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Submission Summary: 2 pending, 80 declined, 43 accepted (125 total, 34.40% accepted)

+ - Google vs. Cablevision: Rush to turn Wireless Industry "On its head"->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "WSJ reports on a race between Google (partnered with Sprint and T-Moble) and Cablevision to offer monthly "wifi only" cell phone service plans which would dramatically decrease the costs of monthly data and phone services for people living in cities with strong wifi infrastructure. The report emphasizes Google's caution in not creating enemies out of the cell phone companies (whom they need to support Android OS).

I remember the idea pitched in Burlington, VT over ten years ago. FTA

"Both efforts face substantial challenges—from stitching individual Wi-Fi hot spots into a reliable network to handling new customer-relations issues. And there is no guarantee the services would catch on with subscribers. Still, Google and Cablevision are throwing their weight behind an idea that up to this point has been pursued only by a handful of startups with names like FreedomPop, Republic Wireless and Scratch Wireless.""

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+ - Patriots "Deflate-gate" Could be Done Legally->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "The American football (NFL) rules were not written by physicists. They prescribe the rules that teams must follow to inflate the football. Some quarterbacks like the footballs tight, others softer for easier grip, but the rules define 12.5-13.5 pounds. During their winning game against the Baltimore Colts, the New England Patriots were accused of supplying a football or footballs which were under-inflated, potentially (?) giving their quarterback (Tom Brady) an advantage during the game.

Dr. Allen Sanderson, a research scientist at the University of Utah, told USA TODAY, "We think this is naturally occurring." A good cheater (like the Patriots are accused of being) could inflate the ball to NFL standards — inside a hot room. While defenders of the Patriots have suggested cold climate could explain the de-flation, it would have affected all of the footballs... unless (as Sanderson explains) the Patriots thought of filling the ball — legally — inside a hotter room."

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+ - First Baby Galapogos Tortoises Sighted in 150 Years->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "The Guardian, Nature, and other periodicals cover a report by Dr. James Gibbs of the State University of New York (SUNY-ESF) on the recent Pinzon Island population survey of giant tortoises. The survey of Galapogos (which means "tortoise" in Spanish) turned up the first reported sightings of baby tortoises in 150 years. Gibbs attributes the hopeful signs to a 2012 program to exterminate or control invasive rats, which are blamed for the low fertility rates, along with a 1982 repatriation of fertile tortoises from zoos. However, it's also possible, according to the article, that the researchers are just looking harder. The rare sightings may simply correlate with more frequent population surveys.

http://www.galapagos.org/blog/..."

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+ - Ocean Floor Mining May Lead to Mass Extinction->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "There are clear signs already that humans are harming the oceans to a remarkable degree, according to research published in the journal Science.
http://www.sciencemag.org/cont...
Overharvesting, warming, and large-scale habitat loss are likely to accelerate as technology advances the human footprint. Ocean floor mining contracts, the paper says, could be the last straw."

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+ - FBI Recruits Hackers, But Cannot Hire Them If They Inhaled-> 1

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "Motherboard reports on how US Congress directives against hiring pot users collides with FBI's need to recruit cyber security experts. The FBI now says that its drug-testing policies are keeping experts off the payroll.

“I have to hire a great work force to compete with those cyber criminals and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview,” says FBI Director James Coney.

"[We have] the government hiring practices of the 1940s and 50s in the 21st century," Gregory Wilshusen, director of information at the General Accountability Office, is quoted from a linked article at InformationWeek. http://www.informationweek.com..."

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+ - Thunderstrike Malware Crushes any MacIntosh Into Apple-Sauce->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "Matthew Braga of Motherboard writes an article on a new "proof-of-concept" virus developed in Germany to demonstrate how Apple computers can be given an undetectible, uncleanable case of keylogging.

"Thunderstrike is a new proof-of-concept attack on Mac computers that was unveiled by programmer and hardware hacker Trammell Hudson at the annual Chaos Communication Congress last month—a well-known conference in Germany attended by hackers and digital activists worldwide. What makes Thunderstrike so different from your typical malware infection isn't how it's installed, but where. Rather than infect a computer's operating system, Thunderstrike targets the software that sits underneath—the firmware or BIOS."

