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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 68 declined, 9 accepted (77 total, 11.69% accepted)

+ - The Outdated Thinking Behind Apple's New Headquarters-> 1

Submitted by fiannaFailMan
fiannaFailMan writes: Apple's futuristic new building is neither a new concept nor a progressive innovation. Like the Pentagon and GCHQ, both of which are also owned by secretive organizations, the building is designed to be viewed from the air with no consideration for how it is to be viewed from the street other than hiding it like an embarrassing relative behind a forest of trees, rendering it invisible to all but airline passengers. Its sprawling and insular design philosophy is a last gasp of a dying utopian architectural vision that is thankfully being abandoned as we return to more traditional and sustainable models of urban planning.
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+ - The Police State Cometh->

Submitted by fiannaFailMan
fiannaFailMan writes: Police departments of small American towns and cities have been stocking up on an arsenal that would hold back an alien invasion. Meanwhile, an aerial observation system called Persistence Surveillance Systems that can record the movements of vehicles and pedestrians for later analysis, allowing police to go back to the time and place where a crime was reported and see it taking place, was used in 2012 in one Californian city for two weeks without public knowledge or consultation. Such invasive surveillance combined with excessively militarized policing could undermine support for, and hence the effectiveness of, law enforcement.
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+ - LinkedIn busted in wage-theft investigation->

Submitted by fiannaFailMan
fiannaFailMan writes: Following an investigation by the US Department of Labor, LinkedIn has agreed to pay over $3 million in overtime back wages and $2.5 million in liquidated damages to 359 former and current employees working at company branches in four states. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires companies to have record-keeping systems in place to record overtime hours worked and to ensure that employees are paid for those hours, requirements that the company was not meeting.
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+ - USA's record-breaking high speed flagship could be saved from the scrapyard->

Submitted by fiannaFailMan
fiannaFailMan writes: The SS United States is the fastest ocean liner ever built. A far cry from the heyday of these great ships that were made obsolete by jet travel, her gutted hulk has been rusting in Philadelphia since 1996. However, like the majestic Queen Mary that now serves as a floating hotel and museum in Long Beach, there are plans afoot to finally find the "big U" a permanent home in New York as part of a waterfront redevelopment.
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+ - Personal Rapid Transit Could Finally Work-> 1

Submitted by fiannaFailMan
fiannaFailMan writes: Before the current offensive in Gaza erupted, the city of Tel Aviv grabbed headlines and the imagination of futurists everywhere with the announcement that a so-called “hover car” passenger transport system will be implemented by the end of 2016 on a trial basis. The concept of Personal Rapid Transport (PRT) is not new. Various attempts at PRT prototypes have been proposed and built in the past, some resembling small bubble-shaped pods running on a rollercoaster-like rail system. Perhaps the most extensive study was carried out in Hamburg in the 1970s. Cabintaxi was a network of elevated tracks using a clever arrangement that had cube-shaped pods suspended underneath the track going in one direction, and other cube-shaped pods sitting on top of the track going in the other.
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+ - Why fundemantal research matters->

Submitted by fiannaFailMan
fiannaFailMan writes: Governments sometimes see the value of science in purely economic terms, resulting in short-term thinking about what should be funded. For example, the Irish government has been criticized for focusing to much on scientific research that produces immediately tangible benefits, i.e. jobs, that bolster the image of politicians. "Professor Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, European Research Council president, recently reiterated a criticism made two years ago that Ireland is too focussed on research aimed at immediate job creation and as a result is missing out on potential funding. He is also quoted as saying that basic science must be left to flourish before people move to exploit it to create jobs."
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+ - Python scripting and analyzing your way to love

Submitted by fiannaFailMan
fiannaFailMan writes: Wired reports one mathematician's mission to find love online by data mining from OK Cupid and applying mathematical modeling to optimize his profile(s). His methods included using "Python scripts to riffle through hundreds of OkCupid survey questions. He then sorted female daters into seven clusters, like “Diverse” and “Mindful,” each with distinct characteristics." But the real work began when he started going on dates.

