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+ - Australian government moving forward with website blocks to fight piracy->

Submitted by angry tapir
angry tapir (1463043) writes "Australia is moving closer to a regime under which ISPs will be forced to block access to websites whose "dominant purpose" is to facilitate copyright violations. A secret government discussion paper (PDF) has been leaked and proposes a system of website blocking and expanded liability for ISPs when it comes to "reasonable steps that can be taken ... to discourage or reduce online copyright infringement"."
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+ - Compromise struck on cellphone unlocking bill->

Submitted by NotSanguine
NotSanguine (1917456) writes "The US Senate has passed a bill (S.517) today allowing users to unlock their phones when moving to another provider.

From a recent article at thehill.com:

“Consumers should be able to use their existing cell phones when they move their service to a new wireless provider,” Leahy said in a statement. “Our laws should not prohibit consumers from carrying their cell phones to a new network, and we should promote and protect competition in the wireless marketplace,” he said. Grassley called the bipartisan compromise “an important step forward in ensuring that there is competition in the industry and in safeguarding options for consumers as they look at new cell phone contracts.” “Empowering people with the freedom to use the carrier of their choice after complying with their original terms of service is the right thing to do,” he said. The House in February passed a companion bill sponsored on cellphone unlocking from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.).

"

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+ - Big Companies Getting On Board With eSports->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "eSports have never been more popular, and many large companies are starting to view them in the same light as traditional sports. The amount of money being thrown around is starting to rival the money exchanged over sports teams. A recent Dota 2 tournament handed out over $10 million in prizes, and Google's $1 billion purchase of game-streaming site Twitch.tv has now been confirmed. But it doesn't end there — companies like Coca-cola, Nissan, and major movie studios are looking at the audiences being drawn by eSports and realizing the advertising potential. "Last fall, Riot Games sold out the Staples Center for its League of Legends Championship Series Finals. While 12,000 people watched live in the home of the Lakers and Kings, over 32 million tuned in to the livestream." George Woo, head of a global eSports tournament, said, "Attendance to Intel Extreme Masters events has grown 10X with us filling up sport stadiums, where we have visitors lining up to get a seat to watch the competition. Online it has grown 100X, where we now get more viewers watching livestreams for a single event than we'd have tune in for an entire season in the past.""
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+ - Earth in the midst of sixth mass extinction - the "anthropocene defaunation"->

Submitted by mspohr
mspohr (589790) writes "A special issue of Science magazine devoted to Vanishing Fauna publishes a series of articles about the man-caused extinction of species and the implications for ecosystems and the climate.
"During the Pleistocene epoch, only tens of thousands of years ago, our planet supported large, spectacular animals. Mammoths, terror birds, giant tortoises, and saber-toothed cats, as well as many less familiar species such as giant ground sloths (some of which reached 7 meters in height) and glyptodonts (which resembled car-sized armadillos), roamed freely. Since then, however, the number and diversity of animal species on Earth have consistently and steadily declined. Today we are left with a relatively depauperate fauna, and we continue to lose animal species to extinction rapidly. Although some debate persists, most of the evidence suggests that humans were responsible for extinction of this Pleistocene fauna, and we continue to drive animal extinctions today through the destruction of wild lands, consumption of animals as a resource or a luxury, and persecution of species we see as threats or competitors. "
Unfortunately, most of the detail is behind a paywall but the summary should be enough for Slashdot readers."

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+ - Long-range electric car world speed record broken by Australian students-> 1

Submitted by is_this_gdog
is_this_gdog (3764791) writes "Sunswift solar car team from UNSW Australia has broken* an international world speed record for the fastest long-range electric vehicle, averaging a speed of 107km/h (66mph) over 500km (310miles) from a single charge with their car, eVe. Solar panels were not used for this record (with solar, the car has a range of over 500 miles), the challenge was endurance speed with battery only. There are faster electric cars, and one or two with longer range if you go slow enough — Sunswift eVe is the first to officially do 500kms at highway speeds.

Pics: https://www.facebook.com/media...
CNET Feature + video: http://www.cnet.com/au/news/au...

(*pending official FIA approval!)"

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+ - US passport processing delayed worldwide by defective software->

Submitted by Anomalyst
Anomalyst (742352) writes "US passport and visa processing has failed officials reported Wednesday. Travellers have been stranded, over 50K in one country which officials decline to identify they also decline to idenify the issues being encountered "by policy". The database vendor was not identified, nor was the contractor for the database maintenance, (I suspect Oracle in both cases given the magnitude of the failure)"
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Google News Sci Tech: Siberian Discovery Suggests Almost All Dinosaurs Were Feathered - National Geogr->

From feed by feedfeeder

Sydney Morning Herald

Siberian Discovery Suggests Almost All Dinosaurs Were Feathered
National Geographic
This illustration of Kulindadromeus zabaikalicus, a newfound feathered dinosaur, shows it in its natural environment. Illustration by Andrey Atuchin. Dan Vergano. National Geographic. Published July 24, 2014. Almost all dinosaurs were probably covered in...
Dinosaurs had feathers, say scientistsFinancial Times
Siberian Fossils Suggest Dinosaurs Had Feathers GaloreNBCNews.com
Siberian dinosaur spreads feathers around the dinosaur treeThe Guardian
New Scientist-The Verge-Irish Examiner
all 17 news articles

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+ - Ebola outbreak continues to expand->

Submitted by symbolset
symbolset (646467) writes "In the realm of "stuff that matters", the current outbreak of the world's second deadliest disease continues to expand. 63 new cases are reported in the last week, and suspected cases far afield of the hot zone are reported.

