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Microsoft

+ - 472 Microsoft accuses webkit of breaking standards and becoming the next IE 6->

Submitted by Billly Gates
Billly Gates (198444) writes "In a bizaare, yet funny and ironic move, Microsoft warned web developers that using webkit stagnated open standards and innovation on the web. Microsoft is espcially concerned in the mobile market where many mobile sites only work with Android or IOS with -webkit specific extensions on its call to action in their Windows Phone Developer Blog. Their examples include W3C code such as radius-border, which are being written as -webkit-radius-border instead on websites. In the mobile market Webkit has a 90% marketshare, while website masters feel it is not worth the development effort to test against browsers such as IE. Microsoft's solution to the problem of course is to use IE 10 for standard compliancy and not use the proprietary (yet opensource) webkit. Is webkit in both Android, Chrome, and iOS really that proprietary is it all hot air from someone who fell from grace?"
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Politics

+ - 213 GOP Brief Attacks Current Copyright Law->

Submitted by cervesaebraciator
cervesaebraciator (2352888) writes "Regardless of how one feels about the GOP generally, it is always heartening to see current copyright and IP law questioned on a national stage. A Republican study committee, chaired by Ohio Representative Jim Jordan released a brief today entitled Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix it . Among other things, the brief attacks current copyright law as hampering scientific inquiry, penalizing journalism, and retarding the potential of the internet to allow the dispersion of knowledge through e-readers. In the briefs words, "Current copyright law does not merely distort some markets – rather it destroys entire markets." Four potential policy solutions are proposed: statutory damage reform, expansion of fair use, punishing false copyright claims, and limiting copyright terms. There may yet be hope for a national debate on the current oppressive copyright system, if just a fool's hope."
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IT

+ - 261 US Justice Department sues eBay for anti-competitive hiring practices->

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber (1417641) writes "The Associated Press (http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/justice-dept-sues-ebay-for-allegedly-agreeing-with-intuit-not-to-hire-each-others-employees/2012/11/16/4352fa4e-303a-11e2-af17-67abba0676e2_story.html) is reporting that the US Justice Department is suing eBay for allegedly agreeing with Intuit not to hire each other’s employees.

According to the article, "eBay’s agreement with Intuit hurt employees by lowering the salaries and benefits they might have received and deprived them of better job opportunities at the other company,” said acting Assistant Attorney General Joseph Wayland, who is in charge of the Justice Department’s antitrust division. The division “has consistently taken the position that these kinds of agreements are per se (on their face) unlawful under antitrust laws.”"

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+ - 164 Book Review: Version Control with Git, 2nd Edition->

Submitted by
kfogel
kfogel writes "I'd like to submit a book review of "Version Control with Git" (2nd Edition, 2012, O'Reilly Media), by Jon Loeliger and Matthew McCullough. The review is mostly written, but http://slashdot.org/faq/submissions.shtml says to contact you (via this submissions form) for longer pieces like book reviews. So I am contacting you :-).

Please let me know if you'd consider running a review of this book. I'm happy to send the content of the review, of course; I'm just not sure what the best mechanism is, since it sounds like this form isn't it. Let me know.

Best,
-Karl Fogel (kfogel@red-bean.com)"

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Power

+ - 266 Old Electric-Car Batteries Put into Service for Home Energy Storage

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Josie Garthwaite writes that old electric car batteries degraded below acceptable performance levels for autos still have enough life to serve the grid for at least ten years with a prototype announced by GM and ABB lashing five Chevy Volt battery packs together in an array with a capacity of 10 kilowatt-hours — enough to provide electricity for three to five average houses for two hours. "In a car, you want immediate power, and you want a lot of it," says Alexandra Goodson. "We're discharging for two hours instead of immediately accelerating. It's not nearly as demanding on the system." Deployed on the grid, community energy storage devices could help utilities integrate highly variable renewables like solar and wind into the power supply, while absorbing spikes in demand from electric-car charging. "Wind, it's a nightmare for grid operators to manage," says Britta Gross, director of global energy systems and infrastructure commercialization for GM. "It's up, down, it doesn't blow for three days. It's very labor-intensive to manage." The batteries would allow for storage of power during inexpensive periods for use during expensive peak demand, or help make up for gaps in solar, wind or other renewable power generation. One final advantage of re-using electric car batteries is that the battery—the most expensive part of an electric car—remains an asset beyond its useful life in the vehicle. "If there is a market in stationary power for spent batteries, consumers could recognize this as an increased resale value at end of life, however small," says Kevin See."
Databases

+ - 152 Cheap GPU Accelerated Database System Competes With Top TPC-H Scores-> 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Alenka is an open source SQL-lite database system that leverages CUDA to offload all of the query processing to NVIDIA GPUs. Newly published results show that an $800 desktop system (with an NVIDIA GTX580, and 1 120GB SSD) outperforms the top10 ranked $55,000 HP server with 2 Quad Core (3Ghz) Xeons, 144GB of RAM, and 12 60GB SSDs running Microsoft SQL Server 2008 in one query, and offers comparable performance in another.

