An anonymous reader writes "Damn Small Linux is back from the dead, with a version 4.11 RC1 release announcement at Distrowatch and another at the DSL Forums! Quoting: 'Here is the first release candidate for Damn Small Linux (DSL) 4.11. The changes in this release are a step toward making DSL a friendly alternative for older hardware. I've fixed some bugs, updated some applications, and replaced others. Applications: updated JWM to 2.1.0 (now supports rounding); updated Dillo to 3.0.2 (much improves CSS support); added XChat 1.8.9; added sic 1.1 IRC client; added XCalc-color. Modified desktop functionality: it is now possible to switch between JWM and Fluxbox without shutting down X; added menu items to switch between DFM and xtdesk icon engines or use none at all." Here's the download page."
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An anonymous reader writes "In a new feature on the future of high-frequency trading, Wired suggests that neutrino-powered financial trading systems may be coming soon, which would enable extremely low-latency information to be transmitted directly through the center of the Earth between major financial exchanges. If finance becomes the killer app for neutrino communication technology, it may ultimately make Neutrino SETI feasible. Quoting: 'It is only a matter of time, perhaps a few decades, says Alexander Wissner-Gross, a Harvard physicist, before some hedge fund decides it needs a particle accelerator to generate neutrinos, and then everyone will want one. Yes, they travel slower than light, but they indisputably can tunnel through the earth, cutting thousands of miles off an intercontinental message. And just a few days before the Battle of the Quants, right before the bad news about faster-than-light neutrinos, researchers announced they had sent a message by neutrino from the Fermilab accelerator in Chicago to a detector a kilometer away. According to Dan Stancil of North Carolina State University, the signal traveled at "very close to" the speed of light. Unfortunately, the data rate was only about 0.1 bits per second, meaning it would be useless for much more than sending a yes/no signal. "With the right modulation scheme, this could be increased by at least one or two orders of magnitude," Stancil said, adding "I don’t know of a compelling commercial application." But we’ve all heard the (apocryphal) story that Thomas J. Watson of IBM predicted "a world market for maybe five computers."'"
Hugh Pickens writes "Humans have pondered their mortality for millennia. Now the University of California at Riverside reports that it has received a $5 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation that will fund research on aspects of immortality, including near-death experiences and the impact of belief in an afterlife on human behavior. 'People have been thinking about immortality throughout history. We have a deep human need to figure out what happens to us after death,' says John Martin Fischer, the principal investigator of The Immortality Project. 'No one has taken a comprehensive and sustained look at immortality that brings together the science, theology and philosophy.' Fischer says he going to investigate two different kinds of immortality. One is the possibility of living forever without dying. The main questions there are whether it's technologically plausible or feasible for us, either by biological enhancement such as those described by Ray Kurzweil, or by some combination of biological enhancement and uploading our minds onto computers in the future. Second would be to investigate the full range of questions about Judeo, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, and other Asian religions' conceptions of the afterlife to see if they're theologically and philosophically consistent. 'We'll look at near death experiences both in western cultures and throughout the world and really look at what they're all about and ask the question — do they indicate something about an afterlife or are they kind of just illusions that we're hardwired into?'"
An anonymous reader tips news of a study from researchers at the University of Strathclyde which found bilingual children to be significantly more successful at a set of tasks than children who spoke only one language. "The differences were linked to the mental alertness required to switch between languages, which could develop skills useful in other types of thinking." Lead researcher Fraser Lauchlan said, "Bilingualism is now largely seen as being beneficial to children but there remains a view that it can be confusing, and so potentially detrimental to them. Our study has found that it can have demonstrable benefits, not only in language but in arithmetic, problem solving and enabling children to think creatively. We also assessed the children's vocabulary, not so much for their knowledge of words as their understanding of them. Again, there was a marked difference in the level of detail and richness in description from the bilingual pupils."
theodp writes "In 2005, Microsoft came under fire after withdrawing support for an anti-gay-discrimination bill. 'I don't want the company to be in the position of appearing to dismiss the deeply-held beliefs of any employee, by picking sides on social policy issues,' explained CEO Steve Ballmer. That was then. Microsoft — like Google and Amazon — has since very publicly declared its support for gay-marriage legislation, which means it — unlike Chick-fil-A — needn't worry about the 'deeply-held beliefs of any employee' causing it to be blocked from doing business by the mayors of Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. I guess we'll never know what Microsoft versions of 'Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day' or 'National Same-Sex Kiss Day' would have looked like."
