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KDE

Submission + - Running A Linux Live KDE Desktop In 210MB (phoronix.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Slax 7.0 is a Slackware-based Linux distribution that can provide a Live USB/CD environment complete with the the KDE4 Plasma desktop in just 210MB of space. Slax can also be customized with other software modules to provide lightweight Linux installations for varying tasks. For those curious how this lightweight Linux distribution has pulled off the feat of being small and fast, the Slax creator Tomá Matejícek wrote a technical article explaining the Slax internals with booting a modern Linux desktop in just ~200MB.
Biotech

Submission + - Polymer implants could help heal brain injuries (gizmag.com)

cylonlover writes: Using implants made from porous biocompatible materials, scientists have recently been successful in regrowing things such as teeth, tendons and heart tissue, plus bone and cartilage. The materials act as a sort of nanoscale three-dimensional scaffolding, to which lab-cultivated cells can be added, or that the recipient’s own cells can colonize. Now, a Spanish research team has used the same principle to grow new brain tissue – the technique could ultimately be used to treat victims of brain injuries or strokes.
Space

Submission + - Skylon Space plane a step closer (bbc.co.uk)

Dupple writes: The UK company developing an engine for a new type of spaceplane says it has successfully demonstrated the power unit's enabling technology.

Reaction Engines Ltd (REL) of Culham, Oxfordshire, ran a series of tests on key elements of its Sabre propulsion system under the independent eye of the European Space Agency (Esa).

Esa's experts have confirmed that all the demonstration objectives. were met.

REL claims the major technical obstacle to its ideas has now been removed.

"This is a big moment; it really is quite a big step forward in propulsion," said Alan Bond, the driving force behind the Sabre engine concept..

Taking its oxygen from the air in the initial flight phase would mean Skylon could fly lighter from the outset with a higher thrust-to-weight ratio, enabling it to make a single leap to orbit, rather than using and dumping propellant stages on the ascent — as is the case with current expendable rockets.

If such a vehicle could be made to work, its reusability should transform the costs of accessing space.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: cheap ARM-boards not gimped by software?

Gaygirlie writes: "For a while I've been ranting online and offline about the possibilities and prospects cheap, ARM-based boards like e.g. the Raspberry Pi or the Pandaboard could provide, what with giving youngsters cheap computers to learn with, simple home automation systems, cheap HTPCs or TV-connected emulation boxes, always-on video chat systems, and so on and so forth — the possibilities are nearly endless!

These systems, however, are seriously gimped by poorly-designed drivers, constant breakage of features and the generally disheartening lack of support by the SoC manufacturers. I like e.g. the hardware of the Cubieboard at only $49 as it's quite well rounded all around and provides a good selection of connectors for most tasks, but... well, the Mali-400 drivers apparently break all the god damn time (#1), and the video acceleration — features are available only via the proprietary Cedar-library — no GStreamer, no Phonon, no OpenMAX, not a single standard method is available (#2.) A good example of what this means is VLC: VLC only works from console (#3,) no GUI, and since Cedar lacks YUV420 there's no OSD, either! (#1, #2, #3 )

With the above in mind, does anyone know of any boards in the planning where the software is actually guaranteed to work properly, be supported for longer than six months, and offers access to all the capabilities the H/W possess? Also, what are your thoughts on the matter as a whole?"
Crime

Submission + - Google Search Missed for 'Foolproof Suffocation' in Casey Anthony Case

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The Orlando Sentinel reports that a google search was made for the term "foolproof suffocation" on the Anthony family's computer the day Casey Anthony's 2-year-old daughter Caylee was last seen alive by her family — a search that did not surface at Casey Anthony's trial for first degree murder. In the notorious 31 days which followed, Casey Anthony repeatedly lied about her and her daughter's whereabouts and at Anthony's trial, her defense attorney argued that her daughter drowned accidentally in the family's pool. Anthony was acquitted on all major charges in her daughter's death, including murder. Though computer searches were a key issue at Anthony's murder trial, the term "foolproof suffocation" never came up. "Our investigation reveals the person most likely at the computer was Casey Anthony," says investigative reporter Tony Pipitone. Lead sheriff's Investigator Yuri Melich sent prosecutors a spreadsheet that contained less than 2 percent of the computer’s Internet activity that day and included only Internet data from the computer’s Internet Explorer browser – one Casey Anthony apparently stopped using months earlier — and failed to list 1,247 entries recorded on the Mozilla Firefox browser that day — including the search for “foolproof suffocation.” Prosecutor Jeff Ashton said in a statement to WKMG that it's "a shame we didn't have it. (It would have) put the accidental death claim in serious question.""

