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


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 + - First Long-Term Artificial Heart Implant (

TrueSatan writes: Previously devices have either been of an heart-assist type or short term heart replacements. Physicians at the Georges Pompidou European Hospital in Paris have inserted a heart made by the French Carmat company. The heart features bovine tissue components used to reduce the clot forming tendencies of fully artificial units and is intended to allow greater freedom of movement to the patient than previous, short-term use, units permitted. It is powered by external, wearable, lithium-ion batteries and is approximately 3 times heavier than a typical (European) human heart though the manufacturer intends to reduce the weight and size of the unit so as to allow use by smaller recipients in particular most women and men from areas of the world where average body size is less than white/caucasian averages...they specify India and China though this is hardly an exclucive clientelle.

Submission + - Canonical/Ubuntu Force Derivatives to Licence Binary Packages (

TrueSatan writes: In a dubiously legal move, certainly against the spirit of the open source community, Canonical/Ubuntu have demanded licencing fees from Mint for use of their binary packages. They appear to require a fee to access their reposiories from derivative distributions. Canonical/Ubuntu have the legal right to regulate access to their servers and to charge fees for such access but the GPL would, surely, stop them from witholding the code and source of what they offer so it could be hosted elsewhere.
  Canonical/Ubuntu derive almost all of the code they use from upstream sources who make no attempt to levy such charges or demands on them so even if the licencing is legal and for a nominal fee the spirit of the community behind all GNU/Linux distributions appears to be challenged by this development.

Comment Good Memories (Score 5, Informative) 49

I knew Ken when I worked at Weslake Developments in Rye, East Sussex, an engineering R&D company that designed and tested engines for the UK automotive and aviation industries (I was the firm's Costing Engineer at the time); he was one of the directors of the firm. He was always a calm and reasonable voice in often head debates over the future of the company. His accomplishments gave him a platform that got people to listen but it was his warmth and understanding, both of technical issues and the people involved, that made him so respected and such an asset to the company. His flair for the dramatic was never far away...he'd journey from Lydd Airport (principally owned by Richard Branson who knew Ken well) piloting a skeletal Autogyro, of his own design and that he had built, landing it in a field behind the business park where Weslake Developments was housed. I've many happy memories from that time and value them greatly...I'll surely miss him.

Submission + - http://istumblrdown Shuttered by Cease and Desist Order (

TrueSatan writes: Blogging platform Tumblr has issued a Cease and desist notice to a rather trivial and harmless site that simply offered status updates for Tumblr. The site owner claims this to be symptomatic of Tumblr's disregard for users needs quoting and their fixation on banning users rather than any more positive improvements they might make to their platform.

Submission + - Oregon Court May Declare No-Fly List Unconstitutional Breach of 5th Ammendment (

TrueSatan writes: A Court in Portland, Oregon has declared that a group of 13 U.S. citizens, backed by the ACLU, have had their ability to travel severely restricted by their names being placed on the official No-Fly list.

"Although there are perhaps viable alternatives to flying for domestic travel within the continental United States, such as traveling by car or train, the court disagrees with (the government's) contention that international air travel is a mere convenience in light of the realities of our modern world," wrote the Judge in the trial in her summation. She went on to say, "the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center shares watchlist information with 22 governments, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection also makes recommendations to ship captains, which could interfere with a person's travels. "

  Her conclusion was, "that plaintiffs have a constitutionally protected liberty interest in traveling internationally by air, which is affected by being placed on the list."

"For the first time, a federal court has recognized that when the government bans Americans from flying and smears them as suspected terrorists, it deprives them of constitutionally protected liberties, and they must have a fair process to clear their names," ACLU lawyer Nusrat Choudhury wrote in a statement.

The judge deferred ruling on a series of other motions in the case and ordered lawyers for both sides to confer and submit a status report to her by Sept. 9.

"We're confident," Choudhury said, "that when the court reviews any additional information that the parties provide that she will reach a ruling that the current system is patently unfair and violates the Fifth Amendment."


Submission + - NASA Forcerd to Suspend Outreach and Education Programmes (

TrueSatan writes: Due to cutbacks triggered by the US Sequester NASA has been forced to indefinitely suspend all its public outreach and education (STEM) programmes. The memo, from NASA Public Affairs, detailing these measures is below.

