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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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Robotics

Drought and Desertification: How Robots Might Help 113

Posted by timothy
from the droids-you're-looking-for dept.
Hallie Siegel writes Groundwater levels in California's Central Valley are down to historic lows and reservoirs have been depleted following four consecutive years of severe drought in the state. California is set to introduce water rationing in the coming weeks, and though the new rationing rules will focus on urban areas and not farms for the time being, they serve as a warning bell to farmers who will inevitably need to adapt to the effects of climate change on food production. John Payne argues that long term solutions are needed to help make agriculture drought resistant and looks at some of the ways that robotics might help.
Android

Cyanogen Partners With Microsoft To Replace Google Apps 175

Posted by Soulskill
from the unexpected-alliances dept.
Unknown Lamer writes: Microsoft and Cyanogen Inc have announced a partnership to bring Microsoft applications to Cyanogen OS. "Under the partnership, Cyanogen will integrate and distribute Microsoft's consumer apps and services across core categories, including productivity, messaging, utilities, and cloud-based services. As part of this collaboration, Microsoft will create native integrations on Cyanogen OS, enabling a powerful new class of experiences." Ars Technica comments, "If Cyanogen really wants to ship a Googleless Android, it will need to provide alternatives to Google's services, and this Microsoft deal is a small start. Microsoft can provide alternatives for Search (Bing), Google Drive (OneDrive and Office), and Gmail (Outlook). The real missing pieces are alternatives to Google Play, Google Maps, and Google Play Services."

Rather than distribute more proprietary services, how about ownCloud for Drive, K-9 Mail for Gmail, OsmAnd for Maps, and F-Droid for an app store? Mozilla and DuckDuckGo provide Free Software search providers for Android, too. With Google neglecting the Android Open Source Project and Cyanogen partnering with Microsoft, the future for Free Software Android as anything but a shell for proprietary software looks bleak.
Cloud

Google Sunsetting Old Version of Google Maps 203

Posted by timothy
from the nothing-beats-mapblast's-vector-directions dept.
New submitter Robertgilberts writes with word that Google is dropping the old version of Maps. The new version of Google Maps came out of preview back in February 2014 and was in beta for several months before that. The only way to access the old version of Google Maps was via a special URL or if you had a very old browser that did not support the new version of Google Maps. Consolation prize: There will still be a lighter-weight version, which "drops out many of the neat Google Maps features in exchange for speed and compatibility."
Education

Cornell Study: For STEM Tenure Track, Women Twice As Likely To Be Hired As Men 503

Posted by timothy
from the whose-bias-is-called-bias dept.
_Sharp'r_ writes In the first "empirical study of sexism in faculty hiring using actual faculty members", Cornell University researchers found that when using identical qualifications, but changing the sex of the applicant, "women candidates are favored 2 to 1 over men for tenure-track positions in the science, technology, engineering and math fields." An anonymous reader links to the study itself.
Government

Bolivia Demands Assange Apologize For Deliberately False Leaks To the US 160

Posted by timothy
from the well-it's-not-swatting-if-it's-the-usaf dept.
Rei writes In 2013, during Edward Snowden's brief and chaotic search for asylum that ultimately landed him in Russia, the US faced criticism for handing information to various European nations that Bolivian president Evo Morales was smuggling him out of Russia, leading to the grounding of his flight. In a new twist, in the documentary Terminal F about this time period, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange admitted that he was the one who deliberately leaked the fake information to the US government. Bolivia has been none too pleased with this news and is now demanding that Assange apologize for putting their president's life at risk.
Businesses

Report: Apple Watch Preorders Almost 1 Million On First Day In the US 289

Posted by samzenpus
from the i-want-i-stuff dept.
An anonymous reader writes The launch of the Apple Watch has got off to a good start, with an estimated 1 million pre-orders in the U.S. on Friday. "According to Slice's Sunday report, which is based on e-receipt data obtained directly from consumers, 957,000 people preordered the Watch on Friday, with 62% purchasing the cheapest variant, the Apple Watch Sport. On average, each buyer ordered 1.3 watches and spent $503.83 per watch."
United States

