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Graphics

Clearing Up Wayland FUD, Misconceptions 240

An anonymous reader writes "In clearing up common misconceptions about Wayland (e.g. it breaking compatibility with the Linux desktop and it not supporting remote desktops like X), Eric Griffith (a Linux developer) and Daniel Stone (a veteran X.Org developer) have written The Wayland Situation in which they clearly explain the facts about the shortcomings of X, the corrections made by Wayland, and the advantages to this alternative to Canonical's in-development Mir."
DRM

EFF Makes Formal Objection to DRM In HTML5 270

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed a formal objection to the inclusion of DRM in HTML5, saying that a draft proposal from the W3C could hurt innovation and block access to people around the world. From their press page: '"This proposal stands apart from all other aspects of HTML standardization: it defines a new 'black box' for the entertainment industry, fenced off from control by the browser and end-user," said EFF International Director Danny O'Brien. "While this plan might soothe Hollywood content providers who are scared of technological evolution, it could also create serious impediments to interoperability and access for all."'
GNU is Not Unix

Debian GNU/Hurd 2013 Released 264

jrepin writes "The GNU Hurd is the GNU project's replacement for the Unix kernel. It is a collection of servers that run on the Mach microkernel to implement file systems, network protocols, file access control, and other features that are implemented by the Unix kernel or similar kernels (such as Linux). The Debian GNU/Hurd team announces the release of Debian GNU/Hurd 2013. This is a snapshot of Debian 'sid' at the time of the Debian 'wheezy' release (May 2013), so it is mostly based on the same sources. Debian GNU/Hurd is currently available for the i386 architecture with more than 10,000 software packages available (more than 75% of the Debian archive)."
Google

Congress Demands Answers From Google Over Google Glass Privacy Concerns 201

Today eight members of the U.S. Congress have sent a letter to Google's Larry Page, asking him to address a number of privacy concerns about Google Glass. In the letter (PDF), they brought up the company's notorious Street View data collection incident, and asked how the company was planning to avoid a similar privacy breach with Glass. They also ask how Google is going to build Glass to protect the privacy of non-users who may not want their every public move to be recorded. Further, they ask about the security of recordings once they are made: "Will Google Glass have the capacity to store any data on the device itself? If so, will Google Glass implement some sort of user authentication system to safeguard stored data? If not, why not?" Google has until July 14th to respond.
Government

UN Says: Why Not Eat More Insects? 626

PolygamousRanchKid writes in with news about a U.N. plan to get more bugs in your belly. "The U.N. has new weapons to fight hunger, boost nutrition and reduce pollution, and they might be crawling or flying near you right now: edible insects. The Food and Agriculture Organization on Monday hailed the likes of grasshoppers, ants and other members of the insect world as an underutilized food for people, livestock and pets. Insects are 'extremely efficient' in converting feed into edible meat, the agency said. Most insects are likely to produce fewer environmentally harmful greenhouse gases, and also feed on human and food waste, compost and animal slurry, with the products being used for agricultural feed, the agency said. 'Insects are everywhere and they reproduce quickly,' the agency said, adding they leave a 'low environmental footprint.' The agency noted that its Edible Insect Program is also examining the potential of arachnids, such as spiders and scorpions."
Censorship

IRS Admits Targeting Conservative Groups During 2012 Election 719

An anonymous reader writes "A recurring theme in comments on Slashdot since the 9/11 attacks has been concern about the use of government power to monitor or suppress political activity unassociated with terrorism but rather based on ideology. It has just been revealed that the IRS has in fact done that. From the story: "The Internal Revenue Service inappropriately flagged conservative political groups for additional reviews during the 2012 election . . . Organizations were singled out because they included the words 'tea party' or 'patriot' in their applications for tax-exempt status, said Lois Lerner, who heads the IRS division that oversees tax-exempt groups. In some cases, groups were asked for their list of donors, which violates IRS policy in most cases, she said. 'That was wrong. That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. That's not how we go about selecting cases for further review,' Lerner said . . . 'The IRS would like to apologize for that,' she added. . . . Lerner said the practice was initiated by low-level workers in Cincinnati and was not motivated by political bias. . . . she told The AP that no high level IRS officials knew about the practice. Tea Party groups were livid on Friday. ... In all, about 300 groups were singled out for additional review. . . Tea Party groups weren't buying the idea that the decision to target them was solely the responsibility of low-level IRS workers. ... During the conference call it was stated that no disciplinary action had been taken by those who engaged in this activity. President Obama has previously joked about using the IRS to target people." So it's not how they choose cases for review (except when it is), and was not motivated by political bias (except that it was). Also at National Review, with more bite.
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.'"

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