An anonymous reader writes "Checking a Twitter, Facebook or email account for updates may be more tempting than alcohol and cigarettes, according to researchers who tried to measure how well people regulate their daily desires. Researchers also found that while sleep and sex may be stronger urges than certain drug addictions, people are more likely to give in to their addiction to use social or other types of media."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
Hugh Pickens writes "Space.com reports that an online petition directed at the USPS and its Citizen Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) hopes to collect 100,000 signatures or more by March 13, the 82nd anniversary of the announcement of Pluto's discovery as the New Horizons robotic spacecraft gets closer to flyby Pluto and its moons in 2015. 'This is a chance for us all to celebrate what American space exploration can achieve though hard work, technical excellence, the spirit of scientific inquiry, and the uniquely human drive to explore,' reads the petition. Whether or not the New Horizons team is successful in getting the USPS to honor their spacecraft's mission, the probe will have delivered a stamp to Pluto. New Horizons includes nine stowaways including one of the 1991 'Not Yet Explored' Pluto stamps together with other mementos including a Florida quarter, a small container with an ounce of the ashes of Clyde Tombaugh, discoverer of Pluto, and a small segment of 2004 Ansari X Prize winner SpaceShipOne, the first privately-funded crewed spacecraft. 'Why nine mementos? I bet you can guess,' says Dr. Alan Stern, New Horizons' Principal Investigator adding why he wanted to send one of the Pluto stamps on the mission. 'Pluto may not have been explored when that stamp set came out, but we were going to conquer that,' says Stern. 'I wanted to fly it as a sort of 'in your face' thing.'"
An anonymous reader writes "'Some people remember Sealab as being a classified program, but it was trying not to be,' says Ben Hellwarth, author of the new book Sealab: America's Forgotten Quest to Live and Work on the Ocean Floor, which aims to 'bring some long overdue attention to the marine version of the space program.' In the 1960s, the media largely ignored the efforts of America's aquanauts, who revolutionized deep-sea diving and paved the way for the underwater construction work being done today on offshore oil platforms. It didn't help that the public didn't understand the challenges of saturation diving; in a comical exchange a telephone operator initially refuses to connect a call between President Johnson and Aquanaut Scott Carpenter, (who sounded like a cartoon character, thanks to the helium atmosphere in his pressurized living quarters). But in spite of being remembered as a failure, the final incarnation of Sealab did provide cover for a very successful Cold War spy program."
An anonymous reader writes "Google is at daggers end with a law firm it's been using since 2008, after discovering that lawyers in the law firm, named Pepper Hamilton LLP, were representing a patent licensing business that sued Google's Android partners last month. Google has claimed that Pepper Hamilton LLP never provided notice that it was hired by Digitude Innovations LLC, the firm that filed patent infringement complaints against Google's business allies."
An anonymous reader writes "The U.S. Election Assistance Commission is sponsoring an online, open innovation challenge to search for creative answers to the question: 'How might we design an accessible election experience for everyone?' The goal is to develop ideas for how to make elections more accessible to everyone, especially people with disabilities."
New submitter KA.7210 writes "I am an employed mechanical engineer, having worked with the same company since graduation from college 5 years ago. I am looking to increase my credentials by taking more engineering courses, potentially towards a certificate or a full master's degree. Going to school full time is not an option, and there is only one engineering school near me that offers a program that resembles what I wish to study, and also has the courses at night. Therefore, I have begun to look at online options, and it appears there are many legitimate, recognizable schools offering advanced courses in my area of interest. My question to Slashdot readers out there is: how do employers view degrees/advanced credentials obtained online, when compared to the more typical in-person education? Does anyone have specific experience with this situation? The eventual degree itself will have no indication that it was obtained online, but simple inference will show that it was not likely I maintained my employment on the east coast while attending school in-person on the west coast. I wish to invest my time wisely, and hope that some readers out there have experience with this issue!"
wiredmikey writes "A hacker who tried to land an IT job at Marriott by hacking into the company's computer systems, and then unwisely extorting the company into hiring him, has been sentenced to 30 months in prison. The hacker started his malicious quest to land a job at Marriott by sending an email to Marriott containing documents taken after hacking into Marriott servers to prove his claim. He then threatened to reveal confidential information he obtained if Marriott did not give him a job in the company's IT department. He was granted a job interview, but little did he know, Marriott worked with the U.S. Secret Service to create a fictitious Marriott employee for use by the Secret Service in an undercover operation to communicate with the hacker. He then was flown in for a face-to-face 'interview' where he admitted more and shared details of how he hacked in. He was then arrested and he pleaded guilty back in November 2011. Marriott claims the incident cost the company between $400,000 and $1 million in salaries, consultant expenses and other costs."
