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Researchers Create 'Habitability Index' For Exoplanets - Wed Oct 7 02:18:15 2015

hypnosec writes: The Kepler Space Telescope has allowed astronomers to detect and catalog thousands of exoplanets and exoplanet candidates. With more powerful telescopes like the James Webb Space Telescope scheduled for launch, scientists will be able to check if any of these exoplanets are habitable. But these space telescopes are expensive to create, and access time is coveted. This means simply pointing telescopes to random exoplanets isn't a practical proposition. That's why researchers have created what they call a "habitability index for transiting planets," with which astronomers will be able to prioritize the use of space telescopes for finding habitable planets. Their paper is available at the arXiv.

DARPA Jolts the Nervous System With Electricity, Lasers, Sound Waves, and Magnets - Wed Oct 7 00:22:53 2015

the_newsbeagle writes: DARPA is sinking some cash into the buzzy new research field of "electroceuticals," which involves stimulating nerves to control the activity of organs or bodily systems. The newest techniques have little in common with electroshock therapy, which sends a strong current broadly through the brain tissue; today's cutting-edge methods can target individual neurons, and turn them "on" and "off" with great precision. Under DARPA's new ElectRx program, seven research teams will explore different ways to modulate activity of the peripheral nervous system. Some will stimulate neurons directly with electricity, while others will take more roundabout routes involving light, acoustics, and magnetic fields.

Why Is RAM Suddenly So Cheap? It Might Be Windows - Tue Oct 6 23:36:45 2015

jfruh writes: The average price of a 4GB DDR3 memory DIMM at the moment $18.50 — a price that's far lower than at this time last year. Why is it so cheap? The memory business tends to go in boom and bust cycles, but the free availability of Windows 10 means that fewer people are upgrading their PCs, reducing RAM demand. Analyst Avril Wu said, "Notebook shipments in the third quarter fall short of what is expected for a traditional peak season mainly because Windows 10 with its free upgrade plan negatively impacted replaced sales of notebooks to some extent rather than driving the demand for these products." And prices might stay low for another two years.

Getting More Women Coders Into Open Source - Tue Oct 6 22:53:01 2015

Nerval's Lobster writes: Diversity remains an issue in tech firms across the nation, with executives and project managers publicly upset over a lack of women in engineering and programming roles. While all that's happening on the corporate side, a handful of people and groups are trying to get more women involved in the open source community, like Women of OpenStack, Outreachy (which is geared toward people from underrepresented groups in free software), and others. How much effort should be expended to facilitate diversity among programmers? Can anything be done to shift the demographics, considering the issues that even large, coordinated companies have with altering the collective mix of their employees?

Larry Wall Unveils Perl 6.0.0 - Tue Oct 6 22:09:13 2015

An anonymous reader writes: Last night Larry Wall unveiled the first development release of Perl 6, joking that now a top priority was fixing bugs that could be mistaken for features. The new language features meta-programming — the ability to define new bits of syntax on your own to extend the language, and even new infix operators. Larry also previewed what one reviewer called "exotic and new" features, including the sequence operator and new control structures like "react" and "gather and take" lists. "We don't want their language to run out of steam," Larry told the audience. "It might be a 30- or 40-year language. I think it's good enough."

Ubuntu Plans To Make ZFS File-System Support Standard On Linux - Tue Oct 6 21:27:29 2015

An anonymous reader writes: Canonical's Mark Shuttleworth revealed today that they're planning to make ZFS standard on Ubuntu. They are planning to include ZFS file-system as "standard in due course," but no details were revealed beyond that. However, ZFS On Linux contributor Richard Yao has said they do plan on including it in their kernel for 16.04 LTS and the GPL vs. CDDL license worries aren't actually a problem. Many Linux users have been wanting ZFS on Linux, but aside from the out of tree module there hasn't been any luck in including it in the mainline kernel or with tier-one Linux distributions due to license differences.

Verizon Is Merging Its Cellphone Tracking Supercookie with AOL's Ad Tracking Network - Tue Oct 6 20:45:02 2015

schwit1 writes: ProPublica reports that Verizon is giving a new mission to its controversial hidden identifier that tracks users of mobile devices. Verizon said in a little-noticed announcement that it will soon begin sharing the profiles with AOL's ad network, which in turn monitors users across a large swath of the Internet. That means AOL's ad network will be able to match millions of Internet users to their real-world details gathered by Verizon, including — "your gender, age range and interests." AOL's network is on 40 percent of websites, including on ProPublica.

