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Google News To Shut Down In Spain On December 16th

Thu, 11/12/2014 - 13:47
An anonymous reader writes The news aggregation services offered by Google is set to be no longer available for Spain, starting December 16th, 2014. The decision of Google comes as response to new Spanish legislation that gives publishers the right to claim compensation for republishing any part of their content. This follows news of services of startup Uber being forbidden in countries like Spain as well as Germany and some city councils worldwide like Delhi, or other services like AirBnb being put under pressure to cope with local laws in other jurisdictions.

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Excuse Me While I Kiss This Guy: The Science of Misheard Song Lyrics

Thu, 11/12/2014 - 13:06
HughPickens.com writes Maria Konnikova writes in The New Yorker that mondegreens are funny but they also give us insight into the underlying nature of linguistic processing, how our minds make meaning out of sound, and how in fractions of seconds, we translate a boundless blur of sound into sense. One of the reasons we often mishear song lyrics is that there's a lot of noise to get through, and we usually can't see the musicians' faces. Other times, the misperceptions come from the nature of the speech itself, for example when someone speaks in an unfamiliar accent or when the usual structure of stresses and inflections changes, as it does in a poem or a song. Another common cause of mondegreens is the oronym: word strings in which the sounds can be logically divided multiple ways. One version that Steven Pinker describes goes like this: Eugene O'Neill won a Pullet Surprise. The string of phonetic sounds can be plausibly broken up in multiple ways—and if you're not familiar with the requisite proper noun, you may find yourself making an error. Other times, the culprit is the perception of the sound itself: some letters and letter combinations sound remarkably alike, and we need further cues, whether visual or contextual, to help us out. In a phenomenon known as the McGurk effect, people can be made to hear one consonant when a similar one is being spoken. "There's a bathroom on the right" standing in for "there's a bad moon on the rise" is a succession of such similarities adding up to two equally coherent alternatives. Finally along with knowledge, we're governed by familiarity: we are more likely to select a word or phrase that we're familiar with, a phenomenon known as Zipf's law. One of the reasons that "Excuse me while I kiss this guy" substituted for Jimi Hendrix's "Excuse me while I kiss the sky" remains one of the most widely reported mondegreens of all time can be explained in part by frequency. It's much more common to hear of people kissing guys than skies.

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FreeNAS 9.3 Released

Thu, 11/12/2014 - 11:04
An anonymous reader writes This FreeNAS update is a significant evolutionary step from previous FreeNAS releases featuring: a simplified and reorganized Web User Interface, support for Microsoft ODX and Windows 2012 clustering, better VMWare integration, including VAAI support, a new and more secure update system with roll-back functionality, and hundreds of other technology enhancements. You can get it here and the list of changes are here. Existing 9.2.x users and 9.3 beta testers are encouraged to upgrade.

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California Sues Uber Over Practices

Thu, 11/12/2014 - 10:35
mpicpp writes with news that California is the latest government to file a lawsuit against Uber. "California prosecutors on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Uber over the ridesharing company's background checks and other allegations, adding to the popular startup's worldwide legal woes. San Francisco County District Attorney George Gascon, meanwhile, said Uber competitor Lyft agreed to pay $500,000 and change some of its business practices to settle its own lawsuit. Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey partnered with Gascon in a probe of the nascent ridesharing industry. A third company — Sidecar — is still under investigation and could face a lawsuit of its own if it can't reach an agreement with prosecutors. Uber faces similar legal issues elsewhere as it tries to expand in cities, states and countries around the world. The companies have popular smartphone apps that allow passengers to order rides in privately driven cars instead of taxis."

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Rosetta Results: Comets "Did Not Bring Water To Earth"

Thu, 11/12/2014 - 08:05
An anonymous reader writes with findings from the Rosetta mission which suggests water on Earth probably came from asteroids, and not comets."Scientists have dealt a blow to the theory that most water on Earth came from comets. Results from Europe's Rosetta mission, which made history by landing on Comet 67P in November, shows the water on the icy mass is unlike that on our planet. The results are published in the journal Science. The authors conclude it is more likely that the water came from asteroids, but other scientists say more data is needed before comets can be ruled out."

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Bellard Creates New Image Format To Replace JPEG

Thu, 11/12/2014 - 06:34
An anonymous reader writes Fabrice Bellard (creator of FFMPEG, QEMU, JSLinux...) proposes a new image format that could replace JPEG : BPG. For the same quality, files are about half the size of their JPEG equivalents. He released libbpg (with source) as well as a JS decompressor, and set up a demo including the famous Lena image.