An opinion piece at ZDNet makes the case that Intel is the best match for struggling handset-maker Nokia, arguing that Intel needs help breaking into the smartphone market and Nokia isn't tied as tightly to Qualcomm/ARM hardware as other vendors. From the article: "Another factor in favor of a union is Nokia and Intel's shared history — albeit not the most successful — of working together in mobile, thanks to their collaboration on the Linux-based MeeGo mobile OS. What's more, Intel has a long relationship with Microsoft, handy given the impending release of Windows Phone 8 and Nokia's new-found commitment to Microsoft's platform. The fact that Intel is currently using Android, as seen with Orange's San Diego smartphone, isn't much of a hindrance; Intel has already said it hasn't written off the idea of using Windows Phone 8 in future, and due to the x86 architecture, Android phones that use Intel's Atom processor won't even run all of the apps on Google Play, suggesting the relationship between Android and Intel isn't all it could be."
An anonymous reader sends this quote from Conceivably Tech: "Admit it. You are in a love-hate relationship with Firefox. Either Mozilla gets Firefox right and you are jumping up and down, or Mozilla screws up and you threaten to ditch the browser in favor Chrome. Mozilla's passionate user base keeps Firefox dangling between constant ups and downs, which is a good thing, as long as Mozilla is going up. Unfortunately, that is not the case right now. Mozilla's market share has been slipping again at a significant pace. There has been some discussion and finger-pointing, and it seems that the rapid release process has to take the blame this time. Are we right to blame the rapid release process?" What do you find most annoying or gratifying about Firefox these days?
Social bookmarking site myVidster was the target of a copyright infringement case because it allowed its users to embed videos from other sites on its pages. Some of the videos infringed upon various copyrights, and the plaintiff in the case was granted a preliminary injunction against myVidster in 2011. Now, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned the injunction, saying that merely embedding copyright-infringing videos hosted elsewhere does not necessarily contribute to the infringement. Judge Posner wrote in the opinion (PDF), "myVidster is giving web surfers addresses where they can find entertainment. By listing plays and giving the name and address of the theaters where they are being performed, the New Yorker is not performing them. It is not 'transmitting or communicating' them. ... Is myVidster doing anything different? ... myVidster doesn't touch the data stream, which flows directly from one computer to another, neither being owned or operated by myVidster." However, the door is not shut on this issue: "Flava may be entitled to additional preliminary injunctive relief as well, if it can show, as it has not shown yet, that myVidster’s service really does contribute significantly to infringement of Flava’s copyrights." If myVidster was actively encouraging the sharing, hosting the videos itself, or profiting from their showing, the ruling likely would have been different.
dartttt writes "John Carmack recently presented a keynote at QuakeCon. He said Linux is still not a commercially viable gaming platform, and the two forays they have made into the Linux commercial market have not been successful. Valve's announcement about Steam for Linux changes things a bit, but it remains a tough sell."
ananyo writes "In a feature that recalls Asimov's Foundation series and 'psychohistory', Nature profiles mathematician Peter Turchin, who says he can see meaningful cycles in history. Worryingly, Turchin predicts a wave of violence in the United States in 2020. Quoting from the piece: 'To Peter Turchin, who studies population dynamics at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, the appearance of three peaks of political instability at roughly 50-year intervals is not a coincidence. For the past 15 years, Turchin has been taking the mathematical techniques that once allowed him to track predator-prey cycles in forest ecosystems, and applying them to human history. He has analyzed historical records on economic activity, demographic trends and outbursts of violence in the United States, and has come to the conclusion that a new wave of internal strife is already on its way. The peak should occur in about 2020, he says, and will probably be at least as high as the one in around 1970. 'I hope it won't be as bad as 1870,' he adds." We recently discussed similar research into predicting violence in the short term.
