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The Almighty Buck

Cuban Talks Trash At Intel Extreme Masters, Drops $30K of F-Bombs For Charity ( 53

MojoKid writes: Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban isn't known for holding his tongue, even when their are fines involved. If you thought that might change in the eSports arena, you'd be mistaken. The billionaire trash talker dropped a couple of f-bombs at the Intel Extreme Masters tournament in San Jose this past weekend, and he'll have to pay tens of thousands of dollars for doing so. Not that he minds. In fact, after being informed on stage during a post-match interview that he was was being fined $15,000 for dropping an f-bomb, and that the funds would go to charity, he promptly asked if he'd be hit with another one if he did it again. His intentional outburst meant that he'd be on the hook for $30,000, all of which will go to the Cybersmile Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides expert help and advice for cyberbullying victims and their families. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich also squared off on opposing teams in a game of League of Legends.

Controversy Over High-Tech Brooms Sweeps Through Sport of Curling 181 writes: Billy Witz reports at the NYT that the friendly sport of curling suddenly has become roiled in controversy over — what else? — the brooms. The crux of the debate is fabric — specifically, something called directional fabric. The use of this material in broom pads is the latest escalation in an arms race among manufacturers, whereby the world's best curlers can guide the 44-pound stone around a sheet of ice as if it were controlled by a joystick. Many of the sport's top athletes, but not all of them, signed an agreement last month not to use the newest brooms. But with few regulations on the books and Olympic qualifying tournaments underway this month, the World Curling Federation has stepped in and issued new rules that set severe restrictions on the types of brooms that can be used. "There's definitely some anger over it," says Dean Gemmell. "In curling, we're generally known for being pretty friendly with most of your opponents. Even at the big events, you see the top players hanging out. But it's sort of taken that away this year, that's for sure."

It was prototype brooms made by BalancePlus that were the focus of complaints at the Toronto tournament, but Scott Taylor, president of BalancePlus, says they were never intended for sale, and were meant to demonstrate the problems that the reversed fabrics could cause. Players say the brooms allowed sweepers to "steer" the rock much more than they were comfortable with, and even slow them down. The brooms have been compared to high-tech drivers that allow amateur golfers to hit the ball as far as a pro, or the advanced full-body swimsuits that were banned from competition in 2010 for providing an unfair advantage. Of his company's high-tech broom, Taylor says: "This isn't good. It's like hitting a golf ball 500 yards."

Grow Your Daily Protein At Home With an Edible Insect Desktop Hive 381 writes: Fast Coexist reports on the Edible Insect Desktop Hive, a kitchen gadget designed to raise mealworms (beetle larva), a food that has the protein content of beef without the environmental footprint. The hive can grow between 200 and 500 grams of mealworms a week, enough to replace traditional meat in four or five dishes. The hive comes with a starter kit of "microlivestock," and controls the climate inside so the bugs have the right amount of fresh air and the right temperature to thrive. If you push a button, the mealworms pop out in a harvest drawer that chills them. You're supposed to pop them in the freezer, then fry them up or mix them into soup, smoothies, or bug-filled burgers. "Insects give us the opportunity to grow on small spaces, with few resources," says designer Katharina Unger, founder of Livin Farms, the company making the new home farming gadget. "A pig cannot easily be raised on your balcony, insects can. With their benefits, insects are one part of the solution to make currently inefficient industrial-scale production of meat obsolete."

Of course, that assumes people will be willing to eat them. Unger thinks bugs just need a little rebranding to succeed, and points out that other foods have overcome bad reputations in the past. "Even the potato, that is now a staple food, was once considered ugly and was given to pigs," says Unger adding that sushi, raw fish, and tofu were once considered obscure products. "Food is about perception and cultural associations. Within only a short time and the right measures, it can be rebranded. . . . Growing insects in our hive at home is our first measure to make insects a healthy and sustainable food for everyone."

Google Car Pulled Over For Driving Too Slow, Doesn't Get a Ticket ( 350

New submitter slickwillie writes: A Google self-driving car was pulled over for going too slow. A photo uploaded to Facebook by Zandr Milewski shows one of Google's self-driving cars being pulled over by a Mountain View, California police officer. On on its Self-Driving Car Project page on Google+ the team wrote: "We’ve capped the speed of our prototype vehicles at 25mph for safety reasons. We want them to feel friendly and approachable, rather than zooming scarily through neighborhood streets. The Mountain View Police Department also commented on the traffic stop in a blog post saying in part: "...The officer stopped the car and made contact with the operators to learn more about how the car was choosing speeds along certain roadways and to educate the operators about impeding traffic per 22400(a) of the California Vehicle Code. The Google self-driving cars operate under the Neighborhood Electric Vehicle Definition per 385.5 of the California Vehicle Code and can only be operated on roadways with speed limits at or under 35 mph. In this case, it was lawful for the car to be traveling on the street as El Camino Real is rated at 35 mph."
The Internet

