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+ - Paquete Semanal (Weekly Packet)->

Submitted by FarnsworthG
FarnsworthG (1356979) writes "Every morning, Teresita Rodriguez ferries external hard drives back and forth across Havana, using her feet to carry out the role that cables and wi-fi perform in other countries with less-restricted access to the world wide web.
Her job is both high-tech and extraordinarily simple. At one end, she sits and waits for a couple hours in the front room of the home of an information peddler, while he copies the latest terabyte-sized package of global films, TV dramas, comedies, magazines, applications and anti-virus software to her hard drive via a USB cable. She then takes those digital files to the home of her employer so he can download it and sell it on to his customers, many of whom will in turn charge their friends and neighbours for a copy."

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+ - Three-hundred-million-year-old fossil fish still has traces of eye tissue->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Researchers have unearthed a fossil fish so well preserved, it still has traces of eye tissues. What’s more, these fossil tissues reveal that the 300-million-year-old fish called Acanthodes bridgei, like its living relatives, possessed two types of photoreceptors called rods and cones—cells that make vision possible. This is the first time that mineralized rods and cones have been found conserved in a vertebrate fossil. The discovery of cones, which help the eye see colors, is suggestive of the presence of color vision in fish for at least 300 million years."
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+ - Marissa Mayer's reinvention of Yahoo! stumbles

Submitted by schnell
schnell (163007) writes "The New York Times Magazine has an in-depth profile of Marissa Mayer's time at the helm of Yahoo!, detailing her bold plans to reinvent the company and spark a Jobs-ian turnaround through building great new products. But some investors are saying that her product focus (to the point of micromanaging) hasn't generated results, and that the company should give up on trying to create the next iPod, merge with AOL to cut costs and focus on the unglamorous core business that it has. Is it time for Yahoo! to "grow up" and set its sights lower?"

+ - Did Alcatraz escapees survive? Computer program says they might have->

Submitted by coondoggie
coondoggie (973519) writes "This week Dutch scientists from Delft University of Technology presented findings from a computer modeling program they were working on, unrelated to the mystery, that demonstrated the escapees could have survived the journey. “In hindsight, the best time to launch a boat from Alcatraz was [11:30 am], one and a half hours later than has generally been assumed. A rubber boat leaving Alcatraz at [11:30 am] would most likely have landed just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The model also shows that debris in that scenario would be likely to wash up at Angel Island, exactly where one of the paddles and some personal belongings were found."
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+ - Magic Leap Hires Sci-Fi Writer Neal Stephenson as Chief Futurist->

Submitted by giulioprisco
giulioprisco (2448064) writes "Magic Leap, a secretive Florida augmented reality startup that raised $542 million in October, hired renowned science fiction writer Neal Stephenson as its “Chief Futurist.” Stephenson offers hints at the company’s technology and philosophy: "Magic Leap is bringing physics, biology, code, and design together to build a system that is going to blow doors open for people who create things." According to the Magic Leap website, their Dynamic Digitized Lightfield Signal technology permits generating images indistinguishable from real objects."
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+ - China officially became the world's largest economy, ahead of the United States

Submitted by mrspoonsi
mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "For the first time in 150 years, the USA has lost its title of the largest economy in the world to China. China officially became the world’s largest economy, ahead of the United States, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). According to the latest figures of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) just released in December 8th, 2014, China has come ahead the United States as the world’s largest economy. China’s GDP will indeed reach 17600 billion in 2014 against 17400 billion for the United States. These data are calculated using the method known as “purchasing power parity”, which is economically significant. It measures the purchasing power of different currencies in a common unit as opposed to changes in exchange rates. Now China represents 16.5% of the global economy in terms of real purchasing power, ahead of the US, 16.3%. According to IMF estimates, the gap should continue to widen in the coming years. By 2019, China would reach more than 26,800 billion of national wealth, against just 22,000 billion for the United States. The United States had become the leading economic power in 1872 after overtaking Britain."

