Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "AP reports that standing by a part of the Apollo 8 spacecraft he once rode, retired astronaut James Lovell read the 1968 Christmastime broadcast from the day he and two others became the first humans to orbit the moon marking the 45th anniversary of the orbit and the famous broadcast. 'The idea of bringing people together by a flight to the moon where we encompassed everybody in our thoughts is still very valid today,' says Lovell. 'The words that we read are very appropriate.' Millions tuned in on Dec. 24, 1968, when Frank Borman, Bill Anders and Lovell circled the moon. A television camera on board took footage of the crater-filled surface as the astronauts read Bible verses describing the creation of Earth. They circled 10 times and began reading from the Book of Genesis on the last orbit. 'It's a foundation of Christianity, Judaism and Islam,' Lovell said of choosing Genesis. 'It is the foundation of most of the world's religions. ... They all had that basis of the Old Testament.' Lovell says at the time the astronauts weren't sure who would be listening and how the broadcast would be taken. The famous "Earthrise" photo was also taken during the mission. Lovell closed with the same message the astronauts did in 1968. 'From the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.'"
Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter
An anonymous reader sends this news from the NY Times Bits Blog: "Two big shifts happened in the American cellphone industry over the past year: Cellular networks got faster, and smartphone screens got bigger. In the United States, consumers used an average of 1.2 gigabytes a month over cellular networks this year, up from 690 megabytes a month in 2012, according to Chetan Sharma, a consultant for wireless carriers, who published a new report on industry trends on Monday. Worldwide, the average consumption was 240 megabytes a month this year, up from 140 megabytes last year, he said."
An anonymous reader writes "With the release of SteamOS, developing video game engines for Linux is a subject with increasing interest. This article is an initiation guide on the tools used to develop games, and it discusses the pros and cons of Linux as a platform for developing game engines. It goes over OpenGL and drivers, CPU and GPU profiling, compilers, build systems, IDEs, debuggers, platform abstraction layers and other tools."
Lucas123 writes "Even though production of 75W and 100W incandescent lamps were phased out earlier this year, many U.S. consumers remain blissfully unaware of The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, an energy efficiency standard that requires an initial 30% reduction in energy use for screw-in bulbs. By 2020, the federal standard requires bulbs to use 65% less energy. According to a new survey, only 40% of Americans are aware that incandescent bulbs are being phased out. However, the federal regulations are about to impact the most popular bulbs of all — 40W and 60W lamps. As of Jan. 1, 2014, the bulbs will no longer be produced. A significant portion of those who are aware of the phase out have been hoarding the bulbs in anticipation of the ban."
An anonymous reader writes "Internet users have sadly grown used to having their every click and scroll measured by advertisers and content providers seeking to squeeze every last ounce of attention out of them. Now, it seems such data gathering is spreading into your favorite novels as well. The NY Times profiles several companies trying to collect data on how people read ebooks. Quoting: 'Scribd is just beginning to analyze the data from its subscribers. Some general insights: The longer a mystery novel is, the more likely readers are to jump to the end to see who done it. People are more likely to finish biographies than business titles, but a chapter of a yoga book is all they need. They speed through romances faster than religious titles, and erotica fastest of all. At Oyster, a top book is What Women Want, promoted as a work that "brings you inside a woman's head so you can learn how to blow her mind." Everyone who starts it finishes it. On the other hand, Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.'s The Cycles of American History blows no minds: fewer than 1 percent of the readers who start it get to the end. Oyster data shows that readers are 25 percent more likely to finish books that are broken up into shorter chapters. That is an inevitable consequence of people reading in short sessions during the day on an iPhone.'"
Today marks the release of Ruby version 2.1.0. A brief list of changes since 2.0.0 has been posted, and file downloads are available. Here are some of the changes:
- Now the default values of keyword arguments can be omitted. Those 'required keyword arguments" need giving explicitly at the call time.
- Added suffixes for integer and float literals: 'r', 'i', and 'ri'.
- def-expr now returns the symbol of its name instead of nil.
- rb_profile_frames() added. Provides low-cost access to the current ruby stack for callstack profiling.
- introduced the generational GC a.k.a RGenGC (PDF).
codeusirae wrote in with news that Edward Snowden gave an alternative to the UK's yearly Christmas message, speaking about his objections to mass indiscriminate surveillance by governments. The message aired on channel four at 16:15. Slashgear posted a transcript. Quoting: "Think about what this means for the privacy of the average person. A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They'll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves — an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought. And that's a problem, because privacy matters. Privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be."
cold fjord writes with an update on the political upheaval happening in Turkey "From the article: 'Dawn raids last Tuesday nabbed almost 60 people and implicated three government ministries, the directors of state banks, and some of Turkey's most powerful businessmen in a massive corruption probe spread across three different cases. Three members of Turkey's cabinet resigned on Christmas Day, and one called on Erdogan to follow suit as accusations of kickbacks, smuggling, and abuse of office continue to mount. The scandal has even acquired an international dimension as suspicions that Iran has been using Turkey's banks to shirk sanctions were further bolstered by the arrest of Reza Sarraf, an Iranian businessmen who is accused of bribing the Economic Minister while coordinating transactions from Iran worth $120 billion. The AKP is scrambling to defend itself by claiming the arrests are a result of a dastardly foreign conspiracy ... while police officials have been removed and reshuffled and special prosecutors appointed to a degree that makes Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre look like exemplary justice. The Turkish press continues to eagerly publish the latest colorful details that emerge from the probe, including police reports of $500,000 bribes administered in boxes of chocolate and news that Erdoan himself was being wiretapped as part of the investigation.' Erdogan has been urged to resign, three days ago Turkey banned journalists from entering police stations, and police are using tear gas on protesters."
