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

Government

+ - 156 Voting Machines Receive New Scrutiny (but not from the government)-> 6

Submitted by
monkease
monkease writes "The cover story of this month's Harper's, "How to Rig an Election," (excerpt, subscription required) examines in incredible depth the use of voting machines in today's elections, statistical discrepancies in polling and election results, and the unwillingness of the political and journalistic establishment to address what are, at best, gross security flaws and conflicts of interest. This has been covered on Slashdot for about the past decade, but never that I've seen with such a broad lens."
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Microsoft

+ - 198 Microsoft increasing role in the retail stores->

Submitted by Meshach
Meshach (578918) writes "Article in the Wall Street Journal about how Microsoft is entering the retail market for computers. With Windows 8 being released Microsoft is dictating more and more to big-box retailers how their systems should be marketed to consumers. Also The number of Microsoft stores selling directly to consumers is doubling."
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Science

+ - 211 Scientists link deep wells to deadly Spainish quake Read more: http://www.ctvne-> 2

Submitted by Meshach
Meshach (578918) writes "Research has suggested that human activity triggered an earthquake in Span that killed nine and injured over three hundred. Drilling deeper and deeper wells to water crops over the past 50 years were identified as the culprit by scientist who examined satellite images of the area. It was noted that even without the strain caused by water extraction, a quake would likely have occurred at some point in the area but the extra stress of pumping vast amounts of water from a nearby aquifer may have been enough to trigger a quake at that particular time and place."
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Politics

+ - 257 The Romney family has investment ties to faulty voting machine company-> 1

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Where is the FEC on this? "Through a closely held equity fund called Solamere, Mitt Romney and his wife, son and brother are major investors in an investment firm called H.I.G. Capital. H.I.G. in turn holds a majority share and three out of five board members in Hart Intercivic, a company that owns the notoriously faulty electronic voting machines that will count the ballots in swing state Ohio November 7""
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Hardware

+ - 268 New Powerful Arduino Due ->

Submitted by mikejuk
mikejuk (1801200) writes "After six years in the making, the Arduino Due is finally becoming available and, with a price tag of $49, is bound to give a boost to the platform.The Due, which means 2 in Italian and is pronounced "doo-eh", replaces the 8-bit, 16MHz Uno by a 32-bit, 84MHz processor board that also has a range of new features — more memory, a USB port that allows it to pretend to be a mouse or a keyboard say, 54 I/O pins and so on — but what lets you do more with it is its speed and power. The heart of the new Arduino Due is the Atmel SAM3X8E, an ARM Cortex-M3-based processor, which gives it a huge boost in ADC performance, opening up possibilities for designers. The theoretical sampling rate has gone from the 15 ksps (kilosamples per second) of the existing boards, the Arduino Uno, Leonardo, and Mega 2560, to a whopping 1,000 ksps.
What this all means is that the Due can be used for much more sophisticated applications. It can even play back wav files without any help. Look out for the Due in projects that once would have needed something more like a desktop machine."

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Privacy

+ - 203 Pols Blur Line Between Data Mining, Cyberstalking

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "They dig dig dig dig dig dig dig, datamining the whole day through. To dig dig dig dig dig dig dig is what they like to do. MotherJones reports on Obama's Digital Gurus, the top-secret team of analytics engineers and scientists led by hipster CTO Harper Reed who work on text analytics, social network/media analysis, web personalization, computational advertising, and online experiments & testing from the campaign's Chicago HQ and satellite offices. For OFA (Obama for America), writes Tim Murphy, there is no such thing as TMI (Too Much Information). 'In terms of just the sheer amount of data that political candidates have on you,' says UNC Prof Daniel Kreiss, 'I think everyone finds it creepy.' Still playing catch-up to OFA in its data efforts is Team Romney, which reportedly hired former employees from places like Google Analytics, Apple, Ominture, and Overstock.com in an attempt to reverse engineer the Obama campaign's strategy."
Education

+ - 225 Man saves Star Trek TNG Set, Will Put on Display->

Submitted by
ShadoCat
ShadoCat writes "This isn't the original set unfortunately (which was destroyed making the ST:Generations movie). This is one that Paramount created for display in 1991. Huston Huddleston saved the pieces of the set late 2011 when they were about to be trashed by Paramount.

Huddleston and crew will be refitting the set with working displays and controls. They plan to host parties and educational events in the set which, apparently, is big enough to hold a large number of students.

For safety though, I hope they add circuit breakers (a technology along with seat belts that seems to have been lost in the 25th century)."

