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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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+ - Ordnance Survey releases mapping tool->

Submitted by rHBa
rHBa (976986) writes "The BBC reports that the UK mapping organisation Ordnance Survey has added 4 new products to its open data portfolio: OS Local, Names, Rivers and Roads. Perhaps the most interesting of the free data sets is OS Local which provides a base map to identify ‘hotspots’ such as property pricing, insurance risk, and crime.

The OS are not creating a new Google Maps-style service of their own but rather are providing their data for use by other third-party apps and online tools. They expect developers and designers to use the data to enhance their own products and improve the information people can access via the web.

What uses would you put this sort of data to if it were available in an easily parsable format for your area?"

Link to Original Source

+ - PayPal Cited For 'Reckless Disregard' For U.S. Sanctions->

Submitted by jfruh
jfruh (300774) writes "PayPal may not be a bank, but it's still legally required to follow regulations on transferring money — but the company has admitted to a number of violations, including allowing transfers to an individual specifically sanctioned by the U.S. State Department for helping proliferate nuclear weapons."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Still waiting for a "hackability meter" (Score 1) 147

by rHBa (#49349175) Attached to: Many Password Strength Meters Are Downright Weak, Researchers Say
Agreed that there is no reason users should need to know HOW their passwords are stored but they should care that their passwords are stored safely. Just as an airline passenger should care that the aeroplane they are flying in was manufactured to the highest standards, without needing to know the details of the manufacturing process.

Comment: Re:My issue with password restrictions (Score 1) 147

by rHBa (#49347183) Attached to: Many Password Strength Meters Are Downright Weak, Researchers Say
IMO nobody who signs up for a Tesco bank account has any grounds for complaint.

I once asked a friend of mine, who is a professional ski boot fitter, what brands of hiking boots he recommends (he generally knows his stuff when it comes to performance footwear). His response was "buy a brand that makes shoes", meaning ONLY shoes/boots, not brands like North Face or Salomon.

If I asked my local butcher who I should get my bank account with I wouldn't be surprised if he said Tesco.

Comment: Re:Still waiting for a "hackability meter" (Score 1) 147

by rHBa (#49347003) Attached to: Many Password Strength Meters Are Downright Weak, Researchers Say

"Your password is stored in a hash of type XXX that is ### bits long, hashed for ### rounds, and salted with ### bits during each round." would tell the user all they need to know about how well their password is going to be protected, and they can make a more informed decision.

Why isn't that part of the meter? Because 99% of users have absolutely no idea what any of that means. It would be a good idea to have that information available to anyone who cares* but it would confuse most users, maybe even put them off signing up.

* Of course users SHOULD care but most don't or at least don't have the time/inclination to learn.

+ - NY Times: "All The News That Mark Zuckerberg Sees Fit To Print"?

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "Two years ago, Politico caught Mark Zuckerberg's soon-to-be launched FWD.us PAC boasting how its wealthy tech exec backers would use their companies to 'control the avenues of distribution' for a political message in support of their efforts. Now, the NY Times is reporting that Facebook has been quietly holding talks with at least half a dozen media companies about hosting their content inside Facebook, citing a source who said the Times and Facebook are moving closer to a firm deal. Facebook declined to comment on specific discussions with publishers, but noted it had provided features to help publishers get better traction on Facebook, including tools unveiled in December that let them target their articles to specific groups of Facebook users. The new plan, notes the Times, is championed by Chris Cox, the top lieutenant to Facebook CEO Zuckerberg and a "major supporter" of FWD.us. Exploring Facebook's wooing of the media giants, the Christian Science Monitor asks if social media will control the future of news, citing concerns expressed by Fusion's Felix Salmon, who warns that as news sites sacrifice their brands to reach a wider audience, their incentives for accuracy and editorial judgment will disappear. So, will the Gray Lady's iconic slogan be changed to "All The News That Mark Zuckerberg Sees Fit To Print"?"

+ - Russian official proposes road that could connect London to NYC

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "There's great news coming out of Russia for epic road trip lovers. Russian Railways president Vladimir Yakunin has proposed building a highway that would reach from London to Alaska via Russia, a 13,000-mile stretch of road."This is an inter-state, inter-civilization, project," the Siberian Times quoted Yakunin. "The project should be turned into a world 'future zone,' and it must be based on leading, not catching, technologies.""

