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The EFF Guide to San Diego Comic-Con 2014

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More than 100,000 people will descend on San Diego Comic-Con this week, including yours truly representing the Electronic Frontier Foundation. If you’re one of the the lucky badge-holders with an interest in protecting Internet freedom, I’d love to chat with you and give you a sticker (while supplies last, obviously). Our friends at Alaska Robotics and musician Marian Call have generously offered us a spot at their table. You can find me there (#1134 in the main exhibition hall) from 2 - 3 pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

But EFF isn’t the only opportunity at SDCC to ponder issues of surveillance, tech policy, free speech, and intellectual property. We’ve compiled this schedule of panels worth checking out this check out this year.

Are you a creator with a project, panel, or table at SDCC that ties into issues EFF covers? Send details to and we’ll add them in our next update.

Scorpion: World Premiere Screening and Panel

When the trailer for a new TV show starts off with a 12-year-old being arrested for hacking NASA, you know EFF is interested in hearing more. CBS’s new series, Scorpion, is loosely based on hacker Walter O’Brien, and follows his team of technologists as they seek to counteract global crises.
Thursday, July 24, 2014 12:05 pm - 1:10 pm  - Ballroom 20

Digging E.T.: Behind the Scenes of the Xbox Originals Documentary, Atari: Game Over

This new documentary tracks the demise of the Atari Corporation, including an investigation into the hundreds of thousands of copies of the E.T. video game buried in the New Mexico desert. Admittedly, there’s no real connection to EFF’s core issues here, except in the sense that a lot of us grew up on the Atari and miss it badly.
Friday, July 25, 2014 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm - Room 5AB

Creativity Is Magic: Fandom, Transmedia, and Transformative Works

This panel examines how media technology has exploded over the last 18 months, from apps to social media, and how this has elevated fan fiction, “gift culture,” and transformative works. The discussion is moderated by Heidi Tandy of, which is described as “the Snopes of copyright & trademark law (for fangirls, fanboys, creators & hipsters).”
Friday, July 25, 2014 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm - Room 26AB

Comic Book Law School 303: Muy Caliente! Hot Topics 2014

Lawyers attending Comic-Con can pick up continuing legal education credits by attending the panels in the Comic Book Law School series, which are led by Michael Lovitz, author of The Trademark and Copyright Book comic book. In this panel, a group of attorneys will discuss the impact of several cases that EFF has been tracking closely, including Tarantino v Gawker, the battle over whether Sherlock Holmes is in the public domain, and an appellate court’s decision to force YouTube to remove “The Innocence of Muslims.”
Saturday, July 26, 2014 10:30 am - 12 pm - Room 30CDE

Pop Culture and Robot Reality

NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Director Jason Crusan, Intel Resident Futurist Brian David Johnson, and Rethink Robotics Senior Engineer Jennifer Barry will share their visions of the near-future of robotics and how that compares to the alternately loyal and menacing depictions of robots in pop culture.
Saturday, July 26, 2014 11 am - 12 pm - Room 7AB

Comic-Con How-To: Fans, Love, and the Law with DeviantArt and Organization for Transformative Works

EFF are big fans of the Organization for Transformative Works, who we’ve partnered with on amicus briefs and submitting requests to the Library of Congress. The group, which champions the rights of fan creators and protects them from wrongheaded intellectual-property attacks, is partnering up with DeviantArt for this panel, in which they promise to “bring out their lawyers to explain how you can go to sleep at night, dream the dream of fans, and never have to hide under the bed.”
Saturday, July 26, 2014 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm - Room 2

Person of Interest Special Video Presentation and Q&A

At last year’s Comic-Con, the creators of the CBS show rolled out an extended preview of the series that relied heavily on the fallout from the Snowden files. This time around, Executive Producer Greg Plageman and cast members will take questions on the fourth season of the science fiction (although scarily close to reality) series that examines the ethical and privacy issues surrounding big data, mass surveillance, artificial intelligence, and predictive technology.
Saturday, July 26, 2014 6:15 pm - 7:00 pm - Room 6BCF

Comics and Global Concerns

Within SDCC there is an academic sub-event called the Comics Arts Conference. In this session, panelists will discuss how the comics reflect contemporary global debates, including how comics of the 1940s and 1950s foreshadowed the current debate over drones.
Sunday, July 27, 2014 10:30 am - 12 pm - Room 26AB

Comic Book League Defense Fund Panels

For decades upon decades, comic books artists and writers have pushed the boundaries of speech and authorities have sought to censor them. One of the most notorious chapters of history is the Comics Code, when the industry—faced with calls for regulation from Congress—decided to censor itself. This year, the free speech heroes at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund are taking a look at the history of the Comics Code, including the controversial work of Fredric Wertham, who claimed that violent media and comics damaged childhood development. They will also host their annual Banned Comics! panel and a “live art jam” where artists are challenged to create art on the spot that violates the defunct Comics Code.

