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Canada

Canadian Telcos Lobby Against Pick-and-Pay TV 244

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the netcraft-confirms-broadcast-media-is-dying dept.
silentbrad writes with an excerpt from the Financial Post: "BCE Inc., Rogers Communications Inc., and Shaw Communications Inc. which together control two-thirds of the $8.3-billion broadcast distribution market, are lobbying against the so-called 'a la carte' model that would allow customers to pick and pay for individual networks, arguing the change would have disastrous consequences for programmers, such as Bell Media and Shaw Media. 'A regulation requiring that all programming services must be made available to consumers on a stand-alone basis would have far-reaching ramifications,' BCE, whose Bell owns 30 specialty networks, said in a submission to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. 'Undoubtedly, a market shake-out, causing many specialty services to exit, would ensue.' The three big players, led by BCE, have told the CRTC they support the status quo of 'tied selling,' or the practice of grouping weaker-performing networks in with a popular channels, versus a new approach to sell channels individually. ... In the race for subscription dollars, rates for TV services across providers have risen sharply over the last decade as the number of specialty channels, each commanding its own fee, has soared. Net costs to subscribers climbed another 2.6% in 2011, while average bills now hover around $60 a month."
Medicine

Using Nanoparticles To Improve Chemotherapy 35

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the or-give-walter-skinner-a-heart-attack dept.
sciencehabit writes with good news involving cancer research. From the article: "Chemotherapy drugs are like a shotgun. Even though doctors are just aiming for tumors, the compounds hit a variety of other places in the body, leading to side effects like bone marrow damage and hair loss. To improve their aim, researchers have tried to package these drugs inside tiny hollow nano-sized containers that can be directed toward tumors and bypass healthy tissues. But the size, shape, and makeup of these 'nanoparticles' can drastically affect where and when they are taken up. Now, scientists have surveyed the landscape of some 100 different nanoparticle formulations and shown that when a conventional chemotherapeutic drug is packaged inside the best of these nanoparticles, it proves considerably more effective at fighting prostate cancer (summary; article paywalled) in animals than the drug alone."
Government

Waterboarding Whistleblower Indicted Under Espionage Act 338

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the long-hoped-for-bullet-arrives dept.
wiredmikey writes "A former CIA officer was indicted on Thursday for allegedly disclosing classified information to journalists. The restricted disclosure included the name of a covert officer and information related to the role a CIA employee played in classified operations. The indictment charges John Kiriakou with one count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act for allegedly illegally disclosing the identity of a covert officer and with three counts of violating the Espionage Act for allegedly illegally disclosing national defense information to individuals not authorized to receive it. The count charging violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, as well as each count of violating the Espionage Act, carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, and making false statements carries a maximum prison term of five years. Each count carries a maximum fine of $250,000."
Graphics

Animated Presentations Using SVG 49

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the twirling-twirling-toward-freedom dept.
Inspired by work on work on non-traditional presentations in KDE's Karbon (part of Calligra), Aditya Bhatt set out to create a purely client-side tool for creating animated presentations in the browser. Based upon svg-edit and using Sozi, the initial results are pretty cool. His weblog post documents the process — the choice of SVG versus html5's canvas, Javascript instead of SMIL, etc. highlighting the challenges faced even today with different browsers offering wildly different levels of support for each web technology. The sourcecode for Awwation can be had over at Github.
Earth

1981 Paper's Predictions for Global Temperatures Spot-On 371

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the we're-all-gonna-die dept.
Layzej writes "The Register reports on a paper published in Science in 1981 projecting global mean temperatures up to the year 2100. 'When the 1981 paper was written, temperatures in the northern hemispheres were declining, and global mean temperatures were below their 1940 levels. Despite those facts, the paper's authors confidently predicted a rise in temperature due to increasing CO2 emissions.' The prediction turns out to be remarkably accurate — even a bit optimistic. The article concludes that the 1981 paper is 'a nice example of a statement based on theory that could be falsified and up to now has withstood the test.'"
X

