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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

Linux

+ - 288 Valve Releases Steam For Linux Client, Celebrates With Week-Long Sale

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Valve on Thursday announced the release of its Steam for Linux client. You can download the client now for free from the Ubuntu Software Center. In typical Steam fashion, the company is celebrating the big day with a sale: over 50 Linux titles are now 50 percent to 75 percent off until 10:00AM PST on Wednesday, February 21. This means you have just under a week to take advantage, and should be plenty of time for Valve to set a new record in Steam for Linux downloads."

+ - 110 Building a community-based GSM network in Mexico->

Submitted by
ciaby
ciaby writes "We are a small group of hackers, media makers and community organizers who's mission is to increase access to mobile telecommunications to the over 2 billion people without affordable coverage and the 700 million with none at all.
The network will be based on free/open source software (OpenBTS and OpenBSC for the GSM part), and we are currently trying to raise enough funds to get the initial equipment and begin the tests. There is a Indiegogo campaign where you can donate money. If you can't, at least spread it around!"

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Microsoft

+ - 181 IE standardization fading fast->

Submitted by alphadogg
alphadogg (971356) writes "Just as Internet users in general have defected in huge numbers from Microsoft Internet Explorer over the past several years, the business world, as well, is becoming less dependent on the venerable browser. Companies that used to mandate the use of IE for access to web resources are beginning to embrace a far more heterodox attitude toward web browsers. While it hasn't gone away, the experience of having to use IE 6 to access some legacy in-house web app is becoming less common. "A lot of it has to do with the emergence of the modern web and the popularity of mobile. They have made it very different for companies to truly standardize on a browser," says Gartner Research analyst David Mitchell Smith."
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Wireless Networking

+ - 195 First bionic eye gets FDA blessing->

Submitted by
coondoggie
coondoggie writes "The US Food and Drug Administration today approved what it says is the first bionic eye, or retinal prosthesis, that can partially restore the sight of blind individuals after surgical implantation. pecifically the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System includes a small video camera, transmitter mounted on a pair of eyeglasses, video processing unit (VPU) and an implanted artificial retina. The VPU transforms images from the video camera into electronic data that is wirelessly transmitted to the retinal prosthesis."
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Transportation

+ - 151 Driver Trapped in Speeding Car at 125 mph

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "The Guardian reports that Frank Lecerf was driving his Renault Laguna in Northern France when the car's speed jammed at 60mph. Then each time he tried to brake, the car accelerated, eventually reaching 125mph and sticking there. While uncontrollably speeding through the fast lane as other cars swerved out of his way, he managed to call emergency services who immediately dispatched a platoon of police cars. Realizing Lecerf had no choice but to keep racing along until his fuel ran out, they escorted him at high speed across almost 125 miles of French motorway, past Calais and Dunkirk, and over the Belgian border. After about an hour, Lecerf's tank spluttered empty and he managed to swerve into a ditch in Alveringem in Belgium, about 125 miles from his home. "My life flashed before me," says Lecerf. "I just wanted it to stop." His lawyer says Lecerf will file a legal complaint over "endangerment of a person's life"."

+ - 95 CERN's LHC Powers Down for Two Years: Higgs Boson Hunt Halts

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Excitement and the media surrounded the Higgs boson particle, also known as the "God Particle," for weeks when it was discovered in part by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). But now, the collider that makes its home with CERN, the famed international organizational that operates the world's largest particle physics laboratory, is powering down. The Higgs boson particle was first discovered by the LHC in 2012. The particle, essentially, interacts with everything that has mass as the objects interact with the all-powerful Higgs field, a concept which, in theory, occupies the entire universe."
Blackberry

+ - 152 BlackBerry founder abandons ship->

Submitted by drdread66
drdread66 (1063396) writes "Research In Motion co-founder Jim Balsillie confirms what Slashdotters have suspected for quite some time: RIM (now BlackBerry) is doomed. Reuters reports today that Balsillie dumped his entire stake in BlackBerry at the end of 2012. While it's common to see high-level executives sell some of their shares to gain some liquidity, it's unusual to see them exit their positions completely. This has to be seen as a massive vote of "no confidence" from someone who was on the inside long enough to know what's going on in the company."
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Medicine

