pacopico writes "There's a 30-acre plot of land in Maysville, MO where about two dozen people have gathered to build a Civilization Starter Kit. As Businessweek reports, they're working on open-source versions of bulldozers, bread ovens, saws and other tools right on up to robots and chip fabs. The project has been dubbed the Factor e Farm, and it's run by a former nuclear physicist and a bunch of volunteers. The end goal is to have people modify the tool designs until they're good enough to compete with commercial equipment."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
SternisheFan writes "Twitter is now withholding tweets when people complain they contain or link to copyright-infringing material, rather than deleting them. The company's legal policy manager, Jeremy Kessel, said in a tweet on Saturday that the shift offers Twitter users 'more transparency' in the way the service processes copyright reports. This is because other users can now see what was removed and why, rather than just not being able to see the message. The copyright notices that Twitter receives can be seen on the Chilling Effects website, where the firm posts all such messages with personal details excised. Some call for messages to be axed because they contain a copyrighted image, while others note that certain tweets contain links to unlawful copies of games and other media on the web. Other types of censorship can also be seen on Twitter's Chilling Effects page, notably instances where certain messages had to be withheld in certain countries due to local laws regarding privacy or political freedom."
jenningsthecat writes "Public payphones seem headed the way of the dinosaur, as noted here on Slashdot 10 years ago, and again by the CBC earlier this year. Reasons typically cited for their demise are falling usage, (thanks to the ubiquitous cell phone), and rising maintenance costs. But during the recent disaster in NYC caused by Hurricane Sandy public payphones proved their worth, allowing people to stay in contact in spite of the widespread loss of both cellular service and the electricity required to charge mobile devices. In light of this news, at least one Canadian news outlet is questioning the wisdom of scrapping payphones. Should we in North America make sure that public pay phones will always be widely available? (After all, it's not as though they don't have additional value-added uses). And, should their continued existence be dependent on corporations whose primary duty is to their shareholders, rather than to the average citizen?"
juicegg writes "TechCrunch contributor Klint Finley writes that developers have shunned unions because traditional workplace demands like higher pay are not important to us while traditional unions are incapable of advocating for what developers care about most while at work: autonomy and self-management. Is this how most developers feel? What about overtime, benefits, conditions for contractors and outsourcing concerns? Are there any issues big enough to get developers and techies to make collective demands or is it not worth the risk? Do existing unions offer advantages or is it better to start from scratch?"
A while ago you had the chance to ask Bruce Perens about how open source has changed in the past 15 years, what's happening now, and what's to come. Bruce has been busy traveling, but he's found some free time and sent in his answers. Read below to see what he has to say.
An anonymous reader writes "The state-by-state election outcome probabilities today on Nate Silver's 538 imply a 97.7% probability for Obama to win 270 or more electoral college votes this coming Tuesday. A site that allows anyone but U.S. citizens vote seems to indicate that the rest of the world hopes these numbers are accurate. "
Hugh Pickens writes "NASA reports that according to a study by Rebecca Martin and Mario Livio asteroid collisions may have provided a boost to the birth and evolution of complex life on earth delivering water and organic compounds to the early Earth and accelerating the rate of biological evolution with occasional impacts to disrupt a planet's environment to the point where species must try new adaptation strategies. 'Too many asteroids, and you've got an unrelenting cosmic shooting gallery, raining fiery death from above,' writes Fraser Cain. 'Too few asteroids, and complex life might not get the raw material it needs to get rolling. Life never gets that opportunity to really shake things up and evolve into more complex forms.' Martin and Livio suggest that the location of an asteroid belt relative to a Jupiter-like planet is not an accident. The asteroid belt in our solar system, located between Mars and Jupiter, is a region of millions of space rocks that sits near the 'snow line,' which marks the border of a cold region where volatile material such as water ice are far enough from the sun to remain intact. 'To have such ideal conditions you need a giant planet like Jupiter that is just outside the asteroid belt [and] that migrated a little bit, but not through the belt,' Livio explains. 'If a large planet like Jupiter migrates through the belt, it would scatter the material. If, on the other hand, a large planet did not migrate at all, that, too, is not good because the asteroid belt would be too massive. There would be so much bombardment from asteroids that life may never evolve.'"
