An anonymous reader writes "According to a recent Pew Research poll a third of Americans get their news while they 'like' things. 'All in all, then, it may be the very incidental nature of the site that ultimately exposes more people to news there,' Pew said. 'Indeed, the more time one spends on the site, the more likely they are to get news there.'"
An anonymous reader writes "The California attorney general and the state's top election watchdog named the 'Koch brothers network' of donors and dark-money nonprofits as the true source of $15 million in secret donations made last year to influence two bitterly fought ballot propositions in California. State officials unmasked the Kochs' network as part of a settlement deal that ends a nearly year-long investigation into the source of the secret donations that flowed in California last fall."
Billly Gates writes "AMD may have trouble in their CPU department with Intel having superior fabrication plants. However, in the graphics market with GPU chips AMD is doing well. AMD earned a very rare Elite reward from Tomshardware as the fastest GPU available with its fastest r9 for as little as $550 each. NVidia has its top end GPU cards going for $1,000 as it had little competition to worry about. Maximum PC also included some benchmarks and crowned ATI as the fastest and best value card available. AMD/ATI also has introduced MANTLE Api for lower level access than DirectX which is cross platform. This may turn into a very important API as AMD/ATI have their GPUs in the next generation Sony and Xbox consoles as well with a large marketshare for game developers to target"
Daniel_Stuckey writes "There's definitely something strange about the video's attempt at looking/sounding like a NOVA episode. Alexander, who defended the agency at Black Hat this summer and recently announced his retirement next year, takes care to emphasize the agency's privacy compliance precautions and oversight. 'We have not had any willful or knowing violations in those programs,' he says referring to sections 215 and 702 of the Patriot Act, which relate to the telephone metadata and PRISM programs respectively. 'There have been [violations] in other programs, but not in those two.'"
First time accepted submitter ydrozd writes "Until recently, most physicists believed that an observer falling into a black hole would experience nothing unusual when crossing its event horizon. As has been previously mentioned on Slashdot, there is a strong argument, initially based on observing an entangled pair at the event horizon, that suggests that the unfortunate observer would instead be burned up by a high energy quanta (a.k.a "firewall") just before crossing the black hole's event horizon. A new paper significantly improves the argument by removing reliance on quantum entanglement. The existence of black hole "firewalls" is a rare breakthrough in theoretical physics."
Lasrick writes "Nebraska researchers say they refuse to be used as political pawns: 'The problem, according to members of the governor-appointed Climate Assessment and Response Committee, is that the bill behind the study specifically calls for the researchers to look at 'cyclical' climate change. In so doing, it completely leaves out human contributions to global warming.'"
rtoz writes "Researchers at MIT have succeeded in producing and measuring a coupling of photons and electrons on the surface of an unusual type of material called a topological insulator. This type of coupling had been predicted by theorists, but never observed. The researchers suggest that this finding could lead to the creation of materials whose electronic properties could be 'tuned' in real time simply by shining precise laser beams at them. This work opens up a new avenue for optical manipulation of quantum states of matter. Their findings suggest that it's possible to alter the electronic properties of a material — for example, changing it from a conductor to a semiconductor — just by changing the laser beam's polarization. For example, a property called a bandgap — a crucial characteristic for materials used in computer chips and solar cells — can be altered by shining a polarized laser beam at the material."
An anonymous reader writes "The NSA sought the Japanese government's cooperation to wiretap fiber-optic cables carrying phone and data across the Asia-Pacific region but the request was rejected. The NSA wanted to intercept personal information including Internet activity and phone calls passing through Japan from Asia including China. The Japanese government refused because it was illegal and would need to involve a massive number of private sector workers. Article 35 of the Japanese Constitution protects against illegal search and seizure."
An anonymous reader writes "State education in South Africa has been described as 'in crisis'. A recent report (pdf) says that even the top 20% of private schools only achieve the same results as the average in other middle income countries like Chile. In maths and science, teachers often can't answer and don't understand the questions they have to set their pupils. One government school in Johannesburg, however, has taken an enormously bold step and gone 'fully digital' in a move that others may follow. Since January, all pupils have been required to buy a tablet computer instead of textbooks — which, astonishingly, saves families around R500 ($50) in the first year and R1500 ($150) in subsequent years, a huge amount of money for many families there. The teachers are confident that that learning outcomes are better as well — and if the end of year tests in a month's time are positive, other schools may follow suit."
