jfruh writes "AT&T's video library is a treasure trove of future-looking films from the past, and this one is no exception. Combining what might be the first on-film use of the phrase 'information superhighway' with predictions of Siri-like services and sweet '80s computer graphics, this offers a valuable look at how close we came to our past's future."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
mikejuk writes "Two former Facebook developers have created a new database that they say is the world's fastest and it is MySQL compatible. According to Eric Frenkiel and Nikita Shamgunov, MemSQL, the database they have developed over the past year, is thirty times faster than conventional disk-based databases. MemSQL has put together a video showing MySQL versus MemSQL carrying out a sequence of queries, in which MySQL performs at around 3,500 queries per second, while MemSQL achieves around 80,000 queries per second. The documentation says that MemSQL writes back to disk/SSD as soon as the transaction is acknowledged in memory, and that using a combination of write-ahead logging and snapshotting ensures your data is secure. There is a free version but so far how much a full version will cost isn't given." (See also this article at SlashBI.)
An anonymous reader writes "As a calculus professor for a small undergraduate institution, I normally lecture students who are majoring in the natural (or 'hard') sciences, such as mathematics, physics, and computer science. In fact, I have done so for almost thirteen years. However, for the first time this fall semester, we have a shortage of professors on our hands. As a result of this, I have been asked to teach a general education statistics class. Such classes are a major requirement for the large psychology student body we have here. I have never lectured social science students in any mathematics-related classes. My question to the Slashdot community is as follows: What are your experiences with teaching natural science classes to social science students? How is the experience the same or different in comparison to natural science students who may be more adept to the nuances of mathematics and other similar fields?"
pdclarry writes "An Iranian-American teenager was told by an Apple store employee that they could not sell her an iPad because it would violate U.S. trade restrictions. She returned to the store with a camera crew from a local TV station and was again turned down. Apparently an Apple employee heard her speaking Farsi. As he was also of Iranian extraction he recognized the language and used this as a basis for refusal."
Freshly Exhumed writes "Danny Sullivan over at Marketing Land has been tipped over the edge by various colleagues: 'After seeing yet another "hands-on" review of the Microsoft Surface tablet, I thought it would be interesting to shed more light on what exactly the journalists who assembled in Hollywood this week for the Surface launch event actually got to do with the tablets. In short, not a lot. Come along as I explain the hands-off reality of what I saw.' In response to Sullivan's criticisms, TechRadar contributor Mary To Many rebuts that merely touching something that does not operate nor even truly exist equates to an actual hands-on review. So, what do Slashdotters expect a "hands-on" review to reveal and/or include?"
First time accepted submitter scottbee writes "A major New York intellectual property lawfirm has filed a $1m lawsuit against domain squatter/security researcher Wesley Kenzie (aka Securikai). Kenzie registered domain names to collect misaddressed email, and then holding companies to ransom claiming he had found security vulnerabilities and would consult for five figure engagements. Lockheed Martin handled it with a simple UDRP, but the Gioconda Law Group decided instead to file a lawsuit for 'cybersquatting, trademark infringement and unlawful interception of a law firm's private electronic communications in violation of federal laws,' along with a permanent injunction. Kenzie had also tried the same tactic against Rapid7's HDMoore, but was shamed out of the domain names earlier this year."
That Alan Turing committed suicide is widely accepted as fact. Now, an anonymous reader writes, "According to Professor Jack Copeland, director of the The Turing Archive for the History of Computing, 'The coroner [in Turing's case] didn't really investigate the evidence at all, he just jumped to the conclusion that he committed suicide. He seems to have been very biased from the statements in newspapers at the time.' Copeland further said that medical evidence suggested Turing died from inhaling cyanide rather than drinking or ingesting it."
According to this Reuters report, RIM is considering separating its messaging network business from its manufacture of handsets, and either listing the resulting new company separately, or selling it to another firm. According to the article, "Potential buyers would include Amazon and Facebook, it reported, adding that RIM's messaging network could also be sold, or opened up to rivals such as Apple and Google to generate income. An alternative option would be to keep the company together but sell a stake to a larger technology firm such as Microsoft."
