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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

Open Source

Oracle Makes Red Hat Kernel Changes Available As Broken-Out Patches 104

Posted by Soulskill
from the hey-why-not dept.
Artefacto writes "The Ksplice team has made available a git repository with the changes Red Hat made to the kernel broken down. They are calling this project RedPatch. This comes in response to a policy change Red Hat had implemented in early 2011, with the goal of undercutting Oracle and other vendors' strategy of poaching Red Hat's customers. The Ksplice team says they've been working on these individual patches since then. They claim to be now making it public because they 'feel everyone in the Linux community can benefit from the work.' 'For Ksplice, we build individual updates for each change and rely on source patches that are broken-out, not a giant tarball. Otherwise, we wouldn't be able to take the right patches to create individual updates for each fix, and to skip over the noise — like a change that speeds up bootup — which is unnecessary for an already-running system.'"
Biotech

Study Claims Human Intelligence Peaked Two To Six Millennia Ago 637

Posted by Soulskill
from the on-the-shoulders-of-consecutively-dumber-giants dept.
eldavojohn writes "Professor Gerald "Jerry" Crabtree of Stanford's Crabtree Laboratory published a paper (PDF) that has appeared in two parts in Trends in Genetics. The paper opens with a very controversial suggestion: 'I would be willing to wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000 BC were to appear suddenly among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions.' From there, Crabtree speculates we're on the decline of human intelligence and we have been for at least a couple millennia. His argument suggests agriculture and, following from that, cities, have allowed us to break free of some environmental forces on competitive genetic mutations — a la Mike Judge's theory. However, the conclusion of the paper urges humans to keep calm and carry on, as any attempt to fix this genetic trend would almost certainly be futile and disturbing."
Education

Ask Slashdot: How To Catch Photoshop Plagiarism? 284

Posted by timothy
from the when-google-images-isn't-enough dept.
First time accepted submitter jemenake writes "A friend of mine teaches electronic media (Photoshop, Premiere, etc.) at a local high-school. Right now, they're doing Photoshop, and each chapter in the book starts with an 'end result' file which shows what they're going to construct in that chapter, and then, given the basic graphical assets (background textures, photos, etc.), the students need to duplicate the same look in the final-result file. The problem, of course, is that some students just grab the final-result file and rename it and turn it in. Some are a little less brazen and they rename a few layers, maybe alter the colors on a few images, etc. So, it becomes time-consuming for her to open each file alongside the final-result file to see if it's 'too perfect.'" How to look for images closer than they should be to the original? Read on for more details.
Privacy

Petraeus Case Illustrates FBI Authority To Read Email 228

Posted by timothy
from the man-vs-state dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Back in April, we discussed how the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act says email that has resided on a server for more than six months can be considered abandoned. The recent investigation of General Petraeus brings this issue to light again, and perhaps to a broader audience. Under current U.S. law, federal authorities need only a subpoena approved by a federal prosecutor — not a judge — to obtain electronic messages that are six months old or older. Do you know anyone these days who doesn't have IMAP accounts with 6+-month-old mail on them?"
Education

With NCLB Waiver, Virginia Sorts Kids' Scores By Race 622

Posted by timothy
from the racism-as-practiced-by-idiots dept.
According to a story at Northwest Public Radio, the state of Virginia's board of education has decided to institute different passing scores for standardized tests, based on the racial and cultural background of the students taking the test. Apparently the state has chosen to divide its student population into broad categories of black, white, Hispanic, and Asian — which takes painting with a rather broad brush, to put it mildly. From the article (there's an audio version linked as well): "As part of Virginia's waiver to opt out of mandates set out in the No Child Left Behind law, the state has created a controversial new set of education goals that are higher for white and Asian kids than for blacks, Latinos and students with disabilities. ... Here's what the Virginia state board of education actually did. It looked at students' test scores in reading and math and then proposed new passing rates. In math it set an acceptable passing rate at 82 percent for Asian students, 68 percent for whites, 52 percent for Latinos, 45 percent for blacks and 33 percent for kids with disabilities." (If officially determined group membership determines passing scores, why stop there?) Florida passed a similar measure last month.
Google

