schwit1 writes "In 2006, climate change experts from Bangor University in north Wales found a very special clam while dredging the seabeds of Iceland. At that time scientists counted the rings on the inside shell to determine that the clam was the ripe old age of 405. Unfortunately, by opening the clam which scientists refer to as 'Ming,' they killed it instantly. Cut to 2013, researchers have determined that the original calculations of Ming's age were wrong, and that the now deceased clam was actually 102 years older than originally thought. Ming was 507 years old at the time of its demise."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
jfruh writes "Have you ever wanted to write code for Watson, IBM's Jeopardy-winning supercomputer? Well, now you can, sort of. Big Blue has created a standardized server that runs Watson's unique learning and language-recognition software, and will be selling developers access to these boxes as a cloud-based service. No pricing has been announced yet."
rwise2112 writes "The General Accounting Office (GAO) has completed a study of the TSAs SPOT (Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques) program and found the program is only slightly better than chance at finding criminals. Given that the TSA has spent almost a billion dollars on the program, that's a pretty poor record. As a result, the GAO is requesting that both Congress and the president withhold funding from the program until the TSA can demonstrate its effectiveness."
1sockchuck writes "Sears plans to convert dozens of Sears Auto Center stores into a national chain of server farms, saying it wants to be "the McDonald's or Starbucks of data centers." The strategy is an evolution of Sears Holdings' previously announced plan to turn old Sears and Kmart stores into IT centers. Instead, it will focus on the more than 700 Sears Auto Centers, which include many stand-alone cement buildings on mall perimeters. Ubiquity Critical Environments, the data center arm of Sears, will team with Schneider Electric to turn these sites into data centers. They'll use repeatable modular designs to add power and cooling infrastructure, targeting at least 23 smaller cities where there currently aren't many options for IT outsourcing."
cartechboy writes "Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk says the company will make an electric pickup truck to compete with America's best-selling Ford F-Series pickups. Musk made the comment yesterday at the end of an interview at a tech conference in New York. Surrounded by questioners, Musk was asked if Tesla would ever make commercial fleet trucks (like for UPS or Fed Ex) and he responded that a consumer truck would be the company's best answer, because America's pickup truck sales numbers don't lie — that's what buyers want, and if Tesla wants to replace the most gasoline miles possible, that's what they should build. Musk said it will be about five years before the company builds its pickup however, giving it time to focus on another hurdle: breaking into the pickup market. Texas is where trucks rule, and Texas, as we know, is the Bermuda Triangle for Tesla." That also gives me five years to save up for one, and (just maybe) five years for Ford, et al to jump in, too.
Lucas123 writes "The ATF has been testing 3D printed guns over the past year and, not surprisingly, has found that depending on the thermoplastics, 3D printers and CAD designs used, some can explode on the first attempt to shoot them. The ATF published videos this week of the tests on YouTube showing what looked like a Liberator model of a 3D gun exploding upon being fired. Another model, created with the popular ABS polymer and an advanced printer, could fire as many as 8 shots. The tests were published at a time when a law passed in 1988 banning the sale of guns made entirely of plastic is set to expire next month." I hope they post the videos when they do the same tests on Solid Concepts' 1911.
First time accepted submitter NoImNotNineVolt writes "Coin, a Y Combinator-backed startup, has started accepting pre-orders for a device as slim as a standard piece of payment plastic that can hold eight credit, debit, and gift cards in its dynamic magnetic stripe. Paired with the Coin smartphone app via Bluetooth low energy, card details can easily be swapped in and out of the device. A minimalist user interface on the device itself allows the owner to toggle between the loaded cards and then swipe just as they would their ordinary card. All card details are encrypted (both on the device and in the smartphone app), and the device's on-board battery is expected to last for two years of typical usage. No support for chip&pin (EMV) yet, so this may have limited utility outside of the USA. They expect to start shipping in summer of 2014."
Last week, we mentioned that the GIMP project had elected to leave SourceForge as its host, citing SourceForge's advertising policies. SourceForge (which shares a parent company with Slashdot) has released a statement about those policies, addressing in particular both ads that are confusing in themselves and their revenue-sharing system called DevShare, based on the provision of third-party software along with users' downloads. Among other things, the SF team is appealing to users to help them find and block misleading ads, and has this to say about the additional downloads: "The DevShare program has been designed to be fully transparent. The installation flow has no deceptive steps, all offers are fully disclosed, and the clear option to completely decline the offer is always available. All uninstallation procedures are exhaustively documented, and all third party offers go through a comprehensive compliance process to make sure they are virus and malware free."
