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Space

+ - 153 Hairspray Could Help Us Find Advanced Alien Civilizations 1

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Charles Q. Choi writes that hairspray could one day serve as the sign that aliens have reshaped distant worlds because one group of gases that might be key to terraforming planets are chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), long-lived non-toxic greenhouse gases that were often used in hairspray and air conditioners, among many other products. "Our hypothesis is that evidence of intelligent life might be evident in a planetary atmosphere," says astrobiologist Mark Claire at the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science. CFCs are entirely artificial, with no known natural process capable of creating them in atmospheres. Detecting signs of these gases on far-off worlds with telescopes might serve as potent evidence that intelligent alien civilizations were the cause, either intentionally as part of terraforming or accidentally via industrial pollution. "An industrialized civilization will be one that will use its planetary resources for fabrication, the soon-to-be-detectable-from-Earth atmospheric byproducts of which could be a tell-tale sign of their activity," says astrobiologist Sanjoy Som. CFCs can be easily recognized in planetary atmospheres because their atmospheric “fingerprint” (i.e. chemical spectra) is very different from natural elements, and are a tell-tale sign that life on the surface has advanced industrial capabilities. Using state-of-the-art computer models of atmospheric chemistry and climate, researchers plan to discover what visible signs CFCs and other artificial byproducts of alien terraforming or industry might have on exoplanet atmospheres. "We are about a decade away of being able to measure detailed compositions of the atmospheres of extrasolar planets," says Som."
Firefox

+ - 179 Firefox 18 Beta Out: Faster JavaScript Via IonMonkey, Built-in PDF Vewer

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla on Monday announced the release of Firefox 18 beta for Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can download it now from Mozilla.org/Firefox/Beta. The biggest addition in this update is significant JavaScript improvements, courtesy of Mozilla’s new JavaScript JIT compiler called IonMonkey. The company promises the performance bump should be noticeable whenever Firefox is displaying Web apps, games, and other JavaScript-heavy pages."
Microsoft

+ - 117 Windows8 update planned for January 2013->

Submitted by SternisheFan
SternisheFan (2529412) writes "From TheVerge.com

We're told that Microsoft is preparing to include VPN support in Windows Phone, a missing option since the reset of Microsoft's mobile OS efforts, that will allow corporate users to connect to work systems — this feature may make it into the first Apollo Plus update. A Wi-Fi connection fix is also planned to let connections always remain on, alongside some audio improvements. Apollo Plus will also test Microsoft's ability to deliver Windows Phone 8 updates over-the-air, a change from the previous OS that required users to plug devices into PCs to get similar updates.Microsoft is currently preparing an update for Windows Phone 8, codenamed Apollo Plus. Sources have confirmed to The Verge that Apollo Plus will bring new features to Windows Phone 8 that weren't fully in scope for the initial release. This won't be the next major version of Windows Phone, but more of a point update to push fixes and features.

We're told that Microsoft is preparing to include VPN support in Windows Phone, a missing option since the reset of Microsoft's mobile OS efforts, that will allow corporate users to connect to work systems — this feature may make it into the first Apollo Plus update. A Wi-Fi connection fix is also planned to let connections always remain on, alongside some audio improvements. Apollo Plus will also test Microsoft's ability to deliver Windows Phone 8 updates over-the-air, a change from the previous OS that required users to plug devices into PCs to get similar updates."

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Slashdot.org

+ - 173 Unveiling Slashdot Mobile for Tablets

Submitted by
gkuchhal
gkuchhal writes "Slashdot Mobile has finally made it out of the gates for tablets as well as phones. The Mobile site for phones launched some weeks back, but now you can take advantage of the changes we've made to read Slashdot easier to read through touch-screen devices on tablets as well as phones. That includes features we've folded in to the mobile version from the desktop-browser view of the site, so you can scan user profiles, sip from the Firehose, and keep up with notifications. See this blog post for more details, and keep the feedback coming. If you see a problem, tell us about it!"
Chrome

+ - 125 Google Touch-Screen Chromebook in the Works: Rumor->

Submitted by
Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes "There are rumors going around that Google plans on launching one or more Chrome OS-powered laptops with touch-screen capability. Google’s Chrome OS is a cloud-dependent operating system for laptops and desktops. It features Google services such as Gmail, as well as access to the Chrome Web Store and its wide variety of apps. While some offline functionality exists (including the ability to edit documents via Google Docs), devices running Chrome OS are largely dependent on a constant Internet connection. DigiTimes reported Nov. 26 that Google had partnered with Taiwan-based Compal Electronics and Wintek to build such a 12.85-inch device. The newspaper cited the Chinese-language Commercial Times (CT) as its source. (Hat tip to InformationWeek for spotting the info.) “Compal will start shipments as soon as the end of 2012,” DigiTimes wrote, paraphrasing the other newspaper. However, any reader should take that with a massive grain of salt, as DigiTimes has reported on many a rumor that later failed to manifest as an actual product or service."
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Government

+ - 183 Sandia Lab celebrates original "Mr. Clean" the clean room inventor-> 1

Submitted by
coondoggie
coondoggie writes "Sandia National Laboratories physicist Willis Whitfield, 92, passed away earlier this month and left a technological legacy that continues to reverberate today: The legendary clean room.