The L.A. Times reports on a study by UCLA climate researchers who conclude, based on supercomputer analysis of a model "2,500 times more precise than previous climate models for the region" that the area around L.A. will experience more (and more extreme) hot spells in decades to come. From the article: "The study, released Thursday, is the first to model the Southland's complex geography of meandering coastlines, mountain ranges and dense urban centers in high enough resolution to predict temperatures down to the level of micro climate zones, each measuring 2 1/4 square miles. The projections are for 2041 to 2060. Not only will the number of hot days increase, but the study found that the hottest of those days will break records, said Alex Hall, lead researcher on the study by UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability."
ananyo writes "A report presented at the 2012 BIO International Convention in Boston, Massachusetts suggests that patents do not stifle progress when they occur at early phases of research, as some have suggested. Over the past decade, increases in patents have been matched by growth in the biotech and pharmaceutical sectors in India, Brazil, Singapore and other countries with emerging economies. The strength of patent rights can be quantified in an index ranging from 0 (no patent rights) to 5 (very strong). Over time, the countries that U.S. biotech and pharmaceutical companies have invested in have moved up the IP barometer, the report (PDF) says."
An anonymous reader writes "The FSF slammed Microsoft for categorizing donate.fsf.org website as a 'Gambling Site.' Corporate systems that use a Microsoft 'network security' program cannot access FSF donation website because of this and as a result, many people were unable to make donations. FSF has submitted a correction to Microsoft and they are now waiting for a response. However, John Sullivan warned corporate about Microsoft's proprietary network security programs."
Hugh Pickens writes "The Salt Lake City Tribune reports that more than 9,000 people have been driven from their homes by a wind-whipped wildfire started by two shooters at landfill popular with target shooters who won't face any charges because they were not breaking any laws. The fire was the 20th this year in Utah sparked by target shooting where low precipitation, dry heat and high winds have hit the West hard, exacerbating the risk that bullets may glance off rocks and create sparks. Despite the increasing problem, local agencies are stuck in a legal quandary — the state's zealous protection of gun rights leaves fire prevention to the discretion of individuals — a freedom that allows for the careless to shoot into dry hills and rocks. When bullets strike rock, heated fragments can break off and if the fragments make contact with dry grass, which can burn at 450 to 500 degrees, the right conditions can lead to wildfires. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has called on Utahns to use more "common sense" in target shooting urging target shooters to use established indoor and outdoor ranges instead of tinder-dry public lands. "We can do better than that as Utahns," says Herbert, calling on shooters to "self-regulate," since legislation bars sheriff's officials from regulating firearms. "A lot of the problem we have out here is a lack of common sense.""
An anonymous reader writes "Last week, we read that Ethiopia banned using VoIP. According to the head of Communication Affairs the draft bill aims to discourage illegal use of internet telephony, not any VoIP calls made PC-to-PC or PC-to-phone. He also indicated that the draft bill prevents illegal use of internet phone as some people are making international calls with domestic charge." The distinctions here seem finer than I'd like (“We have not adopted a legislation that prevents people from using internet."), since what's legal seems unduly arbitrary, and since the draconian punishment proposed still stands: "According to the draft bill, anyone who uses internet phone illegally is punishable by up to 15 years in prison."
sfcrazy writes "It seems that recent comments made by Linus Torvalds have made the people at NVIDIA take Linux more seriously. Recently Nvidia employee Stephen Warren asked in the Kernel Summit mailing list what could be done differently to make Linux support better. 'In a Google+ comment, Linus noted that we have mainly been contributing patches for Tegra SoC infra-structure details. I'm curious what other areas people might expect me/NVIDIA to contribute to. I assume the issue is mainly the lack of open support for the graphics-related parts of our HW, but perhaps there's some expectation that we'd also start helping out some core area of the kernel too? Would that kind of thing help our image even if we didn't open up our HW?'"