Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
CIStud writes "The IT industry is hurting for women. Currently only 11% of IT companies are owned by women. The Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract program requires 5% of all IT jobs to go to female-owned integration companies, but there must be at least 2 female bidders. There are so few female bidders that women-owned IT firms are ineligible for the contracts. From the article: 'Wendy Frank, founder of Accell Security Inc. in Birdsboro, Pa., wishes she had more competitors. It's not often you hear any integrator say that, but in Frank's case, she has good reason. The current Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract program authorizes five percent of Federal prime and subcontracts to be set aside for WOSBs. While that might sound fair on the surface, in order to invoke the money set aside for this program, the contracting officer at an agency has to have a reasonable expectation that two or more WOSBs will submit offers for the job. “We could not participate in the government’s Women-Owned Small Business program unless there was another female competitor,” says Frank. “Procurement officers required that at least two women-owned small businesses compete for the contracts, even in the IT field, where women-owned businesses are underrepresented.”'"
redletterdave writes "It seemed like a step in the right direction for Yahoo back in November, when the company announced a family of new mobile products that would enrich the way users experience and understand their news and entertainment content. But just shy of seven months after that outburst of mobile and social apps and tools, Yahoo has decided to call it quits on arguably the biggest piece of that mobile package: the personalized magazine app for iPad, Livestand. This was the first major business decision made by Ross Levinsohn, the interim CEO who took over for Scott Thompson on May 13 after the SEC discovered Thompson lied on his resume."
First time accepted submitter gbrennan123 writes "Researchers at NYU School of Medicine have identified a single gene that simultaneously controls inflammation, accelerated aging and cancer. From the article: '"This was certainly an unexpected finding," said principal investigator Robert J. Schneider, PhD, the Albert Sabin Professor of Molecular Pathogenesis, associate director for translational research and co-director of the Breast Cancer Program at NYU Langone Medical Center. "It is rather uncommon for one gene to have two very different and very significant functions that tie together control of aging and inflammation. The two, if not regulated properly, can eventually lead to cancer development. It's an exciting scientific find."'"
dgharmon writes in with a story about the final outcome of thousands of Nortel patents that were bought last July. "You may recall last summer that Apple, Microsoft, EMC, RIM, Ericsson and Sony all teamed up to buy Nortel's patents for $4.5 billion. They beat out a team of Google and Intel who bid a bit less. While there was some antitrust scrutiny over the deal, it was dropped and the purchase went through. Apparently, the new owners picked off a bunch of patents to transfer to themselves... and then all (minus EMC, who, one hopes, was horrified by the plans) decided to support a massive new patent troll armed with the remaining 4,000 patents. The company is called Rockstar Consortium, and it's run by the folks who used to run Nortel's patent licensing program anyway — but now employs people whose job it is to just find other companies to threaten." On a semi-related note, there is a new petition to the White House to make a law that patent lawsuits that find for the defendant automatically fine the plaintiff three times the damages they were seeking."
An anonymous reader writes "The Malaysian Government has recently passed an amendment to their Evidence Act that has been designed to hold cyber bullies accountable for their malicious tirades on blogs or Facebook Walls. Unfortunately, the amendment has been worded such that 'If your name, photograph or pseudonym appears on any publication depicting yourself as the author, you are deemed to have published the content' and 'If a posting comes from your Internet or phone account, you are deemed to be the publisher unless the contrary is proved.' What these raft of amendments have done is shifted the burden of proof to the accused. One is considered guilty until proven innocent. Even the simple act of posting an offending message on a friend's Facebook Wall could get that friend, and not the original poster, into trouble with this law. Although the amendments were initiated by good intentions, a conspiracist can see how easily this law can be misused to curb dissent in Malaysia."
An anonymous reader writes "CNN takes a look at Apple's response to the Department of Justice's investigation into eBook price fixing. The filing 'cuts the government's case to shreds' while at the same time not bothering to defend the five publishers also under investigation. Apple said, 'The Government starts from the false premise (PDF) that an eBooks "market" was characterized by "robust price competition" prior to Apple's entry. This ignores a simple and incontrovertible fact: before 2010, there was no real competition, there was only Amazon. At the time Apple entered the market, Amazon sold nearly nine out of every ten eBooks, and its power over price and product selection was nearly absolute.'"
mikejuk writes "Following the successful defense of the Internet against SOPA, website owners are being invited to sign up to a project that will enable them to participate in future protest campaign, the Internet Defense League. The banner logo for the 'bat-signal' site is a cat, a reference to Ethan Zuckerman's cute cat theory of digital activism. The idea is that sites would respond to the call to "defend the Internet" by joining a group blackout or getting users to sign petitions. From the article: 'Website owners can sign up on the IDL website to add a bit of code to their sites (or receive code by email at the time of a campaign) that can be triggered in the case of a crisis like SOPA. This would add an "activist call-to-action" to all participating sites - such as a banner asking users to sign petitions, or in extreme cases blackout the site, as proved effective in the SOPA/PIPA protest of January 2012.'"