To achieve these results, the author (Anton) recently updated the code with a new version that includes a faster implementation of database JOIN. The code leverages the Thrust library for fast SORT, SELECT, and SET parallel algorithms. It also uses the CUDPP library to implement a parallel hash JOIN.

While the codebase is not a complete implementation of SQL, it can execute several queries from TPC-H (an industry standard data-warehousing benchmark). For Query 1 (SELECT, GROUP-BY) Alenka processes a 100GB dataset in 9.5 seconds, compared to 42.3 seconds on the HP system. For Query 3 (JOIN, GROUP-BY, SORT), Alenka takes 5.3 seconds, compared to 4.3 seconds for the HP system.

It will be interesting to see if Alenka can offer similar results for the entire TPC-H benchmark suite, or if other database implementations can be accelerated by GPUs.

The source code for the Alenka system is available on github."

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IOS

+ - 162 iOS 6 Streaming Bug Sends Data Usage Skyrocketing->

Submitted by
MojoKid
MojoKid writes "iOS 6, by all appearances, has a streaming problem. This is separate from the network issues that led Verizon to state that it wouldn't bill people for overages that were caused by spotty Wi-Fi connectivity. The issue has been detailed at PRX.org with information on how the team saw a huge spike in bandwidth usage after the release of iOS 6, and then carefully tested the behavior of devices and its own app to narrow the possible cause. In one case, the playback of a single 30MB episode caused the transfer of over 100MB of data. It is believed that the issue was solved with the release of iOS 6.0.1, but anecdotal evidence from readers points to continued incidents of high data usage, even after updating. If you own an iPhone 5 or upgraded to iOS 6 on an older device, it is strongly recommend to check your usage over the past two months, update to iOS 6.0.1, and girding up for a lengthy discussion with your carrier if it turns out your data use went through the roof."
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Communications

+ - 188 Ask Slashdot: Any Ways to Send Private Messages that are Free from Intrusion? 3

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Are there any ways to exchange high-tech private messages that are secure from government intrusion? Recent news stories show that even powerful individuals are not immune to [sometimes warrantless] taps of their phone, SMS, email, or Dropbox-style messages. (Please don't say, "Yes there is a way, but if I told you I would have to kill you.")"
Science

+ - 207 Reading and calculating with your unconscious->

Submitted by
lee1
lee1 writes "Using special techniques that present information to one eye while hiding the information from the conscious mind (my masking it with more distracting imagery presented to the other eye), researchers have shown two new and very unexpected things: we can read and understand short sentences, and we can perform multi-step arithmetic problems, entirely unconsciously. The results of the reading and calculating are available to and influence the conscious mind, but we remain unaware of their existence. While we have known for some time that a great deal of sensory processing occurs below the surface and affects our deliberative behavior, it was widely believed until now that the subconscious was not able to actually do arithmetic or parse sentences."
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NASA

+ - 253 The downside of warp drives: Annihilating whole star systems when you arrive->

Submitted by
MrSeb
MrSeb writes "The dream of faster-than-light travel has been on the mind of humanity for generations. Until recently, though, it was restricted to the realm of pure science fiction. Theoretical mechanisms for warp drives have been posited by science, some of which actually jive quite nicely with what we know of physics. Of course, that doesn't mean they’re actually going to work, though. NASA researchers recently revisited the Alcubierre warp drive and concluded that its power requirements were not as impossible as once thought. However, a new analysis from the University of Sydney claims that using a warp drive of this design comes with a drawback. Specifically, it could cause cataclysmic explosions at your destination."
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Microsoft

+ - 206 German city says OpenOffice shortcomings are forcing it back to Microsoft->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes ""In the specific case of the use of OpenOffice, the hopes and expectations of the year 2007 are not fulfilled," the council wrote, adding that continuing use OpenOffice will lead to performance impairments and aggravation and frustration on the part of employees and external parties.

"Therefore, a new Microsoft Office license is essential for effective operations," they wrote. ...

"The divergence of the development community (LibreOffice on one hand Apache Office on the other) is crippling for the development for OpenOffice," the council wrote, adding that the development of Microsoft Office is far more stable. Looking at the options, a one-product strategy with Microsoft Office 2010 is the only viable one, according to the council."

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Education

+ - 141 Indian school textbook says meat-eaters lie and commit sex crimes->

Submitted by another random user
another random user (2645241) writes "Meat-eaters "easily cheat, lie, forget promises and commit sex crimes", according to a controversial school textbook available in India.

New Healthway, a book on hygiene and health aimed at 11 and 12 year-olds, is printed by one of India's leading publishers.

"This is poisonous for children," Janaki Rajan of the Faculty of Education at Jamia Millia University in Delhi told the BBC. "The government has the power to take action, but they are washing their hands of it," she said.

"The strongest argument that meat is not essential food is the fact that the Creator of this Universe did not include meat in the original diet for Adam and Eve. He gave them fruits, nuts and vegetables," reads a chapter entitled Do We Need Flesh Food?

