Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Submission + - Facebook 'Likes' Aren't Protected Speech (

An anonymous reader writes: In what may win awards for the silliest-sounding lawsuit of the year, a case about whether Facebook 'likes' qualify for free speech protection under the First Amendment has ended in a decisive 'no.' In the run-up to an election for Sheriff, some of the incumbent's employees made their support for the challenger known by 'liking' his page on Facebook. After the incumbent won re-election, the employees were terminated, supposedly because of budget concerns. The employees had taken a few other actions as well — bumper stickers and cookouts — but they couldn't prove the Sheriff was aware of them. The judge thus ruled that 'merely "liking" a Facebook page is insufficient speech to merit constitutional protection. In cases where courts have found that constitutional speech protections extended to Facebook posts, actual statements existed within the record.'

Submission + - Understanding Users' Private Data Without Violating Privacy 1

An anonymous reader writes: Today, the need for doing statistical analysis of user behavior drives many companies to gather lots of private user data and then analyze that data, often without the users’ awareness. Recently, the researchers from Max Planck Institute for Software Systems (MPI-SWS) and Cornell University proposed a practical approach for doing privacy-preserving statistical analysis without gathering user data. This approach can be naturally applied in a large range of application domains such as web analytics, smart metering, public health research, and smart city.

Submission + - Copyright Group To Collect From Creative Commons E (

bs0d3 writes: In Leipzig, Germany, an 8 hour music/dance party event was organized to play nothing but creative commons music the entire time. A German copyright group called GEMA told the organizers that to be certain that no rights were infringed, it would need a list of all artists including their full names, place of residency and date of birth. After the event GEMA sent an invoice for 200 euros. They claim that behind pseudonyms some of their artists may be hidden and produce things that they would not earn anything from. According to German law, you are required to prove that an artist is not with GEMA. So even though GEMA probably does not have rights to any of the music, they are not required to prove that they do.

Submission + - 90% of Dice "tech jobs" are fake

hoapres writes: This has been posted over at the Dice discussion board.

90% of Dice job ads are fake.

The majority of the fake ads are due to "broadcasting". A "broadcast" is when multiple agencies are competing for the same job. If 10 agencies advertise on Dice for the same job then Dice counts this as 10 jobs.

Dice goes around and peddles the bogus job count claiming 84,XXX tech jobs when most likely less than 9,000 jobs actually exist.

Submission + - Vim Turns 20 (

quanticle writes: 20 years ago today, Bram Moolenaar released vim to the public. Share your vim stories and your tales of battles with emacs users.

Submission + - The Cost of US Security

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The Atlantic reports that as we mark Osama bin Laden's death, what's striking is how much he cost our nation and how little we've gained from our fight against him. By conservative estimates, bin Laden cost the United States at least $3 trillion over the past 15 years, counting the disruptions he wrought on the domestic economy, the wars and heightened security triggered by the terrorist attacks he engineered, and the direct efforts to hunt him down. "What do we have to show for that tab," ask Tim Fernholz and Jim Tankersley. "Two wars that continue to occupy 150,000 troops and tie up a quarter of our defense budget; a bloated homeland-security apparatus that has at times pushed the bounds of civil liberty; soaring oil prices partially attributable to the global war on bin Laden's terrorist network; and a chunk of our mounting national debt." In 2004 bin Laden explicitly compared the US fight to the Afghan incursion that helped bankrupt the Soviet Union during the Cold War. "We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy," said bin Laden adding that that every dollar spent by al-Qaida in attacking the US has cost Washington $1m in economic fallout and military spending. Considering that we've spent one-fifth of a year's gross domestic product--more than the entire 2008 budget of the United States government--responding to his 2001 attacks, he may have been onto something."

Submission + - Another Facebook Blunder (

sixfive0two writes: The news site Ars Technica (owned by Condé Nast Digital) woke up Thursday morning to find their Facebook page locked after an unknown person complained to Facebook that some piece of Ars Technica content infringed on their rights. With no warning, explanation, or clear appeal process, and with only minimal communication after Ars staffers started to investigate, the Ars Technica Facebook page remains inaccessible.

The Ars comments are worth a look


Submission + - Copyright and Privacy, How Canadian Parties Stand (

Dangerous_Minds writes: ZeroPaid has reviewed six Canadian party platforms on two issues: online privacy and copyright. The results are quite interesting in what each party had to say. The Conservative party suggest they will re-introduce lawful access and DMCA-style copyright, the Liberal party wants to add personal use exceptions, the Bloc party wants to make ISPs liable for copyright infringement, the NDP didn't have much to say, the Green Party hardly said anything and the Pirate Party wants to expand fair dealing, decriminalize non-commercial infringement and protect online privacy. While it may not change some people's votes, the results are interesting nevertheless.

