concealment writes "Coleman, an anthropologist who teaches at McGill University, spent three years studying the community that builds the Debian GNU/Linux open source operating system and hackers in the Bay Area. More recently, she's been peeling away the onion that is the Anonymous movement, a group that hacks as a means of protest — and mischief. When she moved to San Francisco, she volunteered with the Electronic Frontier Foundation — she believed, correctly, that having an eff.org address would make people more willing to talk to her — and started making the scene. She talked free software over Chinese food at the Bay Area Linux User Group's monthly meetings upstairs at San Francisco's Four Seas Restaurant. She marched with geeks demanding the release of Adobe eBooks hacker Dmitry Sklyarov. She learned the culture inside-out."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
MrSeb writes "Engineers at Caltech and the University of Victoria in Canada have smashed their own internet speed records, achieving a memory-to-memory transfer rate of 339 gigabits per second (53GB/s), 187Gbps (29GB/s) over a single duplex 100-gigabit connection, and a max disk-to-disk transfer speed of 96Gbps (15GB/s). At a sustained rate of 339Gbps, such a network could transfer four million gigabytes (4PB) of data per day — or around 200,000 Blu-ray movie rips. These speed records are all very impressive, but what's the point? Put simply, the scientific world deals with vasts amount of data — and that data needs to be moved around the world quickly. The most obvious example of this is CERN's Large Hadron Collider; in the past year, the high-speed academic networks connecting CERN to the outside world have transferred more than 100 petabytes of data. It is because of these networks that we can discover new particles, such as the Higgs boson. In essence, Caltech and the University of Victoria have taken it upon themselves to ride the bleeding edge of high-speed networks so that science can continue to prosper."
Lasrick writes "Fred Guterl is the executive editor of Scientific American, and in this piece he explores various threats posed by the technology that modern civilization relies on. He discusses West African and Indian monsoons, infectious diseases, and computer hacking. Here's a quote: 'Today the technologies that pose some of the biggest problems are not so much military as commercial. They come from biology, energy production, and the information sciences — and are the very technologies that have fueled our prodigious growth as a species. They are far more seductive than nuclear weapons, and more difficult to extricate ourselves from. The technologies we worry about today form the basis of our global civilization and are essential to our survival.'"
First time accepted submitter ChanukahZombie writes "The City of Calgary, AB has introduced a new traffic congestion/timing information platform for drivers. 'The system collects the publicly available data from Bluetooths to estimate the travel time and congestion between points along those roads and displays the information on overhead message boards to motorists.' Currently only available on the Deerfoot Trail (the city's main highway artery) but will be 'expanded in the future to include sections of Crowchild Trail and Glenmore Trail in the southwest.' As for privacy concerns, the city says it cannot connect the MAC address collected to the device owner."
New submitter arobatino writes "A new method of manufacturing semiconductors which eliminates the substrate (in other words, no wafer) could be much faster and cheaper. From the article: 'Instead of starting from a silicon wafer or other substrate, as is usual today, researchers have made it possible for the structures to grow from freely suspended nanoparticles of gold in a flowing gas. "The basic idea was to let nanoparticles of gold serve as a substrate from which the semiconductors grow. This means that the accepted concepts really were turned upside down!" Since then, the technology has been refined, patents have been obtained and further studies have been conducted. In the article in Nature, the researchers show how the growth can be controlled using temperature, time and the size of the gold nanoparticles.'"
We keep hearing success stories of indie video game projects that found funding through Kickstarter. Some have simply met their goals, while others have far exceeded the money they original asked for. Rock, Paper, Shotgun has provided updates on the progress of a huge list of funded projects. Many projects turned out to have unrealistic release dates. For example, Double Fine Adventure missed its August timeframe because it's getting a new engine. The new Leisure Suit Larry missed its October plans and hasn't been terribly open about a new one. However, most projects are humming along nicely, and some, like FTL: Faster Than Light have been completed and well received. The article exhorts all developers working on these games to make communication a priority, since the users are the ones who put up the cash, and deserve to know what's going on.
Hugh Pickens writes "Megan Garber reports that the more friends you have on Facebook — or, perhaps more accurately, the more 'friends' you have on Facebook — the more stressed you're likely to be about actually having them. The wider your Facebook network, the more likely it is that something you say or do on the site will end up offending one of that network's members. The stress comes from the kind of personal versioning that is common in analog life — the fact that you (probably) behave slightly differently when you're with your mom than you do when you're with your boss, or with your boyfriend, or with your dentist. A study of over 300 Facebook users found that on average people are Facebook friends with seven different social circles. The most common group was friends who were known from offline environments (97 percent added them as friends online), followed by extended family (81 percent), siblings (80 percent), friends of friends (69 percent), and colleagues (65 percent). Those are, in the sociological sense, very different groups — groups that carry different (and unspoken-because-obvious) behavioral expectations. Per the study's survey, 'adding employers or parents resulted in the greatest increase in anxiety.'"
