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Sci-Fi

Submission + - Touchable Holography (codingfuture.com)

future.nerd writes: "What if we can touch and feel virtual 3D objects? Indeed, a new paradigm will be formed then. A paradigm that will catapult us to the next level of human computer interaction. Get ready for that paradigm because touchable holograms are here. A research team from University of Tokyo is demonstrating a touchable holograph in siggraph2009."
Privacy

Submission + - Ubuntu's new Firefox is watching you (launchpad.net) 3

sukotto writes: Ubuntu recently released an unannounced and experimental "multisearch" extension to Firefox alpha3... apparently to improve the default behavior of new tabs and of search. In a response to one of the initial bug reports the maintainers mentioned that the extension's other purpose was for "collecting the usage data" and "Generating revenue" [citation] . Since this extension installs by itself and offers no warning about potential privacy violations, quite a few people (myself included) feel pretty unhappy.

There is no way to opt-out other than manually disabling the extension via Tools >> Add-ons.

The Military

Submission + - US Marine Corps bans Web 2.0 (wired.com) 1

DesScorp writes: "The Marines have banned social networking sites like Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook from all USMC networks, effectively immediately. "These internet sites in general are a proven haven for malicious actors and content and are particularly high risk due to information exposure, user generated content and targeting by adversaries," reads a Marine Corps order, issued Monday. "The very nature of SNS [social network sites] creates a larger attack and exploitation window, exposes unnecessary information to adversaries and provides an easy conduit for information leakage that puts OPSEC [operational security], COMSEC [communications security], [and] personnel... at an elevated risk of compromise." Wired's Danger Room blog notes that the ban is effective for one year, and that social networking advocates within the Pentagon argue that Web 2.0 sites provide a valuable means of communication and support for the military."
The Internet

Submission + - Researchers Say Wikipedia May Be in Slow Decline

Hugh Pickens writes: "New research shows that Wikipedia's ascendancy to the top of a large pool of online reference sites has come to an end as growth has leveled and the nature of the community has made it less welcoming to new contributors. "It's easy to say that Wikipedia will always be here," says Dr. Ed Chi, a senior scientist at the Palo Alto Research Center. "This research shows that is not a given." While the site is still wildly popular for those trying to figure out who played in Super Bowl XXII, the name of Pink Floyd's original frontman, or how a convection oven works, the explosive growth that characterized its early years leveled in 2006 at around 60,000 new articles per month, declining by nearly a third since then. But the trends within the community itself are far more troublesome. The year after the amount of new content flattened, the number of edits per month plateaued as well at around 5.5 million. Meanwhile, the number of users making edits leveled off at around 750,000 monthly. Data also suggests the Wikipedia community is becoming resistant to new content and new editors with passive editors who make just a single change per month seeing around a quarter of their changes erased or modified by other, more active editors. "This is evidence of growing resistance from the Wikipedia community to new content," says Chi. The resulting exclusion of more varied contributions shifts the balance of power on Wikipedia to those fewer active editors, and in turn could make Wikipedia more like a fraternity than a community-driven social encyclopedia. Wikipedia's growth "is consistent with a growth processes that hits a constraint — for instance, due to resource limitations in systems," writes Chi. "Rather than exponential growth, such systems display logistic growth.""
Sony

Submission + - 24-hrs later, Sony removes ad from WipEout HD (kotaku.com)

Ifandbut writes: "From Kotaku:

The people have spoken. Spoken angrily. And Sony have listened, removing the worst of the in-game advertising from WipeOut HD only 24 hours after it was first officially announced.
"The ad has been removed from WipEout HD", a Sony rep told Eurogamer, "and we are investigating the situation to ensure that any in-game advertising does not affect gameplay".
Note this doesn't mean all advertising in the game has been removed; only the ad that was causing the annoying, increased load times.

