Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Almighty Buck

Circuit City Rewards Execs As Stock Tanks 354

jamie tipped us to Dean Baker's Beat the Press blog, where Baker comments on a followup to Circuit City's firing of all its highest-paid salespeople last March (Slashdot discussion here). Circuit City's stock has cratered in the meanwhile, and their response has been to offer $1 million retention bonuses to executive VPs. Baker points out that each one of these bonuses represents 35 years' salary for one of the fired salespeople.
Space

Voyager 2 Shows Solar System Is "Dented" 173

Selikoff writes "NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft has found that our solar system is not round but is 'dented' by the local interstellar magnetic field, space experts said on Monday. The data were gathered by the craft on its 30-year journey when it crossed into a region called the 'termination shock.' The data showed that the southern hemisphere of the solar system's heliosphere is being pushed in. Voyager 2 is the second spacecraft to enter this region of the solar system, behind Voyager 1, which reached the northern region of the heliosheath in December 2004."
Government

Canada's New DMCA Considered Worst Copyright Law 234

loconet writes "The government of Canada is preparing to attempt to bring a new DMCA-modeled copyright law in Canada in order to comply with the WIPO treaties the country signed in 1997. (These treaties were also the base of the American DMCA.) The new Canadian law will be even more restrictive in nature than the American version and worse than the last Canadian copyright proposal, the defeated Bill C-60. Among the many restrictive clauses in this new law, as Michael Geist explains, is the total abolishment of the concept of fair use: 'No parody exception. No time shifting exception. No device shifting exception. No expanded backup provision. Nothing.' Geist provides a list of 30 things that can be done to address the issues."
The Almighty Buck

Close but no Cigar for Netflix Recommender System 114

Ponca City, We Love You writes "In October 2006, Netflix, the online movie rental service, announced that it would award $1 million to the first team to improve the accuracy of Netflix's movie recommendations by 10% based on personal preferences. Each contestant was given a set of data from which three million predictions were made about how certain users rated certain movies and Netflix compared that list with the actual ratings and generated a score for each team. More than 27,000 contestants from 161 countries submitted their entries and some got close, but not close enough. Today Netflix announced that it is awarding an annual progress prize of $50,000 to a group of researchers at AT&T Labs, who improved the current recommendation system by 8.43 percent but the $1 million grand prize is still up for grabs and a $50,000 progress prize will be awarded every year until the 10 percent goal is met. As part of the rules of the competition, the team was required to disclose their solution publicly. (pdf)"
Education

Bill Would Tie Financial Aid To Anti-Piracy Plans 425

theodp writes "The MPAA is applauding top Democratic politicians for introducing an anti-piracy bill that threatens the nation's colleges with the loss of a $100B a year in federal financial aid should they fail to have a technology plan to combat illegal file sharing. The proposal, which is embedded in a 747-page bill, has alarmed university officials. 'Such an extraordinarily inappropriate and punitive outcome would result in all students on that campus losing their federal financial aid — including Pell grants and student loans that are essential to their ability to attend college, advance their education, and acquire the skills necessary to compete in the 21st-century economy,' said university officials in a letter to Congress. 'Lower-income students, those most in need of federal financial aid, would be harmed most under the entertainment industry's proposal.'"
The Internet

Over-50s Invade the Social Networking Scene 230

An anonymous reader writes "The Telegraph newspaper reports that over-50s are invading sites like Facebook and MySpace in massive numbers. A recent study showed that nearly one third of Facebook users are aged between 35 and 54, and that this group also made up 41 percent of MySpace users. "Because the mind of an over-50 is likely superior to that of a drink-addled undergrad, at first there was uncertainty about whether older users would find the Facebook-led social-networking phenomena attractive." Looks like dad just turned up to the party."
Biotech

Super-Light Plastic As Strong as Steel 226

Roland Piquepaille writes "A new composite plastic built layer by layer has been created by engineers at the University of Michigan. This plastic is as strong as steel. It has been built the same way as mother-of-pearl, and shows similar strength. Interestingly, this 300-layer plastic has been built with 'strong' nanosheets of clay and a 'fragile' polymer called polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), commonly used in paints and glue, which acts as 'Velcro' to envelop the nanoparticles. This new plastic could soon be used to design light but strong armors for soldiers or police officers. The researchers also think this material could be used in biomedical sensors and unmanned aircraft."
Communications

Hacked iPhones Confirmed As Bricking With Latest Update 430

mhollis writes "Field experience has confirmed that if you have a hacked iPhone, it will become an iBrick if you use Software Update to install the latest update on your iPhone. The BBC reports: '[Apple's] warning has now proved correct as many owners are reporting their phones no longer work following installation of the update. Apple requires iPhone owners to take out a lengthy contract with AT&T in the United States but there are a number of programs on the net that unlock the device for use with other networks.' The only 'solution' is to unhack your iPhone."
Graphics

Drawing on Air With Haptics in 3D 62

Roland Piquepaille writes "In a recent article, PhysOrg.com reports that a team of computer scientists at Brown University has developed 'Drawing on Air', a haptic-aided interface to help artists to create 3D illustrations while wearing a virtual reality mask. 'The technique introduces two new strategies, using one hand or two hands, to give artists the tools they need for drawing different types of curves, and for viewing and editing their work.' The researchers hope that these techniques will improve the precision with which scientists can interact with their 3D data using a computer. This also would help artists to illustrate complicated artistic, scientific, and medical subjects."
Security

Big Brother Really Is Watching Us All 405

siddesu writes "The BBC has a nice high-level overview of some technologies for surveillance developed in the US and the UK. 'The US and UK governments are developing increasingly sophisticated gadgets to keep individuals under their surveillance. When it comes to technology, the US is determined to stay ahead of the game ... But it [a through-the wall sensing device in development] will also show whether someone inside a house is looking to harm you, because if they are, their heart rate will be raised. And 10 years from now, the technology will be much smarter. We'll scan a person with one of these things and tell what they're actually thinking.'"
Google

Google Sued Over Deceptive Search Results 246

biggles266 writes "Internet goliath Google claims to rank search results by relevance, but the search engine engages in deceptive conduct by selling off the top positions to commercial partners, a Sydney court has heard. The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) is taking world-first legal action in the Federal Court against Google Inc over allegedly deceptive conduct related to sponsored links on its websites. The ACCC has brought a two-pronged case against Trading Post and Google — including subsidiaries Google Australia and Google Ireland — for potentially misleading consumers. The consumer watchdog alleges Google does not do enough to differentiate "organic" search results — those ranked by relevance — from sponsored links which appear at the top of the results page."
Censorship

Belgium May Prosecute the Church of Scientology 755

sheean.nl writes "A Belgian prosecutor recommended after a 10-year investigation that the government prosecute the church of Scientology. The church is accused of being a criminal organization involved in extortion, fraud, unfair trading, violation of privacy laws, and unlawfully practicing medicine. Both the Belgian and the European branches of the church should be brought to court, according to the authorities. The investigation was started in 1997 after former Scientologists complained about intimidation and extortion by the church. Other European countries such as Germany have problems with Scientology, but in the US it is officially recognized as a religion. Scientology has 10 million members including high-profile followers such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta." Scientology has long used heavy-handed legal and other tactics to suppress opposition on the Net.
Microsoft

Zune DRM Cracked 232

An anonymous reader noted that Zune Scene is reporting that the Zune DRM has been cracked with software now available that strips the DRM from Zune Marketplace tracks and those shared with WiFi.

Slashdot Top Deals

There are no games on this system.

Working...