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In a case of major importance, the long simmering battle between the Authors Guild and Google has reached its climax, with the court granting Google's motion for summary judgment, dismissing the case, on fair use grounds. In his 30-page decision (PDF), Judge Denny Chin — who has been a District Court Judge throughout most of the life of the case but is now a Circuit Court Judge — reasoned that, although Google's own motive for its "Library Project" (which scans books from libraries without the copyright owners' permission and makes the material publicly available for search), is commercial profit, the project itself serves significant educational purposes, and actually enhances, rather than detracts from, the value of the works, since it helps promote sales of the works. Judge Chin also felt that it was impossible to use Google's scanned material, either for making full copies, or for reading the books, so that it did not compete with the books themselves."
An anonymous reader writes "At a press event in Stockholm, Sweden today, Skype confirmed it is evaluating the addition of a typing suppression feature to its desktop clients that will automatically filter the sound of your fingers hitting the keys. Unfortunately, the Microsoft-owned company isn't ready to ship the functionality yet, despite it being available in the company's enterprise-focused Lync tool."
Frequent correspondent Bennett Haselton writes with a forward-looking response to a recent ruling that peer-to-peer network participants have little privacy interest in files stored on their computer and that they have made available via P2P. Writes Bennett: "A court rules that law enforcement did not improperly 'search' defendants' computers by downloading files that the computers were sharing via P2P software. This seems like a reasonable ruling, but such cases may become rare if P2P software evolves to the point where all downloads are routed anonymously through other users' computers." Read on for the rest.
An anonymous reader writes "The value of bitcoin has surged through the $400 barrier for the first time, as unprecedented growth sees the virtual currency's value quadruple in just three months. Meanwhile, on 18 November, a Senate subcommittee is scheduled to hold a hearing on virtual currencies like bitcoin and its lesser-known competitors litecoin and altcoin. The hearing comes after a unit of the Treasury Department earlier this year issued guidelines stating virtual currencies should be subject to the same anti-money-laundering laws as traditional currency-transfer businesses like Western Union."
The last time we talked with Dr. Poor (who is now a Senior Editor at aNewDomain.net), we ran out of time and didn't get around to discussing 3-D and ultra-high-def TV and whether they're worth buying. So here he is again on the Slashdot TV screen (which is *not* high-definition), talking about the TV marketplace. This is a perfect time for that discussion, since Dark Friday is only a few weeks away, and after that we move into the month during which TVs and a lot of other items sell at a lot higher rate than they do during the rest of the year. If you're thinking about buying a new TV for yourself or as a gift this holiday season, you might want to listen to what Dr. Poor has to say on the subject before you do.
mahiskali writes with this interesting news via the EFF's Deep Links "The new Renault Zoe comes with a 'feature' that absolutely nobody wants. Instead of selling consumers a complete car that they can use, repair, and upgrade as they see fit, Renault has opted to lock purchasers into a rental contract with a battery manufacturer and enforce that contract with digital rights management (DRM) restrictions that can remotely prevent the battery from charging at all. This coming on the heels of the recent Trans-Pacific Partnership IP Rights Chapter leak certainly makes you wonder how much of that device (car?) you really own. Perhaps Merriam-Webster can simply change the definition of ownership."
An anonymous reader writes "Starting with version 3.7, POV-Ray is released under the AGPLv3 (or later) license and thus is Free Software according to the FSF definition. 'Free software' means software that respects users' freedom and community. Roughly, the users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. With these freedoms, the users (both individually and collectively) control the program and what it does for them. Full source code is available, allowing users to build their own versions and for developers to incorporate portions or all of the POV-Ray source into their own software provided it is distributed under a compatible license (for example, the AGPL3 or — at their option — any later version). The POV-Ray developers also provide officially-supported binaries for selected platforms (currently only Microsoft Windows, but expected to include OS X shortly)." Update: 11/14 21:57 GMT by U L : The previous distribution terms and source modification license.
jfruh writes "In America we're celebrating the fact that we don't have to stow our Kindles during takeoff and landing anymore, but the EU is going a step further and not requiring passengers to switch their phones to "airplane" mode anymore. If you're on an airplane with a Network Control Unit that regulate cellular connections, you can text and make calls over standard 3G and 4G networks. You'll want to watch out for roaming charges, though, especially if you're on a flight crossing national borders."
miller60 writes "How do you cool a high-density server installation inside a high rise in Hong Kong? You dunk the servers, immersing them in fluid to create an extremely efficient HPC environment in a hot, humid location. Hong Kong's Allied Control developed its immersion cooling solution using a technique called open bath immersion (OBI), which uses 3M's Novec fluid. OBI is an example of passive two-phase cooling, which uses a boiling liquid to remove heat from a surface and then condenses the liquid for reuse, all without a pump. It's a slightly different approach to immersion cooling than the Green Revolution technique being tested by Intel and deployed at scale by energy companies. Other players in immersion cooling include Iceotope and Hardcore (now LiquidCool)."
An anonymous reader writes "The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must disclose its plans for a so-called Internet 'kill switch,' a federal court ruled on Tuesday. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the agency's arguments that its protocols surrounding an Internet kill switch were exempt from public disclosure and ordered the agency to release the records in 30 days. However, the court left the door open for the agency to appeal the ruling."