Acer C7 Chromebooks Expand Chrome OS Market 67

Posted by timothy
from the ssd-would-have-been-nice-though dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Google is following up last month's Samsung Chromebooks with a new, lower-priced one developed by Acer. Retailing for $199, the 11.6-inch Acer C7 Chromebook features an Intel Celeron 847 processor, 2GB of DDR3 memory, a 320GB hard drive, three USB 2.0 ports and an HDMI port for various cords and auxiliary devices. It's designed for portability, weighing 3.05 pounds and measuring an inch thick. Boot time is reportedly less than 18 seconds. If the new Chromebook has a weakness, it's the advertised 3.5 hours of battery life. That's less than the MacBook Air (which features anywhere from 5-7 hours' battery life, depending on specs) and many of the Windows-backed Ultrabooks, some of which claim up to 11 hours of battery life depending on usage. It's also far less than the posted battery life for tablets such as Apple's iPad and Google's Nexus 7, which are widely viewed as the most prominent competition to laptops in the extra-portable category."
The Media

Wayback Machine Trumps FOI Tribunal 401

Posted by timothy
from the this-thing-called-the-internet dept.
New submitter calder123 writes "Last week, the BBC won an FOIA tribunal ruling that they didn't have to reveal the names of attendees at a seminar in 2006, designed to shape the BBC's coverage of climate change issues. The document, uncovered by Maurizio Morabito, puts comments by the BBC that the meeting was held under Chatham House rules, and that the seminar drew on top scientific advice in an interesting light. In a bizarre coincidence, four of the BBC's attendees at the seminar have resigned in the last few days."
Power

Tapping Shale Reserves, US Would Become World's Top Oil Producer By 2017 467

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the where's-al-gore-now dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that according to a report by the International Energy Agency, the U.S. will overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's leading oil producer by about 2017, will become a net oil exporter by 2030, and will become 'all but self-sufficient' in meeting its energy needs in about two decades — a 'dramatic reversal of the trend' in most developed countries. 'The foundations of the global energy systems are shifting,' says Fatih Birol, chief economist at the Paris-based organization, which produces the annual World Energy Outlook. There are several components of the sudden shift in the world's energy supply, but the prime mover is a resurgence of oil and gas production in the United States, particularly the unlocking of new reserves of oil and gas found in shale rock. The widespread adoption of techniques like hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling has made those reserves much more accessible, and in the case of natural gas, resulted in a vast glut that has sent prices plunging. The agency's report was generally 'good news' for the United States says Michael A. Levi, senior fellow for energy and environment at the Council on Foreign Relations, because it highlights the nation's new sources of energy but Levi cautions that being self-sufficient does not mean that the country will be insulated from seesawing energy prices, since those oil prices are set by global markets. The message is more sobering for the planet, in terms of climate change. Although natural gas is frequently promoted for being relatively low in carbon emissions compared to oil or coal, the new global energy market could make it harder to prevent dangerous levels of warming (PDF). 'The report confirms that, given the current policies, we will blow past every safe target for emissions,' says Levi. 'This should put to rest the idea that the boom in natural gas will save us from that.'" The folks over at The Oil Drum aren't quite so optimistic: shale reserves may have an abysmal EROI. And, of course, Global Warming is a liberal myth.
Twitter

UW Imposes 20-Tweet Limit On Live Events 196

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the am-radio-on-the-attack dept.
theodp writes "GeekWire's Taylor Soper reports that the University of Washington has capped live sports coverage at 20 Tweets per basketball game (45 for football) and threatens to revoke the credentials of journalists who dare exceed the Twitter limits. Tacoma News Tribune reporter Todd Dybas was reportedly 'reprimanded' after drawing the ire of the UW Athletic Dept. for apparently Tweeting too much during UW's 85-63 Sunday win over Loyola."
Firefox

