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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

Electronic Frontier Foundation

+ - 271 EFF Announces New Patent Reform Project-> 2

Submitted by olsmeister
olsmeister (1488789) writes "On Tuesday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation announced its "Defend Innovation" project, which includes seven proposals for software patent reform. These proposals include things like shorter coverage for software patents, and a requirement to demonstrate running code for each claim in the patent."
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Cloud

+ - 177 The Rise of RaaS (Resource-as-a-Service) Clouds->

Submitted by paleshadows
paleshadows (1127459) writes "Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and software-as-a-service (SaaS) enable organizations to rent cloud resources required to perform specific tasks, thus reducing operational and support costs. According to researchers at the Technion — Israel Institute of Technology, the cloud market is about to give birth to a new and more efficient cloud platform. In a position paper presented at USENIX HotCloud '12 in Boston, researchers Orna Agmon Ben-Yehuda, Muli Ben-Yehuda, Assaf Schuster, and Dan Tsafrir postulate that IaaS is on the path to evolving into a more practical model, one that enables customers to purchase individual resources for a few seconds at a time. The researchers have dubbed this new cloud platform "resource-as-a-service" (RaaS). RaaS would enable businesses to have more control over what resources to allocate towards a virtual machine. "Renting a fixed combination of cloud resources cannot and does not reflect the interests of clients," states the paper."
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Microsoft

+ - 175 Microsoft To PC And Tablet Makers: You're Not Our Future->

Submitted by
snydeq
snydeq writes "Microsoft's plan to build its own Windows 8 tablets puts longtime allies in peril — and it may be the right thing to do. 'In announcing the Surface tablets, due to be released this fall, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer cited Apple's advantage (without mentioning Apple) of integrated software and hardware. "Things work better when hardware and software are considered together," he said. "We control it all, we design it all, and we manufacture it all ourselves." ... Like Apple, Microsoft will hire a few PC makers to do the actual production work. But the need for 20 brands of me-too laptops, tablets, and convertibles is low. Manufacturing sophisticated electronics is a skill requiring manufacturing innovation. But all those branded-but-otherwise-undifferentiated PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones just aren't needed in the vision Ballmer sketched out yesterday.'"
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Mars

+ - 156 The Dry Ice 'Snowflakes' of Mars->

Submitted by
astroengine
astroengine writes "After collecting the vast quantities of data gathered by orbiting Mars spacecraft, MIT scientists have uncovered some rather interesting facts about Martian snow. For starters, as the majority of the Mars atmosphere is composed of carbon dioxide, the snowflakes are made from CO2 ice — basically tiny particles of 'dry ice.' Also, the snowflakes are very small — approximately the size of a red blood cell. "These are very fine particles, not big flakes," said MIT assistant professor Kerri Cahoy in a press release. If you saw these 'snowflakes' fall, "you would probably see it as a fog, because they're so small," she added."
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Media

+ - 150 Legit media for your linux based media server

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I recently decided to go all digital and create myself a media server, now the hardware isn't an issue, I plan on making a gentoo based miniDLNA server to serve the entire household (all gigabit ethernet). However I tried to start my media collection by visiting uv.com and signing up for an account.
The process to sign up was nice and simple and they even bundled a free DVD with it; Great I thought, until I tried to checkout and it told me "Your operating system is not supported, do you still wish to continue". No I have no plans to use my Windows partition for anything other than gaming and I solely want to be able to download to my NFS mount ready for my TV etc.

So my question is, is there any way for a linux guy to get media in a legal fashion? I'm starting to get fed up with jumping through hoops all the time to try and stay legal, I could easily fire up any number of programs and get all the media I want for free, however I'd like to do the right thing but that looks like it's not possible in the current state of affairs...

If anyone can suggest a method to obtain my media requirements legally, I'll jump at the chance!

Thanks /. in advance, I'm sure if I can't get an answer here, there is no solution and I might have to just elect to download by other means..."
Technology

+ - 192 NYC's Trash-Sucking Tubes May Be Upgraded, Expanded->

Submitted by derekmead
derekmead (2466858) writes "When urban planners were trying to turn New York’s Roosevelt Island from a haven for the disabled and the mentally ill into a liveable city, they gotutopian. Lying beneath their plans was an unusual technology: a series of tubes that literallysuck garbage from buildingsat speeds up to 60 miles per hour to a central collection point, where the trash is taken off the island by truck or barge. Theoretically, that eliminates the emissions and traffic caused by giant garbage trucks, and makes trash sorting easier.

Now, more than thirty years after the “AVAC,” or Automated Vacuum Collection System, was installed, Envac, the Swedish company that built it, is exploring how to upgrade it and even extend the system to other parts of the city. Under a new feasibilitystudyconducted by City University and funded by two city agencies, the easiest option would be to stretch the current system south, to cover the new technology campuses being built on Roosevelt Island by Cornell University and the Technion.

