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Judge Says EA Battlefield 4 Execs Engaged In "Puffery," Not Fraud

/. - 54 min 19 sec ago
DemonOnIce writes with a story, as reported by Ars Technica, that a federal judge in San Francisco has dismissed a proposed securities fraud class action lawsuit connected to Battlefield 4's bungled rollout. From the report: EA and several top executives were sued in December and were accused of duping investors with their public statements and concealing issues with the first-person shooter game. The suit claimed executives were painting too rosy of a picture surrounding what ultimately would be Battlefield 4's disastrous debut on various gaming consoles beginning last October, including the next-generation Xbox One. But US District Judge Susan Illston of San Francisco said their comments about EA and the first-person shooter game were essentially protected corporate speak. "The Court agrees with defendants that all of the purported misstatements are inactionable statements of opinion, corporate optimism, or puffery," Illston ruled Monday.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Gene Duplications Associated with Autism Evolved Recently in Human History

Soylent New - 55 min 19 sec ago

The region of genome that is associated with autism contains a genetic variation that evolved relatively recently (Abstract) in human history - in the last 250,000 years.

Human geneticists have discovered that a region of the genome associated with autism contains genetic variation that evolved in the last 250,000 years, after the divergence of humans from ancient hominids, and likely plays an important role in disease.

Read more of this story at SoylentNews.

Microsoft, Ask.com, Oracle Latest To Be Sued Over No-Poach Deal

/. - 1 hour 35 min ago
itwbennett (1594911) writes Oracle, Microsoft and Ask.com are facing suits alleging that they conspired to restrict hiring of staff. The suits appear to refer to a memo that names a large number of companies that allegedly had special arrangements with Google to prevent poaching of staff and was filed as an exhibit on May 17, 2013 in another class action suit over hiring practices. The former employees filing lawsuits against Microsoft, Ask.com and Oracle have asked that the cases be assigned to Judge Koh as there were similarities with the case against Google, Apple and others — and it maybe doesn't hurt that Judge Koh thought the $324.5 million settlement in that case was too low.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








6,000 Year Old Temple Unearthed In Ukraine

/. - 1 hour 57 min ago
An anonymous reader writes A massive archaeological dig of an ancient Ukrainian village first begun in 2009 has yielded a discovery that I sort of hope ends up inspiring a video game: a massive, scary-sounding temple. From the article: "Inside the temple, archaeologists found the remains of eight clay platforms, which may have been used as altars, the finds suggested. A platform on the upper floor contains "numerous burnt bones of lamb, associated with sacrifice," write Burdo and Videiko, of the Institute of Archaeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. The floors and walls of all five rooms on the upper floor were "decorated by red paint, which created [a] ceremonial atmosphere."Maybe this is what Putin has been after.

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Nick Szabo on Metcalfe's Law and the Last Mile - 250 Years Ago

Soylent New - 2 hours 7 min ago

Modern-day Renaissance man Nick Szabo de-constructs the first phase of the Industrial Revolution which occurred roughly between 1750 and 1830. Szabo organizes his short essay around the theme of inventions improving trade routes and supply paths to mines and farms; along the way, he points out a couple analogies to the Internet age.

Horse-drawn carriages and wagons had been in use in north-western Europe since the Middle Ages. During the early years of the Industrial Revolution, this mode of transportation was optimized through improvements to wheels, tires, shock absorption, and roads. It then became economically feasible to build out canals and navigate rivers to haul the cargo long distances, with horses used most heavily for "the last mile", e.g. transport of materials and goods from mines and farms.

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FTDI Reportedly Bricking Devices Using Competitors' Chips.

