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Laptop Heat May Cause 'Toasted Skin Syndrome' 195

mrvook submitted an item that might affect a lot of you "Working with a laptop on one's lap for extended periods of time has been found to cause heat damage and skin discoloration in a handful of cases, prompting researchers examining the phenomenon to recommend thermal protection for laptop users and warnings labels on laptop device packaging." Only 10 cases have actually been reported, so this might just be a case of media hyping something, or it could be the end of the world with a generation of nerds doomed to sterility and crunchy crotches.

Submission + - Ideas for a Great Control Room 1

lewko writes: Our company is about to build a central monitoring facility. It will be manned 24x7 and operators will be monitoring a variety of systems including security, network, fire, video and more. These will be observed via local multi-monitor workstations and a common videowall. This is going to be a massively expensive exercise and we only get one chance to get it right. The facility is in a secure windowless bunker and staff will generally be in there for many hours at a time. So we have to implement design elements which make it a 'happy' place. At the same time, it has to be ergonomically sound. Lastly, we will be showing it to our clients, so without undoing the above objectives, it would be nice if it was 'cool' (yet functional). Whilst Television doesn't transfer to real life always, think 'MTAC' or 'CTU'.

Submission + - Fighting Obesity: A Work-Out for Geeks 1

tomsby writes: According to the WHO, about 80% of males in the US are over weight and more than 44% suffer obesity, with well known serious health risks [].

Geeks are no excuse---but what can you do? It is too hard to twitter on your iPhone while jogging and your gear might get broken in a rumble while checking Facebook during a football match.

So, how to combine sports and technology in a serious way? Why not create a game using your GPS to place you on a 007 radar and transform your local environment into a massive playground for hide and seek? Probably, FastFoot-Challenge [] can make a difference---and you can also show off to your friends in front of their computers while you play: your games are streamed live into Google Earth.

Submission + - Research: Weird Works When It Comes to Passwords (

Trailrunner7 writes: Researchers at Microsoft and Harvard University warn that popular passwords pose a bigger risk to online security than weak ones and suggest that many tools to enforce strong passwords actually steer users to choices that are easy to guess.

Forcing users to choose passwords that are rare and “unpopular,” rather than “strong," as it has traditionally been defined, provides a better defense against one type of attack, known as "statistical guessing," according to a paper by researchers Cormac Herley and Stuart Schechter of Microsoft Research and Michael Mitzenmacher, a professor of Computer Science at Harvard University. The researchers will present their paper, "Popularity is Everything: A new approach to protecting passwords from statistical-guessing attacks" at the USENIX HotSec '10 Workshop in Washington, D.C. on August 10.


Submission + - Tech Specs Leaked For French Anti-Piracy Spying Ap (

An anonymous reader writes: With the "three strikes" law now in effect in France, the organization tasked with implementing it, Hadopi, has been working on technology specs for making the process work — and those specs have now leaked. It appears to involve client-side monitoring and controlling software, that would try to watch what you were doing online, and even warn you before you used any P2P protocol (must make Skype phone calls fun). It's hard to believe people will accept this kind of thing being installed on their computers, so I can't wait to see how Hadopi moves forward with it. It also appears to violate EU rules on privacy.

Submission + - Government Lab Finds Apple notebooks best PCs (

An anonymous reader writes: The government lab at Government Computer News looked at a slate of powerhouse notebooks and found that in many areas, the Apple MacBook was better than most PCs. Given how much government avoids Apple, this is huge news, and might signal a trend.

Submission + - Canned Practice Data?

galanolwe writes: Let's say I'm learning GNU/Linux command line tools or a scripting language and I want some data to practice on. Does anybody offer "canned data" for practice purposes?

Submission + - Hacking the NASA Twitter Account (

An anonymous reader writes: NASA has been hacked and this time Gary McKinnon wasn't involved, unless he's started an eBay flat screen auction scam that is as the official NASA Astronauts account has been spamming links to just such a thing. Houston, you have a problem!

Submission + - Microsoft does a Google.. MSN contacts revealed ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Struggling to catch up with perceive competition from Facebook, Microsoft Live Messenger (formally, and more commonly known as MSN Messenger) now treats all of your contacts as friends. Chatting to a 'girl' you meant on the net? Well, next time your girlfriend logs in she'll see "Johnny and Sharpie-Chan are now friends". Instead of distinct conversations to various contacts, it's a great big love-fest where everyone gets to hear who your new-found buddies are. This mistake is similar to changes to Gmail to support Google's Wave, which has hopefully died a quiet death.

Submission + - Why Solid State Drives Won't Replace Spinning Disk (

Zombie Puggle writes: Henry Newman’s contention that solid state drives will never replace traditional hard disk drives holds water, but it’s not because of the price difference. He points to lithography limits and the slowing growth in density of Flash drives as the reasons why SSDs will have their place, but HDDs are here to stay. He wrote: “Much of the increase in flash density is related to the reduction in lithography. You can see that from 2002 to 2010, we had almost a two-thirds reduction in lithography size, allowing more things to be fit into the same volumetric space. But it will take another 12 years before we get the same volumetric improvement again, or a 50 percent increase in time. This is why if you chart flash density growth over the last five years, the pace of improvement has slowed.” Companies like Anobit are developing SSDs using MLC technology versus more expensive SLC, but price, ultimately, may not be the issue if capacity points hit a wall.

Submission + - Amateur radio in the backcountry? 1

bartle writes: I currently spend a lot of time hiking in the Colorado Rockies. Cell phone reception is very unreliable and I'm curious if carrying a small amateur radio would make any sense at all. I don't want to add too much weight to my pack so I'm uninterested in carrying a radio that weighs much more than a pound; from what I gather this would give me at best 5 to 10 watts of transmitting power. I have no idea if this is enough to be effective in a mountainous region, I'm hoping some experienced Slashdot hams could give me a clue.

I'm only interested in acquiring a radio and license if it is a lot more effective and reliable than the cell phone I already carry. Otherwise I'm probably better off just waiting for Globalstar to bring back their duplex service and buy a next generation SPOT messaging device. I know some Slashdotters will want to suggest a modern SPOT or Personal Locator Beacon; these are suitable for the worst kinds of emergency but I'll point out that reliable communication can help prevent small crises from becoming big ones.

I don't expect anyone to be able to answer this question spot on but I bet there are a few Slashdotters out there with experiences they can share. Are small, amateur radios effective in the field or are vehicle rigs really the only way to go? Or am I just best off waiting for satellite?

Submission + - Earth as an extrasolar planet (

sciencehabit writes: Astronomers have a theory that they can detect whether a planet light years away will be habitable by just looking at how its sun is reflected in its atmosphere. To test the idea, they pretended that they were observing Earth from a distant object--in this case, the moon. And sure enough, they picked up critical components for life in Earth's atmosphere: ozone, oxygen, sodium, and nitrogen.

GOP Senators Move To Block FCC On Net Neutrality 709

suraj.sun writes "Seven Republican senators have announced a plan to curb the Obama administration's push to impose controversial Net neutrality regulations on the Internet." "The FCC's rush to take over the Internet is just the latest example of the need for fundamental reform to protect consumers," says Sen. Jim DeMint, who I'm sure truly only has the consumer's needs at heart — since his campaign contributions list AT&T in his top five donating organizations.

Say No To a Government Internet "Kill Switch" 433

GMGruman writes "In the name of national security, the feds are considering a law that would let the government turn off the Internet — or at least order broadband providers and ISPs to disable access. InfoWorld blogger Bill Snyder explains why this is a bad idea. Does the US really want to be like China or Iran?"

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