Dr Herbert West writes "Students at Ontario College of Art and Design were forced to buy a $180 textbook filled with blank squares. Instead of images of paintings and sculpture throughout history (that presumably would fall under fair-use) the textbook for 'Global Visual and Material Culture: Prehistory to 1800' features placeholders with a link to an online image. A letter from the school's dean stated that had they decided to clear all the images for copyright to print, the book would have cost a whopping $800. The screengrabs are pretty hilarious, or depressing, depending on your point of view."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
An anonymous reader writes in with a story about the power of bacon."Travel can be expensive. One man is using a unique way to pay for a trip as a challenge. Pennsylvania comedian Josh Sankey is on a mission to make a cross-country road trip from New York to Los Angeles with no other currency but bacon. Sankey isn't carrying any cash or credit cards as he makes his cross-country trip. He is paying for everything from gas to lodging by using uncooked bacon as currency. He set off on his trip with 3,000 pounds of the popular meat and he seems to be getting good deals with it so far."
jfruh writes "Roger Bamkin is a director at Wikimedia UK; he also is on retainer for the government of the British territory of Gibraltar, and has nominated and approved Gibraltar-related articles for the "Did You Know" box on the Wikipedia front page. Maximilian Klein runs a business called UntrikiWiki, and advertises his services by saying "A positive Wikipedia article is invaluable SEO." Are such users violating the spirit of what Wikipedia is about? Or should we trust that the wisdom of crowds will offset obvious shilling?"
CowboyRobot writes "Security expert Mikko Hypponen talks about his experience at F-Secure, including adventures such as flying to Lahore to interview the creators of 'Brain,' one of the early computer viruses that was spread manually on floppy disks. But while the early virus creators were just trying to have fun and learn, modern malware makers are motivated only by money. 'But there's a misconception that they all necessarily make a lot of money. There's a hierarchy of workers, with some just making a few hundred dollars to $1,000 doing the dirty work of the more experienced online criminals who make the real money.'"
Hugh Pickens writes "Currently — as most of us know — TSA agents briefly examine government ID and boarding passes as each passenger presents their documents at a checkpoint at the end of a security line. Thom Patterson writes at CNN that under a 2008 Apple patent application that was approved in July and filed under the working title "iTravel," a traveler's phone would automatically send electronic identification to a TSA agent as soon as the traveler got in line and as each traveler waits in line. TSA agents would examine the electronic ID at an electronic viewing station. Next, at the X-ray stations, a traveler's phone would confirm to security agents that the traveler's ID had already been checked. Apple's patent calls for the placement of special kiosks (PDF) around the airport which will automatically exchange data with your phone via a close range wireless technology called near field communication (NFC). Throughout the process, the phone photo could be displayed on a screen for comparison with the traveler. Facial recognition software could be included in the process. Several experts say a key question that must be answered is: How would you prove that the phone is yours? To get around this problem, future phones or electronic ID may require some form of biometric security function including photo, fingerprint and photo retinal scan comparisons. Of course, there is still a ways to go. If consumers, airlines, airports and the TSA don't embrace the NFC kiosks, experts say it's unlikely Apple's vision would become reality. 'First you would have to sell industry on Apple's idea. Then you'd have to sell it to travel consumers,' says Neil Hughes of Apple Insider. 'It's a chicken-and-egg problem.'"
ananyo writes "A new material has broken the record for converting heat into electricity. The material had a conversion efficiency of about 15% — double that of one of the most well-known thermoelectrics: lead telluride (abstract). For decades, physicists have toyed with ways to convert heat into electricity directly. Materials known as thermoelectrics use temperature differences to drive electrons from one end to another. The displaced electrons create a voltage that can in turn be used to power other things, much like a battery. Such materials have found niche applications: the Curiosity rover trundling about on the surface of Mars, for example, uses thermoelectrics to turn heat from its plutonium power source into electricity. That doesn't mean that the material is ready to be used on the next Mars rover, however: NASA has been looking at similar materials for future space missions, but the agency is not yet convinced that they are ready for primetime."
DevotedSkeptic sends this excerpt about research that found a correlation between the use of a common food-packaging chemical and obesity rates. "Since the 1960s, manufacturers have widely used the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) in plastics and food packaging. Only recently, though, have scientists begun thoroughly looking into how the compound might affect human health—and what they've found has been a cause for concern. Starting in 2006, a series of studies, mostly in mice, indicated that the chemical might act as an endocrine disruptor (by mimicking the hormone estrogen), cause problems during development and potentially affect the reproductive system, reducing fertility. After a 2010 Food and Drug Administration report warned that the compound could pose an especially hazardous risk for fetuses, infants and young children, BPA-free water bottles and food containers started flying off the shelves. In July, the FDA banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups, but the chemical is still present in aluminum cans, containers of baby formula and other packaging materials. Now comes another piece of data on a potential risk from BPA but in an area of health in which it has largely been overlooked: obesity. A study by researchers from New York University, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at a sample of nearly 3,000 children and teens across the country and found a 'significant' link between the amount of BPA in their urine and the prevalence of obesity."