Update On Wayland and X11 Support 315

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the no-love-for-x11 dept.
Phoronix was at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit and has two articles on the status of Wayland and X11 integration. The second talk was about the current status of Wayland, and its impending release (version 1.0 is due this summer). The developers also have an experimental GNOME-Shell working on Wayland. There's a (kind of shaky) video of this talk (attached, and at youtube for those wanting the html5 version). The first talk (by Keith Packard) covered X11 support on Wayland. It's basically ready to go, but window management is implemented only as a hack right now. The next year could be quite exciting for GNU/Linux and BSD users as distributions begin including Wayland as an alternative to X.org.
Google

Larry Page Issues Public Update On Google Changes 159

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the trust-us-we're-not-evil dept.
itwbennett writes "Larry Page just wants to be loved. Well, he wants 'Google to be a company that is deserving of great love,' Page wrote in a public letter. But he also wants to offer the kind of personalized service that the requires trampling on your privacy. 'The recent changes we made to our privacy policies generated a lot of interest. But they will enable us to create a much better, more intuitive experience across Google — our key focus for the year,' Page wrote." From the letter: "Think about basic actions like sharing or recommendations. When you find a great article, you want to share that knowledge with people who will find it interesting, too. If you see a great movie, you want to recommend it to friends. Google+ makes sharing super easy by creating a social layer across all our products so users connect with the people who matter to them." With all the claims of altruistic intent in the open letter, one might wonder why Google has to push their own social network instead of working on open protocols for sharing.
Medicine

Majority of Landmark Cancer Studies Cannot Be Replicated 233

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the scientists-at-work dept.
New submitter Beeftopia writes with perhaps distressing news about cancer research. From the article: "During a decade as head of global cancer research at Amgen, C. Glenn Begley identified 53 'landmark' publications — papers in top journals, from reputable labs — for his team to reproduce. Begley sought to double-check the findings before trying to build on them for drug development. Result: 47 of the 53 could not be replicated. He described his findings in a commentary piece published on Wednesday in the journal Nature (paywalled) . ... But they and others fear the phenomenon is the product of a skewed system of incentives that has academics cutting corners to further their careers." As is the fashion at Nature, you can only read the actual article if you are a subscriber or want to fork over $32. Anyone with access care to provide more insight? Update: 04/06 14:00 GMT by U L : Naffer pointed us toward informative commentary in Pipeline. Thanks!
Government

State Department CIO Interviewed About Post-Wikileaks Changes 24

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the leakers-punished-by-death dept.
CowboyRobot writes, quoting Information Week: "Eighteen months after its diplomatic cables were exposed in the WikiLeaks breach, the State Department continues to lock down its confidential information, while increasing its use of using social media. The agency is deploying new security technology, including auditing and monitoring tools that detect anomalous activity on the State Department's classified networks and systems. State has also begun tagging information with metadata to enable role-based access to those who need it, and is planning to implement public key infrastructure on its classified systems by the summer of 2014. This is all taking place despite the recent announcement that the IT budget will be cut by nearly 5%."
Slashdot.org

Slashdot Coming Attractions 410

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-we've-done-and-what-we're-going-to-do dept.
We've been busy at Slashdot. As you have probably noticed, we've added a couple of new Slashboxes recently:
  • Most Discussed: Highlighting recent stories with the most active discussions
  • This Day on Slashdot: Featuring the biggest Slashdot stories of the day all the way back to the beginning.

We also pushed through a number of fixes to the user experience and upgrades to the site infrastructure in recent months including:

  • Upgrading Slashdot to modern hardware and new versions of MySQL and Apache
  • Cleaning up the topics pages
  • Improving methods for sharing submissions
  • Thumbnails for articles with videos
  • Flag-a-comment abuse reporting
  • Removal of old and unused Slashboxes
  • A much overdue overhauling of the FAQ
  • Fixes to user preferences
  • The launch of the Slashdot Hall of Fame (that little badge icon next to the logo)
  • Fixes to the D2 comment system. Highlights include bug fixes to the comment score slider, a better abbreviated view (if you quote the parent, that's removed so people can see your first sentence instead), and general reliability improvements to the AJAX magic
  • And many more...

