dstates writes "The FCC is considering one of the biggest regulatory changes in decades: allowing a newly available chunk of wireless spectrum to be leased by different users at different times and places, rather than being auctioned off to one high bidder. The plan is to open a new WiFi with spectrum in the 3.550 to 3.650 gigahertz band now used by radar systems. Under the proposed rule to be voted on Wednesday, users could reserve pieces of that spectrum in different regions and at different time managed by a central database. Spectrum sharing is a dramatic change with a potential to make bandwidth accessible to many users. The plan has met with mixed reviews from the cellular carriers."
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Orome1 writes "The voting period for the proposed changes to Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and Data Use Policy has ended on Monday, and despite the email sent out to the users asking them to review the changes and cast their vote, less than one percent of all users have done so. 'An external auditor has reviewed and confirmed the final results. Of the 668,872 people who voted, 589,141 recommended we keep our existing SRR and Data Use Policy,' stated Elliot Schrage, Facebook's vice president of communications, public policy, and marketing. Still, that is not nearly enough to prevent the proposed changes — as required by Facebook, at least 30 percent of the users should have voted against them in order to keep the previous versions of the policies. Schrage pointed out that that the whole experience illustrated the clear value of Facebook's notice and comment process."
waderoush writes "Last spring Google introduced its English-speaking users to the Knowledge Graph, a vast semantic graph of real-world entities and properties born from the Freebase project at Metaweb Technologies (which Google acquired in 2010). This month Google began showing Knowledge Graph results to speakers of seven other languages. Though the project has received little coverage, the consequences could be as far-reaching as previous overhauls to Google's infrastructure, such as the introduction of universal search back in 2007. That's because the Knowledge Graph plugs a big hole in Google's technology: the lack of a common-sense understanding of the things in its Web index. Despite all the statistical magic that made Google's keyword-based retrieval techniques so effective, 'We didn't ever represent the real world properly in the computer,' says Google senior vice president of engineering Amit Singhal. He says the Knowledge Graph represents a 'baby step' toward future computer systems that can intuit what humans are searching for and respond with exact answers, rather than the classic ten blue links. 'Now, when you encounter encounters the letters T-A-J-M-A-H-A-L on any Web page, the computers suddenly start understanding that this document is about the monument, and this one is about the musician, and this one is about a restaurant,' Singhal says. 'That 'aboutness' is foundational to building the search of tomorrow.'"
Koreantoast writes "After failing on numerous occasions, North Korea has finally put a satellite in orbit. But according to US officials, it is now 'tumbling out of control.' This is bad news, and more bad news, covered in a double layer of extra bad news. From the article: 'According to US officials, it appears that North Korea's new satellite has failed to achieve a stable orbit and is now "tumbling out of control." The greatest danger is the threat of it colliding with another satellite, adding to the growing debris field around the earth.' A separate Gizmodo article provides links for tracking the current location of the satellite."
First time accepted submitter roc97007 writes "Looks like Netflix may be getting some much needed competition in the video streaming market. From the article: 'Later this month, Redbox will offer an unlimited streaming-video plan that includes movies from Warner Bros. and pay TV channel Epix, along with four nights of physical DVD rentals, for $8 a month, or $9 a month if customers want Blu-ray discs. The offering is a direct attack on Netflix Inc. and is priced even lower than the $10-a-month DVD and streaming plan that Netflix abandoned a year ago. The lowest price plan from Netflix that combines DVDs-by-mail and streaming is now $16 a month.'"
Reuters reports that John McAfee's troubles in Central America seem to be coming to an end. After a Guatemalan judge ordered McAfee's release yesterday, the country's immigration authorities have now deported him, putting him on a plane to Miami this afternoon. McAfee told ABC News, "They took me out of my cell and put me on a freaking airplane. I had no choice in the matter." Which is not to say he's unhappy with the outcome: "It was the most gracious expulsion I've ever experienced. Compared to my past two wives that expelled me this isn't a terrible trip."
An anonymous reader writes "Egyptian blogger Alber Saber, maintainer of the Egyptian Atheists Facebook page, has been sentenced to three years in prison under Egypt's blasphemy law for posting the trailer for the anti-Muslim film Innocence of Muslims. This film was widely blamed for al-Qaeda's coordinated attacks on U.S. embassies on September 11 of this year, which were meant to pressure the U.S. for the release of Omar Abdel-Rahman, who is imprisoned in the U.S. for his role in the World Trade Center attack of 1993. Amnesty International calls the sentence an 'outrageous' assault on freedom of expression."
GNUman writes "Wired has an article about using videogames to get kids into engineering, starting with Kerbal Space Program, a indie physics-driven sandbox where you build your own spaceship and explore space. I have had much fun with this game the past year and I have actually learned a bit of rocket engineering and orbital mechanics while at it. The article also mentions Minecraft, World of Goo, Amazing Alex, Patterns, Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts, Fantastic Contraption and SpaceChem. I really like the idea of games that are great fun while fostering creativity and even learning in the process. What games would you add to this list?"
