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Google

Jury Hits Marvell With $1 Billion+ Fine Over CMU Patents 167

Posted by timothy
from the billion-with-a-b dept.
Dupple writes with news carried by the BBC of a gigantic tech-patent case that (seemingly for once) doesn't involve Samsung, Apple, Microsoft, or Google: "'U.S. chipmaker Marvell Technology faces having to pay one of the biggest ever patent damage awards. A jury in Pittsburgh found the firm guilty of infringing two hard disk innovations owned by local university Carnegie Mellon.' Though the company claims that the CMU patents weren't valid because the university hadn't invented anything new, saying a Seagate patent of 14 months earlier described everything that the CMU patents do, the jury found that Marvell's chips infringed claim 4 of Patent No. 6,201,839 and claim 2 of Patent No. 6,438,180. "method and apparatus for correlation-sensitive adaptive sequence detection" and "soft and hard sequence detection in ISI memory channels.' 'It said Marvell should pay $1.17bn (£723m) in compensation — however that sum could be multiplied up to three times by the judge because the jury had also said the act had been "wilful." Marvell's shares fell more than 10%.'"
The Military

What Debris From North Korea's Rocket Launch Shows 223

Posted by samzenpus
from the picking-over-the-pieces dept.
Lasrick writes "David Wright of the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists analyzes the debris from North Korea's December 11th Unha-3 launch. From the article: 'According to press reports, traces on the inner walls of the tank show that the first-stage oxidizer is a form of nitric acid called "red-fuming nitric acid," which is the standard oxidizer used in Scud-type missiles. There had been some speculation that this stage might instead use a more advanced fuel with nitrogen tetroxide (NTO) as the oxidizer. Since the Nodong engines believed to power the first stage are scaled-up Scud engines, the use of RNFA is not a surprise. There have also been claims that the stage uses a more advanced fuel called UDMH, but it appears instead to be the kerosene-based fuel used in Scuds. In his recent RAND study, Markus Schiller noted that a test Iraq performed using UDMH in a Scud engine gave poor performance, and that burning UDMH gives a transparent flame. The North Korean video of the launch instead shows an orange flame characteristic of Scud fuels (Figure 3 is an image from 12:44 into the video). These findings confirm that the stage is still Scud-level technology.'"
Medicine

Bangladesh Slaughters 150,000 Birds After Worst H5N1 Virus Outbreak In 5 Years 76

Posted by samzenpus
from the bird-zero dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with news about a bird flu outbreak in Bangladesh. "At least 150,000 chickens and 300,000 eggs have been destroyed at a giant poultry farm near Dhaka in Bangladesh after the major outbreak of avian flu was detected last week, officials said Wednesday. This season's bird flu outbreak was the worst in five years. Officials at Bay Agro at Gazipur detected the deadly H5N1 flu strain 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of Dhaka on Monday after dozens of birds died, which had prompted the poultry company to send samples to a laboratory for testing. 'There are about 150,000 chickens at the farm. We have already killed and destroyed 120,000 chickens and we will kill the rest today,' livestock department director Mosaddeq Hossain said, according to AFP. Hossain said that it was the worst avian flu outbreak in five years."
Privacy

Give Us Your Personal Data Or Pay Full Fare 342

Posted by samzenpus
from the name-and-blood-type dept.
ebh writes "Noted in an AP story about how fees make it difficult to compare air travel costs, is how the airline industry is moving toward tailoring offer packages (and presumably, fares) for individuals based on their personal information. Worse, 'The airline association said consumers who choose not to supply personal information would still be able to see fares and purchase tickets, though consumer advocates said those fares would probably be at the "rack rate" — the travel industry's term for full price, before any discounts.'"
Google

Google Docs Vs. Microsoft Word: an Even Matchup? 346

Posted by samzenpus
from the duke-it-out dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Software developer Jeff Cogswell writes: 'About a year ago, I decided to migrate my documents to Google Docs and start using it for all my professional writing. I quickly hit some problems; frankly, Google Docs wasn't as good an option as I'd initially hoped. Now I use LibreOffice on my desktop, and it works well, but I had to go through long odysseys with Google Docs and Zoho Docs to reach this point. Is Microsoft Word actually better than Google Docs and Zoho Docs? For my work, the answer is "yes," but this doesn't make me particularly happy. In the following essay, I present my problems with Google Docs and Zoho Docs (as well as some possible solutions) from my perspective as both a professional writer and a software developer.'"
Security