It appears to be only one ad. The State Farm ad which appeared to increase the loading times by as much as 10 seconds as seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kX4f9zts6JM"

Earth

Submission + - Expedition to Explore Texas Size Plastic 'Island' 1

Peace Corps Online writes: "BBC reports that an expedition called Project Kaisei leaves this month bound for the Great Pacific Garbage Patch a huge "island" of plastic debris in the Pacific Ocean estimated to be twice the size of Texas to study the impact of the waste on marine life. "Every piece of trash that is left on a beach or ends up in our rivers or estuaries and washes out to the sea is an addition to the problem, so we need people to be the solution," says Ryan Yerkey, the project's chief of operations. The garbage patch occupies a large and relatively stationary region of the North Pacific Ocean bound by the North Pacific Gyre, a remote area commonly referred to as the horse latitudes. The rotational pattern created by the North Pacific Gyre draws in waste material from across the North Pacific Ocean, including the coastal waters off North America and Japan. As material is captured in the currents, wind-driven surface currents gradually move floating debris toward the center, trapping it in the region. "You are talking about quite a bit of marine debris but it's not a solid mass," adds Yerkley. "Twenty years from now we can't be harvesting the ocean for trash. We need to get it out but we need to also have people make those changes in their lives to stop the problem from growing and hopefully reverse the course.""
Privacy

Submission + - Pirate Bay's IPREDator not a place to hide (itnews.com.au)

schliz writes: The Pirate Bay's new IPREDator anonymity service could be insufficiently secure for several use cases — for example, political activism in countries like Iran. The service uses PPTP, which has several known vulnerabilities, and according to IPREDator co-founder Peter Sunde, "can probably be broken by someone that can eavesdrop on the traffic".

The service was announced as a political statement in April and entered beta testing last week.

Privacy

Submission + - Unions may lobby UK Govt. to make ISPs to reg. P2P (tuc.org.uk)

An anonymous reader writes: The UK Trades Union Congress (TUC) will vote in September on a motion requesting that the UK Government force ISPs to take legal action (PDF) to prevent their customers from engaging in what they call illegal distribution of content over their networks.

From the motion P70 of the preliminary agenda proposed by the Broadcasting, Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU):

"Congress believes: 1. internet service providers should now be required to take stronger action against the illegal distribution of content over their networks 2. internet service providers should therefore be required to send warning notices to offenders and to take additional graduated measures to prevent illegal downloading by individuals who ignore multiple warnings 3. such measures should be introduced by means of enabling legislation.

Congress believes this is an issue of preserving workers' jobs and that internet service providers should not be allowed to pursue their ruthless commercial interests under the cover of false and misleading justifications based on freedom of information. Congress therefore calls on the General Council to campaign for the Government to take early and effective action to introduce and implement such measures."


All TUC affiliated unions will be voting on this matter at the TUC's conference starting the 12th of September. If you are a member of a trade union, you can ask your National Executives and General Secretaries not to support the motion.

Privacy

Submission + - Can we abandon Confidentiality for Google Apps? 1

An anonymous reader writes: I provide IT services for medium sized medical and law practices and have been getting a lot of feedback from doctors and lawyers who use gmail at home and believe that they can run a significant portion of their practice IT on Google Apps. From a support standpoint, I'd be happy to chuck mail/calendar service management into the bin and let them run with gmail, but for these businesses, there is significant legal liability associated with the confidentiality of their communications and records (eg HIPPA).

For those with high profile celebrity clients, stating that "Google employees can read your stuff" will usually end the conversation right there, but for smaller practices I often get a lot of pushback in the form of "What's wrong with trusting Google?" and "Google's not interested in our email/calendar". Weighing what they see as a tiny legal risk against the promise of Free IT Stuff(TM) becomes increasingly difficult in the face of the clear functionality/usability/ubiquity that they experience when using Google at home. So my question to the Slashdot community is this:

Are they right? Is it time for me to remove the Tin Foil Hat from their confidentiality obligations and stop resisting the juggernaut that is Google?
If not, what's the best way to clarify the confidentiality issues?
Intel

