Chameleon Man writes with an excerpt from PC Mag: "Early this morning, the Android-based Ouya console ended its run on Kickstarter with nearly $8.6 million in user donations. In recent weeks, the company has secured a number of content partners for the device, but now it's time to see if Ouya can really deliver. Interested buyers can now pre-order an Ouya on the company's website. In the U.S., one console and one controller will cost $109, one console plus two controllers will be $139, and one console and four controllers will be $199. All orders include a $10 shipping charge." Adds Chameleon Man: "Here's to hoping that an open-source console can gain a foothold in an already competitive market."
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An anonymous reader writes with a question that makes a good follow-on to the claim that mathematics requirements in U.S. schools unnecessarily limit students' educational choices: "I'm a high school student who is interested in a career in a computer science or game development related position. I've been told by teachers and parents that math classes are a must for any technology related career. I've been dabbling around Unity3D and OGRE for about two years now and have been programming for longer than that, but I've never had to use any math beyond trigonometry (which I took as a Freshman). This makes me wonder: will I actually use calculus and above, or is it just a popular idea that you need to be a mathematician in order to program? What are your experiences?"
ananyo writes "Almost one-quarter of the world's population lives in regions where groundwater is being used up faster than it can be replenished, concludes a comprehensive global analysis of groundwater depletion (abstract). Across the world, human civilizations depend largely on tapping vast reservoirs of water that have been stored for up to thousands of years in sand, clay and rock deep underground. These massive aquifers — which in some cases stretch across multiple states and country borders — provide water for drinking and crop irrigation, as well as to support ecosystems such as forests and fisheries. Yet in most of the world's major agricultural regions, including the Central Valley in California, the Nile delta region of Egypt, and the Upper Ganges in India and Pakistan, demand exceeds these reservoirs' capacity for renewal."
Yesterday we mentioned that Slashdot's 15th Anniversary is coming up in October. (Link to the cheezy song, I Read It On Slashdot.) Also, yesterday we ran Part One of a discussion with Rob Malda conducted by Jeff 'Soulskill' Boehm and Rob 'samzenpus' Rozeboom. Like Part One, Part Two is an audio interview with some photos laid over it, so you might want to listen rather than watch. And if this doesn't satisfy your, "What's Rob Malda up to?" curiosity, Part Three will be here Monday.
First time accepted submitter MrvFD writes "Ever since the most recent layoffs were announced by Nokia last month and the end of Qt related programs at Nokia was rumored, the fate of Qt has been in the air despite it nowadays having a working open governance model. Fear no longer, Qt brand, since Digia has now announced acquiring the Qt organization from Nokia. While relatively unknown company to the masses, it has already been selling the non-free (non-LGPL) licenses of Qt for 1.5 years. Hopefully this'll mean a bright future for Qt in co-operation with other Qt wielding companies like Google, RIM, Canonical, Intel, Skype, Microsoft, Jolla and the thousands of Qt open source and commercial license users. Digia now plans to quickly enable Qt on Android, iOS and Windows 8 platforms, where work has already been underway for some time."
An anonymous reader writes "A survey of unsuspecting New York Times readers implicitly answered the question: Does a certain font make you agree or disagree more often than another font? It turns out Baskerville confers a 1.5% advantage towards agreement on a survey question, compared to an average of six fonts. They were asked to agree or disagree to a passage from physicist David Deutsch's book The Beginning of Infinity, and were found to have an optimistic, if Baskerville-favoring, outlook on life. David Dunning, a psychologist awarded a Nobel prize and, separately, an IgNobel prize (for the eponymous Dunning-Kruger Effect), called Baskerville 'the king of fonts.' Sadly, Comic Sans — notable for its appearance in the Higgs Boson announcement — seems to be the weakest font. And why did Lisa Randall, the Harvard physicist responsible for that Higgs announcement use Comic Sans? According to the article, 'Because I like it.'"
First time accepted submitter Augury writes "I'm about to undertake a lengthy trip involving travel through dusty, damp and drop-inducing environments. When it comes to packing for such a trip, reading is a fundamental need, to help while away the inevitable hours spent in transit lounges, at bus stops and on beaches. The weight and bulk of the dead tree approach makes it impractical, so an e-book reader seems ideal — does anyone have any experience with ruggedising an e-book reader for such conditions?"