Nerval's Lobster writes "The Open Compute Project has published the final specification of the Open Rack Specification, which widens the traditional server rack to more than 23 inches. Specifically, the rack is 600 mm wide (versus the 482.6 mm of a 19-inch rack), with the chassis guidelines calling for a width of 537 mm. All told, that's slightly wider than the 580 mm used by the Western Electric or ETSI rack. The Open Compute Project said that changes in the new 1.0 specification include a new focus on a single-column rack design. The new dimensions now accommodate hotter inlet temperatures of between 18 to 35 degrees Celsius and up to 90 percent humidity, which reflects other Open Compute designs and real-world data center temperatures, according to project documents. Facebook has led the implementation of the Open Compute Project, which publicly shares the designs it uses in data centers, including its Prineville, Ore. facility. As the spec clearly shows, however, the new designs deviate from the traditional configurations and specifications, which means data center operators will need to find and then source racks from third-party vendors (or, in the case of Facebook, design their own)."
RocketAcademy writes "British billionaire Richard Branson, whose Virgin Galactic company is backing the development of SpaceShip Two, has told CBS News he is 'determined to start a population on Mars.' He said, 'I think over the next 20 years, we will take literally hundreds of thousands of people to space and that will give us the financial resources to do even bigger things. That will give us the resources then to put satellites into space at a fraction of the price, which can be incredibly useful for thousands of different reasons.' Branson isn't the only billionaire interested in the Red Planet. Elon Musk, founder of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), wants to put humans on Mars in the next 12 to 15 years."
hypnosec writes "The Raspberry Pi, which was recently used to build a cluster, has officially been given a 'Turbo Mode' by The Raspberry Pi Foundation, thus enabling overclocking. It will bump the frequency of the on-board processor as high as 1GHz as long as the temperature stays below 85C. The patch would dynamically increase the voltage and frequency of the core until the thermals hold. According to the Foundation, users have the option of choosing one of five peak frequencies, the highest being 1GHz."
New submitter Nomen writes "Today's xkcd: Click and Drag (Google Maps version) is probably the world's biggest web comic at an RSI-inducing resolution of 165,888x79,872 pixels. It's made up of 225 different images that take up 5.52MB of space. Now, if only the mines were powered by nethack..."
bonch writes "Google-owned Motorola is asking the International Trade Commission to ban every Apple device that uses iMessage, based on a patent issued in 2006 for 'a system for providing continuity between messaging clients.' Motorola also claims that banning Macs and iPhones won't have an impact on U.S. consumers. They say, 'With so many participants in the highly competitive Wireless communication, portable music, and computer market, it is unlikely that consumers would experience much of an impact if the requested exclusion orders were obtained.' The ITC has yet to make a decision."
New submitter madmarcel tips news that a new trailer for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has been released. "The new piece (seen above) is about the same length -- 2 1/2 minutes -- as the December trailer. But it cuts to the chase more quickly, leaving out the Frodo voiceover that sets up the Lord of the Rings follow-up. Instead we get the quick voiceover explanation -- 'the dwarves are determined to reclaim their homeland' -- before we meet up with Martin Freeman's Bilbo Baggins and set off. There's a slightly less self-serious tone to the proceedings this time around, though questers do 'enter the mountain' and play important games of riddles."
6 writes with news that the Internet Archive has launched an online archive of TV news content. According to the NY Times, it will "include every morsel of news produced in the last three years by 20 different channels, encompassing more than 1,000 news series that have generated more than 350,000 separate programs devoted to news." In addition to preserving the works of humankind, the archive is for helping citizens "better understand the issues and candidates in the 2012 U.S. elections by allowing them to search closed captioning transcripts to borrow relevant television news programs."
Daniel Knight, besides being an actor, D&D fanatic, and collector of He-Man figurines, is the director of a film version of Terry Pratchett's Discworld story Troll Bridge that's been enabled by a massive Kickstarter campaign. Filming has finished (you can see some of the raw and intermediate footage linked from that story) and now all the rest of the work that goes into the finishing and releasing the movie is underway. Why this film? Knight says he "ended up acting a small role in a short film called Star Wars: Broken Allegiance. My performance was terrible. But that introduced me to the world of fan films, and I started wondering if it would be possible to do a Discworld one." The project is clearly a labor of love — it's a massive undertaking on a shoestring budget, with a tough goal: "Troll Bridge aims to be the largest scale short film in history. Using resources garnered over eight solid years of dedication, love, sweat, and tears – Troll Bridge has already begun exceeding expectations as to what should be anticipated from a short form production." The cast and crew (even the caterers) are all volunteers, but it still takes money to construct sets, create costumes, and buy time with needed equipment. Daniel has graciously agreed to answer your questions about the process; as with other Slashdot interviews, you're invited to ask as many questions as you'd like, but please ask them in separate posts.