Fluffeh writes "Can a farmer commit patent infringement just by planting soybeans he bought on the open market? This week, the Supreme Court asked the Obama administration to weigh in on the question. The Court is pondering an appeals court decision saying that such planting can, in fact, infringe patents. Last year, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled, as it had on several previous occasions, that patent exhaustion did not cover second-generation seeds. The Supreme Court has now asked the Solicitor General, the official in charge of representing the Obama administration before the Court, to weigh in on the case."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
If you're working at home or from a coffee shop or, really, anyplace outside your company's offices, they need to hear you when you talk, and you need to hear them. The same goes for dealing with clients via VOIP or video, the two communications techologies that seem to be driving POTS into obsolescence faster than we thought possible just a few years ago. In this video, Plantronics PR person Karen Auby -- who works remotely most of the time herself -- explains how Plantronics products help make work easier in a world of "unified communications."
An anonymous reader writes "A 28-year-old woman was recently accused of assault and arrested based on a thumbnail photo from her profile pic on Facebook. Artist Lizz Aston was identified in a lineup after police used a picture from her Facebook profile. From the article: 'In an interview she said, "I told the officer I was at an art opening for a friend, then went home with my boyfriend because he injured his knee. We stayed in for the rest of the night and I did research on the computer for an art installation I was working on. The officer didn't care ... I don't think the police looked into it further." Aston said, the officer "read me my rights. I was searched, finger printed and processed."'"
MrSeb writes "According to researchers at MIT and the University of Pennsylvania, one day in the not too distant future you'll be able to design, print and build your own robot. 'Our vision is to develop an end-to-end process; specifically, a compiler for building physical machines that starts with a high level of specification of function, and delivers a programmable machine for that function using simple printing processes,' MIT Professor Daniela Rus says. The team points to the high expense currently to design and produce functioning robots. By simplifying the process, it would bring robotics to a much wider audience. With an automated process, more time could be spent on teaching the intricacies of robotics or getting to the task at hand rather than the laborious process of building the robot itself. Two paper prototypes have been built so far: an insect-like robot for exploring dangerous areas, and a gripper device for the handicapped."
sciencehabit writes "Paleontologists have unearthed fossils of the largest feathered creature yet known, a 1.4-metric ton dinosaur that was an early cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex. The long, filament-like feathers preserved with three relatively complete skeletons of the newly described species provide direct evidence of extensively feathered gigantic dinosaurs. The discovery is controversial—and in some scientific circles, largely unexpected."
An anonymous reader writes "A mechanical engineer working out of the University of Delaware has come up with a way to produce hydrogen without any undesirable emissions such as carbon dioxide. The solar reactor is capable of using sunlight to increase the heat inside its cylindrical structure above 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Zinc oxide powder is then gravity fed through 15 hoppers into the ceramic interior where it converts to a zinc vapor. At that point the vapor is reacted with water separately, which in turn produces hydrogen. If the prototype gets through 6 weeks of testing at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology located in Zurich, we could see it scaled up to industrial size, producing emission-free hydrogen."
Qedward writes "British telecoms operator O2 has found that 88% of its staff are just as productive working remotely, while one-third claimed that they actually got more work done when they worked from home. 3,000 employees at O2's head office took part in a program that had them to work from home for one day, as practice for problems that may occur during the Olympic Games. From the article: '“The success of O2’s experiment extends much further than just allowing some of the workforce to stay at home and work. It proves that with the right thinking and planning, even the largest organizations can protect themselves from the most severe disruptions to their business,” said Ben Dowd, business director at O2.'"
