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

Idle

GIF Becomes Word of the Year 2012 315

Posted by samzenpus
from the in-other-arbitrary-news dept.
mikejuk writes "GIF started out as a humble acronym 25 years ago, entered common parlance as the format used for web graphics and now achieves fame as a verb by becoming Oxford Dictionaries USA Word of the Year 2012. GIF as a noun has always been an all-capital letter noun. Becoming a verb has caused problems concerning the use of capital and lower case letters. The common form is to keep the noun in caps and add the verbal endings in lower case — as in GIFed,GIFing), However, an all lower-case spelling with the f duplicated (giffed, giffing) is also being used."
The Almighty Buck

Legalizing Online Futures Betting 80

Posted by samzenpus
from the playing-the-odds dept.
Bennett Haselton writes: "Online political futures betting is in a legal limbo in the United States. But with the lifting of legal sanctions, and with the addition of one simple new feature, online futures betting could not only provide more accurate forecasts of the merits of different candidates, but also provide a tool for quieting partisan blowhards who think the opposing party's candidate is going to drag the country to hell. Let the blowhards bet!" You'll find the rest of Bennett's story below.
EU

EU Working On Most Powerful Laser Ever Built 83

Posted by samzenpus
from the that's-no-moon dept.
kkleiner writes "On the coattails of CERN's success with the Large Hadron Collider, Europeans and the world at large have another grand science project to be excited about: the Extreme Light Infrastructure project to build the most powerful laser ever constructed. These lasers will be intense enough to perform electron dynamics experiments at very short time scales or venture into relativistic optics, opening up an entirely new field of physics for study. Additionally, the lasers could be combined to generate a super laser that would shoot into space, similar to the combined laser effect of the Death Star in the Star Wars trilogy, though the goal is to study particles in space, not annihilate planets."
Media

Ask Slashdot: Which International Online Music Stores Are Legit? 166

Posted by timothy
from the when-googling-for-mp3s-isn't-enough dept.
rjnagle writes "I'm an American lover of music who is interested in buying legally music from other countries. How do I know which CD/online music stores are legit and actually benefit the artist? I'm very cost-conscious and prefer indie music anyway, but the types of international music for sale on Amazon/iTunes tends to be from the bigger labels. Suppose I wanted to buy music from Pakistan/Ukraine/China/Brazil/Chad. What's the best way to identify which labels or online stories are authorized to sell them? Perhaps all I need is a list of the best known online music stores for each region (Yesasia.com, etc)."
Businesses

Coffee and Intellectual Property 198

Posted by timothy
from the it-puts-the-coffee-lotion-(tm)-on-its-skin dept.
cervesaebraciator writes "A 'Coffee Branding Workshop,' sponsored by the World Intellectual Property Organization, was held recently in Arusha City, at which the Director General of the Tanzania Coffee Board presented a paper titled 'Supporting the Coffee Sector with added Value Products Through Intellectual Property and Branding.' The paper encouraged the use of intellectual property claims, including trademarks, copyrights, patents, and designs, as sources of income which can be used to support agriculture in Africa. The Director General claimed that '[Intellectual property rights] are the basis for today's knowledge based economy and international competitiveness.' This is no doubt related to a broader effort to advance western style intellectual property in Africa through claims of the benefits it offers agriculture. Promoting western style intellectual property law as a means of third world development is a popular strategy for WIPO, the only branch of the UN to have significant wealth deriving from contributions independent of Member States. On a related note of interest to Slashdotters, there is a history of tension between WIPO advocates and FOSS advocates." I hope they take advantage of the marketing possibilities offered by civet-processed coffee.
Handhelds

Linux On the TI-Nspire Graphing Calculator 49

Posted by timothy
from the awesomeness-alert dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Developers been working hard for the past few months to get Linux ported to the TI-Nspire calculator. The port is not yet fully stabilized nor quite ready for broad consumption and requires some user-level knowledge of Linux systems, but is definitely worth a try. Experimental support for root filesystem installed on USB mass storage is being worked on, so that Datalight's proprietary Flash FX/Reliance filesystem used by TI's OS isn't a limit anymore. This also means that the native TI-Nspire OS image is not replaced by the Linux system, and Linux can been booted on demand. Support for USB keyboard, X server, directFB, Wi-Fi (with the help of a powered USB hub) and text-based Internet browsing is progressively being added and tested."
Education

How Free Speech Died On Campus 530

Posted by timothy
from the marching-band-refused-to-yield dept.
theodp writes "The WSJ catches up with FIRE's Greg Lukianoff and his crusade to expose how universities have become the most authoritarian institutions in America. In Unlearning Liberty, Lukianoff notes that baby-boom Americans who remember the student protests of the 1960s tend to assume that U.S. colleges are still some of the freest places on earth. But that idealized university no longer exists. Today, university bureaucrats suppress debate with anti-harassment policies that function as de facto speech codes. FIRE maintains a database of such policies on its website. What they share, lifelong Democrat Lukianoff says, is a view of 'harassment' so broad and so removed from its legal definition that 'literally every student on campus is already guilty.'"
Businesses

