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Japan

Why Onagawa Nuclear Power Station Survived the Tsunami 148

Posted by timothy
from the pure-driving-will dept.
Kyusaku Natsume writes "While the town of Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture, was hit hard by the March 2011 tsunami, the nuclear plant it shares with the equally devastated city of Ishinomaki survived. The reason it did so is mostly down to the personal strength and tenacity of one Yanosuke Hirai, who passed away in 1986 and insisted that the plant should have been protected by a 14.8 m tall seawall. A great quote from the article: 'Corporate ethics and compliance may be similar, but their cores are different, from the perspective of corporate social responsibility, we cannot say that there is no need to question a company's actions just because they are not a crime under the law.'"
Canada

DHS Will Now Vet UK Air Passengers To Mexico, Canada, Cuba 417

Posted by timothy
from the so-very-giving-of-them dept.
First time accepted submitter illtud writes "From April, UK passengers flying to Mexico, Eastern Canada or Cuba will have to submit their details at least 72 hours before boarding to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for pre-flight vetting (as all passengers to the U.S. itself have had to do for a while). If they find against you, you're not getting on the plane, even though you're not going to the U.S. The Independent (UK quality newspaper) has the story."
America Online

NY District Judge Dismisses Blogger Suit Against Huffington Post 94

Posted by timothy
from the you'll-write-this-and-like-it dept.
The Chicago Tribute reports on a ruling announced Friday that the Huffington Post violated no law in profiting enormously from the unpaid contributions of bloggers who wrote much of the content that has spurred the site's success. Says the article: "John E. Koeltel, a district court judge in New York, dismissed a class action sought brought against the Huffington Post by unpaid bloggers seeking $105 million from AOL and Arianna Huffington's media empire. The bloggers argued that though they initially agreed to do the work for free, the Huffington Post was 'unjustly enriched as a result of this practice,' violating New York state law. Koeltel disagreed. 'There is no question that the plaintiffs submitted their materials to The Huffington Post with no expectation of monetary compensation and that they got what they paid for -- exposure in The Huffington Post,' Koeltel wrote."
Space

Minecraft Creator Announces Space Sandbox Game Mars Effect 117

Posted by timothy
from the go-hither-go-yon dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Notch posted the official page of Mars Effect today, saying through Twitter, 'it's a completely different game! Our takes place in space, and focuses on characters, and lets you land on planets!!' He gives more detailed on the new website, noting the game will be based around hard science fiction (think Star Trek sci-fi) and puts characters in control of a character rather than just a ship. Similar to Minecraft, it will be a free-roaming game, but with a full economic system, different planets, customizable ships, space battles against AI, and other features. There will also be an in-game, 16-bit computer. Notch also took the chance to poke fun at Mass Effect, noting it will have 'A game ending that makes sense.'"
Input Devices

Samsung Says Their TVs Aren't Really Spying On You 171

Posted by timothy
from the jeesh-you-guys-are-so-paranoid dept.
lightbox32 writes "Samsung has finally responded to an article recently published by HD Guru titled 'Is your TV watching you?' [See this related Slashdot post] which discussed the fact that new features in Samsung's top 2012 models — including built-in microphones, HDTV camera, wireless and wired Internet connection, built-in browser with voice to text conversion, face recognition and more — could be used to collect unprecedented personal information and invade our privacy. Samsung has now provided their privacy policy, which may or may not lay the issue to rest." I vote for "not" — conspiracy theories about mandatory (or just secret) surveillance equipment in consumer electronics is just too persistent, even when the technical capabilities turn out to be a hoax; when the equipment is actually all in place and the user is protected only by a corporate honor policy, it's hard to be sanguine. (I recall there was a much rumored secret capability for law enforcement agencies to secretly and remotely turn on the internal microphones in PCs meeting the PC 97 spec, and this was an integral part of the plan. Since the government insists that telecom equipment have built-in backdoors, why should that sound all that crazy?)
Data Storage

Nano-SIM Decision Delayed 117

Posted by timothy
from the sir-the-nano-decision-is-huge dept.
judgecorp writes "The decision on the next generation of even-smaller SIM cards for phones and other devices has been delayed by standards body ETSI, and the issue (which should have been settled this week) is nowhere near resolution. Apple wants to trim the existing micro-SIM further, Nokia wants to move to something like a micro-SD card which may involve patents. Meanwhile RIM has complained about Apple's approach."
Communications

Software-Defined Radio For $11 171

Posted by timothy
from the us-dollars-of-course dept.
Malvineous writes "Don't have $1500 to drop on a USRP? A Linux kernel developer has discovered that a Realtek digital TV tuner chip has an undocumented mode that turns it into a software-defined radio, with a frequency range of 64-1700MHz. The going rate for one of these USB devices can be as low as US$11. If you're unfamiliar with software-defined radio and have 20 minutes to spare, Balint Seeber has a great video introduction."
Space

