An anonymous reader writes "As we (very gradually) move away from feudal, leader-based forms of governance to collaborative and open source governance, some interesting new issues arise. The biggest is usually user authentication: how can we avoid sock-puppets and spammers from overtaking the voting process? Enter the concept of the streetwiki, an ingenious system for having humans validate their physical neighbors. Bleeding-edge social organization meets ancient validation protocol."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
Reader SternisheFan links to a press release at UCLA, and excerpts from it another bit of Mars news: "For years, many scientists had thought that plate tectonics existed nowhere in our solar system but on Earth. Now, a UCLA scientist has discovered that the geological phenomenon, which involves the movement of huge crustal plates beneath a planet's surface, also exists on Mars. 'Mars is at a primitive stage of plate tectonics. It gives us a glimpse of how the early Earth may have looked and may help us understand how plate tectonics began on Earth,' said An Yin, a UCLA professor of Earth and space sciences and the sole author of the new research."
An anonymous reader writes "Hugo Campos got an implanted cardiac defibrillator shortly after collapsing on a BART train platform. He wants access to the data wirelessly collected by the computer implanted in his body, but the manufacturer says No. It seems weird that a patient can't get access to data about his own heart. Hugo and several medical device engineers are responding to live Q/A on Sunday night on such topics via ACM MedCOMM webcast at ACM SIGCOMM."
First time accepted submitter ZombieBraintrust writes "Pumice, the lightweight stone used to smooth skin, is usually found in beauty salons, but on Thursday sailors from New Zealand's Royal Navy found nearly 10,000 square miles of the lava rock bobbing on the surface of the South Pacific Ocean."
redletterdave writes with this snippet from the IB Times: "Five days after NASA's Curiosity rover successfully landed on Mars, the one-ton robot sent another postcard back to Earth, this one a 360-degree doozy. Curiosity's first panorama, albeit black-and-white, gives Earthlings a great high-quality glimpse at the surface on Mars, specifically within the 96-mile Gale Crater."
First time accepted submitter ahree writes "I'm starting up a restaurant with my wife and a few friends and, well, I'd like to support the OS community and hope that this is a way to do it. Simply put, we need to take care of bookkeeping, accounting & payroll and I'd rather not use QuickBooks. I've heard of some options that are open source (GnuCash), some that are cheaper & simpler (WaveAccounting), but I'm wondering what your experience with them (and others) has been like."
Shortly after 9 a.m. Eastern time Saturday, Republican candidate Mitt Romney officially announced (via phone app) his selection of 42-year-old Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as running mate for the 2012 U.S. presidential race. Ryan's selection was announced by the Romney campaign to various media outlets earlier this morning. Ryan is considered popular among a wide range of Republican voters, being a budget hawk who favors less liberal laws concerning abortion. Ryan's lauded popularity among Tea Party voters is mixed; some reports describe him as a Tea Party favorite, others as a far-right imposter.
New submitter ottdmk writes "You may recall this recent Slashdot story about Mformation being awarded 147.2 million dollars in a patent suit against RIM. Well, it appears a California appeals judge has disagreed with that verdict. As part of the ruling, if Mformation successfully appeals, the matter will go to a new trial instead of the jury award being restored."
An anonymous reader writes "The Wayland-usage in Ubuntu 12.10 via setting it up as a system video compositor has been delayed to at least Ubuntu 13.04. Developers made progress on running Ubuntu on Wayland (there are experimental packages available), but they need more time to complete their work and ready Wayland. For those wanting to try out Wayland on Linux, there is a specialty Wayland LiveCD."
mikejuk writes "WebRTC is a way to allow browsers to get in touch with one another using audio or video data without the help of a server. Google has been something of a pioneer in this area, and submitted a suggested technology for the standard. Mozilla has gone along with it, making it all look good. Microsoft, on the other hand, just seemed to be standing on the sidelines, watching what was happening. However, Microsoft now has a product that needs something like WebRTC; namely, Skype. It has been working on a web-based version of Skype and this has focused the collective mind on the problems of browser-to-browser communication. It now agrees that a standard is needed, just not the one Google and Mozilla are behind. Microsoft has submitted its own proposals for CU-RTC-Web or Customizable, Ubiquitous Real Time Communication over the Web, to the W3C. It may well be that Microsoft's alternative has features that make it superior, but a single standard is preferable to a better non-standard. Given Microsoft's need to make Skype work in the browser, it seems likely that, should its proposal not be accepted as the standard, it will press on regardless, thus splitting the development environment. Both Google and Mozilla have already put a lot of work into WebRTC, and there are partial implementations in Firefox, Chrome and Opera."