colinneagle writes "In an interview with Fortune a few years ago, Steve Jobs explained that Apple never does market research. Rather, they simply preoccupy themselves with creating great products. On Monday, Apple's Greg Joswiak — the company's VP of Product Marketing — submitted a declaration to the Court explaining why documents relating to Apple's market research and strategy should be sealed. Every month, Apple surveys iPhone buyers and Joswiak explains what Apple is able to glean from these surveys. And as you might expect, Apple conducts similar surveys with iPad buyers. Apple wants all of these tracking studies sealed. Joswiak explains that if a competitor were to find out what drives iPhone purchases — whether it be FaceTime, battery life, or Siri — it would serve as an unfair competitive edge to rival companies. Further, competitors, as it stands today, have to guess as to which demographics are most satisfied with Apple products." A few other interesting facts have come out of the trial so far; Apple spent $647 million advertising the iPhone in the U.S. from its launch through fiscal 2011, and they spent $457.2 million advertising the iPad from its launch up to the same point.
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers on the Square Kilometer Array project to build the world's largest radio telescope believe that a GPU cluster could be suited to stitching together the more than an exabyte of data that will be gathered by the telescope each day after its completion in 2024. One of the project heads said that graphics cards could be cut out for the job because of their high I/O and core count, adding that a conventional CPU-based supercomputer doesn't have the necessary I/O bandwidth to do the work."
Hugh Pickens writes "DefenseTech reports that Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles Lyon, the director of operations for Air Combat Command, told the Pentagon press corps that a valve that inflates the Combat Edge upper pressure garment is the cause of hypoxia-like symptoms in pilots flying the F-22. The problem forced the service to ground the Air Force's most prized stealth fighter fleet for four months and led two Raptor pilots to tell the nation on CBS's 60 Minutes that they refused to fly the jet because the pilots feared for their lives. The vests help control the breathing of pilots in high G-force environments, inflating before pilots start to experience extreme G-force conditions. However Lyon explained that the valves caused the vests to inflate too early in an F-22 flight, causing pilots to hyperventilate in the cockpits. 'It's like putting a corset around your chest,' said Lyons. Eagle and Viper pilots stopped wearing the upper pressure garments in 2004 'because they were not giving us the contribution we thought they would,' said Lyon. F-22 pilots kept wearing them because they flew at higher altitudes and the vests protected the pilots from 'rapid decompression,' adding that F-22 pilots, many of whom flew the F-15 and F-16, didn't notice the vests had inflated early because of the layers of gear a pilot wears in flight. Such a simple answer to a problem that has eluded Air Force engineers and scientists for four years has left some Air Force pilots skeptical that the USAF has solved the problem. An F-16 pilot said the Air Force is either 'incompetent for missing this until now,' or 'dishonest and trying to sweep something under the rug.'"
theodp writes "Responding to Microsoft's Windows 8 efforts, Apple CEO Tim Cook insisted in late April that combining a tablet and a notebook would be like converging a toaster and a refrigerator. But a patent application submitted by Apple last year — and made public Tuesday morning — proposes marrying a tablet and a keyboard to create 'a true laptop alternative,' which GeekWire notes looks a lot like Microsoft Surface (comparison pic). In its patent filing, Apple describes various ways that a tablet's cover could be used as an I-O device — as a tactile-feedback keyboard ('word processing and email become much more efficient'), to display additional output, as a touchpad replacement, and even to receive stylus input. 'The experience,' claims Apple, 'is even better in some ways than the laptop experience.'"
hypnosec writes "Researchers at University College of London have applied principles of radar used in defense and designed a detector using home based Wi-Fi routers to spy on people across walls. Using the principles behind the Doppler effect ... Karl Woodbridge and Kevin Chetty, at University College London, have built a prototype unit that uses Wi-Fi signals and recognizes frequency changes to detect moving objects. The size of the prototype unit is more or less the size of a suitcase. The unit contains a radio receiver comprising of two antennas and a signal-processing unit. The duo carried out test runs and ... they managed to determine a person's location, speed, and direction (even through a one foot thick brick wall). The device could be used to spot intruders, monitor children or the elderly, and could even be used in military applications."