+ - 144 Carbon Nanotubes Help Grow Beating Heart Tissue->

Submitted by
MTorrice
MTorrice writes "Heart attacks kill muscle cells called cardiomyocytes, leaving behind irreparable tissue damage. If scientists could grow cardiac tissue in the lab, they could perhaps graft patches of healthy tissue onto a patient’s damaged heart. A new carbon nanotube-studded hydrogel mimics heart tissue’s electrical and mechanical properties and serves as a scaffold for lab-grown cardiac tissue that beats spontaneously. Short video of beating tissue included."
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Earth

+ - 236 New York City to cut emissions 90% by 2050?->

Submitted by jscheib
jscheib (267420) writes "According to Will Oremus in Slate, a study released today finds that "New York City could slash its emissions by a whopping 90 percent by 2050 without any radical new technologies, without cutting back on creature comforts, and maybe even without breaking its budget." The key elements are insulating buildings to cut energy needs, converting to (mostly) electric equipment, and then using carbon-free electricity to supply the small amount of energy still needed. Oremus notes that including energy savings "would reduce the net price tag to something more like $20 billion. The cleanup from Hurricane Sandy, meanwhile, is estimated to cost $50 billion.

The full report is here."

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Censorship

+ - 208 Iceland Considers Internet Porn Ban->

Submitted by Onymous Hero
Onymous Hero (910664) writes "With the printing and distribution of pornography already banned in Iceland, further measures to stop internet porn are being considered by Iceland's Interior Minister Ogmundur Jonasson. From the article: "Iceland is taking a very progressive approach that no other democratic country has tried," said Professor Gail Dines, an expert on pornography and speaker at a recent conference at Reykjavik University. "It is looking a pornography from a new position — from the perspective of the harm it does to the women who appear in it and as a violation of their civil rights.""
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+ - 214 Elon Musk Lays Out His Evidence That New York Times Tesla Model S Test Drive Was-> 1

Submitted by
mykepredko
mykepredko writes "Tesla Motors CEO and founder Elon Musk definitely isn’t the best guy to try to pull a fast one on. The visionary entrepreneur set Twitter a titter when he claimed earlier this week that New York Times writer John Broder had fudged details about the Tesla Models S car’s range in cold weather, resulting in what he termed a “fake” article. Musk promised evidence, and now he has delivered, via the official Tesla blog."
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Google

+ - 122 Google 'flaw' puts users' details on display->

Submitted by Strudelkugel
Strudelkugel (594414) writes "EVERY time you purchase an app on Google Play, your name, address and email is passed on to the developer, it has been revealed today. The "flaw" — which appears to be by design — was discovered this morning by Sydney app developer, Dan Nolan who told news.com.au that he was uncomfortable being the custodian of this information and that there was no reason for any developer to have this information at their finger tips."
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Mars

+ - 119 Laser Device Designed for Mars Unmasks Counterfeit Honey->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "When someone mentions counterfeiting, it brings up images of money, watches or DVDs. It certainly doesn't make honey spring to mind, yet honey smuggling and counterfeiting is an international problem involving hundreds of millions of dollars. In an effort to combat this, the European Space Agency (ESA) is funding a demonstration project to adopt lasers designed to study the Martian atmosphere, to detect fake honey."
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Open Source

+ - 141 Lua Scripting Language Support Coming To NetBSD Kernel->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "With the release of NetBSD 7, it will be possible to extend kernel sub-systems and write device drivers in the Lua scripting language. A Lua interpreter is being added to the NetBSD kernel, a proper programming kernel interface, and a user-space interface for loading Lua scripts into the NetBSD kernel in real-time. Reasons expressed for adding Lua support to the NetBSD kernel is "modifying software written in C is hard for users", providing a rapid application development approach to drivers and the kernel, and better configuring of kernel sub-systems. Python and Java script support was looked at too, but they ended up settling for Lua. Lua scripting support for the kernel has been worked on since 2010."
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Idle

