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Comment Plasma 5 fiasco (Score 4, Informative) 65

After the Plasma 5 fiasco, which wasn't ready for production, really, I took the plunge and switched to Kubuntu 14.04 LTS. It sucks to update your distro every 6 months, and it sucks even more to update distros having the feeling that one is in permanent beta. Nowadays I don't care about "beautiful desktop" and bells and whistles in general, I just need a stable and working environment. Still thinking what to do with wifey's notebook, though. But I'll probably go through the same route.

Comment Re:I believe it because.. (Score 1) 291

Meet the Schürmanns. They circumnavigated the whole world - twice! - while raising their children aboard their boats. One of them stayed on board for 10 continuous years, something that didn't keep him from graduating in the USA. Their daughter, Kat Schürmann, has been adopted from a Australian-Brazilian couple who died of AIDS - she was HIV-positive herself, and that didn't keep them from traveling around the world. Her mother wrote a very emotive memento about her life with Kat, which unfortunately is only available in Portuguese.

Submission + - Cops Pirate 100's of DVDs, Get Slap on Wrist (

AbsoluteXyro writes: Apparently, the big FBI warning we all see whenever you pop in a DVD does not apply to the fuzz. From — "In mid-2009, former Houston County digital network administrator Lindsay Pierce saw what he calls "suspicious activity" at the Sheriff's Office. "The county owns a duplicator that will make five discs at a time that we use for court cases and things like that, and I had replaced four or five drives and that seemed unusual. I actually saw one of the people involved actually making movies," Pierce said. Kevin Kelleher was a Houston County Commissioner for 16 years. He says he brought the issue before the county board a number of times. "I've given them evidence that I had that showed that members of the Houston County Sheriff's Department were in fact copying DVDs. Not just ones or twos, but hundreds," Kelleher said. FBI agents from Rochester confirmed that they looked into the allegations. They said they spent an hour in Caledonia before deciding the case didn't fall within their federal prosecuting guidelines. No one in the case has yet been charged with any criminal wrongdoing. But the county gave written reprimands to the county's finance director. The Houston County Attorney's Office says the case is closed."

Submission + - Earth destroyed repeatedly in the name of science (

cylonlover writes: Unlike in old B movies, real scientists don’t scream, “Fools! I’ll destroy them all!” before throwing the switch on their doomsday device. At least, most of the them don’t. However, the August 10 issue of the Astrophysical Journal reports that a team of scientists are working on destroying the world – not once, but repeatedly. Fortunately, the world they’re destroying exists only in a computer simulation and its destruction is in the service of learning more about planets revolving around other stars.

Submission + - What happens when you die at Google? (

SternisheFan writes: "Forbe's Meghan Casserly writes:
    It's no surprise that the employee benefits of Google are among the best in the land—free haircuts, gourmet food, on-site doctors and high-tech “cleansing” toilets are among the most talked-about—but in a rare interview with Chief People Officer Laszlo Bock I discovered that the latest perk for Googlers extends into the afterlife. “This might sound ridiculous,” Bock told me recently in a conversation on the ever-evolving benefits at Google, “But we’ve announced death benefits at Google.” We were scheduled for a talk on Google’s widening age-gap (the oldest Googler is currently 83); I wanted to know how child-and healthcare benefits have evolved as the company scaled."


Submission + - Humble Bundle: Linux Users Pay Most For Music Too ( 2

dylan_- writes: It's well known that in the various game Humble Bundles — pay whatever you want for a variety of games — Linux users have consistently been the ones who voluntarily pay the most. Some have attributed this to the lack of games on Linux but the latest Bundle is for music rather than games and the trend continues. Linux users paying an average of $11.95, Mac $9.92 and Windows $7.50. Perhaps the old complaint of it being more expensive to hire Linux sys-admins is correct, meaning they tend to earn more and leaving Linux users with more disposable income?

Kinect Hacked To Play Max Payne, Left 4 Dead 2 30

TechieAlizay points out a post at about a man who hacked Microsoft's Kinect to play Max Payne. "This hack was possible due to FAAST (a toolkit for Kinect), OpenNi/Nite and GlovePIE. Here's how the hacker describes the different control gestures: 'As you can see, the leaning left and right stuff is all there – and moving your body forward and back moves you back and forward. The reload and interact gestures are becoming pretty standard for me now, and pain killers are popped with an upward motion of the left hand. What makes this special though is the leg movements that activate bullet time. The result is bullet time diving for real! When this game hit just after the Matrix film came out, it caused a big stir – with Kinect augmentation it gets even better. The one thing that needs fixing is weapon select; this will be handled by the +/- buttons on the mote in future, I think.'" Another video shows Kinect controlling Left 4 Dead 2. In addition to future PC support, Microsoft is reportedly working on an official SDK. Yet another recent hack of note allows a human to control a humanoid robot with an impressive level of accuracy. Just be careful if you play the Kinect boxing game; somebody might call the police.

