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Submission + - Kid Racks Up $5,900 Bill Playing Jurassic World on Dad's iPad

theodp writes: For Mohamed Shugaa, the scariest Jurassic World creature is perhaps Apple CEO Tim Cook, not the Indominus Rex. That's because Shugaa discovered his 7-year-old son had managed to rack up a $5,900 bill playing the Jurassic World game on his iPad in six days. "Why would Apple think I would be spending thousands of pounds on buying dinosaurs and upgrading a game," Shugaa told The Metro. "Why didn't they email me to check I knew these payments were being made? I got nothing from them. How much longer would it have gone on for?" Shugaa discovered his son's 65 in-app purchases when a payment he tried to make to a business supplier was declined. His son had upgraded dinosaurs using the game currency 'Dino Bucks' without realizing it was charging his Dad in real money. The good news is that Apple has decided to refund the money, so the kid doesn't have to worry about Apple making him work 8,500 hours for $5,980 to settle the debt. Btw, before you developers get too excited about the possibility of using In-App Purchase to take kids to the cleaners at $6,000-a-pop, remember that Apple call dibs on the first $1,800!

Submission + - Scientists Can Pinpoint Surface Gravity On Other Stars (

An anonymous reader writes: Astronomers have developed a technique to measure the surface gravity on distant stars. Earlier techniques relied on measuring the amount of light coming from the star, and was unreliable beyond a certain distance. The new work instead focuses on variations in the light over a longer period of time — indications of turbulence and vibration — which can provide detailed information at greater distances. One of the researchers, Professor Jaymie Matthews, said, "Our technique can tell you how big and bright is the star, and if a planet around it is the right size and temperature to have water oceans, and maybe life." According to their researcher paper, "We have tested this for a well-defined subsample of the Kepler catalog and found it to maintain a high accuracy, about six times better than that of the flicker method. In addition, it is more noise-tolerant than asteroseismology and gives a reasonably accurate surface gravity g for stars that are too faint for a reliable asteroseismic analysis. Therefore, the time scale technique makes it possible to study otherwise poorly understood stars, which will lead to better characterization of exoplanetary systems both individually and statistically."

Submission + - State Dept releases 5500 Hillary Clinton emails, "classified" count up to 1,274 (

An anonymous reader writes: The State Department on Thursday released 5,500 more pages of Hillary Clinton's emails, but fell short of meeting a court-ordered target of making 82 percent of the former secretary of state's messages public by the end of 2015.

The email dump is the latest release from the private server Clinton used during her time as America's top diplomat. The State Department said it failed to meet the court's goal because of "the large number of documents involved and the holiday schedule."

Portions of 275 documents in the batch were upgraded to classified, though they were not classified at the time they were sent to Clinton's personal email, according to the State Department. In total, 1,274 of her emails were retroactively classified by the government before their release.

Submission + - Epoch Time Bug Causes Facebook To Congratulate Users on 46 Years of Friendship (

An anonymous reader writes: A bunch of Facebook users received mysterious messages yesterday congratulating them on 46 years of being friends on Facebook. An astute observer may note that Facebook hasn't been around for 46 years. An even more astute observer might note that 46 years ago yesterday would be 12/31/1969 — easily recognizable as value '0' in the Unix Epoch with a time zone adjustment. A Microsoft engineer posits that the message was sent because of how Facebook implemented its congratulatory messages. Many people were Facebook friends when the feature was rolled out, and instead of finding or estimating the date they became friends, Facebook simply set that database value to '0'. When the script fires to send those messages, it grabbed that value expecting a time, and interpreted the 0 accordingly. "The developer who wrote the “friends with since” memories algorithm should have added a case WHERE friendsWithSinceDate != ‘0' or something along those lines."

Submission + - The Swift Programming Language's Most Commonly Rejected Changes (

An anonymous reader writes: When Apple made its Swift programming language open source in early December, it opened the floodgates for suggestions and requests from developers. But the project's maintainers have their own ideas about how the language should evolve, so some suggestions are rejected. Now a list has been compiled of some commonly rejected proposals — it's an interesting window into the development of a language. Swift's developers don't want to replace Brace Syntax with Python-style indentation. They don't want to change boolean operators from && and || to 'and' and 'or'. They don't want to rewrite the Swift compiler in Swift. They don't want to change certain keywords like 'continue' from their C precedents. And they have no interest in removing semicolons.

Submission + - Silicon nanoparticles could lead to on-demand hydrogen generation (

cylonlover writes: Researchers at the University of Buffalo have created spherical silicon nanoparticles they claim could lead to hydrogen generation on demand becoming a “just add water” affair. When the particles are combined with water, they rapidly form hydrogen and silicic acid, a nontoxic byproduct, in a reaction that requires no light, heat or electricity. In experiments, the hydrogen produced was shown to be relatively pure by successfully being used to power a small fan via a small fuel cell.

Submission + - Google sides with Gmail users, won't turn over emails without a warrant (

billpalmer writes: "Google has made clear where it stands on the burgeoning issue of governmental access to personal emails, affirming that it will not turn over emails sent or received by users of its Gmail service at the request of law enforcement unless a warrant is involved. In its biannual transparency report for the second half of 2012, Google disclosed that various levels of the United States government made nearly five thousand requests for access to about fifteen thousand Gmail accounts. About one fifth of those requests were made through probable cause warrants"
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Submission + - Magnetic 'Braids' May Cook the Sun's Corona (

astroengine writes: "Scientists have long puzzled over why the surface of the sun is cooler than its corona, the outer hazy atmosphere visible during a solar eclipse. Now thanks to a five-minute observation by a small, but very high-resolution ultraviolet telescope they have some answers. Hi-C, which was launched aboard a suborbital rocket to study the sun without interference from Earth's atmosphere, revealed interwoven magnetic fields braided like hair. When the braids relaxed, they released energy, heating the corona. "I had no idea we would see structures like that in the corona. Seeing these braids was very new to me," astrophysicist Jonathan Cirtain with NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., told Discovery News."

Submission + - Technologists See Biggest Salary Raise in a Decade (

An anonymous reader writes: Technology salaries in the U.S. saw the biggest jump in 2012 in more than a decade, according to the latest salary survey from Dice, a career site for technology and engineer professionals.

Tech professionals in the financial industry — including capital markets, banking and insurance sectors — recorded an average 2012 salary of $93,599, up 3% compared to 2011.


Submission + - Scientists develop robo-dogs and cats (

An anonymous reader writes: Cornell scientists are developing high-fidelity robo-dogs and robo-cats for world's first vet simulation learning center

Submission + - Paramount to drop Blu-ray (

RobOnt writes: "In a move that apparently no one saw coming, Paramount has announced that it is dropping support for the Blu-Ray format and is now exclusively distributing it's forthcoming Hi-Def titles on HD-DVD only:

Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. will offer next-generation DVDs in the HD DVD format and drop support for Blu-ray, further complicating the race between the competing technologies.

Monday's announcement affects the upcoming DVD release of the blockbuster "Shrek the Third" and all movies distributed by Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Nickelodeon Movies and MTV Films, as well as movies from DreamWorks Animation, which are distributed exclusively by Paramount Home Entertainment.

You can read the whole article here."

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