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Updated: 16 min 10 sec ago

UK Police and PRS Shut Down Karaoke Torrent Site

Sat, 14/03/2015 - 9:12am
An anonymous reader writes with this news from Torrent Freak, from which he quotes: The City of London's Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit and copyright and royalty group PRS for Music have teamed up for what appears to be a first-of-its-kind action. Arresting a 46-year-old man, this week police shut down one of the Internet's few karaoke-focused BitTorrent trackers. While at some stages wildly popular in the East, to most in the West a night at a karaoke bar is probably more closely associated with too many beers and individuals belting out classics wearing the aural equivalent of beer goggles. The pastime is considered by some as a bit of a joke but karaoke is big business. According to the people behind the web-based Playstation software SingOn, the global karaoke market could be worth as much as $10 billion.

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The Internet of Things Just Found Your Lost Wallet

Sat, 14/03/2015 - 6:11am
Nerval's Lobster writes Ever forgotten your wallet in a coffee shop or restaurant? Now there's a way to ensure it'll never happen again: Woolet, which its creators bill as a "smart wallet." It features a rechargeable battery, Bluetooth support, and the ability to synchronize with a smartphone app; if you walk 20-85 feet away from your wallet, the app will make a sound and guide you back to it. The platform's being financed on Kickstarter, and attracted attention from TechCrunch and some other places, but it begs the question: is this yet another example of connected devices run amok—shiny and interesting as a concept but not nearly useful enough for the population at large? What would it take for a connected device, whether a wallet or a smoke detector, to gain mass appeal?

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Wikipedia Entries On NYPD Violence Get Some Edits From Headquarters

Sat, 14/03/2015 - 3:09am
First reported by Capital, and picked up by Reason, it seems that "Computers operating on the New York Police Department’s computer network at its 1 Police Plaza headquarters have been used to alter Wikipedia pages containing details of alleged police brutality." Computer users identified by Capital as working on the NYPD headquarters' network have edited and attempted to delete Wikipedia entries for several well-known victims of police altercations, including entries for Eric Garner, Sean Bell, and Amadou Diallo. Capital identified 85 NYPD addresses that have edited Wikipedia, although it is unclear how many users were involved, as computers on the NYPD network can operate on the department’s range of IP addresses. Besides edits to entries about specific instances of misconduct, edits from the same NYPD IP blocks were discovered in Wikipedia entries about the city's stop-and-frisk program and about NYPD misconduct more generally.

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FAA Says Ad-Bearing YouTube Drone Videos Constitute "Commercial Use"

Sat, 14/03/2015 - 12:15am
schwit1 writes If you fly a drone and post footage on YouTube, you could end up with a letter from the Federal Aviation Administration. Earlier this week, the agency sent a legal notice to Jayson Hanes, a Tampa-based drone hobbyist who has been posting drone-shot videos online for roughly the last year. The FAA said that, because there are ads on YouTube, Hanes's flights constituted a commercial use of the technology subject to stricter regulations and enforcement action from the agency. It said that if he did not stop flying 'commercially,' he could be subject to fines or sanctions.

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Why Apple Won't Adopt a Wireless Charging Standard

Fri, 13/03/2015 - 11:24pm
Lucas123 writes As the battle for mobile dominance continues among three wireless charging standards, with many smartphone and wearable makers having already chosen sides, Apple continues to sit on the sideline. While the new Apple Watch uses a tightly coupled magnetic inductive wireless charging technology, it still requires a cable. The only advantage is that no port is required, allowing the watch case to remain sealed and water resistant. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, however, remain without any form of wireless charging, either tightly coupled inductive or more loosely coupled resonant charging. Over the past few years, Apple has filed patents on its own flavor of wireless charging, a "near field" or resonant technology, but no products have as yet come to market. If and when it does select a technology, it will likely be its own proprietary specification, which ensures accessory makers will have to pay royalties to use it.

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Mass Surveillance: Can We Blame It All On the Government?