The History of the Comics Code Thursday, July 24, 2014 1 pm - 2 pm - Room 30CDE

Dr. Wertham's War on Comics Friday, July 25, 2014 1 pm - 2 pm Room 30CDE

Tales from the Code-True Stories of Censorship Saturday, July 26, 2014 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm - Room 30CDE

Banned Comics! Saturday, July 26, 2014 1 pm - 2 pm - Room 30CDE

You Can't Draw That! Live Art Jam Sunday, July 27, 2014 12:15 pm - 1:45 pm - Room 5AB

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Researcher Finds Hidden Data-Dumping Services In iOS

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Trailrunner7 writes There are a number of undocumented and hidden features and services in Apple iOS that can be used to bypass the backup encryption on iOS devices and remove large amounts of users' personal data. Several of these features began as benign services but have evolved in recent years to become powerful tools for acquiring user data. Jonathan Zdziarski, a forensic scientist and researcher who has worked extensively with law enforcement and intelligence agencies, has spent quite a bit of time looking at the capabilities and services available in iOS for data acquisition and found that some of the services have no real reason to be on these devices and that several have the ability to bypass the iOS backup encryption. One of the services in iOS, called mobile file_relay, can be accessed remotely or through a USB connection can be used to bypass the backup encryption. If the device has not been rebooted since the last time the user entered the PIN, all of the data encrypted via data protection can be accessed, whether by an attacker or law enforcement, Zdziarski said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

HarperCollins, BitLit offer cheap eBooks of print books you already own

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Have a copy of Neil Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, but don’t want to haul a 900 page book around with you? Publisher HarperCollins now lets you buy an eBook edition for just a few bucks if you can prove that you already own a print copy of the book. It’s part of a pilot program that has […]

HarperCollins, BitLit offer cheap eBooks of print books you already own is a post from: Liliputing

UEA Research Shows Oceans Vital For Possibility of Alien Life

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An anonymous reader writes New research at the University of East Anglia finds that oceans are vital in the search for alien life. So far, computer simulations of habitable climates on other planets have focused on their atmospheres. But oceans play an equally vital role in moderating climates on planets and bringing stability to the climate, according to the study. From the press release: "The research team from UEA's schools of Mathematics and Environmental Sciences created a computer simulated pattern of ocean circulation on a hypothetical ocean-covered Earth-like planet. They looked at how different planetary rotation rates would impact heat transport with the presence of oceans taken into account. Prof David Stevens from UEA's school of Mathematics said: 'The number of planets being discovered outside our solar system is rapidly increasing. This research will help answer whether or not these planets could sustain alien life. We know that many planets are completely uninhabitable because they are either too close or too far from their sun. A planet's habitable zone is based on its distance from the sun and temperatures at which it is possible for the planet to have liquid water. But until now, most habitability models have neglected the impact of oceans on climate.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Verizon Boosts FiOS Uploads To Match Downloads

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An anonymous reader writes Verizon is boosting the upload speeds of nearly all its FiOS connections to match the download speeds, greatly shortening the time it takes to send videos and back up files online. All new subscribers will get "symmetrical" connections. If you previously were getting 15 Mbps down and 5 Mbps up, you'll be automatically upgraded for no extra cost to 15/15. Same goes if you were on their 50/25 plan: You'll now be upgraded to 50/50. And if you had 75/35? You guessed it: Now it'll be 75 down, and 75 up.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Buceo Profundo: Actualizaciones de los Principios Necesario y Proporcional

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El 10 de Julio marca un año desde que EFF y una coalición de cientos de expertos y activistas de DDHH pusieron los toques finales a los Principios Necesario y Proporcional.

