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Submission + - 40 Years Of The Microprocessor (v3.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: The Microprocessor turns 40 this year and V3.co.uk celebrates by producing this visual timeline to look back at the history of one of the most important inventions of the last century.
Bitcoin

Submission + - bitcoin value implodes (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Apparently unbeknownst to slashdot's editors and in spite of their relentless promotion of bitcoin a few months ago, bitcoin value has completely tanked in the few short months since June. Is it still too late to return those mining GPUs we've bought to Best Buy?
Technology

Submission + - The birth of technology in Silicon Valley (digitaltrends.com)

mihamicka writes: A great story about how Silicon Valley showed up and also a story who destroys myths like "Microsoft and Apple made Silicon Valley" when in fact was the other way around.

"From the early days of Stanford, to pioneers who revolutionized the world while Steve Jobs was still in diapers, this is how a humble farming valley transformed into the epicenter of all things tech."

Education

Submission + - More Schools Go to 4 Day Week to Cut Costs 1

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Time Magazine reports that as schools return to session in South Dakota, more than one-fourth of students in the state will only be in class from Monday through Thursday as budget constraints lead school districts to hack off a day from the school week. Larry Johnke, superintendant of the Irene-Wakonda school district, says the change will save his schools more than $50,000 per year and in order to make up for the missing day, schools will add 30 minutes to each of the other four days and shorten the daily lunch break. “In this financial crisis, we wanted to maintain our core content and vocational program, so we were forced to do this,” says Johnke. Experts say research is scant on the effect of a four-day school week on student performance but many of the 120 districts that have the shortened schedule nationwide say they've seen students who are less tired and more focused, which has helped raise test scores and attendance while others say that not only did they not save a substantial amount of money by being off an extra day, they also saw students struggle because they weren't in class enough and didn't have enough contact with teachers. "Teachers tell me they are much more focused because they've had time to prepare. They don't have kids sleeping in class on Tuesday," says LaKeisha Johnson, a parent in Peach County Georgia, who sends her fourth-grade daughter to the Boys & Girls Club on Mondays. "Everything has taken on a laser-light focus.""

Submission + - Victory for music locker services? (arstechnica.com)

Gaygirlie writes: "Michael Robertson, the owner and founder of the MP3Tunes music locker service, has been locked in a copyright infringement case with EMI Records for a while now, especially because of the Sideloading search engine that is tacked along with the locker service. Now the case has been resolved though: EMI Records won. But lost on all the accounts that actually really matter.

Michael Robertson is a man known to not shy away from legal fights and is known to always be seeking new boundaries to push. He founded the MP3Tunes service in 2005 with mostly the money he gained from running Linspire back in the day."

Hardware

Submission + - The 12 Biggest PC Duds Ever

adeelarshad82 writes: We're all familiar with the most successful personal computers—the IBM PC, the Apple Macintosh, the Commodore 64—but what about the other side of the coin? In the 30 years since the IBM PC was introduced there have been dozens, if not hundreds, of models that arrived with great fanfare only to tank at the marketplace. These are the redundant, the shameful, the stupid. These are the duds.
China

Submission + - Chinese to keep us from going extinct in 2036 (technologyreview.com)

wisebabo writes: So as the article says, the Chinese have proposed sending a solar sail driven probe to hit the asteroid Apophis to make sure it has no chance of going through a "keyhole" near earth in 2029. If it goes through the keyhole then it will hit the earth seven years later.

The reason why they need to use a solar sail is because they want the very small probe (10kg?) to hit the asteroid in the opposite direction, a retrograde orbit which would otherwise require an insane amount of fuel (after being put on an escape trajectory it would need to first cancel out the earth's orbital momentum and then basically speed up to a likewise high velocity in the OPPOSITE direction). They are doing this to hit the asteroid at a very high impact speed.

While Apophis may not literally be capable of wiping us out (it "only" weighs 46 million kilograms) it might be able to wreck our civilization. So rather than putting the fate of our species into the hands of an untried technology (no solar sail has yet imparted substantial delta-V to its spacecraft) may I suggest an alternative? By using Jupiter as a gravity assist we could send a much heavier probe to hit it at comparable speeds. For example the Juno spacecraft, recently launched to the gas giant weighs almost 8000kgs.

Jupiter could sling a spacecraft around so as to completely cancel its orbital momentum (with no fuel expenditure!). Then it will fall directly towards the sun and, if guided correctly, could hit Apophis broadside. Considering it will be falling from a height of several hundred million miles it would pack quite a blow. Admittedly, the impact will be on the side rather than head on but that should be okay since all we have to do is assure that Apophis doesn't pass through the keyhole which is only 600m wide.