Porsche Chooses Apple Over Google Because Google Wants Too Much Data - Tue Oct 6 20:02:34 2015

countach44 writes: As reported in number 5 of this list from Motor Trend, Porsche went with Apple over Google for the infotainment system in its new 911. Apparently, Android Auto wants vehicle data (throttle position, speed, coolant temp, etc.) whereas Apple Play only needs to know if the car is in motion. Naturally, people are curious what Google, as a company building its own car, wants that data for.

Scandal Erupts In Unregulated Online World of Fantasy Sports - Tue Oct 6 19:19:56 2015 writes: Joe Drape and Jacqueline Williams report at the NYT that a major scandal is erupting in the multibillion-dollar industry of fantasy sports, the online and unregulated business in which an estimated 57 million people participate where players assemble their fantasy teams with real athletes. Two major fantasy sports companies were forced to release statements defending their businesses' integrity after what amounted to allegations of insider trading — that employees were placing bets using information not generally available to the public. "It is absolutely akin to insider trading. It gives that person a distinct edge in a contest," says Daniel Wallach. "It could imperil this nascent industry unless real, immediate and meaningful safeguards are put in place."

In FanDuel's $5 million "NFL Sunday Million" contest this week, DraftKings employee Ethan Haskell placed second and won $350,000 with his lineup that had a mix of big-name players owned by a high number of users. Haskell had access to DraftKings ownership data meaning that he may have seen which NFL players had been selected by DraftKings users, and by how many users. In light of this scandal, DraftKings and FanDuel have, for now, banned their employees from playing on each other's sites. Many in the highly regulated casino industry insist daily fantasy sports leagues are gambling sites and shouldn't be treated any differently than traditional sports betting. This would mean a high amount of regulation. Industry analyst Chris Grove says this may be a watershed moment for a sector that may need the legislation it has resisted in order to prove its legitimacy. "You have information that is valuable and should be tightly restricted," says Grove. "There are people outside of the company that place value on that information. Is there any internal controls? Any audit process? The inability of the industry to produce a clear and compelling answer to these questions to anyone's satisfaction is why it needs to be regulated."

Team Constructs Silicon 2-qubit Gate, Enabling Construction of Quantum Computers - Tue Oct 6 18:38:01 2015

monkeyzoo writes: A team at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney has made a crucial advance in quantum computing. Their advance, appearing in the journal Nature (abstract), demonstrated a two-qubit logic gate — the central building block of a quantum computer — and, significantly, did it in silicon. This makes the building of a quantum computer much more feasible, since it is based on the same manufacturing technology as today's computer industry. Until now, it had not been possible to make two quantum bits 'talk' to each other — and thereby create a logic gate — using silicon. But the UNSW team — working with Professor Kohei M. Itoh of Japan's Keio University — has done just that for the first time. The result means that all of the physical building blocks for a silicon-based quantum computer have now been successfully constructed, allowing engineers to finally begin the task of designing and building a functioning quantum computer.

Cold Fusion Rears Ugly Head With Claims of Deuterium-Powered Homes - Tue Oct 6 17:44:51 2015

szczys writes: Ah, who can forget the cold-fusion fiasco of the early 1990s? Promises of room-temperature fusion machines in every home providing nearly-free energy for all. Relive those glory days of hype with this report of Deuterium-Based Home Reactors. Elliot Williams does a good job of deflating the sensationalism by pointing out all of the "breakthroughs," their lack of having any other labs successfully verify the experiments, and the fact that many of the same players from the news stories in the '90s are once again wrapped up in this one. I'm still waiting for the neighborhood E-Cat to arrive ...

Worries Mount Over Upcoming LTE-U Deployments Hurting Wi-Fi - Tue Oct 6 17:02:08 2015

alphadogg writes: LTE-U is a technology developed by Qualcomm that lets a service provider broadcast and receive signals over unlicensed spectrum, which is usable by anybody – specifically, in this case, the spectrum used by Wi-Fi networks in both businesses and homes. By opening up this new spectrum, major U.S. wireless carriers hope to ease the load on the licensed frequencies they control and help their services keep up with demand. Unsurprisingly, several outside experiments that pitted standard LTE technology or 'simulated LTE-U' technology, in the case of one in-depth Google study, against Wi-Fi transmitters on the same frequencies found that LTE drastically reduced the throughput on the Wi-Fi connection.

Matthew Garrett Forks the Linux Kernel - Tue Oct 6 16:09:43 2015

jones_supa writes: Just like Sarah Sharp, Linux developer Matthew Garrett has gotten fed up with the unprofessional development culture surrounding the kernel. "I remember having to deal with interminable arguments over the naming of an interface because Linus has an undying hatred of BSD securelevel, or having my name forever associated with the deepthroating of Microsoft because Linus couldn't be bothered asking questions about the reasoning behind a design before trashing it," Garrett writes. He has chosen to go his own way, and has forked the Linux kernel and added patches that implement a BSD-style securelevel interface. Over time it is expected to pick up some of the power management code that Garrett is working on, and we shall see where it goes from there.