"Subject: Guidance for Education and Public Outreach Activities Under Sequestration

As you know, we have taken the first steps in addressing the mandatory spending cuts called for in the Budget Control Act of 2011. The law mandates a series of indiscriminate and significant across-the-board spending reductions totaling $1.2 trillion over 10 years.
As a result, we are forced to implement a number of new cost-saving measures, policies, and reviews in order to minimize impacts to the mission-critical activities of the Agency. We have already provided new guidance regarding conferences, travel, and training that reflect the new fiscal reality in which we find ourselves. Some have asked for more specific guidance at it relates to public outreach and engagement activities. That guidance is provided below.
Effective immediately, all education and public outreach activities should be suspended, pending further review. In terms of scope, this includes all public engagement and outreach events, programs, activities, and products developed and implemented by Headquarters, Mission Directorates, and Centers across the Agency, including all education and public outreach efforts conducted by programs and projects.
The scope comprises activities intended to communicate, connect with, and engage a wide and diverse set of audiences to raise awareness and involvement in NASA, its goals, missions and programs, and to develop an appreciation for, exposure to, and involvement in STEM. Audiences include employees, partners, educators, students, and members of the general public. The scope encompasses, but is not limited to:
- Programs, events, and workshops.
  — Permanent and travelling exhibits, signage, and other materials.
  — Speeches, presentations, and appearances, with the exception of technical presentations by researchers at scientific and technical symposia.
  — Video and multimedia products in development (and renewal of existing products).
  — Web and social media sites in development (excludes operational sites).
  — External and internal publications, with the exception of Scientific and Technical Information as defined by NPD 2200.1B.
  — Any other activity whose goal is to reach out to external and internal stakeholders and the public concerning NASA, its programs, and activities."


Submission + - Cannonical's Shuttleworth Claims Unity Preceded Gnome Shell (

TrueSatan writes: Mark Shuttleworth, founder of the Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution's owner Canonical has made claims that Ubuntu's Unity desktop preceded the Gnome Shell. These claims have been strongly refuted, with obvious annoyance, by Gnome developers
  Shuttleworth said, "Unity existed before Gnome Shell. And the design of Unity was clear up front, it's Red Hat's team that wandered all over the place before shifting to a design that bears a startling resemblance to Unity."
  In reply Red Hat's Adam Williamson referenced a post from the Gnome User experience Hackfest in 2008 where the Gnome Shell concepts were born, by comparison Canonical publicly released initial details of Unity at the Ubuntu 11.04 Desktop Summit in October 2010. Gnome Shell began development releases in 2009 whereas Unity had its initial release in June 2010 and did not become the Ubuntu default until Ubuntu 11.04 in April 2011...the Gnome Shell initial release was also in April 2011. Shuttleworth clearly referred to when each product first existed so the first official initial release would seem to be less at issue than when first commits were made. This link to a video shows that Gnome Shell was in sufficiently good shape to be built by an interested person, not a developer, in May 2009 whereas the first commit to Unity's Launchpad repository was on October 2009 .
  Shuttleworth also made disputed claims regarding Ubuntu being the first distribution to have a six-monthly release shedule...Mandriva had been doing that from 2001 to 2010 save for a gap between 2006-7. Shuttleworth has made his claim regarding six monthly releases multiple times, and it has been refuted almost as often yet he continues to make it.

Submission + - Met paedophile unit prepares to arrest ex-Tory cabinet minister (

An anonymous reader writes: Scotland Yard commanders secretly briefed on dramatic plans for police investigation
By David Hencke and Mark Watts | 16 February 2013

This is a complex multi-agency investigation supported by the NSPCC, CEOP and Richmond social services

Peter Spindler, Met commander

Met commanders have received a secret briefing on preparations by Scotland Yard’s paedophile unit to arrest a former Conservative cabinet minister.

They were told of the plans during a highly confidential briefing on progress in two police operations examining allegations of child sex abuse against senior political figures and other VIPs.

The briefing was given by the detective chief inspector who heads the Met’s paedophile unit, which is carrying out both operations. Sources close to the investigations gave details of his plans to Exaro.

The leading officers, including Peter Spindler, the Met commander who oversees the paedophile unit, were stunned as the senior detective outlined his intention to arrest and charge the ex-minister. The detective said that he was not intending to take the step imminently, but this is where he expects the investigations to lead.

He identified the ex-minister in the briefing. Exaro knows the ex-minister’s identity, but has decided against publishing it to avoid jeopardising police operations.

The senior detective said that his team was still at an early stage of its investigations, but had already gathered a good deal of evidence that the ex-minister had sexually abused boys. In addition, one woman has told detectives that the ex-minister raped her when she was a girl.

He said that detectives would spend many more weeks looking for further evidence from victims before being ready to make the arrest.

The operations are potentially politically explosive. Sources involved in the investigations have expressed fears to Exaro that they will be closed down, as has happened in the past.

Exaro does not have a list of who attended the briefing, but the commanders had asked to be updated on where the highly sensitive investigations were going.

