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Submission + - Possibly fatal blow against a patent trolls. (

whoever57 writes: Patent trolls rely on the fact that they have no assets and, if they lose a case, they can fold the company that owned the patent and sued, thus avoiding paying any the defendant's legal bills. However, in a recent case, the judge has told the winning defendant that it can claim its legal bills from the law firm. The decision is based on the plaintiff's law firm using a contract under which it would take a portion of any judgment, making it more than just counsel, but instead a partner with the plaintiff. This will likely result in law firms wanting to be paid up front, instead of offering a contingency-based fee.

Submission + - Siemens Squashes Cross-Channel Electric Flight

Jay Maynard writes: AvWeb is reporting that Slovenian airplane maker Pipistrel has been forced to cancel its attempt to be the first electric-powered airplane to cross the English Channel after Siemens ordered them not to fly over water with their electric motor. This comes just two days before Airbus was set to do the same thing, with Siemens as a major sponsor.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: How do we define sexism?

AmiMoJo writes: Recently there has been a lot of discussion about the low numbers of women in tech, right from early school level to the workplace. Often when steps are taken to try to address this, a number of people claim that they are sexist. For example, special extra computer science classes for girls are welcomed by many, but dismissed as sexist by others because they exclude boys. One argument is that such measures don't harm boys, they only help disadvantaged girls, so they are not sexist, but others seem to think that anything which doesn't include everyone is automatically sexist and discriminatory.

How do we define sexism, and (assuming for the sake of argument that there is a problem) how do we deal with low numbers of women in tech without being sexist? Is any kind of segregation, such as special glasses for gifted students or make-up classes for those falling behind, always wrong and discriminatory?

Submission + - Imagination to Release Open MIPS Design to Academia (

DeviceGuru writes: Imagination Technologies has developed a Linux-ready academic version of its 32-bit MIPS architecture MicroAptiv processor design, and is giving it away free to universities for use in computer research and education. As the MIPSfpga name suggests, the production-quality RTL (register transfer level) design abstraction is intended to run on industry standard FPGAs. Although MIPSfpga is available as a fully visible RTL design, MIPSfpga is not fully open source, according to the announcement from Robert Owen, Manager of Imagination’s University Programme. Academic users can use and modify MIPSfpga as they wish, but cannot build it into silicon. 'If you modify it, you must talk to us first if you wish to patent the changes,' writes Owen.

Submission + - How a black hole actually could destroy the entire Universe

StartsWithABang writes: Black holes are some of the most extreme examples of physics in the Universe. Space is curved tremendously, there’s an incredible concentration of energy all in one, singular point, and everything that occurs, in theory, outside of the event horizon can be seen in our Universe. But what if one of those things that it can do is make the quantum vacuum in this incredibly curved space unstable? What if it can allow the vacuum to tunnel from its metastable state into one that’s truly stable? In theory, this can destroy the entire Universe.

Submission + - Unexpected role for green tea in MRI (

rtoz writes: Scientists report in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces that they successfully used compounds from green tea to help image cancer tumors in mice. Using a simple, one-step process, the researchers coated iron-oxide nanoparticles with green-tea compounds called catechins and administered them to mice with cancer. MRIs demonstrated that the novel imaging agents gathered in tumor cells and showed a strong contrast from surrounding non-tumor cells. The researchers conclude that the catechin-coated nanoparticles are promising candidates for use in MRIs and related applications.

Submission + - What Are the Rational Pros and Cons of Homeschooling 1

VorpalRodent writes: I went to a private school for about 6 years, then completed my education at the local public school, going on to get a couple undergraduate degrees and a postgraduate degree. My wife dropped out of high school and got her equivalency many years later. Now, she wants to homeschool our son.

There is a significant body of literature which indicates that homeschoolers outperform their traditionally schooled counterparts academically, regardless of the level of education of the parent, and she certainly cares more now that she's older. I don't like anecdotes, but I certainly haven't seen the research borne out in any of the people that I know who were homeschooled, and more importantly, it seems like the only reason my wife wants to homeschool is because she doesn't want to let go.

Our son would be going into Kindergarten this coming year. I'm interested in some rational discussion on this, since it seems like the only viewpoints I've ever seen on the matter are "Better academics" vs. "Social interaction", both of which are gross oversimplifications. It doesn't help that I can't find any statistical information on post-schooling outcomes.
The Media

Submission + - The Fate of Newspapers: Farm it, Milk it, or Feed it

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Alan D. Mutter writes that with a 50% drop in newspaper advertising since 2005, the old ways of running a newspaper can no longer succeed so most publishers are faced with choosing the best possible strategy going-forward for their mature but declining businesses: farm it, feed it, or milk it. Warren Buffett is farming it and recently bucked the widespread pessimism about the future of newspapers by buying 63 titles from Media General and is concentrating on small and medium papers in defensible markets, while steering clear of metro markets, where costs are high and competition is fierce. “I do not have any secret sauce,” says Buffett. “There are still 1,400 daily papers in the United States. The nice thing about it is that somebody can think about the best answer and we can copy him. Two or three years from now, you’ll see a much better-defined pattern of operations online and in print by papers.” Advance Publications is milking it by cutting staff and reducing print publication to three days a week at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, thus making the Crescent City the largest American metropolis to be deprived of a daily dose of wood fiber in its news diet. Once dismantled, the local reporting infrastructure in communities like New Orleans will almost certainly never be rebuilt. "By cutting staff to a bare minimum and printing only on the days it is profitable to do so, publishers can milk considerable sums from their franchises until the day these once-indomitable cash cows go dry." Rupert Murdoch is feeding it as he spins his newspapers out of News Corp. and into a separate company empowered to innovate the traditional publishing businesses into the future. In various interviews after announcing the planned spinoff, Murdoch promised to launch the new company with no debt and ample cash to aggressively pursue digital publishing opportunities across a variety of platforms. "If the spinoff materializes in anywhere near the way Murdoch is spinning it, however, it could turn out to be a model for iterating the way forward for newspapers.""
Role Playing (Games)

Submission + - Legend of Grimrock development costs recovered in three days of sales (

KingofGnG writes: From the mist of the video gaming past a genre thought extinct returns, thanks to a title provided with “an oldschool heart but a modern execution“: the genre is the grid-based dungeon crawlers one, the game which brings it to the present is Legend of Grimrock made by Finnish developer Almost Human. LoG has been released starting from April 11 on the software house site, Steam and on, and in this last case the release is particularly important because it matches the renewal of the gaming digital delivery “alternative” service for PC.

Submission + - Ex-Vertica CEO pledges to build "high-speed railway for Big Data" (

alphadogg writes: Details are thin, but ex-Vertica CEO Chris Lynch (who last year sold the analytics database company to HP for $340M), says he's a network guy at heart and is readying a startup designed to build a high-speed railway for Big Data traffic. He says the company will enable carriers like Verizon and AT&T to better monetize the bits that flow over their networks, and says the company will be one of 20 Big Data startups he will back on the east coast. The "skinny pipes" in the cloud are currently preventing organizations from fully exploiting Big Data systems, Lynch says.

Submission + - Want to buy a smart phone without exploiting Chinese workers. Choices ?

unimacs writes: "So Apple has been under fire recently for the conditions at the factories of their Chinese suppliers. I listened to "This American Life's" recent retraction of the Michael Daisey piece they did awhile back. Great Radio for those of you who haven't heard it. Rarely has dead air been used to such effect.

Anyway, while his work has been discredited, Michael Daisey wasn't inaccurate in his claims that working conditions are poor in iPhone and iPad factories. Given that, are there any smart phone manufacturers whose phones are made under better conditions?"

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