Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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Submission + - How Doctors Die 6

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Dr. Ken Murray, a Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at USC, writes that doctors don’t die like the rest of us. What’s unusual about doctors is not how much treatment they get when faced with death themselves, but how little. For all the time they spend fending off the deaths of others, they tend to be fairly serene when faced with death themselves because they know exactly what is going to happen, they know the choices, and they generally have access to any sort of medical care they could want. "Almost all medical professionals have seen what we call “futile care” being performed on people," writes Murray. "What it buys is misery we would not inflict on a terrorist. I cannot count the number of times fellow physicians have told me, in words that vary only slightly, 'Promise me if you find me like this that you’ll kill me.'" Feeding into the problem are unrealistic expectations of what doctors can accomplish. Many people think of CPR as a reliable lifesaver when, in fact, the results are usually poor. If a patient suffers from severe illness, old age, or a terminal disease, the odds of a good outcome from CPR are infinitesimal, while the odds of suffering are overwhelming. "If there is a state of the art of end-of-life care, it is this: death with dignity. As for me, my physician has my choices," says Murray. "They were easy to make, as they are for most physicians. There will be no heroics, and I will go gentle into that good night.""

Submission + - Microsoft Tried to Buy Netscape: Suppose They Had? (

Glyn Moody writes: "In an interview, Brendan Eich, the creator of JavaScript and currently CIO at Mozilla, reveals that Microsoft tried to buy Netscape at the end of 1994. They were turned down because the offer was too low, but imagine if Netscape had accepted: no browser wars, no open Web standards, no Mozilla, no Firefox. How might the Web — and the world — have looked today if that had happened?"

Submission + - Pavegen to Tap Pedestrians for Power in the UK (

An anonymous reader writes: Several years ago Laurence Kembell-Cook unveiled Pavegen floor tiles, which capture kinetic energy from footsteps and convert it to electricity. Now after two years of product testing and picking up a slew of awards across the U.K., Pavegen has received its first commercial order — to light up the new Westfield Stratford City Shopping Centre.

Submission + - Scientists replace a small piece of rat brain (

V!NCENT writes: We humans are melding with machines. This is not about using machines to amplify our knowledge (the Internet) but actually embedding chips within our bodies, to amplify our thoughts. The cochlear implant, used to augment hearing, is perhaps the best known brain-computer interface but the last decade has seen great leaps, translating even memories and thoughts into digital code. Now scientists out of Tel-Aviv University have managed to build an artificial cerebellum to restore brain function in injured rats.

Submission + - TSA Violated Federal Law with Body Scanners (

FtDFtM writes: Federal Appeals Court ruled that TSA violated federal law by not taking public comment prior to implementing body scanners.

Writing for a unanimous court, Judge Ginsburg found there was "no justification for having failed to conduct a notice-and-comment rulemaking," and said, "few if any regulatory procedures impose directly and significantly upon so many members of the public."

Submission + - The legal meaning of "strictly random" ( 1

guusbosman writes: Yesterday a district court in Washington, D.C. issued its ruling in a case that boiled down to the definition of "strictly random".

In the 2011 drawing of the U.S. "Green Card Lottery', a computer programming error was made and two weeks after the official drawing of the lottery the Department of State closed the website and voided the results.

A lawsuit sought an injunction claiming that, while the process was not mathematically random, it was random in the dictionary definition of âoewithout definite aim, direction, rule or method". The court, analyzing language from the State Departmentâ(TM)s regulations, and examples from laws on casinos and the like, rejected that and came out in favor of a mathematical definition of randomness. The lottery is voided and the results of the new drawing came out today at noon EST.

Submission + - Consumers take action to block AT&T merger (

An anonymous reader writes: In March, we discussed AT&T's planned takeover of T-Mobile, and in April, we discussed the Supreme Court's ruling that allows AT&T to enforce mandatory arbitration clauses hidden in consumer contracts. The Supreme Court said the arbitration agreement was “consumer-friendly” because AT&T pays all the fees and guarantees at least a $10,000recovery if the customer wins an arbitration. Now some customers are using AT&T’s own arbitration agreement to try to stop AT&T from taking over T-Mobile. A law firm set up a website to sign up AT&T customers who want to file individual arbitrations to fight the merger with T-Mobile. The site claims that customers may be eligible to recover $10,000 from AT&T.

