Stirling Newberry writes "The New York Times reports: 'In the first public accounting of its kind, cellphone carriers reported that they responded to a daunting 1.3 million demands for subscriber data last year from law enforcement agencies seeking text messages, caller locations and other information in the course of investigations.' One stinging statistic: AT&T responds to an average of 700 requests per day, and turns down only 18 per week. Sprint gets 500,000 requests per year. While many requests are backed by court orders, most are not. Some include 'dumps' of tower data, which captures everyone near by at a certain time."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
glitch0 writes "Internet Explorer used to be the most prevalent browser with a market share that peaked at 88% in March of 2003. Now they're down to almost 15% due to stiff competition from Google, Mozilla, and even Apple. What implications does this have for the future of Microsoft?"
mikejuk writes "Although the TIOBE Index has its shortcomings, the finding that Objective-C has overtaken C++ is reiterated in the open source Transparent Language Popularity Index. The reason is, of course, that Objective-C is the language you have to use to create iOS applications — and as iPads and iPhones have risen in popularity, so has Objective-C. If you look at the raw charts then you can see that C++ has been in decline since about 2005 and Objective-C has shot up to overtake it with amazing growth. But the two charts are on different scales: if you plot both on the same chart, you can see that rather than rocketing up, Objective-C has just crawled its way past, and it is as much to do with the decline of C++. It simply hasn't reached the popularity of C++ in its heyday before 2005. However the real story is that C, a raw machine independent assembler-like language, with no pretense to be object oriented or sophisticated, has beaten all three of the object oriented heavy weights — Java, C++ and Objective C. Yes C is number one (and a close second in the transparent index)."
MarkWhittington writes "A deal is in the works to establish a corporate headquarters in Midland, Texas for XCOR, a commercial space company that is developing a suborbital space tourism vehicle, the Lynx. The deal will likely also involve certifying Midland International Air Port as a space port so that the Lynx can operate there. XCOR is characterizing the move as an expansion as it still intends to maintain operations at the Mojave Spaceport in California."
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at the University of Maryland analyzing meticulous data collected by Danish authorities have identified a positive correlation between suicides among women with infection with the fairly common parasite T. gondii. Carriers were 53 percent more likely to commit suicide in a sample of 45,000 Danish women monitored for over a decade (researchers believe that the same correlation likely exists for men). Increased susceptibility to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder was also discovered. The physiological mechanism has not been determined, although some speculation centers around changes to dopamine levels. Two intriguing aspects were noted: 1) human infection often (but not always) begins by exposure to cats carrying the parasite, for example, by changing an infected animal's litter; and 2) the parasite spreads itself by infecting the nervous system of rodents, causing them to become suicidally attracted to feline odors which will increase the likelihood of their hosts being eaten by cats, whose digestive tracts provide the preferred environment for parasite reproduction."
bs0d3 writes "In regards to the new 'voluntary' graduated response deal (where no one really knows how ISPs will track and accuse customers of copyright infringement), according to CNN, it may be the ISP directly spying on their customers. 'But now that they're free from individual blame, there's also the strong possibility that the ISPs will be doing the data monitoring directly. That's a much bigger deal. So instead of reaching out to the Internet to track down illegally flowing bits of their movies, the studios will sit back while ISP's "sniff" the packets of data coming to and from their customers' computers.' This could be a problem for people who use U.S.-based internet services. If the U.S. wants to be an internet savvy country, they still need the competition in the marketplace that's always been missing, and a digital bill of rights that isn't a sneaky anti-piracy measure."
Apple and many other tech companies have offered benefits to same-sex couples (and sometimes made them a sticking point) for quite some time now, but Google is taking its position of inclusion for sexual minorities outside the company itself; the company has announced an international campaign to promote legal marriage equality for same-sex couples, called "Legalize Love." According to CNN's version of the story, while this represents Google's policies overall, the campaign will at first "focus on countries like Singapore, where certain homosexual activities are illegal, and Poland, which has no legal recognition of same-sex couples." dot429 quotes Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe of Google, speaking in London Saturday at a summit where the initiative was announced: "We want our employees who are gay or lesbian or transgender to have the same experience outside the office as they do in the office. It is obviously a very ambitious piece of work." Also at CNET.