Ask Slashdot: How To Make a DVD-Rental Store More Relevant? 547

Posted by timothy
from the information-kiosks-and-great-snacks dept.
smi.james.th writes "Here on Slashdot, the concept that older models of business need to be updated to keep with the times is often mentioned. A friend of mine owns a DVD rental store, and he often listens to potential customers walk out, saying that they'd rather download the movie, and not because his prices are unreasonable. With the local telco on a project to boost internet speeds, my friend feels as though the end is near for his livelihood. So, Slashdotters, I put it to you: What can a DVD store owner do to make his store more relevant? What services would you pay for at a DVD store?"
Republicans

GOP Study Committee Director Disowns Brief Attacking Current IP Law 176

Posted by timothy
from the extra-special-interests dept.
cervesaebraciator writes "Saturday an article was featured on Slashdot which expressed some hope, if just a fool's hope, that a recent Republican Study Committee Brief could be a sign of broader national discussion about the value of current copyright law. When one sees such progress, credit is deservedly given. Unfortunately, others in Washington did not perhaps see this as worthy of praise. The committee's executive director, Paul Teller, sent a memo today disavowing the earlier pro-copyright reform brief. From the memo: 'Yesterday you received a Policy Brief or [sic] copyright law that was published without adequate review within the RSC and failed to meet that standard. Copyright reform would have far-reaching impacts, so it is incredibly important that it be approached with all facts and viewpoints in hand.' People who live in districts such as Ohio's 4th would do well to send letters of support to those who crafted the original brief. I cannot imagine party leadership will be happy with so radical a suggestion as granting copyright protection for the limited times needed to promote the progress of science and useful arts."
Google

New Malware Variant Uses Google Docs As a Proxy To Phone Home 85

Posted by timothy
from the why-not-use-linkedin-like-all-the-other-spammers dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Windows 8 may block most malware out of the box, but there is still malware out there that thwarts Microsoft's latest and greatest. A new Trojan variant, detected as Backdoor.Makadocs and spread via RTF and Microsoft Word document marked as Trojan.Dropper, has been discovered that not only adds a clause to target Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, but also uses Google Docs as a proxy server to phone home to its Command & Control (C&C) server."
Data Storage

Ask Slashdot: Data Storage Highway Robbery? 168

Posted by timothy
from the airwave-robbery-is-very-common dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I just learned that Salesforce charges $3000 per year for 1GB of extra data storage. That puts it in line with hardware storage costs from about 1993. We've all heard of telcos and ISPs charging ridiculous rates per MB when limits are reached — what's the most ridiculous rate that you've heard?"
Government

Man Arrested At Oakland Airport For Ornate Watch 519

Posted by timothy
from the time-enough-for-love dept.
First time accepted submitter mbeckman writes "A man was arrested at Oakland airport for having bomb-making materials. The materials? An ornate watch and extra insoles in his boots. Despite the bomb squad determining that there was no bomb, The Alameda county sheriffs department claimed that he was carrying 'potentially dangerous materials and appeared to have made alterations to his boots, which were Unusually large and stuffed with layers of insoles.' The man told Transportation Security Administration officers that he's an artist and the watch is art."
Education

Computer Science vs. Software Engineering 322

Posted by timothy
from the distinction-vs-difference dept.
theodp writes "Microsoft's promotion of Julie Larson-Green to lead all Windows software and hardware engineering in the wake of Steven Sinofsky's resignation is reopening the question of what is the difference between Computer Science and Software Engineering. According to their bios on Microsoft's website, Sinofsky has a master's degree in computer science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an undergraduate degree with honors from Cornell University, while Larson-Green has a master's degree in software engineering from Seattle University and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Western Washington University. A comparison of the curricula at Sinofsky's and Larson-Green's alma maters shows there's a huge difference between UMass's MSCS program and Seattle U's MSE program. So, is one program inherently more compatible with Microsoft's new teamwork mantra?"
Software

How Can Wikipedia's Visual Editor Top Other Word Processors? 196

Posted by timothy
from the want-edit-mode-by-default dept.
First time accepted submitter azadnama writes "Wikimedia Foundation, the organization behind Wikipedia, is aware of the fact the MediaWiki formatting syntax is a major obstacle for people's participation in writing on the site. To address this problem, the Foundation is developing VisualEditor—a web-based WYSIWYG interface for editing articles. It's supposed to be similar to a word processor, like LibreOffice, Microsoft Word, Pages, Google Docs, and others. And this is the time to ask: What did your word processor get wrong and how can Wikipedia's VisualEditor get it right?"
Businesses

Star Citizen Takes the Crowdfunding Crown, Raising More Than $4M 123

Posted by timothy
from the just-like-to-thank-all-the-little-donors dept.
Zocalo writes "Star Citizen, Chris Roberts' attempt to reboot the Space Sim genre, hit a major funding milestone earlier today, exceeding the previous record of $4,163,208 secured by the game Project Eternity and more than doubling the initial funding target set by the producer of the Wing Commander series. With Stretch Goals now being passed every few hours bringing new features to the planned game, and David Braben announcing a new installment of the classic Elite using a similar funding model at Kickstarter could this be a wake-up call for the big game publishers to take another look at the genre? There are still two days left for Star Citizen funding as well, so if you feel like taking part, you can chip in either at the main RSI site or on Kickstarter."

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