sciencehabit writes "Petroleum geologists have long used air guns in their search for oil and gas deposits. Sudden blasts from the devices generate seismic waves that they use to map underground rock formations. Could the same technique be used to study earthquakes? A team of Chinese scientists thinks so. The researchers have designed an air gun that could be useful in monitoring changes in stress buildup along fault zones."
tsu doh nimh writes "Two months after authorities shut down a massive Internet traffic hijacking scheme, the malicious software that powered the criminal network is still running on computers at half of the Fortune 500 companies, and on PCs at nearly 50 percent of all federal government agencies. Internet Identity, a Tacoma, Wash. company that sells security services, found evidence of at least one DNSChanger infection in computers at half of all Fortune 500 firms, and 27 out of 55 major government entities. Computers still infected with DNSChanger are up against a countdown clock. As part of the DNSChanger botnet takedown, the feds secured a court order to replace the Trojan's DNS infrastructure with surrogate, legitimate DNS servers. But those servers are only allowed to operate until March 8, 2012. Unless the court extends that order, any computers still infected with DNSChanger may no longer be able to browse the Web. The FBI is currently debating whether to extend the deadline or let it expire."
alphadogg writes "Former FCC chairman Reed Hundt made waves when he called the House spectrum auction legislation 'the single worst telecom bill' he's seen. The legislation, which would severely restrict the FCC's ability to place conditions on spectrum auctions, is seen as a non-starter in the Senate where a bipartisan group of senators including John Kerry (D — Mass.) and Jerry Moran (R — Kan.) have signaled strong opposition to the House approach to authorizing spectrum auctions. In this interview, Hundt outlines his major objections to the House bill and describes what he would do differently to make more spectrum available."
First time accepted submitter creativeHavoc writes "Forbes author Tomio Geron takes a look at data accrued by mobile app monitoring startup Crittercism. After looking at normalized data of crashes over the various mobile operating system versions he compares crash rates of apps on the two platforms. He also breaks it down further to look how the top apps compare across the competing mobile operating systems. The results may not be what you expect."
Hugh Pickens writes "Ken Gaebler discusses a new way of hiring called 'employment simulations,' which are gaining popularity among high-tech firms that are seeking data from prospective employees that you can't get from sit-down interviews. In a typical employment simulation, candidates participate in online 'video games' that leverage simulation software to determine how well candidates perform in actual job situations. 'There are no questions about your former work experience and office habits. There's simply a computer game. If you win, you get the job. If you lose, game over.' As one example, call centers are very amenable to simulations because the work environment (a series of computer programs and databases) is relatively easy to replicate and the tasks that make up job performance are easy to measure (data entry speed and accuracy, customer service, multitasking, etc). Other employment simulation programs have been written for healthcare, insurance, retail sales, financial services, hospitality and travel, manufacturing and automotive, and telecom and utilities. But skeptics say employment simulators and other computer-based hiring models have some drawbacks. 'Like any technology, the effectiveness of employment simulations is limited to the quality of the software and its accessibility to users,' says Gaebler."
An anonymous reader writes "Google has just made some interesting changes to their developer pages. As of today, all of the documentation, source code, and firmware images pertaining to CDMA Android devices (including the Verizon Galaxy Nexus) have been removed. A statement from Google explains that the proprietary software required to make these devices fully functional got in the way of Android's open source nature, so CDMA devices are no longer supported as developer hardware. What does this mean for the Galaxy Nexus, which is only available as CDMA in the U.S.?"
An anonymous reader writes "The NY Times recently ran a story on the discovery of a cache of wax cylinder records, recorded in Europe in the 1880s, of Otto von Bismarck, Helmuth von Moltke, and various musicians. 'In June 1889, Edison sent Wangemann to Europe, initially to ensure that the phonograph at the Paris World’s Fair remained in working order. After Paris, Wangemann toured his native Germany, recording musical artists and often visiting the homes of prominent members of society who were fascinated with the talking machine. Until now, the only available recording from Wangemann’s European trip has been a well-known and well-worn cylinder of Brahms playing an excerpt from his first Hungarian Dance. That recording is so damaged "that many listeners can scarcely discern the sound of a piano, which has in turn tarnished the reputations of both Wangemann and the Edison phonograph of the late 1880s," Dr. Feaster said. "These newly unearthed examples vindicate both."'"
An anonymous reader writes "While America had offered the F-16, F-18 and now the stealth F-35 fighter, India picked for its new multi-role attack jet a low cost, older French plane. Why? For one, it's cheaper, and two, if American/Indian relations go bad, can they get the parts and equipment to keep the planes in the air? It seems prudence beat out the latest in technology."