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Submission + - Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor, Your FB Engineers

theodp writes: ReadWrite's Brian Hall observes that — surprise — Mark Zuckerberg's immigration fix favors Facebook. 'Fairly or not,' writes Hall, 'by repeatedly linking the larger immigration issue with 'the Internet,' as Zuckerberg does in his [Washington Post] editorial, he appears less concerned with America's future — or even the future of those children residing in the U.S. illegally — and more with boosting the value of his own Internet concern.', the self-described 'diverse' political group formed by Zuckerberg and other Silicon Valley luminaries, also raised an eyebrow from immigrant Om Malik. 'What I hate is the focus put on a specific immigration issue [H-1B visas],' Malik wrote. 'I don't buy that just because an immigrant works on an algorithm make her more important.' BTW, the Terms of Service for indicates that you're really using the website '', apparently one of a number of sites operated by an organization called the 'Campaign for Innovation.' This entity in turn appears to be linked to the 'March for Innovation' ('it’s a no brainer to keep and attract brain power in America'), which enjoys support from many of the same members of Zuckerberg's ratpack, as well as groups like the 'Partnership for a New American Economy' (aka, whose co-chairs include Steve Ballmer, Michael Bloomberg, and Rupert Murdoch. On its website, RenewOurEconomy boasts it's been successfully getting newspapers to run its Op-Eds for years. With all that lobbying muscle (and what some might call Astroturfing), it's really no surprise that Silicon Valley on Tuesday scored what the NY Times called its biggest win yet in Washington with a proposed overhaul of immigration law that 'shifts the emphasis in immigration policy from one that prioritized family ties to one that will prioritize professional degrees.'

Submission + - OpenShot Video Editor Achieves $35k on Kickstarter, Final Goal in Reach! ( 5

JonOomph writes: The popular open source video editor, OpenShot, has less than 39 hours remaining on popular crowd-funding site, The lead developer, Jonathan Thomas, has proposed a revolutionary new feature, which would allow users to offload CPU, memory, and disk cache to a local server (or multiple local servers), dramatically increasing the speed of previewing and rendering. The more servers added to the pool, the faster the video editing engine becomes (with the primary limitation being network bandwidth). If the final goal of $40k is reached in the remaining hours, this feature will be added to the next version of OpenShot.

Submission + - Employees Admit to Accessing or Stealing Company Info

An anonymous reader writes: In a survey of 2,000 employees, 23 percent admitted to having accessed or taken confidential data from their workplace, with one in ten stating that they do it regularly. The most accessed confidential data related to details of colleague salaries (38 percent) and details of colleague bonus schemes (23 percent). 94 percent of those who had accessed confidential information or stolen company data had never been caught. In an era where data breaches are considered inevitable, and with the government urging for greater consideration of cyber threats within businesses, the amount of employers who are doing nothing about unauthorised access across their networks – and the even higher number who don’t perceive any risk at all when it comes to employee data theft – is staggering.

Submission + - EU Data Protection proposal taken word for word from US lobbyists (

Qedward writes: Computerworld UK open enterprise blogger Glyn Moody looks at the proposed EU directive on Data Protection — and how some of the proposed amendments seem to be cut and pasted directly from the American Chamber of Commerce — that well-known European organisation...

You might ask, Glyn writes, who are these MEPs representing — some 500 million EU citizens that pay their salary or a bunch of extremely rich US companies intent on taking away our privacy?


Submission + - Nasa's 'Perverse' Decision Not To Include A Life Detector on Curiosity (

PatrickRIot writes: "Aeon's longform article explores the history of 'life' on Mars and wonders why no microbe detection experiement was included on Curiosity, especially after disputed Viking findings from a previous mission.

'Then things took a strange turn. Another Viking experiment, designed to test for organic compounds in the Martian soil, came up negative. This was doubly surprising. Firstly, the labelled release seemed to suggest that there was carbon-utilising biology present. Secondly, even if there is no life at all, the surface of Mars should contain some organic molecules. They are ubiquitous in space, and rain down on every planet in the Solar System via meteorites.

And so the complete absence of organics not only appeared to negate the labelled release experiment; it also required explanation in itself. After the Champagne had been put back on ice, scientists speculated that the Martian soil contained chemicals that actively broke down organic compounds — something like hydrogen peroxide would do the trick. Gil Levin, the scientist behind the labelled release experiment, doggedly maintained that the positive biological finding was still valid. Nevertheless, the consensus was now that Viking had not detected life on Mars.

Yet the case was far from closed. In 1984, a meteorite called ALH84001 was discovered in Antarctica. It was known to have come from Mars, and in 1996 it was found to contain what looked very much like fossil bacteria. Then it transpired that the Viking organic-detection experiment had not worked properly after all. The obvious thing to do would be to send an updated version of the Viking life-detectors on another probe and run the 1976 experiments again. This is something that NASA has, in my opinion perversely, declined to do.

At a conference in San Diego last year, I asked Michael Meyer, head of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, why no such experiment would be carried on-board Curiosity. We had heard that the rover was designed to discover whether Mars offers, or ever has offered, ‘conditions capable of supporting life’. But not life itself. Why not? Finding life, Meyer told me, ‘was a needle in a haystack’. Since we do not know what sort of biology there might be out there, it was better to look for circumstantial evidence — things like favourable geology and evidence of benign climates in the past. Fair enough, but plenty of people still think it was crazy not to put a life-detector on Curiosity.'"

Submission + - Boeing Dreamliner catches fire in Boston (

19061969 writes: The BBC reports that a Boeing 787 Dreamliner caught fire in Boston. Carter Leake, an analyst at BB&T Capital Markets in Virginia, said, "I don't want to be an alarmist, but onboard fires on airplanes are as bad as it gets." This represents bad news for Boeing especially after the FAA identified errors in the assembly of fuel line couplings in the Dreamliner.