+ - Japan to build 250-mile-long, four storey-high wall to stop tsunamis

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Japanese authorities have unveiled plans to build a giant 250-mile long sea barrier to protect its coastline from devastating tsunamis. According to the proposals, the £4.6bn ($6.8bn) barrier would reach 12.5m high in some places – stretching taller than a four storey building. It would be made out of cement – and actually be composed of a chain of smaller sea walls to make construction easier. The plan comes four years after a huge tsunami ravaged Japan’s north-eastern coast."

+ - A drastic drop in complaints after San Diego outfitted its PD with body cameras

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Surprise, surprise! Immediately after San Diego outfitted its police force with 600 body camera the number of complaints plunged.

The report, which took one full year into account, found that complaints against police have fallen 40.5 percent and use of “personal body” force by officers has been reduced by 46.5 percent. Use of pepper spray has decreased by 30.5 percent.

Two benefits can be seen immediately. First, the police are being harassed less from false complaints. Second, and more important, the police are finding ways to settle most disputes without the use of force, which means they are abusing their authority less.

These statistics do confirm what many on both the right and the left have begun to believe in recent years, that the police have been almost certainly using force against citizens inappropriately too often. In San Diego at least the cameras are serving to stem this misuse of authority."

+ - Gene Sequencing at the Speed of Light in TGAC Experiment->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "TGAC has an SGI UV 2000 system with 2,500 “Sandy Bridge” Xeon cores and 20TB of shared memory—the latter a necessary feature to keep as much of the genome data in place for analysis versus moving to and from disk during sequence alignment. In essence, during this critical element of bioinformatics, the system seeks strings of DNA characters within a larger string (typically a genome) to find similar genes and thus determine common ancestry, for example. It’s like a complex, memory-intensive “spot the difference” puzzle, which means it can be useful to keep one entire genome (if possible) entirely in memory.

But even with the performance and efficiency savings of a large shared memory machine, it’s still racking up major power and cooling costs. But what if it was possible for this type of processing to happen within a small desktop-sized machine that could plug into a standard main for power and process, on the spot, a human genome? If proven functional at scale, optical processors could displace standard clusters for gene sequencing in a far more power efficient way—there is little heat generated, especially compared to silicon technologies. And even more interesting, what if memory and the scalability limits therein were no longer a concern?"

Link to Original Source

+ - Australian government outlines website-blocking scheme->

Submitted by angry tapir
angry tapir (1463043) writes "The Australian government has revealed its (previously mooted) proposed legislation that will allow copyright holders to apply for court orders that will force ISPs to block access to pirate websites. It forms part of a broader Australian crackdown on online copyright infringement, which also includes a warning notice scheme for alleged infringers."
Link to Original Source

+ - Did Neurons Evolve Twice?->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "When Leonid Moroz, a neuroscientist at the Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience in St. Augustine, Fla., first began studying comb jellies, he was puzzled. He knew the primitive sea creatures had nerve cells — responsible, among other things, for orchestrating the darting of their tentacles and the beat of their iridescent cilia. But those neurons appeared to be invisible. The dyes that scientists typically use to stain and study those cells simply didn’t work. The comb jellies’ neural anatomy was like nothing else he had ever encountered.

After years of study, he thinks he knows why. According to traditional evolutionary biology, neurons evolved just once, hundreds of millions of years ago, likely after sea sponges branched off the evolutionary tree. But Moroz thinks it happened twice — once in ancestors of comb jellies, which split off at around the same time as sea sponges, and once in the animals that gave rise to jellyfish and all subsequent animals, including us. He cites as evidence the fact that comb jellies have a relatively alien neural system, employing different chemicals and architecture from our own. “When we look at the genome and other information, we see not only different grammar but a different alphabet,” Moroz said."

Link to Original Source

+ - Now It's Easy To Tell Congress To Fight Patent Trolls

Submitted by Press2ToContinue
Press2ToContinue (2424598) writes "Application Developers Alliance is running two campaigns to help get the message to Washington. First is the Fight Patent Trolls initiative, which includes a tool for sending a letter to Senators and Representatives.

The second campaign is Innovators Need Patent Reform, an open letter to Congress that makes the same key points along with a public list of signers.

As both letters note, there are already proposals in both the House and the Senate, plus recommendations from the President, that contain some of the all-important protections that the victims of patent trolls need. Though the future of these specific bills is uncertain, the building blocks are beginning to fall into place, and it's time to run with that momentum."

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