+ - Russia wants its own space station, threatens future of ISS

Submitted by BarbaraHudson
BarbaraHudson (3785311) writes "The Globe and Mail reports that Russian space agency Roscosmos is considering building its own space station.

"I confirm we are considering such an option. This is a possible direction of development," RIA quoted Roscosmos head Oleg Ostapenko. He said such a space station could become a key part of Russian missions to the moon.

Moscow has cast doubt on the ISS’s long-term future as ties with Washington plummet over Ukraine. Washington wants to keep the $100-billion ISS in use until at least 2024, four years beyond the previous target. But a Russian government official said in May that Moscow would reject Washington’s request to prolong its operations."

+ - Google Earth API Will Be Retired On December 12, 2015

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Google today announced it plans to retire the Google Earth API on December 12, 2015. The reason is simple: Both Chrome and Firefox are removing support for Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI) plugins due to security reasons, so the API’s death was inevitable. The timing makes sense. Last month, Google updated its plan for killing off NPAPI support in Chrome, saying that it would block all plugins by default in January and drop support completely in September. The company also revealed that the Google Earth plugin had dropped in usage from 9.1 percent of Chrome users in October 2013 to 0.1 percent in October 2014. Add dwindling cross-platform support (particularly on mobile devices), and we’re frankly surprised the announcement didn’t come sooner."

+ - How One Man Changed the Ecology of the Great Lakes with Salmon

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "During the sixties the Great Lakes were facing an ecological disaster due to invasive species and over fishing. Biologist Howard Tanner's solution to the problem was to bring in another non-native species, the Pacific salmon. Fishing boomed for many years but with the recent salmon crash in Lake Huron many wonder if the salmon were a band-aid on a ecological wound that's too big to fix. From the article: "Tanner's goal wasn't to just alter the species composition of the lakes; he wanted to change the public's relationship with the lakes themselves. Beyond pier fishing for perch and smallmouth bass, fishing in the lakes primarily had been the domain of relatively few commercial fishing crews using big boats and nets to harvest lake trout, perch, whitefish and chubs for restaurants and stores. But because these commercially fished native species had been so destroyed by overfishing and the lamprey and alewife infestations, Tanner inherited something of a blank slate — almost like a freshly filled reservoir in the West. He had little interest in trying to repaint the same old picture, but wanted instead to turn the waters over to large numbers of sportsmen who fished as much for thrill as fillet.""

+ - Ask Slashdot: Can a felon work in IT? 10

Submitted by Lesrahpem
Lesrahpem (687242) writes "I'm a felon with several prior misdemeanor convictions from an immature time in my life. I've since cleaned up my act, and I want to go back into the IT sector. I keep running into potential employers who tell me they'd like to hire me but can't because of my past record (expunging won't work, I'm in Ohio). Does anyone have any suggestions for me? Should I just give up and change careers?"

+ - The Orion Spacecraft Runs On 12-Year-Old Computer Tech->

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "While NASA's Orion spacecraft, which blasted off on a successful test flight today, may be preparing for a first-of-its-kind mission to carry astronauts to Mars and other deep-space missions, the technology inside of it is no where near leading edge. In fact, its computers and its processors are 12 years old — making them ancient in tech years. The spacecraft, according to one NASA engineer, is built to be rugged and reliable in the face of G forces, massive amounts of radiation and the other rigors of space."Compared to the [Intel] Core i5 in your laptop, it's much slower — much less powerful. It's probably not any faster than your smartphone," Matt Lemke, NASA's deputy manager for Orion's avionics, power and software team, told Computerworld. Lemke said the spacecraft was built to be rugged and reliable — not necessarily smart. That's why there are two flight computers. Orion's main computer was built by Honeywell as a flight computer originally for Boeing's 787 jet airliner."
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+ - Is a "Wikipedia for news" feasible?-> 5

