GPU clock speeds between 700 — 800MHz. With 512 cores, Kaveri picks up a 33% boost over its predecessors, but memory bandwidth will be essential for the GPU to reach peak performance. For performance, AMD showed Kaveri up against the Intel 4770K running a low-end GeForce GT 630. In the intro scene to BF4's single-player campaign (1920x1080, Medium Details), the AMD Kaveri system (with no discrete GPU) consistently pushed frame rates in the 28-40 FPS range. The Intel system, in contrast, couldn't manage 15 FPS. Performance on that system was solidly in the 12-14 FPS range — meaning AMD is pulling 2x the frame rate, if not more."
Red Hat has two primary Cloud Evangelists: Gordon Haff and Richard Morrell. Richard says this about himself: "I'm Red Hat's Cloud Security Blogger and Cloud Evangelist based in Europe. Passionate about good code and Open Hybrid Cloud. Founder of SmoothWall protecting millions of networks for 13 years globally. My blogging and my podcasting is my own editorial and does not represent the views of Red Hat..." We have known Richard since the 20th Century, so this interview has been a long time coming. In it, he talks about how Red Hat is working to become as strong in the Open Source cloud world as it already is in GNU/Linux. This interview may not "represent the views of Red Hat," but it obviously represents the views of a loyal Red Hat employee who is also a long-time Linux enthusiast.
An anonymous reader writes "As a new developer at a young-ish software company, I've been told my communication skills need some work. I'm not painfully introverted or socially inept, but I get lost in my work and only contact people if I need something from them or they ask me a question. Traditional advice isn't relevant to casual, less hierarchical companies — I don't have to hold my tongue when someone is wrong or worry about formalities. But I do need to connect with people professionally, since my team members and managers decide my perf and advancement. How do you keep colleagues abreast of your work without having exponentially many needless conversations?"
An anonymous reader writes "A blog run by faculty members at Chicago State University (CSU) has been threatened by university lawyers with a cease and desist notice. Since 2009 the blog has posted information critical of CSU's policies and hiring practices. The notice threatened legal action if the site is not disabled by Friday due to violations of 'trade names and marks' without permission and violations of University policies. The blog admin changed the name of the blog in the meanwhile to Crony State University and replaced an image on the page pending legal counsel. Also the blog is currently still active."
An anonymous reader writes "A Chinese Bitcoin exchange has vanished without trace, taking more than $4 million of the virtual currency with it and leaving profit-hungry investors out of pocket. GBL, the Chinese Bitcoin exchange was launched in May 2013 and putatively based in Hong Kong, despite its servers being registered in Beijing. However GBL's Hong Kong offices do not exist. GBL mysteriously disappeared in early November taking an estimated $4.1m (£2.6m) of Bitcoins with it." (Beware the auto-playing ads, with sound.)
jeditobe writes with a link to a talk (video recorded, with transcript) about a project we've been posting about for years: ambitious Windows-replacement ReactOS: "In this talk, Alex Ionescu, lead kernel developer for the ReactOS project since 2004 (and recently returning after a long hiatus) will talk about the project's current state, having just passed revision 60000 in the SVN repository. Alex will also cover some of the project's goals, the development and testing methodology being such a massive undertaking (an open source project to reimplement all of Windows from scratch!), partnership with other open source projects (MinGW, Wine, Haiku, etc...). Alex will talk both about the infrastructure side about running such a massive OS project (but without Linux's corporate resources), as well as the day-to-day development challenges of a highly distributed team and the lack of Win32 internals knowledge that makes it hard to recruit. Finally, Alex will do a few demos of the OS, try out a few games and applications, Internet access, etc, and of course, show off a few blue screens of death."
MrSeb writes with this excerpt, linking to several pretty graphs: "For more than 30 years, the realm of computing has been intrinsically linked to the humble hard drive. It has been a complex and sometimes torturous relationship, but there's no denying the huge role that hard drives have played in the growth and popularization of PCs, and more recently in the rapid expansion of online and cloud storage. Given our exceedingly heavy reliance on hard drives, it's very, very weird that one piece of vital information still eludes us: How long does a hard drive last? According to some new data, gathered from 25,000 hard drives that have been spinning for four years, it turns out that hard drives actually have a surprisingly low failure rate."
