Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.
kenekaplan writes "An upcoming PBS documentary reveals how technology pioneers transformed Silicon Valley into the epicenter of technology innovation. From the article: 'Gordon Moore remembers a time before the idea of a Silicon Valley startup existed. That was half a century ago, before the place became an epicenter for wildly successful technology, and companies such as Apple, Google and Intel generated billions of dollars in annual profits. “It just exploded,” said Moore in the PBS documentary, “American Experience: Silicon Valley,” premiering Feb. 5. “Every time we came up with a new idea we spawned two or three companies that would try to exploit it,” he said, referring to his days at Fairchild Semiconductor, a company he helped found in 1957, a decade before he co-founded Intel with Robert Noyce.'"
alphadogg writes "Once vehemently opposed to open-source software, Microsoft has warmed to the development model over the years and will now take the unusual step of incorporating an open-source program developed by Linus Torvalds into its own development tools. Microsoft is integrating the widely used Git, a distributed revision control and source code management system, into its Visual Studio IDE and Team Foundation Server, two of the company's main tools for enterprise developers."
sciencehabit writes "A quick visit to Monty Python's Ministry of Silly Walks shows just how many ways humans (or at least British comedians) can think of to travel from point A to point B. So why don't we high kick our way to the bus stop or skip to the grocery store? New research suggests that there may be a deep biomechanical reason governing the gaits we choose in different situations. In short, people consistently choose to walk when they need to travel slower than 2 m/s to reach their goal in the given time; when they needed to move about 3 m/s or faster, they ran. But in between—in 'the twilight zone between walking and running'—people tended to mix the two gaits, minimizing their energy expenditure. The findings could help scientists design better prosthetic limbs and even build more human-like robots"
First time accepted submitter 3seas writes in about DMVs across the country learning textspeak in order to keep vulgar acronyms off the road. "You can have txtspeak on your plate in Arizona, but only if you keep it clean. 'ROFLMAO' is a no-go. Arkansas, however, seems to be a little slower on the uptake. 'ROFLMAO' doesn't appear on the state's prohibited list. That doesn't necessarily mean the plate would pass DMV scrutiny should someone request it."
Lasrick writes "Dawn Stover has another great piece detailing why renewable energy will never provide us with all our energy needs. She deconstructs the unrealistic World Wildlife Fund report (co-written by several solar companies) that claims renewables will be able to provide 100% of the energy needs of several countries by 2050. From the article: 'When renewable energy experts get together, they tend to rhapsodize about the possibilities, believing that this will somehow inspire others to make their visions come true. But ambitious plans to power entire countries on solar energy (or wind or nuclear power, for that matter) don't have a snowball's chance in Australia. Such schemes are doomed to fail, and not because of the economic "reality" or the political "reality" -- however daunting those may be. They are doomed because of the physical reality: It's simply not physically possible for the world's human population to continue growing in numbers, affluence, and energy consumption without trashing the planet.'"
walterbyrd sends this news from ZDNet: "The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office approved Apple's request to trademark the design and layout of its stores last week, according to patent office records. ... Apple has requested that no store be allowed to replicate various features, including 'a clear glass storefront surrounded by a panelled facade' or an 'oblong table with stools... set below video screens flush mounted on the back wall.'"
An anonymous reader writes "In a February 2013 ACM Queue / Communications of the ACM article, A decade of OS access-control extensibility, Robert Watson at the University of Cambridge credits 2000s-era DARPA security research, distributed via FreeBSD, for the success of sandboxing in desktop, mobile, and embedded systems such as Mac OS X, iOS, and Juniper's Junos router OS. His blog post about the article argues that OS security extensibility is just as important as more traditional file system (VFS) and device driver extensibility features in kernels — especially in embedded environments where UNIX multi-user security makes little sense, and where tradeoffs between performance, power use, functionality, and security are very different. This seems to fly in the face of NSA's recent argument argument that one-size-fits-all SELinux-style Type Enforcement is the solution for Android security problems. He also suggests that military and academic security researchers overlooked the importance of app-store style security models, in which signed application identity is just as important as 'end users' in access control."
Qedward writes "As the UK prepares to shake up the way computer science is taught in schools, Redmond is warning that the UK risks falling behind other countries in the race to develop and nurture computing talent, if 'we don't ensure that all children learn about computer science in primary schools.' With 100,000 unfilled IT jobs but only 30,500 computer science graduates in the UK last year, MS believes: 'By formally introducing children to computer science basics at primary school, we stand a far greater chance of increasing the numbers taking the subject through to degree level and ultimately the world of work.'"