The chapter details the "benefits" of a vegetarian diet and goes on to list "some of the characteristics" found among non-vegetarians. "They easily cheat, tell lies, forget promises, they are dishonest and tell bad words, steal, fight and turn to violence and commit sex crimes," it says.

The chapter, full of factual inaccuracies, refers to Eskimos (Inuit) as "lazy, sluggish and short-lived", because they live on "a diet largely of meat". It adds: "The Arabs who helped in constructing the Suez Canal lived on wheat and dates and were superior to the beef-fed Englishmen engaged in the same work.""

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Piracy

+ - 178 Verizon to choke pirates' browsing speeds->

Submitted by another random user
another random user (2645241) writes "US net firm Verizon has declared war on illegal downloaders, or pirates, who use technologies such as BitTorrent to steal copyrighted material.

Verizon has said it will first warn repeat offenders by email and voicemail. Then it will restrict or "throttle" their internet connection speeds.

Time Warner Cable, another US internet service provider pledging to tackle piracy, says it will use pop-up warnings to deter repeat offenders. After that it will restrict subscribers' web browsing activities by redirecting them to a landing page.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which campaigns for digital freedom, is highly critical of the imminent campaign, saying: "Big media companies are launching a massive peer-to-peer surveillance scheme to snoop on subscribers." ISPs will be acting as "Hollywood's private enforcement arm", it added."

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Linux

+ - 200 Valve's Steam License Causes Linux Packaging Concerns-> 2

Submitted by skade88
skade88 (1750548) writes "With the Linux Steam beta giving Ubuntu and it's large user base all the love, other Linux gamers are understandably wanting to let in on the fun. For the beta, Valve has provided Steam as a Debian package. Many hungry Linux gamers have reported that they have have Steam running on their fav. distro, but that still leaves the legal debate. What is the legal threshold needed to get Steam in the repos of your fav. flavor of Linux? Will Valve's one-size-fits-every-OS license be flexible to work on Linux or will it kill/Delay the dream of a viable gaming world for Linux? We are so close to bridging the last major hurdle in finally realizing the year of the Linux desktop: Gaming. Lets hope the FOSS community and Valve can play together so we all win."
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Crime

+ - 162 Website Calls Out Authors of Racist Anti-Obama Posts->

Submitted by stevegee58
stevegee58 (1179505) writes "A tumblr blog entitled "hellothereracists" is publicly identifying other online posters who make racist/assassination comments about President Obama.
Beyond merely identifying online usernames, the blog's author is uncovering and publishing the real names and locations of offending posters.
It's an interesting mess of legal issues. The outed posters are at risk of a Secret Service visit, but the trouble may not end there. The hellothereracists blogger himself may have some problems publicly posters who are frequently underage teenagers."

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Science

+ - 153 Dutch Artist 3D Prints CT Scan of His Own Skeleton->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "In what could be described as the ultimate memento mori – a genre of art that reminds us of our own mortality – Dutch sculpture Caspar Berger has reproduced an exact copy of his own skeleton. He underwent a CT scan, which provided detailed anatomical data, which was then output on a 3D printer."
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The Courts

+ - 159 Parents not liable for their son's illegal music sharing, German court rules->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
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."

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Science

+ - 210 Exploring Einstein's brain->

Submitted by scibri
scibri (2544842) 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."

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Music

+ - 149 Brain scans of rappers and jazz musicians shed light on creativity->

Submitted by
ananyo
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."

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+ - 186 German police stop man with mobile office in car->

Submitted by PolygamousRanchKid
PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) 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."

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Linux

+ - 177 Lenovo Thinkcentre M92p only like Winows and RHEL->

Submitted by
Nagilum23
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: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTIyOTg ."

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Movies

+ - 232 Netflix can now run on Linux->

Submitted by
ndogg
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."
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+ - 158 How Robots Saved an Artist's Sanity->

Submitted by lebijoutier
lebijoutier (2709461) 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...

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2012/11/tresset_robot_artist_artist_engineers_robots_to_make_art_and_save_his_own.single.html"

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Science

+ - 146 Super Material Can Stop Speeding Bullet->

Submitted by davidshenba
davidshenba (2536122) 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."
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Ubuntu

+ - 151 Netflix Now Runs On Linux->

Submitted by sfcrazy
sfcrazy (1542989) writes "Erich Hoover has just won a months-old IHeartUbuntu contest to find a way to get Netflix running on Linux. The instructions are verified for 32-bit Ubuntu and available here. 32-bit users will be installing git, pulling WINE, downloading patches, installing WINE patches, and downloading Silverlight 4 and Firefox for Windows."
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NASA

+ - 234 NASA: mission accomplished, Kepler – now look harder still->

Submitted by cylonlover
cylonlover (1921924) 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."
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Bitcoin

+ - 182 WordPress to accept bitcoins->

Submitted by
angry tapir
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."
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I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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