Estos 13 Principios articulan cómo la ley internacional de los derechos humanos se debe aplicar a la vigilancia gubernamental. Los Principios han recibido desde entonces firme apoyo en todo el mundo, impulsados parcialmente por la indignación popular ante el espionaje de la NSA, el GCHQ y otras agencias de inteligencia remarcada en los documentos filtrados por el denunciante Edward Snowden. Activistas locales y nacionales de México a Corea del Sur y de Canadá a Brasil han utilizado los Principios para presionar por protecciones más fuertes contra la vigilancia digital gubernamental. Los hemos visto utilizarse en litigio, legislación, trabajo administrativo, campañas de promoción y más, y debatidas en ambos lugares de política regional e internacional.

Hoy en día, estamos publicando una versión actualizada de los Principios Necesario y Proporcional, incorporando la excelente retroalimentación que hemos recibido en el último año. La intención primordial de los cambios era clarificar el lenguaje para captar mejor la intención original y, en algunos lugares, simplificar el lenguaje y la estructura, eliminar posibles ambigüedades, limpiar la gramática, y reducir la redundancia. También hemos hecho una modificación de fondo en la sección "Notificación".

El grupo central de redacción del proyecto consistió en la Electronic Frontier Foundation, Privacy International, Access, Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy y la Clínica de Interés Público, y el Centro para Internet y Sociedad de la India, en consulta con Artícle 19, Open Net Corea, la Asociación para el Progreso de las Comunicaciones y otras organizaciones de todo el mundo.

A continuación resumimos los cambios que merecen atención:

Primer párrafo y en todo: Hemos añadido las "actividades, poderes o autoridades" a "leyes y reglamentos" para estar seguros de capturar todos los actos ejecutados por los gobiernos. Esto debería dejar ninguna duda de que los Principios alcanzan actividades como la vigilancia de la NSA realizado bajo la Orden Ejecutiva 12333

Primer párrafo: Hemos añadido la frase "clarificar" para describir la intención de los Principios de reforzar que estos mismos principios no están abogando por un cambio en el derecho y las normas internacionales de derechos humanos.

Nuestra postura, en lugar, va por su adecuada aplicación habida cuenta del contexto digital. La palabra "clarificar" es una construcción de uso común para indicar que ninguna nueva ley está siendo contemplada. También agregamos la expresión "derecho y las normas de derechos humanos" para dar cuenta de la gramática y la sintaxis correcta.

Preámbulo y en todo: Hemos añadido "y una serie de otros derechos humanos" aquí y de manera similar en otros lugares para tener claro que esto no es solamente sobre el derecho a la privacidad, sino también acerca de las libertades fundamentales como la libertad de asociación y de expresión. También esta frase indica que los principios no son acerca de todos los derechos humanos: ya que, por ejemplo, el derecho a la vida no se refiere a los Principios.

Ámbito de aplicación: Hemos añadido esta subsección para una mayor claridad y añadimos esta frase para explicar: "Los Principios y el Preámbulo son holísticos y autorreferenciales - cada principio y el preámbulo debe ser leída e interpretada como una parte de un marco más amplio que, tomados juntos, lograrán un objetivo singular: asegurar que las políticas y prácticas relacionadas con la vigilancia de las comunicaciones se adhieran a las obligaciones internacionales de derechos humanos y la adecuada protección de los derechos humanos individuales como la privacidad y la libertad de expresión ".

Ámbito de aplicación: Hemos tratado de aclarar el papel de las entidades del sector privacidad. "Las empresas privadas tienen la responsabilidad de respetar la privacidad individual y otros derechos humanos, en particular dado el papel fundamental que desempeñan en el diseño, desarrollo y difusión de tecnologías.; permitir y proporcionar comunicaciones; y en la facilitación de determinadas actividades de vigilancia del Estado".

Definición de información Protegida: movimos la definición de la parte inferior del párrafo a la parte superior, pero no cambió el contenido.

Primer párrafo del preámbulo: Para mayor claridad añadimos que la vigilancia de las comunicaciones "interfiere" con el derecho a la intimidad "entre una serie de otros derechos humanos" Como resultado de ello, "sólo puede" justificarse cuando es prescrita por la ley, es necesaria para lograr una finalidad legítima y proporcionada al objetivo perseguido.

