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The Courts

Submission + - Parents not liable for their son's illegal music sharing, German court rules (

An anonymous reader writes: The ruling of the Federal Court of Justice reversed a ruling of the higher regional court of Cologne, which found the parents were liable for the illegal filesharing because they failed to fulfill their parental supervision. That court said the parents could have installed a firewall on their son's computer as well as a security program that would have made it possible to only allow the child to install software with the consent of his parents.

Besides that, the parents could have checked their son's PC once a month, and then the parents would have spotted the Bearshare icon on the computers' desktop, according to the Cologne court. "The Federal Court overturned the decision of the Appeal Court and dismissed it," the court said.


Submission + - Exploring Einstein's brain (

scibri writes: Photographs of Einstein's brain taken shortly after his death, but never before analysed in detail, have now revealed that it had several unusual features, providing tantalizing clues about the neural basis of his extraordinary mental abilities.

The most striking observation was “the complexity and pattern of convolutions on certain parts of Einstein's cerebral cortex”, especially in the prefrontal cortex, and also parietal lobes and visual cortex.

The prefrontal cortex is important for the kind of abstract thinking that Einstein would have needed for his famous thought experiments on the nature of space and time, such as imagining riding alongside a beam of light. The unusually complex pattern of convolutions there probably gave the region a larger-than-normal surface area, which may have contributed to his remarkable abilities.


Submission + - Lenovo UEFI Code Allows Booting in Windows, RHEL only (

hypnosec writes: Lenovo’s UEFI implementation is only allowing Windows or Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) to boot by explicitly checking for these two operating systems while refusing to boot all other UEFI-installed systems, it has been revealed. Matthew Garrett, in a blog post, disclosed his findings stating that when an operating system with UEFI support such a Fedora Linux is installed, the ThinkCentre M92p desktop from Lenovo checks for presence of firmware descriptive strings — "Windows Boot Manager" and "Red Hat Enterprise Linux". According to Garrett, if the system that is being loaded doesn’t match either of the above mentioned descriptive strings, the UEFI neither shows the operating system in the boot menu nor would it let the system boot.

Submission + - Brain scans of rappers and jazz musicians shed light on creativity (

ananyo writes: "Rappers making up rhymes on the fly while in a brain scanner have provided an insight into the creative process.
Freestyle rapping — in which a performer improvises a song by stringing together unrehearsed lyrics — is a highly prized skill in hip hop. But instead of watching a performance in a club, Siyuan Liu and Allen Braun, neuroscientists at the US National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders in Bethesda, Maryland, and their colleagues had 12 rappers freestyle in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine.
The artists also recited a set of memorized lyrics chosen by the researchers. By comparing the brain scans from rappers taken during freestyling to those taken during the rote recitation, they were able to see which areas of the brain are used during improvisation.
The rappers showed lower activity in part of their frontal lobes called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex during improvisation, and increased activity in another area, called the medial prefrontal cortex. The areas that were found to be ‘deactivated’ are associated with regulating other brain functions. The results echo an earlier study of jazz musicians.
The findings also suggest an explanation for why new music might seem to the artist to be created of its own accord. With less involvement by the lateral prefrontal regions of the brain, the performance could seem to its creator to have “occurred outside of conscious awareness”, the authors write in the paper."

Submission + - German police stop man with mobile office in car (

PolygamousRanchKid writes: Forget texting while driving. German police say they nabbed a driver who had wired his Ford station wagon with an entire mobile office.Saarland state police said Friday the 35-year-old man was pulled over for doing 130 kph (80 mph) in a 100 kph zone while passing a truck Monday.

Built on a wooden frame on his passenger seat they found a laptop on a docking station tilted for easy driver access, a printer, router, wireless internet stick, WLAN antenna, and an inverter to power it all.

Since there was no evidence he used the office while moving, he got away with a €120 ($153) speeding ticket and a possible fine for having unsecured items in his car.