From Microsoft, HoloLens VR Dev Kit, New Phones, Continuum - Tue Oct 6 15:48:45 2015

Ars Technica and scads of other tech hardware sites are reporting that the big news so far from this morning's Microsoft product launch event in New York is that the company's Hololens development kit will begin shipping in the first quarter of next year, and at a price that puts the units out of the hands of typical consumers: $3000. At that level, developers are more likely to make the plunge, which Ars applauds.

The company also announced three new smartphones: two of them, the Lumia 950, 950XL, are worth designating "flagships," while the 550, notably, will sell for $139, putting it in the territory of cheap grey-market Android phones. More interesting than spec bumps, though, is Continuum for Windows, a Window 10 feature which made its official debut at the event. Continuum is one manifestation of the pocket-computer idea that others have had as well in various forms: it means that with an adapter, a phone can be used as the CPU and graphics engine when connected to a screen and keyboard: "The adapter features a Microsoft Display Dock, an HDMI and Display Port, plus 3 USB ports to provide productivity on the go and let you plug in additional peripherals, such as mice and keyboards. Other accessories can be connected too, Microsoft said."

Microsoft also demo'd the Surface 4 (with big screen improvements over the previous generations) and their curved fitness band; watch for more here soon.

From Microsoft, HoloLens VR Dev Kit, New Phones, Continuum - Tue Oct 6 15:33:42 2015

Ars Technica and scads of other tech hardware hardware sites are reporting that the big news so far from this morning's Microsoft product launch event in New York is that the company's Hololens development kit will begin shipping in the first quarter of next year, and at a price that puts the units out of the hands of typical consumers: $3000. At that level, developers are more likely to make the plunge, which Ars applauds.

The company also announced three new smartphones: two of them, the Lumia 950, 950XL, are worth designating "flagships," while the 550, notably, will sell for $139, putting it in the territory of cheap grey-market Android phones. More interesting than spec bumps, though, is Continuum for Windows, a Window 10 feature which made its official debut at the event. Continuum is one manifestation of the pocket-computer idea that others have had as well in various forms: it means that with an adapter, a phone can be used as the CPU and graphics engine when connected to a screen and keyboard: "The adapter features a Microsoft Display Dock, an HDMI and Display Port, plus 3 USB ports to provide productivity on the go and let you plug in additional peripherals, such as mice and keyboards. Other accessories can be connected too, Microsoft said."

Microsoft also demo'd the Surface 4 (with big screen improvements over the previous generations) and their curved fitness band; watch for more here soon.

International Exploit Kit Angler Thwarted By Cisco Security Team - Tue Oct 6 14:26:52 2015

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers at a Cisco security unit have successfully interrupted the spread of a massive international exploit kit which is commonly used in ransomware attacks. The scientists discovered that around 50% of computers infected with Angler were connecting with servers based at a Dallas facility, owned by provider Limestone Networks. Once informed, Limestone cut the servers from its network and handed over the data to the researchers who were able to recover Angler authentication protocols, information needed to disrupt future diffusion.

NY Times Passes 1M Digital Subscribers - Tue Oct 6 13:44:04 2015 writes: Many news organizations, facing competition from digital outlets, have sharply reduced the size of their newsrooms and their investment in news gathering but less than four-and-a-half years after launching its pay model the NY Times has increased coverage as it announced that the Times has passed one million digital-only subscribers, giving them far more than any other news organization in the world. The Times still employs as many reporters as it did 15 years ago — and its ranks now include graphics editors, developers, video journalists and other digital innovators. "It's a tribute to the hard work and innovation of our marketing, product and technology teams and the continued excellence of our journalism," says CEO Mark Thompson.

According to Ken Doctor the takeaway from the Times success is that readers reward elite global journalism. The Wall Street Journal is close behind the Times, at 900,000, while the FT's digital subscription number stands at 520,000. "These solid numbers form bedrock for the future. For news companies, being national now means being global, and being global means enjoying unprecedented reach," says Doctor. "These audiences of a half-million and more portend more reader revenue to come."

Neutrino 'Flip' Discovery Earns Nobel For Japanese, Canadian Researchers - Tue Oct 6 13:10:10 2015

Dave Knott writes with news that the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics has been awarded to Takaaki Kajita (of the University of Tokyo in Japan) and Arthur McDonald (of Queens University in Canada), for discovering how neutrinos switch between different "flavours." As the linked BBC article explains: In 1998, Prof Kajita's team reported that neutrinos they had caught, bouncing out of collisions in the Earth's atmosphere, had switched identity: they were a different "flavour" from what those collisions must have released. Then in 2001, the group led by Prof McDonald announced that the neutrinos they were detecting in Ontario, which started out in the Sun, had also "flipped" from their expected identity. This discovery of the particle's wobbly identity had crucial implications. It explained why neutrino detections had not matched the predicted quantities — and it meant that the baffling particles must have a mass. This contradicted the Standard Model of particle physics and changed calculations about the nature of the Universe, including its eternal expansion.