The virus is similar to NSA reverse-engineered firmware-malware, such as StuccoMontana. (described https://www.schneier.com/cgi-b...)"

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+ - WSJ: Record Student Debt for USA Class of 2014->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes ""The average Class of 2014 graduate with student-loan debt has to pay back some $33,000, according to an analysis of government data by Mark Kantrowitz, publisher at Edvisors, a group of web sites about planning and paying for college. Even after adjusting for inflation that’s nearly double the amount borrowers had to pay back 20 years ago."

The college debt expert says that most of the debt will still probably pay for itself, so long as the student doesn't borrow more than the first year expected salary upon graduation. But do colleges just use that to finance the "arms race" for modern campuses?"

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+ - Are The Lives of Chinese Factory Workers Just Normal?->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "NPR's Weekend program "TED Talk" interviews journalist Leslie T. Chang, second generation USA child of Chinese immigrants. Her book "Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China" traces the lives of two young women working in Dongguan, a factory city in South China. Leaving their home villages far behind in pursuit of work, Chunming and Min are part of an estimated 10 million young migrants who work in China's booming factories. These migrants live in a "perpetual present," forging individual and nontraditional lives amid the breakneck pace of manufacturing.

The interview and book reveal a very un-exotic and normal image of Chinese technology workers, who do not appear to feel victimized or abused. Her TED Talk takes a rather different view than the anti-Apple, anti-globalization rhetoric. Is guilt over technology being oversold? If so, who does the exaggeration benefit? Arguably the alarm bells improve working condiitions (the Nike Effect on sweatshops). But do exaggerations and false alarms also diminish effects on consumer consciences?"

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+ - End of "Made in China"?->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "Asia based Bloomberg News columnist Adam Minter documents the move of Chinese steel mills to Africa, and speculates that China's years of adolescent rates of economic growth may already be over. The one steel mill's move to Africa, by itself, increases Africa's production by 2/3. Asking Slashdotters whether to see China as a most rapid industrial revolution transition to clean economy, or whether export of mill jobs will be a plague on Africa's environment (or both)?"
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+ - Sony Pictures Leak Reveals Quashed Plan to Upload Phony Torrents->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "Motherboard.vice offers an interesting scoop from the hacked Sony Pictures email trove. A plan championed by Polish marketing employee Magda Mastalerz was to upload false versions of highly-pirated Sony programming, effectively polluting torrent sites with false positives. For example, a “Hannibal”-themed anti-piracy ad to popular torrent sites disguised as the first episode. Sony Pictures legal department quashed the idea, saying that if pirate sites were illegal, it would also be illegal for Sony Pictures to upload onto them.

There were plans in WW2 to drop phony counterfeit currency to disrupt markets, and I wonder why flooding underground markets with phony products isn't widespread. Why don't credit card companies manufacture fake lists of stolen credit card numbers, or phony social security numbers, for illegal trading sites? For that matter, would fake ivory, fake illegal porn, and other "false positives" discourage buyers? Or create alibis? or distract police."

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+ - Economist: US Congress Should Hack Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) ->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "This week's print edition of The Economist has an essay on the Right to Tinker with hardware. "Exactly why copyright law should be involved in something that ought to be a simple matter of consumer rights is hard to fathom. Any rational interpretation would suggest that when people buy or pay off the loan on a piece of equipment—whether a car, a refrigerator or a mobile phone—they own it, and should be free to do what they want with it. Least of all should they have to seek permission from the manufacturer or the government.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Engineering Groupthink: How Polarized Opinion Works->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "Harvard Business Review (5 free articles until payall warning) has an interesting article about groupthink. The authors describe a study of two focus groups. One is from classically "red state" conservative Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA. A second focus group hailed from more liberal leaning Boulder, Colorado. Individually, members of each focus group were surveyed for their opinions before the groups met. Individual members (as anticipated) trended conservatively in Colorado Springs, and liberally in Boulder. Everyone was re-surveyed (anonymously and otherwise) after the groups met. After meeting with their opinionated peers, respondents opinions hardened. Conservatives answered the same surveys responded MORE conservatively, and liberals MORE liberally. When focus groups are randomized (blues and reds in proportion, in the same group), opinions become less polarized. The article discusses the effects on public policy and business decision making when groups assigned a problem to solve self-select and recruit people like themselves. Diversity leads to more intelligent decision making. Or if you are selling a specific (weaker) solution, be obnoxious to reduce participation from competitive views. Incentive-driven opinion benefits from the lack of diversity, protecting its agenda by driving away newbies who avoid trolls.