Submission + - Intel: donate your idle CPU time to research (itnews.com.au)

RobbieB writes: "Chipzilla has kicked off a new campaign which allows users to donate idle time on their processors for research efforts. The new initiative is called 'Progress Thru Processors', is being promoted via a Facebook site and aims to divert idle computing time to the Rosetta@Home distributed computing project, the climateprediction.net project and the Africa@Home Malaria research effort. For more ideas, Liz Tay recommends five other things to do with an idle CPU here."
Networking

Submission + - Unethical Private ISP (ntc-com.com) 2

An anonymous reader writes: I've backed myself into a corner this semester: I signed a lease for an apartment without first researching which ISP's were available there. It turns out that one company, NTC Cable, has a monopoly on the ethernet wired in the building. Since they are my only option for cable internet, I read up on their policies. Apparently, they charge by the connection to each room of the apartment; at the time of writing their rate is ~$32/month and routers are against their Terms of Service. This means that in order for my roommates and I to connect our four laptops we would be paying in excess of $120/month. NTC also states that gaming devices and handhelds also need their own connection. This is ridiculous and ought to be considered usury; I'm wondering what recourse I have in this matter. How might they be detecting individual devices, and how might I circumvent this detection. I thought of using an old desktop as a wireless access point and routing our laptops through that, but would that be detectable?
Programming

Submission + - The Best First Language For A Young Programmer (infoworld.com)

snydeq writes: "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister questions whether Scheme, a dialect of Lisp taught as part of many first-year C.S. curricula and considered by some to be the 'latin of programming,' is really the best first language for a young programmer. As McAllister sees it, the essentially write-only Scheme requires you to bore down into the source code just to figure out what a Scheme program is trying to do — excellent for teaching programming but 'lousy for a 15-year-old trying to figure out how to make a computer do stuff on his own.' And though the 'hacker ethic' may in fact be harming today's developers, McAllister still suggests we encourage the young to 'develop the innate curiosity and love of programming that lies at the heart of any really brilliant programmer' by simply encouraging them to fool around with whatever produces the most gratifying results. After all, as Jeff Atwood puts it, 'what we do is craftmanship, not engineering,' and inventing effective software solutions takes insight, inspiration, deduction, and often a sprinkling of luck, McAllister writes. 'If that means coding in Visual Basic, so be it. Scheme can come later.'"
The Internet

Canadian Groups Call For Massive Net Regulation 318

An anonymous reader writes "Michael Geist is reporting that Canadian cultural groups including ACTRA and SOCAN have called on Canada's telecom regulator to implement a massive new Internet regulation framework. This includes a new three-percent tax on ISPs to pay for new media creation, Canadian content requirements for commercial websites, and licensing requirements for new media broadcasters, including for user-generated content."
Censorship

Submission + - Oz Internet to be Filtered - Petition Online (getup.org.au)

MagicRat writes: "The Rudd Government is planning on filtering the internet for every Australian. The closed trials are over for now, but it's only a short amount of time before the Government proceeds with live trials. A group called GetUp.org have a petition ready and waiting to be signed and hopefully get rid of this filter from our internet connections. The filter itself has shown in the closed trials to slow broadband connections by 2%. Now, depending on the complexity of the filter this figure could increase by up to 80%. As it is in Australia, our internet structure is not up to scratch with many other countries, so this will only hurt our internet more."
Space

1.4 Billion Pixel Camera To Watch For Asteroids 138

SpaceSlug writes "The world's largest digital camera is to be used to keep an eye out for asteroids heading towards Earth. The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) has been built by researchers at MIT's Lincoln Lab. At its heart is a 1.4 billion pixel (or 1400 megapixel) camera that will scan the night sky looking for rogue near-Earth objects from atop Mount Haleakala in Maui Island, Hawaii. The system uses something called an orthogonal transfer CCD to remove atmospheric blur from images."

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