OverTheGeicoE writes "Why is it that airport security never seems to change in the United States? Perhaps it's because most Americans think the TSA is doing a 'good job,' according to a surprise Gallup poll, allegedly commissioned by no one but the kind editors at Gallup. The poll found that 54% of Americans believe the TSA is doing a good or excellent job, and that 57% have a good or excellent opinion of the agency. So why all the criticism? According to the article, criticism of the TSA comes primarily from 'Internet sites, where reporting standards are generally not at the same level as newspapers, where reporters are taught to consider what is told to them with skepticism and to seek responses to charges.' Furthermore, 'the TSA is put into a difficult situation when such charges are posted with little or no fact checking by reporters.' Other sources, of course, have different interpretations of Gallup's results, including questions about whether the poll was biased. If Americans secretly do love the TSA, that could explain why the recent whitehouse.gov petition failed to gather enough signatures for a 'response.' In fact, you'll find so little information about the petition remains on whitehouse.gov that you'll wonder if my link is correct. And these are not the droids you're looking for. Move along."
CowboyRobot writes "Last week, a bug in high-frequency trading software from Knight Capital Group resulted in erroneous trades costing almost a half-billion dollars. So, what went wrong and how can they, or any other software developer, prevent something similar from happening again? In hindsight, it's clear that the developers did not verify the code under enough conditions. But the real issue is how these high-frequency trades work in the first place. Robert Dewar at Dr. Dobb's suggests the financial industry needs to take a page from the avionics rulebook, which has very strict guidelines about what code can be implemented due to the high cost of failure in that field. 'High-frequency automated trading is not avionics flight control, but the aviation industry has demonstrated that safe, reliable real-time software is possible, practical, and necessary. It requires appropriate development technology and processes as well as a culture that thinks in terms of safety (or reliability) first. That is the real lesson to be learned from last week's incident. It doesn't come for free, but it certainly costs less than $440M.'"
KindMind writes "The U.S. Government said it will stop issuing all permits for new plants and license extensions for existing plants are being frozen due to concerns over waste storage. From the article: 'The government's main watchdog, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, believes that current storage plans are safe and achievable. But a federal court said that the NRC didn't detail what the environmental consequences would be if the agency is wrong. The NRC says that "We are now considering all available options for resolving the waste issue, But, in recognition of our duties under the law, we will not issue [reactor] licenses until the court's remand is appropriately addressed." Affected are 14 reactors awaiting license renewals, and an additional 16 reactors awaiting permits for new construction.'"
caseyb89 writes "Hacker Highschool is an after school program that teaches students the best practices of responsible hacking. The program is open source, and high schools across the country have begun offering the free program to students. Hacker Highschool recognized that teens are constantly taught that hacking is bad, and they realized that teens' amateur understanding of hacking was the cause of the biggest issues. The program aims to reverse this negative stereotype of hacking by encouraging teens to embrace ethical, responsible hacking."
First time accepted submitter DaBombDotCom writes "Allan Odgaard, the author of the popular text editor for Mac OS X, TextMate, has posted on his blog: 'Today I am happy to announce that you can find the source for TextMate 2 on GitHub. I've always wanted to allow end-users to tinker with their environment, my ability to do this is what got me excited about programming in the first place, and it is why I created the bundles concept, but there are limits to how much a bundle can do, and with the still growing user base, I think the best move forward is to open source the program. The choice of license is GPL 3. This is partly to avoid a closed source fork and partly because the hacker in me wants all software to be free (as in speech), so in a time where our platform vendor is taking steps to limit our freedom, this is my small attempt of countering such trend.'"