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Submission + - Nestle puts GPS Trackers in Kit Kats, Willy Wonka-golden ticket style (

nonprofiteer writes: Last month, Nestlé-owned Kit Kat launched the “We’ll Find You” marketing campaign in the UK and Ireland. Over the next year, six lucky chocolate lovers will find a GPS-enabled device instead of a candy bar when they open their Kit Kat wrapper. A Nestle team will then hunt them down within 24 hours and hand over a check for £10,000 (12,000 Euros, $15,500 USD).

The bar's instructions say those under 18 need to get an adult to activate the device. They also warn: "Make sure that you’re ready to be found!"

Willy Wonka meets The Most Dangerous Game.


Submission + - Google Play App history cannot be deleted (

codguy writes: Your history of downloaded apps at the Google Play store is untouchable--you can't delete apps from your library/history list even if you are sure you will never want to install them again. While the idea of having an app library/history list is good (like for setting up a new device), the lack of basic functionality to remove unwanted apps/cruft also makes it somewhat useless, and also a privacy concern. Supposing you are a serial app tester, your app library/history list will grow and grow and grow with no way to trim it back. So when you actually need to load up a new device, you have to sort through hundreds to potentially thousands of apps, which makes this essentially useless. Others have mentioned privacy concerns--say you installed that silly fart app, or you were exploring apps that you would rather others like your spouse or children not know about. Sorry, no way to delete them from your history. While your app library/history list is not publicly available (please don't tell the big FB about that lest they try to "fix" it), nonetheless, it seems absolutely absurd that Google has not included basic functionality to manage it. This issue was reported back in mid April 2012, and there are some 1200 irate comments about it. Google has done nothing about it, nor have they announced that this policy will be changed. I call it "policy" because it is certainly not a technical limitation. Take a look at the issue report at
Your Rights Online

Submission + - Philippine Internet users protest against online libel law

An anonymous reader writes: Internet users in the Philippines are protesting against a law that would make it a crime to post defamatory comments on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, ZDNet reports. Among the controversial provisions in the so-called "Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012" is a clause on online libel, which it defines as libel "committed through a computer system or any other similar means which may be devised in the future". Ironically, the law, which takes effect Oct. 3 in Manila, imposes harsher penalties for this new category of crime than the penalties for libel in the print media, according to a AFP wire service report. Persons convicted of online libel may face a jail term of up to 12 years and a fine of up to $24,000.
Book Reviews

Submission + - Wonferful Life with the Elements book review

MassDosage writes: Wonderful Life with the Elements Book Review By Mass Dosage

I’ve always found Chemistry interesting, particularly in high school when I had the good fortune of having a Chemistry teacher who was not only really good looking, but a great teacher too. I studied it for a year at University and then moved on and haven’t really given the periodic table and its elements much thought since. This changed when the Wonderful Life with the Elements was delivered to me two weeks ago. It’s one of those books that aims to make science fun and, unlike many other attempts which turn out to be pretty lame, this actually succeeds in presenting the periodic table in a fresh, original and interesting manner.

Wonderful Life with the Elements is the brainchild of a Japanese artist, Bunpei Yorifuji, who has published a few other books in Japan and created some adverts for the Tokyo metro (which you can find by doing an image search for his name and “Do it at home”). His animation style for these adverts features simple, clean cartoon characters drawn in yellow, black and white. In a Wonderful Life with the Elements he has taken this technique and applied it to the periodic table by drawing each element as a cartoon character where every detail has some scientific significance. Elements that were discovered a long time ago have beards while more recent discoveries have dummies (pacifiers for those in America) in their mouths. Heavy elements are fat. Elements with lots of industrial uses wear suits while those that are man-made look like robots. He also adds amusing little touches to each element and it is obvious he took a lot of time and care in doing this and researching and then presenting the details about each of them. It really feels like the elements have individual personalities which is quite an achievement for what is often presented as rather boring and dry subject matter.

This book isn’t merely a collection of cartoon drawings — information is also included covering when and how the elements were discovered, what they are (or were) used for and other interesting or amusing pieces of trivia. There are also the more traditional facts like atomic number, symbol, position in the periodic table, melting and boiling points and density. Some elements get more detail than others depending on how well known and/or useful they are. My only real criticism of the book is that the elements in period 7 only get small drawings and a cursory description each. I’m not sure why they were singled out for this treatment. Did the author get bored towards the end? Was there lack of budget? Did he run out of time? Does he have a personal grudge against period 7? Considering that this period includes rather famous elements such as Uranium and Plutonium and that they get the same low level of detail as relative unknowns like Ununseptium and Darmstadtium this feels like a rather odd omission.

The main stars of the Wonderful Life with the Elements are the elements themselves but the introductory and closing chapters are worth reading too. The book starts off with an overview of the elements and which ones are found most commonly on our planet and in our living rooms before moving on to the periodic table itself and an explanation of what the various details on the cartoon drawings of the elements mean. The closing sections describe which elements are an important part of a human diet and what the effects of eating too little or too much of each of them are before wrapping up with a warning about the possibility of us running out of certain elements and what the negative impact of this could be. This is all written in an informal, humorous style that makes all these facts appear really interesting and, dare I say it, fun to read.

Wonderful Life with the Elements is a very enjoyable book and the author has done a great job of injecting some colour and personality into what many people would view as a rather dull topic. If I had had a book like this in high-school I think I would have found Chemistry interesting, even without the attractive teacher. It is worth pointing out that is isn’t a replacement for a Chemistry text book — it only touches the surface of the large body of theory that underpins the elements and the periodic table. However I would still wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone with even just a casual interest in the subject. The original presentation of this material and the amusing personal touches are fantastic and turn this book into a fun, easy read which isn’t something one can say about most books that deal with Chemistry.