Hillary Clinton Declares 2016 Democratic Presidential Bid 676

Posted by samzenpus
from the throwing-her-hat-in-the-ring dept.
An anonymous reader writes In a move that surprised no one, Hillary Clinton has officially announced she is entering the 2016 race for the White House. According to the Times: "Ending two years of speculation and coy denials, Hillary Rodham Clinton announced on Sunday that she would seek the presidency for a second time, immediately establishing herself as the likely 2016 Democratic nominee. 'I'm running for president,' she said with a smile near the end of a two-minute video released just after 3 p.m. 'Everyday Americans need a champion. And I want to be that champion,' Mrs. Clinton said. 'So I'm hitting the road to earn your vote — because it's your time. And I hope you'll join me on this journey.'"
Electronic Frontier Foundation

After EFF Effort, Infamous "Podcasting Patent" Invalidated 58

Posted by timothy
from the there-should-an-absurdity-check dept.
Ars Technica reports some good news on the YRO front. An excerpt: A year-and-a-half after the Electronic Frontier Foundation created a crowd-funded challenge to a patent being used to threaten podcasters, the patent has been invalidated. In late 2013, after small podcasters started getting threat letters from Personal Audio LLC, the EFF filed what's called an "inter partes review," or IPR, which allows anyone to challenge a patent at the US Patent and Trademark Office. The order issued today by the USPTO lays to rest the idea that Personal Audio or its founder, Jim Logan, are owed any money by podcasters because of US Patent No. 8,112,504, which describes a "system for disseminating media content representing episodes in a serialized sequence." The article points out, though, that the EFF warns Personal Audio LLC is seeking more patents on podcasting. Mentioned within: Adam Carolla's fight against these patents and our Q&A with Jim Logan.
Earth

The Last Time Oceans Got This Acidic This Fast, 96% of Marine Life Went Extinct 417

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-not-easy-being-green dept.
merbs writes: The biggest extinction event in planetary history was driven by the rapid acidification of our oceans, a new study concludes (abstract). So much carbon was released into the atmosphere, and the oceans absorbed so much of it so quickly, that marine life simply died off, from the bottom of the food chain up. That doesn't bode well for the present, given the similarly disturbing rate that our seas are acidifying right now. A team led by University of Edinburgh researchers collected rocks in the United Arab Emirates that were on the seafloor hundreds of millions of years ago, and used the boron isotopes found within to model the changing levels of acidification in our prehistoric oceans. They now believe that a series of gigantic volcanic eruptions in the Siberian Trap spewed a great fountain of carbon into the atmosphere over a period of tens of thousands of years. This was the first phase of the extinction event, in which terrestrial life began to die out.
United States

Reason: How To Break the Internet (in a Bad Way) 489

Posted by timothy
from the but-the-council-of-wise-men-have-decreed dept.
Widespread public sentiment favors the FCC's move to impose rules intended to establish "net neutrality"; an anonymous reader writes with a skeptical viewpoint: "No decent person," write Geoffrey Manne and Ben Sperry in a special issue of Reason, "should be *for* net neutrality." Across the board, the authors write, letting the FCC dictate ISP business practices will result in everything they say they're trying to avoid. For instance, one of the best ways to route around a big firm's brand recognition is to buy special treatment in the form of promotions, product placement and the like (payola, after all, is how rock and roll circumvented major label contempt for the genre). That will almost certainly be forbidden under the FCC's version of neutrality.
Security

Apple Leaves Chinese CNNIC Root In OS X and iOS Trusted Stores 100

Posted by timothy
from the trusted-by-whom dept.
Trailrunner7 writes When it was revealed late last month that a Chinese certificate authority had allowed an intermediate CA to issue unauthorized certificates for some Google domains, both Google and Mozilla reacted quickly and dropped trust in CNNIC altogether. Apple on Wednesday released major security upgrades for both of its operating systems, and the root certificate for CNNIC, the Chinese CA at the heart of the controversy, remains in the trusted stores for iOS and OS X. The company has not made any public statements on the incident or the continued inclusion of CNNIC's certificates in the trusted stores.
Crime