Submission + - Lenovo Thinkcentre M92p only like Winows and RHEL (

Nagilum23 writes: "It looks like Lenovo only knows of Windows8 and RHEL when it comes to Secure Boot. While investigating UEFI boot issues Matthew Garrett found that the Thinkcentre M92p BIOS actually checks the descriptive string:
"there is a function that compares the descriptive string against "Windows Boot Manager" and appears to return an error if it doesn't match. What's stranger is that it also checks for "Red Hat Enterprise Linux" and lets that one work as well."
Phoronix is also running the story: ."


Submission + - Netflix can now run on Linux (

ndogg writes: "Netflix has been released on Linux...sort of. The folks at iheartubuntu have figured out a way to get Netflix to run on the Windows version of Firefox using Wine (with a number of custom patches) and Silverlight. They plan on releasing packages for it all soon. Currently, it seems they have only had success with 32 bit while compiling for 64 bit is tricky."

Submission + - WordPress starts accepting Bitcoin 1

Sabbetus writes: WordPress made a bold announcement saying that they now accept bitcoins as payment for WordPress upgrades. Why are they doing this? Quote from the announcement: 'PayPal alone blocks access from over 60 countries, and many credit card companies have similar restrictions. Some are blocked for political reasons, some because of higher fraud rates, and some for other financial reasons. Whatever the reason, we don’t think an individual blogger from Haiti, Ethiopia, or Kenya should have diminished access to the blogosphere because of payment issues they can’t control. Our goal is to enable people, not block them. Bitcoin is a digital currency that enables instant payments over the internet. Unlike credit cards and PayPal, Bitcoin has no central authority and no way to lock entire countries out of the network. Merchants who accept Bitcoin payments can do business with anyone.'

Submission + - How Robots Saved an Artist's Sanity (

lebijoutier writes: from the slate article "...Tresset, for one, discovered a novel way to stay mentally healthy with the help of drugs and still pursue what was once his life’s work: He created robots that can draw portraits. Far from a mere novelty, his research is telling us more about both the creative process in humans and how we relate emotionally to machines..." "...Most of us still don’t have robots in the home, but for decades now, we’ve been waiting for machines to do our bidding. Tresset believes that it might be a good idea to imbue all personal robots with some sort of artistic skill to encourage an emotional bond—it might allow for more trust, perhaps, though you can also see how overly identifying with a machine might create some existential questions..."
In the article there is also a fascinating video of 5 of his robots sketching a single human subject...


Submission + - Super Material Can Stop Speeding Bullet (

davidshenba writes: Researchers at a Rice University lab are researching technology that that could potentially stop a 9-millimeter bullet and seal the entryway behind it. When penetrated by a tiny projectile at a high velocity, the material melted into a liquid that stopped the fast-moving object and actually sealed the hole it made. During their research, they found an excellent model material called a polystyrene-polydimethylsiloxane diblock-copolymer. Using two different methods, the team was eventually able to cross-section the structure to determine the depth of the bullets, and according to their study, the layers showed the ability to deform without breaking.

Submission + - Albert Einstein's brain shows remarkable, uncommon features (

ACXNew writes: Portions of Albert Einstein’s brain have been found to be unlike those of most people and could be related to his extraordinary cognitive abilities, according to a new study led by Florida State University evolutionary anthropologist Dean Falk.
The researchers compared Einstein’s brain to 85 “normal” human brains...


Submission + - NASA: mission accomplished, Kepler – now look harder still (

cylonlover writes: It's been more than three and a half years since the Kepler Space Telescope began its mission as humanity's watcher for Earth-like planets outside of the Solar System. In that time, Kepler has done exactly what was asked of it: provide the data to help identify more than 2,300 exoplanet candidates in other star systems. And so NASA has announced the "successful completion" of Kepler's prime mission. There's one nagging detail, though: we are yet to find a truly Earth-like planet. It's time to alter the parameters of the search, which is why NASA has announced Kepler will now begin an extended mission that could last as long as four years.

