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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 23 declined, 9 accepted (32 total, 28.12% accepted)

Your Rights Online

+ - "Six Strikes" Copyright Alert System Debuts Today->

Submitted by
bughunter
bughunter writes "After months of delay, the “Copyright Alert System,” (also known as “six strikes”) is ready for its “implementation phase.” Participating ISPs will be rolling out the system “over the course of the next several days.” According to TorrentFreak, Today the controversial “six-strikes” anti-piracy system kicks off in the United States. Soon the first BitTorrent users will receive so-called copyright alerts from their Internet provider and after multiple warnings subscribers will be punished. But, what these punishments entail remains a bit of a mystery. None of the participating ISPs have officially announced how they will treat repeat infringers and the CCI doesn’t have this information either. Is your ISP on the list of participating providers? Also, should casual, occasional users of BitTorrent who download this week's Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones be concerned, or is this primarily aimed at detecting large-scale copyright infringers?"
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Your Rights Online

+ - ACTA Is Dead after EU Parliament Vote->

Submitted by
bughunter
bughunter writes "Today at 12:56 CET, the European Parliament decided whether ACTA would be ultimately rejected or whether it would drag on into uncertainty. In a 478 to 39 vote, the Parliament decided to reject ACTA once and for all. This means that the deceptive treaty is now dead globally. Everyone in the European Parliament are taking turns to praise all the activists across Europe and the world for drawing their attention to what utter garbage this really was, not some run-of-the-mill rubberstamp paper, but actually a really dangerous piece of proposed legislation."
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+ - ISPs to apply CCI's Six Strikes starting July 1-> 3

Submitted by
bughunter
bughunter writes "Starting July 1, the nation’s largest Internet service providers (ISPs) have agreed to adopt a “Graduated Response” program intended to cut down on illegal file sharing. The program, colloquially known as the “six-strikes” system, is the brainchild of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). After six notices of infringement, the participating ISPs will take “mitigation measures,” which include bandwidth throttling (i.e. slowing down the accused subscriber’s connection), or even temporarily cutting off full Web browsing abilities. In cases where alleged infringement persists after the initial mitigation measure, the subscriber may face lawsuits from the copyright holder, and/or have their Internet access cut entirely. Those currently on board include AT&T, Cablevison, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon."
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Media

+ - The New York Times' Kitchen Table of the Future-> 1

Submitted by
bughunter
bughunter writes "Matt Boggie, The Times Co.'s Media & Technology Strategist for R&D, demonstrates the Times' screen-top version of a kitchen table. It's based on Microsoft's Surface technology, modified by the Times' R&D Lab to create a Times-oriented user experience that reimagines the old "around the breakfast table" reading of the paper. The prototypes on display at the R&D Lab consider how news can be used, in particular, in the home, woven into the intimate contexts of the morning coffee."
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Idle

+ - Rep. Anthony Weiner Framed via Yfrog Security Flaw-> 1

Submitted by
bughunter
" rel="nofollow">bughunter writes "According to evidence collected by blogger Joseph Cannon, Representative Anthony Weiner (D-NY) was the victim of a framing attempt using the Yfrog photo hosting service. Tipped off by EXIF data inconsistencies, Cannon began investigating possible explanations, and discovered that using an email trick, images can be inserted into a Yfrog user’s collection without their knowledge. Cannon also examines other evidence, direct and circumstantial, that points to the “discoverer” of the alleged lewd Tweet by Weiner as the one who planted the fraudulent photo. Says Cannon, “The framer did not hack into Weiner's account. There was no need for hacking. The framer used a much simpler, more ingenious scheme, involving a design flaw in the architecture of the application.”"
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Games

+ - Saturday is National Gaming Day at Your Library->

Submitted by
bughunter
bughunter writes "On November 13, 2010, libraries across the country will participate in National Gaming Day 2010: the largest, simultaneous national video game tournament ever held! Kids (and their parents) will be able to compete against players at other libraries and track their scores while playing at their local library. In addition, libraries will be offering a variety of board games for all ages to play together. I know I'll be taking my six-year-old son, whose Mom has vetoed every suggestion to buy a console... for good reason. But until she relents, she'll at least give up one Saturday morning each November."
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Books

+ - Help Me Introduce a Non-geek to SF

Submitted by
bughunter
bughunter writes "I'm having trouble identifying a novel that would interest my wife in science fiction. I've tried a couple of times to introduce her to the genre, without success. She's mildly curious as to why I'm interested in it, and why I aspire to writing it. But she holds quite a few misconceptions about it, probably due to the horrible examples set by SF movies and TV series. I still think that no one has ever shown her a good example of the genre, not even me.

