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Submission + - SOPA Creator Now in Charge of NSF Grants (huffingtonpost.com)

sl4shd0rk writes: Remember SOPA? If not, perhaps the name Lamar Smith (R-TX) will ring a bell. The US House Committee on Science, Space and Technology chose Smith to Chair as an overseer for the National Science Foundation's funding process. Smith is [PDF] preparing a bill which will require that every grant must benefit "national defense", be of "utmost importance to society" and not be "duplicative of other research". Duplicating research seems reasonable until you consider that this could also mean the NSF will not provide funding for research once somone has already providing results — manufactured or otherwise. A strange target since there is a process in place which makes an effort to limit duplicate funding already. The first and second requirements, even when read in context, still miss the point of basic research. If we were absolutely without-a-doubt-certain of the results, there would be little point in doing the research in the first place.

Submission + - Wall Street Journal describes how Facebooks Outs your Most Personal Secrets (wsj.com)

McGruber writes: The Wall Street Journal (FREE Link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444165804578008740578200224.html) is reporting that Facebook revealed the sexual preferences of users despite those users have choosen "privacy lockdown" settings on Facebook.

The article describes two students who were casualties of a privacy loophole on Facebook—the fact that anyone can be added to a group by a friend without their approval. As a result, the two lost control over their secrets, even though both students were sophisticated users who had attempted to use Facebook's privacy settings to shield some of their activities from their parents.

Facebook spokesprick Andrew Noyes responded with a statement blaming the users: "Our hearts go out to these young people. Their unfortunate experience reminds us that we must continue our work to empower and educate users about our robust privacy controls."


Submission + - Asteroid Vesta's mountain 3x larger than Mt Everes (dailymail.co.uk) 1

jamstar7 writes: A new image from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft shows a mountain three times as high as Mt. Everest, in the south polar region of the giant asteroid Vesta.

The peak of Vesta’s south pole mountain, seen in the center of the image, rises about 13 miles above the average height of the surrounding terrain.

On the right side of the image is a huge cliff-like slope — the Dawn team’s scientists believe features around its base are probably the result of landslides.


Submission + - Space over Time (technologyreview.com)

Petrik writes: Technology review has interesting graphics about history of spaceflight. They show total payloads launched by different countries over years.

Submission + - Punchcards to iPads: The history of input devices (extremetech.com)

MrSeb writes: "As we glide our fingers over the screens of our smartphones and tablets, or chatter to our computer instead of typing at it, it is easy to forget how far input devices have evolved since the first automated computing devices were introduced just over a century ago. After all, from the invention of the printing press in 1440 until the innovation of the paperback, and more recently the e-book, reading changed very little. From punchcards to Palm Graffiti to iPads, and whole lot more in between, ExtremeTech has compiled a history of every significant computer input device that is sure to bring back memories."
The Internet

Submission + - 23,000 file sharers targeted in the latest suit (wired.com)

wiedzmin writes: Subpoenas are expected to go out this week to ISP's in what could be a biggest BitTorrent downloading case in U.S. history. At least 23,000 file sharers are being targeted by the U.S. Copyright Group for downloading "Expendables". Company appears to have adopted Righthaven's strategy in blanket-suing large numbers of defendants and offering an option to quickly settle online for a moderate payment. The IP addresses of defendants have allegedly been collected by paid snoops capturing IP addresses of all peers who were downloading or seeding Sylvester Stallone's flick last year. I am curious to see how this will tie into the the BitTorrent case ruling made earlier this year, indicating that an IP address does not uniquely identify the person behind it.

Submission + - IEEE Seeks Data On Ethernet Bandwidth Needs (itworld.com)

itwbennett writes: "The IEEE has formed a group to assess demand for a faster form of Ethernet, taking the first step toward what could become a Terabit Ethernet standard. 'We all contacted people privately' around 2005 to gauge the need for a faster specification, said John D'Ambrosia, chairman of the new ad hoc group. 'We only got, like, seven data points.' Disagreement about speeds complicated the process of developing the current standard, called 802.3ab. Though carriers and aggregation switch vendors agreed the IEEE should pursue a 100G bps speed, server vendors said they wouldn't need adapters that fast until years later. They wanted a 40G bps standard, and it emerged later that there was also some demand for 40G bps among switch makers, D'Ambrosia said. 'I don't want to get blindsided by not understanding bandwidth trends again,' D'Ambrosia said."

Submission + - Human powered helicopter aims to break records (ifoundtheinter.net)

An anonymous reader writes: A team of 50 from the University of Maryland has developed a human powered helicopter “The Gamera”, which took 2 years to complete. The size of the helicopter is one third of a football field. The helicopter is made from light materials such as balsa, mylar, carbon fibber and foam and weighs about 210 pounds and aims to hover at least 3 meters off the ground.

Submission + - High-Tech Gas Drilling Is Fouling Drinking Water (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Drilling for natural gas locked deep in a shale formation--a process known as fracking--has seriously contaminated shallow groundwater supplies beneath far northeastern Pennsylvania with flammable methane. That’s the conclusion of a new study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The analysis gives few clues, however, to how pervasive such contamination might be across the wide areas of the Northeast United States, Texas, and other states where drilling for shale gas has taken off in recent years.

Submission + - Virginia Tech Wins the 2010 Solar Decathlon (inhabitat.com) 3

formaggio writes: The winners to the 2010 Solar Decathlon were just announced minutes ago, and the winner is Virginia Tech for their solar-powered Lumenhaus. The Solar Decathlon is a design-build competition that pits engineering and architecture college teams against each other to see who can build the most energy-efficient solar house. Considering that German teams have triumphed at the U.S. Solar Decathlon for three years running now, this is a big deal and a great victory for the Virginia Tech team, who competed with the same house in last year's competition and were beaten out by a German team in 2009.

Submission + - China Bans All Military Personnel from Blogging (google.com)

eldavojohn writes: China has banned every member of its military from blogging — even personal non-military blogs. From the announcement of the new regulation, "Soldiers cannot open blogs on the Internet no matter (whether) he or she does it in the capacity of a soldier or not. The Internet is complicated and we should guard against online traps." While the official word seems to not be translated to English yet, the same apparently goes for websites or homepages owned by soldiers with no indication to whether or not this applies to sites like Facebook or Renren (which the USMC bans). Similarly, as of 2007, the US requires active duty soldiers to clear any material with a superior officer and Israel had to cancel an operation due to a Facebook status. A military blog aggregating site claims only a few Chinese military blogs indexed but it looks like as of June 15 that list should get even shorter.

Submission + - Best Phone for a Wifi-Only Location?

bendodge writes: "I am planning on heading to a university in a remote area with very poor cellular service (the only signal is spotty Verizon voice, no data). However, the entire campus is thoroughly blanketed in Wifi. I am trying to find the best and most economical "Wifi phone" or else hack one together. Belkin/Netgear sell what is essentially a portable Skype device for $180. Some folks over here recommend outfitting an iPod touch with a mic and VOIP apps.

I am looking for something that can make and receive calls to and from landlines with incoming call notification. What experiences have Slashdot readers had and what would you recommend?"

Submission + - e-Reserves under fire from publishers (publishersweekly.com)

RackinFrackin writes: Publisher's Weekly has a story about a copyright lawsuit lodged against several faculty members and a librarian at Georgia State University. The case Cambridge University Press, et al. v. Patton et al. involvese-reserves, a practice of making electronic copies of articles available to students. From the article, "a court in Atlanta could yet deliver something that publishers expressly chose to avoid in their settlement with Google: a fair use ruling."

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