/. - 2 hours 16 min ago
janoc writes It seems that chipmaker FTDI has started an outright war on cloners of their popular USB bridge chips. At first the clones stopped working with the official drivers, and now they are being intentionally bricked, rendering the device useless. The problem? These chips are incredibly popular and used in many consumer products. Are you sure yours doesn't contain a counterfeit one before you plug it in? Hackaday says, "It’s very hard to tell the difference between the real and fake versions by looking at the package, but a look at the silicon reveals vast differences. The new driver for the FT232 exploits these differences, reprogramming it so it won’t work with existing drivers. It’s a bold strategy to cut down on silicon counterfeiters on the part of FTDI. A reasonable company would go after the manufacturers of fake chips, not the consumers who are most likely unaware they have a fake chip."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Google Announces Inbox, a New Take On Email Organization

/. - 2 hours 58 min ago
Z80xxc! writes: The Gmail team announced "Inbox" this morning, a new way to manage email. Inbox is email, but organized differently. Messages are grouped into "bundles" of similar types. "Highlights" pull out and display key information from messages, and messages can be "snoozed" to come back later as a reminder. Inbox is invite-only right now, and you can email inbox@google.com to request an invite.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Shots Fired at Seat of Canadian Government

Soylent New - 2 hours 59 min ago

Several news outlets are reporting shots fired at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, the seat of the national government. There have been three confirmed shooting incidents, one at The National War Memorial, another within parliament itself and a third at a nearby shopping centre.

One ceremonial guard on site has been reportedly shot and killed. Reports say the gunman moved into the building itself, and has been killed by police. Most government officials have been evacuated.

  • 1 shooter dead, 1 still believed at large in downtown Ottawa.
  • Police searching cars leaving Ottawa trying to go to Quebec.
  • Report of additional shots fired near Chateau Laurier Hotel, east of Parliament Hill.
  • Police going door to door in downtown core; downtown schools in lockdown.
  • All three main party leaders, Harper, Mulcair and Trudeau, reported safe.

Parliament Hill came under attack today after a man with a rifle shot a soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa, before seizing a car and driving to the doors of Parliament Hill's Centre Block nearby.

MPs and other witnesses reported several shots fired inside Parliament, and a gunman has been confirmed dead inside the building, shot by the House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms, according to MPs' eyewitness accounts.

A tragedy for the soldier killed -- but all I can think of right now is "great, now what security-theatre overreaction will we have to suffer through to close this barn door?"

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Astronomers Find Brightest Pulsar Ever Observed

/. - 3 hours 41 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: Astronomers using the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the NuSTAR satellite have discovered a pulsar so bright that it challenges how scientists think pulsars work. While observing galaxy M82 in hopes of spotting supernovae, the researchers found an unexpected source of X-rays very close to the galaxy's core. It was near another source, thought to be a black hole. But the new one was pulsing, which black holes don't do. The trouble is that according to known pulsar models, it's about 100 times brighter than the calculated limits to its luminosity (abstract). Researchers used a different method to figure out its mass, and the gap shrank, but it's still too bright to fit their theories.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Dutch Parliament Urges Increased Use of Open Source by Government

Soylent New - 3 hours 47 min ago

The European Union's interoperability page reports:

The Dutch government must increase its use of open source software, recommends the country's parliament. It wants to make open standards mandatory and use open source when equal to or better than proprietary solutions for all [Information and Communications Technology] projects over 5 million euro.

The government must enforce compliance with its existing policy on open source software and open standards, the parliament recommends in its final report on failures of government ICT projects. Enforcing the 'comply or explain' policy is to become a [task] for a new agency, overseeing all government ICT projects.

"The government has already agreed to opt for open source and open standards, wherever possible. Only, in practice, this happens too little. This has to change - open source and open standards can result in major cost savings, but they also open the door to dissenting voices", the parliament writes. Such criticism is to be encouraged, and one of the ways to achieve this is to use open source, enabling outsiders to think along.

Read more of this story at SoylentNews.