Other potential trash tube candidates include the Coney Island boardwalk, in a new housing development there, and near Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan. There, according to Envac’s new proposal, the tubes could ride underneath the infrastructure of the High Line, the hip railway-cum-park that floats along the neighborhood’s increasingly hip river-side edge."

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Music

+ - 176 Music evolving by listeners' taste, with a slashdot history->

Submitted by Shipud
Shipud (685171) writes "A collaboration between a group in Imperial College and Media Interaction group in Japan yielded a really cool website: darwintunes.org. The idea is to apply Darwinian-like selection to music. Starting form a garble, after several generations producing something that is actually melodic and listen-able. The selective force being the appeal of the tune to the listener. From the paper published yesterday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: "At any given time, a DarwinTunes population has 100 loops, each of which is 8 s long. Consumers ratethem on a five-point scale (“I can’t stand it” to “I love it”) as they are streamed in random order. When 20 loops have been rated,truncation selection is applied whereby the best 10 loops are paired, recombine, and have two daughters each." Note that in 2009 the creators of darwintunes harnessed the power of slashdot to help "evolve" their site."
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NASA

+ - 154 Shenzhou 9 Sparks Renewed Debate on Space Race with China->

Submitted by
MarkWhittington
MarkWhittington writes "With the flight of the Shenzhou 9, which includes the first docking between a Chinese spacecraft and a prototype space station module, a renewed debate has arisen over the implications of Chinese space feats. China is planning a large space station by the end of this decade. It has expressed the desire to land people on the moon sometime in the next decade. Scientists, foreign policy experts and journalists debate whether China has supplanted the U.S. as a space power and whether that matters."
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Google

+ - 148 Another YouTube Conversion Site Clipped->

Submitted by Hodejo1
Hodejo1 (1252120) writes "This morning we learned that Google fired the first volley against YouTube conversion sites by blocking YouTube-MP3.org's servers from accessing its service and sending a letter threatening legal action. It looks like the fast growing Clip.dj also got the letter based on the note posted on the site: "We're sorry to announce this, but Clip.dj has shut its service down for good"."
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Privacy

+ - 145 NSA claims it would violate Americans' privacy to say how many of us it spied on->

Submitted by colinneagle
colinneagle (2544914) writes "Would you believe the Inspector General from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said it would violate the privacy of Americans for the IG office to tell us how many people in the United States had their privacy violated via the NSA warrantless wiretap powers which were granted under the FISA Amendment Act of 2008?

The annual Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) report [PDF] showed that electronic surveillance increased yet again in 2011. Applications for what the government calls "business records," but also includes the production of tangible things, swelled from 96 in 2010 to 205 in 2011. The EFF said those business records are one in the same as the government using the notorious Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA) is up for a five-year extension, but Senator Ron Wyden said he'd block FAA renewal until Congress received an answer from the NSA about how many "people in the United States have their communications reviewed by the government" under FAA powers."

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Education

+ - 204 U.S. Students Struggle with Reasoning Skills->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "The first-ever use of interactive computer tasks on a national science assessment suggests that most U.S. students struggle with the reasoning skills needed to investigate multiple variables, make strategic decisions, and explain experimental results. The results are part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress that was given in 2009 to a representative sample of students in grades four, eight, and 12."
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Education

+ - 168 Wall Street Journal: Student Aid Increases Tuition->

Submitted by
retroworks
retroworks writes "Wall Street Journal makes the case that when the federal government offers tuition assistance, students apply to more expensive colleges, giving the institutions an incentive to raise tuition and a disincentive to lower it. This reminds me of the debate over President Reagan's cuts to the Pell Grant program in the 1980s. MIT's Campus Paper "The Tech" quoted the MIT administration as saying it had "no idea what really will occur" when Reagan's proposal to cut Pell came to Washington. So the question is, 25 years later, do we know now? Did cuts to federal tuition assistance hurt the education of the lower income students? Did increases to Pell grants create more opportunity? Or is federal money the milkshake, and students are just the straw?"
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Android

+ - 177 Google's Nexus tablet to be unveiled next week->

Submitted by zacharye
zacharye (2330148) writes "Google chairman Eric Schmidt revealed in December that the company was working on its first own-brand tablet, and the “Nexus 7” slate will finally be unveiled next week during the Google I/O developer conference, according to multiple reports. The last reaffirmation comes from DigiTimes, which has reported a number of details surrounding Google’s upcoming tablet that will seemingly prove accurate..."
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Cloud

+ - 138 David Lowery on the Ethics of the Cloud->

Submitted by
Mystakaphoros
Mystakaphoros writes "Musician David Lowery (of Cracker fame) takes NPR intern Emily White to task for her stance on paying for (or failing to pay for) music. While he makes some cogent moral points about failing to support artists, I still have some issues with conflating the "cloud" and other (peer-to-peer) file-sharing methods."
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