savuporo writes "A DC Area Drone User Group has posted an open letter in response to recent comments by Eric Schmidt about banning drones from private use. The closing section reads: 'Personally owned flying robots today have the power to change the balance of power between individuals and large bureaucracies in much the same way the Internet did in the past. And just as the military researchers who developed GPS for guiding munitions could never have imagined their technology would be used in the future to help people conduct health surveys in the world's poorest countries or help people find dates in the world's richest, there is a whole world of socially positive and banal applications for drones that are yet to be discovered. We should embrace this chance that technology provides instead of strangling these opportunities in their infancy. Our hope is that you and the rest of Google's leadership will embrace this pro-technology agenda in the future rather than seeking to stifle it. We would welcome the opportunity to speak further with you about this topic.'"
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itwbennett writes "Aereo's court battles are far from over, to be sure, but the ruling earlier this month that the TV streaming service doesn't violate copyright laws must have the folks at music streaming service Pandora shaking their heads, wondering why they're still paying royalties that currently consume more than half their revenues. The implications of Aereo's business model are far-reaching and may ultimately 'be resolved by Congress, just as it did when cable first came on the scene, by passing legislation to redefine a public performance,' writes broadcast industry attorney David Oxenford."
coondoggie writes "When it comes to fixing broken systems, especially in remote locations, engineers could soon turn to a new mobile robotic system IBM is developing that could help them more easily find the broken equipment, offer up information about the system and provide real-time visual support from supervising experts. The mobile maintenance, repair and operations prototype includes an application that lets a supervisor monitor an engineer's progress towards the maintenance site, and a robotic arm coupled with a camera system, a microphone and laser pointer."
wiredmikey writes "Israeli security officials at Ben Gurion airport are legally allowed to demand access to tourists' email accounts and deny them entry if they refuse, the country's top legal official said on Wednesday. Details of the policy were laid out by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein in a written response to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), the group said in a statement. 'In a response dated April 24, 2013, the attorney general's office confirmed this practice,' ACRI said, quoting sections of the document which said it was only done in exceptional cases where 'relevant suspicious signs' were evident and only done with the tourist's 'consent'. 'Allowing security agents to take such invasive measures at their own discretion and on the basis of such flimsy "consent" is not befitting of a democracy,' commented Lila Margalit from ACRI."
Trailrunner7 writes "Serial port servers are admittedly old school technology that you might think had been phased out as new IT, SCADA and industrial control system equipment has been phased in. Metasploit creator HD Moore cautions you to think again. Moore recently revealed that through his Critical IO project research, he discovered 114,000 such devices connected to the Internet, many with little in the way of authentication standing between an attacker and a piece of critical infrastructure or a connection onto a corporate network. More than 95,000 of those devices were exposed over mobile connections such as 3G or GPRS. 'The thing that opened my eyes was looking into common configurations; even if it required authentication to manage the device itself, it often didn't require any authentication to talk to the serial port which is part of the device,' Moore told Threatpost. 'At the end of the day, it became a backdoor to huge separate systems that shouldn't be online anyway. Even though these devices do support authentication at various levels, most of the time it wasn't configured for the serial port.'"
An anonymous reader writes "We've recently seen a number of interesting projects come from bittorrent.com, including Sync and SoShare. I sometimes use torrents to move several GB of data, especially when pushing large bundles to multiple destinations. It's mostly a hodgepodge of open source tools, though. Apart from anecdotes and info from bittorrent.com, details are thin on the ground (e.g. the Blizzard Downloader). I have two questions for the Slashdot community. 1) Do you use BitTorrent to move data? If so, how? i.e. What kind of data and what's the implementation? 2) If you've looked at torrent clients/tools, what's missing in the open source ecosystem that would make it more useful for moving around large blobs of data?"
Bloomberg is reporting that Amazon has plans to release its own television set-top box later this year. The device will stream video over the internet from Amazon's video service catalog. From the article: "Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos is pushing the company into a broadening array of hardware, including tablets, electronic readers and a planned smartphone. ... The set-top box is being developed by Amazon’s Lab126 division, based in Cupertino, California -- the city that’s also home to Apple. Lab126 has toyed with building connected television devices for several years, the people familiar with the effort said. ... Plans for pricing couldn't be determined. Amazon’s typical strategy is to sell hardware at competitive prices, sometimes at a loss, with the intent of making up for discounts through sales of content, including books and movies. Amazon could also use the set-top box to promote its online store.
