derekmead writes "Despite being used for drugs and beef jerky, Bitcoin is finding legitimate purposes. Bitcoin's decentralized convenience means international efficiency, in areas where local restrictions on money transfers to foreign companies make legal businesses cumbersome. 'I've been able to have cash in my bank account in a matter of hours using Bitcoin, rather than three days with traditional banking,' one British businessman in China told Reuters. In embattled Europe, Bitcoin offers some a viable alternative against central banks, said a Greek owner of an island bar and restaurant who accepts payment in Bitcoin. 'I don't put money in the banks. I trust the euro as a note, but I don't trust banks. I don't want them making money out of my earnings.' Indeed, Europe's financial woes are caused an unprecedented surge of interest in the alternative currency, as the continent loses economic credibility with each new bailout, according to a report by the Financial Post."
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ananyo writes "In what publishing experts say is a radical experiment, a new open-access venture is asking its authors for only a one-off fee to secure a lifetime membership that will allow them to publish free, peer-reviewed research papers. The venture, called PeerJ, formally announced its launch on 12 June. The model represents a big departure for science publishing, which has traditionally been dominated by two basic business models: either subscribers pay for access, or authors pay for each publication — often thousands of dollars — with access being free."
alexbgreat writes "What do you think is the best set of head-mounted loudspeakers for the money, with a cost of less than $50? Here are some featuresthat would be stupendous to have (in descending order of importance): noise isolation (not cancellation), flat/near flat response (I need to be able to hear bass, but I don't need my eardrums blown out), long-term comfort (earbuds usually hurt for me), and durability. Over-ear is preferred to anything on- or in-ear. Boom mics are permissible, as I may well use it as a broadcast intercom headset." If you have experience using headphones from different price ranges, feel free to share that as well.
Hugh Pickens writes "Ayesha & Parag Khanna write in the Atlantic that there are many important differences between the U.S.-China relationship of today and the U.S.-Soviet relationship before the outbreak of the Cold War. One is that the U.S. and China are deeply intertwined through geo-economic interdependence, and the rapid and global diffusion of technology is accelerating these changes. 'As the global economy has become more integrated, states have greater interest in cooperating and less interest in conflict, which can lead to a kind of mutually assured economic destruction,' write the Khanna. 'If military power is inherently competitive — the stronger your army and the weaker your neighbor's, the more powerful you become — then economic power is more cooperative. After all, much of America's power today is economic, but that power would decrease if China's economy collapses.' This economic inter-dependence, the theory goes, promotes peace, but technological power is also cooperative in this way, perhaps even more so. For example, medical research crosses borders, as do the pharmaceuticals or treatments that research can produce. China can increase its power by developing better solar panels — perhaps in part by building on foreign technologies — then turn around and sell them to other high-energy-consuming states, making us all better off. Like economics, technology doesn't just increase cooperation, it is the cooperation. 'The increasingly integrated global system is shaping the states within it, much as individual powers shape the system. The question is thus not who controls technology, but the way in which we develop, guide, and control it collectively.'"
nicholast writes "There's a good piece by Jonah Lehrer at the New Yorker about why smart people are often more likely to make cognitive errors than stupid people. The article examines research about the shortcuts that our brains take while answering questions, and explains why even the smartest people take these shortcuts too. Quoting: 'One provocative hypothesis is that the bias blind spot arises because of a mismatch between how we evaluate others and how we evaluate ourselves. When considering the irrational choices of a stranger, for instance, we are forced to rely on behavioral information; we see their biases from the outside, which allows us to glimpse their systematic thinking errors. However, when assessing our own bad choices, we tend to engage in elaborate introspection. We scrutinize our motivations and search for relevant reasons; we lament our mistakes to therapists and ruminate on the beliefs that led us astray. The problem with this introspective approach is that the driving forces behind biases—the root causes of our irrationality—are largely unconscious, which means they remain invisible to self-analysis and impermeable to intelligence. In fact, introspection can actually compound the error, blinding us to those primal processes responsible for many of our everyday failings.'"
New submitter Phopojijo writes "To wrap up his 'Programmers Guide to a Universe of Possibility' keynote during the 2012 AMD Fusion Developer Summit, Phil Rogers of AMD announced the establishment of the Heterogeneous System Architecture Foundation. The foundation has been instituted to create and maintain open standards to ease programming for a wide variety of processing resources including discrete and integrated GPUs. Founding members include ARM, Texas Instruments, Imagination, MediaTek, Texas Instruments, as well as AMD. Parallels can be drawn between this and AMD's 'virtual gorilla' initiative back from the late 1990s."
Glyn Moody writes "We hear a lot about politicians and countries rejecting ACTA, but not so much from the treaty's supporters. Here's a new site, called 'ACTA Facts,' which invites Europeans to 'get the facts' on how wonderful ACTA really is. Judging by its content, this one will be about as successful as Microsoft's 'Get the Facts' campaign a few years ago, which tried to dissuade people from using GNU/Linux. For example, a new report linked to by the site claims that ACTA could 'boost European output by a total of €50 billion, and create as many as 960,000 new jobs.' Unfortunately, that's based on numerous flawed assumptions, including the idea that countries like China and India are going to rush to join ACTA, when the treaty is actually designed as a weapon against them, as they have already noticed."