+ - 175 Can You Potty Train a Cow?->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Think potty training a child is hard? Try teaching a cow when and where to do its business. The bovines can defecate nine to 16 times daily, and pee seven to nine times, creating big hygiene problems on dairy and beef farms. So cueing the animals to go in the right place would be a big help for managing manure. But past techniques—including training cows to respond to mild electric shocks—have proven ineffective or impractical for wide use. To see if they could come up with a better potty prompt, the scientists tested a series of stimuli on a dozen Holstein cows. The milkers stood in or walked through a footbath filled with water, for example, or had air or water sprayed on their feet. Alas, "[n]one of our tests reliably stimulated defecation," the team reports. Maybe bovine diapers instead?"
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KDE

+ - 114 KDE Akademy and Qt Contributor Summit Join Forces->

Submitted by
jrepin
jrepin writes "In July 2013, Akademy — the KDE community summit — will host the Qt Contributor Summit (QtCS) in Bilbao, Spain. QtCS is THE gathering of the Qt Project contributor community. It will take place July 15th and 16th in the middle of the KDE Akademy conference week (13-19 July). By co-hosting, KDE and the Qt Project will increase their existing collaboration even further. Holding their annual conferences at the same time and the same place will foster interaction, knowledge transfer and technical progress.

More than 500 upstream and downstream developers will participate in this combined event. This includes key maintainers and top contributors of both projects. The conference will cover many areas of computing, ranging from core library functionality in Qt and KDE to popular user applications used by hundreds of millions of users, integrated with cloud services. All this takes place in a highly productive atmosphere where we combine forces, exchange knowledge, and meet new contributors."

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Google

+ - 201 When Google got flu wrong->

Submitted by
ananyo
ananyo writes "When influenza hit early and hard in the United States this year, it quietly claimed an unacknowledged victim: one of the cutting-edge techniques being used to monitor the outbreak. A comparison with traditional surveillance data showed that Google Flu Trends, which estimates prevalence from flu-related Internet searches, had drastically overestimated peak flu levels. The glitch is no more than a temporary setback for a promising strategy, experts say, and Google is sure to refine its algorithms. But with flu-tracking techniques based on mining of web data and on social media taking off, Nature looks at how these potentially cheaper, faster methods measure up against traditional epidemiological surveillance networks."
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+ - 191 Evil, almost full Vim implementation in Emacs, reaches 1.0 version->

Submitted by karijes
karijes (977260) writes "Evil is a new Emacs major mode intended to implement full Vim emulation for Emacs editor and it reached first stable release. Evil implements many Vim features and has support for plugins, so there is port for rails.vim, NERDCommenter and mapleader among others. Details about this release you can find on mailing list."
Link to Original Source

+ - 109 Spain busts 'ransomware' cybercrime gang->

Submitted by Kaneda2112
Kaneda2112 (871795) writes "MADRID—Spanish authorities on Wednesday announced the breakup of a cybercrime gang that used a “ransomware” virus to lock computers throughout Europe, display false messages claiming the action was taken by police and demand payment of $135 to unlock the computers.

The gang, operating from the Mediterranean resort cities of Benalmadena and Torremolinos, made at least $1.35 million annually, said Deputy Interior Minister Francisco Martinez. Their notices to victims were accompanied by false threats claiming they were under investigation for accessing child pornography or illegal file-sharing."

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+ - 128 Surface Pro virtually unrepairable->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The Surface Pro is not a repair-friendly machine. In fact, itâ(TM)s one of the least repairable devices iFixit has seen: In a teardown of Microsoftâ(TM)s tablet-laptop hybrid, the company gave it a rock-bottom score of just one â" one! â" out of 10 for repairability, lower even than Appleâ(TM)s iPad and the Windows Surface RT."
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"Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence, it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines." -- Bertrand Russell

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