‘Operation Fairbank’ is “scoping” a wide range of allegations against senior political figures passed to the police by Tom Watson, the campaigning MP, which he initially raised in Parliament last October.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Met’s commissioner, is on record as saying that Scotland Yard is treating the allegations seriously.

‘Operation Fernbridge’, which was upgraded to a full criminal investigation last month, was started after an Exaro reporter accompanied a key source to a meeting with police officers and Watson at the House of Commons in October.

This operation is investigating allegations of a paedophile ring centred on Richmond between 1977 and 1983. The allegations were initially part of Operation Fairbank, but were separated into Fernbridge in January.

Operation Fernbridge carried out its first arrests the week before last. Two Exaro journalists were watching one address, and took a series of pictures of detectives taking away one suspect.

Detectives arrested John Stingemore, the 70-year-old former deputy head of Grafton Close children’s home, formerly run by the London borough of Richmond-upon-Thames, at his flat in St Leonards-on-Sea in East Sussex, and Revd Tony McSweeney, 66, a Roman Catholic priest from Norwich.

The Met has confirmed that both suspects were bailed until April.

Spindler said in a statement after the arrests: “This is a complex multi-agency investigation supported by the NSPCC, CEOP and Richmond social services involving non-recent allegations of sexual assault against children.”

The Diocese of East Anglia issued a statement confirming that McSweeney was arrested, and that he was bailed to reappear at a police station in ten weeks.

The statement said that he was arrested “as part of a police investigation into allegations of the non-recent sexual abuse of children”.

It continued: “Revd McSweeney has voluntarily withdrawn from all active ministry and has resigned as director of the Notre Dame high school in Norwich with immediate effect. This is a neutral act that makes no judgement of guilt or innocence, and which is in line with safeguarding procedures of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.”

If you have information that might help our investigation, please contact us. Keep re-visiting Exaro for more on this investigation.


Submission + - European Porn Ban Protests Silenced (

DavidGilbert99 writes: "A storm has erupted in Brussels this week when it was revealed that a previously uncontroversial report features a clause which seeks a "ban on all forms of pornography in the media."

However all protest emails sent into MEPs ahead of the vote next Tuesday have been filtered by the IT department and classified as spam."

Submission + - Tesla Motors: Early Re-Payment of Tesla's ATVM Loan (

fredan writes: On February 26, at an event hosted by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Elon Musk announced Tesla will pay off our Department of Energy (DOE) loan five years early, twice as fast as required by the original 2010 loan agreement signed by Tesla and the DOE.

It is worth noting that in comparison with these three other recipients, Tesla had the smallest loan. Ford's loan was for $5.9 billion, Nissan's was for $1.4 billion, and Fisker's was for $529 million.


Submission + - Texas proposes one of nation's "most sweeping" mobile privacy laws (

hessian writes: "Privacy experts say that a pair of new mobile privacy bills recently introduced in Texas are among the “most sweeping” ever seen. And they say the proposed legislation offers better protection than a related privacy bill introduced this week in Congress.

If passed, the new bills would establish a well-defined, probable-cause-driven warrant requirement for all location information. That's not just data from GPS, but potentially pen register, tap and trace, and tower location data as well. Such data would be disclosed to law enforcement "if there is probable cause to believe the records disclosing location information will provide evidence in a criminal investigation.""

Submission + - Copyright Trolls Order Wordpress to Disclose Critics IP Addresses (

TrueSatan writes: Notorious copyright troll Prenda Law have sent a subpoena to Wordpress attempting to force the disclosure of all IP addresses related to two Wordpress hosted sites that specialise in monitoring and encouraging action against copyright trolling. The sites in question are and . These sites state their aims as "To keep the public and fellow victims informed and to ensure that through activism, trolls make as little money as possible."...aims which almost anyone bar a copyright troll, or lawyer acting for one, might well applaud.
  Prenda Law's demand is not for a subset of addresses that might have posted in a manner that could be construed as legally defamatory but for all IP addresses that have accessed these sites irrespective of the use made of them.
Prenda Law have filed three defamation lawsuits already against the individuals who run fightcopyrighttrolls and one has been dismissed

Dietrolldie release the following warning:

“As there is a possibility that a release could occur, the public IP address (date/time stamp) could fall into the hands of Prenda. I would expect that they would then try to cross-reference the IP address with their list of alleged BitTorrent infringement IP addresses,” .

“If you have ever gone to this site or since 1 January 2011, you may want to contact WordPress and tell them you want them to refuse this overly broad request and at least wait until the issue of the case being removed to the Federal court is answered, before releasing ANY information,” DTD concludes.

Slashdot Top Deals

Technological progress has merely provided us with more efficient means for going backwards. -- Aldous Huxley