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Submission + - Blackberry defeats Typo in court, Typo to discountinue sales of keyboard.

juniorkindergarten writes: Blackberry and Typo have reached a final settlement that effectively ends Typo selling its iphone keyboard accessory.
Blackberry took Typo to court for twice for patent infringement over the copying of Blackberry's keyboard design. Blackberry and Typo first battled it out in court, with Typo losing for copying the Blackberry Q10 keyboard design. Typo redesigned its keyboard and again Blackberry sued them for patent infringement.
The final results are that Typo cannot sell keyboards for screens less than 7.9", but can still sell keyboards for the ipad and ipad air. Exact terms were not disclosed

Submission + - Cure for cancer one step closer after 'spectacular' breakthrough (newsweek.com)

schwit1 writes: The treatment, known as immunotherapy, uses the body's immune system to attack cancerous cells. Researchers say it could replace chemotherapy as the standard treatment for cancer within five years.

A series of studies show that the drugs are effective against some of the most deadly tumours, including those of the lung, bowel, liver and head.

Patients who could expect to live for just a matter of months under existing treatments, could see their tumours completely destroyed and go on to enjoy a normal lifespan under the new treatment.

Submission + - Goatse billboard hack horrifies drivers in Atlanta (dailydot.com)

Yossarian45793 writes: In a wealthy suburb of Atlanta, hackers managed to get a video billboard to display the goatse image for several hours. Many slashdotters are familiar with that horror, and now a number of Atlanta residents are too. I'm surprised that such an obvious prank took this long to happen, and I wonder how many more times it will given the proliferation of video screens in public places.

Submission + - Bees prefer nectar laced with Neonicotinoids (rsc.org)

Taco Cowboy writes: Neonicotinoids are a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically similar to nicotine

Neonicotinoids kill insect by overwhelming and short-circuting the insects' central nervous system (See http://lee.ifas.ufl.edu/Hort/V... )

Shell and Bayer started the development of Neonicotinoids back in the 1980's and 1990's

Since this new group of pesticide came to the market the bee population have been seriously devastated in regions where the pesticide are been widely used

In 2008 neonicotinoids came under increasing scrutiny over their environmental impacts starting in Germany

In 2012, studies have shown that neonicotinoid uses are linked to crash of bee population (See http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_new... )

New studies, however, have discovered that bees prefer nectars that are laced with neonicotinoids, over nectars that are free of any trace of neonicotinoids (See http://www.rsc.org/chemistrywo... )

According to researchers at Newcastle University the bees may "get a buzz" from the nicotine-like chemicals in the same way smokers crave cigarettes

BBC also covers this case (See http://www.bbc.com/news/scienc... )

Submission + - California Looks to the Sea for a Drink of Water

HughPickens.com writes: Justin Gillis writes in the NYT that as drought strikes California, residents can't help noticing the substantial reservsoir of untapped water lapping at their shores — 187 quintillion gallons of it, more or less, shimmering invitingly in the sun. Once dismissed as too expensive and harmful to the environment desalination is getting a second look. A $1 billion desalination plant to supply booming San Diego County is under construction and due to open as early as November, providing a major test of whether California cities will be able to resort to the ocean to solve their water woes. “It was not an easy decision to build this plant,” says Mark Weston, chairman of the agency that supplies water to towns in San Diego County. “But it is turning out to be a spectacular choice. What we thought was on the expensive side 10 years ago is now affordable.”

Carlsbad’s product will sell for around $2,000 per acre-foot (the amount used by two five-person U.S. households per year), which is 80 percent more than the county pays for treated water from outside the area. Water bills already average about $75 a month and the new plant will drive them up by $5 or so to secure a new supply equal to about 7 or 8 percent of the county’s water consumption. Critics say the plant will use a huge amount of electricity, increasing the carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming, which further strains water supplies. And local environmental groups, which fought the plant, fear a substantial impact on sea life. "There is just a lot more that can be done on both the conservation side and the water-recycling side before you get to [desalination]," says Rick Wilson, coastal management coordinator with the environmental group Surfrider Foundation. "We feel, in a lot of cases, that we haven't really explored all of those options."