Quinto párrafo de definiciones: Hemos añadido "o técnicas invasivas utilizadas para lograr la vigilancia las Comunicaciones" para aclarar que las técnicas, como la instalación de malware, pueden ser la base para determinar que algo es información protegida tanto como la capacidad de penetración o la naturaleza sistémica de la supervisión.

Proporcionalidad: Entendemos que esto puede ser percibido como un gran cambio, pero esperamos que no sea muy sustancial en el final. Debido a la confusión sobre el papel de las dos pruebas que los principios originales contenían, intentamos hacer una única prueba encarnando las dos previstas anteriormente, lo que permite tomar tanto a los delitos y las "amenazas específicas a un objetivo legítimo" como base para la vigilancia. Esto, enlaza de nuevo, provechosamente, la prueba al Principio del objetivo legítimo.

Autoridad Judicial Competente: Aclaramos que tiene que ser una autoridad judicial "independiente".

Notificación del usuario: Este es el otro cambio importante como respuesta a la retroalimentación. Una vez más, hemos intentado clarificar y simplificar esto y vincular cualquier retraso en la notificación al riesgo de que la finalidad de la vigilancia se pondría en peligro o si existe un peligro inminente para la vida humana. Hicimos eliminar la disposición que requiere un aviso al final de la vigilancia, pero también especificamos que dichas determinaciones deben ser realizados por autoridad judicial competente y que la notificación ha de suceder después de que haya pasado el peligro y que la decisión tiene que ser hecha por una autoridad judicial .

Transparencia: Hemos añadido un par de aclaraciones para exigir números "específicos", y no simplemente agregados. Los agregados no son lo suficientemente útiles para que el público entienda cómo se utilizan las autoridades de vigilancia.

Supervisión Pública: Podemos especificar que los mecanismos de supervisión deben tener la autoridad para tomar determinaciones públicas sobre la legalidad de la vigilancia de comunicación, incluyendo la medida en que se ajusten a estos Principios. Sin ser capaz de determinar si la práctica de vigilancia supervisada es en realidad legal, la supervisión puede llegar a ser irrelevante o ser vista como un saludo a la bandera.
Salvaguardias contra acceso Ilegítimo y derecho a un recurso eficaz: Se añade el "Derecho a un recurso eficaz" en la sección de recursos, para desencadenar el derecho en el propio título.

Breve historia: Por último, se añadió una breve historia de la evolución de los 13 Principios al final del texto para explicar la historia de la iniciativa y la consulta final, que se realizó para determinar y aclarar problemas textuales y actualización de los Principios en consecuencia. El efecto y la intención de los Principios no han sido alterados por estos cambios.

Related Issues: InternationalState Surveillance & Human Rights
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Deep Dive: Updates to the Necessary and Proportionate Principles

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July 10 marks one year since EFF and a coalition of hundreds of experts and human rights activists put the finishing touches on the Necessary and Proportionate Principles.

These 13 Principles articulate how international human rights law should be applied to government surveillance. The Principles have since received strong support across the globe, fueled in part by the popular outrage over spying by the NSA, GCHQ and other intelligence agencies highlighted in documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden. National and local activists from Mexico to South Korea to Canada to Brazil have used the Principles to push for stronger protections against governmental digital surveillance. We’ve seen them used in litigation, legislation, administrative work, advocacy campaigns and more, and debated in both regional and international policy venues.   

Today, we are publishing an updated version of the Necessary and Proportionate Principles, incorporating the terrific feedback we have received over the past year. The overriding intention of the changes was to clarify the language to better capture the original intent and, in some places, simplify the language and the structure, remove possible ambiguities, clean up grammar, and reduce redundancy. We have also made one substantive change to the "Notification" section.

The core drafting group for the  project consisted of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Privacy International, Access, Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, and the Center for Internet and Society-India, in consultation with Article 19, Open Net Korea, the Association for Progressive Communications and other organizations around the world.

Below we summarize the changes that merit attention:

First paragraph and throughout: We added “activities, powers, or authorities” to "laws and regulations" to be sure to capture all acts done by governments. This should leave no doubt that the Principles reach activities such as NSA surveillance conducted under Executive Order 12333

First paragraph: We  added the phrase "clarify” to describe the Principles' intent to reinforce that these principles are not advocating for a change in international human rights law and standards. We argue instead for their proper application given the digital context. The word “clarify” is a common construction to denote that no new law is being contemplated. We also added the formulation “human rights law and standards” to account for proper grammar and syntax.

