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Science

Experiment Shows People Exposed To East German Socialism Cheat More 605

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the roll-high-or-be-sent-to-siberia dept.
An anonymous reader writes The Economist reports, "'UNDER capitalism', ran the old Soviet-era joke, 'man exploits man. Under communism it is just the opposite.' In fact new research suggests that the Soviet system inspired not just sarcasm but cheating too: in East Germany, at least, communism appears to have inculcated moral laxity. Lars Hornuf of the University of Munich and Dan Ariely, Ximena García-Rada and Heather Mann of Duke University ran an experiment last year to test Germans' willingness to lie for personal gain. Some 250 Berliners were randomly selected to take part in a game where they could win up to €6 ($8). ... The authors found that, on average, those who had East German roots cheated twice as much as those who had grown up in West Germany under capitalism. They also looked at how much time people had spent in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The longer the participants had been exposed to socialism, the greater the likelihood that they would claim improbable numbers ... when it comes to ethics, a capitalist upbringing appears to trump a socialist one."
Cellphones

Why My LG Optimus Cellphone Is Worse Than It's Supposed To Be 289

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-sir-I-don't-like-it dept.
Bennett Haselton writes My LG Optimus F3Q was the lowest-end phone in the T-Mobile store, but a cheap phone is supposed to suck in specific ways that make you want to upgrade to a better model. This one is plagued with software bugs that have nothing to do with the cheap hardware, and thus lower one's confidence in the whole product line. Similar to the suckiness of the Stratosphere and Stratosphere 2 that I was subjected to before this one, the phone's shortcomings actually raise more interesting questions — about why the free-market system rewards companies for pulling off miracles at the hardware level, but not for fixing software bugs that should be easy to catch. Read below to see what Bennett has to say.
The Almighty Buck

New Digital Currency Bases Value On Reputation 100

Posted by Soulskill
from the for-everyone-who-wanted-to-rep-grind-in-real-life dept.
An anonymous reader writes: If digital currencies are fundamentally different than physical ones, why do they work in the same way? That's a question being asked by Couchbase co-founder J. Chris Anderson, who's building a currency and transaction system where reputation is the fundamental unit of value. "Unlike with bitcoin—which keeps its currency scarce by rewarding it only to those who participate in what amounts to a race to solve complex cryptographic puzzles—anyone will be able to create a new Document Coin anytime they want. The value of each coin will be completely subjective, depending on who creates the coin and why. 'For example, the coin my disco singer friend created and gave me at my barbeque might be what gets me past the rope at the club,' Anderson says. A coin minted by tech pundit Tim O'Reilly might be highly prized in Silicon Valley circles, but of little interest to musicians. 'It's a bit like a combination of a social network with baseball trading.'" Anderson isn't aiming to supplant Bitcoin, or even challenge the money-exchange model that drives society. But he's hoping it will change the way people think about currency, and open up new possibilities for how we interact with each other.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Homestar Runner To Return Soon 57

Posted by samzenpus
from the back-soon dept.
An anonymous reader writes with good news for everyone who loves Strong Bad.Back in April, Homestar Runner got its first content update in over four years. It was the tiniest of updates and the site went quiet again shortly thereafter, but the Internet's collective 90s kid heart still jumped for joy...The site's co-creator, Matt Chapman, popped into an episode of The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show to chat about the history of Homestar — but in the last 15 minutes or so, they get to talking about its future. The too-long-didn't-listen version: both of the brothers behind the show really really want to bring it back. The traffic they saw from their itty-bitty April update suggests people want it — but they know that may very well be a fluke. So they're taking it slow.
Programming

Normal Humans Effectively Excluded From Developing Software 608

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the elitism-at-its-finest dept.
theodp (442580) writes Over at Alarming Development, Jonathan Edwards has an interesting rant entitled Developer Inequality and the Technical Debt Crisis. The heated complaints that the culture of programming unfairly excludes some groups, Edwards feels, is a distraction from a bigger issue with far greater importance to society.