Many reports of a lack of personal protective equipment and medical professionals abandoning their posts are in recent reports. The local populace is developing processes to prevent containment.

Ebola remains the second deadliest infection only because rabies victims have only one survivor reported after onset of symptoms, ever."

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+ - Veep Joe Biden Briefs U.S. Governors on H-1B Visas, IT, and Coding

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Back in 2012, Computerworld blasted Vice President Joe Biden for his ignorance of the H-1B temporary work visa program. But Joe's got his H-1B story and he's sticking to it, characterizing the visa program earlier this month in a speech to the National Governors Association as "apprenticeships" of sorts that companies provide to foreign workers to expand the Information Technology industry only after proving there are no qualified Americans to fill the jobs. Biden said he also learned from his talks with tech's top CEOs that 200,000 of the jobs that companies provide each year to highly-skilled H-1B visa holders could in fact be done by Americans with no more than a two-year community college degree."

+ - The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist-> 1

Submitted by Advocatus Diaboli
Advocatus Diaboli (1627651) writes "The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept. ...The heart of the document revolves around the rules for placing individuals on a watchlist. “All executive departments and agencies,” the document says, are responsible for collecting and sharing information on terrorist suspects with the National Counterterrorism Center. It sets a low standard—”reasonable suspicion“—for placing names on the watchlists, and offers a multitude of vague, confusing, or contradictory instructions for gauging it. In the chapter on “Minimum Substantive Derogatory Criteria”—even the title is hard to digest—the key sentence on reasonable suspicion offers little clarity..."
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+ - 'Just Let Me Code!'->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Andrew Binstock has an article about the ever-increasing complexity required to write code. He says, "I got into programming because I like creating stuff. Not just any stuff, but stuff other people find useful. I like the constant problem solving, the use of abstractions that exist for long periods nowhere but in my imagination, and I like seeing the transformation into a living presence. ... The simple programs of a few hundred lines of C++ long ago disappeared from my experience. What was the experience of riding a bicycle has become the equivalent of traveling by jumbo jet; replete with the delays, inspections, limitations on personal choices, and sudden, unexplained cancellations — all at a significantly higher cost. ... Project overhead, even for simple projects, is so heavy that it's a wonder anyone can find the time to code, much less derive joy from it. Software development has become a mostly operational activity, rather than a creative one. The fundamental problem here is not the complexity of apps, but the complexity of tools. Tools have gone rather haywire during the last decade chasing shibboleths of scalability, comprehensiveness, performance. Everything except simplicity.""
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+ - Intel Launches Self-Encrypting SSD 2500 Pro Solid State Drive->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Intel just launched their new SSD 2500 Pro series solid state drive, the follow-up to last year's SSD 1500 Pro series, which targets corporate and small-business clients. The drive shares much of its DNA with some of Intel's consumer-class drives, but the Pro series cranks things up a few notches with support for advanced security and management features, low power states, and an extended management toolset. In terms of performance, the Intel SSD 2500 Pro isn't class-leading in light of many enthusiast-class drives but it's no slouch either. Intel differentiates the 2500 Pro series by adding support for vPro remote-management and hardware-based self-encryption. The 2500 Pro series supports TCG (Trusted Computing Group) Opal 2.0 features and is Microsoft eDrive capable as well. Intel also offers an administration tool for easy management of the drive. With the Intel administration tool, users can even reset the PSID (physical presence security ID), though the contents of the drive will be wiped. The SSD 2500 Pro series of solid state drives will be offered in both 2.5" SATA (7mm Z-Height) and M.2 "gumstick" form factors, with capacities ranging from 120GB on up to 480GB. Sequential reads are rated at up to 540MB/s, sequential writes at up to 480MB/s, with 45K – 80K random read / write IOps."
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+ - 'Optical fibre' Made Out Of Thin Air 1

Submitted by Dave Knott
Dave Knott (2917251) writes "Scientists from the University of Maryland say they have turned thin air into an "optical fibre" that can transmit and amplify light signals without the need for any cables. As described in the research, this was accomplished by generating a laser with its light split into a ring of multiple beams forming a pipe. Very short and powerful pulses from the laser are used to heat the air molecules along the beam extremely quickly. Such rapid heating produces sound waves that take about a microsecond to converge to the centre of the pipe, creating a high-density area surrounded by a low-density area left behind in the wake of the laser beams. The lower density region of air surrounding the centre of the air waveguide has a lower refractive index, keeping the light focused, and allowing the higher-density region (with its correspondingly higher index of refraction) to act like an optical fibre. The findings, reported in the journal Optica, have applications in long range laser communications, high-resolution topographic mapping, air pollution and climate change research, and could also be used by the military to make laser weapons."

The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

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