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The Internet

Submission + - Should Syrian Opposition News Activists be given access to the internet? (wordpress.com)

An anonymous reader writes: On a day when the SNC is given greater international recognition should we acknowledge a call from people on the ground to be given unfettered access to the internet. Is more access to information just propaganda that promotes violence or is it greater scrutiny that reduces it?
Censorship

Submission + - China Quietly Unblocks Names of Its Leaders (washingtonpost.com)

hackingbear writes: One of the Chinese Web censorship’s central features has long been blocking searches for the names of top leaders to maintain their public images. Sina Weibo, China’s largest microblog service, unblocked searches for the names of many top political leaders in a possible sign of looser controls a month after new senior officials were named to head the ruling party, though a number of other senior leaders are still blocked on Weibo, including Premier Web Jiabao. That (President) Xi might be leading by example on softening Web censorship could be a promising sign for future reforms. It isn’t on a major shift, but it could portend one.
Games

Submission + - OculusVR Screen Technology details. (oculusvr.com)

skade88 writes: The OculusVR headset is getting closer and closer to a ship date. The team has given us some of their time to fill us in on the details of the screen they are using. Lots of good nerdy details in the full story.

From the blog post "Now that we have the developer kit specifications locked down and our manufacturing process underway, there’s a lot more information we can share with everyone. We are putting together a series of updates for our backers about the changes we’ve made to the design and we thought we’d start with the display. "

NASA

Submission + - DARPA wants army of networked amateur astronomers to watch sky for space junk (networkworld.com)

coondoggie writes: "There is really so much junk floating around in space the government needs help keeping track of it all. This week the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced a program to utilize amateur astronomers to help watch space for any dangerous junk that maybe be threatening satellites or other spacecraft and even the Earth. If you have a telescope, great but the program will even install equipment if you are in a strategic area the government want to watch."
Idle

Submission + - Edible "Deodorant Candy" Promises to Make Your Skin Smell Like Roses for Hours (ecouterre.com)

fangmcgee writes: Think of Deo Perfume Candy as a breath mint for your entire body. The fragrance-releasing “edible deodorant,” a collaboration between Beneo, an American nutrition company and Alpi, a candy-maker from Bulgaria, is a rose-scented boiled sweet that claims to leave you smelling like a floral arrangement. The source of the scent? Geraniol, a natural substance found rose, geranium, lemon, and other essential oils. Like garlic, geraniol contains chemicals that cannot be digested. Instead, it’s secreted through the skin’s pores, resulting in a light, rosy aroma that is said to last for hours.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Advise for starting an integrated Web & Design department

aseigfried writes: "Recently I've been hired on as the first (and only) in-house Web & Design employee at my company (IT is separate and not web focused). Over the last decade I've gone from employee to business owner, then to a senior employee and now I'm at the point of starting a brand new department in a major manufacturing company.

For now it's just me, but this is where a solid foundation starts and I wanted to ask other Slashdotters their opinion:

"What do you think are the most important foundational ideas a combined Web & Design department should have?"

Expectations are very open here, and I can move in pretty much any direction I choose. It's not just 'what do i need presently' but also 'what will i need in the future' when there are more employees. I'm going to keep a running dialog over on my new company twitter account @FXI_AlexS so any thoughts would be appreciated. :)"
Security

Submission + - Skype Halts Password Resets as Massive Security Hole Discovered (ibtimes.co.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: A massive security hole has been found in Microsoft's Skype application, where it is possible to gain access to a user's account by knowing nothing more than their email address.

It is then possible to gain access to the target's account, change their password and associated email address, and lock them out for good, as any password reset requests by them will be sent to the new email address, not theirs.

UPDATE: Skype has since shut down its password reset tool while it investigates the issue. The company told IBTimes UK: "We have had reports of a new security vulnerability issue.

AI

Submission + - Fabricating Nature and a Physical Turing Test

arrow3D writes: A new startup in Norway is focused on design and fabrication at the level and quality of nature. Using pure mathematical volumes, rather than surfaces or voxels, they are developing a new generation of 3D modelling tools specifically aimed at high resolution 3D printing, to "support the future of design and manufacturing". Their software was recently used to create the multi-material Minotaur Helmet by Neri Oxman from MIT, as featured in Wired UK last month. An interesting thought (as recently illustrated in Dilbert) is the idea of a Physical Turing Test for synthetic objects and that both Turing Tests may require each other — i.e. only by designing and building at the resolution of nature can we achieve the intelligence of natural objects. Their software platform is still very much under development but they've started trying to "save the world from polygons" with a KickStarter campaign that's live now.
Power

Submission + - Atomic Comics: Comic books and the atomc education of America (thebulletin.org)

Lasrick writes: Great review of the book "Atomic Comics." Includes wonderful old illustrations from Atomic Rabbit, Atoman, Buck Rogers, True Comics, Whiz Comics, etc. Here's a quote: "Still, the comics had been dealing with atomic beams, weapons, and propulsion through most of the war, and if these comic strips and books were wrong about the details, Szasz notes, "the fact that the American public instantly grasped the basic outlines of the atomic age almost surely has its roots in the larger-than-life adventures of Superman, Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, and Mickey Mouse, and well as other long-forgotten characters from that 'loose and baggy creature' of American popular culture.""
Businesses

Submission + - Mark Cuban: Facebook Is Driving Away Brands - Starting With Mine (readwrite.com)

concealment writes: "Tech billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says he is fed up with Facebook and will take his business elsewhere. He's sick of getting hit with huge fees to send messages to his team's fans and followers.