Raspberry Pi Founder Demos Touchscreen Display For DIY Kits

/. - 4 hours 24 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: Over 4 million Raspberry Pis have been sold so far, and now founder Eben Upton has shown off a touchscreen display panel that's designed to work with it. It's a 7" panel, roughly tablet sized, but slightly thicker. "With the incoming touchscreen panel The Pi Foundation is clearly hoping to keep stoking the creative fires that have helped drive sales of the Pi by slotting another piece of DIY hardware into the mix." Upton also discussed the Model A+ Raspberry Pi board — an updated version they'll be announcing soon.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Shooting At Canadian Parliament

/. - 5 hours 3 min ago
CBC reports that a man pulled up to the War Memorial in downtown Ottawa, got out of his car, and shot a soldier with a rifle. The Memorial is right next to the Canadian Parliament buildings. A shooter (reportedly the same one, but unconfirmed) also approached Parliament and got inside before he was shot and killed. "Scott Walsh, who was working on Parliament Hill, said ... the man hopped over the stone fence that surrounds Parliament Hill, with his gun forcing someone out of their car. He then drove to the front doors of Parliament and fired at least two shots, Walsh said." Canadian government officials were quickly evacuated from the building, while the search continues for further suspects. This comes a day after Canada raised its domestic terrorism threat level. Most details of the situation are still unconfirmed -- CBC has live video coverage here. They have confirmed that there was a second shooting at the Rideau Center, a shopping mall nearby.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Shooting At Canadian Parliament

/. - 5 hours 3 min ago
CBC reports that a man pulled up to the War Memorial in downtown Ottawa, got out of his car, and shot a soldier with a rifle. The Memorial is right next to the Canadian Parliament buildings. A shooter (reportedly the same one, but unconfirmed) also approached Parliament and got inside before he was shot and killed. "Scott Walsh, who was working on Parliament Hill, said ... the man hopped over the stone fence that surrounds Parliament Hill, with his gun forcing someone out of their car. He then drove to the front doors of Parliament and fired at least two shots, Walsh said." Canadian government officials were quickly evacuated from the building, while the search continues for further suspects. This comes a day after Canada raised its domestic terrorism threat level. Most details of the situation are still unconfirmed -- CBC has live video coverage here. They have confirmed that there was a second shooting at the Rideau Center, a shopping mall nearby.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


L.A.'s iPad-Friendly School Superintendent Resigns Under a Cloud

Soylent New - 5 hours 11 min ago

KTLA TV reports:

Beleaguered Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. John Deasy announced [October 16] that he had tendered his resignation. Deasy would stay on with the district on a special assignment through the end of the year, according to a join[sic] statement from the superintendent and the school district. [...] As part of the severance agreement, he would receive about 60 days' pay, which would equal about $60,000, according to the paper.

Deasy, 53, has led the nation's second-largest school district for 3.5 years. During that time, he has faced much scrutiny and criticism, particularly over a technology program that he pushed for which would have spent more than $1 billion to provide an iPad to every student, teacher and administrator at LAUSD schools.

The program was suspended in August after it was discovered that Deasy and his top deputy had ties to Apple executives and the company that was providing the curriculum for the iPads.

Read more of this story at SoylentNews.

What It Took For SpaceX To Become a Serious Space Company

/. - 5 hours 11 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: The Atlantic has a nice profile of SpaceX's rise to prominence — how a private startup managed to successfully compete with industry giants like Boeing in just a decade of existence. "Regardless of its inspirations, the company was forced to adopt a prosaic initial goal: Make a rocket at least 10 times cheaper than is possible today. Until it can do that, neither flowers nor people can go to Mars with any economy. With rocket technology, Musk has said, "you're really left with one key parameter against which technology improvements must be judged, and that's cost." SpaceX currently charges $61.2 million per launch. Its cost-per-kilogram of cargo to low-earth orbit, $4,653, is far less than the $14,000 to $39,000 offered by its chief American competitor, the United Launch Alliance. Other providers often charge $250 to $400 million per launch; NASA pays Russia $70 million per astronaut to hitch a ride on its three-person Soyuz spacecraft. SpaceX's costs are still nowhere near low enough to change the economics of space as Musk and his investors envision, but they have a plan to do so (of which more later)."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Software Glitch Caused 911 Outage For 11 Million People