Yesterday, two astronauts completed a seven hour spacewalk to finish installation of a spare coolant pump after a failed coolant pump forced a partial shut down of the ISS. As of late yesterday afternoon, that pump is online and operating normally: "The new pump now is considered fully functional, but it will take some time to fully reintegrate the pump and Loop A of the two-loop external cooling system. Teams at mission control are following a schedule that should allow the restored cooling loop to be fully activated and integrated into the station’s cooling system on Christmas Day, Dec. 25. ... Electrical systems that depend on cooling from Loop A will be repowered or moved back from temporary support on Loop B gradually on Thursday, Friday, and throughout the weekend."
Tackhead writes "People of a certain age — the age before email filters were effective, may remember a few mid-90s buzzwords like 'bulletproof hosting' and 'double opt-in.' People may remember that Hormel itself conceded that although 'SPAM' referred to their potted meat product, the term 'spam' could refer to unsolicited commercial email. People may also remember AGIS, Cyberpromo, Sanford 'Spam King' Wallace, and Walt Rines. Ten years after a 2003 retrospective on Rines and Wallace, Ars Technica reminds us that the more things change, the more they stay the same."
An anonymous reader writes "A recent paper from Georgia Tech (abstract, paper itself) describes a system than can run the complete TPC-H benchmark suite on an NVIDIA Titan card, at a 7x speedup over a commercial database running on a 32-core Amazon EC2 node, and a 68x speedup over a single core Xeon. A previous story described an MIT project that achieved similar speedups. There has been a steady trickle of work on GPU-accelerated database systems for several years, but it doesn't seem like any code has made it into Open Source databases like MonetDB, MySQL, CouchDB, etc. Why not? Many queries that I write are simpler than TPC-H, so what's holding them back?"
New submitter silverjacket writes "New research (JSTOR sub required / paywalled) shows that we see nonconformity as a sign of both status and competence — under the right conditions. From the article: 'Next, the researchers asked students at American universities to imagine a professor who is clean-shaven and wears a tie, or one who is bearded and wears T-shirts. Students were slightly more inclined to judge the dapper professor as a better teacher and researcher. But some students were given another piece of information: that the professor works at a top-tier school, where the dress code is presumably more formal. For them, the slouchy scholar earned more points. Deviance can signal status, but only when there are clear norms from which to deviate.'"
A couple months ago, Rockstar, a patent-holding consortium backed by Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Blackberry, and others launched a barrage of infringement suits against Google and the makers of Android devices. Google has now launched a counteroffensive, seeking protection from Rockstar's patent trolling. The complaint (PDF) says, "Rockstar produces no products and practices no patents. Instead, Rockstar employs a staff of engineers in Ontario, Canada, who examine other companies’ successful products to find anything that Rockstar might use to demand and extract licenses to its patents under threat of litigation." Google's filing also accuses Rockstar of interfering with their business practices by contacting other companies and trying to convince them not to use Android. It asks for a declarative judgment of non-infringement.
theodp writes "Describing How Netflix Reinvented HR for the Harvard Business Review, ex-Chief Talent Officer Patty McCord describes 'the most basic element of Netflix's talent philosophy: The best thing you can do for employees — a perk better than foosball or free sushi — is hire only "A" players to work alongside them.' Continuing her Scrooge-worthy tale, McCord adds that firing a once-valuable employee instead of finding another way for her to contribute yielded another aha! moment for Netflix: 'If we wanted only "A" players on our team, we had to be willing to let go of people whose skills no longer fit, no matter how valuable their contributions had once been. Out of fairness to such people — and, frankly, to help us overcome our discomfort with discharging them — we learned to offer rich severance packages.' It's a sometimes-praised, sometimes-criticized strategy that's straight out of Steve Jobs' early '80s playbook. But, even if you assume your execs are capable of identifying 'A' players, how do you find enough employees if 90% of the country's population is deemed unworthy of jobs? Well, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings' support of Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us PAC suggests one possible answer — you get lobbyists to convince Congress you need to hire as many people as you want from outside the country. An article commenter points out that Netflix's 'Culture of Fear' has earned it a 3.2/5.0 rating on Glassdoor."
An anonymous reader writes "Brian Krebs has done some detective work to determine who is behind the recent Target credit card hack. Krebs sifted through posts from a series of shady forums, some dating back to 2008, to determine the likely real-life identity of one fraudster. He even turns down a $10,000 bribe offer to keep the information under wraps."
wjcofkc writes "Interactive displays projected into the air in the spirit of Iron Man have been heralded as the next step in visual technology. Yet many obstacles remain. According to Russian designer Max Kamanin, creator of Displair, many the problems have now been largely cracked. With this attempt at refining the technology, the image is created inside a layer of dry fog which is composed of ultra-fine water droplets so small they lack moisture. Three-dimensional projections are then created using infrared sensors. The projected screen currently responds intuitively to 1,500 hand movements, many of which are similar to those used on mobile devices, such as pinch and zoom. The most immediate applications include advertising and medicine, with the latter offering a more hygienic alternative to touchscreens. The most immediate objection from home and office computer users is that they don't want to be waving their hands around all day, and while such questions as 'What happens when I turn on a fan?' are not answered here, just imagine a future with a projected keyboard and trackpad that use puff-air haptic feedback with the option of reaching right into the screen whenever it applies to the application at hand — and applications that take advantage of such a technology would no doubt come along. Better yet, imagine for yourself in the comments. As always, pictures speak a thousand words, so don't neglect the articles gallery."