Preamble and throughout: We added "and a number of other human rights" here and similarly elsewhere to be clear that this is not only about the right to privacy but also about fundamental freedoms such as the freedoms of association and expression. Also this phrase signals that the Principles are not about all human rights: since, for example, the right to life doesn’t relate to the Principles.

Scope of application: We added this subsection for clarity and added this sentence to explain: "The Principles and the Preamble are holistic and self-referential – each principle and the preamble should be read and interpreted as one part of a larger framework that, taken together, accomplish a singular goal: ensuring that policies and practices related to Communications Surveillance adhere to international human rights obligations and adequately protect individual human rights such as privacy and freedom of expression."

Scope of application: We felt it was important to point out that national security and intelligence fall within the ambit of the Principles, as well as all other governmental functions:  "...including, enforcing law, protecting national security, gathering intelligence, or another governmental function."

Scope of application: We sought to clarify the role of privacy sector entities. “Business enterprises bear responsibility for respecting individual privacy and other human rights, particularly given the key role they play in designing, developing, and disseminating technologies; enabling and providing communications; and in facilitating certain State surveillance activities.”

Protected information definition:  We moved the definition from the bottom of the paragraph to the top but did not change the content.

First paragraph of preamble:  For clarity we added that communications surveillance “interferes” with the right to privacy “among a number of other human rights.” As a result, it “may only” be justified when it is prescribed by law, necessary to achieve a legitimate aim, and proportionate to the aim pursued.

Fifth paragraph of definitions:  We added "or invasive techniques used to accomplish Communications Surveillance" to clarify that techniques, like installation of malware, can be the basis for determining that something is protected information as much as the pervasiveness or systemic nature of the monitoring.

Proportionality:  We understand that this might be perceived as a big change, but hopefully not very substantive in the end. Because of confusion about the role of the two tests that the original principles contained, we tried to make one test embody both of the tests provided before, allowing for both crimes and "specific threats to a Legitimate Aim" as a basis for surveillance. This also helpfully ties the test back to the Principle of Legitimate Aim.

Competent Judicial Authority: We clarified that it has to be an "independent" judicial authority.

User Notification: This is the other big change in response to feedback.  Again, we  attempted to clarify and simplify this and to tie any delay in notice to whether or not the purpose for the surveillance would be jeopardized or if there is an imminent danger to human life. We did eliminate the provision that required notice at the end of the surveillance, but we also specified that these determinations must be made by Competent Judicial Authority and that notice must happen after the risk has passed and that the decision has to be made by a judicial authority as well.

Transparency: We added a couple of clarifications to require "specific" numbers, not just aggregates. Aggregates are not sufficiently helpful to allow the public to understand how surveillance authorities are being used.

Public Oversight: We specify that oversight mechanisms should have the authority to make public determinations as to the lawfulness of its communication surveillance, including the extent to which they comply with these Principles. Without being able to determine whether the overseen surveillance practice are actually lawful, oversight may become irrelevant or be seen as a rubber stamp.

Safeguards Against Illegitimate Access and Right to Effective Remedy: We added the “Right to Effective Remedy” In the remedies section, to trigger the right in the title itself.

Brief history: Finally, we added a short history of the development of the 13 Principles at the end of the text to explain the history of the initiative and the final consultation, which was conducted to ascertain and clarify textual problems and update the Principles accordingly. The effect and the intention of the Principles has not been altered by these changes.

Related Issues: InternationalState Surveillance & Human Rights
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Intel updates Bay Trail, Haswell chip families for low-power portables

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Intel is updating its notebook chip family with a number of slightly faster Haswell and Bay Trail processors including 7 new chips aimed at relatively low-power portable notebooks or 2-in-1 systems. There are 4 new Bay Trail chips which use 7.5W or less, and 3 new 28W Haswell ULV (ultra low voltage) chips for higher-performance […]

Intel updates Bay Trail, Haswell chip families for low-power portables is a post from: Liliputing

Stop Sneaky Online Tracking with EFF's Privacy Badger

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Add-On for Firefox and Chrome Prevents Spying by Ads, Social Widgets, and Hidden Trackers

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has released a beta version of Privacy Badger, a browser extension for Firefox and Chrome that detects and blocks online advertising and other embedded content that tracks you without your permission.