An anonymous reader writes "Back in February 2010 NASA launched the Solar Dynamics Observatory–a 3-axis stabilized satellite and fully redundant spacecraft. The aim of the SDO is to monitor solar activity and see how that impacts space weather. As part of its observations, the SDO captures an image of the Sun every 12 seconds using the onboard Atmospheric Imaging Assembly, but varies those shots across 10 different wavelengths. NASA has now collected three years worth of image data from the SDO and has put together a video letting us see the Sun spin in all its glory." If you watch closely, you can see individual frames containing the Moon and Venus.
An anonymous reader writes "In its continuing march toward locking up deals with every major Android and Chrome device maker, Microsoft announced on Tuesday a patent-licensing agreement with Chinese manufacturer ZTE. This follows a similar deal last week with the parent company of Foxconn. Microsoft's Deputy General Counsel Horacio Gutierrez said, 'Much of the current litigation in the so called 'smartphone patent wars' could be avoided if companies were willing to recognize the value of others’ creations in a way that is fair. At Microsoft, experience has taught us that respect for intellectual property rights is a two-way street, and we have always been prepared to respect the rights of others just as we seek respect for our rights. This is why we have paid others more than $4 billion over the last decade to secure intellectual property rights for the products we provide our customers.'"
kxra writes "The Free Culture Foundation has posted a thorough response to the most common and misinformed defenses of the W3C's Extended Media Extensions (EME) proposal to inject DRM into HTML5. They join the EFF and FSF in a call to send a strong message to the W3C that DRM in HTML5 undermines the W3C's self-stated mission to make the benefits of the Web 'available to all people, whatever their hardware, software, network infrastructure, native language, culture, geographical location, or physical or mental ability.' The FCF counters the three most common myths by unpacking some quotes which explain that 1.) DRM is not about protecting copyright. That is a straw man. DRM is about limiting the functionality of devices and selling features back in the form of services. 2.) DRM in HTML5 doesn't obsolete proprietary, platform-specific browser plug-ins; it encourages them. 3.) the Web doesn't need big media; big media needs the Web." Also: the FSF has announced that a coalition of 27 web freedom organizations have sent a joint letter to the W3C opposing DRM support in HTML5.
An anonymous reader sends this news from the CBC: "Using a Samsung Galaxy SIII — one of the most popular smartphones available in Canada — and a free app downloaded from the Google Play store, CBC was able to read information such as a card number, expiry date and cardholder name simply holding the smartphone over a debit or credit card. And it could be done through wallets, pockets and purses. ... Although the NFC antennas in current smartphones need to be very close to a card in order to work — no farther than 10 cm — that could change with the next generation of Android smartphones. Legary said the Samsung Galaxy S4, set to go on sale this spring, might have a much more capable NFC antenna, which could not only read credit cards from a greater distance, but could also be able to read the chips embedded in enhanced driving licenses and passports."
Nerval's Lobster writes "No, the latest season of 'Arrested Development' won't fatally crash Netflix, despite comedian David Cross's tongue-in-cheek comment that the series will melt down the company's servers on its first weekend of streaming availability. 'No one piece of content can have that kind of impact given the size of what we are serving up at any given time,' a spokesperson wrote in an email to Slashdot. Although 'Arrested Development' struggled to survive during its three seasons on Fox (from 2003 to 2006), the series has built a significant cult following in the years following its cancellation. Netflix commissioned a fourth season as part of a broader plan to augment its streaming service with exclusive content, and will release all 13 new episodes at once on May 26. Like Facebook, Google, and other Internet giants, Netflix has invested quite a bit in physical infrastructure and engineers. It stores its data on Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3), which offers a significant degree of durability and scalability; it also relies on Amazon's Elastic MapReduce (EMR) distribution of Apache Hadoop, along with tools within the Hadoop ecosystem such as Hive and Pig. That sort of backend can allow the company to handle much more than 13 seasons' worth of Bluths binged over one weekend — but that doesn't mean its streaming service is immune from the occasional high-profile failure."