She seems to have been under the impression for a long time that "SciFi" was about aliens, space ships, and ray guns... that the only appeal of the genre was the nerdier analogue of a penchant for spaghetti westerns or monster movies. And she's not interested in classical space opera at all.

I've tried to explain the concept of hard SF and how it differs from science fantasy or space opera. I'm not emphasizing the scientific rigor and plausibility of hard SF as much as I want to demonstrate how its depend on scientific speculation or mysteries. Not many SF films have conflicts and key plot elements that are built upon scientific or technical propositions (as opposed to using enabling devices that are sheer fantasies, like Stargate). I have used the few that exist as examples, for instance "What if humans encountered an active artifact of an advanced civilization?" [2001: a Space Odyssey] or "Is a machine consciousness any different from a human one?" [Blade Runner].

I've given her a couple of SF novels that she's attempted to but she quickly lost interest. I thought that she might enjoy Neal Stephenson, so I gave her what I thought was one of his more approachable novels: Zodiac. But she found the main character, Sangamon Taylor, too arrogant to identify with. I really enjoy Bruce Sterling, and thought that she could handle Distraction, but she wasn't interested in it at all. Perhaps I should have tried Islands in the Net, instead.

After this, why am I persisting? Well, she frequently complains she has nothing to read, and I have a huge library of SF novels, mostly boxed up. And she says she's interested in my interests, that she wants to understand them. Perhaps I'm taking her too literally, and that she just wants to hear me explain it, to see me express my passion for it. But for now, I'm still interpreting her to mean that she'd like to try reading SF. She claims to have really enjoyed Carmac's The Road, but from what I can gather, that's more about the characters and not really SF.

Lately I've been reading all the New British Space Operas I can get my hands on: Hamilton, Reynolds, Banks, etc. I'm considering something like The Player of Games or Use of Weapons, but I'm afraid that Banks' post-scarcity milieu might be just too exotic for her. Maybe something more pulp, like Altered Carbon, or more classic but still rigorous like Footfall? I'm also considering things like Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, or Card's Ender's Game. I suspect that she's probably more receptive to the soft science fiction or social science fiction subgenres than I am, but I haven't explored them very deeply so I'm at a loss for good examples.

I really want to demonstrate to her that science fiction is more than a horse opera set in space. I'd like to be able to demonstrate that SF is a serious branch of literature that employs scientific premises or plausible technology advances to create plots and conflicts that just can't be translated to other genres. Is that even possible? Is the idea of literature as "thought experiment" just too self-indulgent? What are good examples that would appeal to someone who reads Anna Karenina and The Snowball?"

+ - Should I Be Afraid of "Smart" Electricity Metering->

Submitted by
bughunter
bughunter writes "Last week, Southern California Edison included a notice in my bill announcing that SCE would be installing "SmartConnect" electricity meters in my neighborhood. After reading SCE's PR blurbs about the 'advantages' of the system, I'm not sure I want it. Color me skeptic, but SmartConnect seems to be primarily a way to charge me more for daytime use, and to turn my power off on a moment's notice. The benefits to the subscriber claimed by SCE sound more like marketing spin on the new abilities granted to the utility. Here is more information about the program, and more information about the meters. How many slashdotters already have this type of meter? What are your experiences with it?"
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News

+ - Systems Engineer: The Best Job in America->

Submitted by
bughunter
bughunter writes "According to CNN/Money — which ranked 50 jobs for 2009 according to Salary, Demand, and Quality of Life — Systems Engineer came out as number one because, 'Pay can easily hit six figures for top performers, and there's ample opportunity for advancement.' (Note that lack of stress was not cited.) It's especially nice to see Engineering get some recognition as a rewarding career. Eleven of the Top 50 Jobs are engineering or IT related, with IT Project Manager and Computer/Network Security Consultant sharing the top 10. I really love my job. As a systems engineer with 21 years of experience working for NASA and aerospace firms, I get involved early in the concept phase of new projects, and I've helped determine how some really cool stuff happened, from atmospheric science, to innovative UAVs, and commercial space launches. And I did it all with a Bachelor's Degree. Engineering Rocks."
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Space