"The bigger injustice," Edwards writes, "is that programming has become an elite: a vocation requiring rare talents, grueling training, and total dedication. The way things are today if you want to be a programmer you had best be someone like me on the autism spectrum who has spent their entire life mastering vast realms of arcane knowledge — and enjoys it. Normal humans are effectively excluded from developing software. The real injustice of developer inequality is that it doesn't have to be this way." Edwards concludes with a call to action, "The web triumphalists love to talk about changing the world. Well if you really want to change the world, empower regular people to build web apps. Disrupt web programming! Who's with me?" Ed Finkler, who worries about his own future as a developer in The Developer's Dystopian Future, seconds that emotion. "I think about how I used to fill my time with coding," Finkler writes. "So much coding. I was willing to dive so deep into a library or framework or technology to learn it. My tolerance for learning curves grows smaller every day. New technologies, once exciting for the sake of newness, now seem like hassles. I'm less and less tolerant of hokey marketing filled with superlatives. I value stability and clarity."
Communications

SpaceX's Friday Launch Scrubbed 28

Posted by timothy
from the skynet-gets-a-delay dept.
Reuters reports that a SpaceX launch planned for Friday from Cape Canaveral has been scrubbed, though it may be rescheduled for as early as Saturday evening. The Falcon 9 will be lifting six communications satellites for Orbcomm intended to facilitate machine-to-machine communications. According to another report, It was not immediately clear if the problem was with equipment on the rocket or with ground systems connected to the rocket at Launch Complex 40. The mission was delayed from May by a helium leak on the rocket, but it was not known if the same issue was a factor Friday. Launch managers pushed the targeted liftoff from the window's opening at 6:08 p.m. to its end at 7:01 p.m., but ran out of time to resolve the problem. The countdown was halted with under eight minutes to go.

Comment: Re:Misleading summary (Score 3, Informative) 150

It isn't as if another version was already submitted earlier, perhaps with a better summary for the editors to use:

http://slashdot.org/submission...

The accepted story was submitted by itwbennett, and links to a story on itworld.com. I think it's a fair assumption that it was submitted by Amy Bennett, ITworld's Managing Editor. According to her achievements, she's had 2^9 submissions accepted, from which we can conclude that Slashdot editors probably prioritize her submissions. I imagine her submissions are fairly well written, link to a somewhat reputable source, and have already been deemed interesting enough to the IT crowd for a story on ITworld. So they get fast-tracked, and other worthy submissions are reviewed later, deemed to be duplicates, and discarded.

Would be nice if her submissions lead off with the fact that she was the managing editor for ITworld though, just to make it clear that she's just trying to feed traffic to her own site. (Which is a valid action if the story is original and interesting, but should require a disclaimer.)

Businesses

Ikea Sends IkeaHackers Blog a C&D Order 207

Posted by samzenpus
from the stop-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes Ikea has sent the IkeaHackers blog a C&D order over the usage of the Ikea name. IkeaHackers hosts articles on how to hack Ikea furniture to make it more useful in daily life. From the article: "Speaking to the BBC, an Ikea representative said: 'We feel a great responsibility to our customers and that they always can trust Ikea... many people want to know what really is connected to Ikea - and what isn't. And we think that people should have that right. When other companies use the Ikea name for economic gain, it creates confusion and rights are lost.'
Science

New Sensor To Detect Food-Borne Bacteria On Site 10

Posted by samzenpus
from the just-eat-it dept.
Zothecula (1870348) writes According to the CDC, around 48 million people in the US get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die as a result of foodborne illnesses every year. One of the main culprits is listeriosis (or listeria), which is responsible for approximately 1,600 illnesses and 260 deaths. Now researchers at the University of Southampton are using a device designed to detect the most common cause of listeriosis directly on food preparation surfaces, without the need to send samples away for laboratory testing.
Wireless Networking

Comcast Converting 50,000 Houston Home Routers Into Public WiFi Hotspots 474

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-what-you-never-wanted dept.
New submitter green453 writes: 'As a Houston resident with limited home broadband options, I found the following interesting: Dwight Silverman of the Houston Chronicle reports (warning: paywalled) that Comcast plans to turn 50,000 home routers into public Wi-Fi hotspots without their users providing consent. Comcast plans to eventually convert 150,000 home routers into a city-wide WiFi network. A similar post (with no paywall) by the same author on the SeattlePI Tech Blog explains the change. From the post on SeattlePI: "What's interesting about this move is that, by default, the feature is being turned on without its subscribers' prior consent. It's an opt-out system – you have to take action to not participate. Comcast spokesman Michael Bybee said on Monday that notices about the hotspot feature were mailed to customers a few weeks ago, and email notifications will go out after it's turned on. But it's a good bet that this will take many Comcast customers by surprise."' This follows similar efforts in Chicago and the Twin Cities.
United States