+ - Yahoo's email catastrophe->

Submitted by fiannaFailMan
fiannaFailMan writes: Yahoo recently revamped their email service and it has been met with widespread hostility. Many features had been removed but most contentious is the obliteration of tabs. So far nearly 100,000 people have called for tabs to be restored on the Yahoo voice feedback page. Other issues that have had fewer votes have been fixed, but the lady does not seem to be for turning on this one. There are also reports of widespread service disruption. I have been unable to access the service at all since yesterday either from desktop or iPhone, and can't even get in there to retrieve my contacts. Being cut off from email has been a humbling reminder of how much we have come to rely on cloud services.
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EU

+ - Europe's Got Geek Talent->

Submitted by
fiannaFailMan
fiannaFailMan writes: "Teams of scientists from across the continent are vying for a funding bonanza that could see two of them receive up to (euro) 1 billion ($1.33 billion) over 10 years to keep Europe at the cutting edge of technology.

The contest began with 26 proposals that were whittled down to six last year. Just four have made it to the final round.

They include a plan to develop digital guardian angels that would keep people safe from harm; a massive data-crunching machine to simulate social, economic and technological change on our planet; an effort to craft the most accurate computer model of the human brain to date; and a team working to find better ways to produce and employ graphene — an ultra-thin material that could revolutionize manufacturing of everything from airplanes to computer chips."

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Software

+ - Hardware is more reliable than software->

Submitted by fiannaFailMan
fiannaFailMan writes: What a hard time Toyota is having now. Rather than blaming over-expansion, The Economist is attributing their current woes to a shortening of product development cycles, and increasing reliance on electronics to do jobs that were previously done by mechanical parts:

But software is not hardware, and software “engineers”, despite their appropriation of the name, are a different breed from the sort that bash metal. Programming digital controllers is not one of Toyota’s core competences. Even with the most diligent of testing, bugs will always find their way into software. Right now, it seems Toyota is learning that lesson the hard way.


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Patents

+ - An end to frivolous patents may be in sight->

Submitted by fiannaFailMan
fiannaFailMan writes: The Economist has high hopes that frivolous patents may become a thing of the past.

America’s Supreme Court is about to issue a ruling which, by all accounts, will make it difficult, if not impossible, to get a patent for a business process. And because most business processes are, at bottom, computer algorithms, the Supreme Court’s judgment could also bar all sorts of software patents in the process. As a result, a lot of patents for online shopping, medical-diagnostic tests and procedures for executing trades on Wall Street could be invalidated.


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+ - ICANN to consider allowing non Latin domains->

Submitted by fiannaFailMan
fiannaFailMan writes: The internet is set to undergo one of its biggest changes, with the expected approval of plans to introduce web addresses using non-Latin characters. The board of the net regulator, Icann, will decide whether to allow domain names in Arabic, Chinese and other scripts at its annual meeting in Seoul. More than half of the 1.6 billion people who use the internet speak languages with non-Latin scripts.
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Government

+ - Bill would double cap on H-1B visas->

Submitted by fiannaFailMan
fiannaFailMan writes: A bill introduced in the U.S. Congress would double the number of immigrant worker visas available each year under the H-1B program. "The Innovation Employment Act, introduced by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, (D-Ariz.), late Thursday, would increase the cap in H-1B visas from 65,000 a year to 130,000 a year. In addition, there would be no cap on H-1B applications for foreign graduate students attending U.S. colleges and studying science, technology and related fields. Currently, there's a 20,000-a-year cap on visas for graduate students in all fields."

I've been on my H1-B for about eight years and I'm still waiting for my green card. I wish someone would pass the "hurry up and gimme a god-damn visa number" bill.

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Censorship

+ - Slashdot Stories (10)->

Submitted by fiannaFailMan
fiannaFailMan writes: British Member of Parliament Paul Farrelly had tabled (posed) a Parliamentary question about the oil traders Trafigura and its solicitors (lawyers) Carter-Ruck. London-based Trafigura is an oil trader connected with dumping toxic waste in Ivory Coast in 2006. A court injunction then prevented The Guardian newspaper from identifying the MP who had asked the question, what the question was, which minister might answer it, or where the question was to be found. In a twist the paper described as "Kafka-esque", it was also banned from telling its readers why it had been banned from doing so. But the story soon leaked out via Twitter and the gagging order was lifted after the lawyers dropped their claim. The BBC reports:

The social networking site Twitter was soon awash with posts deploring a threat to media freedom and the reporting of Parliament.... And the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg tweeted: "Really pleased Guardian ban has been lifted. This is a victory for freedom of speech and online activism".

The Guardian notes that after the blogosphere jumped on the bandwagon,the mainstream media caught up, with The Spectator pushing the story.
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