Same Birthday, Same Social Security Number, Same Mess For Two Florida Women ( 214

itwbennett writes: After 25 years, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has fessed up to giving two Florida women who shared a name and a birthday the same social security number. The women only recently discovered that they shared an SSN, but not before having trouble getting loans and having tax returns rejected. You might think that the SSA would catch something like this, but as it turns out, they are prohibited from trying to verify the legitimate owner of an SSN, except in rare cases, says Ken Meiser, VP of identity solutions at ID Analytics, provider of credit and fraud risk solutions. And the problem isn't as rare as you might think (except for the part about two women with the same name born on the same day in the same state). According to a 2010 study by ID Analytics, some 40 million SSNs are associated with multiple people.

Head of Indonesia's Anti-Drug Agency Proposes Using Crocodiles To Guard Prisons 83 writes: BBC reports that Budi Waseso, the head of Indonesia's anti-drugs agency has proposed building a prison island guarded by crocodiles to house death-row drug convicts and says crocodiles make better guards than humans — because they cannot be bribed. "We will place as many crocodiles as we can there," says Waseso. "You can't bribe crocodiles. You can't convince them to let inmates escape." Waseso says only traffickers would be kept in the jail, to stop them from mixing with other prisoners and potentially recruiting them to drug gangs. The plan, reminiscent of James Bond's "Live and Let Die" movie escape, is still in the early stages, and neither the location or potential opening date of the jail have been decided. Anti-drugs agency spokesman Slamet Pribadi confirmed authorities were mulling the plan to build "a special prison for death row convicts" Indonesia already has some of the toughest anti-narcotics laws in the world, including death by firing squad for traffickers, and sparked international uproar in April when it put to death seven foreign drug convicts, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Despite the harsh laws, Indonesia's corrupt prison system is awash with drugs, and inmates and jail officials are regularly arrested for narcotics offences.
The Internet

The Internet Falls For Rumblr, a Fake "Tinder For Fighting" App 135 writes: Caitlin Dewey writes at the Washington Post that Rumblr, a "Tinder for fighting," promises to bring fight club straight to your smartphone that lets users schedule consensual, recreational fights with local strangers for free. "Rumblr is an app for recreational fighters to find, meet and fight other brawl enthusiasts nearby," according the app's website. It encourages users to insult their matched opponents with this pro-tip: "tell your match what you don't like about their picture." Reported by the likes of Venture Beat, Business Insider, New York magazine, and the New York Daily News, there's only one problem: There's no way that the app is real. In fact, it looks far more likely that we are being trolled by a couple of precocious teenagers. Let's start with the app's most obvious problem: its questionable legality. If you're "throwing down" and seriously injure your opponent — or, God forbid, he dies — you cannot claim self-defense and you could be charged with crimes ranging from misdemeanor assault to homicide. If Rumblr's creators are found to have encouraged or aided an assault, they could be guilty of criminal facilitation in the fourth degree — a class A misdemeanor. They could certainly be sued in civil court by injured users or their families. "Our bet? Rumblr is a marketing stunt, a prank or (best case!) an unsubtle parody," concludes Dewy. "Part of me is scared it will turn out to be real, of course. Not for my sake, but for humanity's."
The Almighty Buck

A Scientist Is Selling the Right To Name His Newly-Discovered Moth On eBay ( 60

sarahnaomi writes: An entomologist has decided to use eBay to auction off the naming rights for a newly-discovered species of moth. When a new species is discovered, the honor of naming it goes to whoever found it. However, Eric H. Metzler, an entomologist from the Wedge Entomological Foundation, decided to ask Western National Parks Association—who funded some of his research—to start an online auction and take the proceeds. “It’s getting harder and harder to get funding to do this research because it’s not seen as a priority in the way it used to be, even though it’s fundamental to our understanding of biodiversity,” says Paolo Viscardi, a curator at University College London’s Grant Museum. “Any mechanism where you can raise more funds to continue your work is taken—so I guess [auctioning of the naming rights] is another way to fund your research.”