Privacy Badger was launched in an alpha version less than three months ago, and already more than 150,000 users have installed the extension. Today's beta release includes a feature that automatically limits the tracking function of social media widgets, like the Facebook "Like" button, replacing them with a stand-in version that allows you to "like" something but prevents the social media tool from tracking your reading habits.

"Widgets that say 'Like this page on Facebook' or 'Tweet this' often allow those companies to see what webpages you are visiting, even if you never click the widget's button," said EFF Technology Projects Director Peter Eckersley. "The Privacy Badger alpha would detect that, and block those widgets outright. But now Privacy Badger's beta version has gotten smarter: it can block the tracking while still giving you the option to see and click on those buttons if you so choose."

EFF created Privacy Badger to fight intrusive and objectionable practices in the online advertising industry. Merely visiting a website with certain kinds of embedded images, scripts, or advertising can open the door to a third-party tracker, which can then collect a record of the page you are visiting and merge that with a database of what you did beforehand and afterward. If Privacy Badger spots a tracker following you without your permission, it will either block all content from that tracker or screen out the tracking cookies.

Privacy Badger is one way that Internet users can fight the decision that many companies have made to ignore Do Not Track requests, the universal Web tracking opt-out you can enable in your browser. Privacy Badger enforces users' preferences whether these companies respect your Do Not Track choice or not. Advertisers and other third-party domains that are blocked in Privacy Badger can unblock themselves by making a formal commitment to respect their users' Do Not Track requests.

"Users who install Privacy Badger aren't just getting more privacy and a better browsing experience for themselves—they are providing incentives for improved privacy practices and respect for Do Not Track choices across the Internet," said Eckersely. "Using Privacy Badger helps to make the Web as a whole better for everyone."

EFF wishes to thank Professor Franziska Roesner at the University of Washington for exceptional work in enhancing Privacy Badger's widget-handling algorithms.

To install the beta version of Privacy Badger:


Peter Eckersley
   Technology Projects Director
   Electronic Frontier Foundation

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Method Rapidly Reconstructs Animal's Development Cell By Cell

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An anonymous reader writes Researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Research Campus have developed software that can track each and every cell in a developing embryo. The software will allow a researcher to pick out a single cell at any point in development and trace its life backward and forward during the embryo's growth. Philipp Keller, a group leader at Janelia says: "We want to reconstruct the elemental building plan of animals, tracking each cell from very early development until late stages, so that we know everything that has happened in terms of cell movement and cell division. In particular, we want to understand how the nervous system forms. Ultimately, we would like to collect the developmental history of every cell in the nervous system and link that information to the cell's final function. For this purpose, we need to be able to follow individual cells on a fairly large scale and over a long period of time."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Why My LG Optimus Cellphone Is Worse Than It's Supposed To Be

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Bennett Haselton writes My LG Optimus F3Q was the lowest-end phone in the T-Mobile store, but a cheap phone is supposed to suck in specific ways that make you want to upgrade to a better model. This one is plagued with software bugs that have nothing to do with the cheap hardware, and thus lower one's confidence in the whole product line. Similar to the suckiness of the Stratosphere and Stratosphere 2 that I was subjected to before this one, the phone's shortcomings actually raise more interesting questions — about why the free-market system rewards companies for pulling off miracles at the hardware level, but not for fixing software bugs that should be easy to catch. Read below to see what Bennett has to say.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Deals of the Day (7-21-2014)

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There was a time when an ultrabook with a 13.3 inch, full HD touchscreen display, an Intel Core i5-4200U Haswell processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage would carry a price tag of around $1000. Today you can pick one up for just $580. Sure, it’s a refurbished model, but that’s still a pretty […]

Deals of the Day (7-21-2014) is a post from: Liliputing

China Has More People Going Online With a Mobile Device Than a PC

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An anonymous reader points out that even though China's internet adoption rate is the lowest it's been in 8 years, the number of people surfing the net from a mobile device has never been higher. "The number of China's internet users going online with a mobile device — such as a smartphone or tablet — has overtaken those doing so with a personal computer (PC) for the first time, said the official China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) on Monday. China's total number of internet users crept up 2.3 percent to 632 million by the end of June, from 618 million at the end of 2013, said CNNIC's internet development statistics report. Of those, 527 million — or 83 percent — went online via mobile. Those doing so with a PC made up 81 percent the total. China is the largest smartphone market in the world, and by 2018 is likely to account for nearly one-third of the expected 1.8 billion smartphones shipped that year, according to data firm IDC.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