+ - Habitable Planet Discovery Expected "Anytime Now"-> 2

Submitted by
bughunter
bughunter writes "Planet hunters from NASA, Harvard University and the University of Colorado are collaborating on an effort to find Earthlike planets orbiting other stars. David Latham, from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, is quoted at saying, "It could happen almost any time now. We now have the technological capability to identify Earth-like planets around the smallest stars." Using the COROT and HARPS observatories, they expect to soon find our first candidates for extrasolar colonization. Now all we need is a Bussard Ramjet and a few volunteers."
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+ - Senate to Reconsider Wiretap Immunity->

Submitted by
bughunter
bughunter writes "According to Wired Threat Level, "Lawmakers are considering key changes to the Patriot Act and other spy laws — proposals that could give new life to lawsuits accusing the nation's telecommunications companies of turning over Americans' electronic communications to the government without warrants. On Oct. 1, the Senate Judiciary Committee likely will consider revoking that immunity legislation as it works to revise the Patriot Act and other spy laws with radical changes that provide for more government transparency and more privacy protections." This is big. Now would be a great time to donate $20 to the EFF, since it appears they will be heading back to court on our behalf."
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Slashback

+ - Why is Metamoderation Broken?

Submitted by
bughunter
bughunter writes "For the past two days, the same posts are given to me when I go to metamoderate, and they all retain my past metamoderation choices. This persists even when I switch to a different browser on a different computer, so it ain't me."
Robotics

+ - First Flight of Powered Flapping Wing Vehicle->

Submitted by
bughunter
bughunter writes "Pioneers in autonomous, solar-powered and human-powered aviation, Aerovironment, Inc. (AV) has accomplished another first: the controlled hovering flight of an air vehicle system with two flapping wings, using only the flapping wings for propulsion and control while carrying its own power source. (More information and video here.) Employing biomimetics at an extremely small scale, this nano air vehicle (NAV) is ultimately intended to provide new military reconnaissance capabilities in urban environments. The "Mercury" R/C test vehicle is capable of climbing and descending vertically, flying sideways left and right, as well as forward and backward, for a duration of 20 seconds. The NAV program was initiated by DARPA to develop a new class of air vehicles capable of indoor and outdoor operation. In response to this success, DARPA has awarded AV a Phase II contract, which will focus on improving the NAV's endurance and performance."
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Desktops (Apple)

+ - New Mac Clone Maker 'Quo' to Open CA Retail Store 1

Submitted by
bughunter
bughunter writes "Cnet is reporting that Mac clone maker Quo Computer plans to open its first retail location, selling Mac clones, on June 1. To start, Quo will offer three desktop systems: the Life Q, Pro Q, and Max Q. While details of the components are not yet available, De Silva said they are looking at Apple's system configurations for guidance. Pricing has also not been finalized on the desktop machines, but the company is looking to start pricing at less than $900. While Quo is starting off with the desktop machines, De Silva said it is looking at offering an Apple TV-like media server and a smaller computer similar to the Mac Mini. Plans on those systems have not been finalized. The Quo Web site is being worked on now and is set to launch next week. The retail store, located at 2401 West Main Street, Alhambra, Calif., will open for business on June 1."
Role Playing (Games)

+ - Linden Lab to Crack Down on Adult Content?->

Submitted by
bughunter
bughunter writes "According to Second Life Update, the Second Life administration is planning to clean up its virtual world. 'Linden Lab lab announced today in their blog a huge crackdown on adult content in Second Life. If you remember the outlawing of gambling in Second Life, crackdown on advertising in Second Life, or the new virtual land restrictions then this may not come as a surprise change for the virtual world.' Darn, I procrastinated, and now it's too late to start roleplaying a callipygous zoomorphic nymphomaniac."
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