The Bad Astronomer writes "Using Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have spotted seven galaxies that are all over 13 billion light years away... including one that appears to be a record breaker at a staggering 13.3+ billion light years distant. That one is seen as it was only 380 million years after the Big Bang. This observation reaches into the era of the young cosmos when stars were first forming, and allows astronomers to better understand what the Universe was like back then — a time we know very little about."
angry tapir writes "As part of a $1 billion upgrade of its city campus, the University of Technology, Sydney is installing an underground automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) for its library collection. The ASRS is in response to the need to house a growing collection and free up physical space for the new 'library of the future', which is to open in 2015 to 2016, so that people can be at the center of the library rather than the books. The ASRS, which will connect to the new library, consists of six 15-meter high robotic cranes that operate bins filled with books. When an item is being stored or retrieved, the bins will move up and down aisles as well as to and from the library. Items will be stored in bins based on their spine heights. About 900,000 items will be stored underground, starting with 60 per cent of the library's collection and rising to 80 per cent. About 250,000 items purchased from the last 10 years will be on open shelves in the library. As items age, they will be relegated to the underground storage facility. The University of Chicago has invested in a similar system."
crookedvulture writes "AMD is bundling a stack of the latest games with graphics cards like its Radeon HD 7950. One might expect the Radeon to perform well in those games, and it does. Sort of. The Radeon posts high FPS numbers, the metric commonly used to measure graphics performance. However, it doesn't feel quite as smooth as the competing Nvidia solution, which actually scores lower on the FPS scale. This comparison of the Radeon HD 7950 and GeForce 660 Ti takes a closer look at individual frame latencies to explain why. Turns out the Radeon suffers from frequent, measurable latency spikes that noticeably disrupt the smoothness of animation without lowering the FPS average substantially. This trait spans multiple games, cards, and operating systems, and it's 'raised some alarms' internally at AMD. Looks like Radeons may have problems with smooth frame delivery in new games despite boasting competitive FPS averages."
Several readers sent word of a change to Google's implementation of SafeSearch for image searches. There used to be three settings: Off, Moderate, and Strict. (You can still see these settings on, for example, Google's UK image search.) Now, for U.S. users they've made Moderate the default, and the only other option is to "Filter Explicit Results." Going into settings provides no way to turn it off. That said, Google still lets users search for explicit content if the search terms they enter are specific to that type of content. A Google rep said, "We are not censoring any adult content, and want to show users exactly what they are looking for — but we aim not to show sexually-explicit results unless a user is specifically searching for them. We use algorithms to select the most relevant results for a given query. If you're looking for adult content, you can find it without having to change the default setting — you just may need to be more explicit in your query if your search terms are potentially ambiguous. The image search settings now work the same way as in Web search."
MrSeb writes "The humble pixel — the 2D picture element that has formed the foundation of just about every kind of digital media for the last 50 years — may soon meet its maker. Believe it or not, if a team of British are to be believed, the pixel, within five short years, will be replaced with vectors. If you know about computer graphics, or if you've ever edited or drawn an image on your computer, you know that there are two primary ways of storing image data: As a bitmap, or as vectors. A bitmap is quite simply a giant grid of pixels, with the arrangement and color of the pixels dictating what the image looks like. Vectors are an entirely different beast: In vector graphics, the image is described as a series of mathematical equations. To draw a bitmap shape you just color in a block of pixels; with vector graphics, you would describe the shape in terms of height, width, radius, and so on. At the moment, bitmaps are used almost exclusively in the realm of digital media — but that isn't to say they don't have their flaws. As display (and camera and cinema) resolution increases, so does the number of pixels. The obvious problem with this is that larger bitmaps are computationally more expensive to process, resulting in a slower (or more expensive) workflow. Pixel bitmaps don't scale very gracefully; reduction is okay, but enlargement is a no-no. There is always the issue of a master format, too: With pixel bitmaps, conversions from one format to another, or changing frame rates, is messy, lossy business. Which finally leads us back to the innovation at hand: Philip Willis and John Patterson of the University of Bath in England have devised a video codec that replaces pixel bitmaps with vectors (PDF)."
Nerval's Lobster writes "At this year's Dell World conference, Dell announced that its new private cloud will be based on the open-source OpenStack, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service developed by Rackspace and NASA that launched in 2010. Dell released a statement supporting the open nature of OpenStack: 'While Dell will continue to offer outstanding overall solutions for any type of cloud that customers want to run, the company believes the open and compatible nature of OpenStack allows customers to take advantage of hybrid capabilities to move workloads between private and public clouds.' Michael Dell did not disclose the reasoning behind the decision. Back in 2011, his company announced that VMware technology would provide the foundation for its first public cloud. VMware also sits behind the Dell Cloud Dedicated Service, which delivers managed private cloud IaaS."