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Math

Submission + - Juggling by the Numbers

theodp writes: The BBC News' Laura Gray reports on a juggling notation system developed in the 80's called Siteswap (aka Quantum Juggling and Cambridge Notation) and how it has helped jugglers discover and share thousands of new tricks. Frustrated that there was no way to write down juggling moves, mathematician Colin Wright and others helped devised Siteswap, which uses sequences of numbers to encode the number of beats of each throw, which is related to their height and the hand to which the throw is made. 'Siteswap has allowed jugglers to share tricks with each other without having to meet in person or film themselves,' says James Grime, juggling enthusiast and math instructor for Cambridge University. Still unclear on the concept? Spend some time playing around with Paul Klimek's most-excellent Quantum Juggling simulator, and you too can be a Flying Karamazov Brother!
Linux

Submission + - Learn Linux The Hard Way (nixsrv.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Author of Learn Python Te Hard Way and other works, Zed Shaw, has released a free interactive beta of Learn Linux The Hard Way; a web-based virtual Linux environment which introduces the command line and other essential Linux concepts in 30 exercises. Of course, my first entry was rm -rf /* which only produced a stream of errors. Missing vim, nano, etc., I amused myself by entering other commands and creating a few files — appending to them with "echo "*" > text.txt, etc. I wish I had discovered something like a long time ago.

Submission + - Unwarranted Cavity-Search Of Two Women Brings Federal Lawsuit (cbsnews.com) 1

Penurious Penguin writes: After enduring body cavity searches by police while en-route from Texas to Oklahoma, Angel Dobbs and her niece have filed a federal lawsuit Texas State Troopers.

State trooper David Farrell had pulled over the two women after seeing cigarette butts tossed from their window. Farrell claims to have detected the odor of cannabis emanating from the vehicle and called for female officer Kelly Helleson to perform a cavity search, which she eventually did. Meanwhile, the lawsuit claims, Farrell searched the vehicle without a warrant. When the cavity search was finally performed, it was done so in plain view of passersby and the genital areas of both women were prodded by Helleson with the same glove.
When nothing was found, a sobriety test was given; after passing it, they were given a warning for littering and let on their way — and the entire event was captured by the dash camera of Farrell. While Helleson has been placed on paid leave, Farrell remains on active duty.

Piracy

Submission + - Piracy informants motivated by 'morality' (bit.com.au)

An anonymous reader writes: A major motivation among a number of people who reported businesses for using unlicensed software was 'morality', according to the Business Software Association (BSA) of Australia. Almost half of all people who reported businesses the BSA indicated 'morality' was their main driver for making the reports. While the BSA settled 14 cases with businesses that were using unlicensed software in 2012, the settlements totaled more than $440,000, including $100,000 from a single business. Informants were either former employees, IT suppliers or consultants, or anonymous.
Technology

Submission + - Using Technology To Make Guns Safer

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Farhad Manjoo writes that there are a number of technologies that gunmakers could add to their products that might prevent hundreds or thousands of deaths per year. One area of active research is known as the “smart gun”—a trigger-identification system that prevents a gun from being fired by anyone other than its authorized user with researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology creating a working prototype of a gun that determines whether or not to fire based on a user’s “grip pattern." Gunmakers been slow to add other safety technologies as well, including indicators that show whether a gun is loaded and “magazine safeties” that prevent weapons from being fired when their ammunition magazine is removed (PDF) that could save 400 lives a year. So why aren’t gunmakers making safer guns? Because guns are exempt from most of the consumer safety laws that have improved the rest of American life because the Consumer Product Safety Commission, charged with looking over thousands of different kinds of products, is explicitly prohibited from regulating firearms. In 2005, Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which immunizes gun makers against lawsuits resulting from “misuse” of the products. If they can’t be sued and can’t be regulated, gunmakers have no incentive to make smarter guns. A week before the Newtown massacre, Joseph Loughrey went to a gun store to sell some of his weapons. Loughrey had unloaded the magazine on his handgun, but he didn’t know there was a still a round in the chamber. When he set the gun down on the center console of his truck, it went off, killing his 7-year-old son. " A magazine safety would have prevented Loughrey’s gun from going off after he’d removed the magazine. A smart trigger would have prevented the gun from firing without Loughrey’s hand being on the grip," writes Manjoo. "But Loughrey’s gun lacked both those safety devices, because nobody has ever forced gun makers to live up to the same basic safety requirements as other American companies.""

Submission + - MIT research shows new magnetic state that could aid quantum computing (networkworld.com)

alphadogg writes: Researchers at MIT and other institutions have demonstrated a new type of magnetism, only the third kind ever found, and it may find its way into future communications, computing and data storage technologies. Working with a tiny crystal of a rare mineral that took 10 months to make, the researchers for the first time have demonstrated a magnetic state called a QSL (quantum spin liquid), according to MIT physics professor Young Lee. He is the lead author of a paper on their findings, which is set to be published in the journal Nature this week. Theorists had said QSLs might exist, but one had never been demonstrated before. "We think it's pretty important," Lee said, adding that he would let his peers be the ultimate judges.
Privacy

Submission + - European data retention rule could violate fundamental E.U. law (pcadvisor.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: The European Union's data retention law could breach fundamental E.U. law because its requirements result in an invasion of citizens' privacy, according to the Constitutional Court of Austria, which has asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to determine the directive's validity.