Maybe this is nothing new... the effect of co-ed dorms vs. single-sex dorms and fraternities has been studied for decades. As someone who has participated in /. for about 15 years, attracted to intelligent discourse, I notice how many mod points must today be spent on flamebait. There is still good debate, but frequently someone making an otherwise very valid counter-argument dilutes its effect with emphatic hostility and ad hominem attacks on the original poster. Is the ratio of "inciteful" to "insightful" going down? It's no way to attract women slashdotters, btw."

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+ - Space E-Waste? Or Russian Killer Satellite?->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "Financial Times reports:

"For the past few weeks, amateur astronomers and satellite-trackers in Russia and the west have followed the unusual manoeuvres of Object 2014-28E, watching it guide itself towards other Russian space objects... The object had originally been classed as space debris, propelled into orbit as part of a Russian rocket launch in May to add three Rodnik communications satellites to an existing military constellation. The US military is now tracking it under the Norad designation 39765."

"Its purpose is unknown, and could be civilian: a project to hoover up space junk, for example. Or a vehicle to repair or refuel existing satellites. But interest has been piqued because Russia did not declare its launch – and by the object’s peculiar, and very active, precision movements across the skies. Russia officially mothballed its anti-satellite weaponry programme – Istrebitel Sputnikov or satellite killer – after the fall of the iron curtain, though its expertise has not entirely disappeared. Indeed, military officials have publicly stated in the past that they would restart research in the event of a deterioration in relations with the US over anti-missile defence treaties. In 2010, Oleg Ostapenko, commander of Russia’s space forces, and now head of its space agency, said Russia was again developing “inspection” and “strike” satellites."

For Russian RT coverage, see http://www.rt.com/news/206843-...

To Track the satellite on your own, visit: http://www.n2yo.com/?s=39765"

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+ - Interpol Developing "Guidelines" for Use of Facial Recognition Software->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "INTERPOL announced the first meeting of its "Facial Expert Working Group" in order to "begin the process of developing international facial recognition standards." The two-day meeting (14 and 15 October) gathered 24 technical and biometrics experts and examiners from 16 countries who produced a ‘best practice guide’ for the quality, format and transmission of images to be used in facial recognition. It will be circulated to all 190 INTERPOL member countries to serve as a guideline for improving the quality of images necessary for accurate and effective facial recognition.

Last December (Bloomberg News) described a similar "voluntary guidelines" meeting between Facebook and Walmart for use of visual recognition to keep identification by retail store cameras in targeted online advertising. CBS also covered the story last December. http://newyork.cbslocal.com/20.

As more technology start ups like Facedeals http://techcrunch.com/2012/08/... recognize the opportunity to sell our browsing habits at stores to online marketing firms, Minority Report seems closer than ever. And unlike programs to erase, block, or deliver false clicks (cookie camouflage) to online advertisers, the solutions (wearing a Guy Fawkes mask or Groucho Marx glasses) seem much more intrusive."

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+ - Google Fiber to Launch in Austin, Texas in December->

Submitted by retroworks
retroworks (652802) writes "WSJ blog reports on the third city to get fiber-optic high speed internet networks laid down by Google (Kansas City and Provo, UT were the first). The service averages 1 gigabit per second, about 100X the average US household speed, and costs $70-120 per month (depending on television). Google promotes the roll-outs by holding "rallies" in small neighborhoods. Suggested slogan — "Don't be Comcast"."
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I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the demigodic party. -- Dennis Ritchie

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