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

 



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Toys

Submission + - Lego dart gun shoots pencils over 100 feet (blogspot.com) 1

DroidFreak writes: "What do you do when Mylar balloons get stuck on a ceiling 20 feet out of reach? You build a Lego dart gun to get them down of course! This "weapon" has a frame made of Legos; fires darts made of pencils, tape, and Kleenex; and is powered by rubber bands. It can shoot over 100 feet angled and can punch through aluminum cans. Best of all, my blog post includes instructions on how to build this gun so you too can have the power to fell Mylar balloons 20 feet above your head!"
Space

Submission + - So that is why Big Bird is yellow (space.com)

davekleiman writes: "A new photo from a NASA sun-watching spacecraft highlights a huge solar feature that looks a lot like the beloved Big Bird from the children's television show "Sesame Street." "I can't get over how much this looks like Big Bird — but it is a coronal hole on the sun," reads a Twitter post today by Camilla Corona SDO, the spacecraft's rubber chicken mascot."
Now the big question is where are Bert and Ernie, maybe it was them that flew the ship that landed Big Bird there."

Idle

Submission + - Toddler's iPad Tantrum Gets Him Kicked Off Plane 3

theodp writes: A three-year-old boy on an Alaska Airlines flight to St. Martin Island from Seattle threw such severe conniptions after his iPad was taken away before takeoff that he and his family were removed from the plane. Alaska Airlines said this was a judgment call on the captain's part — the boy reportedly wouldn't sit upright and wouldn't keep his seatbelt on. No word if the little tyke tweeted his disgust with how the airline deprived him of his iPad rights, a la Alec Baldwin.
Network

Submission + - BT Fibre Pulls Out Of Chelsea Over Ugly Cabinets (techweekeurope.co.uk) 2

judgecorp writes: "The up-market London borough of Kensington and Chelsea has lost its chance for BT fast fibre. After residents objected to the ugly fibre cabinets, and the council repeatedly refused permission to install them in historic sites, BT has said the borough will not get its fast BT Infinity product at all. The borough says it doesn't need BT, as Richard Branson's Virgin Media has got it more or less covered."
The Media

Submission + - Fox News Ties 'Flame' Malware to Angry Birds (foxnews.com)

eldavojohn writes: The title of this hard-hitting piece of journalism reads 'Powerful ‘Flame’ cyberweapon tied to popular Angry Birds game' and opens with 'The most sophisticated and powerful cyberweapon uncovered to date was written in the LUA computer language, cyber security experts tell Fox News — the same one used to make the incredibly popular Angry Birds game.' The rest of the details that are actually pertinent to the story follow that important message. The graphic for this story? Perhaps a map of Iran or the LUA logo or maybe the stereotyped evil hacker in a ski mask? Nope, all Angry Birds. Describing LUA as "Gamer Code," Fox for some reason (popularity?) selects Angry Birds from an insanely long list in their article implying guilt-by-shared-development-language. I'm not sure if explaining machine language to them would alleviate the perceived problem or cause them to burn their desktops in the streets and launch a new crusade to protect the children.

Submission + - Turn off your PC – The cost of PC gaming (grano.la) 1

MBAFK writes: My coworker Geoff and I have been taking power meters home to see what the true cost of PC gaming is. Not just the outlay for hardware and software but what the day-to-day costs really are. If you assume a 20 hour a week habit and using $0.11 a KWH. Actually playing costs Geoff $30.83 a year. If Geoff turns his PC off when he is not using it he could save $66 dollars a year. Turn off your PC when you aren’t using it. The environment will thank you and so will your wallet.
Facebook

Submission + - Facebook hit with $15 billion privacy suit on IPO day (bgr.com)

zacharye writes: Facebook is officially a public company as of Friday morning shortly after 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time, and what better way to celebrate the milestone than with a fresh privacy lawsuit? Led by Stewarts Law and Bartimus, Frickleton, Robertson & Gorny, a class action lawsuit has been filed in San Jose, California alleging that Facebook unlawfully continued to track users’ Web browsing after they logged out of the service. The suit seeks more than $15 billion in damages...
Idle

