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Science

+ - Ancient Fish Sported Circular-Saw Jaw->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "An ancient fish that sported a saw blade-like whorl of serrated teeth—and was long presumed to be a member of the shark family—actually belonged to a different but closely related group, a new study suggests. Members of the genus Helicoprion were first described in 1899, but fossils have been notoriously incomplete, with most including only spiral groupings of teeth. Accordingly, scientists never came up with a convincing idea of what these creatures looked like, with some teams suggesting the whorls sprouted from the nose like an elephant's trunk, and others placing toothy appendages on the creature's tail, dorsal fins, or drooping from the lower jaw. Now, an x-ray CT scan of a particularly well-preserved fossil unearthed in Idaho in 1950—one that includes 117 teeth, the cartilage on which they were attached, and part of the upper jaw—reveals that the whorl resided within the animal's lower jaw. The size and shape of the upper jaw fragment suggests that the creature was about 4 meters long, with some other species in the Helicoprion genus measuring almost twice that length. The arrangement of tissues in the animal's lower jaw, including those previously hidden by the rock that entombs them, definitively shows that Helicoprion is not a shark, the researchers say. Instead, the genus is nestled firmly within a group of cartilaginous fish known as chimaera, a lineage that includes species commonly known as ghost sharks and ratfish."
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Comment: A different point of view (Score 1) 383

by James Ojaste (#41462989) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Explaining Version Control To Non-Technical People?

Your manager doesn't care how you will use it or what the internals are doing in the background. They care a) how much it will cost/save (both in terms of your time and in terms of cash), b) what will it enable you to do (extra services they can sell?) and c) what risks will it mitigate or exacerbate. Give them a couple of buzzwords that they can google if they want to sound knowledgeable (such as Change Management and Release Management).

+ - Darl McBride, former SCO CEO, Fighting Back-> 2

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Recently fired, the former CEO of SCO Group, Darl McBride, has suggested that there may be a shareholder lawsuit against the trustee running the company. Maureen O'Gara (yes that one) has published a copy of a letter McBride says he sent to the trustee, and which makes a number of allegations about how the company is now being running. Oh, and McBride still thinks SCO could make up to $14 billion dollars by selling licenses to Linux."
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Privacy

+ - Detecting private user data from browsing history->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I remember reading about the possibility of sniffing Web browsing history some time ago, but I recently came across a website which thoroughly scared me by detecting many sites I visit, even though I had Firefox's NoScript extension enabled. The website uses the old CSS :visited trick to detect Web pages in the browser's history and analyzes the information 'the way the bad guys would do it — by gathering links to answer specific questions about you and grouping them, to give you a taste of what any website can easily learn about you.' The site has different kinds of tests, including detecting bank and government websites, Wikileaks articles, news stories and even adult websites. They even try to detect the visitor's username on social news sites (including Slashdot), as well as zipcodes and search queries typed into forms. The site also gives a lot of technical background, including performance results, and lists possible solutions to the problem."
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Science

+ - New dual-pivot quicksort is has 20% less swaps tha->

Submitted by
yincrash
yincrash writes "A new quicksort has been created that is 20% faster than previous implementations. The creator, Vladimir Yaroslavskiy, is proposing replacing the existing Java implementation and has proofs and a full description available on his website. Gillette is rumored to be announcing a three-pivot quicksort soon."
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The Military

+ - Pro-Kremlin Government Kills Human-Rights Activist->

Submitted by
reporter
reporter writes "According to a shocking report just published by "The Economist", "IT WAS the kind of scene she had described many times. On July 15th at 8.30am, as she left her flat in Grozny, Natalia Estemirova was forced into a white Lada. She shouted that she was being kidnapped, but those who heard were too scared to report it. By the time her colleagues had found out, she was dead, murdered by three bullets in her chest and a control shot in the head.

There was a mark from a man's hand on her shoulder, where she was grabbed, and a bruise on her face, where she had been hit. Her wrists bore the marks of bindings. Ramzan Kadyrov, the authoritarian Chechen president, considered her an enemy. And she died as one. She documented hundreds of similar cases in Chechnya, supplying witness statements and photographs, forcing prosecutors to investigate and the media to write about kidnappings, torture and killings, often conducted by people in official uniforms. Much of what the world knew about Chechnya came from her and her colleagues at Memorial, a heroic group which started by documenting Stalinist crimes but continued to trace their modern-day consequences, especially in the Caucasus.
""

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Security

+ - California Testers Find Flaws in Voting Machines-> 1

Submitted by quanticle
quanticle (843097) writes "According to Ars Technica, California testers have discovered severe flaws in the ES&S voting machines. The paper seals were easily bypassed, and the lock could be picked with a "common office implement". After cracking the physical security the device, the testers found it simple to reconfigure the BIOS to boot off external media. After booting a version of Linux, they found that critical system files were stored in plain text. They also found that the election management system that initializes the voting machines used unencrypted protocols to transmit the initialization data to the voting machines, allowing for a man-in-the-middle attack.

Altogether, it is a troubling report for a company already in hot water for selling uncertified equipment to counties."