Bank's Severance Deal Requires IT Workers To Be Available For Two Years ( 602

dcblogs points out this story at Computerworld about a severance agreement that requires laid-off IT employees to be available to help out for two years. The article reads in part: "SunTrust Banks in Atlanta is laying off about 100 IT workers as it moves work offshore. But this layoff is unusual for what it is asking of the soon-to-be displaced workers: The bank's severance agreement requires terminated employees to remain available for two years to provide help if needed, including in-person assistance, and to do so without compensation. Many of the affected IT employees, who are now training their replacements, have years of experience and provide the highest levels of technical support. The proof of their ability may be in the severance requirement, which gives the bank a way to tap their expertise long after their departure. The bank's severance includes a 'continuing cooperation' clause for a period of two years, where the employee agrees to 'make myself reasonably available' to SunTrust 'regarding matters in which I have been involved in the course of my employment with SunTrust and/or about which I have knowledge as a result of my employment at SunTrust.'"

A Remarkable Number of People Think 'The Martian' Is Based On a True Story ( 367

MarkWhittington writes: The Martian is a smash hit movie that made $100 million worldwide during its first weekend. The science and engineering depicted was, with certain notable exceptions, near perfect. The cinematography and special effects were so well done that one could almost imagine that Ridley Scott sent Matt Damon and a film crew to Mars to shoot the movie. In fact, perhaps the film was a little too good. Buzzfeed took a stroll through social media and discovered that many people think that The Martian is based on a true story.

How Someone Acquired the Domain Name For a Single Minute 70

An anonymous reader writes with the story of how Sanmay Ved bought "" even though it only lasted a minute. BGR reports:We've all been there: It's nearly 2 in the morning and you're cruising around the Internet looking for new domain names to purchase. I mean, talk about a cliched night, right? Now imagine that during the course of your domain browsing, you unexpectedly discover that the holy grail of domain names — — is available for purchase for the low, low price of just $12. Testing fate, you attempt to initiate a transaction. Dare I say, you're feeling a little bit lucky. And just like that, in the blink of an eye, the transaction goes through and the vaunted and the highly valuable Google domain is in your possession. While this might read like a ridiculous plot summary from some horrible piece of nerd fiction, this series of events above, believe it or not, actually happened to former Googler Sanmay Ved earlier this week.

Australian Workplace Tribunal Rules Facebook Unfriending Constitutes "Bullying" 208

An anonymous reader writes: Unfriending employees on Facebook and not saying good morning could constitute workplace bullying, an Australian workplace tribunal has ruled. Australia's Fair Work Commission decided that administrator Lisa Bird had bullied real estate agent Rachael Roberts after unfriending her from Facebook. The commission's deputy president Nicole Wells said the act showed a "lack of emotional maturity" and was "indicative of unreasonable behavior."
Star Wars Prequels

The Force Awakens With Devon's $28,500 Star Wars Limited Edition Watch 112

MojoKid writes: If the Force is strong in your bank account and you're looking for a new timepiece, luxury design firm Devon Works has come up with a limited edition watch that's perhaps more advanced than the Death Star. It's the new "Star Wars by Devon" co-branded watch with a patented system of interwoven "Time Belts" and hybrid electro-mechanical power. The watch is a celebration of Devon's fifth anniversary. It combines glass-reinforced nylon belts (same as used in the gauges on the original 747 aircraft) with multiple high-tech optical recognition cells, micro-step motors, and no less than 313 electrical contacts. Materials used in the construction of the Star Wars timepiece are sourced from an aerospace company located in California. Keeping true to the Star Wars franchise now owned by Disney, the watch incorporates elements of Darth Vader and the TIE Fighter. Only 500 of these watches are being made. If you want one of these timepieces, you'll need a $2,500 down payment towards its $28,500 retail price.

Plug In an Ethernet Cable, Take Your Datacenter Offline 150

New submitter jddj writes: The Next Web reports on a hilarious design failure built into Cisco's 3650 and 3850 Series switches, which TNW terms "A Network Engineer's Worst Nightmare". By plugging in a hooded Ethernet cable, you...well, you'll just have to see the picture and laugh. They write: "The cables, which are sometimes accidentally used in datacenters, feature a protective boot that sticks out over the top to ensure the release tab isn’t accidentally pressed or broken off, rendering the cable useless. That boot would hit the reset button which happened to be positioned directly above port one of the Cisco switch, which causes the device to quietly reset to factory settings."

How Calvin Klein's Obsession Is Helping Big Cat Conservation 48

StartsWithABang writes: It's no secret that cats of all sizes rub their mouths and faces on many surfaces they come in contact with, both to deposit and pick up scents. But a combination of ingredients in an unusual source — Calvin Klein's Obsession for men — seems to be irresistible to tigers, cheetahs, jaguars and more. The civetone and vanilla, in particular, not only drive captive animals wild, but have been used with great effectiveness in taking a census of and tracking jaguars in protected forests.