Submission + - Google Battles for Better Batteries (wsj.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The Wall Street Journal reports that Google's X research lab has joined the quest for better batteries. The company has at least 20 projects that depend on batteries, from Google Glass to self-driving cars and drones. Thus, it makes sense for them to try developing new battery technology. "At Google, Dr. Bhardwaj’s group is trying to advance current lithium-ion technology and the cutting-edge solid-state batteries for consumer devices. ... In a February presentation to an industry conference, Dr. Bhardwaj described how solid-state, thin-film batteries could be used in smartphones and other mobile devices that are thinner, bendable, wearable and even implantable in the human body. ... For the contact lens, the technology is safer because it doesn't use flammable electrolyte liquid, Dr. Bhardwaj's presentation explained."

Submission + - Microsoft: When My Baby Taxes Me I Go To Reno

theodp writes: After stressing how important the funding of Washington State education — particularly CS Ed — is to Microsoft, Microsoft General Counsel, Code.org Director, and FWD.us Major Contributor Brad Smith encountered one of those awkward interview moments (audio). GeekWire Radio: "So, would you ever consider ending that practice [ducking WA taxes by routing software licensing royalties through NV-based Microsoft Licensing, GP] in Nevada [to help improve WA education]?" Smith: "I think there are better ways for us to address the state's needs than that kind of step." Back in 2010, Smith, Steve Ballmer, and Microsoft Corporation joined forces to defeat Proposition I-1098, apparently deciding there were better ways to address the state's needs than a progressive income tax.

Submission + - Live Rocket Engine Test

An anonymous reader writes: Copenhagen Suborbitals, the amateur manned space program, is conducting a rocket engine test today sunday. The event is streamed Live in HD on YouTube from 1 PM localtime (GMT+2). The rocket engine is named BPM 2 and is a prequel to a planned series of test of the BPM 5 rocket engine currently being build. The purpose of the BPM 2 test is primarily to test a newly constructed mobile test stand and to test various fuel additives before the BPM 5 test series are to begin later in the first half of 2015.

Submission + - China Builds Artificial Islands in South China Sea 1

HughPickens.com writes: Matthew Fisher reports that to support part of its claim to about 85 per cent of the South China Sea, Beijing is building artificial islands on tiny outcroppings, atolls and reefs in hotly disputed waters in the Spratly Archipelago. Tons of sand, rocks, coral cuttings, and concrete are transforming miniscule Chinese-occupied outcroppings into sizeable islands with harbors, large multi-story buildings, airstrips, and other government facilities. Adm. Harry Harris Jr., commander of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific fleet, dubbed Beijing’s island-building project in the South China Sea “a great wall of sand" and says China has created “over four square kilometers of artificial land mass,” adding there were serious questions about Beijing’s intentions. The scale of China's construction in the Spratly Islands is clear in new satellite images. "What's really stunning in these images, every time you see a new set of images come out, is just the speed and scale at which this work is occurring," says Mira Rapp-Hooper. A spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry insists the islands are being built to give ships a haven in the typhoon heavy region. “We are building shelters, aids for navigation, search and rescue as well as marine meteorological forecasting services, fishery services and other administrative services” for both China and its neighbors, the spokeswoman said, according to Reuters, though no one was buying that explanation.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Recommendations for Home Surveillance Systems?

Chewbacon writes: At the repeated recommendations of a friend and rise of theft in my area, I have been looking around for a home surveillance system. I have researched doing a DIY system with Zoneminder and POE cameras as I have a home server for backup and media storage that could get the job done, but that seems to be an expensive route compared to the packaged systems. Some of these packaged systems are linux based and would lead me to believe I could add my own touch to the configuration and add my own offsite redundancy. I at least need HD video, weather proof/very resistant cameras, infrared at night, and only about 4 cameras. We already have a monitored home security system, but I'm not interested in their products or increase in monitoring fees. What is the community's experience and recommendations for this?

Submission + - SPAM: Germanwings Flight 9525 crashed by hackers claims aviation expert

abhishekmdb writes: An aviation expert has claimed that the shocking Germanwings Airbus A320 crash in the Alps may have been caused by hackers. In a letter to the Financial Times Matt Andersson warned of the complexities of aircraft accidents and highlighted the possibilities of secondary contributing factors – including external electronic hacking.

Germanwings Flight 9525 was a scheduled international passenger flight from Barcelona–El Prat Airport in Spain to Düsseldorf Airport in Germany, operated by Germanwings, subsidiary of Lufthansa. On 24 March 2015, the aircraft, an Airbus A320-200, crashed 100 kilometres (62 miles) northwest of Nice, in the French Alps, killing all 144 passengers and six crew members aboard.

