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Medicine

Do Recreational Drugs Help Programmers? 878

Posted by timothy
from the help-them-what? dept.
jfruh writes "Among the winners of last night's election: marijuana users. Voters in both Washington and Colorado approved referenda that legalized marijuana for recreational use, though the drug remains illegal under federal law. There's been a long-standing debate among programmers as to whether recreational drugs, including pot and hallucinagens like LSD, can actually help programmers code. Don't forget, there was a substantial overlap between the wave of computer professionals who came of age in the '60s and that era's counterculture." (There's even a good book on that topic.)
Toys

Buckyballs Throws In the Towel 383

Posted by timothy
from the collectors-items-now dept.
RenderSeven writes "As previously reported the immensely popular Buckyballs office toys have been targeted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Last week Maxfield and Oberton, the maker of Buckyballs gave up the battle and announced they would discontinue sales and close. However, being driven out of business is not enough for R Buckminster Fuller's estate, who has filed yet another lawsuit that they own all rights to the name "buckyballs" despite widespread use of the term. If you still haven't bought your own yet, a few thousand sets in stock are still available."
Android

Samsung's Galaxy S III Steals Smartphone Crown From iPhone 348

Posted by timothy
from the depends-how-you-count dept.
zacharye writes "The best-selling smartphone in the world is no longer an iPhone. New data released on Thursday by market research firm Strategy Analytics finds that Samsung's Galaxy S III was the world's top-selling smartphone model in the third quarter this year, displacing Apple's iPhone for the first time in years. Samsung announced earlier this week that cumulative Galaxy S III channel sales reached the 30 million unit milestone and according to Strategy Analytics, 18 million of those were shipped in Q3 2012. During the same period, Apple shipped an estimated 16.2 million iPhone 4S handsets, slipping into the No.2 spot for the quarter..." Also at Slash Cloud.
Advertising

Microsoft's Hidden Windows 8 Feature: Ads 635

Posted by timothy
from the let's-call-it-a-feature dept.
MojoKid writes "Despite the fact that I've been using Windows 8 for the past three weeks, I somehow managed to overlook a rather stark feature in the OS: ads. No, we're not talking about ads cluttering up the desktop or login screen (thankfully), but rather ads that can be found inside of some Modern UI apps that Windows ships with. That includes Finance, Weather, Travel, News and so forth. On previous mobile platforms, such as iOS and Android, seeing ads inside of free apps hasn't been uncommon. It's a way for the developer to get paid while allowing the user to have the app for free. However, while people can expect ads in a free app, no one expects ads in a piece of software that they just paid good money for."
Australia

Australia Scales Back Internet Blacklist, Nixes Full-Scale Censorship 51

Posted by timothy
from the now-with-less-poison dept.
littlekorea writes "The Australian Government has officially abandoned plans to legislate a mandatory internet filter. The news ends a four-year campaign by the ruling party to implement legislation that would have compelled ISPs to block a list of URLs dictated by Australia's telecommunications regulator, the ACMA. ISPs have instead been told to block a list of known child pornography sites maintained by INTERPOL." Also at ZDnet.
Security

$50,000 Zero-Day Exploit Evades Adobe's Sandbox, Say Russian Analysts 56

Posted by timothy
from the kicking-sand-in-your-face dept.
tsu doh nimh writes with this excerpt from Krebs on Security: "Software vendor Adobe says it is investigating claims that instructions for exploiting a previously unknown critical security hole in the latest versions of its widely-used PDF Reader software are being sold in the cybercriminal underground. The finding comes from malware analysts at Moscow-based forensics firm Group-IB, who say they've discovered that a new exploit capable of compromising the security of computers running Adobe X and XI (Adobe Reader 10 and 11) is being sold in the underground for up to $50,000. This is significant because — beginning with Reader X — Adobe introduced a 'sandbox' feature aimed at blocking the exploitation of previously unidentified security holes in its software, and until now that protection has held its ground. Adobe, meanwhile, says it has not yet been able to verify the zero-day claims."
Government

Bradley Manning Offers Partial Guilty Plea To Military Court 380

Posted by timothy
from the ok-but-you-had-it-coming dept.
concealment writes "During a pre-trial hearing in military court today, [alleged Wikileaks source Bradley] Manning's attorney, David Coombs, proposed a partial guilty plea covering a subset of the slew of criminal charges that the U.S. Army has lodged against him. "Manning is attempting to accept responsibility for offenses that are encapsulated within, or are a subset of, the charged offenses," Coombs wrote on his blog this evening. "The court will consider whether this is a permissible plea.""
Lord of the Rings

New Dinosaur Named After the Eye of Sauron 69

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-dinosaur-does-not-simply-stomp-into-mordor dept.
SchrodingerZ writes "95 million years ago, the dinosaur Sauroniops pachytholus roamed northern Africa. Fossils, originally found in southern Morocco, only consisted of the upper skull, which included the eerie looking eye socket which resembles the Eye of Sauron from the Lord of the Rings movies. Using skull comparison, it is theorized the two-legged meat-eater would have been 40 feet tall, challenging the Tyrannosaurus Rex in height. More fossils are needed for a full analysis, but so far it is very clear this dinosaur towered over many."
Transportation