An anonymous reader writes "Rogers Telecommunications is claiming that a ruling by Canada's Competition Bureau violates Rogers' freedom of speech. The company is in court over a 2010 ad campaign where it claimed that its discount brand 'Chatr' was more reliable and suffered fewer dropped calls than the competition. The Competition Bureau found 'no discernible difference in dropped-call rates between Rogers/Chatr and new entrants' and began legal proceedings against Rogers for violating Canada's Competition Act. The Bureau is seeking a $10 million (CDN) fine, an end to the ad campaign, and for Rogers to issue a corrective notice."
colinneagle writes in with a story about open source organizations fighting over logos. "A gear logo proposed to represent and easily identify open-source hardware has caught the eyes of the The Open Source Initiative, which believes the logo infringes its trademark. The gear logo is backed by the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA), which was formally established earlier this year to promote hardware innovation and unite the fragmented community of hackers and do-it-yourselfers. The gear mark is now being increasingly used on boards and circuits to indicate that the hardware is open-source and designs can be openly shared and modified. OSI has now informed OSHWA, which is acting on behalf of the open-source hardware community, that the logo infringes on its trademark. The issue at stake is a keyhole at the bottom of the open-source hardware logo, which resembles a keyhole at the bottom of the OSI logo. The gear logo was created as part of the contest hosted by the group that founded OSHWA, and the mark was released by its designer under a Creative Commons license, opening it up for the community to use on hardware."
derekmead writes "It only took 40 years. And yes, Washington still disputes Hanoi's claim that up to 4 million Vietnamese suffered contact with the defoliant, which was dumped en masse in a U.S. air campaign to scorch away the dense jungle cover under which guerilla fighters hid. But the AP reports that the U.S. is finally set to start cleaning up the mess. The numbers are staggering: Between 1962 and 1971, the U.S. military sprayed some 20 million gallons of Agent Orange and a galaxy of other herbicides on nearly a quarter of former South Vietnam. The defoliant ate through about 5 millions acres – a tract comparable in size to Massachusetts – of forest. An additional half-million acres of crops were decimated."
mvdwege writes "In the thread on the most depressing sci-fi, there were hundreds of posts but merely four mentions of John Brunner, dystopian writer par excellence. Now, given the normally U.S. libertarian bent of the Slashdot audience, it is understandable that an outright British Socialist writer like Brunner would get short shrift, but it got me thinking: what Sci-fi writers do you know that are, in your opinion, vastly underappreciated?"
An anonymous reader writes "A U.S. government report released on Tuesday says the Federal Communications Commission needs to update its guidelines for limiting cell phone radio-frequency exposure. The limit was set in 1996 to an exposure rate of 1.6 watts per kilogram, and has not been updated since. The report does not advocate in favor of any particular research, and actually points out that the limit could possibly be raised, but says the FCC's rules have not kept pace with recent studies on the subject one way or the other. An executive for The Wireless Association said, 'The FCC has been vigilant in its oversight in this area and has set safety standards to make sure that radio frequency fields from wireless phones remain at what it has determined are safe levels. The FCC's safety standards include a 50-fold safety factor and, as the FCC has noted, are the most conservative in the world.'"
gollum123 sends this excerpt from CNN: "The July heat wave that wilted crops, shriveled rivers and fueled wildfires officially went into the books Wednesday as the hottest single month on record for the continental United States. The average temperature across the Lower 48 was 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit, 3.3 degrees above the 20th-century average, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration reported. That edged out the previous high mark, set in 1936, by two-tenths of a degree, NOAA said. In addition, the seven months of 2012 to date are the warmest of any year on record and were drier than average as well, NOAA said. U.S. forecasters started keeping records in 1895. And the past 12 months have been the warmest of any such period on record, topping a mark set between July 2011 and this past June. Every U.S. state except Washington experienced warmer-than-average temperatures, NOAA reported."
theodp writes "Back in the day, getting traction for a new programming language was next to impossible. First, one needed a textbook publishing deal. Then, one needed a critical mass of CS profs across the country to convince their departments that your language was worth teaching at the university level. And after that, one still needed a critical mass of students to agree it was worth spending their time and tuition to learn your language. Which probably meant that one needed a critical mass of corporations to agree they wanted their employees to use your language. It was a tall order that took years if one was lucky, and only some languages — FORTRAN, PL/I, C, Java, and Python come to mind — managed to succeed on all of these fronts. But that was then, this is now. Whip up some online materials, and you can kiss your textbook publishing worries goodbye. Manage to convince just one of the new Super Profs at Udacity or Coursera to teach your programming language, and they can reach 160,000 students with just one free, not-for-credit course. And even if the elite Profs turn up their nose at your creation, upstarts like Khan Academy or Code Academy can also deliver staggering numbers of students in a short time. In theory, widespread adoption of a new programming language could be achieved in weeks instead of years or decades, piquing employers' interest. So, could we be on the verge of a programming language renaissance? Or will the status quo somehow manage to triumph?"
wiredmikey writes "Despite its significant user base within enterprises, BlackBerry devices have managed to stay off the radar for malware writers. That may be ending, as four new Zeus-in-the-mobile (Zitmo) samples targeting BlackBerry users in Germany, Spain, and Italy have been found. Zitmo, which hit Android devices back in July 2011, refers to a version of the Zeus malware that specifically targets mobile devices. Denis Maslennikov, a security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, also identified a new Zitmo variant for Android using the same command and control (C&C) numbers as the BlackBerry versions. While previous Android variants have been primitive, the latest .apk dropper, which shows up as an app 'Zertifikat,' looks 'more similar to "classic" Zitmo,' he said. When executed, it displays a message in German that the installation was successful, along with an activation code. The Android sample also included a self-issued certificate that indicates it was developed less than a month ago."