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Bellard Creates New Image Format To Replace JPEG

Thu, 11/12/2014 - 06:34
An anonymous reader writes Fabrice Bellard (creator of FFMPEG, QEMU, JSLinux...) proposes a new image format that could replace JPEG : BPG. For the same quality, files are about half the size of their JPEG equivalents. He released libbpg (with source) as well as a JS decompressor, and set up a demo including the famous Lena image.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Apple, IBM Partnership Yields First Results: 10 Mobile Apps

Thu, 11/12/2014 - 05:36
itwbennett writes IBM and Apple have unveiled the first results of the enterprise IT partnership they announced in July: 10 mobile applications aimed at businesses in six industries as well as government users. One of the apps, for example, allows a flight crew to personalize a passenger's in-flight experience. An app targeted at the banking industry allows a financial advisor to remotely access and manage a client's portfolio. And police officers can use iPhones to view video feeds from crime scenes with an app for law enforcement.

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Report: Big Issues Remain Before Drones Can Safely Access National Airspace

Thu, 11/12/2014 - 03:03
coondoggie writes The story sounds familiar – while the use of unmanned, sometimes illegally, is increasing, there are myriad challenges to ultimately allow them safe access to national airspace. The watchdogs at the Government Accountability Office issued report on the integration of unmanned aerial systems as it calls them, in US national airspace (NAS) today ahead of a congressional hearing on the topic. As it has noted in past reports, the GAO said the main issues continue to include the ability for drones to avoid other aircraft in the sky; what backup network is available and how should the system behave if it loses its communications link.

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Why Open Source Matters For Sensitive Email

Thu, 11/12/2014 - 01:57
Jason Baker writes Can you really trust your email provider? And even if you self-host your email server, can you really trust its security if you can't see the code? Over on Opensource.com, Olivier Thierry makes three cases for using open source to power your email solution: The power of numbers, the value of trust, and the importance of leverage.

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Australia Pushes Ahead With Website Blocking In Piracy Fight

Thu, 11/12/2014 - 01:20
angry tapir writes As part of its crackdown on unauthorized downloading of copyright material, the Australian government will push ahead with the introduction of a scheme that will allow rights holders to apply for court orders to force ISPs to block websites. (Previously Slashdot noted that the Australian government had raised such a scheme as a possibility).

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Court Bans Sale of Xiaomi Smartphones In India

Thu, 11/12/2014 - 00:36
hypnosec writes The Delhi High Court has banned Xiaomi and India online retailer Flipkart from selling any handsets that Ericsson claim are violating patents. The court has also asked Xiaomi and its agents to refrain from making, assembling, importing or selling any devices which infringe the patents in question. Xiaomi says: "We haven’t received an official note from the Delhi High Court. However, our legal team is currently evaluating the situation based on the information we have. India is a very important market for Xiaomi and we will respond promptly as needed and in full compliance with India laws. Moreover, we are open to working with Ericsson to resolve this matter amicably."

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NASA Gets 2% Boost To Science Budget

Wed, 10/12/2014 - 23:53
sciencehabit writes For an agency regularly called 'adrift' without a mission, NASA will at least float through next year with a boatload of money for its science programs. Yesterday Congress reached agreement on a spending deal for fiscal year 2015 that boosts the budget of the agency's science mission by nearly 2% to $5.24 billion. The big winner within the division is planetary sciences, which received $160 million more than the president's 2015 request in March. Legislators also maintained support for an infrared telescope mounted on a Boeing 747, a project that the White House had proposed grounding. NASA's overall budget also rose by 2%, to $18 billion. That's an increase of $364 million over 2014 levels, and half a billion dollars beyond the agency's request.

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Liquid Cooling On the Rise As Data Centers Crunch Bigger Data

Wed, 10/12/2014 - 23:21
1sockchuck writes The use of liquid cooling will accelerate in the next five years, according to experts in high performance computing, who cite the data-crunching requirements of scientific research, cloud computing, bitcoin and "big data" analytics. "In the HPC world, everything will move to liquid cooling," said Paul Arts, technical director of Eurotech. But there's still plenty of resistance from data center operators wary of bringing liquid near servers, and cost is also an issue. Liquid cooling can offer significant savings over the life of a project, but the up-front installation cost can be higher than those for air-cooled systems. Immersion cooling has gotten a surprise boost from the rise of bitcoin, including a large bitcoin mine inside a Hong Kong high-rise.

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Dad Makes His Kid Play Through All Video Game History In Chronological Order

Wed, 10/12/2014 - 23:10
An anonymous reader writes Andy Baio, aka @waxpancake, indy video game enthusiast and founder of the XOXO conference and other cool stuff, conducted a weird/cool experiment on his four-year-old. Andy taught him about gaming by making him play and master all of the old video games and gaming systems in the exact order they were actually released. In other words, this 21st century kid learned gaming the same way the generation that grew up in the 1970s and 1980s experienced them, but in compressed time. From the article: "This approach to widely surveying classic games clearly had an impact on him, and influenced the games that he likes now. Like seemingly every kid his age, he loves Minecraft. No surprises there. But he also loves brutally difficult games that challenge gamers 2–3 times his age, and he’s frighteningly good at them. His favorites usually borrow characteristics from roguelikes: procedurally-generated levels, permanent death, no save points."

