+ - 314 Congress Seeks to Quash Patent Trolls->

Submitted by walterbyrd
walterbyrd writes: The process is moving quickly. The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to vote on the bill by the end of the month, readying it for a final Senate vote this summer, and the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee is likely to vote this week on a similar measure. That gives observers optimism that Congress will finally enact patent-troll legislation after a failed effort last year. “The Senate version really does seem to be hitting some sort of sweet spot,” says Arti Rai, co-director of the Duke Law Center for Innovation Policy in Durham, North Carolina.
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+ - 144 Coral islands defy sea level rise

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 writes: Despite having some of the highest rates of sea level rise in the past century, the 29 islands of Funafuti Atoll in the Pacific show no signs of sinking.

Despite the magnitude of this rise, no islands have been lost, the majority have enlarged, and there has been a 7.3% increase in net island area over the past century (A.D. 1897-2013). There is no evidence of heightened erosion over the past half-century as sea-level rise accelerated. Reef islands in Funafuti continually adjust their size, shape, and position in response to variations in boundary conditions, including storms, sediment supply, as well as sea level.

Be aware as well that the cause of the rise in sea level here is not clearly understood. It could be the global warming we have seen since the end of the Little Ice Age of the 1600s, or other more complex factors.

+ - 209 'Prisonized' neighborhoods make ex-cons more likely to return to the slammer->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit writes: The gates at American prisons can seem like revolving doors. People come in, do their time, and—within 3 years—half are back behind bars, according to U.S. Department of Justice statistics. Now, a scientist says he has nailed down one potential risk factor. An intriguing natural experiment that followed ex-cons displaced by Hurricane Katrina suggests that when former prisoners wind up moving to the same neighborhood, they are more likely to return to a life of crime.
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+ - 162 25 Years today - Windows 3.0 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: Windows 3.0 was launched on 22 May 1990 — I know, coz I was there as a SDE on the team. I still have, um, several of the shrink-wrapped boxes of the product — with either 3.5 inch and 5.25 floppies rattling around inside them — complete with their distintive 'I witnessed the event' sticker!

It was a big deal for me, and I still consider Win 3 as *the* most significant Windows' release, and I wonder what other /.ers think — looking back on Win 3?

+ - 221 Chrome for Android Is Now Almost Entirely Open Source

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa writes: After lots of work by Chrome for Android team and a huge change, Chrome for Android is now almost entirely open source, a Google engineer announced in Reddit. Over 100,000 lines of code, including the Chrome’s entire user interface layer, has been made public, allowing anyone with the inclination to do so to look at, modify, and build the browser from source. Licensing restrictions prevent certain media codecs, plugins and Google service features form being included, hence the "almost". This is on par with the open source Chromium browser that is available on the desktop.

+ - 210 The Body Cam Hacker Who Schooled the Police ->

Submitted by Cuillere
Cuillere writes: In the fall of 2014, a hacker demanded the Seattle Police Department release all of their body and dash cam video footage, prompting chaos among the institution. Although a legal request per Washington state's disclosure laws, Seattle's PD wasn't prepared to handle the repercussions of divulging such sensitive material— so they hired the hacker instead.
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+ - 269 Neural implants let paralyzed man take a drink->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp writes: Erik Sorto was shot in the back 13 years ago and paralyzed from the neck down. Yet recently the father of two lifted a bottle of beer to his lips and gave himself a drink, even though he can’t move his arms or legs.

Mr. Sorto, 34, picked up his drink with a robotic arm controlled by his thoughts. Two silicon chips in his brain read his intentions and channeled them via wires to the prosthetic arm on a nearby table. The team that developed the experimental implant, led by researchers at the California Institute of Technology, reported their work Thursday in the journal Science.

“That was amazing,” Mr. Sorto said. “I was waiting for that for 13 years, to drink a beer by myself.”

Mr. Sorto’s neural implant is the latest in a series of prosthetic devices that promise one day to restore smooth, almost natural movement to those who have lost the use of their limbs through disease or injury, by tapping directly into the signals generated by the brain.

For years, laboratories at Brown University, Duke University and Caltech, among others, have experimented with brain-controlled prosthetics. Those devices include wireless implants able to relay rudimentary mental commands, mind-controlled robotic leg braces, and sensors that add a sense of touch to robotic hands. In 2012, University of Pittsburgh researchers demonstrated a brain implant that allowed a paralyzed woman to feed herself a chocolate bar using a robot arm.

