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Researchers: Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction

Slashdot - March 25, 2015 - 13:38
Rambo Tribble writes Researchers from the University of Zurich, ETH Zurich, and University of Fribourg have found evidence that smartphone use changes the way your brain interacts with your thumbs. Using electroencephalography to study brain activity in smartphone users vs. feature-phone users, they found apparently persistent, increased activity in areas of the brain associated with the thumbs. Of course, this may well be true of other repetitive activities, like keyboard use. Reuters provide a bit more approachable coverage.

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How to do fast, repeatable Linux installations

LinuxToday - March 25, 2015 - 13:00

 opensource.com: One of the basic tenets of the Linux philosophy is to use software leverage, and one of the important corollaries of that tenet is to automate everything.

Categories: Technology

Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser Could Land At Ellington Space Port Near Houston

Slashdot - March 25, 2015 - 12:53
MarkWhittington writes Despite having been rejected in NASA's commercial crew program, Sierra Nevada has been very busy trying to develop its lift body spacecraft, the Dream Chaser. Having rolled out a smaller, cargo version of the spacecraft for the second round for contracts for commercial cargo to the International Space Station, the company has amended the unfunded Space Act Agreement with NASA to add a closeout review milestone that would help transition the Dream Chaser from the preliminary design review to the critical design review step. Finally, Sierra Nevada announced a new agreement on Tuesday with the Houston Airport System to use Ellington Spaceport as a landing site for the cargo version of the Dream Chaser.

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How Nuclear Weapon Modernization Undercuts Disarmament

Slashdot - March 25, 2015 - 12:10
Lasrick writes: John Mecklin details exactly how nuclear weapons modernization is kick-starting a new arms race, and how modernizing these weapons to make them more accurate and stealthy puts the world at even greater risk of nuclear war: "[T]his is precisely why the U.S. Congress rejected the Air Force’s requests for low-yield, precision-guided nuclear weapons in the 1990s: Their very accuracy increases the temptation to use them." The issue is not getting very much attention, but the patience of the non-nuclear states is wearing thin, and a breakthrough in public awareness may be on the horizon: "The disarmament debate is likely to make this spring's NPT conference a contentious one and just might be loud enough to make the public aware that a new type of nuclear arms race is unfolding around the world."

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Flexible Access Control with Squid Proxy

LinuxToday - March 25, 2015 - 12:00

LinuxJournal: Large enterprises and nuclear laboratories aren't the only organizations that need an Internet access policy and a means of enforcing it.

Categories: Technology

Do Robots Need Behavioral 'Laws' For Interacting With Other Robots?

Slashdot - March 25, 2015 - 11:27
siddesu writes: Asimov's three laws of robotics don't say anything about how robots should treat each other. The common fear is robots will turn against humans. But what happens if we don't build systems to keep them from conflicting with each other? The article argues, "Scientists, philosophers, funders and policy-makers should go a stage further and consider robot–robot and AI–AI interactions (AIonAI). Together, they should develop a proposal for an international charter for AIs, equivalent to that of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This could help to steer research and development into morally considerate robotic and AI engineering. National and international technological policies should introduce AIonAI concepts into current programs aimed at developing safe AIs."

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Docker's No Flash in the Pan

LinuxToday - March 25, 2015 - 11:00

LinuxInsider: The Docker technology is being embraced by developers, prioritized by large enterprises, and questioned by central IT teams.

Categories: Technology

No, It's Not Always Quicker To Do Things In Memory

Slashdot - March 25, 2015 - 10:45
itwbennett writes: It's a commonly held belief among software developers that avoiding disk access in favor of doing as much work as possible in-memory will results in shorter runtimes. To test this assumption, researchers from the University of Calgary and the University of British Columbia compared the efficiency of alternative ways to create a 1MB string and write it to disk. The results consistently found that doing most of the work in-memory to minimize disk access was significantly slower than just writing out to disk repeatedly (PDF).

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Researchers Identify 'Tipping Point' Between Quantum and Classical Worlds

Slashdot - March 25, 2015 - 10:02
wjcofkc sends this report from R&D Magazine: If we are ever to fully harness the power of light for use in optical devices, it is necessary to understand photons — the fundamental unit of light. Achieving such understanding, however, is easier said than done. That's because the physical behavior of photons — similar to electrons and other sub-atomic particles — is characterized not by classical physics, but by quantum mechanics. Now, in a study published in Physical Review Letters (abstract), scientists from Bar-Ilan University have observed the point at which classical and quantum behavior converge. Using a fiber-based nonlinear process, the researchers were able to observe how, and under what conditions, 'classical' physical behavior emerges from the quantum world.

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KDE Plasma 5.2.2 Released with Over 150 Improvements, Prepares for Linux Kernel 4.0

LinuxToday - March 25, 2015 - 10:00

 softpedia: KDE Plasma 5.2.2 brings improvements to many of KDE Plasma'ss core components

Categories: Technology

Michael Stonebraker Wins Turing Award

Slashdot - March 25, 2015 - 09:21
An anonymous reader writes: Michael Stonebraker, an MIT researcher who has revolutionized the field of database management systems and founded multiple successful database companies, has won the Association for Computing Machinery's $1 million A.M. Turing Award, often referred to as "the Nobel Prize of computing." In his previous work at the University of California at Berkeley, Stonebraker developed two of his most influential systems, Ingres and Postgres (PDF), which provide the foundational ideas — and, in many cases, specific source code — that spawned several contemporary database products, including IBM's Informix and EMC's Greenplum. Ingres was one of the first relational databases, which provide a more organized way to store multiple kinds of entities – and which now serve as the industry standard for business storage. Postgres, meanwhile, integrated Ingres' ideas with object-oriented programming, enabling users to natively map objects and their attributes into databases. This new notion of "object-relational" databases could be used to represent and manipulate complex data, like computer-aided design, geospatial data, and time series.

