Hugh Pickens writes "The LA Times reports that some of the nation's top aviators are refusing to fly the radar-evading F-22 Raptor, a fighter jet with ongoing problems with the oxygen systems that have plagued the fleet for four years. 'We are generally aware of a small number of pilots who have expressed reservations about flying the F-22, and each of those cases will be handled individually through established processes,' says Maj. Brandon Lingle, an Air Force spokesman. Concern about the safety of the F-22 has grown in recent months as reports about problems with its oxygen systems have offered no clear explanations why there have been 11 incidents in which F-22 pilots reported hypoxia-like symptoms. 'Obviously it's a very sensitive thing because we are trying to ensure that the community fully understands all that we're doing to try to get to a solution,' says Gen. Mike Hostage, commander of Air Combat Command. Meanwhile Sen. John McCain says that the jets, which the Air Force call the future of American air dominance, are a waste of their $79 billion price tag and serve no role in today's combat environment. 'There is no purpose, no mission in Afghanistan or Iraq, unless you believe that al Qaeda is going to have a fleet of aircraft,' says McCain, a former combat pilot himself. '[The F-22] has not flown a single combat mission... I don't think the F-22 will ever be seen in the combat it was designed to counter, because that threat is no longer in existence.'"
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
symbolset writes "The first Aakash tablet proposed for India schools has failed. Datawind managed to deliver the $45 Android tablet as reported here previously, but suffering a breach in faith by both their contract manufacturer and the accepting agency in India had to put the project on hold. Facing a loss in revenue it's turning into a disaster for the small Canadian company as they are now proving unable to deliver both the Aakash tablet and the parallel retail product. Senior executives have begun to flee. The company has presold a great many tablets, and delivery failure reports are beginning to mount. Is this the Phantom console of this decade?"
theodp writes "Over at The Daily Beast, Dan Lyons says Resumegate is overblown and says it's time to stop picking on Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson. Even without the circa-1979 CS degree some incorrectly thought he possessed, Lyons argues that Thompson is still perfectly capable, his critics have ulterior motives, and his competitors have all lied before. 'Forgive me for being less than shocked at the idea of a CEO lying,' writes Lyons. 'Steve Jobs [college dropout] used to lie all the time, and he's apparently the greatest CEO who ever lived. Google lied about taking money from Canadian pharmacies to run illegal drug ads, but finally had to come clean and pay $500 million in fines to settle the charges. Mark Zuckerberg [college dropout] last fall settled charges brought by the FTC that his company had made "unfair and deceptive" claims—I think that's like lying—and, what's more, had violated federal laws.' So what makes the fudging of a 30-year old accomplishment on the Yahoo CEO's resume a transgression that the 'highly ethical and honest folks in Silicon Valley' simply cannot bear? 'Facebook is a cool kid,' explains Lyons. 'So is Apple. Yahoo is the loser kid that nobody likes.'"
Hentes writes "The internet has made many things easier, but unfortunately this also includes crime: it seems that nowadays not even people wanting to know their future are safe from fraud. Two fortune tellers are being investigated, after the Romanian police uncovered that they have utilized some extraordinary help in their clairvoyant acts. The pair used information collected from internet search and social networks to gain the trust of their customers, claiming that they could see their personal data through their crystal ball. In some cases, they also used high-tech surveillance techniques such as hidden cameras and phone tapping. But they didn't stop at merely spying on their victims: their most bizarre case involved a scuba diver dressed as a monster." Nice to know that internet-based fraud isn't limited to motivational speakers with real-estate seminars and other get-rich-quick flim-flam.
suraj.sun writes "Bloomberg is reporting on Google's negotiation with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over 'how big a fine, which could amount to more than $10 million, it will have to pay for its breach of Apple's Safari browser. The fine would be the first by the FTC for a violation of Internet privacy as the agency steps up enforcement of the Web.' Last year, Google agreed to a settlement in which the FTC would monitor Google's privacy practices for an extended period of time. 'The 20-year settlement bars Google from misrepresenting how it handles user information and requires the company to follow policies that protect consumer data in new products.' This February, Google was found to be bypassing privacy controls in Safari by making the browser think a user was submitting a form, when they actually weren't. '(The code used by Google was part of its program to place the "+1" button in advertisements.) At the time, the company issued a statement saying that the circumvention wasn't intentional, but privacy groups were still quick to file complaints with the FTC over Google's actions. That was quickly followed by a class-action lawsuit and an investigation by European regulators.'"
jfruh writes "Even as an EU court rules that APIs can't be copyrighted, tech observers are waiting for the Oracle v. Google trial jury to rule on the same question under U.S. law. Blogger Brian Proffitt spoke with Groklaw's Pamela Jones on the issue, and her take is that a victory for Oracle would be bad news for developers. Essentially, Oracle is claiming that, while an individual API might not be copyrightable, the collection of APIs needed to use a language is. Such a decision would, among other things, make Java's open source nature essentially meaningless, and would have lots of implications for any programming language you can name."