The original laminar-flow 10 x 6 clean room developed 50 years ago by Whitfield was more than 1,000 times cleaner than any cleanrooms used at the time and ultimately revolutionized microelectronics, healthcare and manufacturing development. According to Sandia, with slight modifications, it is still the clean room standard today."

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Microsoft

+ - 196 Windows 8 PCs Still Throttled By Crapware->

Submitted by
jfruh
jfruh writes "Windows 8's Metro UI presents a clean and spiffy new interface for Microsoft's latest OS. But one of the operating system's oldest and most hated problems — crapware — still lurks below the surface. For instance, the Acer Aspire 7600U is an all-in-one that, at $1,900, is hardly a bargain-basement PC. And yet as shipped it includes over 50 pieces of OEM and third-party software pre-installed, much of which simply offer trials for paid services."
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Oracle

+ - 386 Oracle Proposes Nashorn, A New JavaScript Engine for OpenJDK->

Submitted by hypnosec
hypnosec (2231454) writes "Oracle has proposed a new project for OpenJDK – Nashorn, which aims to implement a high-performance yet lightweight JavaScript runtime that would run on Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Nashorn will be headed by Jim Laskey, multi-language Lead at Oracle and the project will be sponsored by HotSpot group. The project proposes implementation of JavaScript such that it can run standalone JavaScript applications via the JSR 223 APIs. Nashorn’s design will enable it to take advantage of technologies like MethodHandles and InvokeDynamic APIs."
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Google

+ - 129 Will Google Go the Way of Microsoft? Ask the FTC->

Submitted by
concealment
concealment writes "The biggest threat to Google isn't Apple, Microsoft or Amazon — it's the U.S. government. Within the next several months, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission may sue Google for antitrust violations. If it does, Google will most likely end up like Microsoft after the government filed suit against it in the 1990s — distracted and unable to plan for the future.

The biggest potential antitrust issue is whether Google unfairly manipulates its search results to point at its own services rather than competitors'. So, for example, the suit might charge that Google manipulates search results to direct consumers to Google Places rather than Yelp or to Google Shopping rather than Pricegrabber or Shopzilla. Another potential issue is whether Google's AdWords marketplace discriminates against ads from services that compete with Google's services."

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+ - 173 Troubling trend for open source company... 3

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I'm one of the original founders of a open source company which offers a popular open source product (millions of downloads) targeted primarily to small businesses. We have been doing this for 10 years now and we fund the development of the open source product with the usual paid support services, custom development and addons, but over the last few years we've noticed a troubling trend...

Companies that have downloaded our product from one of the many free download sites have a question they want answered, they call our support line and once we politely explain the situation and that telephone support has a reasonable fee associated with it, more and more of them are becoming seriously irate, to the point of yelling, accusing of us fraud and/or scamming them. For some reason they think a free product should have free telephone support as well, and if we don't offer free telephone support then its not really a free product.

It would appear that these same people are then resorting to social media in an attempt to "spread the word" with the same false accusations which is starting to take its toll on our reviews, ratings and in turn our bottom line.

Does the Slashdot community have any suggestions on how we can reverse this trend? How do other open source companies handle similar situations?"
Government

+ - 112 Cyber Monday bust: US law joins in world-wide seizure of 132 domain names->

Submitted by
coondoggie
coondoggie writes "A team of world-wide law enforcement agencies took out 132 domain names today that were illegally selling counterfeit merchandise online. The group, made up of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and law enforcement agencies from Belgium, Denmark, France, Romania, United Kingdom and the European Police Office (Europol) targeted alleged counterfeiters selling everything from professional sports jerseys, DVD sets, and a variety of clothing to jewelry and luxury goods."
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Games

+ - 167 What's it like to pilot a drone? A lot like Call of Duty->

Submitted by Velcroman1
Velcroman1 (1667895) writes "Teenagers raised on "Call of Duty" and "Halo" might relish flying a massive Predator drone — a surprisingly similar activity. Pilots of unmanned military aircraft use a joystick to swoop down into the battlefield, spot enemy troop movements, and snap photos of terror suspects, explained John Hamby, a former military commander who led surveillance missions during the Iraq War. “You’re always maneuvering the airplane to get a closer look,” Hamby said. “You’re constantly searching for the bad guys and targets of interest. When you do find something that is actionable, you’re a hero.” Yet a new study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found real-life drone operators can become easily bored. Only one participant paid attention during an entire test session, while even top performers spent a third of the time checking a cellphone or catching up on the latest novel. The solution: making the actual drone mission even more like a video game."
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Technology

+ - 173 Is Intel Planning to Kill Enthusiast PCs?->

Submitted by OceanMan7
OceanMan7 (1664723) writes "According to a story by Charlie Demerjian, a long-time hardware journalist, in SemiAccurate.com, Intel's next generation of x86 CPUs, Broadwell, will not come in a package having pins. Hence manufacturers will have to solder it onto motherboards. That will likely seriously wound the enthusiast PC market.

