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Science

Submission + - Electricity Gives Bubbles Super Strength (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Left to its own devices, a bubble will weaken and pop as the fluid sandwiched between two thin layers of soap succumbs to gravity and drains toward the floor. But when researchers trapped a bubble between two platinum electrodes and cranked up the voltage, the fluid reversed direction and actually flowed up, against the force of gravity. The newly strong and stable bubbles could live for hours, and even visibly change colors as their walls grew fatter. Because soap film is naturally only nanometers thick, this whimsical experiment could help scientists create more efficient labs-on-chips, the mazes of nanotunnels that can diagnose disease based on the movements of a miniscule drop of blood.
Technology

Submission + - Microsoft Research re-invents the Web Bot Project (networkworld.com)

colinneagle writes: You may have heard of the Web Bot Project. It was an application that crawled news articles, blogs, forums, and other forms of Internet conversations, looking for specific keywords. Its creators, Clif High and George Ure, initially did it to look for stock market trends. After claims that Web Bot allegedly predicted the 2004 Indonesian earthquake and Hurricane Katrina months before they happened, High went all Art Bell/George Noory, creating a website where he post a whole lot of nonsensical babble pretending to be predictions.

No, I don't think much of the Web Bot project.

But the idea of looking through existing conversation for patterns and emerging trends isn't invalid. Researchers at Microsoft and an Israeli research firm have created software that attempts to predict outbreaks based on two decades of New York Times articles and other online data.

This kind of data mining has a decent track record. For example, reports of droughts in Angola in 2006 triggered a warning about possible cholera outbreaks in the country because outbreaks following a drought had happened before. A second warning was issued in early 2007 from news reports of large storms in Africa because they had happened before.

In similar tests involving forecasts of disease, violence, and a significant numbers of deaths, the system’s warnings were correct between 70 to 90 percent of the time, Kira Radinsky, a researcher at the Technion-Israel Institute, told MIT Technology Research.

Japan

Submission + - This Year, More Japanese Tsunami Debris Will Wash Up on U.S. Shores Than Ever (vice.com) 1

pigrabbitbear writes: "When the tragedy-bearing tsunami slammed into Japan in 2011 the fallout was felt all around the world, both figuratively and literally. The crisis that unfolded at Fukushima led to a globe-spanning conversation about the merits and pitfalls of nuclear power, and to nations like Germany and Japan taking their reactors offline. But a less momentous and oft-overlooked result of the earthquake is that for two years now, it has lined the oceans and the west coast of North America with an impressive amount of debris.

The detritus—everything from Styrofoam trash to whole refrigerators—has washed ashore everywhere from Hawaii to California to British Columbia to Alaska. Especially Alaska. Chris Pallister, the president of an environmental NGO in Alaska recently told NPR it’s gotten so bad on some of Alaska’s shores that it’s like “standing in landfill out here.”"

Biotech

Submission + - Did viruses evolve from an extinct domain of life? (bytesizebio.net)

Shipud writes: A study was recently published by a group from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign . The authors analyzed the structures of proteins found in the genomes of organisms from the three domains of life. Those domains are eukarya which includes all plant, animals, fungi and some microbes; bacteria, and archaea which is a group of single-celled microorganisms distinct from eukarya and bacteria. The researchers also included a group of viruses known as NCLDVs (Nucelocyptoplasmic Large DNA viruses), Their conclusion is these viruses may have evolved from a, now extinct, fourth domain of life. Viruses are not considered to be alive, or even to have a place on the universal tree of life, by most researchers. So their claim has far-reaching consequences in our understanding of the origins of life.
Government

Submission + - Copyright claim thwarts North Korea (bbc.co.uk) 1

ianare writes: A propaganda video from the North Korean authorities has been removed from YouTube following a copyright claim by games maker Activision. It shows a space craft flying around the world and eventually over a city resembling New York. The buildings are then seen crumbling amid fires and missile attacks. However, the dramatic images were soon recognised as having been lifted from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. By Tuesday, the video had been blocked, with a message notifying users of Activision's complaint shown in its place.
Politics

Submission + - First city in the United States to pass an anti-drone resolution (aljazeera.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Charlottesville, Virginia is the first city in the United States to pass an anti-drone resolution. The writing of the resolution coincides with a leaked memo outlining the legal case for drone strikes on US citizens and a Federal Aviation Administration plan to allow the deployment of some 30,000 domestic drones.
Security

Submission + - Raspberry Pi used for prototype hardware laptop docking station backdoor (nccgroup.com)

An anonymous reader writes: At Black Hat Europe in March a security researcher from NCC Group will show how a Raspberry Pi can be used as a hardware backdoor when built into a modified laptop docking station. While details on their blog are a little light at the moment it shows how versatile the platform is and the diverse applications outside of learning..
It's funny.  Laugh.