You Can Now Be "Buried" On the Moon 72

Dave Knott writes: Space burials are longer the stuff of science fiction (and wealthy science fiction TV show creators.) The cremated remains of more than 450 people have been shot into orbit. Yet, despite the promise of space being a unique "resting place," almost every tiny vial of remains ever sent there has come back down to Earth or burned up upon re-entry. This wouldn't have happened had the ashes landed on Earth's moon — a fact that hasn't been lost on the companies pioneering this futuristic funeral technology. The San Francisco-based company Elysium Space officially launched its 'lunar memorial' service earlier this month, and will soon be sending the remains of a U.S. Army Infantry Soldier's mother upwards as part of its first ever moon burial.

The company's website further explains how the lunar burials will work: "You receive a kit containing a custom ash capsule to collect a cremated remains sample. After we receive the ash capsule back from you, we place your capsule in the Elysium memorial spacecraft. The latter is eventually integrated to the Astrobotic lander during the designated integration event. From here, the lander is integrated onto the launch vehicle. On launch day, the remains are carried to the moon where the lander will be deployed to its dedicated location, preserving our memorial spacecraft for eternity." Because Elysium can only send a small portion of cremated remains to the moon (less than a gram), participants aren't actually paying to have their loved ones literally buried on the moon. However, this has not deterred the company from launching the service, charging $11,950 per "burial".

More Cities Use DNA To Catch Dog Owners Who Don't Pick Up Waste 177

dkatana writes: For many cities one of the biggest cleaning expenses is dealing with dog poop. While it is impossible to ask the birds to refrain from splattering the city, dogs have owners and those owners are responsible for disposing of their companion's waste. The few who shirk their duty create serious problems for the rest. Poop is not just a smelly inconvenience. It's unsanitary, extra work for cleaning crews, and in the words of one Spanish mayor, on a par with vandalism. Cities have tried everything from awareness campaigns with motorized poo videos, to publishing offenders names to mailing the waste back to the dog owner. In one case, after a 147 deliveries, dog waste incidents in the town dropped 70 percent. Those campaigns have had limited effect and after an initial decline in incidents, people go back to their old ways. Which has left many cities resorting to science and DNA identification of waste. Several European cities, including Naples and one borough in London, are building DNA registries of pets. Offending waste will then be tested and the cost of the analysis charged to the dog owner, along with a fine.
The Courts

Germany Says Taking Photos Of Food Infringes The Chef's Copyright 280

xPertCodert writes: According to this article in Der Welt (Google translate from German), in Germany if you take a picture of a dish in a restaurant without prior permission, you are violating chef's copyright for his creation and can be liable to pay a hefty fine. If this approach to foodporn will become universal, what will we put in our Instagrams? Techdirt reports: "Apparently, this situation goes back to a German court judgment from 2013, which widened copyright law to include the applied arts too. As a result, the threshold for copyrightability was lowered considerably, with the practical consequence that it was easier for chefs to sue those who posted photographs of their creations without permission. The Die Welt article notes that this ban can apply even to manifestly unartistic piles of food dumped unceremoniously on a plate if a restaurant owner puts up a notice refusing permission for photos to be taken of its food."

Microsoft Creates an AI That Can Spot a Joke In a New Yorker Cartoon 66

An anonymous reader writes: For over a decade Bob Mankoff, the cartoon editor at the New Yorker, and his assistants have gone through 5,000 cartoon entries for the magazine's caption contest each week. Needless to say, the burnout rate of his assistants is quite high, "The process of looking at 5,000 caption entries a week usually destroys their mind in about two years, and then I get a new one," Mankoff says. But now thanks to a collaboration with Microsoft, Bob may finally have found the perfect helper. Researchers have been working on an artificial intelligence project to teach a computer what's funny. Fortune reports: "Dafna Shahaf, a researcher at Microsoft, used the database of cartoons to train the program to understand commonalities and differences in the millions of cartoons, which lets the AI run through the entries the New Yorker receives each week for its back-of-magazine cartoon caption contest. About 55.8% of the time the humans agree with the captions the AI selects, which is a pretty good percentage."

North Korea Is Switching To a New Time Zone 236

jones_supa writes: North Korea has announced that it is winding its clocks back by half a hour to create a new "Pyongyang Time" — breaking from a time standard imposed by what it called "wicked Japanese imperialists" more than a century ago. The change will put the standard time in North Korea at UTC +8:30. North Korea said that the time change, approved on Wednesday by its rubber-stamp parliament and officially announced on Friday, would come into effect from August 15, which this year marks the 70th anniversary of the Korean peninsula's liberation from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule.