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Submission + - The Clinton Foundation is downsizing (ny.gov)

mi writes: You would think, the end of a political career would allow a genuinely charitable family to concentrate on their charity. Instead, the Clinton Foundation is closing shop (or, at least, downsizing) after their champion's electoral loss. According to the paperwork they filed with New York Department of labor, the reason is "Discontinutation [sic] of the Clinton Global Initative [sic]".

Submission + - Scientists archiving government data to protect it from Trump (businessinsider.com)

Cludge writes: And they better hurry: links to climate change began disappearing from gov websites even before Trump's inauguration was over. The activist group "has about 50 members, and it is rapidly working to download and store the government's scientific data. The members are interviewing scientists, policymakers, and current and former agency employees to prioritize which websites and data to protect for the scientific community."

Submission + - Humans, not climate change, wiped out Australian megafauna (phys.org)

schwit1 writes: New evidence involving the ancient poop of some of the huge and astonishing creatures that once roamed Australia indicates the primary cause of their extinction around 45,000 years ago was likely a result of humans, not climate change.

Led by Monash University in Victoria, Australia and the University of Colorado Boulder, the team used information from a sediment core drilled in the Indian Ocean off the coast of southwest Australia to help reconstruct past climate and ecosystems on the continent. The core contains chronological layers of material blown and washed into the ocean, including dust, pollen, ash and spores from a fungus called Sporormiella that thrived on the dung of plant-eating mammals, said CU Boulder Professor Gifford Miller.

Miller, who participated in the study led by Sander van der Kaars of Monash University, said the sediment core allowed scientists to look back in time, in this case more than 150,000 years, spanning Earth's last full glacial cycle. Fungal spores from plant-eating mammal dung were abundant in the sediment core layers from 150,000 years ago to about 45,000 years ago, when they went into a nosedive, said Miller, a professor in the Department of Geological Sciences.

"The abundance of these spores is good evidence for a lot of large mammals on the southwestern Australian landscape up until about 45,000 years ago," he said. "Then, in a window of time lasting just a few thousand years, the megafauna population collapsed."

Submission + - France to review food whitener additive, titanium dioxide, for health risks (reuters.com)

Eloking writes: The French government has ordered a review of the safety of titanium dioxide as a food additive after a scientific study released on Friday found health effects in animals that consumed the substance.

Titanium dioxide is widely used in industry as a whitener, notably for paint. It is an ingredient in some foods such as sweets and known as additive E171.

France's National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and partners in a study on oral exposure to titanium dioxide had shown for the first time that E171 crosses the intestine wall in animals to reach other parts of the body, INRA said.

Comment Microsoft's effective negative advertising (Score 5, Insightful) 157

Microsoft top managers decided to try to force everyone who isn't technically knowledgeable to move to the Windows 10 operating system so that Microsoft could offer "Apps", like the Android and Apple cell phone systems.

Microsoft ignored the fact that trying to sell "Apps" when people have work to do on their computers is not appropriate.

Windows 10 tries to force Microsoft's control, imitating the cell phone companies that, more and more, take control away from the customer and user.

That acted as extremely effective negative advertising. Almost every technically knowledgeable person is now aware of what they consider extreme abuse.

In my opinion, the negative advertising damages Microsoft and indicates that Microsoft top managers are not competent.

Submission + - What issues do you have with Slashdot functionality? 8

hackwrench writes: We know about Slashdot's Unicode, nonspecific issues with features around what was Slashdot beta, Slashdot launching you some arbitrary distance down the page, the mobile site missing features and hiding posts without the option to turn it off and apparently I and others have been banned from moderating. What features do you find problematic with the Slashdot interface and what would you like to have added?

Submission + - AM Radio transmission of music from an unmodified laptop (github.com)

anfractuosus writes: I developed a simple program to enable the transmission of music from a .wav file
as RF AM emissions from an unmodified laptop, by making use of RF leakage from the computer, by
twiddling with data on the system bus. I made use of Pulse Density Modulation to emit the .wav file.

You can see the code at https://github.com/anfractuosi...

And a video of the audio received by a radio at https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

This is based on the awesome work at https://github.com/fulldecent/...

