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EU

Europe Needs Genetically Engineered Crops, Scientists Say 586

First time accepted submitter Dorianny writes in with a story about the ongoing battle over genetically engineered crops in Europe. "The European Union cannot meet its goals in agricultural policy without embracing genetically engineered crops (GMOs). That's the conclusion of scientists who write in Trends in Plant Science, a Cell Press publication, based on case studies showing that the EU is undermining its own competitiveness in the agricultural sector to its own detriment and that of its humanitarian activities in the developing world. 'Failing such a change, ultimately the EU will become almost entirely dependent on the outside world for food and feed and scientific progress, ironically because the outside world has embraced the technology which is so unpopular in Europe, realizing this is the only way to achieve sustainable agriculture,' said Paul Christou of the University of Lleida-Agrotecnio Center and Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats in Spain."
Crime

Stolen Laptop Owner Outwits Mugger, Police, and the Media 272

An anonymous reader writes "What do you get mugged in Central London and the local police are too incompetent to find a mugger even with his address and photograph? You may not be able to get to the laptop, but you still own the photos and data on it, so you set up the NSFW Plumpergeddon blog which gives details of the subsequent 'owner's' 'Brick House Butts' fetishes. Now of course later the IT media might get interested and offer an interview with a promise to let him review the article and keep his name secret. luckily our hero is not so innocent and demonstrates the value of using a false name on the internet as well as planting your own monitoring software on your laptop."
Windows

Windows: Not Doomed Yet 737

Nerval's Lobster writes "Earlier this week, ZDNet columnist Steven Vaughan-Nichols wrote an article, 'Windows: It's over,' that sparked a lot of passionate online debate. His thesis was simple: Microsoft's dominance of the computing market is coming to an end, accelerated by the incipient failure of Windows 8. Make no mistake about it: there's no way to fudge the numbers in a way that suggests Windows 8 is proving a blockbuster. But maybe it's not doomsday for Windows or Microsoft. After all, the company still has a lot of really smart developers and engineers, a whole ton of cash, and the ability to let its projects play out over years. So here's the question, Slashdotters: Is Windows really doomed? And, if not, what can be done to turn things around? (No originality points awarded for a 'Fire Steve Ballmer' response.)"

Comment Re:"Cache-land" (Score 1) 101

Rightsholders have to have *full time* people involved in policing sites like youtube.. something just isnt right about that.

Actually, they CHOOSE to have full time people do this. They also choose to have some inadequate software do it too. They don't have to do it. They have some fear (grounded or unfounded, brilliant or misguided) that "people will see our stuff and we won't profit from their eyeballs". This may be true. But it is their choice to produce stuff and their choice to limit distribution in the way that they do. If those choices then result in them choosing to try to put a genie back in a bottle and attempt technical and social engineering means to enforce artificial scarcity on the things they produce - well, that was all their choice. They don't "have to" do it.

I happen to agree with limited copyright protections (maybe 10 years, maybe 20 - there are good arguments on either side), and, as a rule, don't violate copyright and actively educate the minors in my household about respecting copyright laws. But that doesn't make me blind to the crazy choices that these distributors make in limiting distribution of content and then expecting people to not be criminals. Lots of people are criminals. Heck just look at all the red-light runners and speeders on the road. Look at all of the shoplifting that goes on. Then take copyright violation (which many people don't even consider to be immoral) and what would you expect to happen when you attempt to artificially limit the avenues by which content can be legally acquired? Yep. Violations. Lots of them. If hiring people to police web sites is the price of the business decisions they've made - well, sorry, but they made their bed. Now they get to sleep in it. And by artificially limiting distribution - here is what I mean summed up pretty well - http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones

Education

Getting a Literature Ph.D. Will Make You Into a Horrible Person 489

An anonymous reader writes "An assistant professor at Ohio State University who recently earned her Ph.D. in literature writes a warning in Slate for others following the same path. She says, 'I now realize graduate school was a terrible idea because the full-time, tenure-track literature professorship is extinct. After four years of trying, I've finally gotten it through my thick head that I will not get a job—and if you go to graduate school, neither will you. ... Don't misunderstand me. There is unquantifiable intellectual reward from the exploration of scholarly problems and the expansion of every discipline—yes, even the literary ones, and even if that means doing bat-s**t analysis like using the rule of "false elimination" to determine that Josef K. is simultaneously guilty and not guilty in The Trial. But there is one sort of reward you will never get: monetary compensation from a stable, non-penurious position at a decent university. ... By the time you finish—if you even do— your academic self will be the culmination of your entire self, and thus you will believe, incomprehensibly, that not having a tenure-track job makes you worthless. You will believe this so strongly that when you do not land a job, it will destroy you, and nobody outside of academia will understand why. (Bright side: You will no longer have any friends outside academia.) ... In the place of actual jobs are adjunct positions: benefit-free, office-free academic servitude in which you will earn $18,000 a year for the rest of your life."

Comment Re:Let's look at this more closely (Score 4, Interesting) 294

You've nailed the key point. The fact of the matter is that the file (or copies of the file) should have no bearing on this case. The issue is the license (since you are licensing, not buying) and whether or not it should be transferable when it was likely specified in the fine print somewhere that it wasn't transferable. The whole "it isn't the same file when you transmit it to their server" is a red herring. I'd imagine the court case must have been brought against something pretty narrow in order for it to come down to a decision about the file (since the file should really be irrelevant to the use rights granted by the license). Maybe a higher court will need to figure this out and bring this out of the realm of technical issues and copies of files and get it back to the licensing of imaginary property.
Patents

Indian Supreme Court Denies Novartis Cancer Drug Patent 288

beltsbear writes "Following a reasonable view of drug patents, the Indian courts have decided that making small changes to an existing patented drug are not worthy of a new patent. This ruling makes way for low cost Indian cancer drugs that will save lives. From the Article: 'Novartis lost a six-year legal battle after the court ruled that small changes and improvements to the drug Glivec did not amount to innovation deserving of a patent. The ruling opens the way for generic companies in India to manufacture and sell cheap copies of the drug in the developing world and has implications for HIV and other modern drugs too.'"
United States

USPS Discriminates Against 'Atheist' Merchandise 1121

fish waffle writes "Suspecting that their strongly branded 'Atheist' products may be treated differently by more religiously-oriented postal regions, Kickstarter success Atheist Shoes conducted an experiment. They sent 178 packages to 89 people in different parts of the U.S., each person receiving one package prominently branded as 'Atheist' merchandise, and one not. The results: packages with the atheist label were nearly 10 times more likely to be 'lost,' and took on average 3 days longer to show up when they did. Control experiments were also done in Europe and Germany — it's definitely a USPS problem."
The Internet

Why Trolls Win With Toxic Comments 298

Hugh Pickens writes "The Web is a place for unlimited exchange of ideas. But according to an NPR report, researchers have found that rude comments on articles can change the way we interpret the news. 'It's a little bit like the Wild West. The trolls are winning,' says Dominique Brossard, co-author of the study on the so-called 'Nasty Effect.' Researchers worked with a science writer to construct a balanced news story on the pros and cons of nanotechnology, a topic chosen so that readers would have to make sense of a complicated issue with low familiarity. They then asked 1,183 subjects to review the blog post from a Canadian newspaper that discussed the water contamination risks of nanosilver particles and the antibacterial benefits. Half saw the story with polite comments, and the other half saw rude comments, like: 'If you don't see the benefits of using nanotechnology in these products, you're an idiot.' People that were exposed to the polite comments didn't change their views really about the issue covering the story, while the people that did see the rude comments became polarized — they became more against the technology that was covered in the story. Brossard says we need to have an anchor to make sense of complicated issues. 'And it seems that rudeness and incivility is used as a mental shortcut to make sense of those complicated issues.' Brossard says there's no quick fix for this issue (PDF), and while she thinks it's important to foster conversation through comments sections, every media organization has to figure out where to draw the line when comments get out of control. 'It's possible that the social norms in this brave new domain will change once more — with users shunning meanspirited attacks from posters hiding behind pseudonyms and cultivating civil debate instead,' writes Brossard. 'Until then, beware the nasty effect.'"