New Engine Raises Possibility of Cheap Travel To the Moon 100

Posted by timothy
from the how-many-altarian-dollars-though dept.
shreshtha writes with this intriguing bit from The Daily Mail: "A tiny satellite thruster which can journey to the Moon on just a tenth of a litre of fuel could usher in a new low-cost space age, its creators hope. The mini-motor weights just a few hundred grams and runs on an ionic chemical compound, using electricity to expel ions and generate thrust. The tiny motor isn't built to blast satellites into orbit — instead, it's to help spacecraft manouevre once they're in space, which previously required bulky, expensive engines."
Google

The Phantoms of Google+ 214

Posted by timothy
from the you-who-are-not-are dept.
theodp writes "Engadget reports that Google wants a patent on its System and Method for Generating a Ghost Profile for a Social Network. The brainchild of five Googlers, the invention is designed to convert anti-social-networking types to the joys of Google+ and its ilk. From the patent: 'A problem arises when users of social networks are friends with people that are opposed to social networks. The second group misses out on an important social component. For example, many users only share their photos on a social networking site. As a result, users that do not want to join the social network are forced to either join with reservations or miss out on the social component, such as viewing pictures.' By generating an unsearchable 'ghost profile' when a member of the social network invites a Google+ adverse friend to join, Google explains, non-believers get to participate in social networking activities without providing user information."
Software

Ask Slashdot: It's World Backup Day; How Do You Back Up? 304

Posted by timothy
from the hope-and-luck dept.
MrSeb writes "Today is World Backup Day! The premise is that you back up your computers on March 31, so that you're not an April Fool if your hard drive crashes tomorrow. How do Slashdot users back up? RAID? Multiple RAIDs? If you're in LA, on a fault line, do you keep a redundant copy of your data in another geographic region?"
Chrome

Adobe Releases Last Linux Version of Flash Player 426

Posted by timothy
from the end-of-the-line dept.
dartttt writes "Adobe has released Flash Player version 11.2 with many new features. This is the final Flash Player release for Linux platform and now onward there will be only security and bug fix updates. Last month Adobe announced that it is withdrawing Flash Player support for Linux platform. All the future newer Flash releases will be bundled with Google Chrome using its Pepper API and for everything else, 11.2 will be the last release."
Debian

Glibc Steering Committee Dissolves; Switches To Co-Operative Development Model 102

Posted by timothy
from the part-of-an-autonomous-collective dept.
First time accepted submitter bheading writes "Following years under controversial leadership which, among other things, led to a fork (which was in turn adopted by some of the major distributions) the glibc development process has been reinvented to follow a slightly more informal, community-based model. Here's hoping glibc benefits from a welcome dose of pragmatism."
Earth

Wind Map of US Will Blow You Away 104

Posted by timothy
from the concentrate-especially-on-oklahoma dept.
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Talk about visualizations. Ever wondered what the wind would look like if you could see it in action from above? A new project posted online by a pair of Google computer scientists, called simply Wind Map, has to be seen to be believed. "It can be quite hypnotizing to watch the gusty trails blast across the American continent, skitter over the Sierras, get roughed up by the Rockies, and whoosh over the great plains on its way to Canada," writes Chris Taylor. Wind Map is the brainchild of Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg, the co-leaders of Google's 'Big Picture' visualization research group in Cambridge, Mass. Wind patterns are constantly changing, of course, which is why the Wind Map designers have also given us a moving-image gallery of previous blustery days."
Google

Google Maps Directions Adds Real-Time Traffic Estimates 54

Posted by timothy
from the gps-keeps-saving-my-life dept.
First time accepted submitter constpointertoconst writes "If you use Google Maps to calculate directions, you may now notice (if your route is covered by their traffic data) an 'in current traffic' travel estimate for current route. Some may recall that Google Maps had a similar estimate in the past, but it was removed last year due to poor accuracy."
China

Chinese Internet Firms Punished For Permitting Spread Of Political Rumors 75

Posted by timothy
from the everyone's-best-interest-at-heart dept.
First time accepted submitter rover42 writes "Major Chinese sites Sina and Webo 'have been legally punished for permitting the spread of unfounded rumors. Specifically, the report cites unfounded rumors that were spreading like wildfire on Sina Weibo of an attempted coup d'etat happening in Beijing.' The source is the state-run Xinhua." Sadly for the people of China (even if they like it this way), this seems to be in line with the Chinese government's general attitude toward the Internet.

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