Submission + - Security risk: iPad's glow as you enter password# (

nonprofiteer writes: Earlier this week, a South African security researcher released shoulderPad, an app that’s designed to auto-snoop on iPad users’ passwords by watching their touchscreen keyboards. When a user types on an iPad’s touchscreen, each key glows blue for a fraction of a second after it’s struck, a helpful bit of feedback for any virtual keyboard. ShoulderPad’s image recognition algorithms, based on Open CV’s open source image recognition software, look for that flash of blue. “At any distance, if the blue is distinguishable, shoulderPad can detect that keystroke,” says Meer.

Submission + - Labor Department Offers Cash Prizes to Geeks (

carolsim writes: "The Labor Department is getting into the contest business, announcing $70,000 in prizes for software developers who can help get its often-arcane but important data to consumers.

The awards will go to the developers whose applications best connect unemployed workers with jobs and best inform workers and consumers about hotels, stores and restaurants that may have bad safety records"


Submission + - Alienware are surveying Linux users. (

An anonymous reader writes: Despite the demise of Linux based netbooks Alienware are currently researching what buyers want from a computer that comes with Linux. Interestingly though one of the questions is how much [b]more[/b] customers are willing to pay.

Submission + - EA on Zynga: We're Playing a Much Bigger Game (

donniebaseball23 writes: It could be argued that Zynga is EA's top competitor now, and with EA having just acquired PopCap, the company certainly got a shot in the arm. But when it comes to the digital market, EA has its sights set even higher than Zynga. "We're playing a much bigger game [than Zynga]. We're going after the $40 billion dollar digital market, where Facebook is just a segment," EA executive vp Barry Cottle told IndustryGamers, referring to Zynga's dependence on Facebook. He added, "The company that is able to create a seamless cross-platform experience with their franchises... that's the team that wins, because people will have loyalty to great games and franchises that they can play on any connected environment. That's the game we're trying to win. Right now, they're a big Facebook player."
The Courts

Submission + - Samsung to Apple: We Don't Like Your Lawyers (

tekgoblin writes: "Well this is a nice twist in the case against Samsung and Apple, now Samsung say Apple is using it's previous lawyers.

Apple is using the law firm Bridges & Mavrakakis and the specific lawyers from the firm have previously represented Samsung. This is where the problem comes in, Samsung believes that the lawyers Apple is using have too much information on Samsung patent strategy that another lawyer wouldn't have."


Submission + - NASA Goes Earthbound With Sustainability Base (

judgecorp writes: "As NASA’s space programme winds down with the final mission of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, the US space agency is looking to the future with a totally sustainable building, on planet Earth. The Sustainability Base.will generate more power than it uses, despite being located at the Ames Research Centre in California where air conditioning is a must."

Submission + - T-Shirt Converts Rock Music Into Electricity (

fangmcgee writes: The Sound Charge T-shirt comprises a modified piezoelectric film, which acts as an oversized microphone by absorbing sound pressure waves. A series of interlaced quartz crystals converts the acoustic signals into electricity, which in turn feeds into an internal reservoir battery compatible with most cellphone models.

Submission + - Apple Now Shipping Daily AV Updates Via OS X (

Trailrunner7 writes: Apple on Tuesday shipped the promised update to help remove the MacDefender malware, and in a surprise move, also added functionality to Mac OS X that will now check for new malware definitions daily.

The move by Apple to add daily malware checks is a significant shift in the way that the company handles malware and potential infections of its customers. Until now, Apple has handled such incidents on a case by case basis and pushed OS changes when it needed to address a new problem. But now the company has essentially included an auto-updating anti-malware system with OS X.

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