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The Almighty Buck

The Man Who Sold Shares of Himself 215

RougeFemme writes "This is a fascinating story about a man who sold shares in himself, primarily to fund his start-up ideas. He ran into the same issues that companies run into when taking on corporate funding — except that in his case, the decisions made by his shareholders bled over into his personal life. This incuded his relationship with his now ex-girlfriend, who became a shareholder activist over the issue of whether or not he should have a vasectomy. The experiment continues." The perils of selling yourself to your friends.

Submission + - What if the transistor never existed? ( 2

An anonymous reader writes: It was never going to be possible to miniaturise the valves and relays of the 1940s to a point where a device that fits in your pocket could contain a radio transmitter, two radio receivers, a couple of cameras and a computer to control it – the modern smartphone. The technology that made this possible – and much, much else besides — is the transistor. This article makes the argument that if there’s one device without which our lives would be completely different, it’s the transistor, as well as listing 99 other technologies that arguably changed the world.

Submission + - Disputes over company pages on FaceBook (

RockDoctor writes: The Beeb are reporting a rather complex case with potentially quite deep implications for social media.

The case stretches back to the end of the First World War, when the well-established German drug company Merck was split up by the victorious powers, leaving a German rum company (Merck KGaA) and a multinational (Merck & Co). Both companies still exist, and as the preceding links show, have managed to deal with the potential "namespace" collisions on the general Internet.

Merck KGaA entered into an "agreement" (by implication, a contract) with Facebook to use the page in 2010, and they were getting some use out of the page, needing to get administrative rights for several employees. So far, so good ; Merck KGaA are obviously relatively savvy to how the Internet works and have done "the right thing" (including, from a typical-Slashdot-user's IT-worker-friendly perspective, assigning a budget and staff to this part of their IT and internet presence).

But on October 11, 2011, Merck KGaA's staff found that the page now pointed to content from their competitors Merck & Co, and that they had lost administrative control of the page.

So, what is going on? Well, it's not clear. The staff at Facebook are not responding in any meaningful sense (according to the Beeb's report). There are a number of possible scenarios where genuine mistakes have been made, or seemingly-reasonable policies have had unintended consequences While researching for TFS (This Fucking Summary) I originally got to the Merck KGaA website by guessing "" , at which point I got a redirect ; which is what you'd expect. Equally I got to Merck & Co by guessing at [drum roll] ; which is again what you'd expect to happen. This reflects the essential separation of the .de and .com TLDs.

In effect Facebook has itself become an important TLD. So collisions in this new namespace are to be expected. And what policies Facebook applies to resolve namespace disputes is a matter of general interest.


Submission + - Human Blood Protein (HSA) from GMO Rice (

eldavojohn writes: Wuhan University researchers working with the National Research Council of Canada and the Center for Functional Genomics at the University at Albany have announced that they have genetically modified rice to produce a medically useful protein chemically identical to human serum albumin. This protein is used to treat burns, traumatic shock and liver disease at a global demand rate of 500 tons each year. Normally this would be extracted from blood donations but now you can just grow rice and extract it at a rate of 2.75 grams of protein per kilogram of rice. After testing on rats with liver cirrhosis, the same response was shown as the protein from blood. This is important for China after a spike in demand and lack of supply lead to fake albumin medicine flowing through Chinese hospitals. Worried about these GMO crops cross pollinating regular crops? The researchers referred to a study indicating "a very low frequency (0.04-0.80%) of pollen-mediated gene flow between genetically modified (GM) rice and adjacent non-GM plants." Nature has a slightly more detailed article with a reference to the peer review publication.

Submission + - Seven Thinkers Who Shaped the Cloud (

ambermichelle writes: To paraphrase Victor Hugo: “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” Well, cloud computing’s time may have finally come, now that its wispy emanations have found concrete expression in Apple’s iCloud, Dropbox and Amazon’s Web Services — to name just a few popular services.

But the broad outlines of the cloud have been present, or at least postulated, for at least a half century. Artificial Intelligence pioneer John McCarthy was talking about the “utility model” for computing back in 1961 and Canadian Douglas Parkhill articulated key elements of the cloud in his 1966 book, “The Challenge of the Computer Utility.” Leaning heavily on those more knowledgeable than me in all things cloud, here is a list of some of the most influential people in the development of the idea of the cloud.


Submission + - AMD Breaks Processor Clock Speed Record Again ( 2

MojoKid writes: "The first time AMD's FX-8150 processor found itself in the Guinness Book of World Records, it took a team of AMD-sponsored overclockers (and a whole lot of liquid helium) working together to push the processor to 8429.38GHz. And this time? Andre Yang, working by himself, used the same model chip to break the record set in September and set a new one, which now stands at 8461.51GHz. Yang accomplished the feat with a healthy dose of liquid nitrogen and an eye popping 1.992V core voltage. He used a base clockspeed of 272.95MHz with a 31x multiplier."

Submission + - Paper-based explosives sensor made using an inkjet (

cylonlover writes: Detecting explosives is a vital task both on the battlefield and off, but it requires equipment that, if sensitive enough to detect explosives traces in small quantities, is often expensive, delicate and difficult to construct. Researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute have developed a method of manufacturing highly sensitive explosives detectors incorporating RF components using Ink-jet printers. This holds the promise of producing large numbers of detectors at lower cost using local resources.

Submission + - Madagascan villagers get mobile access (

An anonymous reader writes: A new project in Madagascar helps villagers to share a handset using unique IDs to help the poorer sections of society gain access to mobile technology

Submission + - Linus Torvalds speaks about kernel fun, gadgets .. (

An anonymous reader writes: Linus Torvalds speaks about the fun in developing the Linux kernel, his gadgets, his interest in starting a desktop project and finally making "the next year" the year of the Linux Desktop. Not to miss also his "eerie resemblance" with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

These and more can be found in the new interview that he gave for


Submission + - Gnome creator: Linux has only 10 good desktop apps (

nk497 writes: "Gnome co-creator Miguel de Icaza has said Linux is struggling on the desktop because fragmentation makes creating apps too difficult, with incompatibilities between distributions — and even between different versions of the same one. "When you count how many great desktop apps there are on Linux, you can probably name 10," de Icaza said, according to a post on Tim Anderson's IT Writing blog. "You work really hard, you can probably name 20. We’ve managed to p*** off developers every step of the way, breaking APIs all the time.""

Submission + - Thorium key to future base load electricity? (

crutchy writes: I was reading in an IEAust ( magazine about the case for thorium as a fuel for nuclear power generation. While I generally support nuclear power for base load power generation, I'm aware of its risks and obstacles to widespread use particularly in Australia. On face value there appears to be a lot of promise in Thorium. There will always be those that oppose it of course (vested interest is a powerful motivator), but a quick Google search reveals that tehre doesn't seem to be that much negative publicity surrounding it yet; a story by The Guardian received many comments debunking the article ( For those that have never heard of it, have a squiz at Wikipedia ( Keeping in mind the huge projected demand for energy in the future and that carbon is a naturally occurring substance (so treehuggers who think it should be illegal to fart need not reply, although NOx & SOx emissions should definitely be on the environmental agenda regarding current energy generation technologies), I'm interested to help get some debate/discussion about Thorium going on slashdot to see what arguments there are. No doubt there will be many armchair experts out there with strong opinions both ways, but as an engineer working in the power industry I want to hear both sides. This may well be flamebait, but the future of electricity generation is topical lately and important, so I don't think this sort of discussion is irrelevant. Who knows; maybe there is the odd politician reading that may have the balls to speak up (not likely but we can only hope).

I like work; it fascinates me; I can sit and look at it for hours.