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+ - Slashdot goes to shit

Submitted by methano
methano writes: Long time reader Methano is sick and tired of the stupid pop under ads screaming at him and the endless CPU churning flash ads that have come to characterize the experience of being a loyal Slashdot follower. He's seriously thinking of saying goodbye to a once enjoyable but now more often annoying web site.

+ - Teen hires hacker to take down school district IT systems->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes: A 17-year old boy from Idaho has been accused of paying a hacker to launch DDoS attacks against his school district. The teen reportedly hired a third party to organize a week’s worth of distributed denial-of-service campaigns this month against the West Ada school district – the largest educational district in the state. The cyberattacks affected networks at all 52 schools including payroll, online textbooks, virtual teaching and standardized testing. At the time of the hacking many students were undertaking Idaho Standard Achievement Testing online. The DDoS attacks caused the school systems to lose the test and results data and students were required to re-sit their exams multiple times. According to a report by KTVB-TV News, the teen has been arrested and may face State and Federal computer crime felony charges. If the unnamed student is found guilty he is likely to have to serve up to 180 days in juvenile prison. The suspect has also been suspended from Eagle High and risks potential expulsion. The minor’s parents are being held financially responsible for the damage caused by the attacks.
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+ - SPAM: 5 Intelligent Video Games For Grown-Ups

Submitted by sepa2000
sepa2000 writes: The “video games” may still evoke the image of a boy or teenager playing alone with his concole, but there’s a lot more out there aside. Bioshock nad Limbo showed that the games it’s possible to take the first-person shooter and add character development, player agency and a well-written story. More recently, a new generation of talent has entered the industry, making games about social issues such as immigration in Papers. If you’re looking for some grown-up games to play, here are sijutech top list.
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+ - Arduino announces NYC, USA based Adafruit will manufacture Arduino

Submitted by ptorrone
ptorrone writes: At Maker Faire Bay Area on Saturday it was announced that Limor Fried "Ladyada" and Adafruit, who have appeared on /. many times over the last 10 years are now going to be the USA manufacturer of the open-source Arduino. Adafruit has grown from a 1 person company out Ladyada's apartment to over 50+ employees and a 50,000 sq. foot factory in Manhattan. Adafruit is currently shipping the Arduino GEMMA, a wearable open-source micro-controller platform.

+ - MAME Changing License to Fully Libre One

Submitted by jones_supa
jones_supa writes: The source code of MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) has long been freely available, but it's never been completely libre. Instead it's been available under a modified BSID license that prohibits, among other things, commercial use of the code. MAME engineer Miodrag Milanovic explains that such license was put in place to deter "misuse of MAME in illegal ways," but it also kept legitimate commercial entities doing business with the software. Examples of such could be museums that charge entry fees from using MAME in their exhibits, or copyright holders rereleasing vintage games encapsulated inside MAME. Now the project wants to go fully open. Milanovic continues: "Our aim is to help legal license owners in distributing their games based on MAME platform, and to make MAME become a learning tool for developers working on development boards." As of yet, there are no specific details about the new license.

Comment: Re:Sagan? Don't you mean Clarke? (Score 2) 52

I admire Clarke as much as anybody here, but he admits he did not invent the geostationary orbit (though he was the first to suggest using the orbit for communications satellites). The idea had been proposed as early as the 19th century by Tsiolkovsky. Citation available here (paywalled, sorry, but you can get the gist from the abstract).

+ - Elon Musk, SpaceX, and the quest to send mice to Mars->

Submitted by braindrainbahrain
braindrainbahrain writes: The name of Elon Musk and SpaceX, the rocket company he founded, are well known to slashdottters. This article and book excerpt tells the story of the creation of SpaceX and their first rockets, how it almost sank Musk's other company, Tesla Motors, and how the inspiration for the SpaceX in the first place was the idea of sending mice to Mars.
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+ - The Biosecurity Logic Behind Australia's Threat to Kill Johnny Depp's Dogs

Submitted by writes: Adam Taylor writes in the Washington Post that Australia's threat to kill Boo and Pistol, two dogs that belong to the American movie star Johnny Depp unless they leave the country by Saturday has made headlines around the world. But the logic behind the threat is typical for Australia, which has some of the strictest animal quarantine laws in the world. According to the Australian Department of Agriculture, dogs can be imported to Australia but are required to spend at least 10 days in quarantine in the country. There are also a whole variety of other restrictions on the dogs – they can only come from an approved country, they cannot be pregnant, and they must not be a banned breed. The dogs are then required to undergo a variety of tests and be fully vaccinated and microchipped. It's a time-consuming, expensive and complicated process that serves one purpose. Australia is one of a relatively small number of countries around the world that are considered rabies-free. "The reason you can walk through a park in Brisbane and not have in the back of your mind, 'What happens if a rabid dog comes out and bites me or bites my kid,' is because we've kept that disease out," says Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.

Australia's geographical distance from much of the rest of the world and its relatively late contact with the West means that its biological ecosystem is unlike those of many other nations. To protect this, the country restricts what can be brought into the country. The impact of alien species on Australian wildlife was made clear early in the 20th century, when the cane toad, indigenous to Central and South America, was introduced to north Queensland in the hope of controlling the local cane beetle population. While the toads had little impact on the beetle population, they unexpectedly thrived in their new environment. Their effects on Australia's ecology include the depletion of native species that die eating cane toads; the poisoning of pets and humans; depletion of native fauna preyed on by cane toads; and reduced prey populations for native insectivores, such as skinks. The population of a few thousand cane toads introduced in 1935 is now in the millions, and are now considered pests that the Australian government is trying to eradicate.