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The Media

+ - Yes, video games are, in fact, art.->

Submitted by
Will Greenwald
Will Greenwald writes "It's an argument everyone has had before, and that most of us would agree positively to, but CNET's Will Greenwald brings some new information to the table. My slideshow/essay explores ten titles with unique and specific values as art, along with their influences and styles. From Takeshi to Molyneux, Kojima to Levine, here's a look at how game developers are, in fact, artists."
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Utilities (Apple)

+ - Driving a Mac with the keyboard?

Submitted by
gauauu
gauauu writes "I have been a long-time Windows user, first out of convenience, but now because I have learned how to quickly and easily get around the GUI using the keyboard with the help of Autohotkey, Launchy, and a few other tricks. But now, based on the recommendations from so many of my geek friends, I am finally getting around to checking out Apple's OSX.

What's driving me crazy, though, is how everything seems to force you to use the mouse. Are there hidden ways of efficiently navigating their UI through the keyboard? Or are there other (free, in either sense) utilities that make it easier to get around without always having to grab the mouse? And "Just use the terminal" isn't the answer I'm looking for. While I don't fear a command-line interface, there are quite a few things that are more efficient with a keyboard-driven GUI. Are there any mouse-haters out there using macs that can help?"
Space

+ - New Theory Explains Periodic Mass Extinctions

Submitted by i_like_spam
i_like_spam (874080) writes "The theory that the dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid impact, the K-T extinction, is well known and supported by fossil and geological evidence. Asteroid impact theory does not apply to the other fluctuations in biodiversity, however, which follow an approximate 62 million-year cycle. As reported in Science news, a new theory seems to explain periodic mass extinctions. The new theory found that oscillations in the Sun relative to the plane of the Milky Way correlate with changes in biodiversity on Earth. The researchers suggest that an increase in the exposure of Earth to extragalatic cosmic rays causes mass extinctions. Here is the original paper describing the finding."
Hardware Hacking

+ - E-Racing

Submitted by
mcgrew
mcgrew writes "The AP (via Yahoo) has a story about electric cars — but these aren't Priuses.

The KillaCycle runs on 990 lithium-ion battery cells that feed two direct current motors, generating 350 horsepower. The bike accelerates from zero to 60 mph in just under a second — faster than many professional gas-powered drag motorcycles and within striking distance of the quickest bikes that run on nitromethane. With that hyper-potent racing fuel, riders can get to 60 mph in 0.7 seconds.

Bill Dube, KillaCycle's owner and designer, likens the sleek, hulking bike to an oversized household appliance.

"This is like a giant cordless drill with wheels," said Dube, who designs pollution measurement instruments for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
They are close to breaking some nitromethane records."
Announcements

+ - Today is System Administrator Appreciation Day->

Submitted by
An anonymous reader writes "Today is the 8th annual System Administrator Appreciation Day. It is always the last Friday in July and is the one day that SysAdmins are supposed to get the respect they deserve to be getting the other 364 days of the year. Today is the day that we wish everyone would considering the daunting tasks, small budgets, and ridiculous timelines that many SysAdmins face all year. Please thank them for everything they do for you and for your business. If you think you have a great SysAdmin today would be the day to nominate them for SysAdmin of the Year.

The idea for System Administrator Day was inspired by a print ad for a Hewlett-Packard laser jet printer. The ad showed lines of employees bringing gifts for the IT guy who made the purchase.

System Administrator Appreciation Day has, over the years, garnered support from many organizations, such as the League of Professional System Administrators (LOPSA), Friends In Tech (FIT), Sunbelt Software, and 'In The Trenches', a podcast for SysAdmins. Many geek-inspired websites, such as ThinkGeek.com (also a sponsor) designed special gift guides devoted to the new day of appreciation.
"

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Power

+ - Google Changes Background Color To Save Energy 6

Submitted by i_like_spam
i_like_spam (874080) writes "Commentary at Nature Climate Change describes an on-going debate about the energy savings associated with the background colors used by high-traffic websites such as Google and the NYTimes. Some back of the envelope calculations have suggested energy savings of 750 Megawatt hours per year if Google switched their background from white to black. Google responded by creating Blackle. Other calculations by the Wall Street Journal, however, suggest minimal energy savings. Who is right in this debate? And, should designers also consider potential energy savings when choosing colors for their websites?"
Security

+ - Mozilla bitten by Safari and IE flaw->

Submitted by
Thor Larholm
Thor Larholm writes "Last month saw the release of Safari for Windows and with it followed a series of URL protocol vulnerabilities that triggered several researchers to hunt for related flaws.

Internet Explorer was hit earlier this month with a 0day exploit and now the Mozilla suite of applications face the same type of URL protocol abuse. The vulnerability report comes complete with a detailed Firefox and Thunderbird exploit in the form of XPI packages."

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Announcements

+ - The hunt for Jim Gray

Submitted by
cptdondo
cptdondo writes "It looked like a fine day for a sail. On Sunday, January 28, 2007, Microsoft researcher Jim Gray woke up on his boat, a red 40-foot fiberglass cruiser called Tenacious. The water in Gashouse Cove, a cozy marina in San Francisco Bay, was nearly flat. The 63-year-old programmer phoned his wife, Donna Carnes, who was on an annual vacation with friends in Wisconsin. He said he was heading out to the Farallon Islands, a wildlife refuge 27 miles offshore, to scatter the ashes of his mother, Ann, who died in October. more...."

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