Full disclosure: I was given a copy of this book free of charge by the publisher for review purposes. They placed no restrictions on what I could say and left me to be as critical as I wanted so the above review is my own honest opinion.

Submission + - B612 Sentinel Mission Gets New Funding

RocketAcademy writes: "The B612 Foundation’s privately funded deep-space mission, Sentinel, has received new major support from prominent members of the business and financial community.

The B612 Foundation, which is headed by former NASA astronaut and Google executive Ed Liu, plans to build, launch, and operate a space telescope to be placed in orbit around the Sun, ranging up to 170 million miles from Earth, for a mission of asteroid discovery and mapping. The telescope is expected to discover millions of asteroids. Sentinel will detect and track asteroids accurately enough to give warning of impending impacts decades in advance, allowing humanity to deflect threatening asteroids with existing technology."
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Never mind BitCoin, meet the Bristol Pound (

An anonymous reader writes: Had enough of Bitcoin stories on Slashdot? BBC News is reporting the release of a new currency in the British city of Bristol today.
Full details can be found on the website, and people seem genuinely excited to get a piece of the action.
Finally, worth noting from their website is that "This is not a tax dodge. For tax purposes all Bristol Pound transactions are treated as if they were made in sterling."

Submission + - U.C. Berkeley "big data" class this week. Free enrollment. 2 days. (

pmdubs writes: "The U.C. Berkeley AMPLab research group will be hosting a free "Big Data Bootcamp" on-campus and online, August 21 and 22. The AMP Camp will feature hands-on tutorials on big data analysis using the AMPLab software stack, including Spark, Shark, and Mesos. These tools work hand-in-hand with technologies like Hadoop to provide high performance, low latency data analysis. AMP Camp will also include high level overviews of warehouse scale computing, presentations on several big data use-cases, and talks on related projects."
The Internet

Submission + - Windows 8 bypasses and modifies the hosts file ( 8

An anonymous reader writes: Windows 8 has been confirmed to not only ignore, but also modify the hosts file. As soon as a website that should be blocked is accessed, the corresponding entry in the hosts file is removed, even if the hosts file is read-only. The hosts file is a popular, cross-platform way of blocking access to certain domains, such as ad-serving websites, but now that Microsoft clearly wants to control your web browsing experience, the practice not be that cross-platform anymore.

Submission + - RIP Jean "Moebius" Giraud, 73 (

Dr Herbert West writes: Today is an incredibly sad day for fans of comic books, concept art, and downright anything science fiction. Artist Jean "Moebius" Giraud, who provided some of the most stunning scifi and fantasy art ever to grace a page, has succumbed to illness at the age of 73. It's pretty hard to overstate the impact he had on film, comic books, and illustration in general. You can name most any fantasy or science fiction related piece of culture from the last 30 or 40 years, and chances are he provided concept art for it or was involved in some way. Alien, Dune, Heavy Metal, Tron (original AND the new one), The Abyss, Masters of the Universe, The Fifth Element, Willow... the list goes on.

With the recent passing of Ralph McQuarrie, it's been a tough week for scifi and fantasy artists...


Submission + - Rats Feel Each Other's Pain ( 1

sciencehabit writes: Empathy lets us feel another person's pain and drives us to help ease it. But is empathy a uniquely human trait? For decades researchers have debated whether nonhuman animals possess this attribute. Now a new study shows that rats will free a trapped cagemate in distress. The results mean that these rodents can be used to help determine the genetic and physiological underpinnings of empathy in people.

Submission + - R.I.P Jerry Robinson, creator of the Joker (

Dr Herbert West writes: Bob Kane created Batman, and Bill Finger came up with a lot of the character's look. But without Jerry Robinson, who died today at age 89, the Batman universe would be way less exciting. From the article: "The first thought that I had was to create a villain that was – we didn't use the word supervillain at that time – a larger-than-life villain, one that would be worthy of Batman....I always felt that heroes were essentially dull. Villains were more exotic and could do more interesting things."
His contributions to the world of comic book villainy cannot be overstated, and he will be sorely missed.


Submission + - Symantec Says Spam Is Declining (

MojoKid writes: "According to Symantec’s November Intelligence Report, the rate of spam worldwide is close to a three-year low. Symantec notes that spam currently encompasses 70 percent of all emails. Compared to 2009 when spam accounted for 90 percent of all global emails, this is a significant drop. After the spam hosting IPS McColo was shut down in 2008, spam levels reached a low of 68 percent. The report also shows that the type of spam we’re receiving is changing and phishing is also on the rise globally."

Submission + - Bletchley Park Finds a Saviour in Google (

hypnosec writes: Internet search behemoth Google Inc. has kick started the fundraising programme to save the derelict Block C at Bletchley Park, the place where the Royal Army deployed their main decryption establishment during the second world war. In a bid to generate more awareness, Google has been using its Street View to capture the pictures of the park and Block C in particular.

Submission + - Google supports UK code cracking museum (

mikejuk writes: Google has launched a fundraising campaign to restore buildings at Bletchley Park that played a pivotal role in computing history and its Street View Trike visited the site last week to capture the "before" view. To quote a Google spokes person:
"Why is Google so interested in Bletchley Park? All of us have heroes, and at Google our heroes are Alan Turing, and the people who worked here during the war. It's no exaggeration to say that without Turing, Google wouldn't exist in the form in which it exists today."

It is your destiny. - Darth Vader