Submission + - EC meeting designed to whitewash patents in standards (

jrepin writes: "Simon Phipps spotted a meeting happening in Brussels that looked as if it was a set-up job. He suspected its goal was to ensure that a report was produced which could be referenced in future discussions over EU procurement policies — especially Britain's. While it was probably not a documented goal, such a report could be used to falsely demonstrate that technical standards with patents in them are no problem for open source software. Well, the report is out, and as Glyn Moody disclosed on December 31st, it's everything Simon predicted."

Submission + - Main Problem With Patented GM Food Is The Patent (

jrepin writes: "The acrimonious debate and serious lobbying that developed around California's Proposition 37, which would have required the labelling of genetically-modified ingredients in food products had it passed, is an indication that the subject inspires extreme views and involves big money. But an interesting post in Slate argues that GM labelling is really a minor issue compared to the main problem — gene patents:"

Submission + - End of PSTN equipment and all IP phones by 2018? ( 2

An anonymous reader writes: Ars Technica reports that " “The telephone network is obsolete”: Get ready for the all-IP telco
AT&T wants to get rid of obsolete PSTN equipment, and those pesky FCC rules."


Submission + - Google rules out Gmail and Drive apps for Windows 8 ( 4

girlmad writes: Google has revealed it won't be developing any apps for Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8, so those wanting a dedicated app for Gmail or Drive on their Microsoft device will miss out.

Google Apps product management director Clay Bavor said that due to a lack of interest for the Microsoft systems, it is holding back on any work.

Bavor said Google is very careful about where it invests and will go where its users are — and they are not on Windows Phone or Windows 8. Ouch.


Submission + - 2 space probes to crash intentionally on the moon (

An anonymous reader writes: NASA’s latest Moon mission will end on Monday — not with a whimper, but a splat. Two splats, actually. Ebb and Flow, two space probes the size of washing machines that have been orbiting the Moon and measuring its gravity field, will perform an orchestrated death plunge on Monday, crashing into the body’s dark side.
    The exercise will not be for the advance of science, but rather something of a garbage-disposal operation, to make sure that the probes — which are running out of fuel — do not come to rest in a historically significant place, like on Neil Armstrong’s footprints. The Moon has been affronted this way many times before, especially during the space race of the 1960s, but NASA is now trying to dispose of its litter more carefully. This time, the first impact will come 40 seconds past 5:38 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Dec. 17 when Ebb slams into a mountain near the Moon’s north pole at 3,760 miles per hour. The second, from Ebb’s twin, Flow, will come 20 seconds later. Unfortunately, since the action will happen on the dark side of the Moon, there will be nothing for earthlings to see.


Submission + - Ask Slashdot: How do SSDs die? 1

kfsone writes: I've experienced, first hand, some of the ways in which spindle disks die, but either I've yet to see an SSD die or I'm not looking in the right places. Most of my admin-type friends have theories on how an SSD dies but admit none of them has actually seen commercial grade drives die or deteriorate.

In particular, the failure process seems like it should be more clinical than spindle drives. If you have X many of the same SSD drive and none of them suffer manufacturing defects, if you repeat the same series of operations on them they should all die around the same time.

If that's correct, then what happens to SSDs in RAID? Either all your drives will start to fail together or at some point, your drives will become out of sync in-terms of volume sizing.

So, have any slashdotters had to deliberately EOL corporate grade SSDs? Do they die with dignity or go out with a bang?

Submission + - Teen Suicide Tormenter Outed By Anonymous (

MightyMartian writes: From the story:

The tragic story of a Canadian teen suicide victim Amanda Todd has taken another bizarre twist as the internet hacking and activist group Anonymous has named a man the group says was the girl's primary tormentor. Todd, 15, of Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, died last Wednesday, a month after posting a haunting video on YouTube that cited the sexualized attack that set her down a path of anxiety, depression and drug and alcohol abuse.

This raises a whole nest of issues surrounding the presumption of innocence and vigilantism. Should the police and the courts be given the appropriate amount of time to determine if there is sufficient evidence, or if a crime has in fact been committed, or is Anonymous right in short-circuiting what might in fact be a lengthy process with no guarantee that anyone will face charges?


Submission + - #help! Japan mulls 999 emergency calls from Twitter and social networks (

Qedward writes: The Japanese government hosted a panel in Tokyo today on allowing emergency '999' calls to be placed through social networks such as Twitter during natural disasters.

"This is a discussion for when traditional voice-based infrastructure goes down during a natural disaster, to see if social networking can be used," said Yosuke Sasao, an official at the national Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

During large-scale natural disasters, such as the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan's east coast last year, voice networks clogged up under the dual strain of damaged infrastructure and a sudden surge of lengthy voice calls. The country also employs a system that blocks everyday users from phone networks to give emergency crews and government officials better access.

For many in Japan, social networks and online chat services were the only source of information in the hours after the disasters in March of last year, when much of the country was without power and phone lines and email services were overwhelmed.

Open Source

Submission + - Tweets in space (

bLanark writes: There is a plan afoot to deliberately beam tweet into space, specifically to GJ667Cc, 22 light years from us and believed to be the nearest likely habitable planet. All tweets with the hashtag #tweetsinspace will be sent.

From the article: "They’ll also open source their code so that anyone can do the same." If, of course, we, too " ...have access to a laser or radio transmitter with a dish strong enough for extraterrestrials to read from across the cosmos."

Is deliberately reaching out a good idea? And is the slice of humanity that uses twitter really the best way to compose a welcoming message?

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