First time accepted submitter funge writes "The Economist has an article on Work and play: The gamification of hiring about a start-up that lets you play games to show off your talents to prospective employers. From the article: 'The rules of Happy Hour are deceptively simple. You are a bartender. Your challenge is to tell what sort of drink each of a swelling mob of customers wants by the expressions on their faces. Then you must make and serve each drink and wash each used glass, all within a short period of time. Play this video game well and you might win a tantalizing prize: a job in the real world.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Legendary sci-fi writer Marc Zicree (Star Trek, Babylon 5, Sliders) and special effects wizard Doug Drexler (Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica) are behind the fastest funded film project on Kickstarter. They're using crowd-funding website kickstarter to directly communicate with and enlist the support of fans for their latest project Space Command. Maybe with direct communication, sci-fi fans can rest easy and not have to worry about their favorite shows being cancelled like FireFly."
First time accepted submitter johnsnails writes "A German 16-year-old, Shouryya Ray, solved two fundamental particle dynamic theories posed by Sir Isaac Newton, which until recently required the use of powerful computers. He worked out how to calculate exactly the path of a projectile under gravity and subject to air resistance. Shouryya solved the problem while working on a school project. From the article: 'Mr Ray won a research award for his efforts and has been labeled a genius by the German media, but he put it down to "curiosity and schoolboy naivety." "When it was explained to us that the problems had no solutions, I thought to myself, 'well, there's no harm in trying,'" he said.'"
sciencehabit writes "China and India are some of the world's top polluters, with countless cars, factories, and households belching more than 2 million metric tons of carbon soot and other dark pollutants into the air every year. The pall hanging over the region has come to be known as 'the Asian brown cloud.' These pollutants aren't just bad news for the countries themselves. A new study reveals that they can affect climate thousands of kilometers away, warming the United States by up to 0.4C by 2024, while cooling other regions (abstract)."
ainandil writes "Facebook may have to alter its data use policy now that grassrooters have driven enough complaints about the company's proposed data usage policy to trigger a user vote on the matter. 'Facebook's proposed changes to its data use policy include new explanations of its data deletion practices as well as the controls that users have over the sharing of information with third-party applications. However, 47,824 users commented on the plans with many posting opposition to the planned new terms and instead calling for the chance to vote on the "demands" outlined by Europe-v-Facebook.' Does this mean the days of the man-in-the-middle attack as social media are numbered?"
An anonymous reader writes with news that Groupon is testing out a service for letting merchants accept credit cards that could put it into competition with PayPal and Square. "Groupon's nascent payment service comes with an Apple iPod Touch, and a case that wraps around the back of the device, which allows merchants to swipe credit cards." The fee structure isn't finalized, but their aim is to be competitive with PayPal and Square. "Groupon may have flexibility to charge lower fees because it could subsidize the payments service from money it makes providing other services to merchants, they said. PayPal's service, known as PayPal Here, charges a fee of 2.7 percent of the purchase price for all types of credit and debit cards - including those issued by American Express Co.. Transaction fees for processing AmEx cards are often higher. Square charges 2.75 percent per swipe. Groupon's test service is charging a 1.8 percent transaction fee and 15 cents per transaction, Rocky Agrawal, an industry analyst, reported in a VentureBeat blog late Thursday."
New submitter thuf1rhawat writes "For a certain type of geek, nothing is more important than Dungeons & Dragons. In January, Wizards of the Coast announced that the next iteration of the game (referred to as D&D Next) was under development, and now they've released an open playtest. They hope to gather as much player feedback as possible to help refine the new rules."
Hugh Pickens writes "Continuing its tradition of reverse engineering and fabricating its stockpile of 40-year old American weaponry, Iran announced that it is about to unveil its first ever domestically produced Cobra attack choppers. Nearly 50 years after the U.S. introduced the legendary Bell AH-1 Cobra, once the backbone of the U.S. Army's attack helicopter fleet, Iran's locally-grown Cobras will be armed with 'different types of home-made caliber guns, rockets and missiles,' according to Iran's semi-official Fars news agency. 'All the phases of designing and manufacturing of the chopper have been done inside the country and the helicopter enjoys some capabilities which make it preferable to Apache Choppers,' says Brigadier General Kioumars Heidari. Iranian officials stress that Iran's military and arms programs serve defensive purposes and should not be perceived as a threat to any other country, reports the FARS news release. More photos available here."