Velcroman1 writes "A juvenile mammoth, nicknamed 'Yuka,' was found entombed in Siberian ice near the shores of the Arctic Ocean and shows signs of being cut open by ancient people. The remarkably well preserved frozen carcass was discovered in Siberia as part of a BBC/Discovery Channel-funded expedition and is believed to be at least 10,000 years old, if not older. If further study confirms the preliminary findings, it would be the first mammoth carcass revealing signs of human interaction in the region. The carcass is in such good shape that much of its flesh is still intact, retaining its pink color. The blonde-red hue of Yuka's woolly coat also remains."
surewouldoutlaw writes "On the heels of the news that the Chevy Volt had a record month, selling 2,289 units in March, the Detroit-Hamtramck plant where the car is made will be resuming production of the car one week early, reducing a five-week shutdown to just four weeks, the United Auto Workers union said Tuesday. The shutdown had been put in place to re-align supply with demand. Volt workers have also begun to lash out at Republican presidential candidates' criticisms of the car: 'They're attacking our car to get at the President...But our car is going to change the way America does business. It's a breath of fresh air.'"
zzzreyes writes "I got an email from my cloud server to reset the admin password, first dismissed it as phishing, but a few emails later I found one from an admin telling me that they had given a person full access to my server and revoked it, but not before 2 domains were moved from my account. I logged into my account to review the activity and found the form the perpetrator had submitted for appointment of new primary contact and it infuriated me, given the grave omissions. I wrote a letter to the company hoping for them to rectify the harm and they offered me half month of hosting, in a sign of good faith. For weeks I've been struggling with this and figure that the best thing to do is to ask my community for advice and help, so my dear slashdotters please share with me if you have any experience with this or know of anyone that has gone through this. What can I do?"
redletterdave writes "As expected, Yahoo began laying off more than 2,000 employees on Wednesday morning — roughly 14 percent of the company's total workforce — in its effort to slim down and pivot its focus in a new direction. The mass layoff marks the sixth time in four years — and under three different CEOs, no less — that Yahoo has dumped employees, but this one will the company's biggest in its 17-year history. Scott Thompson, Yahoo's CEO, sent an apologetic letter to all his employees this morning explaining the changes."
Hugh Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that NBC has completed its investigation into the Today show's mishandling of the police dispatcher's conversation with George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case with a finding of error, plus an apology. The apology addresses the show's failure to accurately abridge the conversation between Zimmerman and the dispatcher in this high-profile case. This is how the program portrayed a segment of that conversation: Zimmerman: 'This guy looks like he's up to no good. He looks black' Here what was actually said: Zimmerman: 'This guy looks like he's up to no good. Or he's on drugs or something. It's raining and he's just walking around, looking about.' Dispatcher: 'OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?' Zimmerman: 'He looks black.' In an appearance on Fox News's Hannity, Brent Bozell, president of the conservative Media Research Center, called this omission on the part of Today an 'all-out falsehood' — not just a distortion or misrepresentation. 'On the good front, [NBC] acknowledges the mistake and apologizes to viewers for the bad editing. It's a forthright correction and spares us any excuses about the faulty portrayal. On the bad front, the statement is skimpy on the details on just how the mistake unfolded,' writes Erik Wemple. 'In light of all that's happened, Zimmerman may be a tough person for a news network to apologize to, but that's just the point: Apologies are hard.'"
NIK282000 writes "Ontario farmers rallied in downtown Toronto to protest the subsidization of wind turbines. Several of the protesters stated that they fear for the the health of their families and that they refuse to live near wind turbines. Others fear that the value of their property will be reduced significantly by the presence of turbines. With the cost of gas and oil on its way up it's a wonder that any one would be against the use of renewable energy sources."
Eponymous Hero writes "The Geordi La Forge in all of us rejoices as Google announces Google Glasses, the augmented reality glasses that will no doubt spy on everything you look at and target you with ads at that crucial moment. The only question left begging is how soon can we merge them with bionic eye implants?"
This isn't about your place in society, but about user privileges on your computers and computer networks. The more privileges, the more risk of getting hacked and having Bad People do Bad Things to your company's computers, right? So Leonid Shtilman's company, Viewfinity, offers SaaS that helps you grant system privileges in a more granular manner than just allowing "root" and "user" accounts with nothing in between.