One might think that tIntel are just cutting their own throats given the competition, but AMD is financially on the ropes. A quote from analyst Alan Brochstein in a recent article at seekingalpha.com states: "Advance Micro (AMD), on the other hand, looks terminal to me despite new management."

http://seekingalpha.com/article/1026631-the-20-most-oversold-stocks-in-the-s-p-500?source=yahoo

Anti-Trust Prosecution take so long that it's not a viable alternative for stopping this. If Intel doesn't change their plans, the future pasture for enthusiasts looks like it will go to ARM chips or something from offshore manufacturers."

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Medicine

+ - 131 Could a Newly Developed RNA-Based Vaccine Offer Lifelong Protection From Flu?->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A new experimental flu vaccine made out of messenger RNA (mRNA) that may work for life is now being developed.
German researchers said on Sunday that the vaccine, made of the genetic material that controls the production of proteins, protected animals against influenza and, unlike traditional vaccines, it may work for life and can potentially be manufactured quickly enough to stop a pandemic.
Past studies have suggested a universal flu vaccine that involved targeting other proteins on the flu virus that don't change as quickly as the NA and HA proteins, but the new newly proposed vaccine goes beyond that and targets the underlying RNA-driven processes that create the NA and HA proteins, regardless of their strain."

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Open Source

+ - 111 Top ten open source gifts for the holidays->

Submitted by tarheel2012
tarheel2012 (2781969) writes "A list of ten open source gifts for that special (open source) someone. The list includes Raspberry Pi, MaKey MaKey, BeagleBone, Flora, and others. All of the gadgets are either open source hardware, or run on open source software. Which do you think are the best? Do you think any great open source gadgets were left out?"
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Your Rights Online

+ - 115 Good News on the Free Speech Front

Submitted by fustakrakich
fustakrakich (1673220) writes "Supreme Court blocks Illinois law prohibiting taping of police:

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected a plea from the Cook County state's attorney to allow enforcement of a law prohibiting people from recording police officers on the job.

The justices on Monday left in place a lower court ruling that found that the state's anti-eavesdropping law violates free speech rights when used against people who tape law enforcement officers...

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in 2010 against State's Attorney Anita Alvarez to block prosecution of ACLU staff for recording police officers performing their duties in public places, one of the group's long-standing monitoring missions."
Technology

+ - 101 Fingernail-Sized Radar Chip Could be Used in Future Smartphones->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "Research based in Frankfurt, Germany, and funded by the European Union, has resulted in a new low-cost, fingernail-sized radar chip package that could be implemented in a variety of areas, including the automotive industry, robotics and smartphones. “As far as I know, this is the smallest complete radar system in the world,” said Professor Christoph Scheytt, coordinator of the project on behalf of IHP Microelectronics in Frankfurt, Germany."
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Businesses

+ - 151 O'Reilly Discounts Every eBook by 50%->

Submitted by destinyland
destinyland (578448) writes "O'Reilly and Associates just announced that they're offering a 50% discount on every ebook they publish for Cyber Monday. Use the code CYBERDAY when checking out to claim the discount (which expires at midnight). Amazon has also discounted their Kindle Fire tablets to just $129. Due to a prodcution snafu, they've already sold out of the new Kindle Paperwhite, and won't be able to ship any more until December 21"
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Mars

+ - 215 SpaceX Founder Sets Sights On Martian Colony->

Submitted by amkkhan
amkkhan (2542482) writes "Elon Musk, founder of the private spaceflight company SpaceX, is has his eye on forming a Mars colony, and you can be part one of the first Martian explorers for only $500,000. The Mars colony would be part of a Mars settlement program, and Must envisions ferrying up to 80,000 people to the red planet as part of the first Mars colony.

The Mars settlement program would start with 10 people, who would journey on to Mars on a reusable rocket created by SpaceX powered by liquid oxygen and methane, according to Yahoo! News.

"At Mars, you can start a self-sustaining civilization and grow it into something really big," Musk said, according to Space.com."

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You know, the difference between this company and the Titanic is that the Titanic had paying customers.

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