Nerval's Lobster writes "When the GCHQ agency (Britain's equivalent of the National Security Agency) reportedly decided to infiltrate the IT network of Belgian telecommunications firm Belgacom, it relied on a sophisticated version of a man-in-the-middle attack, in which it directed its targets' computers to fake, malware-riddled versions of Slashdot and LinkedIn. If the attack could be proven without a doubt, would the GCHQ—or any similar spy agency engaging in the same sort of behavior—be liable for violating trademarks or copyrights, since a key part of its attack would necessitate the appropriation of intellectual property such as logos and content? We asked someone from the Electronic Frontier Foundation about that, and received a somewhat dispiriting answer. "From a trademark perspective, if a company uses another company's marks/logos to deceive, there may be a trademark claim," said Corynne McSherry, the EFF's Intellectual Property Director. "But it's complicated a bit by two problems: (1) the fact that while there may be confusion, it's not necessarily related to the actual purchase of any goods and services; and (2) multiple TM laws are in play here—for example UK trademark law may have different exceptions and limitations." McSherry also addressed other issues, including governments' doctrine of sovereign immunity."
sfcrazy writes "In a surprising and unexpected move, Google and its partners have removed the recently launched HP Chromebook 11 from shelves. Users were complaining about the issues with the trackpad and performance of the laptop." Specifically (as also reported by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer), some of the laptops have been reported to overheat.
George Maschke writes "Investigative reporter Marisa Taylor of the McClatchy newspaper group reports that a list of 4,904 individuals who purchased a book, DVD, or personal training on how to pass a polygraph test has been circulated to nearly 30 federal agencies including the CIA, NSA, DIA, DOE, TSA, IRS, and FDA. Most of the individuals on the list purchased former police polygraphist Doug Williams' book, How to Sting the Polygraph, which explains how to pass or beat a polygraph test. Williams also sells a DVD on the subject and offers in-person training. In February 2013, federal law enforcement officials seized Williams' business records, from which the watch list was primarily compiled. Williams has not been charged with a crime."
rjmarvin writes "Microsoft today announced a web-based development environment for app creation to complement Visual Studio 2013, called Visual Studio Online. Microsoft Senior V.P. S. Somasegar says the new web-based IDE is designed for quick tasks related to building Windows Azure websites and services. Microsoft will be releasing the Visual Studio Online Application Insights service in a limited preview to show developers how to deploy and perform in conjunction with Visual Studio 2013's new features."
Frankie70 writes in with some more bad news for Apple in Europe. "U.S. tech giant Apple is under investigation in Italy for allegedly hiding 1 billion euros ($1.34 billion) from the local tax authority, two judicial sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Milan prosecutors say Apple failed to declare to Italian tax authorities 206 million euros in 2010 and 853 million euros in 2011, one of the sources said, confirming a report by Italian magazine L'Espresso. The Italian subsidiary of Apple booked some of its profit through Irish-based subsidiary Apple Sales International (ASI), thus lowering its taxable income in Italy, the source said."
coondoggie writes "Identifying people from video streams or boatloads of images can be a daunting task for humans and computers. But a 4-year development program set to start in April 2014 known as Janus aims to develop software and algorithms that erase those problems and could radically alter the facial recognition world as we know it. Funded by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence's 'high-risk, high-payoff research' group, Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) Janus 'seeks to improve face recognition performance using representations developed from real-world video and images instead of from calibrated and constrained collections.'"
Dr Herbert West writes about a reported $3 billion offer from Facebook that Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel turned down. "Snapchat, a rapidly growing messaging service, recently spurned an all-cash acquisition offer from Facebook for close to $3 billion or more, according to people briefed on the matter. The offer, and rebuff, came as Snapchat is being wooed by other investors and potential acquirers. Chinese e-commerce giant Tencent Holdings had offered to lead an investment that would value two-year-old Snapchat at $4 billion. Evan Spiegel, Snapchat’s 23-year-old co-founder and CEO, will not likely consider an acquisition or an investment at least until early next year, the people briefed on the matter said. They said Spiegel is hoping Snapchat’s numbers – of users and messages – will grow enough by then to justify an even larger valuation, the people said."
sfcrazy writes "Last week Canonical sent a cease and desist letter to EFF staffer Micah F Lee asking him to remove the word Ubuntu from the URL as well as the Ubuntu logo from the site. Lee responded through an attorney who said that Canonical's 'request were not supported by trademark laws and interferes with protected speech.' Shuttleworth apologized, though it was cheeky, and while he dubbed the Mir opponents as non-technical (hello KDE, systemD, Wayland, Intel) he also went on to explain why they needed to protect their trademark. Now there is an official response from EFF. In the blog post EFF has explained that Shuttleworth is far from reality and was totally wrong about trademark."