MTorrice writes "For decades, scientists studying oil spills have relied on the same analytical methods when tracking the movement of oil and assessing a spill's environmental impact. But these techniques miss an entire class of compounds that could account for about half of the total oil in some samples, according to research presented last week at the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference, in New Orleans. These chemicals could explain the fate of some of the oil released in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon accident and other spills, the researchers say."
An anonymous reader writes "'Right now, there are brilliant students from all over the world sitting in classrooms at our top universities,' President Obama explained to the nation Tuesday in his pitch for immigration reform. 'They are earning degrees in the fields of the future, like engineering and computer science...We are giving them the skills to figure that out, but then we are going to turn around and tell them to start the business and create those jobs in China, or India, or Mexico, or someplace else. That is not how you grow new industries in America. That is how you give new industries to our competitors. That is why we need comprehensive immigration reform." If the President truly fears that international students will use skills learned at U.S. colleges and universities to the detriment of the United States if they return home (isn't a rising tide supposed to lift all boats?) — an argument NYC Mayor Bloomberg advanced in 2011 ('we are investing millions of dollars [actually billions] to educate these students at our leading universities, and then giving the economic dividends back to our competitors – for free') — then wouldn't another option be not providing them with the skills in the first place?"
astroengine writes "With the help of Europe's Herschel Space Observatory and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile, a team of astronomers have made a lucky discovery about TW Hydrae, the nearest star to the solar system that plays host to a protoplanetary disk. Not only have they gained a more precise estimate of the mass of the material inside the protoplanetary disk, they've also found that it may produce a system of worlds similar to that of the solar system. TW Hydrae may look like the solar system did over 4 billion years ago (abstract). Interestingly, TW Hydrae is also a star that would normally be considered too mature to host a protoplanetary disk. "If there's no chance your project can fail, you're probably not doing very interesting science. TW Hydrae is a good example of how a calculated scientific gamble can pay off," said Thomas Henning, of the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg."
pigrabbitbear writes "We are strangely territorial when it comes to our wireless networks. The idea of someone siphoning off our precious bandwidth without paying for it is, for most people, completely unacceptable. But the Open Wireless Movement wants to change all that. 'We are trying to create a movement where people are willing to share their network for the common good,' says Adi Kamdar, an activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. 'It's a neighborly thing to do.' That's right, upstanding citizen of the Internet, you can be a good neighbor just by opening your wireless network to strangers — or so the line goes. The ultimate vision is one of neighborhoods completely void of passwords, where any passerby can quickly jump on your network and use Google Maps to find directions or check their email or do whatever they want to do (or, whatever you decide they can do)."
redletterdave writes "According to the 30-count indictment released by the Central District of California, 27-year-old hacker Karen 'Gary' Kazaryan allegedly hacked his way into hundreds of online accounts, using personal information and nude or semi-nude photos of his victims to coerce more than 350 female victims to show him their naked bodies, usually over Skype. By posing as a friend, Kazaryan allegedly tricked these women into stripping for him on camera, capturing more than 3,000 images of these women to blackmail them. Kazaryan was arrested by federal agents on Tuesday; if convicted on all 30 counts, including 15 counts of computer intrusion and 15 counts of aggravated identity theft, Kazaryan could face up to 105 years in federal prison."
kthreadd writes "Luis Villa has an interesting discussion on the topic of not licensing at all, what he calls POSS or Post Open Source Software. With a flood of new hackers flocking to places like GitHub which doesn't impose any particular requirements for hosted projects, the future of Open Source may very well be diminishing. Skip licensing, just commit to GitHub. What legal ramifications will this have on the free and open source community going forward?" From the article: "If some 'no license' sharing is a quiet rejection of the permission culture, the lawyer’s solution (make everyone use a license, for their own good!) starts to look bad. This is because once an author has used a standard license, their immediate interests are protected – but the political content of not choosing a license is lost. Or to put it another way: if license authors get their wish, and everyone uses a license for all content, then, to the casual observer, it looks like everyone accepts the permission culture. This could make it harder to change that culture — to change the defaults — in the long run. So how might we preserve the content of the political speech against the permission culture, while also allowing for use in that same, actually-existing permission culture?"
New submitter TheRedWheelbarrow writes "The singularity looms as the Human Brain Project gets up to $1.34 billion in funding. 'The challenge in AI is to design algorithms that can produce intelligent behavior and to use them to build intelligent machines. It doesn't matter whether the algorithms are biologically realistic — what matters is that they work — the behavior they produce. In the HBP, we're doing something completely different...we will base the technology on what we actually know about the brain and its circuitry.'"