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Tourists often marvel at the number of rich and varied bookstores along Paris streets. Right across from Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the city's most famous independent bookstores, Shakespeare and Company. Inside, every inch of space is crammed with books and readers. The city buys buildings in high-rent districts and tries to keep a core of 300 independent bookstore by offering booksellers leases at an affordable price. 'We have to keep our identity,' says Lynn Cohen-Solal, 'because if we don't, all the shops are exactly the same in Paris, in London, in New York, in New Delhi, everywhere.' Now Eleanor Beardsley reports at NPR that the French government has accused Amazon of trying to push the price of physical books too low and is limiting discounts on books to ensure the survival of its independent booksellers. France's lower house of parliament has unanimously voted to add an amendment to a law from 1981, known in France as the Lang Law which sets the value of new books at fixed prices and only allows retailers to lower books' set price by 5%, in an effort to regulate competition between booksellers and to promote reading. Guillaume Husson, spokesman for the SLF book retailers' union, says Amazon's practice of bundling a 5 percent discount with free delivery amounted to selling books at a loss, which was impossible for traditional book sellers of any size. 'Today, the competition is unfair,' says Husson. 'No other book retailer, whether a small or large book or even a chain, can allow itself to lose that much money,' referring to Amazon's alleged losses on free delivery. Amazon spent $2.8 billion on free shipping worldwide last year to gain a competitive advantage. The bill limiting Amazon's price reductions in France still has to pass the Senate to become law. In a statement, Amazon said any effort to raise the price of books diminishes the cultural choices of French consumers and penalizes both Internet users and small publishers who rely on Internet sales."
First time accepted submitter pupsocket writes "Yesterday the German newspaper of record, Frankfurter Allgemeine, reported that the President told German Chancellor Merkel that he would have stopped the tap on her phone had he known about it. Today, another German paper, Bild am Sonntag, quoted U.S. Intelligence sources that the President had been briefed in 2010. 'Obama did not halt the operation but rather let it continue,' the newspaper quoted a high-ranking NSA official as saying."
An anonymous reader writes "Eugene Wei, a former employee at Amazon and Hulu, explains why Amazon continues to post quarterly earnings statements with lots of revenue but no actual profit. Many of Amazon's retail businesses and platforms are quite profitable by themselves, Wei says, a fact that is hidden by large expenditures on investment for the future. He writes, 'If Amazon has so many businesses that do make a profit, then why is it still showing quarterly losses, and why has even free cash flow decreased in recent years? Because Amazon has boundless ambition. It wants to eat global retail. This is one area where the press and pundits accept Amazon's statements at face value. Given that giant mission, Amazon has decided to continue to invest to arm itself for a much larger scale of business. If it were purely a software business, its fixed cost investments for this journey would be lower, but the amount of capital required to grow a business that has to ship millions of packages to customers all over the world quickly is something only a handful of companies in the world could even afford. ... I'm convinced Amazon could easily turn a quarterly profit now. Many times in its history, it could have been content to stop investing in new product lines, new fulfillment centers, new countries. The fixed cost base would flatten out, its sales would continue growing for some period of time and then flatten out, and it would harvest some annuity of profits. Even the first year I joined Amazon in 1997, when it was just a domestic book business, it could have been content to rest on its laurels. But Jeff is not wired that way. There are very few people in technology and business who are what I'd call apex predators. Jeff is one of them, the most patient and intelligent one I've met in my life.'"
blogologue writes "I have played the guitar for some years now, and these days I think it's good therapy to be creative with music, learning the piano and singing as well. So far I've been using Audacity as the tool to compose improvisations and demos. I haven't done much audio work before, but it is already becoming too limited for my needs. Being a Linux-fanboy since the mid-nineties, I'm now looking for a good audio processing/editing/enhancing setup that can run on different platforms, the most important being Linux. Are there any suggestions for Open Source or proprietary audio editing software that run on Linux?"
noahfecks writes "It seems that the GCC developers are taking steps to roll out significant improvements after CLANG became more competitive. 'Among the highlights to look forward to right now with GCC 4.9 are: The Undefined Behavior Sanitizer has been ported to GCC; Ada and Fortran have seen upgrades; Improved C++14 support; RX100, RX200, and RX600 processor support; and Intel Silvermont hardware support.'"
theodp writes "That there's no easy way for her to get timely, affordable access to taxpayer-funded research that could help her patients leaves speech-language pathologist Cortney Grove, well, speechless. 'Cortney's frustration,' writes the EFF's Adi Kamdar, 'is not uncommon. Much of the research that guides health-related progress is funded by taxpayer dollars through government grants, and yet those who need this information most-practitioners and their patients-cannot afford to access it.' She says, 'In my field we are charged with using scientific evidence to make clinical decisions. Unfortunately, the most pertinent evidence is locked up in the world of academic publishing and I cannot access it without paying upwards of $40 an article. My current research project is not centered around one article, but rather a body of work on a given topic. Accessing all the articles I would like to read will cost me nearly a thousand dollars. So, the sad state of affairs is that I may have to wait 7-10 years for someone to read the information, integrate it with their clinical opinions (biases, agendas, and financial motivations) and publish it in a format I can buy on Amazon. By then, how will my clinical knowledge and skills have changed? How will my clients be served in the meantime? What would I do with the first-hand information that I will not be able to do with the processed, commercialized product that emerges from it in a decade?'"