The Courage of Bystanders Who Press "Record" 489

Posted by samzenpus
from the doing-the-right-thing dept.
HughPickens.com writes Robinson Meyer writes in The Atlantic that in the past year, after the killings of Michael Brown and Tamir Rice, many police departments and police reformists have agreed on the necessity of police-worn body cameras. But the most powerful cameras aren't those on officer's bodies but those wielded by bystanders. We don't yet know who shot videos of officer Michael T. Slager shooting Walter Scott eight times as he runs away but "unknown cameramen and women lived out high democratic ideals: They watched a cop kill someone, shoot recklessly at someone running away, and they kept the camera trained on the cop," writes Robinson. "They were there, on an ordinary, hazy Saturday morning, and they chose to be courageous. They bore witness, at unknown risk to themselves."

"We have been talking about police brutality for years. And now, because of videos, we are seeing just how systemic and widespread it is," tweeted Deray McKesson, an activist in Ferguson, after the videos emerged Tuesday night. "The videos over the past seven months have empowered us to ask deeper questions, to push more forcefully in confronting the system." The process of ascertaining the truth of the world has to start somewhere. A video is one more assertion made about what is real concludes Robinson. "Today, through some unknown hero's stubborn internal choice to witness instead of flee, to press record and to watch something terrible unfold, we have one more such assertion of reality."
Businesses

Reddit CEO Ellen Pao Bans Salary Negotiations To Equalize Pay For Men, Women 892

Posted by samzenpus
from the all-things-equal dept.
sabri points out that Reddit CEO Ellen Pao plans to ban salary negotiations in an attempt to equalize pay for men and women. "After losing a sex-discrimination lawsuit in Silicon Valley last week, Ellen Pao continues on her crusade to bring gender equality to the tech world, but this time with a focus on her home turf. As Reddit’s interim CEO, Pao said she wants to eliminate salary negotiations from the company’s hiring process. In her first interview since the lawsuit, Pao told with the Wall Street Journal Monday that the plan would help level the playing field. 'Men negotiate harder than women do and sometimes women get penalized when they do negotiate,' she said. 'So as part of our recruiting process we don’t negotiate with candidates. We come up with an offer that we think is fair. If you want more equity, we’ll let you swap a little bit of your cash salary for equity, but we aren’t going to reward people who are better negotiators with more compensation.'"
Government

Greenwald Criticizes Universities' Funding-Driven Collaboration With NSA 49

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-sir-I-don't-like-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes Speaking at "Secrecy Week" at the University of Utah, one of the two journalists who helped disseminate Edward Snowden's revelations about the scope of National Security Agency surveillance has criticized universities which open up their campuses to government agencies in exchange for funding. Ex-Guardian journalist and lawyer Glenn Greenwald, one of Snowden's first contacts after his flight from the NSA, commented: "Even if you think that you're the kind of person who does not have things to hide, just living in a world where you think you're being watched and recorded it changes your behavior from being a free individual. I would submit, and I don't think that it's in dispute, that we are far closer to the tyrannical model than we are the free model."
Earth

Obama Says Climate Change Is Harming Americans' Health 304

Posted by Soulskill
from the mexicans-and-canadians-sure-dodged-a-bullet dept.
HughPickens.com writes: The Washington Post reports on new comments from President Obama, who says global warming isn't just affecting the weather — it's harming Americans' health. He has announced steps government and businesses will take to better understand and deal with the problem. Obama said hazards of the changing climate include wildfires sending more pollution into the air, allergy seasons growing longer, and rising cases of insect-borne diseases. "We've got to do better in protecting our vulnerable families," said Obama. "You can't cordon yourself off from air."

Speaking at Howard University Medical School, Obama announced commitments from Google, Microsoft and others to help the nation's health system prepare for a warmer, more erratic climate. Google has promised to donate 10 million hours of advanced computing time on new tools, including risk maps and early warnings for things like wildfires and oil flares using the Google Earth Engine platform, the White House said. Google's camera cars that gather photos for its "Street View" function will start measuring methane emissions and natural gas leaks in some cities this year. Microsoft's research arm will develop a prototype for drones that can collect large quantities of mosquitoes, then digitally analyze their genes and pathogens. The goal is to create a system that could provide early warnings about infectious diseases that could break out if climate change worsens.

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