Don't get my wrong, I hope that solar sails become widely used for the (slow, cheap) transport of cargos in the solar system. It's just that I wouldn't base the defense of earth on them. Then again, if you were able to very accurately control the asteroid impactor, not only could you control IF the asteroid was going to go through the keyhole but WHERE it was going to go through. Then you could determine where, on earth, the asteroid was going to eventually going to hit.

Say on an unfriendly nation (that was preferably on another continent).

Communications

Submission + - TalkTalk fined £3 million for billing blunde (itpro.co.uk)

twoheadedboy writes: "UK telecoms firm TalkTalk has been fined £3 million by Ofcom after it charged thousands of people for services they didn't even get. Over 1,000 customers had lodged complaints by the time Ofcom started investigating both TalkTalk and its subsidiary Tiscali late last year. The pair had incorrectly billed over 62,000 customers between 1 January and 1 November 2010. At this point, Ofcom told them to rectify their billing problems by 2 December 2010. Yet despite efforts by TalkTalk and Tiscali to make changes, they still incorrectly billed nearly 3,000 consumers between 2 December 2010 and 4 March 2011."

Comment did anyone read the article? (Score 3, Interesting) 228

Everyone here is bitching about privacy breach, algorithm complexity etc. Actually it has nothing to do with this experiment. From TFA
"Anyone with a Facebook account can participate to verify if everyone is on average approximately six steps away from any other person on Earth. You’ll be asked to select one of your Facebook friends whom you believe is most likely to know the “target person” that has been assigned to you. A message will then be sent from friend to friend until you get it to the “target person.” The goal is to do this in as few steps as possible. "

Basically they are just repeating the old mail experiment, but with a new way of passing messages
- unless you (or one of your friends) participates nothing happens to your privacy
- no computer algorithm is involved
- no problem with celebrity profiles linking thousands of people that now nothing about each other

Games

Submission + - EA Says Battlefield 3 Not To Come on Steam (itproportal.com)

hypnosec writes: Computer games developer Electronic Arts (EA) has revealed that the company will not release Battlefield 3 on Steam. After a long pause from either side on the matter, EA has announced that its highly anticipated hard core computer game Battlefield 3 will not be made available to game lovers via Steam. Interestingly, this time the statement has been accompanied by reasons for the feud between the two firms. EA has released an official statement informing that the company has no option left but to discontinue its long partnership with Valve and stop selling its games through America’s leading game distributors due to change in policies by the hosting company.
Encryption

Submission + - What Really Breaks SSL? (net-security.org)

Orome1 writes: For an average web site, the security of the communication channel is rarely compromised by attackers using advanced exploitation techniques. On the contrary, the compromises virtually always come from the flaws in the way SSL is deployed. These problems are created by those implementing and maintaining web sites. And, in most cases, they can relatively easily be fixed. In the most recent round of SSL research, SSL Labs focused on programming and deployment errors that compromise SSL security even when SSL is properly configured, with strong cryptographic primitives and up-to-date libraries.
Apple

Submission + - Macs More Vulnerable Than Windows for Enterprise (theregister.co.uk)

sl4shd0rk writes: At a Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, researches presented exploits on Apples DHX authentication scheme which can compromise all connected Macs on the LAN within minutes. “If we go into an enterprise with a Mac and run this tool we will have dozens or hundreds of passwords in minutes,” Stamos said. Macs are fine as long as you run them as little islands, but once you hook them up to each other, they become much less secure.
Patents

Submission + - Patent Troll Lawyer Sanctioned: Extortion Tactics (techdirt.com)

An anonymous reader writes: For all the stories of patent trolls and copyright trolls, there haven't been too many stories of either being sanctioned for abusive or extortion-like practices... until now. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (one level below the Supreme Court) has approved over $600,000 in sanctions against a lawyer for a patent troll, saying that filing over a hundred lawsuits, each of which was followed up almost immediately with offers to settle at fees much cheaper than it would cost to fight, has the "indicia of extortion." Now if only judges started doing that more often.
Idle

Submission + - Drug Catapult Found at US-Mexico Border (foxnews.com) 2

suraj.sun writes: Drug smugglers trying to get marijuana across the Arizona-Mexico border apparently are trying a new approach — a medieval catapult, capable of launching 4.4 pounds of marijuana at a time.

National Guard troops operating a remote video surveillance system at the Naco Border Patrol Station say they observed several people preparing a catapult and launching packages over the International Border fence last Friday evening.

The 3-yard tall catapult was found about 20 yards from the U.S. border on a flatbed towed by a sports utility vehicle, according to a Mexican army officer with the 45th military zone in the border state of Sonora.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/01/26/drug-catapult-mexico-border/

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