Submission + - Early Human Ancestors Dined on Grass 3.5 Million Years Ago

An anonymous reader writes: New research suggests that early human ancestors began eating grass half a million years earlier than believed. Researchers found that unlike their predecessors who mostly lived on fruit and insects, our ancestors living 3.5 million years ago in central Africa got half their nutrition from tropical grasses and sedges, according to a new study published Nov. 12 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Google

Submission + - Google says government surveillance growing (informationweek.com)

SternisheFan writes: In a blog post, Google senior policy analyst Dorothy Chou says, " [G]overnment demands for user data have increased steadily since we first launched the Transparency Report." In the first half of 2012, the period covered in the report, Chou says there were 20,938 inquiries from government organizations for information about 34,614 Google-related accounts.

Google has a long history of pushing back against governmental demands for data, going back at least to its refusal to turn over search data to the Department of Justice in 2005.

Many other companies have chosen to cooperate with government requests rather than question or oppose them, but Chou notes that in the past year, companies like Dropbox, LinkedIn, Sonic.net and Twitter have begun making government information requests public, to inform the discussion about Internet freedom and its limits.

According to the report, the U.S. continues to make the most requests for user data, 7,969 in the first six months of the year. Google complied with 90% of these requests. Google's average compliance rate for the 31 countries listed in the report is about 47%.

AMD

Submission + - AMD hires bank to explore sale options (reuters.com)

Dainsanefh writes: Advanced Micro Devices has hired JPMorgan Chase & Co to explore options, which could include a potential sale, as the chipmaker struggles to find a role in an industry increasingly focused on mobile and away from traditional PCs, according to three sources familiar with the situation.
Java

Submission + - Twitter Survives Election after Ruby-to-Java Move

mc10 writes: As the results of the 2012 US Presidential election were being announced Tuesday night, Twitter experienced record traffic to its website, but the service never faltered despite the increased load – something Twitter engineers credit to the company's move from Ruby to Java for its backend software. Unlike in the past, Twitter did not experience service outages, even as the website generated 874,560 posts in a single minute at its peak in traffic.
Politics

Submission + - All of Nate Silver's Presidential Predictions Proved True (singularityhub.com) 2

kkleiner writes: "For the last few months, the political pundit class has been at war with NYT/FiveThirtyEight blogger Nate Silver. Joe Scarborough of MSNBC called him a “joke,” while an op-ed in the LA Times accused him of running a “numbers racket.” But last night, Silver triumphed: every one of his state-level presidential predictions proved true. Statistics FTW!"
Android

Submission + - Nexus 7 and Android convertibles drive massive ASUS profit (engadget.com)

rtfa-troll writes: The collapse of the PC market has had much discussion on Slashdot with a common opinion that, now that Apple is the largest personal computer manufacturer, a loss of sales combined with Apple's iPad will completely eliminate most of them. Now Asustek's most recent results show that there may be a way out for those that can move away from their standard markets. Concentrating on Android tablet devices, the Google Nexus 7, with a help from ASUS transformer tablets has driven the company to massive $230 million profits. Asus gross revenue also climbed 9 percent to around $3.8 billion.

We have discussed related issues recently: Where companies like HTC have lost their focus on open Android devices and suffered from devastating collapses, ASUS has managed to differentiate it's tablets by providing the most open tablet experience possible via with Google's Nexus program and branding.

Network

Submission + - Internet hubs running on generator power (computerworld.com)

dcblogs writes: Two monolithic buildings in lower Manhattan that serve as major network hubs for the U.S. are operating on generator power, thanks to Hurricane Sandy. The buildings, known as carrier hotels, are a 2.9 million square foot structure at 111 8th Ave., and a 1.8 million square foot facility at 60 Hudson St. Telecom companies use carrier hotels to interconnect networks to allow data sharing and users of one network to connect with those of another. The two buildings are critical to the nation's infrastructure. In 2002, Richard Clarke, then special advisor to the president for cyberspace security, described their importance in a speech. "Transatlantic fiber lands at about 10 different places in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Long Island and New Jersey that, after having landed, it all goes to one of two facilities — 60 Hudson St. or 111 8th Ave in lower Manhattan. If that's true, that would seem to be a problem." Michael Levy, an analyst at Datacenters Tier1 Research, a division of 451 Research, said that "111 8th Ave. and 60 Hudson are two of the most carrier dense buildings in the world." Google owns 111 8th Ave., but isn't commenting on its storm prep for the building.

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