Two weeks ago Cuban tweeted out a screen grab of an offer he'd received from Facebook. The social network wanted to charge him $3,000 to reach 1 million people. Along with the screen grab, Cuban wrote, "FB is blowing it? This is the first step. The Mavs are considering moving to Tumblr or to new MySpace as primary site.""

Music

Submission + - Why dissonant music sounds 'wrong' (nature.com) 1

ananyo writes: "Many people dislike the clashing dissonances of modernist composers such as Arnold Schoenberg. But what’s our problem with dissonance?
There has long been thought to be a physiological reason why at least some kinds of dissonance sound jarring. Two tones close in frequency interfere to produce 'beating': what we hear is just a single tone rising and falling in loudness. If the difference in frequency is within a certain range, rapid beats create a rattling sound called roughness. An aversion to roughness has seemed consistent with the common dislike of intervals such as minor seconds.
Yet when cognitive neuroscientist Marion Cousineau of the University of Montreal in Quebec and her colleagues asked amusic subjects (who cannot distinguish between different musical tones). to rate the pleasantness of a whole series of intervals, they showed no distinctions between any of the intervals but disliked beating as much as people with normal hearing.
Instead the researchers propose that harmonicity is the key. Notes contain many overtones — frequencies that are whole-number multiples of the basic frequency in the note. For consonant 'pleasant sounding' intervals the overtones of the two notes tend to coincide as whole-number multiples, whereas for dissonant intervals this is no longer the case.
The work suggests that harmonicity is more important than beating for dissonance aversion in normal hearers (abstract)."

Spam

Submission + - That time someone registered a spambot with my e-mail address. 2

davewoods writes: "So this morning (About 2AM CST) I got an e-mail on my phone, grumpily I glanced at it and read the word "Penny" and something about my recent purchase. Of course, I figured it to be spam, so I did not bother reading it, and went back to sleep. When I finally did get a chance to read that e-mail, I learned that I had just registered a domain name with GoDaddy under the alias "Penny Woods". Fantastic, similar things have happened where someone used my e-mail address instead of theirs, I figured it was just a typo and I could get to the bottom of it quickly.

After "Forgetting" my username, and then "Forgetting" my password, I was logged in to the account and ready to find some contact info. Penny had set up four e-mail accounts, so I clicked through to do a web login on the first one. Lo and behold, it had sent out 31 thousand e-mails in the last seven hours, all claiming that the receiver had recently won 1.5 million dollars.

Sooooo, now I apparently own a spambot domain, and I have no idea what to do with it. The e-mail accounts have not sent out any e-mails recently, so I have not bothered to change the passwords on them or anything (Stealthy, right?). Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I should do with all of this?"
Government

Submission + - FCC means business when it comes to illegal cellphone jammers (networkworld.com)

alphadogg writes: The FCC issued a warning in three languages against cellphone jammers this week, and just in case that wasn't clear enough, it employed public shaming, too. On Monday, the agency's Enforcement Bureau issued citations against six people who advertised jammers on Craigslist.org, then posted the citations on its website with the perpetrators' last names in the subject lines. The message is that it's illegal for an individual consumer to use a wireless jamming device, even in their own home. In the FCC's words: "Except for the very limited context of authorized, official use by the federal government, jamming devices have no legal use in the United States." Not surprisingly, it's also illegal to sell or advertise them. Violators are subject to fines of up to $16,000 per case of marketing or using a jammer.
Earth

Submission + - Curiosity's Latest High-Res Photo Looks Like Earth (wired.com)

bbianca127 writes: Curiosity sent a picture down to us, and it looks a lot like Earth. Actually, the picture's color quality has been changed — to human eyes, the landscape would look a lot more reddish. Still, it looks remarkably like the southwestern United States (bringing to mind the AD quote about how Lucille Bluth would rather be dead in California than alive in Arizona).
Education

Submission + - Dozens of Reported Plagiarism Incidents on Coursera's Free Online Courses (chronicle.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The discussion forums in Coursera's Massive Open Online Courses are full of talk of plagiarism these days. "Plagiarized essay--so disheartening," said one post. "Continued Plagiarism in the Assignments," says another. Students are cheating even though the courses carry no credit. Plagiarism-detection software may be in the future, the company's leaders say.

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