New submitter Journe writes "Anonymous claims to have begun a hacking spree for the 5th of November. In their spree, they've laid waste to several Australian Government sites, and, for some reason, the site of Saturday Night Live. They also claim to have leaked VMware source code, along with user and employee info from Paypal and Symantec. There's some argument however that Anonymous is falsely taking claim for Symantec."
theodp writes "Just when you think the cable TV viewing experience couldn't get any worse, GeekWire reports on the Microsoft Xbox Incubation team's patent-pending Consumer Detector, which uses cameras and sensors like those in the Xbox 360 Kinect controller to monitor, count and in some cases identify the people in a room watching television, movies and other content. Should the number of viewers detected exceed the limits of a particular content license, the system would halt playback unless additional viewing rights were purchased."
An anonymous reader writes "4 years ago I read about experimental targeted muscle reinnervation (TMR) surgery on Slashdot. 3 years ago I crashed my motorcycle and had my leg amputated — at which time I had TMR done. Today I climbed 103 floors of the Willis Tower in Chicago with a experimental prosthetic using TMR. Thanks, Slashdot."
MojoKid writes "AMD's new Piledriver-based Opterons are launching today, completing a product refresh that the company began last spring with its Trinity APUs. The new 12 & 16-core Piledriver parts are debuting as the Opteron 6300 series. AMD predicts performance increases of about 8% in integer and floating-point operations. With this round of CPUs, AMD has split its clock speed Turbo range into 'Max' and 'Max All Cores.' The AMD Opteron 6380, for example, is a 2.5GHz CPU with a Max Turbo speed of 3.4GHz and a 2.8GHz Max All Cores Turbo speed."
An anonymous reader writes "In a surprising blow to the movement to create free textbooks online, an upstart company called Flat World Knowledge is dumping its freemium model. The upstart publisher had made its textbooks free online and charged for print versions or related study guides, but company officials now say that isn't bringing in enough money to work long-term."
First time accepted submitter damagedbits writes "So it turns out that Me.ga is only part of Kim Dotcom's resolution for 2013. Even though he's still facing extradition to the U.S. for alleged piracy, Dotcom has plans to resurrect Pacific Fibre's failed project to construct a fiber optic cable across the Pacific to the U.S. The new line will bring free high-speed broadband to New Zealanders and double the nation's Internet bandwidth, setting Dotcom back about $400m." Some of that funding is based on optimism: "Dotcom plans on getting the majority of his funds by suing Hollywood studios and the US government for their 'unlawful and political destruction of [Megaupload].'"
angry tapir writes "Japan's Sharp, a major supplier of LCD displays to Apple and other manufacturers, has warned that it may not survive if it can't turn around its business. The Osaka-based manufacturer said there is "material doubt" about its ability to continue operating in its earnings report filed Thursday. Sharp added, however, that it still believes it can cut costs and secure enough credit to survive. Its IGZO technology for mobile displays is likely to be a key element of its business strategy."
Late Tuesday, both the 2012 U.S. election (the popular vote at least) and the 2012 campaign season should be over. Tonight, though, whatever your ability or plans to vote are (see the current poll for a peek at what other readers claim about their intentions), you've got the chance to see one more presidential debate, to be moderated by Ralph Nader, and featuring third-party presidential contenders Gary Johnson (Libertarian), Jill Stein (Green), Virgil Goode (Constitution) and Rock Anderson (Justice). Yes, the same ones featured in another debate a few weeks back. (We promise, this is the last debate of this go-round.) If you're voting (or would, if you could) for other than the Democratic or Republican parties' candidates this year, what drives that decision?