Submission + - History's first prank call is almost as old as the telephone (networkworld.com)

netbuzz writes: "You could picture the event as a 19th Century Bart Simpson making history’s first documented prank phone call to Mo’s Funeral Home. The documentation comes via Google Books from the February 1884 edition of The Electrical World – only eight years after Bell’s famous summoning of Watson — and the one-paragraph story is headlined: “A grave joke on undertakers.” The little-publicized gem was unearthed by Portland State University professor Paul Collins, who is also known at The Literary Detective."
Facebook

Submission + - Facebook Denies Patent Fraud, Says Yahoo Lawyers Can't Read (fosspatents.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The patent spat Yahoo started with Facebook keeps heating up. After Facebook countersued Yahoo over 10 patents of its own, Yahoo accused Facebook of dealing with dirty patent trolls. It also claimed that two of Facebook's ten patents were only granted because the named inventor and his attorney had deceived the patent office: they allegedly failed to disclose a second inventor or, in the alternative, to file a sworn declaration that the other inventor was erroneously listed at an earlier stage of the process. On Wednesday, Facebook fired back and filed a motion to dismiss this allegation. Microsoft/Oracle consultant Florian Mueller shows on his blog that the "inventor" in question actually DID sign an affidavit that the USPTO received back in 2001. Yahoo's lawyers (who also work on a number of patent cases for Google, Motorola, Samsung and HTC, mostly against Apple) just failed to request the file history. When Facebook asked for the file history, it was told that no one had previously accessed that one.
Security

Submission + - Henry Kissinger Gets TSA Pat-Down (washingtonpost.com) 1

TheGift73 writes: "Seems no one is immune from the tender mercies of the TSA pat-down. First, we learned that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was subjected to a handsy search. And now we learn of the latest high-profile search-ee: former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Yeah, the guy who was once an advisor to presidents, the one who helped negotiate the end to the Vietnam War...and, oh yeah, he’s got a Nobel Peace Prize."

Facebook

Submission + - Winklevoss Twins Launch Zurker - The Social Network Owned By You (zurker.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The Winklevoss twins have launched a new social networking site to rival Facebook, except this site comes with a twist in that everyone that signs up to the new site during its beta test gets shares in the company. This "owned by you" approach is a novel way to combat security concerns surrounding sites like facebook and google but do you think Zurker will even see the light of day in terms of every day use? Will this go the same way as Google+ or will some people get rich in the process?
Microsoft

Submission + - Forbes Names Microsoft's Steve Ballmer names worst CEO

_0x783czar writes: Microsoft haters gleefully have latched on to the latest scoop that a Forbes columnist has named Steve Ballmer the worst CEO. It seems that the article has leveled some strong accusations of irresponsible and ineffective business practices; claiming that Microsoft has not progressed over the last 12 years of Ballmer's leadership.

http://www.bgr.com/2012/05/14/microsoft-steve-ballmer-worst-ceo/

(full disclosure: I'm not a Microsoft fan myself and tend to agree with this piece.)

Submission + - Kodaks basement lab housed 3.5 pounds of highly enriched (weapons grade) uranium (democratandchronicle.com)

McGruber writes: The Rochester (NY) Democrat-Chronicle has the interesting story (http://www.democratandchronicle.com/article/20120511/NEWS01/305120021/Kodak-Park-nuclear-reactor) of the Eastman Kodak Co.'s Californium Neutron Flux Multiplier, which was housed in Building 82 of Kodak Park in Rochester, NY.

The multiplier contained 3½ pounds of highly enriched (weapons-grade) uranium. Kodak used it to check chemicals and other materials for impurities, as well as for tests related to neutron radiography, an imaging technique.

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