ananyo writes "The head of NASA Ames Research Center may have fallen victim to restrictive arms regulations — just as a US government report recommends changing them to help the space industry. Simon 'Pete' Worden, who recently announced that Mars exploration would be done by private companies, has been accused of giving foreign citizens access to information that falls under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). ITAR has hampered U.S. firms seeking to export satellite technology. The allegations against Worden come just as the new report recommends moving oversight of many commercial satellites and related activities from the State department to the Commerce department, and some fear they could provide lawmakers with reasons to not ease export controls."
MrSeb writes "Back in the olden days, when WiFi and Bluetooth were just a glimmer in the eye of IEEE, another short-range wireless communications technology ruled supreme: Infrared Data Association, or IrDA for short. IrDA was awful; early versions were only capable of kilobit-per-second speeds, and only over a distance of a few feet. Trying to get my laptop and mobile phone to link up via IrDA was, to date, one of the worst tech experiences I've ever had. There's a lot to be said for light-based communications, though. For a start, visible (and invisible) light has a frequency of between 400 and 800THz (800 and 375nm), which is unlicensed spectrum worldwide. Second, in cases where you really don't want radio interference, such as hospitals, airplanes, and other sensitive environments, visible light communication (VLC), or free-space optical communication, is really rather desirable. Now researchers at the National Taipei University of Technology in Taiwan have transmitted data using lasers — not high-powered, laboratory-dwelling lasers; handheld, AAA-battery laser pointers. A red and green laser pointer were used, each transmitting a stream of data at 500Mbps, which is then multiplexed at the receiver for a grand total of 1Gbps."
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "Mozilla has taken a public stand against the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, saying that it has a 'broad and alarming reach' that 'infringes on our privacy.' That makes it the first major tech firm to speak out against CISPA. Facebook, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, Oracle and Symantec are all included among the companies that support the bill, which passed the House late last month and is now being considered in the Senate. Google has so far declined to take a stand supporting or opposing the bill."
suraj.sun writes with more fallout from Comcast's bandwidth caps that give preference to their own video services. From the article: "An executive from Sony said Monday that concerns about Comcast's discriminatory data cap are giving the firm second thoughts about launching an Internet video service, that would compete with cable and satellite TV services. In March,Comcast announced that video streamed to the Xbox from Comcast's own video service would be exempted from the cable giant's 250 GB monthly bandwidth cap. 'These guys have the pipe and the bandwidth,' he said. 'If they start capping things, it gets difficult.' Sony isn't the first Comcast rival to complain about the bandwidth cap. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has also blasted Comcast's discriminatory bandwidth cap as a violation of network neutrality. Comcast controls more than 20 percent of the residential broadband market, which means that Comcast effectively controls access to one-fifth of any American Internet video service's potential customers."
angry tapir writes "The U.S. Department of the Interior has picked Google Apps to provide cloud-based email and collaboration applications to about 90,000 staffers, choosing Google's services over Microsoft's Office 365. Google had sued the U.S. agency in 2010, claiming its requirements for the contract tilted the scales unfairly toward Microsoft. Google eventually dropped its lawsuit last September."
An anonymous reader writes "MIT's The Tech published an article with technical details behind the Tetris hack they did on the Green Building earlier this year. The article includes photographs of the LED modules, as well as a link to some of the source code used in the hack. The hackers have released some of the source code on GitHub, and are looking for people to contribute code that could run on the system."
arcite writes "Research in Motion Ltd's new CEO, Thorsten Heins, unveiled BlackBerry 10 in Florida today. Will new features such as a virtual keyboard that learns from typing behavior and a camera that easily focuses on faces be enough to scrape back precious market share (which could possibly fall to 5%) from the likes of Apple and Android? With no physical device yet revealed and a release date ranging anywhere from August to October, it will be an uphill battle." Engadget had some brief hands-on time with a dev Alpha. It seems RIM is trying to jumpstart app development through its App Generator and financial incentives.
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1sockchuck writes "Apple's North Carolina data center will tap landfills for biogas, which will then be converted into electricity using fuel cells from Bloom Energy. The 24 'Bloom boxes' will have a capacity of 4.8 megawatts of power, and along with a large solar array, will provide Apple with a significant on-site generation of sustainable energy. Microsoft is also developing biogas-powered data plants where modular data centers will be housed near water treatment plants and landfills. GigaOm has a useful primer on biogas in data centers, as well as video of the new higher capacity Bloom boxes that will support Apple's server farm."