Comment Re:Grow Up (Score 4, Informative) 965

It really depends on your usage pattern. Some people find it really annoying, others like it, whilst some are in between. I do find it really annoying on occasion. For example one of the things I like to do is watch a web cast while playing Free Cell. In Windows 7 this was simple enough. In Windows 8, the Free Cell game is a 200 MB download (instead of being built in like in Win 7), and it only plays in Metro - so it takes either the full screen or 80% of the screen if you snap it. Then you can't watch the web cast unless you have two monitors. Honestly whoever thought that it was a good idea to force apps to full screen on large monitors was a moron. Fortunately I do have two monitors so I can make this work. But it is annoying. Most other things are fine - as long as you avoid Metro style apps and make sure to set the system to not use the Metro apps for opening files.
News

New Pope Selected 915

Freshly Exhumed sends this quote from CBC: "Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina has been selected as Pope of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics. He will be known as Pope Francis. He is the first Pope from the Americas. The 76-year-old was the runner-up to Benedict XVI during the last conclave. He is well-known for his humility and espouses church teachings on homosexuality, abortion and contraception. He has no Vatican experience."
Books

$13 Txtr Beagle Ebook Reader To Sell For $69 79

Nate the greatest writes "Remember that really cheap 5" ereader that everyone was talking about back in October? It turns out that the price was too good to be true. Txtr, maker of the beagle ereader, has confirmed today that the beagle will be coming to the US market in the near future. But it's not going to cost $13. Instead this ereader will cost $69. It seems that txtr isn't having much luck selling the beagle to telecoms (where it was going to be marketed as a smartphone companion device), so they have instead decided to try to sell it in the retail trade, where it will have to directly compete against the Kindle. That is going to be a problem because the beagle is much less capable than the Kindle, even though it costs the same. The beagle won't work without a companion Android app which is needed to transfer files to the beagle over Bluetooth. That app requires Android 4.0 or above."
Debian

Gamer Rewrites Valve's Steam Installer For Debian 158

An anonymous reader writes "Gaming on Linux is growing fast right now, and most of that is thanks to Steam. Initially, Steam committed only to the most popular desktop distribution, Ubuntu, but more recently has opened the door to others. So what do you do when you want to game in Linux and you're using something a little less popular — at least, on the desktop? If you're a programmer called GhostSquad57, you rewrite the installer for Debian. GhostSquad57 uploaded his efforts to Github yesterday, and has since reached out to the Linux community."
Businesses

How Paid Apps On Firefox OS Will Work 74

An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla has put up a blog post about how building a paid app will work for Firefox OS. The Firefox Marketplace will host web apps, and Mozilla is quick to point out that the apps won't lock you into Firefox OS. They will use the receipt protocol, which other devices can support. If they end up doing so, users could buy the app just once and run it anywhere. 'There is, of course, a chicken vs. egg problem here so Mozilla hopes to be the egg that helps prove out the decentralized receipt concept and iterate on the protocol. Mozilla invites other vendors to help us work on getting receipts right so that paid apps are as portable and "webby" as possible.' Mozilla has a JavaScript API for exposing device receipts, and a client-side library can then contact a verification service URL from the receipt." Somewhat related: a recent panel at Mobile World Congress consisted of representatives for Firefox OS, Ubuntu for Phones, and Sailfish OS. They spoke about the need for alternatives to Android and iOS, and how manufacturers and carriers actually seem eager to use these new operating systems to differentiate their products

Comment Re:Teamwork (Score 1) 455

Not being an "expert" in the field (if one actually exists), all I can offer is an anecdote. I think people need both types of work at different times. As a technical lead for my team - I need to be available to point people in the right direction, help them with issues, and decide on some of the correct technical choices. However, when I am in the office I ALWAYS have someone from either my team or one of our other infrastructure teams in my office. My solution is to work from home one day a week. Even though I am available via phone, instant message, email, and even video call I don't get bothered much at all when home and can crank out code or documentation or even build system images without interruption. On the other days, I don't plan on getting too much of my own work done - but then my position includes facilitating the other folks on the team to get their assignments done. This has worked really well for me for over 5 years.

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