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US Navy Authorizes Use of Laser In Combat

Wed, 10/12/2014 - 22:26
mi writes The U.S. Navy has declared an experimental laser weapon on its Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB) in the Persian Gulf an operational asset and U.S. Central Command has given permission for the commander of the ship to defend itself with the weapon. The 30 kilowatt Laser Weapon System (LaWS) was installed aboard USS Ponce this summer as part of a $40 million research and development effort from ONR and Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) to test the viability of directed energy weapons in an operational environment. No word yet on a smaller, shark-mounted version.

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BitTorrent Launches Project Maelstrom, the First Torrent-Based Browser

Wed, 10/12/2014 - 21:42
An anonymous reader writes BitTorrent today announced the first torrent-based browser. Project Maelstorm, as the app is currently called, is being made available as an invite-only alpha to "a small group of testers." Although BitTorrent is in the very early stages of the project (testers are being asked to help assess for usability and reliability), the company strongly believes Maelstrom "is the first step toward a truly distributed web, one that does not rely on centralized servers." This is by no means a new idea from the company: it's the core behind the relatively successful synchronization tool BitTorrent Sync. "Centralized architectures have not scaled well to the volume and size of data moving across the Internet," a BitTorrent spokesperson told VentureBeat. Maybe, but building a file-sharing tool around the idea of decentralization is not the same as building a whole browser.

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Fraud Bots Cost Advertisers $6 Billion

Wed, 10/12/2014 - 21:00
Rambo Tribble writes A new report claims that almost a quarter of the "clicks" registered by digital advertisements are, in fact, from robots created by cyber crime networks to siphon off advertising dollars. The scale and sophistication of the attacks which were discovered caught the investigators by surprise. As one said, "What no one was anticipating is that the bots are extremely effective of looking like a high value consumer."

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LA Mayor Proposes Earthquake Retrofits On Thousands of Buildings

Wed, 10/12/2014 - 20:17
HughPickens.com writes The LA Times reports that Ls Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has proposed the most ambitious seismic safety regulations in California history that would require owners to retrofit thousands of buildings most at risk of collapse during a major earthquake. "The time for retrofit is now," says Garcetti, adding that the retrofits target buildings "that are known killers. Complacency risks lives. One thing we can't afford to do is wait." The mayor's plan calls for thousands of wood buildings to be retrofitted within five years, and hundreds of concrete buildings to be strengthened within 30. The retrofitting requirements must be approved by the City Council, and would have to be paid for by the building owners, with the costs presumably passed on to tenants and renters. The costs could be significant: $5,000 per unit in vulnerable wooden buildings and $15 per square foot for office buildings, Business owners, who have expressed concern in the past that these kinds of programs may be unaffordable, said the cost of retrofitting some buildings could easily exceed $1 million each. "This will cost us billions of dollars in the private and public sector," says Garcetti. "But we cannot afford not to do it." The last major earthquake in Los Angeles was the 6.7-magnitude Northridge quake, which killed close to 60 people in 1994. But it was not close to the catastrophe that seismologists predict if there is a major shift on the San Andreas fault, and the fact that it has not produced a major quake in recent years has fed a sense of complacency. Seismologists now say a 7.5-magnitude event on the Puente Hills would be "the quake from hell" because it runs right under downtown Los Angeles and have estimated that would kill up to 18,000 people, make several million homeless, and cause up to $250 billion in damage. "We want to keep the city up and running after the earthquake happens," says Lucy Jones aka "The Earthquake Lady," a seismologist with the United States Geological Survey and something of a celebrity in a city that is very aware of the potential danger of its location. "If everything in this report is enacted, I believe that L.A. will not just survive the next earthquake, but will be able to recover quickly."

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James Watson's Nobel Prize Medal Will Be Returned To Him

Wed, 10/12/2014 - 19:35
First time accepted submitter Dave Knott writes Following the recent auction of James Watson's Nobel Prize medal, the winning bidder will return the medal to Watson. The $4.7 million winning bid was made by Alisher Usmanov, Russia's wealthiest man, a metal and telecommunications tycoon worth $15.8 billion US. In remarks carried by Russian television Tuesday, Usmanov hailed Watson one of the greatest biologists in the history of mankind, and stated that when he learned that Watson was selling the medal for charity, he decided to purchase it and immediately give it back to him.

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