Submitted by Larry Sanger
Larry Sanger (936381) writes "Online news has become ridiculously confusing. Interesting bits are scattered among repetitive articles, clickbait, and other noise. Besides, there's so much interesting news, but we just don't have time for it all. Automated tools help a little, but give us only an unreliable selection; we still feel like we're missing out. Y'know, back in the 1990s, we used to have a similar problem about general knowledge. Locating answers to basic questions through the noise of the Internet was hit-and-miss and took time. So we organized knowledge with Wikipedia ("the encyclopedia that Slashdot built"). Hey, why don't we do something similar for the news? Is it possible to make a Wikipedia for news, pooling the efforts of newshounds everywhere? Could such a community cut through the noise and help get us caught up more quickly and efficiently? As co-founder of Wikipedia, I'm coming down on the "yes" side. I have recently announced an open content, collaborative news project, Infobitt (be gentle, Slashdot! We are still in early stages!), and my argument for the affirmative position is made both briefly and at length."
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+ - Disgraced Scientist is Selling His Nobel Prize

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Nicholas St. Fleur writes at The Atlantic that in the sad final chapter to a career that traces back to racist remarks he made in 2007, James Watson, the famed molecular biologist and co-discoverer of DNA, is putting his Nobel Prize up for auction, the first Nobel laureate in history to do so. Watson, best known for his work deciphering the DNA double helix alongside Francis Crick in 1953, made an incendiary remark regarding the intelligence of black people that lost him the admiration of the scientific community in 2007 making him, in his own words, an "unperson". That year, The Sunday Times quoted Watson as saying that he felt “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours—whereas all the testing says not really.” Watson added that although some think that all humans are born equally intelligent, “people who have to deal with black employees find this not true.” Watson has a history of making racist and sexist declarations, according to Time. His insensitive off-the-cuff remarks include saying that sunlight and dark skin contribute to “Latin lover” libido, and that fat people lack ambition, which prevents them from being hired. At a science conference in 2012, Watson said of women in science, “I think having all these women around makes it more fun for the men but they’re probably less effective.” To many scientists his gravest offense was not crediting Rosalind Franklin with helping him deduce the structure of DNA.

Watson is selling his prized medallion because he has no income outside of academia, even though for years he had served on many corporate boards. The gold medal is expected to bring in between $2.5 million and $3.5 million when it goes to auction. Watson says that he will use the money to purchase art and make donations to institutions that have supported him, such as the University of Chicago and Watson says the auction will also offer him the chance to “re-enter public life.” “I’ve had a unique life that’s allowed me to do things. I was set back. It was stupid on my part,” says Watson “All you can do is nothing, except hope that people actually know what you are.”"

+ - Comedian saying 'Google it' caused Bill Cosby's downfall->

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber (1417641) writes "The Saporta Report's Tom Baxter describes (http://saportareport.com/blog/2014/11/in-cosbys-downfall-a-glimpse-of-googles-awesome-power/) how the staggering power of the search engine is responsible for the overdue implosion of comedian William Henry "Bill" Cosby, Jr's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Cosby) career.

The allegations against Cosby have been public since 2005 (http://www.vulture.com/2014/09/timeline-of-the-abuse-charges-against-cosby.html), when 13 Jane Doe victims testified on behalf of Andrea Constrand. However,

"it was not until someone made a cell phone video of a standup routine which a young comedian named Hannibal Buress had been doing for several weeks, that the story ignited. There was nothing new in what he said — there have even been previous comedy routines about the rape allegations — except this: “You leave here and google ‘Bill Cosby rape.’ It’s not funny. That s*** has more results than ‘Hannibal Buress.’”

Somebody put the clip up on a Philadelphia magazine’s website, and a lot of people did what Buress suggested. In a cosmic piece of bad timing, Cosby’s website put up a meme generator, which allowed readers to write a headline on a picture of the star and post it on social media sites. That helped fan the now-flickering flame, which gained force as one after another woman came forward to accuse him.

Baxter also posits that "it's inevitable that there will be efforts to control access to the scattered bits of information that could create a media fire, as well as malicious attempts to strike matches.""
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