Brain Monkeys is an education company that teaches kids about robots and technology. With the help of her staff, founder Katie Tilton teaches a wide variety of after school classes, workshops, and summer school programs designed to let kids learn through hands-on activities. Recently, I was lucky enough to visit for one of their "Speed Sumo" nights. Kids get a NXT LEGO kit and 90 mins to build a robot that can push another robot out of a small sumo ring. Students get a basic tutorial on what makes a good sumo robot, then are free to come up with designs that they think will work best. Some of the more interesting features I saw included claws, a wedged shaped nose, and a flail-like tail (shout out to The Hammer!). Once the 90 minute build time is up the kids battle it out in the ring with the winner getting a high-five and bragging rights for building the most awesome robot of the night. Katie says: "Every day of the week I teach somewhere. I'm basically a teacher with art on a cart, but I'm robots in a car."
ananyo writes "With Taiwan announcing the first case of H7N9 avian flu outside mainland China, researchers have revealed how the virus may spread in China — and beyond. The projections use risk maps developed for human infection by another, well-established avian flu — H5N1. Indeed, when human cases of H7N9 are overlaid on a risk map, they appear to fall within the highest risk areas for H5N1. The map suggests that high-risk areas for H7N9 might include Shandong province (where the first case was reported 23 April) and a belt extending around the Bohai sea to Liaoning province in the north. Though there has been no evidence of sustained human-to-human spread of H7N9 so far, researchers have analyzed airline passenger data for China. Eastern China — the epicenter of the current the H7N9 outbreak — is one of the world's busiest hubs for airline traffic. From the Nature story: 'A quarter of the global population outside of China lives within two hours of an airport with a direct flight from the outbreak regions, and 70% if a single connecting flight is included.'"
symbolset writes "In a unanimous vote the Provo Municipal Council has agreed to a plan to sell the city's troubled iProvo fiber Internet network to Google. Although this makes Provo, Utah the third city to embrace Google's ambitious gigabit fiber to the home plan the existing network will allow the residents of Provo to see faster installation than the others. Google had previously announced plans to proceed immediately on approval." They city handed the network over for $1, but there are hidden costs, from the article: "Provo taxpayers will still have to pay off a $39 million bond that the city originally issued to build the network. With interest, taxpayers still have to pay $3.3 million in bond payments per year for the next 12 years. ... The city will have to pay about $722,000 for equipment in order to continue using the gigabit service for government operations ... The city also has to pay about $500,000 to a civil engineering firm to determine exactly where the fiber optic cables are buried ... Google will lease the network to Provo city for free for 15 years."
Virtucon writes "U.S. Magistrate William Callahan Jr. of Wisconsin has ruled in favor of the accused in that he should not have to decrypt his storage device. The U.S. Government had sought to compel Feldman to provide his password to obtain access to the data. Presumably the FBI has had no success in getting the data and had sought to have the judge compel Feldman to provide the decrypted contents of what they had seized. The Judge ruled (PDF): 'This is a close call, but I conclude that Feldman's act of production, which would necessarily require his using a password of some type to decrypt the storage device, would be tantamount to telling the government something it does not already know with "reasonably particularity" — namely, that Feldman has personal access to and control over the encrypted storage devices. Accordingly, in my opinion, Fifth Amendment protection is available to Feldman. Stated another way, ordering Feldman to decrypt the storage devices would be in violation of his Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination.'" If the government has reasonable suspicion that you have illicit data, they can still compel you to decrypt it.
An anonymous reader writes "Hui Zhang and Shangui Zhao describe China's decision to move ahead with nuclear power. Following the Fukushima Daiichi accident, China slowed its rapid expansion of nuclear power and undertook a major reevaluation of safety practices. The government has now resumed approval of new nuclear power projects, and is cautiously moving forward. Good description of safety issues that remain." They are suspending in-land construction, and are aiming at 58GWe instead of 80GWe of generation capacity by 2020. It's still more than the 40GWe they planned to build under their 2007 plans.
An anonymous reader writes "Today AMD has officially unveiled its long-awaited dual-GPU Tahiti-based card. Codenamed Malta, the $1,000 Radeon HD 7990 is positioned directly against Nvidia's dual-GPU GeForce GTX 690. Tom's Hardware posted the performance data. Because Fraps measures data at a stage in the pipeline before what is actually seen on-screen, they employed Nvidia's FCAT (Frame Capture Analysis Tools). ... The 690 is beating AMD's new flagship in six out of eight titles. ... AMD is bundling eight titles with every 7990, including: BioShock Infinite, Tomb Raider, Crysis 3, Far Cry 3, Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, Hitman: Absolution, Sleeping Dogs, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution." OpenGL performance doesn't seem too off from the competing Nvidia card, but the 7990 dominates when using OpenCL. Power management looks decent: ~375W at full load, but a nice 20W at idle (it can turn the second chip off entirely when unneeded). PC Perspective claims there are issues with Crossfire and an un-synchronized rendering pipeline that leads to a slight decrease in the actual frame rate, but that should be fixed by an updated Catalyst this summer.