Fri, 13/03/2015 - 10:44pm
Nicola Hahn writes Yet another news report has emerged detailing how the CIA is actively subverting low-level encryption features in mainstream hi-tech products. Responding to the story, an unnamed intelligence official essentially shrugged his shoulders and commented that "there's a whole world of devices out there, and that's what we're going to do." Perhaps this sort of cavalier dismissal isn't surprising given that leaked classified documents indicate that government intelligence officers view iPhone users as 'Zombies' who pay for their own surveillance. The past year or so of revelations paints a pretty damning portrait of the NSA and CIA. But if you read the Intercept's coverage of the CIA's subversion projects carefully you'll notice mention of Lockheed Martin. And this raises a question that hasn't received much attention: what role does corporate America play in all of this? Are American companies simply hapless pawns of a runaway national security state? Ed Snowden has stated that mass surveillance is "about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They're about power." A sentiment which has been echoed by others. Who, then, stands to gain from mass surveillance?

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Ask Slashdot: Why Does Science Appear To Be Getting Things Increasingly Wrong?

Fri, 13/03/2015 - 10:04pm
azaris writes: Recent revelations of heavily policy-driven or even falsified science have raised concern in the general public, but especially in the scientific community itself. It's not purely a question of political or commercial interference either (as is often claimed when it comes to e.g. climate research) — scientists themselves are increasingly incentivized to game the system for improved career prospects, more funding, or simply because they perceive everyone else to do it, too. Even discounting outright fraud or manipulation of data, the widespread use of methodologies known to be invalid plagues many fields and is leading to an increasing inability to reproduce recent findings (the so-called crisis of reproducibility) that puts the very basis of our reliance on scientific research results at risk. Of course, one could claim that science is by nature self-correcting, but the problem appears to be getting worse before it gets better. Is it time for more scientists to speak out openly about raising the level of transparency and honesty in their field?

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Controlling Brain Activity With Magnetic Nanoparticles

Fri, 13/03/2015 - 9:21pm
sciencehabit writes: Deep brain stimulation, which now involves surgically inserting electrodes several inches into a person's brain and connecting them to a power source outside the skull, can be an extremely effective treatment for disorders such as Parkinson's disease, obsessive compulsive disorder, and depression. The expensive, invasive procedure doesn't always work, however, and can be risky. Now, a study in mice (abstract) points to a less invasive way to massage neuronal activity, by injecting metal nanoparticles into the brain and controlling them with magnetic fields. The technique could eventually provide a wireless, nonsurgical alternative to traditional deep brain stimulation surgery, researchers say.

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Kim Stanley Robinson Says Colonizing Mars Won't Be As Easy As He Thought

Fri, 13/03/2015 - 8:38pm
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from io9: Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy filled us all with hope that we could terraform Mars in the 21st century, with its plausible description of terraforming processes. But now, in the face of what we've learned about Mars in the past 20 years, he no longer thinks it'll be that easy. Talking to SETI's Blog Picture Science podcast, Robinson explains that his ideas about terraforming Mars, back in the 1990s, were based on three assumptions that have been called into question or disproved: 1) Mars doesn't have any life on it at all. And now, it's looking more likely that there could be bacteria living beneath the surface. 2) There would be enough of the chemical compounds we need to survive. 3) There's nothing poisonous to us on the surface. In fact, the surface is covered with perchlorates, which are highly toxic to humans, and the original Viking mission did not detect these. "It's no longer a simple matter," Robinson says. "It's possible that we could occupy, inhabit and terraform Mars. But it's probably going to take a lot longer than I described in my books."

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Oldest Dot-com Domain Turning 30

Fri, 13/03/2015 - 7:57pm
netbuzz writes: On March 15, 1985, Symbolics, Inc, maker of Lisp computers, registered the Internet's first dot-com address: Symbolics.com. Sunday will mark the 30th anniversary of that registration. And while Symbolics has been out of business for years, the address was sold in 2009 for an undisclosed sum to a speculator who said: "For us to own the first domain is very special to our company, and we feel blessed for having the ability to obtain this unique property." Today there's not much there.