In addition, we're working on modules to highlight top submissions and we've launched Slashdot TV at http://tv.slashdot.org/ . We plan on launching more in the weeks to come. Some of these new sections will feature original content that isn't normally run on the front page. We're also planning a new mobile experience and we'll need your feedback to help us with the look and usability. Our goal through all these changes is to make your Slashdot experience a good one. We are listening to your complaints and concerns and promise to keep giving you News for Nerds and Stuff that Matters.

So, readers, what do you want to see in the coming months?

The Internet

Belfast Plots 1Gbps Ultra-Fast Broadband Network 54

Posted by samzenpus
from the getting-connected dept.
twoheadedboy writes "Belfast is going to get ultra-fast broadband, as plans for a 1Gbps network get going. Belfast's City Council has been guaranteed £6m of the UK government's £100m Urban Broadband Fund, but could receive up to £13.7m if the Government approves its plans. The city plans to get the network up and running in three years, which will make it one of the best-connected cities in the world."
Censorship

UK Bill Again Demands Web Pornography Ban 230

Posted by samzenpus
from the internet-has-to-be-for-something-else-now dept.
nk497 writes "A new bill presented to the House of Lords demands both ISPs and device makers filter adult content. The Online Safety Bill, raised in the Lords by Baroness Howe of Ildicote, asks for ISPs and mobile operators to 'provide a service that excludes pornographic images' and for device makers to include ways to filter content at the point of purchase. The Bill follows efforts by one MP to make users "opt in" to access pornography, and comes despite ISPs already agreeing to offer all customers parental control software. However, as a Private Members Bill, it doesn't have the backing of the Government, so is less likely to actually be passed."
Robotics

Humanoid Robots For the Next DARPA Grand Challenge? 53

Posted by samzenpus
from the thank-you-very-much-mr-roboto dept.
HizookRobotics writes "The official announcement should be out very soon, but for now here's the unofficial, preliminary details based on notes from Dr. Gill Pratt's talk at DTRA Industry Day: The new Grand Challenge is for a humanoid robot (with a bias toward bipedal designs) that can be used in rough terrain and for industrial disasters. The robot will be required to maneuver into and drive an open-frame vehicle (eg. tractor), proceed to a building and dismount, ingress through a locked door using a key, traverse a 100 meter rubble-strewn hallway, climb a ladder, locate a leaking pipe and seal it by closing off a nearby valve, and then replace a faulty pump to resume normal operations — all semi-autonomously with just 'supervisory teleoperation.' It looks like there will be six hardware teams to develop new robots, and twelve software teams using a common platform."
Advertising

Misleading Ads: ACCC Wins Appeal Against Google 61

Posted by samzenpus
from the on-second-thought dept.
theweatherelectric writes "As previously noted on Slashdot, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has been involved in a long-running legal battle with Google. Vijith Vazhayil of Delimiter writes, 'The Full Federal Court of Australia has ruled that Google breached the law by displaying misleading or deceptive advertisements on its search results pages. The decision follows an appeal by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), following an earlier decision in favour of Google. The ACCC had first filed the case in July 2007 in the Federal Court alleging that Google had engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct by publishing eleven advertisements on Google's search results page. The headline of each of the advertisements in question comprised a business name, product name or web address of a competitor's business not sponsored, affiliated or associated with the particular advertiser.'"
Technology

Battery-Powered Plasma Flashlight Makes Short Work of Bacteria 133

Posted by samzenpus
from the healthy-light dept.
cylonlover writes "An international team of scientists has created a handheld, battery powered device that has been shown to effectively rid skin of bacteria in an instant by blasting it with plasma. The plasma flashlight, which shouldn't be confused with a plasma torch that will damage much more than bacteria if used on the skin, could provide a convenient way for paramedics and military personnel to deal with harmful bacteria in the field. The self-contained device is powered by a 12 V battery and doesn't require any external gas feed or handling system. The plume of plasma it generates is between 20-23C (68-73.4F), so it won't damage the skin. It is also fitted with resistors to stop it heating up and becoming too hot to touch. Its creators say it can also be easily manufactured at a cost of less than US$100 per unit."

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