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+ - When Snowden speaks, future lawyers (and judges) listen->

Submitted by TheRealHocusLocus
TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) writes "We are witness to an historic 'first': an individual charged with espionage and actively sought by the United States government has been (virtually) invited to speak at Harvard Law School, with applause. HLS Professor Lawrence Lessig conducted the hour-long interview last Monday with a list of questions by himself and his students.

Some interesting jumps are Snowden's assertion that mass domestic intercept is an 'unreasonable seizure' under the 4th Amendment, it also violates 'natural rights' that cannot be voted away even by the majority, a claim that broad surveillance detracts from the ability to monitor specific targets such as the Boston Marathon bombers, calls out Congress for not holding Clapper accountable for misstatements, and laments that contractors are exempt from whistleblower protection though they do swear an oath to defend the Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic. These points have been brought up before. But what may be most interesting to these students is Snowden's suggestion that a defendant under the Espionage act be permitted to present an argument before a jury that the act was committed "in the public interest". Could this pure-judicial move help ensure a fair trial for whistleblowers whose testimony reveals Constitutional violation?

Professor Lessig wraps up the interview by asking Snowden, Hoodies or Suits? “Hoodies all the way. I hope in the next generation we don't even have suits anymore, they're just gone forever.”"

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+ - Tetris is hard to test->

Submitted by JackDW
JackDW (904211) writes "Tetris is one of the best-known computer games ever made. It's easy to play but hard to master, and it's based on a NP-hard problem. But that's not all that's difficult about it. Though it's simple enough to be implemented in one line of BBC BASIC, it's complex enough to be really hard to thoroughly test.

It may seem like you can test everything in Tetris just by playing it for a few minutes, but this is very unlikely! As I explain in this article, the game is filled with special cases that rarely occur in normal play, and these can only be easily found with the help of a coverage tool."

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+ - The Problem With Positive Thinking->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The NY Times explains research into how our mindset can influence our results. The common refrain when striving for a goal is to stay positive and imagine success to help you reach that goal. But a series of psychological experiments show such thinking tends to have exactly the opposite effect. "In a 2011 study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, we asked two groups of college students to write about what lay in store for the coming week. One group was asked to imagine that the week would be great. The other group was just asked to write down any thoughts about the week that came to mind. The students who had positively fantasized reported feeling less energized than those in the control group. As we later documented, they also went on to accomplish less during that week." This research has been replicated across many types of people and many different goals.

Building on that research, the scientists developed a thought process called "mental contrasting," where people are encouraged to think about their dreams coming true only for a few minutes before dedicating just as much time to thinking about the obstacles they'll have to deal with. Experiments have demonstrated that subjects using these techniques were more successful at things like exercise and maintaining a healthy diet than a control group. "[D]reaming about the future calms you down, measurably reducing systolic blood pressure, but it also can drain you of the energy you need to take action in pursuit of your goals.""

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+ - Building all the major open-source web browsers->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Cristophe de Dinechin, long-time software developer, has an interesting article on the processes involved in building the major browsers. From the article:

Mozilla Firefox, Chromium (the open-source variant of Chrome) and WebKit (the basis for Safari) are all great examples of open-source software. The Qt project has a simple webkit-based web browser in their examples. So that’s at least four different open-source web browsers to choose from.

But what does it take to actually build them? The TL;DR answer is that these are complex pieces of software, each of them with rather idiosyncratic build systems, and that you should consider 100GB of disk space to build all the browsers, a few hours of download, and be prepared to learn lots of new, rather specific tools.

"