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Maker Person Rich Olson Returns (Video)

Fri, 13/03/2015 - 7:15pm
In February we ran a video titled Rich Olson Embodies the Spirit of the Maker Movement. We aren't saying Rich is a superman, but more like everyman or, in this case, everymaker. He is a hobbyist who, like many others, shares his designs freely in the best spirit of open source. Today we have some more words from Rich that may help you if you are just starting to use a 3-D printer and similar tools either at home or in a makerspace. and a note: If you know someone we should interview, please email robinATroblimoDOTCOM.

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In Historic Turn, CO2 Emissions Flatline In 2014, Even As Global Economy Grows

Fri, 13/03/2015 - 6:26pm
mdsolar sends this report from Forbes: A key stumbling block in the effort to combat global warming has been the intimate link between greenhouse gas emissions and economic growth. When times are good and industries are thriving, global energy use traditionally increases and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions also go up. Only when economies stumble and businesses shutter — as during the most recent financial crisis — does energy use typically decline, in turn bringing down planet-warming emissions. But for the first time in nearly half a century, that synchrony between economic growth and energy-related emissions seems to have been broken, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency, prompting its chief economist to wonder if an important new pivot point has been reached — one that decouples economic vigor and carbon pollution. The IEA pegged carbon dioxide emissions for 2014 at 32.3 billion metric tons — essentially the same volume as 2013, even as the global economy grew at a rate of about 3 percent. Whether the disconnect is a mere fluke or a true harbinger of a paradigm shift is impossible to know. The IEA suggested that decreasing use of coal in China — and upticks in renewable electricity generation there using solar, wind and hydropower — could have contributed to the reversal.

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Google Error Leaks Website Owners' Personal Information

Fri, 13/03/2015 - 5:44pm
itwbennett writes: A Google software problem inadvertently exposed the names, addresses, email addresses and phone numbers used to register websites after people had chosen to keep the information private. The privacy breach involves whois, a database that contains contact information for people who've bought domain names. For privacy reasons, people can elect to make information private, often by paying an extra fee. But Craig Williams, senior technical leader for Cisco's Talos research group, discovered that the privacy settings for domain names registered through the company eNom were being turned off right at the time when the domains were up for renewal, starting around mid-2013. Williams contacted Google, and in about six days the privacy settings had been restored. In a notice, Google blamed a "software defect." Cisco said in a blog post that some 282,867 domains were affected.

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New Molecular 3D Printer Can Create Billions of Compounds

Fri, 13/03/2015 - 5:01pm
ErnieKey writes: University of Illinois researchers have created a device, called a Molecular-Machine, which essentially manufactures on the molecular compound level. Martin Burke, the lead researcher on this project says that they are already able to synthesize over a billion different compounds with the machine, compounds which up until now have been very difficult to synthesize. The impact on the pharmaceutical industry could be staggering.

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Twitter Will Ban Revenge Porn and Non-consensual Nudes

Fri, 13/03/2015 - 4:22pm
AmiMoJo writes: Twitter has changed its rules to state it will forbid users from posting revenge porn and non-consensual nudes on its service. In the private information section of the site's policy list, the company added that users "may not post intimate photos or videos that were taken or distributed without the subject's consent." Twitter seemed to indicate that it would use some combination of automated and manual checks to decide whether a reported post is revenge porn or not before removing the post. "We will ask a reporting user to verify that he or she is the individual in question in content alleged to be violating our policy and to confirm that the photo or video in question was posted without consent." There will be an appeal process too. In February, reddit made a similar rules change after the site was embroiled in controversy for allowing the posting of stolen nude celebrity photos in 2014. Banning "involuntary pornography," reddit urged victims to e-mail the site with details so administrators could remove the offending posts.

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Panda Antivirus Flags Itself As Malware

Fri, 13/03/2015 - 3:40pm
An anonymous reader writes An update to a number of Panda antivirus programs Wednesday mistakenly flagged core files as malware, putting them in quarantine. In doing so, the antivirus system ceased working. Panda's free antivirus, retail 2015 service, and its enterprise cloud-based antimalware service are all affected. The company took to Twitter to warn users: "Please, don't reboot PCs. We'll keep you posted." In an advisory, Panda said the erroneous signature file was "repaired immediately," but warned under certain conditions it is possible for the "incident to persist."

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