Spy Handler writes "According to PC Mag, 'Facebook is testing a feature that will let select users pay $1 to send messages to people with whom they have no connection on the social network. The $1 fee will open a thread with a non-Facebook friend. If that person replies to your note, you won't have to pay again to respond to them.' Facebook explained the test thus: 'Several commentators and researchers have noted that imposing a financial cost on the sender may be the most effective way to discourage unwanted messages and facilitate delivery of messages that are relevant and useful. This test is designed to address situations where neither social nor algorithmic signals are sufficient. For example, if you want to send a message to someone you heard speak at an event but are not friends with, or if you want to message someone about a job opportunity, you can use this feature to reach their Inbox. For the receiver, this test allows them to hear from people who have an important message to send them.'"
Slashdot stories can be listened to in audio form via an RSS feed, as read by our own robotic overlord.
crimperman writes "The U.K. government is planning to change their copyright laws to give 'greater freedom' on usage. The Dept. for Business Innovation and Skills say the new measures 'include provisions to allow copying of works for personal use parody and for the purposes of quotation.' (There is currently no 'fair use' law in the U.K.) They also say the provisions 'allow people to use copyright works for a variety of ... purposes without permission from the copyright owners,' and 'bring up to date the provisions for education use.' A sensible copyright law from the U.K.? What are the chances of this getting through?"
An anonymous reader writes "Here is a free interactive beta of Learn Linux The Hard Way; a web-based virtual Linux environment which introduces the command line and other essential Linux concepts in 30 exercises. It's written in the style of Zed A. Shaw's Learn Code the Hard Way lessons. The authors says, 'You will encounter many detailed tables containing lists of many fields. You may think you do not need most of this information, but what I am trying to do here is to teach you the right way to approach all this scary data. And this right way is to interpret this data as mathematical formulas, where every single symbol has its meaning.' Of course, my first entry was rm -rf /* which only produced a stream of errors. I wish I had discovered something like a long time ago."
SternisheFan sends this excerpt from Space.com: It might make the astronaut wearing it look like a real-life Buzz Lightyear, but a new prototype spacesuit that NASA just finished testing represents the first major overhaul in spacesuit technology since 1998. Flexible, white, and lime green accented, the suit — known as the Z-1 — is designed not only to help astronauts comfortably maneuver during spacewalks in microgravity, but also to deftly move about when walking on the surface of a planet or other smaller heavenly body, like an asteroid. [Engineer Amy Ross] said, 'the shuttle EMU splits at the waist and you put pants on and you put the top on separately and they connect in the middle. Whereas with this suit, the subject crawls in through the back, and then we just shut the door.' Creating a back-entry suit solves a few of the problems spacewalkers often face during trips to the International Space Station. Using airlocks to depressurize is a time consuming, exhausting process. By using a back-entry design, the astronauts won't need to go through an airlock at all. The suit hooks up to the outside of the spacecraft using the "space port" opening, and the spacewalker simply climbs in and detaches."
Nerdfest writes "Venturebeat is reporting that a successfully funded Kickstarter project for a portable phone charger that works with both Apple and Android devices has been canceled because Apple wouldn't let the creators license its Lightning connector. Quoting: 'Edison Junior, the technology and design lab behind the POP portable power station, is returning the full $139,170 in funding it received from Kickstarter backers to develop the device. Unfortunately, Apple has refused to give the project permission to license the Lightning charger in a device that includes multiple charging options. ... "We didn’t get a yes or a no up front," Siminoff said. "But as we kept going back and forth it was clear that it was getting harder. Then, when we saw that they weren’t even going to allow a Lightning connector and a 30-pin connector together, we knew it was over." He also said that, while Apple is a private company and can do whatever it wishes, it should watch out. "When you do things that are bad for the customer I think it will be bad for them.”''" Update: 12/21 22:16 GMT by S : Apple has relented. A spokesman for the company told Ars, "Our technical specifications provide clear guidelines for developing accessories and they are available to MFi licensees for free. We support accessories that integrate USB and Lightning connectors, but there were technical issues that prevented accessories from integrating 30-pin and Lightning connectors so our guidelines did not allow this. We have been working to resolve this and have updated our guidelines to allow accessories to integrate both 30-pin and Lightning connectors to support charging."
First time accepted submitter Seeteufel writes "The controversial Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is now officially pronounced dead in the E.U. The European Parliament broadly rejected the Anti-Counterfeiting Agreement a while ago, but there was still a court case pending at the European Court of Justice about the legality of ACTA. The Commission was open about its intent to reintroduce ACTA ratification to the Parliament after a positive Court decision. Now we learn the Commission has withdrawn its questions to the Court."
An anonymous reader writes "Jobseekers will be offered the chance to look for work through the new Universal Jobmatch website, which automatically pairs them up with opportunities that suit their skills after scanning their CVs. It will also allow employers to search for new workers among the unemployed and send messages inviting them to interviews. However, their activities may also be tracked using cookies, so their Job Centre advisers know how many searches they have been doing and whether they are turning down viable opportunities. Iain Duncan-Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said the scheme would 'revolutionize' the process of looking for work. He said anyone without a job after signing up to the scheme would be lacking 'imagination.'"