The Proton Just Got Smaller 289

inflame writes "A new paper published in Nature has said that the proton may be smaller than we previously thought. The article states 'The difference is so infinitesimal that it might defy belief that anyone, even physicists, would care. But the new measurements could mean that there is a gap in existing theories of quantum mechanics. "It's a very serious discrepancy," says Ingo Sick, a physicist at the University of Basel in Switzerland, who has tried to reconcile the finding with four decades of previous measurements. "There is really something seriously wrong someplace."' Would this indicate new physics if proven?"

Submission + - Third World Saves First Word (

axlrosen writes: Dx1W is "a competition for Third World minds to solve First World problems". After all, developing countries are presumably developing into developed countries. And developed countries aren't exactly problem-free.

"We have been focusing our energy and resources on trying to solve our Third World problems to become more like the First World. But perhaps it is time that we, the so called Third World minds, focused our energy and creativity on solving some of the First World problems. We will have a brighter future to look forward to, and perhaps this can help us rethink and approach our current problems from a different perspective."


Submission + - Hit By XSS, Bruteforce Attack (

An anonymous reader writes: The Apache Software Foundation is the latest victim of a targeted attack aimed at its infrastructure — more specifically, at the SliceHost server ( hosting their issue-tracking software (Atlassian JIRA). The Foundation is warning users of the Apache hosted JIRA, Bugzilla, or Confluence that a hashed copy of their password has been compromised. Also, that if a user logged into the Apache JIRA instance between April 6th and April 9th, he should consider the password as compromised, because the attackers changed the login form to log them.

Submission + - Neptune may have eaten a planet and stolen its moo (

jitendraharlalka writes: NEPTUNE may have polished off a super-Earth that once roamed the outer solar system and stolen its moon to boot. The brutal deed could explain mysterious heat radiating from the icy planet and the odd orbit of its moon Triton.

Neptune's own existence was a puzzle until recently. The dusty cloud that gave birth to the planets probably thinned out further from the sun. With building material so scarce, it is hard to understand how Uranus and Neptune, the two outermost planets, managed to get so big.

But what if they formed closer in? In 2005, a team of scientists proposed that the giant planets shifted positions in an early upheaval (New Scientist, 25 November 2006, p 40). In this scenario, Uranus and Neptune formed much closer to the sun and migrated outwards, possibly swapping places in the process.

That would have left behind enough material just beyond their birthplace to form a planet with twice the Earth's mass, according to calculations published in 2008 by Steven Desch of Arizona State University in Tempe.

Neptune's peculiar moon Triton may once have been paired with this hypothetical super-Earth, Desch and colleague Simon Porter now say. Triton is larger than Pluto, and it moves through its orbit in the opposite direction to Neptune's rotation, suggesting that it did not form there but was captured instead.

For Neptune to capture Triton, the moon would have had to slow down drastically. One way to do this is for Triton to have had a partner that carried away most of the pair's kinetic energy after an encounter with Neptune. In 2006 researchers argued that Triton was initially paired with another object of similar size that wound up being gravitationally slung into space after the pair ventured near Neptune (New Scientist, 13 May 2006, p 8).

But Triton could have slowed even more if its former partner were a heavy super-Earth. That's because a more massive body could carry away more of the pair's kinetic energy, Desch calculated in a study presented earlier this month at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Texas. "It would be a lot easier to capture Triton if it were orbiting something bigger," he says.

Neptune may have engulfed the super-Earth. Heat left over from the impact could explain why the planet radiates much more heat than its cousin Uranus, which is similar in mass and composition, Desch says.

But Douglas Hamilton of the University of Maryland, College Park, one of the authors of the 2006 study proposing that Triton had a long-lost twin, points out that smaller bodies would have been common in the early solar system, before planet migration cleared many of them away. Neptune would therefore have had many opportunities to snag Triton from one of these punier objects, rather than from a much rarer super-Earth, so that explanation may still be more likely, he says. Even so, he is not ready to rule out Desch's idea: "It's worth pursuing to see where it will lead."


Leak Shows US Lead Opponent of ACTA Transparency 164

An anonymous reader writes "Throughout the debate over ACTA transparency, the secret copyright treaty, many countries have taken public positions that they support release of the actual text, but that other countries do not. Since full transparency requires consensus of all the ACTA partners, the text simply can't be released until everyone is in agreement. A new leak from the Netherlands fingers who the chief opponents of transparency are: the United States, South Korea, Singapore, and Denmark lead the way, with Belgium, Germany, and Portugal not far behind as problem countries."

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