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+ - New Oculus SDK Adds Experimental Linux Support and Unity Free for Rift Headset->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Oculus, creator of the Rift VR headset, has released a new version of their SDK which brings with it long sought after support for Linux, which the company says is "experimental". Linux support was previously unavailable since the launch of the company's second development kit, the DK2 (http://www.oculus.com/dk2/). The latest SDK update also adds support for Unity Free (https://unity3d.com/unity/download), the non-commercial version of the popular game authoring engine. Previously, Unity developers needed the Pro version—costing $1,500 or $75/month—to create experiences for the Oculus Rift."
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+ - FCC Postpones Spectrum Auction Delayed Until 2016->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "2014 was supposed to be the year broadcasters would be allowed to sell off their unused spectrum to mobile carriers. That got pushed back to 2015 in December, and now the Federal Communications Commission has bumped it to 2016 in the face of a lawsuit from the National Association of Broadcasters. The FCC says the legal briefs aren't even due until January 2015, and it will take them until the middle of the year to review the documents and respond in court. The delay is just fine with the NAB, but probably bad news for anyone hoping that spectrum would help to improve mobile communications in the U.S. any time soon."
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+ - EU Sets Goal To Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions 40% by 2030->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The 28 nations in the European Union agreed Friday to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% (going by 1990 levels) by the year 2030. The deal received widespread criticism; industry bosses said the 2030 targets were too extreme, while many environmental groups said the goals weren't ambitious enough. The deal requires each nation to achieve the goal independently — earlier targets could use international offsets to avoid or reduce action. EU officials hope the deal will encourage the U.S. and China to take a more aggressive stance on fighting climate change."
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+ - High speed evolution->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "Normally the 'evolution conjures up an image of "super-long time frame" but at least in the case of lizards on Florida islands the evolution seems to have shifted to the fifth gear

Sientists working on islands in Florida have documented the rapid evolution of a native lizard species — in as little as 15 years — as a result of pressure from an invading lizard species, introduced from Cuba. After contact with the invasive species, the native lizards began perching higher in trees, and, generation after generation, their feet evolved to become better at gripping the thinner, smoother branches found higher up

The change occurred at an astonishing pace: Within a few months, native lizards had begun shifting to higher perches, and over the course of 15 years and 20 generations, their toe pads had become larger, with more sticky scales on their feet. "We did predict that we'd see a change, but the degree and quickness with which they evolved was surprising," said Yoel Stuart, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Integrative Biology at The University of Texas at Austin and lead author of the study

"To put this shift in perspective, if human height were evolving as fast as these lizards' toes, the height of an average American man would increase from about 5 foot 9 inches today to about 6 foot 4 inches within 20 generations — an increase that would make the average U.S. male the height of an NBA shooting guard," said Stuart. "Although humans live longer than lizards, this rate of change would still be rapid in evolutionary terms"

This latest study is one of only a few well-documented examples of what evolutionary biologists call "character displacement," in which similar species competing with each other evolve differences to take advantage of different ecological niches. A classic example comes from the finches studied by Charles Darwin. Two species of finch in the Galápagos Islands diverged in beak shape as they adapted to different food sources. The researchers speculate that the competition between brown and green anoles for the same food and space may be driving the adaptations of the green anoles. Stuart also noted that the adults of both species are known to eat the hatchlings of the other species

"So it may be that if you're a hatchling, you need to move up into the trees quickly or you'll get eaten," said Stuart. "Maybe if you have bigger toe pads, you'll do that better than if you don't""

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+ - Italian Supreme Court Bans the 'Microsoft Tax'->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "In a post at the Free Software Foundation, lawyer Marco Ciurcina reports that the Italian Supreme Court has ruled that the practice of forcing users to pay for a Windows license when they buy a new PC is illegal. Manufacturers in Italy are now legally obligated to refund that money if a buyer wants to put GNU/Linux or another free OS on the computer. Ciurcina says, "The focus of the Court's reasoning is that the sale of a PC with software preinstalled is not like the sale of a car with its components (the 4 wheels, the engine, etc.) that therefore are sold jointly. Buying a computer with preinstalled software, the user is required to conclude two different contracts: the first, when he buys the computer; the second, when he turns on the computer for the first time and he is required to accept or not the license terms of the preinstalled software.9 Therefore, if the user does not accept the software license, he has the right to keep the computer and install free software without having to pay the 'Microsoft tax.'""
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+ - Cancer-killing stem cells engineered in lab->

Submitted by SternisheFan
SternisheFan (2529412) writes "Scientists from Harvard Medical School have discovered a way of turning stem cells into killing machines to fight brain cancer.

In experiments on mice, the stem cells were genetically engineered to produce and secrete toxins which kill brain tumours, without killing normal cells or themselves.

Researchers said the next stage was to test the procedure in humans.