Submission + - Iran Demands (Legal) Retaliation For Stuxnet ( 1

jfruhlinger writes: "The Stuxnet virus is widely believed to have been cooked by U.S. and Israeli intelligence to disable Iran's nuclear program. Now an Iranian official is demanding retribution. But, bad news for fans of apocalyptic wars: The revenge will take the form of legal action against Siemens, which the Iranians believe helped with the attack."

Submission + - Bringing Open Source to Biomedicine (

waderoush writes: "'Facebook and Twitter may have proven that humans have a deep-seated desire for sharing, [but] this impulse is still widely suppressed in biomedicine,' biotech reporter Luke Timmerman observes in this column on Sage Bionetworks founder Stephen Friend. Friend is working to convince drugmakers and academic researchers to pool their experimental genomic data in a shared database called the Sage Commons. The database could be used to track adverse drug events, or to 'visually display network models of disease that connect the dots between genes, proteins, and clinical manifestations of disease in ways that [scientific] journals are not equipped to handle,' Timmerman says. Researchers from Stanford, Columbia, UCSF, and UCSD are already contributing to the Sage Commons, and Friend is now calling for a community effort by drugmakers, academic scientists, doctors, regulators, insurers, and patients to 'grab this platform and run with it on their own.'"

Submission + - File sharing case argued in appelate court ( 1

luge writes: Harvard students, along with Prof. Charlie "eon" Nesson, took the next step in Joel Tennenbaum's case against the RIAA this week, presenting their arguments on the unconstitutionality of huge copyright damages to a panel of the First Circuit Court of Appeals (one level below the Supreme Court.) Serious junkies can hear the audio recording of the discussion here. This is an appeal of last summer's ruling, which reduced Tennenbaum's damages — to $2,000 per song. The appellate court's ruling could come in a few months.

Submission + - Global Warming Skeptics Discover Global Warming ( 7

Black Parrot writes: A team of Berkely Scientists skeptical of global warming, led by prominent skeptic physicist Richard Muller (and funded by the Koch Brothers) unexpectedly testified to skeptical politicians in the US House of Representatives that theiir results — still preliminary — is finding the same thing mainstream climate scientists have been telling us. Other scientists are unsuprised; the article quotes Peter Thorne (not on the team) as saying "Even if the thermometer had never been invented, the evidence is there from deep ocean changes, from receding glaciers, from rising sea levels and receding sea ice and spring snow cover." However, Thorne criticizes the team for announcing the preliminary results before publishing an peer-reviewed papers on their work.

Submission + - Only 17% Of Users Update Their Graphics Drivers (

An anonymous reader writes: It is not commonly known that a browsers can only take advantage of all those fancy hardware acceleration features, if the graphics drivers are up to date and it appears that there is a significant need to educate users that they need to update their graphics drivers much more often. Mozilla found that only 17% of Windows Vista users are running up to date graphics drivers.

Submission + - Acceptable Use Policy - how verbose?

brendan.hill writes: As CIO of a large franchise group, I was recently approached to draft an "Acceptable Use Policy" for the ~40 staff at our head quarters.

Rather than adopt management speak or legalese, I decided to use everyday language, and keep it to half a page, and came up with the following:

This relates to your usage of computers, phones, internet, email, and other electronic equipment on the site.
1) Keep it work related. {Our Franchise Group} owns all this stuff, and we might monitor your usage.
2) Be polite and constructive. Your emails are stored permanently, and might be used in a court of law.
3) Don’t use them for anything illegal or offensive, including defamatory material, breaches of copyright, pornography, etc.
4) Don’t give any passwords to anyone else.
5) Don’t install anything on your computer without checking with the IT department first.
6) Please don’t send email attachments over 5MB. They probably won’t be received.

And that's it.

It quickly attracted the criticism of being somewhat unprofessional or incomplete, but I would argue that it is more accessible, more likely to be read and understood, and more likely to have an impact than the more traditional, abstract, management-ese policy documents you tend to see. The document is designed to actual influence people's behavior, instead of simply provide a declaration of what we can legally fire people for (which is probably covered by more generic legislation anyway).

Admittedly there is only a small audience and we have a rather informal culture anyway, but I think taking this approach has a lot of merit. Your thoughts?

Submission + - Fact free science is on the move. Beware! ( 6

G3ckoG33k writes: Fact free science is not a joke, it is very much on the move and it is quite possibly the most dangerous movement in centuries, for the entire mankind. One can say it began as counter-movement to Karl Popper's ground-breaking proposals in the early 20th century, which insisted that statements purporting to describe the reality should be made falsifiable. A few decades later some critics of Popper said that statements need peer acceptance, which then makes also natural science a social phenomenon. Even later, in 1996, professor Alan Sokal submitted a famous article ridiculing the entire anti-science movement. Now New York Times has an article describing the latest chilling acts of the social relativistic postmodern loons. It is a chilling read, and they may be swinging both the political left and right. Have they been successful in transforming the world yet? How would we know?

Slashdot Top Deals

Wishing without work is like fishing without bait. -- Frank Tyger