DoofusOfDeath writes "I've done a good bit of SQL development / tuning in the past. After being away from the database world for a while to finish grad school, I'm about ready to get back in the game. I want to start contributing to some OSS database project, both for fun and perhaps to help my employment prospects in western Europe. My problem is choosing which OSS DB to help with. MySQL is the most popular, so getting involved with it would be most helpful to my employment prospects. But its list of fundamental design flaws (video) seems so severe that I can't respect it as a database. I'm attracted to the robust correctness requirements of PostgreSQL, but there don't seem to be many prospective employers using it. So while I'd enjoy working on it, I don't think it would be very helpful to my employment prospects. Any suggestions?"
An anonymous reader writes "Lamar Smith, a global warming skeptic, will become the new chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Someone who disagrees with the vast majority of scientists will be given partial jurisdiction over NASA, EPA, DOE, NSF, NOAA, and the USGS. When will candidates who are actually qualified to represent science or at a minimum show an interest in it be the representatives of science with regard to political decision-making?"
New submitter SleazyRidr writes "Finally some news that will please a lot of the Slashdot crowd: a company has been charged with manslaughter! BP has been charged with manslaughter following the Macondo Incident. 'BP has agreed to pay $4.5 billion to settle the criminal charges and related Securities and Exchange Commission charges.' Two of the rig supervisors and a BP executive are also facing jail time. The supervisors are charged with 'failing to alert on-shore managers at the time they observed clear signs that the Macondo well was not secure and that oil and gas were flowing into the well,' and the supervisor is charged with 'obstruction of Congress and making false statements to law enforcement officials about the amount of oil flowing from the well.' Is this the start of companies being forced to take responsibility for their actions?"
New submitter whizzter writes "I was reading the Swedish national news today and an image in a stock exchange related article struck my eye. An order had been placed for 4 294 967 290 futures (0xfffffffa or -6 if treated as a 32-bit signed integer), each valued at approximately 16,000 USD, giving a neat total of almost 69 trillion USD. The order apparently started to affect valuations and was later annulled, however it is said to have caused residual effects in the system and trading was halted for several hours."
An anonymous reader writes "After an amazing Kickstarter campaign garnering over $2.4M in backing, VR headset Manufacture OculusVR has announced manufacturing details and also a shipping delay until March or April 2013. Oculus says that due to the number of backers, mass manufacturing would be required. 'All together, preparing the factory for mass production of a product like the Rift takes approximately 90 days and the factory can’t begin until design and feature set has been locked down. Our manufacturer is already underway with the first tooling (T1), which takes roughly 50-70 days. Once the primary tooling is complete, we’ll do a series of pilot runs for minor tweaks and adjustments before mass production. Simultaneously, we’ll be testing and certifying the device for public use.' Additional details are included on their 1000hz 9DOF head tracker and 7" screen: 'Ultimately, we selected a modern, 1280×800 7’’ display for the developer kit. The bright side is that the new display beats the old display in almost every key area including response time, switching time, contrast, and color quality. The improved switching time of the panel actually alleviates most of the motion blur people saw in earlier prototype demos. The downside to our new 7’’ is the weight differential: approximately 30g more than the 5.6".' It looks like the VR revolution will have to wait a little bit longer."
Orome1 writes "NetWars CyberCity is a small-scale city located close by the New Jersey Turnpike complete with a bank, hospital, water tower, train system, electric power grid, and a coffee shop. It was developed to teach cyber warriors from the U.S. military how online actions can have kinetic effects. Developed in response to a challenge by U.S. military cyber warriors, NetWars CyberCity is an intense defensive training program organized around missions. 'We've built over eighteen missions, and each of them challenges participants to devise strategies and employ tactics to thwart computer attacks that would cause significant real-world damage,' commented Ed Skoudis, SANS Instructor and NetWars CyberCity Director."
MrSeb writes "Way back in August, three months before the release of Windows 8, we learned about the existence of a project at Microsoft codenamed Blue. At the time it wasn't clear whether this was Windows 9, or some kind of interim update/service pack for Windows 8. Now, if unnamed sources are to be believed, Windows Blue is both of those things: a major update to Windows 8, and also the beginning of a major shift that will result in a major release of Windows every 12 months — just like Apple's OS X. According to these insiders, Blue will roll out mid-2013, and will be very cheap — or possibly even free, to ensure that 'Windows Blue [is] the next OS that everyone installs.' Exact details are still rather vague, but at the very least Blue will make 'UI changes' to Windows 8. The sources also indicate that the Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 SDKs will be merged or standardized, to further simplify the development of cross-platform apps. Perhaps more important, though, is the shift to a 12-month release cadence. Historically, Microsoft has released a major version of Windows every few years, with the intervening periods populated with stability- and security-oriented service packs. Now it seems that Microsoft wants to move to an OS X-like system, where new and exciting features will be added on an annual basis. In turn, Microsoft will drop the price of these releases — probably to around $25, just like OS X."
An anonymous reader writes "The BBC reports that the SABRE hybrid (part air-breathing jet, part rocket) that is intended to power the Skylon single-stage-to-orbit space plane has passed its final technical demonstration test, and is now looking for money (only £250m!) to prepare for manufacturing. If this goes ahead, travel into orbit from local airports (ideally, those close to the equator) will be possible. And quite cheaply. But might it have the same legal difficulties flying from U.S. airports as the Concorde did?"