New Toyota Helps You Yell At the Kids

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An anonymous reader writes If you're tired of yelling at the kids without the help of technology, Toyota has a van for you. From the article: "The latest version of the company's Sienna minivan has a feature called 'Driver Easy Speak.' It uses a built-in microphone to amplify a parent's voice through speakers in the back seats. Toyota says it added Easy Speak 'so parents don't have to shout to passengers in the back.' But chances are many parents will yell into the microphone anyway. And the feature only works one way, so the kids can't talk back. At least not with amplified voices. The feature is an option on the 2015 Sienna, which is being refreshed with a totally new interior. It also has an optional 'pull-down conversation mirror' that lets drivers check on kids without turning around."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Sony Xperia Z2 now available in the US (just as the Z3 rumor mill winds up)

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The Sony Xperia Z2 is a 5.2 inch Android smartphone with a waterproof case, a 20.7MP camera, and 3GB of RAM. First unveiled in February, the Z2 is now available for purchase in the United States. You can pick up a carrier unlocked Sony Xperia Z2 from the Sony store for $700. But as always, […]

Sony Xperia Z2 now available in the US (just as the Z3 rumor mill winds up) is a post from: Liliputing

New York Judge OKs Warrant To Search Entire Gmail Account

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jfruh writes While several U.S. judges have refused overly broad warrants that sought to grant police access to a suspects complete Gmail account, a federal judge in New York State OK'd such an order this week. Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein argued that a search of this type was no more invasive than the long-established practice of granting a warrant to copy and search the entire contents of a hard drive, and that alternatives, like asking Google employees to locate messages based on narrowly tailored criteria, risked excluding information that trained investigators could locate.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

California In the Running For Tesla Gigafactory

Slashdot -

An anonymous reader writes Thanks to some clean-energy tax incentives approved late this spring, California appears to be in the running again for Tesla's "Gigafactory". From the article: "The decision should have been made by now, and ground broken, according to the company's timeline, but is on hold, allowing California, which was not in the race initially — CEO Elon Musk has called California an improbable choice, citing regulations — to throw its hat in the ring. 'In terms of viability, California has progressed. Now it's a four-plus-one race,' said Simon Sproule, Tesla's vice president of global communication and marketing, referring to the four named finalists — Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada — for the prize. That's heartening. Having the Gigafactory would be a vindication of Gov. Jerry Brown's drive to make California the home of advanced manufacturing, of which Tesla's battery technology is a prime example. With its technology, 'Tesla may be in position to disrupt industries well beyond the realm of traditional auto manufacturing. It's not just cars,' a Morgan Stanley analyst told Quartz, an online business publication last year.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Solar-powered Raspberry Pi school

Raspberry Pi -

I heard about plans for a new Indiegogo fundraiser last week. It launches today, and it really deserves your attention. (And, dare I say it, some of your money.)

Seventy-seven percent of schools in South Africa don’t have any computers – and 40% don’t even have access to electricity. United Twenty-13, a South African non-profit organisation, is looking to bootstrap a new model of solar-powered school computer lab, with the intent of scaling and reproducing the lab all over South Africa.

Taskeen Adam, one of the founders, says: “The fact that you are reading this online means that you already have more computer knowledge than the average South African public school student.” It’s a situation she and her colleagues at United Twenty-13 are making serious efforts to change, with the help of a certain small, affordable, low-power computer.

They’ve already raised sufficient funds for the lab design, for teacher training and for a prefabricated building to house it all in. But they’re looking for additional money to buy hardware (all the software they’re using is open source) – not just the Raspberry Pis and accompanying peripherals, but the expensive solar panels too.

Projects like this, democratising access to computing and access to information, are key in making improvements to local and national economies; and they’re key in empowering and changing the lives of the young people who are exposed to them. We wish the Solar Powered Raspberry Pi School project all the success in the world – you can donate to the project at their Indiegogo. If you’d like a full project brief before you consider donating, you can find that too at


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