Depp isn't the only American celebrity to run afoul of Australian biosecurity laws. In 2013, a Katy Perry album that featured flower seeds in its packaging triggered a biosecurity alert from Australia's Agriculture Department. "Most people are excited to think that there's an attachment between biosecurity and someone as popular as Katy Perry," said Vanessa Findlay, Australia's chief plant protection officer.

+ - MuckRock FOIA request releases Christopher Hitchens' FBI files->

Submitted by v3rgEz
v3rgEz writes: Outspoken atheist firebrand Christopher Hitchens was never one for understatement, and apparently the FBI took notice. A Freedom of Information request from investigative news site MuckRock has resulted in the release of his 19-page FBI file, including details such as how his interest in socialism in college sparked heightened monitoring when given a scholarship to come to the United States.

Some of the pages had actually been previously released, but were then removed from the FBI's own website a few years ago. Despite the monitoring, Hitchens files have nothing on the hundreds of pages the FBI had on Richard Feynman.

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Techdirt: Pink Floyd's Roger Waters Declares Silicon Valley A 'Gallery Of Rogues And Thiev->

From feed by feedfeeder
I've been a Pink Floyd fan for most of the time I've been alive, so it was rather disappointing to see band leader and professional misanthrope Roger Waters recently come down with a terrible case of "get the hell off of my lawn." Speaking to a reporter earlier this month, Waters, the man who once blasted oblivious, recording industry bean counters in "Have a Cigar," assailed Silicon Valley as a corrupt den of "rogues and thieves." Rogers also pined for a simpler age -- one when musicians and artists were screwed more directly by their music label:

"Most of all I feel enormously privileged to have been born in 1943 and not 1983, to have been around when there was a music business and the takeover of Silicon Valley hadn't happened and, in consequence, you could still make a living writing and recording songs and playing them to people,” the bass guitarist and singer said.
Right, because as this outlet has covered extensively, the Internet has destroyed the music industry, and it's simply impossible to make any money off of art in this day and age. The fact that the Internet and piracy effectively turned albums into promotional material to sell merchandise and concert tickets is a very difficult idea for older generations to grok, but it's still kind of painful to see a rock hero of my youth fall victim to aggressively rigid neurons. Waters doesn't stop there, and proceeds to trot out a litany of well-tread conflations, distortions and other flimsy arguments, joining folks like U2 manager Paul McGuinness in no longer understanding how the music industry he's a part of (kind of, since he hasn't released a new album in 23 years) actually works:

"When this gallery of rogues and thieves had not yet interjected themselves between the people who aspire to be creative and their potential audience and steal every f***ing cent anybody ever made and put it in their pockets to buy f***ing huge mega-yachts and Gulfstream Fives with. These thieves! It’s just stealing! And that they’re allowed to get away with it is just incredible."

Waters went on to say that music lovers must take some responsibility for this parlous situation. “I blame the punters as well to some extent, a whole generation that’s grown up who believe that music should be free,” he said.

"I mean why not make everything free? Then you could walk into a shop and say ‘I like that television’ and you walk out with it. No! Somebody made that and you have to buy it! 'Oh, I'll just pick up few apples.' No! Some farmer grew those and brought them here to be sold!"
And here you were foolishly thinking that the Internet managed to open a massive new universe of music distribution possibilities and business models, helping countless artists connect more directly with their fans. As we've noted probably more times than can be counted, "free" isn't the business model -- free is part of one potential business model, and when done right, resonates incredibly well with consumers.

It's certainly fine if you don't like that, but that doesn't really change reality in the age of broadband and piracy. Of course if it makes Roger feel any better, the same wolfish recording industry Roger used to mock is still there at the end of the gravy train, working tirelessly to prevent artists from seeing their just deserts in the Spotify age. There's certainly plenty to criticize about some specific new Internet-based business models where artists still get screwed; but Waters doesn't really do that -- he just shakes his cane at the general direction of the Internet and "pisses and moans," as my grandfather used to say.

I'll of course never stop loving Pink Floyd ("Animals" in particular), and Waters' lessons on critical thinking, empathy and alienation are pretty much bone-grafted to my personality. Sadly though, he's also now a perfect example of the dangers of letting your aging synapses get so rigid you can't see new forest growth for the trees -- since I'd like to believe, maybe foolishly, that's not an inevitable symptom of aging. Of course I was one of those deviant rogues who helped destroy the music industry by swapping free tapes like this one:

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+ - World's Most Dangerous Driving Simulator->

Submitted by agent elevator
agent elevator writes: Lawrence Ulrich at IEEE Spectrum has an interview with the maker of a simulator for professional racers, the $54,000 Motion Pro II from CXC Simulations. It conveys amazingly fine sensations including: the feel of the car's tires wearing out or the car lightening as its fuel dwindles. It also has the kick to make you really feel a crash: “If you hit the wall in an Indy Car and don’t take your hands off the wheel, you’ll break your wrists... Our wheel is a one-to-one replication of that, but we don’t turn it up that high. It’s the first time we’ve been able to replicate racing forces so high that it introduces liability questions.”
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An inclined plane is a slope up. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"