Did Russia Trick Snowden Into Going To Moscow? 346

Posted by samzenpus
from the can-we-give-you-a-ride? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Ex-KGB Major Boris Karpichko says that spies from Russia's SVR intelligence service, posing as diplomats in Hong Kong, convinced Snowden to fly to Moscow last June. 'It was a trick and he fell for it,' Karpichko, who reached the rank of Major as a member of the KGB's prestigious Second Directorate while specializing in counter-intelligence, told Nelson. 'Now the Russians are extracting all the intelligence he possesses.'"
Stats

Study Finds Porn Exposure Associated With Smaller Brain Region 211

Posted by timothy
from the news-for-nerds dept.
New submitter Bodhammer (559311) writes "German researchers looked at the brains of 64 men between the ages of 21 and 45 and found that one brain region (the striatum, linked to reward processing), was smaller in the brains of porn watchers, and that a specific part of the same region is also less activated when exposed to more pornography." While it's tempting to cast blame, "the study doesn't confirm whether watching porn causes the changes, or whether people with a certain brain type are inherently more apt to tune into X-rated content." The study's abstract is available; the paper itself is pay-walled.
Media

Virtual DVDs, Revisited 147

Posted by Soulskill
from the still-waiting-on-virtual-laserdiscs dept.
Bennett Haselton writes: "In March I asked why Netflix doesn't offer their rental DVD service in 'virtual DVD' form -- where you can 'check out' a fixed number of 'virtual DVDs' per month, just as you would with their physical DVDs by mail, but by accessing the 'virtual DVDs' in streaming format so that you could watch them on a phone or a tablet or a laptop without a DVD drive. My argument was that this is an interesting, non-trivial question, because it seems Netflix and (by proxy) the studios are leaving cash on the table by not offering this as an option to DVD-challenged users. I thought some commenters' responses raised questions that were worth delving into further." Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.

Comment: Re:Other factors can ease parenting "instinct" in (Score 2) 291

by Walking The Walk (#47107255) Attached to: Parenting Rewires the Male Brain

So far, I haven't been getting much advice that is critical of our plans, except from one person: my very traditional mother, who is probably secretly horrified that my husband is going to stay at home.

I've got two kids and a third due in about 9 weeks. My best advice to parents-to-be is to ignore all the advice you'll get (small joke there.) Everyone you meet will think they know better than you what being a parent will be like, and that they know best how you should raise your child. Many of them will then offer that advice in strong terms, even when you clearly don't want/need it. Listen to them, nod politely, and go on doing it the way you think best.

... perhaps there's a chance that I'll become more maternal. I worry about it.

Annecdotal, but: We both became more maternal/paternal when our son was born. I had trouble bonding the first couple of weeks - they just cry, sleep and poop the first while, and nursing didn't go well (apparently the stats are that 50% of women have trouble with nursing for the first child. Ignore anyone that pressures you for or against nursing - it's your choice to try and for how long.) But taking time to just sit quietly and take care of him, hold him when he's sleeping, stuff like that helped us bond. Looking back now, I do wish I'd taken some videos of us having that quiet bonding time.

So, trust yourself and good luck - it's a hell of a ride, but totally worth it!

Transportation

Has the Ethanol Threat Manifested In the US? 432

Posted by timothy
from the think-of-the-corn-farmers dept.
Five years ago today, we mentioned here what was characterized as "The Great Ethanol Scam." According to the central story in that post, the ethanol in gasoline was (or would be) "destroying engines in large numbers," and the only real winners with a rise in the use of ethanol as a gasoline supplement would be auto mechanics. An increasing number of cars are officially cleared for use with E15 (15 percent ethanol), and a growing number of E85 vehicles are in the wild now, too, though apparently many of their owners don't realize that their cars can burn a mixture that's mostly ethanol. When I can, I fill my car with no-ethanol gas, but that's not very easy to find (farmer's co-ops are one handy source), so most of my driving over the past decade has been with E10 fuel. I seem to get better mileage with all-gas, but the circumstances haven't been controlled enough to make a good comparison. What has your experience been? Have you experienced ethanol-related car problems, or were the predictions overblown?

A penny saved is a penny to squander. -- Ambrose Bierce

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