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Doug Gross writes at CNN that spurred by the problems that have surrounded the rollout of the official HeathCare.gov website, three 20-year-old programmers in San Francisco have created an alternative website to help people get health insurance under the Affordable Care Act quickly and cheaply. The result is a bare-bones site called Health Sherpa, which lets users enter their zip code, plus details about their family and income, to find suggested plans in their area. 'We were surprised to see that it was actually fairly difficult to use HealthCare.gov to find and understand our options,' says George Kalogeropoulos, who created the site along with Ning Liang and Michael Wasser. 'Given that the data was publicly available, we thought that it made a lot of sense to take the data that was on there and just make it easy to search through and view available plans.' Of course, it's not fair to compare the creation of Health Sherpa to the rollout of the more complicated government ACA site, which even President Obama has acknowledged as a horribly botched affair. 'It isn't a fair apples-to-apples comparison,' says Kalogeropoulos. 'Unlike Healthcare.gov, our site doesn't connect to the IRS, DHS, and various state exchanges and authorities. Furthermore, we're using the government's data, so our site is only possible because of the hard work that the Healthcare.gov team has done.' But it does cast light on the difference between what can be done by a small group of experts, steeped in Silicon Valley's anything-is-possible mentality, and a massive government project in which politics and bureaucracy seem to have helped create an unwieldy mess. The three programmers have continued fine-tuning the site as its popularity has grown. In less than a week, the site has had almost 200,000 unique visitors and over half a million page views. '"The Health Sherpa makes it ridiculously easy for anyone to compare health care plans covered under Obamacare in 34 states," writes Connor Simpson at Atlantic Wire. "The result is a simple, beautiful, remarkably responsive website that anyone could use.'"
alphadogg writes "A music industry group is warning some 50 website that post song lyrics that they need to be licensed or face the music, possibly in the form of a lawsuit. The National Music Publishers Association said Monday that it sent take-down notices to what it claims are 50 websites that post lyrics to songs and generate ad revenue but may not be licensed to do so. The allegedly infringing sites were identified based on a complicated algorithm developed by a researcher at the University of Georgia." The "complicated algorithm" (basis statistics using Excel and Google) is described in the NMPA's "Undesirable Lyric Website List." Anyone remember lyrics.ch?
Nate the greatest writes "Intel didn't mention how much they paid for digital textbook startup Kno when they announced the acquisition last week but inside sources are now saying that the digital textbook startup was picked up for a song. GigaOm reported earlier today that their sources told them that Kno sold effectively for pennies on the dollar: 'Well placed sources who were in the know told us that the company sold for $15 million with some retention bonuses for the employees. Intel bought the company mostly for its hardware-related intellectual property and the employees. Intel also was one of the largest investors in the company — having pumped in $20 million via its Intel Capital arm.' Kno had raised $73 million in venture capital since it was founded 4 years ago, and it picked up another $20 million in debt. This deal was nothing less than a fire sale, and that does not bode well for the digital textbook market or other startups in this niche. Inkling, for example, just raised $20 million dollars this summer in order to compete in a market that where one of their competitors failed."
Taco Cowboy writes "For the past year or so, a tiny scale farming experiment in has been carried out in the desert field of Qatar, using only sunlight and seawater. From the article: 'A pilot plant built by the Sahara Forest Project (SFP) produced 75 kilograms of vegetables per square meter in three crops annually (or 25 kilograms per square meter, per crop)' If the yield level can be maintained, a farm of the size of 60 hectares would be enough to supply the nation of Qatar with all the cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and egglants that it needs. 'The project will proceed to the next stage with an expansion to 20 hectares, to test its viability into commercial operation.'"
rtoz writes "Sweden is taking steps to close many prisons due to lack of prisoners. This year alone, four prisons and a detention center got closed in Sweden. The percentage of the population in Sweden prison is significantly lower than in most other countries. ... Though the Swedish Government is taking steps to close the prisons, the crime rate in Sweden has increased slightly. It seems they are planning to take steps for preventing crime rather than focusing on jailing people involved in criminal activities."