Tator Tot writes "Grape pomace, the mashed up skins and stems left over from making wine and grape juice, could serve as a good starting point for ethanol production, according to a new study (from the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry). Due to growing interest in biofuels, researchers have started looking for cheap and environmentally sustainable ways to produce such fuels, especially ethanol. Biological engineer Jean VanderGheynst at the University of California, Davis, turned to grape pomace, because winemakers in California alone produce over 100,000 tons of the fruit scraps each year, with much of it going to waste."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
An anonymous reader writes "A web analytics company has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it violated federal law by using its web-tracking software that collected personal data without disclosing the extent of the information that it was collecting. The company, Compete Inc., also allegedly failed to honor promises it made to protect the personal data it collected. KISSmetrics, the developer and seller of the homonymous tool, has agreed to pay up to make the suit go away, but the the two plaintiffs will get only $5,000 each, while the rest of the money — more than half a million dollars — will go to their lawyers for legal fees."
First time accepted submitter blandcramration writes "I have recently decided to further my education with a technical school associates degree. I am a first quarter student in my third week as an IT student. I have taught myself Python and have been working with computers for over 10 years. We've been learning C++ and though my instructor appears to know how to program, he doesn't really understand the procedure behind the veil, so to speak. In a traditional learning environment, I would rather learn everything about the computer process rather than fiddle around with something until I figure out how it works. I can do that on my own. I think the real issue is I'm not feeling challenged enough and I'm paying through the nose to go to school here. Am I even going to be able to land a decent job, or should I just take a few classes here and move on to a traditional college and get a computer science degree? I'm much more interested in an approach to computer science like From NAND to Tetris but I feel as if I should get a degree in something. What are your thoughts?"
theodp writes "The USPTO lowered the bar again on Tuesday, granting U.S. Patent No. 8,296,373 to four Facebook inventors for Automatically Managing Objectionable Behavior in a Web-based Social Network, essentially warning users or suspending their accounts when their poking, friend requesting, and wall posting is deemed annoying. From the patent: 'Actions by a user exceeding the threshold may trigger the violation module 240 to take an action. For example, the point 360, which may represent fifty occurrences of an action in a five hour period, does not violate any of the policies as illustrated. However, the point 350, which represents fifty occurrences in a two hour period, violates the poke threshold 330 and the wall post threshold 340. Thus, if point 350 represents a user's actions of either poking or wall posting, then the policy is violated.'"
concealment sends this quote from Ars: "The argument back then was this: Windows on ARM would mean discarding the thing that makes Windows entrenched and important: Windows applications. Tablets need all-new applications, and if you're going to run all-new applications then you don't really need Windows. ... In the time it has taken Microsoft to bring Windows on ARM to market, ARM's once overwhelming battery life advantage has been erased. The ARM CPUs may still have a slight power use edge, but the difference will typically be dwarfed by the power consumption of the screen. The Intel processors, in turn, bring CPU performance that is probably best in class (or close to it), and most importantly of all the ability to run the full version of Windows 8 and existing Windows applications. The hardware could look identical to the user, but if it has Intel inside, the user experience will be quite different. ... With these constraints and limitations, it's hard to see who exactly Windows RT is for. I acknowledge that there are certainly some users who will be content to use the browser, mail app, and perhaps type the occasional letter in Word or balance their checkbook in Excel: people for whom the Windows Store's current gaps do not matter. But I think a much wider selection of users will be ill-served by Windows RT."
An anonymous reader writes "The BBC reports that 'Huawei has offered to give Australia unrestricted access to its software source code and equipment, as it looks to ease fears that it is a security threat. Questions have been raised about the Chinese telecom firm's ties to the military, something it has denied. Australia has previously blocked Huawei's plans to bid for work on its national broadband network. Huawei said it needed to dispel myths and misinformation.' But is this sufficient? Will they be able to obscure any backdoors written into their equipment?"
An anonymous reader writes "Neal Stephenson's 1999 Cryptonomicon was a great yarn. It was also a thoroughly enjoyable (and too short) romp through some mathematics. Where can I find more of that? I should say that I don't want SF — at least none of the classic SF I read voraciously in the 70s; it's just not the same thing, and far too often just a puppet-theatre for an author's philosophical rant. Has any author managed to hit the same vein as Stephenson did? (Good non-fiction math-reads are also gratefully accepted. What have you got?)"
sl4shd0rk writes "Good news for Apple, bad news for Samsung. Yesterday, Apple filed legal papers with the International Trade Commission citing a Department of Justice investigation into whether Samsung is misusing its 'Standards essential' patents in ways which violate antitrust law. Apple claims Samsung has violated commitments to license its essential patents to competitors on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. Or, more specifically, Samsung is 'using certain patents as a basis for improper legal actions that seek to block the sale of competitors' products.' The article says Google (because of its recent acquisition, Motorola Mobility) is under the same scrutiny."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Google is taking Street View down — into the Grand Canyon, that is. 'On its first official outing, the Street View team is using the Trekker — a wearable backpack with a camera system on top — to traverse the Grand Canyon and capture 360-degree images of one of the most breathtaking natural landscapes on the planet,' read an Oct. 24 posting on Google's Official Blog. The Trekker automatically records high-quality images as the operator walks. Google's initial foray into the canyon will take place around the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, which includes some famous paths such as the Bright Angel Trail. Google promised to make the images live (at some point) on Google Maps. 'The narrow ridges and steep, exposed trails of the Grand Canyon provide the perfect terrain for our newest camera system,' the blog added."