Ask Slashdot: What Was Your Favorite Web Comic of 2012? 321

skade88 writes "It's time to do another year-end best-of roundup! Today's topic is web comics. What was your favorite web comic of 2012? Feel free to use the following categories, or make up your own. 1) Best overall web comic series of 2012. (Any web comic that produced content in 2012). 2) Funniest web comic of 2012. (This one represents the single funniest comic of any web comic series. Provide links!) 3) Best art in a web comic of 2012. (Web comic from 2012 with the most amazing art ever). 4) Web comic that was most relevant to you in 2012. (This one is even more subjective than the others)."
Enlightenment

After 12 years of Development, E17 Is Out 259

The Enlightenment front page bears this small announcement: "E17 release HAS HAPPENED!" The release announcement is remarkably spartan — it's mostly a tribute to the dozens of contributors who have worked on the software itself and on translating it into many languages besides system-default English. On the other hand, if you've been waiting since December 2000 for E17 (also known as Enlightenment 0.17), you probably have some idea that Enlightenment is a window manager (or possibly a desktop environment: the developers try to defuse any dispute on that front, but suffice it to say that you can think of it either way), and that the coders are more interested in putting out the software that they consider sufficiently done than in incrementing release numbers. That means they've made some side trips along the way, Knuth-like, to do things like create an entire set of underlying portable libraries. The release candidate changelog of a few days ago gives an idea of the very latest changes, but this overview shows and tells what to expect in E17. If you're among those disappointed in the way some desktop environments have tended toward simplicity at the expense of flexibility, you can be sure that Enlightenment runs the other way: "We don't go quietly into the night and remove options when no one is looking. None of those new big version releases with fanfare and "Hey look! Now with half the options you used to have!". We sneak in when you least expect it and plant a whole forest of new option seeds, watching them spring to life. We nail new options to walls on a regular basis. We bake options-cakes and hand them out at parties. Options are good. Options are awesome. We have lots of them. Spend some quality time getting to know your new garden of options in E17. It may just finally give you the control you have been pining for."

Comment Re:Before anyone panics... (Score 1) 128

Oh, OK. After I start Steam, I usually left-click on taskbar icon and select game from my default Library tab. While I sometimes leave it running for days, I notice there's a tendency for the connection to drop, so I have to re-start it anyway. Costs me a couple of extra clicks, but the arthritis is not bad yet. [grin]

Security

Submission + - A Conversation with Robert Watson (acm.org)

CowboyRobot writes: "ACM's Queue magazine has a video interview with Robert Watson, founder of the TrustedBSD Project and a security researcher and open source developer at the University of Cambridge. George Neville-Neil, (who pens Queue's Kode Vicious column) discusses a wide range of topics with Dr. Watson, including the bridge between industry and academia and the importance of open source in software research, as well as CPU security and why applications, rather than operating systems, are increasingly the focus of security research."

Submission + - Hair: A Traveling Tape Recorder (pbs.org) 1

kandelar writes: PBS recently ran a story about how some scientists are using human hair to trace where a person has been. The combinations of different isotopes in water make for somewhat unique signatures from place to place. These isotopes get placed in growing hair strands which can then be traced back to identify where a person has been.

Submission + - Advice Wanted: Celebrity Stepping on the Little Guy 6

SkydiverFL writes: "The attorney of a well known celebrity just called and threatened me. Years ago I registered a domain with the celebrity's name for a fan page (basically FirstMiddleLast.com). Although the fan page pays homage to this celebrity, does not sell anything, does not profit, and has no commercial ties to anything (no links to any other sites at the moment), he wants to rip the domain from my hands if I do not surrender it. His client wants to profit from the domain and it appears that I just simply do not matter. Now, because I genuinely do like the celebrity I agreed to entertain an offer from him, but that just lead to ICANN threats. This just sickens me! Because he has money I don't matter. What would you do?"
Businesses

Submission + - Paypal joins the no class action lawsuit bandwagon in privacy statement changes (paypal.com)

Guru80 writes:

PayPal recently posted a new Policy Update which includes changes to the PayPal User Agreement. The update to the User Agreement is effective November 1, 2012 and contains several changes, including changes that affect how claims you and PayPal have against each other are resolved. You will, with limited exception, be required to submit claims you have against PayPal to binding and final arbitration, unless you opt out of the Agreement to Arbitrate (Section 14.3) by December 1, 2012. Unless you opt out: (1) you will only be permitted to pursue claims against PayPal on an individual basis, not as a plaintiff or class member in any class or representative action or proceeding and (2) you will only be permitted to seek relief (including monetary, injunctive, and declaratory relief) on an individual basis.

With so many privacy policies changing to include such wording, does it really hold any weight if some obscure and buried opt-out option isn't checked?

Comment Re:Before anyone panics... (Score 1) 128

"Steam's always running...."

Huh? How does it hide from top?

When I start it via Desktop shortcut, it shows up in taskbar and system monitor process tab. When I right-click and exit it from taskbar, it's gone. Do you mean to say it's hidden or masked as another process?

"/home/myusername/.cxoffice/Steam/desktopdata/cxmenu/Desktop.C^5E3A^5Fusers^5FPublic^5FDesktop/Steam.lnk" is the command for the shortcut. Is there something in there that I should be leery of? [sorry 'bout the control codes, didn't edit or look them up]

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