/. - 5 hours 53 min ago
HughPickens.com writes: Brian Fung reports at the Washington Post that earlier this year emergency services went dark for over six hours for more than 11 million people across seven states. "The outage may have gone unnoticed by some, but for the more than 6,000 people trying to reach help, April 9 may well have been the scariest time of their lives." In a 40-page report (PDF), the FCC found that an entirely preventable software error was responsible for causing 911 service to drop. "It could have been prevented. But it was not," the FCC's report reads. "The causes of this outage highlight vulnerabilities of networks as they transition from the long-familiar methods of reaching 911 to [Internet Protocol]-supported technologies." On April 9, the software responsible for assigning the identifying code to each incoming 911 call maxed out at a pre-set limit; the counter literally stopped counting at 40 million calls. As a result, the routing system stopped accepting new calls, leading to a bottleneck and a series of cascading failures elsewhere in the 911 infrastructure. Adm. David Simpson, the FCC's chief of public safety and homeland security, says having a single backup does not provide the kind of reliability that is ideal for 911. "Miami is kind of prone to hurricanes. Had a hurricane come at the same time [as the multi-state outage], we would not have had that failover, perhaps. So I think there needs to be more [distribution of 911 capabilities]."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Windows 0-Day Exploited In Ongoing Attacks

/. - 6 hours 35 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft is warning users about a new Windows zero-day vulnerability that is being actively exploited in the wild and is primarily a risk to users on servers and workstations that open documents with embedded OLE objects. The vulnerability is currently being exploited via PowerPoint files. These specially crafted files contain a malicious OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) object. This is not the first time a vulnerability in OLE has been exploited by cybercriminals, however most previous OLE vulnerabilities have been limited to specific older versions of the Windows operating system. What makes this vulnerability dangerous is that it affects the latest fully patched versions of Windows.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Why Pro-systemd and Anti-systemd People Will Never Get Along

Soylent New - 6 hours 54 min ago

The Initfinder General (uselessd author) discusses why the systemd debate is so heated. He points fingers at both sides and the story has little to do with who's correct, but everything to to with why no one can agree at all.

[...] I saw the same systemd debate unfold again. I’ve seen it countless times already, and there was virtually no variation from the archetypal formula. You have two ardent and vocal sides, roughly classified into an opponent/proponent dichotomy, neither of which have anything enlightening to say and both with their own unique set of misunderstandings that have memetically mutated into independent ideas that poison virtually every debate of this nature.

Read on for a look at the fuel behind everyone's favorite flamewar.

Read more of this story at SoylentNews.

DHS Investigates 24 Potentially Lethal IoT Medical Devices

/. - 7 hours 19 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: In the wake of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's recent recommendations to strengthen security on net-connected medical devices, the Department of Homeland Security is launching an investigation into 24 cases of potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities in hospital equipment and personal medical devices. Independent security researcher Billy Rios submitted proof-of-concept evidence to the FDA indicating that it would be possible for a hacker to force infusion pumps to fatally overdose a patient. Though the complete range of devices under investigation has not been disclosed, it is reported that one of them is an "implantable heart device." William Maisel, chief scientist at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said, "The conventional wisdom in the past was that products only had to be protected from unintentional threats. Now they also have to be protected from intentional threats too."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Hungary To Tax Internet Traffic

/. - 8 hours 1 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: The Hungarian government has announced a new tax on internet traffic: 150 HUF ($0.62 USD) per gigabyte. In Hungary, a monthly internet subscription costs around 4,000-10,000 HUF ($17-$41), so it could really put a constraint on different service providers, especially for streaming media. This kind of tax could set back the country's technological development by some 20 years — to the pre-internet age. As a side note, the Hungarian government's budget is running at a serious deficit. The internet tax is officially expected to bring in about 20 billion HUF in income, though a quick look at the BIX (Budapest Internet Exchange) and a bit of math suggests a better estimate of the income would probably be an order of magnitude higher.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








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