Submission + - Obama's Parting Gift to Trump: Expanded Surveillance Powers (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: In his final week in office, President Obama made several feel-good moves that played to his base. He transferred 10 Guantanamo detainees to Oman. He commuted the prison sentence of Chelsea Manning. He donated his children’s swing set to a D.C. shelter. And then he quietly expanded surveillance powers—effectively handing Donald Trump a much easier path toward a frighteningly strong surveillance state. At Backchannel, Ben Snyder examines the legacy of public discourse affecting policy when it comes to surveillance, calling on the media, the tech community, and the public at large to insist that mass, warrantless surveillance is a problem, and demand that it stop.

Submission + - Neuroscience Does Not Compute (economist.com)

mspohr writes: The Economist has an interesting story about two neuroscientists/engineers who decided to test the methods of neuroscience using a 6502 processor. Their results are published in the PLOS Computational Biology journal.
Neuroscientists explore how the brain works by looking at damaged brains and monitoring inputs and outputs to try to infer intermediate processing. They did the same with the 6502 processor which was used in early Atari, Apple and Commodore computers.
What they discovered was that these methods were sorely lacking in that they often pointed in the wrong direction and missed important processing steps.

Submission + - Zuckerberg sues hundreds of Hawaiians to force property sales to him. (msn.com)

mmell writes: Apparently, owning 700 acres of land in Hawaii isn't enough — Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, has filed suit to force owners of several small parcels of land to sell to the highest bidder. The reason? These property owners are completely surrounded by Zuckerberg's land holdings and therefore have lawful easement to cross his property in order to get to theirs.

Many of these land owners have held their land for generations, but seemingly Mr. Zuckerberg can not tolerate their presence so close to his private little slice of paradise. Landowners such as these came to own their land when their ancestors were "given" the land as Hawaiian natives.

If successful in his "quiet title" court action, Mr. Zuckerberg will finally have his slice of Hawaii's beaches and tropical lands without having to deal with the pesky presence of neighbors who were on his land before he owned it. Who knew that Hawaiians were just another kind of Native Americans?

Submission + - The Mind-Reading Gadget for Dogs that Got Funded, but Didn't Get Built (ieee.org)

the_newsbeagle writes: Crowdfunding campaigns that fail to deliver may be all too common, but some flameouts merit examination. Like this brain-scanning gadget for dogs, which promised to translate their barks into human language. It's not quite as goofy as it sounds: The campaigners planned to use standard EEG tech to record the dogs' brainwaves, and said they could correlate those electrical patterns with general states of mind like excitement, hunger, and curiosity.

The campaign got a ton of attention in the press and raised twice the money it aimed for. But then the No More Woof team seemed to vanish, leaving backers furious. This article explains what went wrong with the campaign, and what it says about the state of neurotech gadgets for consumers.

Submission + - Google Uses Its Search Engine to Hawk Its Products (wsj.com)

schwit1 writes: A Wall Street Journal analysis found that ads for products sold by Google and its sister companies appeared in the most prominent spot in 91% of 25,000 recent searches related to such items; and 43% of the time, the top two ads both were for Google-related products.

The analysis, run by search-ad-data firm SEMrush, examined 1,000 searches each on 25 terms, from "laptops" to "speakers" to "carbon monoxide detectors." SEMrush ran the searches Dec. 1 on a desktop computer, blocking past web-surfing history that could influence results.

The results show how Google uses its dominant search engine to boost other parts of its business and give it an edge over competitors, which include some of its biggest advertising customers.

A Google spokesman said the company has "consciously and carefully designed" its marketing programs not to affect other advertisers.

The Journal's analysis highlights a rarely discussed apparent conflict of interest in the $187 billion digital-advertising industry: The leading sellers of online ad space, including Google, Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp., also compete with their customers for that space.

Google searches for "phones" virtually always began with three consecutive ads for Google's Pixel phones. All 1,000 searches for "laptops" started with a Chromebook ad. "Watches" began with an Android smartwatch ad 98% of the time. And "smoke detector" led with back-to-back ads for internet-connected alarms made by Nest, a company owned by Google parent Alphabet. In all instances, the stores these ads pointed to were also owned by Alphabet.

Submission + - Alberta Man Turns Table on Laptop Thief (nationalpost.com)

jbwiebe writes: Cochrane’s Stu Gale couldn’t believe his eyes when a notification popped up on his computer telling him someone had logged on to his recently stolen laptop.

The B.C.-based 51-year-old computer security and automation expert couldn’t let the opportunity to try to find out something about the apparent thief pass him by, so he attempted to remotely log on to the pilfered laptop.

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