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Submission + - Amazon Selects Their Favorite Fake Customer Reviews (beyond-black-friday.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Amazon's just created a new web page where they're officially acknowledging fake reviews posted by their customers — and they've even selected their own favorites. ("I was very disappointed to have my uranium confiscated at the airport. It was a gift for my son for his birthday. Also, I’m in prison now, so that’s not good either...") On the front page of Amazon, in big orange letters, Amazon posted "You guys are really funny." And then — next to a funny picture of a rubber horse head mask — Amazon's linked to a list of some of the very best satirical reviews their customers have submitted over the years, noting fondly that "occasionally customer creativity goes off the charts in the best possible way..."

Submission + - When is it ok to not give notice? 1

An anonymous reader writes: Here in the U.S., "being professional" means giving at least two week's notice when leaving a job. Is this an outmoded notion? We've all heard stories about (or perhaps experienced) a quick escort to the parking lot upon giving the normal notice, and I've never heard of a company giving a two week notice to an employee that's being laid off or fired.
A generation ago, providing a lengthy notice was required to get a glowing reference, but these days does a reference hold water any more?
Once you're reached the point where you know it's time to leave, under what circumstances would you just up and walk out or give only a short notice?

Submission + - Microsoft Hires Former Steam Boss Holtman to Make Windows Great for Gaming

SmartAboutThings writes: Jason Holtman has spent the last eight years transforming Steam into a veritable cornucopia of PC games and a real success. Starting this month he'll be working at Microsoft to improve Windows' gaming strategy. He said: "Yes, I have joined Microsoft where I will be focusing on making Windows a great platform for gaming and interactive entertainment. I think there is a lot of opportunity for Microsoft to deliver the games and entertainment customers want and to work with developers to make that happen, so I'm excited to be here." The main job that Holtman was doing at Valve consisted in convincing developers and major game publishers to choose Steam and entrust it with its digital sales. More than that, he was excited with what he was doing and was a driving force over at Steam. Microsoft has focused solely on the Xbox One launch lately, somehow neglecting the potential that Windows and overall, the PC gaming industry still have. With Holtman’s hiring, maybe Microsoft is going to revamp its Games for Windows initiative.

Submission + - MIT: Future Smartphones Will 'Listen to Everything All the Time' (infowars.com)

dryriver writes: Ubiquitous surveillance to 'detect your moods', 'pinpoint the sources of your stress', and 'present relevant information'. — The development of new smartphone technology that constantly records your private conversations in addition to all ambient background noise in order to 'detect your moods' could mean the NSA might not have to bother with tapping actual phone calls at all in future. A report by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology hails the era of 'technologies that emphasize listening to everything, all the time', ubiquitous surveillance aided by microphones installed on new smartphones, such as Google’s Moto X, that do not run off the main battery and can, 'continually monitor their auditory environment to detect the phone owner’s voice, discern what room or other setting the phone is in, or pick up other clues from background noise.' While the article fails to mention the nightmare privacy implications that this technology would engender, it focuses on the innumerable apparent benefits. The technology could, 'make it possible for software to detect your moods, know when you are talking and not to disturb you, and perhaps someday keep a running record of everything you hear.' It sounds like Big Brother and invasive Minority Report-style advertising rolled into one. Chris Schmandt, director of the speech and mobility group at MIT’s Media Lab, relates how “one of his grad students once recorded two years’ worth of all the sounds he was exposed to—capturing every conversation. While the speech-to-text conversions were rough, they were good enough that he could perform a keyword search and recover the actual recording of a months-old conversation.”

Submission + - Changes in Earth's orbit were key to Antarctic warming that ended last ice age (washington.edu)

vinces99 writes: For more than a century scientists have known that Earth’s ice ages are caused by the wobbling of the planet’s orbit, which changes its orientation to the sun and affects the amount of sunlight reaching higher latitudes, particularly the polar regions. The Northern Hemisphere’s last ice age ended about 20,000 years ago, and most evidence has indicated that the ice age in the Southern Hemisphere ended about 2,000 years later, suggesting that the south was responding to warming in the north. But new research published online Aug. 14 in Nature shows that Antarctic warming began at least 2,000, and perhaps 4,000, years earlier than previously thought.

Submission + - US, Germany To Enter No-Spying Agreement (itworld.com) 1

itwbennett writes: From the solving-nonexistent-problems department. The German Federal Intelligence Service said in a news release that the U.S. has verbally committed to enter into a no-spying agreement with Germany. The no-spying agreement talks were announced as part of a progress report on an eight-point program proposed by German Chancellor Angela Merkelin July with measures to better protect the privacy of German citizens. In the progress report, the German government found that U.S. intelligence services comply with German law. Also, the operators of large German Internet exchanges and the federal government did not find any evidence that the U.S. spies on Germans, the government said.

Submission + - New MIT paper reveals encryption is less secure than everyone thought

rjmarvin writes: Researchers from MIT and the National University of Ireland have discovered http://sdt.bz/63006 a flaw to disprove the Shannon Theory, the 1948 standard assumption for information entropy. According to the paper, Shannon's theory of averages does not account for the improbable correlations of cryptography. Bottom line: hackers and code breakers can crack encryptions significantly faster than anyone thought. How does this affect email encryption? SIM cards? Embedded chips in credit cards? We'll see...

Submission + - Liquid Crystals Can Slow Down the Speed of Light a Billionfold (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: Even in Elon Musk's Hyperloop, you'd only be going a fraction of the speed of light. But if we played with physics a bit, as researchers at China's Xiamen University and France's Universite de Nice-Sophia Antipolis have done, essentially any movement could be faster than the speed of light. Using a new technique, they've managed to slow the speed of light to less than one billionth of its speed in a vacuum. Slowing the speed of light, of course, is not going to get us to other galaxies any faster. It's not going to help with space travel at all. But slowing the speed of light does have some practical applications here on Earth. The idea of "slow light" is not a new one: Researchers at Harvard slowed light to a speed of about 17 meters per second in 1999.
Transportation

Government Study Finds TSA Misconduct Up 26% In 3 Years 196

rullywowr writes "CNN reports that a recent government study found TSA misconduct has risen sharply in three years. Most have heard of the problems such as stealing, but the report also notes that some employees are sleeping on the job, taking bribes, and letting friends/family through the checkpoints without screening."

Submission + - Tar Pitch Drop Captured on Camera (nature.com)

Ron024 writes: How long would you be willing to wait for a drop of the black stuff in Dublin? After 69 years, one of the longest-running laboratory investigations in the world has finally captured the fall of a drop of tar pitch on camera for the first time. A similar, better-known and older experiment in Australia missed filming its latest drop in 2000 because the camera was offline at the time.

Submission + - Google starts sending adverts as emails to Gmail users (geek.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Back in May, Google rolled out an update to Gmail that it marketed as “a new inbox.” What it did was to split the email you receive into categories and then display them in different tabs. The Gmail redesign wasn’t just to help users, though. It turns out Google has decided to introduce a new form of advertising because of it, one that you could view as being much more intrusive than before.

Some users have started noticing that in the Promotions tab new emails are appearing that they haven’t singed up to receive. These emails as marked as “Ad” under the sender name. A little further investigation reveals they are actually Google adverts packaged as emails.

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