Submission + - WordPress to accept bitcoins (

angry tapir writes: "WordPress has said it will accept payment in bitcoins, opening up the blogging platform to payments from users in countries not supported by PayPal or credit card companies. WordPress is free, open-source software, but the company Automattic offers paid-for features such as blog designs, custom domains, hosting partnerships and anti-spam measures."

Submission + - Privacy Violation in Chase Bank's iOS app ( 2

An anonymous reader writes: The Chase Bank iOS application does not uninstall cleanly and shows your sensitive account alerts to subsequent installations of the app. Alerts for previous accounts include the last four of account numbers, account and transaction balances, and date and place identifier information. This has been reproduced using the latest iOS and app as well as previous versions over the last 5 month period. Despite numerous phone calls, emails, and twitter conversations, it appears that Chase is not taking this seriously.

Until they do, be very careful loaning or selling any iOS device to which you have previously setup the Chase Mobile Banking application.

TLDR; The Chase Bank iOS application does not uninstall cleanly and shows your sensitive account alerts to subsequent installations of the app.


Submission + - Google wants to be a wireless carrier (

zacharye writes: Google has already conquered the software side of smartphones and now the technology giant is reportedly in talks to take over the air waves. A report on Thursday claims that Google has held talks with satellite television provider Dish Network regarding the possibility of a venture that would see Google launch its own cellular network and compete directly with the likes of Verizon and AT&T...

Submission + - One Step Toward a Babel Fish: Real-Time Voice Translation for Phones (

the_newsbeagle writes: Douglas Adams's fictional Babel fish, which lived in the brain and could translate any language in the universe, was so incredibly useful that it simultaneously proved and disproved the existence of God. This real-time translation app for mobile phones, offered by the Japanese telecom company NTT DoCoMo, isn't going to freak out theologians any time soon. The company admits it has lots of work to do to improve translation accuracy, and it can currently only translate between Japanese and three languages: English, Korean, and Mandarin. But by allowing phone calls to pierce the language barrier, we just might have taken a step toward the universe that Adams envisioned: one where open communication between people of different cultures leads to an onslaught of terrible bloody warfare.

Submission + - Google targets Android fragmentation with updated terms for SDK (

SternisheFan writes: Google has expanded its legal agreement with developers working on Android applications to specifically prohibit them from taking any action that could lead to a fragmentation of the operating system. The prohibition was added to the terms and conditions for Google’s Android SDK (software development kit), which developers must accept before using the software to build Android apps. The previous version of the terms of service, published in April 2009, didn’t address the issue, but the new terms published on Tuesday include this new paragraph: “You agree that you will not take any actions that may cause or result in the fragmentation of Android, including but not limited to distributing, participating in the creation of, or promoting in any way a software development kit derived from the SDK.” Google did not respond to several requests for comment. The issue of Android fragmentation has been gaining increased attention, but it’s happened largely as a result of actions taken by Google and Android handset makers, not developers. It’s a problem because it means that Android applications may not run properly across all Android devices. “It continues to be a problem, both on smartphones and tablets,” said Avi Greengart, research director at Consumer Devices. “Google has talked about multiple initiatives for dealing with it, but none of them have successfully addressed it.”

Submission + - House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on TSA's 'Scanner Shuffle' (

OverTheGeicoE writes: The Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security held a hearing on TSA's recent decision to move X-ray body scanners from major airports to smaller ones, which the subcommitte refers to as a 'Scanner Shuffle.' John Sanders, TSA's assistant administrator for security capabilities, testified that 91 scanners recently removed from major airports were now in storage due to 'privacy concerns.' Although TSA originally planned to relocate the scanners to smaller airports, those plans have been shelved because smaller airports don't have room for them. The subcommittee is also investigating allegations that the machines' manufacturer, Rapiscan, 'may have falsified tests of software intended to stop the machines from recording graphic images of travelers' (VIDEO). Coincidentally, shares of Rapiscan's parent company, OSI Systems Inc., dropped in value almost 25% today, its biggest intraday decline in about 12 years. If wrongdoing is proven, Rapiscan could face fines, prison terms and a ban on government contracting, according to a former head of federal procurement.