The Shumway Open SWF Runtime Project 99

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the now-there-are-four dept.
theweatherelectric writes "Mozilla is looking for contributors interested in working on Shumway. Mozilla's Jet Villegas writes, 'Shumway is an experimental web-native (Javascript) runtime implementation of the SWF file format. It is developed as a free and open source project sponsored by Mozilla Research. The project has two main goals: 1. Advance the open web platform to securely process rich media formats that were previously only available in closed and proprietary implementations. 2. Offer a runtime processor for SWF and other rich media formats on platforms for which runtime implementations are not available.'" See also: Gnash and Lightspark.
Be

BeOS Clone Haiku Releases R1 Alpha 4 117

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the unix-haters-handbook dept.
New submitter kallisti5 writes "The Haiku project released their 4th alpha release today. A year and four months have passed since the 3rd alpha release. Haiku R1A4 includes several enhancements such as a large number of bug fixes, early IPv6 support, better drivers, improved file system support, better localization, and a wide variety of new features and applications." Multimedia enhancements include support for modern Intel and Radeon HD cards.
Books

Book Review: Reverse Deception 43

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
benrothke writes "Advanced persistent threat (APT) is one of the most common information security terms used today and it is an undeniably real and dangerous menace. Wikipedia notes that APT's usually refer to a group, such as a foreign government, with both the capability and the intent to persistently and effectively target a specific entity. The term is commonly used to refer to cyber threats, in particular that of Internet-enabled espionage using a variety of intelligence gathering techniques to access sensitive information, but applies equally to other threats such as that of traditional espionage or attack. Every organization of size and scope is a target, and many of the world's largest firms and governments have been victims. In Reverse Deception: Organized Cyber Threat Counter-Exploitation, Dr. Max Kilger and his co-authors provide an effective counterintelligence approach in which to deal with APT. The good news is that the authors provide an effective framework. The bad news is that creating an effective defense is not an easy undertaking." Keep reading below for the rest of Ben's review.
Facebook

Man Arrested For Photo of Burning Poppy On Facebook 534

Posted by samzenpus
from the sticks-and-stones dept.
Barence writes "A British man has been arrested for posting a picture of a burning poppy on Facebook. The poppy is a symbol of remembrance for those who died in war, and the arrest was made on Remembrance Sunday. 'A man from Aylesham has tonight been arrested on suspicion of malicious telecommunications,' Kent police said in a statement after the arrest. 'This follows a posting on a social network site of a burning poppy. He is currently in police custody awaiting interview.' The arrest has been criticized by legal experts. 'What was the point of winning either World War if, in 2012, someone can be casually arrested by @Kent_police for burning a poppy?' tweeted David Allen Green, who helped clear the British man who was prosecuted for a joke tweet threatening to blow up an airport."
Earth

Global Warming Felt By Space Junk and Satellites 224

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-getting-hot-in-here dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with a story about another side effect of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. "Rising carbon dioxide levels at the edge of space are apparently reducing the pull that Earth's atmosphere has on satellites and space junk, researchers say. The findings suggest that man made increases in carbon dioxide might be having effects on the Earth that are larger than expected, scientists added... in the highest reaches of the atmosphere, carbon dioxide can actually have a cooling effect. The main effects of carbon dioxide up there come from its collisions with oxygen atoms. These impacts excite carbon dioxide molecules, making them radiate heat. The density of carbon dioxide is too thin above altitudes of about 30 miles (50 kilometers) for the molecules to recapture this heat. Cooling the upper atmosphere causes it to contract, exerting less drag on satellites."
Shark

X-Ray Laser For Creating Supercharged Particles 55

Posted by samzenpus
from the charge-it-up dept.
William Robinson writes "Scientists have found way to use X-Ray Lasers to create supercharged particles. The specific tuning of the laser's properties can cause atoms and molecules to resonate. The resonance excites the atoms and causes them to shake off electrons at a rate that otherwise would require higher energies. This could be used to create highly charged plasma."

The two most common things in the Universe are hydrogen and stupidity. -- Harlan Ellison

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