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Blackberry

+ - 170 Black Sheep Blackberry Blackballed by Business 1

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Nicole Perlroth writes that the BlackBerry, once proudly carried by the high-powered and the elite, has become a magnet for mockery and derision from those with iPhones and the latest Android phones. as Research in Motion clings to less than 5 percent of the smartphone market — down from a dominating 50 percent just three years ago. One of the first steps Marissa Mayer took as Yahoo’s newly appointed chief executive to remake the company’s stodgy image was to trade in employees’ BlackBerrys for iPhones and Androids and although BlackBerrys may still linger in Washington, Wall Street and the legal profession, in Silicon Valley they are as rare as a necktie. “I want to take a bat to it,” says Rachel Crosby who speaks about her BlackBerry phone the way someone might speak of an embarrassing relative. “You can’t do anything with it. You’re supposed to, but it’s all a big lie.” BlackBerry outcasts say that, increasingly, they suffer from shame and public humiliation as they watch their counterparts mingle on social networking apps that are not available to them, take higher-resolution photos, and effortlessly navigate streets — and the Internet — with better GPS and faster browsing. “BlackBerry users are like Myspace users,” sneers Craig Robert Smith, a Los Angeles musician. “They probably still chat on AOL Instant Messenger.”"
Wireless Networking

+ - 175 What causes degradation of wireless signals over time? 4

Submitted by acer123
acer123 (88528) writes "Lately I have replaced several home wireless routers because the signal strength has been found to be degraded. These devices, when new (2+ years ago) would cover an entire house. Over the years, the strength seems to decrease to a point where it might only cover one or two rooms. Of the three that I have replaced for friends, I have not found a common brand, age, etc. It just seems that after time, the signal strength decreases. I know that routers are cheap and easy to replace but I'm curious what actually causes this. I would have assumed that the components would either work or not work; we would either have a full signal or have no signal. I am not an electrical engineer and I can't find the answer online so I'm reaching out to you.

Can someone explain how a transmitter can /slowly/ go bad?"
Businesses

+ - 151 Salesforce.com's Benioff disses Windows 8, Oracle->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff is the latest to predict Windows 8 will be a disaster for Microsoft, but for a different reason than some others: he says that Windows is simply irrelevant in the new era of cloud computing and bring-your-own-devices (BYOD), which will become clear to corporate IT decision makers when they confront the upgrade decision. Of course, this conveniently dovetails with Salesforce's market position, so consider the source. Another interesting development is the growing rivalry between Benioff and his old boss Larry Ellison; Salesforce.com is a longtime Oracle shop, but they have just announced intentions to hire 40-50 PostgreSQL developers."
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Verizon

+ - 177 Internet providers to begin warning customers who pirate content->

Submitted by
beltsbear
beltsbear writes "Welcome to the future that you warned us about.

Starting soon Verizon, Comcast and others will work with the Center for Copyright Information to reduce piracy. Customers thought to be pirating will receive alerts.

  "The progressive series of alerts is designed to make consumers aware of activity that has occurred using their Internet accounts, educate them on how they can prevent such activity from happening again,"
If a customer feels they are being wrongly accused, they can ask for a review, which will cost them $35 according to the Verge."

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Cellphones

+ - 196 Mobile Phone Use Linked To Tumor->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "ROME (Reuters) —Italy’s supreme court has upheld a ruling that said there was a link between a business executive’s brain tumor and his heavy mobile phone usage, potentially opening the door to further legal claims. The court’s decision flies in the face of much scientific opinion, which generally says there is not enough evidence to declare a link between mobile phone use and diseases such as cancer and some experts said the Italian ruling should not be used to draw wider conclusions about the subject. “Great caution is needed before we jump to conclusions about mobile phones and brain tumors,” said Malcolm Sperrin, director of medical physics and clinical engineering at Britain’s Royal Berkshire Hospital. The Italian case concerned company director Innocenzo Marcolini who developed a tumor in the left side of his head after using his mobile phone for 5-6 hours a day for 12 years. He normally held the phone in his left hand, while taking notes with his right hand. Marcolini developed a so-called neurinoma affecting a cranial nerve, which was apparently not cancerous but nevertheless required surgery that badly affected his quality of life. He initially sought financial compensation from the Italian Workers’ Compensation Authority INAIL which rejected his application, saying there was no proof his illness had been caused by his work. But a court in Brescia later ruled there was a causal link between the use of mobile and cordless telephones and tumors. Italy’s supreme court rejected an INAIL appeal against that ruling on October 12 though its decision was only reported on Friday. It said the lower court’s decision was justified and that scientific evidence advanced in support of the claim was reliable. Marcolini’s situation had been “different from normal, non-professional use of a mobile telephone,” it said. The evidence was based on studies conducted between 2005-2009 by a group led by Lennart Hardell, a cancer specialist at the University Hospital in Orebro in Sweden. The court said the research was independent and “unlike some others, was not co-financed by the same companies that produce mobile telephones.”"
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Australia

+ - 224 Facebook Won't Take Down Undercover Cop Page in Australia->

Submitted by
jaa101
jaa101 writes "Facebook has refused a request from Australian police to take down a page with details of undercover police vehicles saying saying it cannot stop people taking photos in public places. The original story is at http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/facebook-page-reveals-details-of-unmarked-police-cars/story-e6frf7kx-1226499939251 (paywall) but it doesn't give a link to the relevant page which seems to be at https://www.facebook.com/pages/VIC-Undercover-Police-Cars/131769163636069?ref=ts&fref=ts . This page for the state of Victoria has 12000 likes but a similar page for the state of Queensland has over 34000 at https://www.facebook.com/pages/QLD-undercover-police-cars/173981759325151?ref=ts&fref=ts and there are other Australian pages too."
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