eldavojohn writes "The global warming debate has left much to be desired in the realm of logic and rationale. One particular researcher, Michael E. Mann, has been repeatedly attacked for his now infamous (and peer reviewed/independently verified) hockey stick graph. It has come to the point where he is now suing for defamation over being compared to convicted serial child molester Jerry Sandusky. Articles hosted by defendants and written by defendant Rand Simberg and defendant Mark Steyn utilize questionable logic for implicating Michael E. Mann alongside Jerry Sandusky with the original piece, concluding, 'Michael Mann, like Joe Paterno, was a rock star in the context of Penn State University, bringing in millions in research funding. The same university president who resigned in the wake of the Sandusky scandal was also the president when Mann was being (whitewashed) investigated. We saw what the university administration was willing to do to cover up heinous crimes, and even let them continue, rather than expose them. Should we suppose, in light of what we now know, they would do any less to hide academic and scientific misconduct, with so much at stake?' Additionally, sentences were stylized to blend the two people together: 'He has molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science that could have dire economic consequences for the nation and planet.' One of the defendants admits to removing 'a sentence or two' of questionable wording. Still, as a public figure, Michael E. Mann has an uphill battle to prove defamation in court."
An anonymous reader writes "An EXT4 file-system data corruption issue has reached the stable Linux kernel. The latest Linux 3.4, 3.5, 3.6 stable kernels have an EXT4 file-system bug described as an apparent serious progressive ext4 data corruption bug. Kernel developers have found and bisected the kernel issue but are still working on a proper fix for the stable Linux kernel. The EXT4 file-system can experience data loss if the file-system is remounted (or the system rebooted) too often."
Hugh Pickens writes "In 2007 businessman Russell Thornton lost his 3-year-old son at an amusement park. After a frantic 45-minute search, Thornton found the boy hiding in a play structure, but he was traumatized by the incident. It spurred him to build a device that would help other parents avoid that fate. Even though most statistics show that rates of violent crime against children have declined significantly over the last few decades, and that abductions are extremely rare, KJ Dell'Antonia writes that with the array of new gadgetry like Amber Alert and the Securus eZoom our children need never experience the fears that come with momentary separations, or the satisfaction of weathering them. 'You could argue that those of us who survived our childhoods of being occasionally lost, then found, are in the position of those who think car seats are overkill because they suffered no injury while bouncing around in the back of their uncle's pickup,' writes Dell'Antonia. 'Wouldn't a more powerful sense of security come from knowing your children were capable, and trusting in their ability to reach out for help at the moment when they realize they're not?'"
"Asus and other Microsoft OEM partners have also launched their own versions of Windows RT tablets that will compete with Microsoft's Surface. It's interesting to see the different design approaches being taken, some of which are similar to Android devices currently on the market. The Asus Vivo Tab RT, for example, is based on a 1.3GHz Tegra 3 SoC with 2GB of DDR3 memory, 32GB or 64GB of on board Flash storage, and looks a lot like their Transformer Prime 10-inch slate. The internal electronics are similar to Surface, with NVIDIA's Tegra 3 claiming the lion's share of Windows RT designs at launch. Microsoft's new touch-centric OS handles smoothly on the tablet and performance looks to be impressive, especially with respect to multitasking and application switching." There's also the newly-launched Samsung Galaxy Note II (Android-based, and a so called "phablet," rather than a tablet), the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga (an upcoming Windows RT tablet with a keyboard permanently attached), and the Archos 101 XS.
First time accepted submitter e-sas writes "Researchers from the University of Bristol have built a new type of display which allows both a shared view and a personalised view to users at the same time. Through the two view-zones, PiVOT provides multiple personalized views where each personalized view is only visible to the user it belongs to while presenting an unaffected and unobstructed shared view to all users. They conceive PiVOT as a tabletop system aimed at supporting mixed-focus collaborative tasks where there is a main task requiring the focus of all individuals of the group but also concurrent smaller personal tasks needing access to information that is not usually shared e.g. a war-room setup. Imagine you and your friends playing multiplayer Starcraft on one big screen instead of individual computer screens!"
concealment writes with a tale of how an email sent to a mathematician led to him discovering that dozens of high profile companies were using easily crackable keys to authenticate mail sent from their domains. From the article: "The problem lay with the DKIM key (DomainKeys Identified Mail) Google used for its google.com e-mails. DKIM involves a cryptographic key that domains use to sign e-mail originating from them – or passing through them – to validate to a recipient that the header information on an e-mail is correct and that the correspondence indeed came from the stated domain. When e-mail arrives at its destination, the receiving server can look up the public key through the sender's DNS records and verify the validity of the signature. Harris wasn't interested in the job at Google, but he decided to crack the key and send an e-mail to Google founders Brin and Page, as each other, just to show them that he was onto their game."