The primary problem with the data retention law is that it almost exclusively affects people in whom government or law enforcement have no prior interest. But authorities use the data for investigations and are informed about people's personal lives, the court said, and there is a risk that the data can be abused.

"We doubt that the E.U. Data Retention Directive is really compatible with the rights that are guaranteed by the E.U. Charter of Fundamental Rights," Gerhart Holzinger, president of the Constitutional Court of Austria said in a statement.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Dear Soulskill & Slashdot Kin - Farewell 5

This is my farewell to Slashdot. I once stated after seeing my submissions disappear faster than spam -- often while RED and bearing no negative tags -- that I'd leave Slashdot out of self-respect if it happened again. Although I made an exception or two afterwards, the time has now come. I do not waste my time to have even the effort of a summary squandered so aggressively whilst spam outlives my contributions. The title of this journal is due to the tendency for this to occur under the watc

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: What Web Platform For A Small Municipality?

r3dR0v3r writes: I have the opportunity to help improve / replace the website of my small U.S. town (~6000 people). The town leaders are open to most any suggestions, and are open to the idea of having the website facilitate a more open government — by being a place at which town documents, meeting agendas, meeting minutes, legal forms, ordinances, etc. can be found in an organized way and downloaded. And of course the site should provide general info about the town, it's services, recreation opportunities, etc.. Now, we have no budget, so we'll be looking at free/open software. I've considered options such as Drupal, but I'm doing this as volunteer work so I don't want to start from scratch and spend overly much time. Thus, I'm looking for advice about any existing platforms made specifically for municipalities as a great way to get a jump start. I'm guessing there are other slashdotters that have helped their communities in this way. Your suggestions please?
Security

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Router Security Vulerability?

An anonymous reader writes: I am a freelance security/pentest consultant. I've discovered the modem/routers my local ISP leases out to customers are affected by a security vulnerability that would allow an attacker to (relatively easily) gain root access. The vulnerability is publicly known, and the manufacturer is aware of the issue and has since released a firmware update resolving it. However, unless you are a service provider, there is no way for an end-user to get the update individually.

After numerous failed attempts at contacting anyone at the corporate office of my ISP (customer service tech support was hopeless), I got in touch with someone from the manufacturer who notified me about the firmware update. Filing a CERT report does not seem like an option as the issue has already been addressed by the OEM, but what can I do to get my ISP to take action? How about the thousands of other customers potentially affected?
China

Submission + - Onion's Kim Jong Un "Sexiest man alive for 2012" Fools Chinese Media (huffingtonpost.com)

Penurious Penguin writes: In September, Iran's FARS news agency was duped by The Onion's Gallup poll — the one where "the overwhelming majority of rural white Americans said they would rather vote for Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than U.S. president Barack Obama."

Arguably besting the last breach of foreign media discretion, The Onion has now fooled China's The People's Daily in a hilarious nomination of Kim Jong Un as the "Sexiest man alive for 2012". The article included amongst dozens of others, a featured image of Kim Jong Un proudly perched upon a speckled horse. Looking at the image, one is compelled to wonder what sort of envious subterranean tillage may be taking place on behalf of Kim Jong il. He really does look stunning!

Android

Submission + - Linux Revolution 2013 1

An anonymous reader writes: Linux Revolution 2013

Will this be the year of GNU/Linux? If you ask a ZDNet journalist you would probably get a yes, just like every year since 2009. If you take a look at Linux news, it seems that 2013 is shaping up for Linux to finally get more then it’s 1% market share. Ubuntu’s latest release is easier then ever to install and has added some great features.

There are a number of portable devices scheduled for be released in 2013.
  PengPod is wrapping up what looks to be a successful crowdfunding effort on indiegogo. They have a line of dual booting portable devices running GNU/Linux and Android/Linux. Vivaldi is another GNU/Linux tablet that has closed its pre-orders quoted from their site: “After an overwhelming response and thousands of pre-orders, the first shipments of Vivaldis have been spoken for.” Then you have Rasberry PI making a mini computer. Ubuntu is developing Ubuntu for Android.

So is 2013 the Year of Linux? Only time will, but it seems to have a good chance this time.
The Internet

Submission + - U.S Congressman Wants to Ban Internet Bills (gizmodo.com)

SchrodingerZ writes: "Representative Darrell Issa, a republican congressman from California, has drafted a bill for the internet. The bill, aptly named the Internet American Moratorium Act (IAMA), is, "a two-year moratorium on any new laws, rules or regulations governing the Internet." In short it hopes to deny any new government bills related to lawmaking on the internet for the next two years. The bill was first made public on the website Reddit, and is currently on the front page of Keepthewebopen.com, a website advocating internet rights. "Together we can make Washington take a break from messing w/ the Internet," Issa writes on his Reddit post. The initial response to the bill has been mixed. Users of Reddit are skeptical of the paper's motives and credibility. As of now, the bill is just a discussion draft, whether it will gain footing in the future is up in the air."

Submission + - Nokia Asks Court To Block Sale of Some RIM Products (itworld.com)

itwbennett writes: "The ITworld article reads: 'Nokia has asked a California court to enforce an arbitration award that would prevent Research In Motion from selling products with wireless LAN capabilities until the companies can agree on patent royalty rates. Nokia and RIM both declined to comment on Nokia's request, a copy of which was obtained by IDG News Service, but such a filing is typically made after two parties settle a dispute through arbitration but one party does not follow through on the agreement.'"

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