Popular Wordpress Plugin Leaves Sensitive Data In the Open 54

Posted by samzenpus
from the protect-ya-neck dept.
chicksdaddy writes in with a warning about a popular Wordpress plugin. "A security researcher is warning WordPress users that a popular plugin may leave sensitive information from their blog accessible from the public Internet with little more than a Google search. The researcher, Jason A. Donenfeld, who uses the handle 'zx2c4' posted a notice about the add-on, W3 Total Cache on the Full Disclosure security mailing list on Sunday, warning that many WordPress blogs that had added the plugin had directories of cached content that could be browsed by anyone with a web browser and the knowledge of where to look. The content of those directories could be downloaded, including directories containing sensitive data like password hashes, Donenfeld wrote. W3 Total Cache is described as a 'performance framework' that speeds up web sites that use the WordPress content management system by caching site content, speeding up page loads, downloads and the like. The plugin has been downloaded 1.39 million times and is used by sites including mashable.com and smashingmagazine.com, according to the WordPress web site."
Robotics

Krugman: Is the Computer Revolution Coming To a Close? 540

Posted by samzenpus
from the end-of-an-era dept.
ninguna writes "According to Paul Krugman: 'Gordon argues, rightly in my view, that we've really had three industrial revolutions so far, each based on a different cluster of technologies. The analysis in Gordon's paper links periods of slow and rapid growth to the timing of the three industrial revolutions:
IR #1 (steam, railroads) from 1750 to 1830.
IR #2 (electricity, internal combustion engine, running water, indoor toilets, communications, entertainment, chemicals, petroleum) from 1870 to 1900.
IR #3 (computers, the web, mobile phones) from 1960 to present.
What Gordon then does is suggest that IR #3 has already mostly run its course, that all our mobile devices and all that are new and fun but not that fundamental. It's good to have someone questioning the tech euphoria; but I've been looking into technology issues a lot lately, and I'm pretty sure he's wrong, that the IT revolution has only begun to have its impact.' Is Krugman right, will robots put laborers and even the educated out of work?"
It's funny.  Laugh.

Ask Slashdot: What Was Your Favorite Web Comic of 2012? 321

Posted by Soulskill
from the obligatory-xkcd dept.
skade88 writes "It's time to do another year-end best-of roundup! Today's topic is web comics. What was your favorite web comic of 2012? Feel free to use the following categories, or make up your own. 1) Best overall web comic series of 2012. (Any web comic that produced content in 2012). 2) Funniest web comic of 2012. (This one represents the single funniest comic of any web comic series. Provide links!) 3) Best art in a web comic of 2012. (Web comic from 2012 with the most amazing art ever). 4) Web comic that was most relevant to you in 2012. (This one is even more subjective than the others)."
Medicine

Link Between Marijuana and Psychosis Goes Both Ways 358

Posted by Soulskill
from the that's-far-out-man dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news of a study out of the Netherlands (abstract) about the link between psychosis and marijuana use. The researchers wanted to examine what caused the relationship — was marijuana use leading to psychosis, or did those suffering from psychosis have a higher tendency to seek out marijuana? As it turns out, they found evidence for both. From the article: "... using pot at 16 years old was linked to psychotic symptoms three years later, and psychotic symptoms at age 16 were linked to pot use at age 19. This was true even when the researchers accounted for mental illness in the kids' families, alcohol use and tobacco use. Griffith-Lendering said she could not say how much more likely young pot users were to exhibit psychotic symptoms later on. Also, the new study cannot prove one causes the other. Genetics may also explain the link between pot use and psychosis, said Griffith-Lendering."
KDE

Running a Linux Live KDE Desktop In 210MB 106

Posted by Soulskill
from the perfect-for-those-trips-to-the-'90s dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Slax 7.0 is a Slackware-based Linux distribution that can provide a Live USB/CD environment complete with the KDE4 Plasma desktop in just 210MB of space. Slax can also be customized with other software modules to provide lightweight Linux installations for varying tasks. For those curious how this lightweight Linux distribution has pulled off the feat of being small and fast, Slax creator Tomá Matejícek wrote a technical article explaining the Slax internals with booting a modern Linux desktop in just ~200MB."
Sci-Fi