A stem cell expert said this was "the future" of cancer treatment.Dr Khalid Shah, lead author and director of the molecular neurotherapy and imaging lab at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, said the results were very positive.

"After doing all of the molecular analysis and imaging to track the inhibition of protein synthesis within brain tumours, we do see the toxins kill the cancer cells."

He added: "Cancer-killing toxins have been used with great success in a variety of blood cancers, but they don't work as well in solid tumours because the cancers aren't as accessible and the toxins have a short half-life."

But genetically engineering stem cells has changed all that, he said.

"Now, we have toxin-resistant stem cells that can make and release cancer-killing drugs."

This study shows you can attack solid tumours by putting mini pharmacies inside the patient...”

Prof Chris Mason
University College London
Chris Mason, professor of regenerative medicine at University College London, said: "This is a clever study, which signals the beginning of the next wave of therapies."

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+ - CHP officers steal, forward nude pictures from arrestee smartphones

Submitted by sabri
sabri (584428) writes "Following the initial suspension of a CHP officer earlier this week, the news has come out that apparently, the CHP has an entire ring of officers who steal and subsequently share nude pictures. The nudies are stolen from females who are arrested or stopped. Officer Sean Harrington of Martinez reportedly confessed to stealing explicit photos from the suspect’s phone, and said he forwarded those images to at least two other CHP officers..

Where is the ACLU when you need them the most?"

+ - Microsoft now Makes Money from Surface Line, Q1 Sales Reach Almost $1 Billion 1

Submitted by SmartAboutThings
SmartAboutThings (1951032) writes "Microsoft has recently published its Q1 fiscal 2015 earnings report, disclosing that it has made $4.5 billion in net income on $23.20 billion in revenue. According to the report, revenue has increased by $4.67 billion, compared to $18.53 billion from the same period last year. However, net income has decreased 14 percent compared to last year’s $5.24 billion mainly because of the $1.14 billion cost associated with the integration and restructuring expenses related to the Nokia acquisition.

But what's finally good news for the company is that the Surface gross margin was positive this quarter, which means the company finally starts making money on Surface sales. Microsoft didn’t yet reveal Surface sales, but we know that Surface revenue was $908 million this quarter, up a massive 127 percent from the $400 million this time last year. However, if we assume that the average spent amount on the purchase of this year’s Surface Pro 3 was around $1000, then we have less than 1 million units sold, which isn’t that impressive, but it’s a good start."

+ - Secretive funding fuels ongoing net neutrality astroturfing controversy->

Submitted by alphadogg
alphadogg (971356) writes "he contentious debate about net neutrality in the U.S. has sparked controversy over a lack of funding transparency for advocacy groups and think tanks, which critics say subverts the political process. News stories from a handful of publications in recent months have accused some think tanks and advocacy groups of "astroturfing" — quietly shilling for large broadband carriers. In a handful of cases, those criticisms appear to have some merit, although the term is so overused by people looking to discredit political opponents that it has nearly lost its original meaning. An IDG News Service investigation found that major groups opposing U.S. Federal Communications Commission reclassification and regulation of broadband as a public utility tend to be less transparent about their funding than the other side. Still, some big-name advocates of strong net neutrality rules also have limited transparency mechanisms in place."
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+ - Decades-old scientific paper may hold clues to dark matter->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Here’s one reason libraries hang on to old science journals: A paper from an experiment conducted 32 years ago may shed light on the nature of dark matter, the mysterious stuff whose gravity appears to keep the galaxies from flying apart. The old data put a crimp in the newfangled concept of a "dark photon" and suggest that a simple bargain-basement experiment could put the idea to the test."
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+ - PCGamingWiki looks into Linux gaming with Port Reports->

Submitted by AberBeta
AberBeta (851747) writes "PCGamingWiki contributor soeb has been looking into the recent larger budget game releases to appear on Linux, including XCOM: Enemy Unknown & Borderlands: The Pre–Sequel produced by Mac porting houses Feral and Aspyr, and finds that while feature parity is high, performance could be a smidge better. However people accept the performance differences, the games are arriving, now the userbase needs to expand to make a virtuous cycle."
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2.4 statute miles of surgical tubing at Yale U. = 1 I.V.League

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