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Report: Linux takes leading role in IoT-obsessed market

LinuxToday - March 25, 2015 - 09:00

 LinuxGizmos: Spurred on by IoT, open source Linux will grow from a 56.2 percent share of embedded device shipments in 2012 to 64.7 percent in 2017, says VDC Research.

Categories: Technology

Wikipedia Admin's Manipulation "Messed Up Perhaps 15,000 Students' Lives"

Slashdot - March 25, 2015 - 08:40
Andreas Kolbe writes: Recently, "ArbCom", Wikipedia's highest court, banned an administrator account that for years had been manipulating the Wikipedia article of a bogus Indian business school – deleting criticism, adding puffery, and enabling the article to become a significant part of the school's PR strategy. Believing the school's promises and advertisements, families went to great expense to send sons and daughters on courses there – only for their children to find that the degrees they had gained were worthless. "In my opinion, by letting this go on for so long, Wikipedia has messed up perhaps 15,000 students' lives," an Indian journalist quoted in the story says. India is one of the countries where tens of millions of Internet users have free access to Wikipedia Zero, but cannot afford the data charges to access the rest of the Internet, making Wikipedia a potential gatekeeper.

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Gnome 3.16 sneak peek: A preview from the eyes of a KDE Plasma user

LinuxToday - March 25, 2015 - 08:00

 ITworld: The next major release of Gnome (3.16) is scheduled to be released on March 25.

Categories: Technology

New Bill Would Repeal Patriot Act

Slashdot - March 25, 2015 - 07:58
schwit1 points out a new piece of bipartisan legislation that aims to repeal the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act, which the NSA has used to justify broad domestic surveillance. House Representatives Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Mark Pocan (D-WI) introduced the bill yesterday, calling it the Surveillance State Repeal Act (PDF). Pocan said, "This isn't just tinkering around the edges. This is a meaningful overhaul of the system, getting rid of essentially all parameters of the Patriot Act." The bill also attempts to dramatically strengthen whistleblower protections, so situations like Edward Snowden's and Thomas Drake's don't happen in the future. This legislation is not expected to get the support of Congressional leaders, but supporters hope it will at least inspire some debate about several provisions of the Patriot Act coming up for renewal in June.

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Developers and the Fear of Apple

Slashdot - March 25, 2015 - 07:15
An anonymous reader writes: UI designer Eli Schiff has posted an article about the "climate of fear" surrounding Apple in the software development community. He points out how developers who express criticism in an informal setting often recant when their words are being recorded, and how even moderate public criticism is often prefaced by flattery and endorsements. Beyond that, the industry has learned that they can't rely on Apple's walled garden to make a profit. The opaque app review process, the race to the bottom on pricing, and Apple's resistance to curation of the App Store are driving "independent app developers into larger organizations and venture-backed startups." Apple is also known to cut contact with developers if they release for Android first. The "climate of fear" even affects journalists, who face not only stonewalling from Apple after negative reporting, but also a brigade of Apple fans and even other journalists trying to paint them as anti-Apple.

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Why OpenStack is different from other open source projects

LinuxToday - March 25, 2015 - 07:00

 opensource.com: The OpenStack project feels different from other open source projects to me.

Categories: Technology

Ubuntu Remote Desktop with X2Go

LinuxToday - March 25, 2015 - 06:00

HowToForge: X2Go is a remote desktop application to access X-Desktop enviroments over a network connection

Categories: Technology

Uber To Turn Into a Big Data Company By Selling Location Data

Slashdot - March 25, 2015 - 04:12
Presto Vivace sends news that Uber has entered into a partnership with Starwood Hotels that hooks accounts from both companies together. If you're a customer of both, you'll get a small benefit when chartering Uber rides, but the cost is that Uber will share all their data on you with Starwood. The article says, This year, we are going to see the transformation of Uber into a big data company cut from the same cloth as Google, Facebook and Visa – using the wealth of information they know about me and you to deliver new services and generate revenue by selling this data to others. ... Uber can run the same program with airlines, restaurants, nightclubs, bars – every time you go from point A to point B in an Uber, “A”, “B” or both represent a new potential consumer of your data. ... Uber knows the hot nightclubs, best restaurants and most obviously now has as much data about traffic patterns as Waze (which coincidentally trades data with local governments). Combining Uber’s data with the very-personal data that customers are willing to give up in exchange for benefits, means that Uber can, and is, on its way to becoming a Big Data company.

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Short Circuit In LHC Could Delay Restart By Weeks

Slashdot - March 25, 2015 - 02:44
hypnosec writes: On March 21 CERN detected an intermittent short circuit to ground in one of the LHC's magnet circuits. Repairs could delay the restart by anywhere between a few days and several weeks. CERN revealed that the short circuit affected one of LHC's powerful electromagnets, thereby delaying preparations in sector 4-5 of the machine. They confirmed that seven of the machine's eight sectors have been successfully commissioned to 6.5 TeV per beam, but they won't be circulating a beam in the LHC this week. Though the short circuit issue is well understood, resolving it will take time, since it's in a cold section of the machine and repairs may therefore require warming and re-cooling.

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