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Linux Business

US Postal Service Moves To GNU/Linux 477

twitter writes "The US Postal Service has moved its Cobol package tracking software to HP machines running GNU/Linux. 1,300 servers handle 40 million transactions a day and cost less than the last system, which was based on a Sun Solaris environment." The migration took a year. The USPS isn't spelling how big the savings are, except that they are "significant."
Transportation

Bugatti's Latest Veyron, Most Ridiculous Car on the Planet? 790

Wired has an amusing writeup that accurately captures the most recent ridiculous addition to Bugatti's automobile catalog. The $2.1 million Veyron sports over 1,000 horsepower, a 16-cylinder engine, and a top speed of 245 mph. The guilty conscience comes for free. "That same cash-filled briefcase could buy seven Ferrari 599s or every single 2009 model Mercedes. You could snap up a top-shelf Maybach and employ a chauffeur until well past the apocalypse. Hell, in this economy, $2.1 million is probably enough to make you a one-man special-interest group with some serious Washington clout."

Comment Hmmm... (Score 1) 174

Has it been forgotten that a few weeks ago a more advanced form of this 'sniffing' was shown NOT using javascript? http://it.slashdot.org/story/09/06/13/2125211/Sniffing-Browser-History-Without-Javascript So, y'all that thing 'Oh, No Script protects me' think again.. This exploit has been around for years and I'm pretty sure it's been used for quite some time as well. Maybe I'm just apathetic about people knowing what sites I visit but... Meh, let them know, what harm could it do? (Yea, I know, I don't visit child porn so what do I have to hide?) :)
PC Games (Games)

Dave Perry Shows Off Cloud Gaming Service "Gaikai" 79

jasoncart writes "Veteran gaming man Dave Perry has shown off his OnLive-rivalling, cloud gaming service called Gaikai in a new video that is drawing a lot of attention. As you can see from the video, Perry plays World of Warcraft, EVE Online, Mario Kart 64, Spore and more — all running on a bog-standard computer through the Gaikai website, itself running in a normal version of Firefox." More details about the service are available at Perry's website. He spoke about Gaikai in an interview a few months ago, and he seems confident that this will work better than OnLive (which we've discussed in the past).
Idle

Submission + - Lost Ark of the Covenant discovered? (telegraph.co.uk)

Conundrum writes: "seems they might have found the Lost Ark of the Covenant, in Ethiopia. according to some theories the structure of the Ark stores electrical energy like a Leyden Jar (a form of capacitor) and explains how people were "struck dead" as touching one will cause death if the charge is strong enough (more than 30 Joules or so) so maybe they used it for buffering the power flow from static collectors, and running primitive silicon carbide/gold wire based lamps.. who knows."
Censorship

Submission + - Hackers Work To Get Information Out of Iran (yahoo.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Here's a story by the AP which mentions NedaNet, a loose organization of hackers that are providing more secure channels of communication for Iranian citizens, with the goal of "supporting the democratic revolution in Iran". (from their website ) The idea is to get information about what is really happening on the streets of Iran, including the most recent protests, to the global community though the usual channels (like Twitter, Email, etc), by providing Iranian citizens with tools to evade their government's internet censorship software.
Education

Submission + - Important Lessons for the Next Gen of Geeks?

MrAndrews writes: "My kids have had a fairly geeky upbringing so far, learning the evils of DRM at a young age, configuring new drives of anime for XBMC, and Creative Commons licensing their crayon drawings. But I feel like there's more education I could be doing, so I'm planning to create a series of short digi-fables that will prime them for life. I've already done DRM, patents, censorship and bullying, but there are probably lots of other topics out there that need covering, like net neutrality. Or SQL injection. Or... stuff. I've heard rumours that Slashdot is a fairly geeky place, so I put it to you: what are the most important lessons you can teach a geek-in-training?"
Music

Submission + - Artists Attack RIAA after Thomas-Rasset Verdict (rollingstone.com)

gzipped_tar writes: Last week a judge ruled that Jammie Thomas-Rasset owes the RIAA a $1.92 million fine for illegally downloading 24 songs. Richard Marx — one of the artists whose music Thomas-Rasset downloaded via P2P network Kazaa — spoke out against the court's verdict, saying he's "ashamed" to be associated with the massive fine.

"As a long-time professional songwriter, I have always objected to the practice of illegal downloading of music. I have also always, however, been sympathetic to the average music fan, who has been consistently financially abused by the greedy actions of major labels," Marx said in a statement. "These labels, until recently, were responsible for the distribution of the majority of recorded music, and instead of nurturing the industry and doing their best to provide the highest quality of music to the fans, they predominantly chose to ream the consumer and fill their pockets."