The Germanwings crash has been blamed co-pilot Andreas Lubitz who deliberately locked captain Patrick Sondheimer out of the cockpit and sent the aircraft plummeting to the ground. Lubitz was apparently suffering from suicidal tendencies.

As with any of the horrific air crashes that have happened over the years, Germanwings crash has also been given many conspiracy angles and one of them is given by Andersson who is the president of Chicago-based Indigo Aerospace

Andersson points out that while assertions that the aircraft accelerated in its final descent may well be accurate: “It could be from any number of causes, including external electronic hacking into the aircraft’s control and navigation systems through malware or electromagnetic interception.”

He adds: “This is one reason military and head-of-state aircraft are generally installed with specific shielding and additional active protective measures. Civilian aircraft are not.”

Andersson points out: “Both the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and the flight data recorder (FDR) of the Germanwings flight 9525, along with other sources of information, have yet to be subject to international aircraft accident investigation standards.

“Until they are, many broad assertions currently presented to the public may turn out to be erroneous, misleading or in some cases lead to improper or counterproductive regulatory and other reactions — including misplaced liability, financial and insurance claims.

“Indeed the European Cockpit Association, which represents nearly 40,000 professional pilots, has rightly criticised the premature release of auditory interpretations of the aircraft’s CVR (whose condition remains unverified).

However Andersson is not the first expert in the aviation field to have suggested the fatal crash may have been caused by hackers. Former pilot Jay Rollins appeared on MSNBC and gave his own views on the Germanwings crash

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Lutron Founder Joel Spira, Inventor of the Solid-State Dimmer, Dies (cepro.com)

IoTdude writes: Joel Spira launched Lutron Electronics, today one of the largest (and most private) manufacturers of high-quality lighting controls, in 1961. He and his inventions — including the first solid-state dimmer — landed in the Smithsonian, alongside artifacts from Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell, in 2010. He went on to pioneer wireless lighting controls and the integration of lighting and motorized shade control for energy savings and comfort. A prolific inventor, Spira died at the age of 88 from "natural causes."

Submission + - A Data-Driven Exploration of the Evolution Of Chess

HughPickens.com writes: Randy Olsen has a interesting article where he explores a data set of over 650,000 chess tournament games ranging back to the 15th century and looks at how chess has changed over time. His findings include:

Chess games are getting longer. Chess games have been getting steadily longer since 1970, increasing from 75 ply (37 moves) per game in 1970 to a whopping 85 ply (42 moves) per game in 2014. "This trend could possibly be telling us that defensive play is becoming more common in chess nowaday," writes Olsen. "Even the world’s current best chess player, Magnus Carlsen, was forced to adopt a more defensive play style (instead of his traditional aggressive style) to compete with the world’s elite."

The first-move advantage has always existed. White consistently wins 56% and Black only 44% of the games every year between 1850 and 2014 and the first-move advantage becomes more pronounced the more skilled the chess players are. "Despite 150+ years of revolutions and refinement of chess, the first-move advantage has effectively remained untouched. The only way around it is to make sure that competitors play an even number of games as White and Black."

Draws are much more common nowadays. Only 1 in 10 games ended in a draw in 1850, whereas 1 in 3 games ended in a draw in 2013. "Since the early 20th century, chess experts have feared that the over-analysis of chess will lead “draw death,” where experts will become so skilled at chess that it will be impossible to decisively win a game any more." Interestingly chess prodigy and world champion Jose Raul Capablanca said in the 1920's that he believed chess would be exhausted in the near future and that games between masters would always end in draws. Capablanca proposed a more complex variant of chess to help prevent “draw death,” but it never really seemed to catch on.

Submission + - The LHC made simple

StartsWithABang writes: Last week, CERN's Large Hadron Collider restarted, poised to set the all-time collider energy record at 13 TeV. But how does it work, what is it attempting to find, and if there is new physics out there, how are we going to find out? In five easy steps, physicist Ethan Siegel walks us through exactly what's happening at the world's most powerful machine.

Submission + - Is this the death of the Easter egg? (bbc.com)

An anonymous reader writes: BBC reports that more and more companies are cracking down on the practice of hiding harmless snippets of code in their products. Known as "Easter eggs", they can be anything from the names of the developers, to pictures, to games like pinball, to a flight simulator. Is this simply professionalism, or is it stifling programmers' quirky, playful side?

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