Hugh Pickens writes "Ben Fractenberg and Jeff Mays write that the NYPD has created a 'wanted' poster for a Harlem couple who film cops conducting stop-and-frisks and post the videos on YouTube — branding them 'professional agitators' who portray cops in a bad light and listing their home address. The flyer featuring side-by-side mugshots of Matthew Swaye and Christina Gonzalez and the couple's home address was taped to a podium outside a public hearing room in the 30th Precinct house and warns officers to be on guard against them. The couple has filmed officers stopping and frisking and arresting young people of color in Harlem and around New York City, which they post on Gonzalez's YouTube account. They said their actions are legal. 'There have been times when it's gotten combative. There have been times when they [police officers] have videoed Christina,' says Swaye. 'But if we were breaking the law they would have arrested us.' Swaye was part of a group of advocates including Cornel West who were detained at the 28th Precinct in Harlem in October for protesting the stop-and-frisk policy which Mayor Bloomberg strongly defends. "
After reports that South Korean had "surrendered to creationists" by removing references to evolution in several textbooks, openfrog writes with this excerpt from Science Insider that indicates the fight is still in progress: "The South Korean government is poised to appoint a new committee that will revisit a controversial plan to drop two examples of evolutionary theory from high school textbooks. The committee, to be led by insect taxonomist Byoung-Hoon Lee, a member of the Korean Academy of Science and Technology, has been asked to re-evaluate requests from a Korean creationist group to drop references to bird and horse evolution that they argue promote 'atheist materialism.' At the same time, about 50 prominent Korean scientists are preparing to present government officials with a petition, organized by the Korean Association of Biological Sciences, which calls for rejecting the proposed changes. 'When these things are done, I think it will turn out that after all Korean science will not surrender to religion' says Jae Choe, an evolutionary biologist at Ewha Womans University in Seoul who helped organize the petition."
LoudMusic writes "One of the many tasks of a network administrator is documenting the network so that other members of the administration and support teams can find devices on the network. Currently my organization uses Excel spreadsheets to handle this, and it's invariably error ridden. We also save a new file with the date in the name each time an update is made. I'd like to move this to a more intelligent database system, but the driving force for keeping it in spreadsheets is the ability to take the document offline, edit it, then upload this new revision to the file server when we have a connection again. Our clients often don't have reliable internet connections, especially when we're tearing their network apart and rebuilding it. The information we're currently documenting about an individual device are: device name, device model, description, IP address, MAC address, physical location, uplink switch & port, and VLAN. What tools exist that would allow us to have multiple users make updates both online and offline simultaneously, and synchronize changes into both the online and offline copies?"
SchrodingerZ writes "Since 1985, scientists have been trying to determine how Buckyballs (scientifically named Buckminsterfullerene) are created. They are molecules with the formula C60 (a fullerene) that forms a hexagonal sphere of interlocking carbon atoms. 'But how these often highly symmetric, beautiful molecules with extremely fascinating properties form in the first place has been a mystery.' For over three decades the creation of these molecules have baffled the scientific community. Recently researchers at Florida State University, in cooperation with MagLab, have looked deeper into the creation process and determined their origin. It was already known the the process for buckyball creation was under highly energetic conditions over an instant, 'We started with a paste of pre-existing fullerene molecules mixed with carbon and helium, shot it with a laser, and instead of destroying the fullerenes we were surprised to find they'd actually grown.' The fullerenes were able to absorb and incorporate carbon from the surrounding gas. This study will help to illuminate the path towards carbon nanotechnology and extraterrestrial environmental studies, due to buckyball's abundance in extrasolar clouds."
New submitter Doctor_Jest links to a recent I, Cringely column, in which Cringely "is speculating how the world will look when the 'Post-PC' era is in full swing." He makes the case that in just a few upgrade cycles, extensible phones and other devices, coupled with remotely stored data, could replace most of today's conventional PCs — but also admits he thought this transition would have already happened.
tsamsoniw writes "A mid-year salary survey has a mix of good and bad news for IT professionals: The good news, hiring is slowly increasing as companies bring more IT operations back in house and salaries are creeping up a bit. But compensation (including benefits) are just now reaching 2008 levels — and hiring will remain soft, at least until the presidential election is over."
sciencehabit writes "A team of researchers has found a way to forecast the intensity of solar storms by monitoring neutron sensors at the South Pole. The approach could help give advanced warning to astronauts and satellites, which would otherwise be irradiated and fried, respectively. Smaller versions of these sensors could one day be standard equipment on interplanetary spacecraft."
Rambo Tribble writes "The BBC is reporting that the worldwide, tangled mess of IP litigation has come to the attention of the UN's International Telecommunication Union. The agency has announced it will be holding talks aimed at reducing this massive drag on the digital economy. Good luck."