Analytics firm Flurry recently posted a report comparing the new projects being undertaken by developers for mobile apps on Android and iOS. According to their data, significantly more projects are started for iOS than for Android. The gap has been slowly shrinking over the past few quarters, but it's still bigger than it was a year ago. "For every 10 apps that developers build, roughly 7 are for iOS. While Google made some gains in Q1 2012, edging up to over 30% for the first time in a year, we believe this is largely due to seasonality, as Apple traditionally experiences a spike in developer support leading up to the holiday season." The iPad's dominance of the tablet market is one of several reasons for the gap. "In Flurry’s estimation, the fragmentation of the Android platform is increasing the cost and complexity of app development, perhaps curbing third-party investment in software."
stevegee58 writes "Posting videos to YouTube allegedly showing police misconduct has become commonplace these days. Now police themselves are posting their own videos to refute misconduct claims. 'After a dozen Occupy Minnesota protesters were arrested at a downtown demonstration, the group quickly took to the Internet, posting video that activists said showed police treating them roughly and never warning them to leave. But Minneapolis police knew warnings had been given. And they had their own video to prove it. So they posted the footage on YouTube, an example of how law enforcement agencies nationwide are embracing online video to cast doubt on false claims and offer their own perspective to the public.'"
eldavojohn writes "One thing Diablo 3 has that many other games do not is a 'Real Money Auction House' (RMAH), which went live today for players with two factor authentication. Of course, mere hours before that, Blizzard publicly announced they would follow through on their promises. Accounts they have identified as cheaters and botters have been banned 'by the thousands.' No official number is out, but the news is indicating that as people get off of work and return home to their bot-wives and bot-kids they may find themselves without a valid Battle.net account (possibly tied to other games like SCII and WoW). Blizzard has also included many fixes to remove/dissuade many other exploits but if their past arcane attitude toward the 'gamers of the game' is any indication, thousands will be unhappy."
An anonymous reader writes "With demand for processors growing and costs rising, using larger wafers for manufacturing is highly desirable, but a very expensive transition to make. TSMC just announced it has received approval from the Taiwan government to build a new factory for 450mm wafers, with the total cost of the project expected to be between $8-10 billion. The move to larger wafers isn't without its risks, though. Building new facilities to handle production is the easy part. The industry as a whole has to overcome some major technical hurdles before 450mm becomes a viable replacement for the tried and tested 300mm process. TSMC's chairman Morris Chang has stated the next five years will be filled with technical challenges, suggesting 450mm wafers may not be viable until at least 2017."
MojoKid writes "Intel's Light Peak technology eventually matured into what now is known in the market as Thunderbolt, which debuted initially as an Apple I/O exclusive last year. Light Peak was being developed by Intel in collaboration with Apple. It wasn't a huge surprise that Apple got an early exclusivity agreement, but there were actually a number of other partners on board as well, including Aja, Apogee, Avid, Blackmagic, LaCie, Promise and Western Digital. On the Windows front, Thunderbolt is still in its infancy and though there are still a few bugs to work out of systems and solutions, Thunderbolt capable motherboards and devices for Windows are starting to come to market. Performance-wise in Windows, the Promise RAID DAS system tested here offers near 1GB/s of peak read throughput and 500MB/s for writes, which certainly does leave even USB 3.0 SuperSpeed throughput in the dust."
nonprofiteer writes "Spokeo was one of the first public-facing person-profiling companies to attract the ire of those profiled. Taglined 'not your grandmother's phonebook,' it offers up profiles pulled from public records, social networking sites, etc, including your address, worth of your home, who's in your family, your estimated wealth, your hobbies and interests, and more. People freaked out when they first discovered it. Apparently, the company was selling reports to employers, but not following principles set forth by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The Federal Trade Commission is fining them $800,000. FTC also chastises them for writing fake positive reviews around the Web."
sciencehabit writes "The Curiosity rover will definitely find evidence of an advanced civilization if it lands safely on Mars. That's because rock samples the rover drills are likely to be contaminated with bits of Teflon from the rover's machinery, NASA announced during a press teleconference. The bits of Teflon can then mix with the sample, which will be vaporized for analysis. The problem for the scientists is that Teflon is two-thirds carbon — the same element they are looking for on Mars." Fortunately, this problem isn't a showstopper: "...there are still mitigation steps to take if SAM's analysis is potentially compromised. Contaminant production appears to be stronger in the drill's percussion mode, when it pounds powerfully and rapidly on Martian rock. So ratcheting the percussion down, or switching over to the more gentle rotary mode, may make the issue more manageable. If that doesn't work, the MSL team could just take the drill out of commission, solely scooping soil instead of also boring into rock. Curiosity could still access the interior of some Martian rocks by rolling over them with its wheels, Grotzinger said. But all in all, he's confident that the team will figure things out in the next month or two."