An anonymous reader writes "Matter and antimatter are thought to have existed in equal amounts at the beginning of the Universe, but today the Universe appears to be composed essentially of matter. By studying subtle differences in the behavior of particles and antiparticles, experiments at the LHC are seeking to cast light on this dominance of matter over antimatter. Now the LHCb experiment has observed a preference for matter over antimatter known as CP-violation in the decay of neutral B0s particles. The results are based on the analysis of data collected by the experiment in 2011."
cylonlover writes "Teaching a robot how to deal with real-world problems is a challenging task. There has been much progress in building robots that can precisely repeat individual tasks with a level of speed and accuracy impossible for human craftspeople. But there are many more tasks that could be done if robots could be supplied with even a limited amount of judgment. A robotics group led by Professor Sylvain Calinon at the Italian Institute of Technology is making progress in solving this problem and has developed a robot whose purpose in life is to help a person build an IKEA table."
SpicyBrownMustard writes "Forbes has an article that follows up on the news/hype/buzz/hysteria surrounding the acquisitions of Summly and Wavii by Yahoo and Google, respectively. It's a rather comical write up with a rather sad ring of truth to it, especially that we now know that Summly was little more than a collection of existing technologies built by others. The article says, 'Stress that you have celebrity relationships, and that your app was built by a team that has several hundred successful apps in Google Play and IOS App Store. It doesn’t matter that those aren’t your team members, it is still true.' Summarization technologies are the 'big new thing' apparently. Don't miss out — make your summarization app today and hop onboard that gravy train!"
schwit1 writes "You won't see it advertised on billboards or television, you won't hear it mentioned in a carrier store, and your less technologically-savvy friends most certainly won't know about it — but quietly, HTC's done something extraordinarily important this month: it's broken AT&T's stranglehold on its nationwide LTE network. It's a move that even Google, for all its money, power, and influence, didn't make with the Nexus 4. HTC is shipping both 32GB and 64GB versions of the One — an early contender for the best phone of 2013 — in a carrier- and bootloader-unlocked version that supports both T-Mobile and AT&T LTE. No strings attached."
hypnosec writes "Following delays due to UEFI, the alpha version of Fedora 19 'Schrödinger's Cat' has been released. The alpha version brings with it all the features of Fedora 19, including the updated desktop options – GNOME 3.8, KDE Plasma 4.10 and MATE 1.6. Other new features include Developer's Assistant – a tool that would allow developers to code easily with ready templates, samples and more; OpenShift Origin – through which users will be able to deploy their own Platform-as-a-Service infrastructure; Ruby 2.0.0; Scratch; Syslinux – provides for simplified booting of Fedora; systemd Resource Control – which allows for modification of service settings without requiring a reboot; and Checkpoint & Restore. Downloads and release notes available at the Fedora Project site."
astroengine writes "In a galaxy, far, far away (6 billion light-years away to be precise), the most efficient star 'factory' has been discovered. Called SDSSJ1506+54, this galaxy generates a huge quantity of infrared radiation, the majority being generated by a compact region at its core. NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer first spotted the galactic oddity and Hubble confirmed the maelstrom of stellar birthing near its core. But the most amazing thing? This galaxy is the 'greenest' factory yet discovered — it uses 100 percent of all the available hydrogen to supply the protostars, leaving no waste. 'This galaxy is remarkably efficient,' said lead scientist Jim Geach of McGill University in a NASA news release. 'It's converting its gas supply into new stars at the maximum rate thought possible.'"
MightyMait writes "A study from a team at McGill University has found Tetris to be a good treatment for lazy eye. 'Armed with a special pair of video goggles they set up an experiment that would make both eyes work as a team. Nine volunteers with amblyopia were asked to wear the goggles for an hour a day over the next two weeks while playing Tetris, the falling building block video game. The goggles allowed one eye to see only the falling objects, while the other eye could see only the blocks that accumulate on the ground in the game. For comparison, another group of nine volunteers with amblyopia wore similar goggles but had their good eye covered, and watched the whole game through only their lazy eye. At the end of the two weeks, the group who used both eyes had more improvement in their vision than the patched group (abstract).' As someone born with crossed-eyes who underwent surgery as an infant and has lived with a lazy eye his whole life (without 3-D vision), the prospect of fixing my vision by playing Tetris is an enticing one."