An anonymous reader writes in with a story about the possibility of having another you in the future. "Human cloning could happen within the next half century, claims a Nobel Prize-winning scientist. Sir John Gurdon, the British developmental biologist whose research cloning frogs in the 1950s and 60s led to the later creation of Dolly the sheep in 1996, believes that human cloning could happen within the next 50 years. He said that parents who lose their children to tragic accidents might be able to clone replacements in the next few decades. Gurdon, who won this year's Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, said that while any attempts to clone a human would likely raise complex ethical issues, he believes that in the near future people would overcome their concerns if cloning became medically useful."
Hugh Pickens writes writes "If robots are ever really going to carry the equipment of US soldiers and Marines, they're going to have to act more like pack animals. Now Terri Moon Cronk reports that DARPA's semiautonomous Legged Squad Support System — also known as the LS3 — will carry 400 pounds of warfighter equipment and walk 20 miles at a time also acting as an auxiliary power source for troops to recharge batteries for radios and handheld devices while on patrol. 'It's about solving a real military problem: the incredible load of equipment our soldiers and Marines carry in Afghanistan today,' says Army Lt. Col. Joseph K. Hitt, program manager in DARPA's tactical technology office. The robot's sensors allow it to navigate around obstacles at night, maneuver in urban settings, respond to voice commands, and gauge distances and directions. The LS3 can also distinguish different forms of vegetation when walking through fields and around bushes and avoid logs and rocks with intelligent foot placement on rough terrain (video). The robot's squad leader can issue 10 basic commands to tell the robot to do such things as stop, sit, follow him tightly, follow him on the corridor, and go to specific coordinates. Darpa figures that it's illogical to make a soldier hand over her rucksack to a robotic beast of burden if she's then got to be preoccupied with 'joysticks and computer screens' to guide it forward. 'That adds to the cognitive burden of the soldier,' Hitt explains. 'We need to make sure that the robot also is smart, like a trained animal.'"
They are capable of delicate surgery, creating beautiful works of art, and comforting someone feeling down, but according to a new study your hands evolved to smash someone in the face. From the article: "Human hands evolved so that men could make fists and fight, and not just for manual dexterity, new research finds. The study, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, adds to a growing body of evidence that humans are among the most aggressive and violent animals on the planet. 'With the notable exception of bonobos, great apes are a relatively aggressive group of mammals,' lead author David Carrier told Discovery News. 'Although some primatologists may argue that chimpanzees are the most aggressive apes, I think the evidence suggests that humans are substantially more violent.''"
redletterdave writes "The Dec. 12 reinstatement of Google Maps on iOS has apparently been enough for some of those reluctant users to finally make the upgrade to iOS 6. According to MoPub, the San Francisco-based mobile ad exchange that monitors more than 1 billion ad impressions a day and supports more than a dozen ad networks and 12,000 apps, there has been a 29 percent increase in unique iOS 6 users in the past five days following Google Maps' release on iOS. In fact, MoPub reports a 13 percent increase in iOS 6 users from last Monday to Wednesday alone, which would mean that nearly half of the converts to iOS 6 in the past week switched the very moment Google Maps' standalone app hit the App Store."
alphadogg writes "Researchers at MIT and other institutions have demonstrated a new type of magnetism, only the third kind ever found, and it may find its way into future communications, computing and data storage technologies. Working with a tiny crystal of a rare mineral that took 10 months to make, the researchers for the first time have demonstrated a magnetic state called a QSL (quantum spin liquid), according to MIT physics professor Young Lee. He is the lead author of a paper on their findings, which is set to be published in the journal Nature this week (abstract). Theorists had said QSLs might exist, but one had never been demonstrated before. 'We think it's pretty important,' Lee said, adding that he would let his peers be the ultimate judges."
pigrabbitbear writes "'I was inspired with a very powerful message around 1980 that I needed to build a shelter for 1,000 people deep underground to survive something that was coming that was going to be an extinction event,' he explained in an extensive phone interview. 'That's it, that's all I had. But it was powerful. So powerful that I had a successful business with 100 employees and I took time off to go up into the mountains and search on weekends looking for an underground mine or cave that could be cartoned and converted.' Today, Vicino is the owner and founder of Vivos, a company that sells space in luxury survival complexes around the country. It's what he likes to call 'life assurance'--mini underground cities, in effect, for people ride out the end of civilization in a community setting with good food, television, even a potential dating pool. He says demand has increased 1,000 percent this year compared to last—itself a 1,000 percent increase over the year before."
An anonymous reader writes "Nataly Kelly writes in the Huffington Post about Google's strategy of hiring Ray Kurzweil and how the company likely intends to use language translation to revolutionize the way we share information. From the article: 'Google Translate is not just a tool that enables people on the web to translate information. It's a strategic tool for Google itself. The implications of this are vast and go beyond mere language translation. One implication might be a technology that can translate from one generation to another. Or how about one that slows down your speech or turns up the volume for an elderly person with hearing loss? That enables a stroke victim to use the clarity of speech he had previously? That can pronounce using your favorite accent? That can convert academic jargon to local slang? It's transformative. In this system, information can walk into one checkpoint as the raucous chant of a 22-year-old American football player and walk out as the quiet whisper of a 78-year-old Albanian grandmother.'"
First time accepted submitter Funksaw writes "Back in 2007, I wrote three articles on Ubuntu 6, Mac OS X 10.4, and Windows Vista, which were all featured on Slashdot. Now, with the release of Windows 8, I took a different tactic and produced an animated video. Those expecting me to bust out the performance tests and in-depth use of the OS are going to be disappointed. While that was my intention coming into the project, I couldn't even use Windows 8 long enough to get to the in-depth technical tests. In my opinion, Windows 8 is so horribly broken that it should be recalled."