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Submission + - Lessig's Equal Citizens: "Why we need technical people to take on corruption" ->

Funksaw writes: An article in "Equal Citizens," Lawrence Lessig's Medium-based blog dealing with issues of institutional corruption in democratic politics, explains why, specifically, the reform movement needs (more) people with technical minds and technical skills.

FTA: "What we need are more people willing to look at the laws of this country based on their function. And when I use the word “function,” I mean very specifically the same sense that a computer programmer means it. (Because lord knows, government isn’t functioning by any other definition.)...

It’s not just that big money politics is being injected [like a code injection] into the function of democracy. It’s also that the function of democracy can be warped by an injection. Stopping the injection of money into our democratic function still leaves the function vulnerable to the same—or similar—injection attack.... We need people who can solve the problems of politics like a programmer solves problems in computer code, because a democratic system with vulnerabilities is a democratic system that can fail or be made to fail.
"

The article was authored by the technical adviser to the New Hampshire Rebellion and Mayday.US, two of Lessig's major reform projects.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Godaddy shutsdown Ukrainian NGO website at request of Russian censors->

An anonymous reader writes: "A Ukrainian NGO has had its website temporarily taken offline by a subsidiary of the U.S.-based registrar company GoDaddy.com at the behest of the Russian government.

The Maidan Monitoring Information Center, a nonprofit organization, announced today that one of its domain names—maidanua.org—had been blocked indefinitely by Wild West Domains, LLC, the GoDaddy subsidiary, following a formal request by Roskomnadzor, Russia’s telecom regulator and censor.

However, following numerous requests by The Daily Beast to GoDaddy for comment, the URL appears to have been reactivated.

The Information Center was started in 2012 in the city of Kharkiv as a watchdog for human rights and democratic development in Ukraine."

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Tiny robots climb walls carrying more than 100 times their weight->

schwit1 writes: Mighty things come in small packages. The little robots in this video can haul things that weigh over 100 times more than themselves.

The super-strong bots — built by mechanical engineers at Stanford — will be presented next month at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Seattle, Washington.

The secret is in the adhesives on the robots' feet. Their design is inspired by geckos, which have climbing skills that are legendary in the animal kingdom. The adhesives are covered in minute rubber spikes that grip firmly onto the wall as the robot climbs. When pressure is applied, the spikes bend, increasing their surface area and thus their stickiness. When the robot picks its foot back up, the spikes straighten out again and detach easily.

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Submission + - Bees prefer nectar laced with Neonicotinoids->

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... )

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Cosmic rays could reveal secrets of lightning on Earth->

sciencehabit writes: Despite Benjamin Franklin's best efforts with a kite and a key, the phenomenon of lightning remains a scientific enigma. Now, researchers have developed a new tool that could help them solve some of lightning’s mysteries. By using cosmic rays, space-traveling particles that constantly rain down on our atmosphere, scientists report they can peek inside thunderstorms and measure their electric fields, helping them pinpoint the conditions that cause storms' electrical outbursts. The advance could help researchers predict more precisely when and where lightning is most likely to strike and get people out of harm's way in time.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Music Industry Argues Works Entering Public Domain Are Not in Public Interest->

An anonymous reader writes: With news that Canada intends to extend the term of copyright for sound recordings and performers, the recording industry is now pushing the change by arguing that works entering the public domain is not in the public interest. It is hard to see how anyone can credibly claim that works are "lost" to the public domain and that the public interest in not served by increased public access, but if anyone would make the claim, it would be the recording industry.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Faith-Based Intellectual Property

An anonymous reader writes: A new article by Mark Lemley (a law professor at Stanford) makes the case that today's intellectual property law is based on quasi-religious beliefs rather than factual data. From the abstract: "The traditional justification for intellectual property (IP) rights has been utilitarian. We grant exclusive rights because we think the world will be a better place as a result. But what evidence we have doesn’t justify IP rights. Rather than following the evidence and questioning strong IP rights, more and more scholars have begun to retreat from evidence toward what I call faith-based IP, justifying IP as a moral end in itself rather than on the basis of how it affects the world. I argue that these moral claims are ultimately unpersuasive and a step backward in a rational society." It's a very interesting read free from legal jargon, but citing a lot of studies about what is actually known of the effects of intellectual property laws on creative production.

Comment Re:Can you pay a homeopath with a stack of paper . (Score 1) 320 320

Can you pay a homeopath with a stack of paper with one dollar stuck in there somewhere?

Only seems right.

you don't actually leave the dollar in there. you dump a hundred slips of paper and one dollar bill into a jar bang it on the table a few times. then you dump it all out, put one of the treated slips and a hundred fresh ones into the jar and bang it... repeat 10 times and that's a jar of 10C homeopathic dollar bills. you'd have to ask a homeopath what the actual value of each of those bills is.

Media

Roku Finally Gets a 2D Menu System 80 80

DeviceGuru writes "Many of us have griped for years about Roku's retro one-dimensional user interface. Finally, in conjunction with the release of the new Roku 3 model, the Linux-based media streaming player is getting a two-dimensional facelift, making it quicker and easier to access favorite channels and find new ones. Current Roku users, who will now begin suffering from UI-envy, will be glad to learn that Roku plans to push out a firmware update next month to many earlier models, including the Roku LT, Roku HD (model 2500R), Roku 2 HD, Roku 2 XD, Roku 2 XS, and Roku Streaming Stick. A short demo of the new 2D Roku menu system is available in this YouTube video."
Education

Submission + - College Police: Using Linux is suspicious behavior->

FutureDomain writes: The Boston College Campus Police have seized the electronics of a computer science student for allegedly sending an email outing another student. The probable cause? The search warrant application states that he is "a computer science major" and he uses "two different operating systems for hiding his illegal activity. One is the regular B.C. operating system and the other is a black screen with white font which he uses prompt commands on." The EFF is currently representing him.
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