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+ - 835 Video Games: Gateway to a Programming Career?->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes: Want more people to program? Encourage them to play more video games, at least according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. In an online Q&A, Zuckerberg suggested that a lifetime spent playing video games could prep kids and young adults for careers as programmers. “I actually think giving people the opportunity to play around with different stuff is one of the best things you can do,” he told the audience. “I definitely would not have gotten into programming if I hadn’t played games as a kid.” A handful of games, most notably Minecraft (above), already have a reputation for encouraging kids to not only think analytically, but also modify the gaming environment—the first steps toward actually wrestling with code.
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+ - 155 New Class of "Non-Joulian Magnets" Have Potential to Revolutionize Electronics-> 1

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula writes: Magnets are at the heart of much of our technology, and their properties are exploited in a myriad ways across a vast range of devices, from simple relays to enormously complex particle accelerators. A new class of magnets discovered by scientists at the University of Maryland (UMD) may lead to other types of magnets that expand in different ways, with multiple, cellular magnetic fields, and possibly give rise to a host of new devices. The team also believes that these new magnets could replace expensive, rare-earth magnets with ones made of abundant metal alloys.
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+ - 152 Al-Qaeda's Job Application Form Revealed

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com writes: ABC News reports that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has released a list of English-language material recovered during the raid the killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan in 2011 including one document dubbed “Instructions to Applicants,” that would not be entirely out of place for an entry-level position at any American company – except for questions like the one about the applicant’s willingness to blow themselves up. The questionnaire includes basic personal details, family history, marital status, and education level. It asks that applicants "answer the required information accurately and truthfully" and, "Please write clearly and legibly." Questions include: Is the applicant expert in chemistry, communications or any other field? Do they have a family member in the government who would cooperate with al Qaeda? Have they received any military training? Finally, it asks what the would-be jihadist would like to accomplish and, “Do you wish to execute a suicide operation?” For the final question, the application asks would-be killers that if they were to become martyrs, who should al Qaeda contact?

The corporate tone of the application is jarringly amusing, writes Amanda Taub, but it also hints at a larger truth: a terrorist organization like al-Qaeda is a large bureaucratic organization, albeit one in the "business" of mass-murdering innocent people. Jon Sopel, the North American editor from BBC News, joked that the application “looks like it has been written by someone who has spent too long working for Deloitte or Accenture, but bureaucracy exists in every walk of life – so why not on the path to violent jihad?”

+ - 274 How Java Changed Programming Forever

Submitted by snydeq
snydeq writes: With Java hitting its 20th anniversary this week, Elliotte Rusty Harold discusses how the language changed the art and business of programming, turning on a generation of coders. 'Java’s core strength was that it was built to be a practical tool for getting work done. It popularized good ideas from earlier languages by repackaging them in a format that was familiar to the average C coder, though (unlike C++ and Objective-C) Java was not a strict superset of C. Indeed it was precisely this willingness to not only add but also remove features that made Java so much simpler and easier to learn than other object-oriented C descendants.'

+ - 171 India closer to developing its own space shuttle->

Submitted by gubol123
gubol123 writes: India is on the cusp of developing its own reusable space launch vehicle, popularly known as a space shuttle. Isro's 1.5 tonne vehicle resembling an aircraft is provisionally slated to make its maiden flight towards the end of July or August from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.

Officially known as the reusable launch vehicle (RLV-TD), it is undergoing final preparations at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram. Its primary role will be to reduce the cost of access to space. The cost of placing 1kg of object in space is about $5,000, which scientists are hoping will come down to about $500 with the RLV.

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+ - 158 Microsoft threatened job cuts to influence UK government IT policy-> 1

Submitted by Mark Wilson
Mark Wilson writes: By threatening to implement job cuts in affected parts of the country, Microsoft tried to influence UK government IT policy. The company stands accused of trying to blackmail members of parliament when it disagreed with planned IT reforms.

The claims come from Prime Minister David Cameron's former strategy chief, Steve Hilton. He says Microsoft telephoned politicians in areas that the company has research and development departments with the threat of "we will close them down in your constituency if this goes through". And it seems that Microsoft is not alone in this sort of activity.

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