Motorcycle App Helps You Ride Faster, Turn Sharper, Brake Harder 148

Posted by samzenpus
from the machine-assisted dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Alexander George writes about a new app that takes the data from a smartphone's accelerometers, GPS, and inclinometer to plot information for braking force, lean angles, speed, and on-track location onto Google Maps to shave precious milliseconds off each lap time in motorcycle races. Race Sense is designed to be a useful tool for someone who races for a living and a very fun toy for those who just like to brag about what lean angle they got at their ride day, and what top speed they reached down the main straight. Australian Grand Prix motorcycle road racer Anthony West provided much of the R&D that went into tweaking the app. 'With sponsorship's so hard to find and I need another way to survive. I spent some of my own money developing it with an Italian guy who also likes to ride himself, and who writes programs,' says West who designed Race Sense to fulfill the needs of a genuine MotoGP racer. 'Sometimes it's one second [separating] 20 people. If you adjust one little thing thinking about something in one corner you can lose four places.'"
Hardware

Samsung May Start Making ARM Server Chips 116

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-ground dept.
angry tapir writes "Samsung's recent licensing of 64-bit processor designs from ARM suggests that the chip maker may expand from smartphones and tablets into the server market, analysts believe. Samsung last week licensed ARM's first 64-bit Cortex-A57 and Cortex-A53 processors, a sign the chip maker is preparing the groundwork to develop 64-bit chips for low-power servers, analysts said. The faster 64-bit processors will appear in servers, high-end smartphones and tablets, and offer better performance-per-watt than ARM's current 32-bit processors, which haven't been able to expand beyond embedded and mobile devices. The first servers with 64-bit ARM processors are expected to become available in 2014."
Science

Discovery of Early Human Tools Hint at Earlier Start 109

Posted by samzenpus
from the rewriting-the-book dept.
SternisheFan writes in with a story about early humans passing down their tool making skills. "Sophisticated bladelets suggest that humans passed on their technological skill down the generations. A haul of stone blades from a cave in South Africa suggests that early humans were already masters of complex technology more than 70,000 years ago . The tiny blades — no more than about 3 centimeters long on average — were probably used as tips for throwable spears, or as spiky additions to club-like weapons, says Curtis Marean, an archaeologist at Arizona State University in Tempe who led the team that found the bladelets. Twenty-seven such blades, called microliths by archaeologists, were found in layers of sand and soil dating as far back as 71,000 years ago and representing a time-span of about 11,000 years, showing how long humans were manufacturing the blades. Clever crafters The find lends credence to the idea that early humans were capable of passing on their clever ideas to the next generation of artisans, creating complex technologies that endured over time. John Shea, a palaeoanthropologist at Stony Brook University in New York, says that it also suggests that 'previous hypotheses that 'early' Homo sapiens differed from 'modern' ones in these respects are probably wrong'."
Space

Super-Earth Discovered In Star's Habitable Zone 135

Posted by samzenpus
from the big-house dept.
astroengine writes "The family of planets circling a relatively close dwarf star has grown to six, including a potential rocky world at least seven times more massive than Earth that is properly located for liquid water to exist on its surface, a condition believed to be necessary for life. Scientists added three new planets to three discovered in 2008 orbiting an orange star called HD 40307, which is roughly three-quarters as massive as the sun and located about 42 light-years away in the constellation Pictor. Of particular interest is the outermost planet, which is believed to fly around its parent star over 320 days, a distance that places it within HD 40307's so-called "habitable zone.""
Government

EFF Sues to Block New Internet Sex-Offender Law 305

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-more-lists dept.
Bobfrankly1 writes "The EFF sued to block portions of the approved Prop 35 today. Prop 35 requires sex offenders (including indecent exposure and non-internet offenses) to provide all of their online aliases to law enforcement. This would include e-mail addresses, screen and user names, and other identifiers used on the internet. The heart of the matter as the EFF sees it, would be not only the chilling effect it would have on free speech, but also the propensity of these kind of laws to be applied to other (non-sex offending) people as well."
Google

Ask Slashdot: How Would You Convince Someone To Give Up an Old System? 379

Posted by samzenpus
from the times-they-are-a-changing dept.
First time accepted submitter Vanderhoth writes "I'm currently serving as a new member of a board for a not for profit organization. The board currently has a few other members, and a couple of vacant positions. One of the issues I've noticed since joining the board is the method in which they conduct business is very out of date. The member that maintains our web presences (Bob) has developed a system over the last ten years to allow us to store documents, such as agendas and minutes on a website server.

Some of the big issues are:

1.) The system is very disorganized, there are documents from the late 90's that aren't relevant, but have to be sifted through to find more current stuff.
2.) Often documents are not where they should be and are difficult to find.
3.) No one except Bob really knows how the system works.
4.) No one really wants to use the system because of the monster it's become.

My concern is if Bob decided to leave the organization no one would be able to maintain the existing system and we would be scrambling to put something new in place. I feel, for what we want to do, Google Docs would be an excellent platform for collaborating and sharing documents. The other board members, except Bob, have agreed with me, but are worried that bringing the issues with the existing system may cause offense and ultimately cause Bob to leave. Other than being overly vested in a system he developed, Bob is an important part of our board and a very valuable member.

We're already having a difficult time finding members to serve on the board so it's very important that we don't lose any existing board members. I'm hoping that I can convince the Bob to start supporting some Google docs objects on the site and try to wean him off his existing system to something a bit more manageable and collaborative that can be passed on to new members and maintained easily.

I don't want this to turn into old dogs and new tricks. I'm not that far behind Bob in years and can appreciate the difficulty of being told it's time to give in to something more modern. I'm wondering how the situation could be approached tactfully so maybe Bob will see how much easier a new system could be for everyone, including him."

When Dexter's on the Internet, can Hell be far behind?"

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