He continued, "So now we have a 'judgement' in a case of illegal downloading, and it seems to me, especially in these extremely volatile economic times, that holding Ms. Thomas-Rasset accountable for the continuing daily actions of hundreds of thousands of people is, at best, misguided and at worst, farcical. Her accountability itself is not in question, but this show of force posing as judicial come-uppance is clearly abusive. Ms. Thomas Rasset, I think you got a raw deal, and I'm ashamed to have my name associated with this issue."

Marx isn't the only artist to take umbrage with the ruling against Thomas-Rasset. Writing on his official Website, Moby said, "What utter nonsense. This is how the record companies want to protect themselves? Suing suburban moms for listening to music? Charging $80,000 per song? Punishing people for listening to music is exactly the wrong way to protect the music business."

In related news, Nate Anderson on ArsTechnica noted that "In the wake of the RIAA win, the organization's legendarily poor public image somehow got even worse". He quoted the words from a music critic Jim DeRogatis: "[the Thomas-Rasset ruling is] infamous as one of the most wrong-headed in the history of the American judicial system--not to mention that it will forever stand as the best evidence of the contempt of the old-school music industry toward the music lovers who once were its customers."

On the other side of the story, an RIAA spokesperson recently commented about their victory: "This group of 12 Minnesotans showed us that, despite the protestations of some pundits who suggest that the digital world should resemble some kind of new wild west, the majority understands and believes that the same laws and rules we follow every day apply online. Not just in theory, but in practice. Another group of 12 people presented with similar questions said the same thing two years ago. That makes a sample size of only 24, but it's certainly enough to learn from."

Idle

Submission + - Chip in soap causes panic in Indian village

sayanchak writes: "The Bangalore Mirror reports,

"People of a village near Bajpe were in a panic, after they found a chip resembling a pen drive in their toilet soaps.

As rumours spread that the chip was a bomb or was inserted to make blue films, the villagers made a beeline to the police station. Police investigated and found that the chip was installed for collecting data. A team from Hindustan Lever Limited was conducting studies related to Lifebuoy soap and its usage in the village.""
Transportation

Computers Key To Air France Crash 911

Michael_Curator writes "It's no secret that commercial airplanes are heavily computerized, but as the mystery of Air France Flight 447 unfolds, we need to come to grips with the fact that in many cases, airline pilots' hands are tied when it comes to responding effectively to an emergency situation. Boeing planes allow pilots to take over from computers during emergency situations, Airbus planes do not. It's not a design flaw — it's a philosophical divide. It's essentially a question of what do you trust most: a human being's ingenuity or a computer's infinitely faster access and reaction to information. It's not surprising that an American company errs on the side of individual freedom while a European company is more inclined to favor an approach that relies on systems. As passengers, we should have the right to ask whether we're putting our lives in the hands of a computer rather than the battle-tested pilot sitting up front, and we should have right to deplane if we don't like the answer."
Image

Is Playing a DVD Harder Than Rocket Science? Screenshot-sm 464

dacut writes "After successfully repairing the Hubble Space Telescope, astronauts aboard the shuttle Atlantis found themselves with a free day due to thunderstorms which delayed their return. They attempted to pass the time by watching movies, only to find that their laptops did not have the proper software, and Houston was unable to help. No word, alas, on what software was involved, though we can assume that software/codec updates are a tad difficult when you're orbiting the planet at 17,200MPH."
Technology

Nanomaker's Toolkit — Methods For Self-Assembly 48

gabrlknght writes with this excerpt from Science News: "Because nanoparticles are small, a large proportion of their atoms are near the particle's surface. Having fewer neighbors, those relatively unconfined atoms can link in unusual ways, giving materials made of nanoparticles novel properties. But the same characteristic that makes nanostructures useful — size — also makes working with them no small task. Engineering on the nanoscale is like building a ship in a bottle while wearing mittens. It would be far cheaper and easier, researchers agree, if nanoparticles could just arrange themselves into nanomaterials — like dropping the pieces of the ship into the bottle and then sitting back to watch the ship build itself. What scientists are working on now is finding the right chemistry — creating just the right conditions so that natural properties such as charge or magnetism direct the pieces of the ship to come together just so, with the mast above the deck and never below or to the side. This idea, called self-assembly, isn't exactly new. Examples range from the simple separation of oil and vinegar in a bottle of salad dressing to the complex movements of proteins and enzymes — themselves nanosized — reacting in living cells. Scientists have long been inspired by these naturally self-assembling systems. But designing self-assembling systems in the lab, with nanoparticles, presents its own scale of difficulty. And making self-assembled nanomaterials grow large enough to actually be useful is even more challenging."

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