Gerry Anderson, Co-Creator of Thunderbirds, Dies 129

Posted by Soulskill
from the rest-in-peace dept.
jamstar7 writes "According to the BBC, 'Gerry Anderson, the creator of hit TV shows including Thunderbirds, Stingray and Joe 90, has died at the age of 83. He also created Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and his puppet superheroes fired the imaginations of millions of young viewers in the 1960s and '70s. Thunderbirds, a science-fiction fantasy about a daring rescue squad, ran from 1965 and was his most famous show.' In my opinion, his greatest creation was Space: 1999, an ITV production with practically no budget, which had great shows in the first season. Unfortunately, like so many other Gerry & Sylvia Anderson projects, it ran out of gas in the second season. They did some great stuff." Anderson's son Jamie also has a post in remembrance of his father.
Books

Amazon: Authors Can't Review Books 248

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-would-they-know-about-writing dept.
In an effort to step up its fight against astroturfers, Amazon has barred authors from reviewing books. It's not simply that authors can't review their own books — they can't review any book in a similar genre to something they've published. "This means that thriller writers are prevented from commenting on works by other authors who write similar books. Critics suggest this system is flawed because many authors are impartial and are experts on novels." British author Joanne Harris had a simpler solution in mind: "To be honest I would just rather Amazon delete all their reviews as it... has caused so much trouble. It is a pity. Originally it was a good idea but it is has become such an issue now. The star rating has become how people view if a book is a success and it has become inherently corrupt." How would you improve the online review system?
China

World's Longest High-Speed Rail Line Opens In China 322

Posted by Soulskill
from the flatten-all-the-pennies dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Today China continued rolling out the future of high speed rail by officially unveiling the world's longest high-speed rail line — a 2,298-kilometer (1,428-mile) stretch of railway that connects Beijing in the north to Guangzhou in the south. The first trains on the new route hit 300 kph (186 mph), cutting travel time between the two cities by more than half."
United Kingdom

UK Milk Supply Contains New MRSA Strain 179

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-have-a-cow dept.
Tests on milk from several different farms across the U.K. have turned up evidence for a new strain of MRSA — bacteria which have evolved resistance to common antibiotics. As long as the milk is properly pasteurized, it poses no threat to consumers, but anyone working directly with the animals bears a small risk of infection. According to The Independent, "The disclosure comes amid growing concern over the use of modern antibiotics on British farms, driven by price pressure imposed by the big supermarket chains. Intensive farming with thousands of animals raised in cramped conditions means infections spread faster and the need for antibiotics is consequently greater. Three classes of antibiotics rated as 'critically important to human medicine' by the World Health Organization – cephalosporins, fluoroquinolones and macrolides – have increased in use in the animal population by eightfold in the last decade."
Security

How Do YOU Establish a Secure Computing Environment? 314

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the can't-root-this dept.
sneakyimp writes "We've seen increasingly creative ways for bad guys to compromise your system like infected pen drives, computers preloaded with malware, mobile phone apps with malware, and a $300 app that can sniff out your encryption keys. On top of these obvious risks, there are lingering questions about the integrity of common operating systems and cloud computing services. Do Windows, OSX, and Linux have security holes? Does Windows supply a backdoor for the U.S. or other governments? Should you really trust your Linux multiverse repository? Do Google and Apple data mine your private mobile phone data for private information? Does Ubuntu's sharing of my data with Amazon compromise my privacy? Can the U.S. Government seize your cloud data without a warrant? Can McAfee or Kaspersky really be trusted? Naturally, the question arises of how to establish and maintain an ironclad workstation or laptop for the purpose of handling sensitive information or doing security research. DARPA has approached the problem by awarding a $21.4M contract to Invincea to create a secure version of Android. What should we do if we don't have $21.4M USD? Is it safe to buy a PC from any manufacturer? Is it even safe to buy individual computer components and assemble one's own machine? Or might the motherboard firmware be compromised? What steps can one take to ensure a truly secure computing environment? Is this even possible? Can anyone recommend a through checklist or suggest best practices?"

Try `stty 0' -- it works much better.

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