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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Why Can't Slashdot Classic and Slashdot Beta Continue to Co-Exist? 9

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: Slashdot has been a big part of my life since I had my my first stories accepted over ten years ago. Some people my age do crossword puzzles to keep their mental agility, some do sudoko, or play bridge. I enjoy searching for and putting together a story a day for slashdot because it helps keep me on my toes to have readers find errors and logical fallacies in my submissions and I enjoy learning from the different points of view expressed on a story I have submitted. That's why I have been so discouraged in the past several years to see readership in slashdot drop off. As a close observer of this web site, I know that ten years ago it was unheard of for any accepted story to get less than 100 comments and there was at least a story a day that got over 1,000 comments. Those days are long gone. Not it's not uncommon to see some stories garner only a few dozen comments. That's how web sites die. If you slip below a critical level of readership, readers will abandon the site completely. I know from my own experience running a web site devoted to the Peace Corps that I used to have hundreds of comments to some of my stories but once comments slipped below a certain threshold, then they disappeared altogether. I think that slashdot is nearing that threshold and I fear that imposing Slashdot Beta on the site's readership will push it over the edge and I don't want to see that happen. I'd like to propose that slashdot continue running slashdot classic and slashdot beta in parallel. I'll stick with classic most of the time. One of the best features of slashdot classic is that comments can be displayed in four formats (threaded, nested, no comment, and flat) and in two directions (oldest first and newest first) providing a lot of flexibility in watching conversations develop. I switch between the formats several times a day depending on what I want to see. But slashdot beta also has its advantages in certain situations. Slashdot needs a blockbuster story or two every day where people can pile on and slashdot beta facilitates this by putting the most commented story at the top of the page and I think that is a good thing. Still I'll use slashdot beta occasionally when I'm on a mobile device but slashdot classic will be the format I use on my desktop. So don't deprecate slashdot classic. That would be like Microsoft disabling Windows 7 and forcing everyone to use Windows 8. And not even Microsoft is that stupid.
The Military

United States Begins Flying Stealth Bombers Over South Korea 567

skade88 writes "The New York Times is reporting that the United States has started flying B-2 stealth bomber runs over South Korea as a show of force to North Korea. The bombers flew 6,500 miles to bomb a South Korean island with mock explosives. Earlier this month the U.S. Military ran mock B-52 bombing runs over the same South Korean island. The U.S. military says it shows that it can execute precision bombing runs at will with little notice needed. The U.S. also reaffirmed their commitment to protecting its allies in the region. The North Koreans have been making threats to turn South Korea into a sea of fire. North Korea has also made threats claiming they will nuke the United States' mainland."
Mars

4-Billion-Pixel Panorama View From Curiosity Rover 101

SternisheFan points out that there is a great new panorama made from shots from the Curiosity Rover. "Sweep your gaze around Gale Crater on Mars, where NASA's Curiosity rover is currently exploring, with this 4-billion-pixel panorama stitched together from 295 images. ...The entire image stretches 90,000 by 45,000 pixels and uses pictures taken by the rover's two MastCams. The best way to enjoy it is to go into fullscreen mode and slowly soak up the scenery — from the distant high edges of the crater to the enormous and looming Mount Sharp, the rover's eventual destination."
GNOME

GNOME 3.8 Released Featuring New "Classic" Mode 267

Hot on the heels of the Gtk+ 3.8 release comes GNOME 3.8. There are a few general UI improvements, but the highlight for many is the new Classic mode that replaces fallback. Instead of using code based on the old GNOME panel, Classic emulates the feel of GNOME 2 through Shell extensions (just like Linux Mint's Cinnamon interface). From the release notes: "Classic mode is a new feature for those people who prefer a more traditional desktop experience. Built entirely from GNOME 3 technologies, it adds a number of features such as an application menu, a places menu and a window switcher along the bottom of the screen. Each of these features can be used individually or in combination with other GNOME extensions."
Censorship

Submission + - Threats push anti-Qur'an film Fitna offline (radionetherlands.nl)

Metaleks writes: The Hague — The anti-Qur'an film Fitna made by Dutch MP Geert Wilders has once again been removed from LiveLeak, the British website where it was being shown. In its place is an official statement by the website saying the film was removed because of very serious threats to staff. The statement speaks of a sad day for freedom of speech but insists that the safety of the website's staff has to come first.
Privacy

Submission + - LiveLeak bins Fitna after threats.

Qwrk writes: Just one day after LiveLeak [http://www.liveleak.com/] started hosting 'Fitna', the controversial anti-Islam film by right-wing politician Geert Wilders, they've decided to pull it off the grid after receiving undisclosed threats.

"Following threats to our staff of a very serious nature, and some ill informed reports from certain corners of the British media that could directly lead to the harm of some of our staff, Liveleak.com has been left with no other choice but to remove Fitna from our servers. This is a sad day for freedom of speech on the net but we have to place the safety and well being of our staff above all else. We would like to thank the thousands of people, from all backgrounds and religions, who gave us their support. They realised LiveLeak.com is a vehicle for many opinions and not just for the support of one. Perhaps there is still hope that this situation may produce a discussion that could benefit and educate all of us as to how we can accept one anothers culture. We stood for what we believe in, the ability to be heard, but in the end the price was too high."

Exit freedom of speech?
Censorship

Submission + - Huge interest brings Wikileaks offline (wikinews.org)

DragonFire1024 writes: "Wikinews.org — The Wikileaks website, which publishes sensitive and censored material submitted by anonymous contributors, has experienced unprecedented levels of Internet traffic today through public interest. This interest has caused the website's servers to be unable to meet the enormous demand of over 164 gigabytes of download traffic within twenty-four hours, leading the site to be temporarily inaccessible.

The film Fitna, directed and produced by Dutch politician Geert Wilders, has caused controversy for its presentation of Wilders' negative view of Islam as being committed to world domination and acts of terrorism. A trailer for the film was widely uploaded to many video sharing sites, including YouTube and Google Video; this met with anger from Islamic nations, the debacle culminating in Pakistan's government ordering the nation's internet service providers to block the YouTube site. This caused YouTube to be inaccessible to residents of other countries whose Internet access involved routing through Pakistan. Ultimately, YouTube acquiesced to the demands made by Pakistan and other organisations, in exchange for access being restored. The site LiveLeak originally hosted a copy of the trailer, which has now been replaced with a video message stating that the lives of their staff have been put at risk due to hosting it.

As a consequence of this censorship, Wikileaks mirrored the trailer, receiving heavy access traffic through hosting one of the few copies remaining on the Internet. Wikinews has obtained an exclusive statement from a representative of Wikileaks, affirming that the site has not been taken off-line due to external pressure, and is instead suffering technical problems due to this high demand. The representative gave the following statement:

'It seems that due to a more than less overwhelming interest in the Fitna video and recent other media coverage from the protests in Tibet, as well as a few dozen new documents leaked on the portal in the last few days, parts of the portal have given up service and need a few warm words from a friendly Wikileaks operator. Please standby, the portal will be back soon.'"

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