EU Court of Justice Declares US-EU Data Transfer Pact Invalid - Tue Oct 6 12:44:39 2015

Sique writes: Europe's highest court ruled on Tuesday that a widely used international agreement for moving people's digital data between the European Union and the United States was invalid. The decision, by the European Court of Justice, throws into doubt how global technology giants like Facebook and Google can collect, manage and analyze online information from their millions of users in the 28-member bloc. The court decreed that the data-transfer agreement was invalid as of Tuesday's ruling. New submitter nava68 adds links to coverage at the Telegraph; also at TechWeek Europe. From TechWeek Europe's article: The ruling was the court’s final decision in a data-protection case brought by 27-year-old Austrian law student Max Schrems against the Irish data protection commissioner. That case, in turn, was spurred by Schrems’ concerns over the collection of his personal data by Facebook, whose European headquarters is in Ireland, and the possibility that the data was being handed over to US intelligence services.

EU Court of Justice Declares US-EU Data Transfer Pact Invalid - Tue Oct 6 12:28:00 2015

Sique writes: Europe's highest court ruled on Tuesday that a widely used international agreement for moving people's digital data between the European Union and the United States was invalid. The decision, by the European Court of Justice, throws into doubt how global technology giants like Facebook and Google can collect, manage and analyze online information from their millions of users in the 28-member bloc. The court decreed that the data-transfer agreement was invalid as of Tuesday's ruling. New submitter nava68 adds links to coverage at the Telegraph; also at TechWeek Europe.

Software Defined Smart Battery Arrays Extend Laptop Life - Tue Oct 6 11:40:54 2015

An anonymous reader writes: A Microsoft research paper, titled 'Software Defined Batteries', outlines a radical charging alternative which uses a smart battery system to keep consumer-grade gadgets going for much longer than the current norm, by monitoring user habits. Making use of existing technologies, the engineers place multiple battery control under the duties of the operating system to create a software-defined approach optimized for different scenarios, such as word processing, email or video streaming.

Disproving the Mythical Man-Month With DevOps - Tue Oct 6 09:45:09 2015

StewBeans writes: The Mythical Man-Month is a 40-year old theory on software development that many believe still holds true today. It states: "A project that requires five team members to work for five months cannot be completed by a twenty-five person team in one month." Basically, adding manpower to a development project counterintuitively lowers productivity because it increases complexity. Citing the 2015 State of DevOps Report, Anders Wallgren from Electric Cloud says that microservices architecture is proving this decades-old theory wrong, but that there is still some hesitation among IT decision makers. He points out three rookie mistakes to avoid for IT organizations just starting to dip their toes into agile methodologies.

EFF Joins Nameless Coalition and Demands Facebook Kills Its Real Names Policy - Tue Oct 6 07:06:00 2015

Mark Wilson writes: Facebook has seen heavy criticism for its real names (or 'authentic identities' as they are known to the social network) policy. Over the last year, all manner of rights groups and advocates have tried to convince Facebook to allow users to drop their real name in favor of a pseudonym if they want. Now the Electronic Frontier Foundation is part of the 74-member strong Nameless Coalition and has written to Facebook demanding a rethink on the ground of safety, privacy, and equality. This is far from being the first time Facebook has been called on to allow the use of 'fake names', and the latest letter is signed by LGBT groups, freedom advocates, privacy supporters, and feminist organizations.

London Mayor Boris Johnson Condemns Random Uber Pick-Ups - Tue Oct 6 04:38:01 2015

An anonymous reader writes: The mayor of London Boris Johnson has written a column in the Daily Telegraph condemning the way that Uber drivers in the UK capital can effectively circumvent black cabs' legal monopoly on being hailed by random passengers. Whilst supporting the principle of free enterprise, Johnson has no solution to the legal quandary, except to hobble Uber's business model in an absurdly Luddite move, or else level the playing field and condemn the well-outfitted but expensive black cab trade to extinction. Johnson is reluctant to ask such a thing of Parliament, noting that many people there don't 'have apps'.

Space Travel For the 1%: Virgin Galactic's $250,000 Tickets Haunt New Mexico Town - Tue Oct 6 02:09:22 2015

The Real Dr John writes: The Guardian has an article about Virgin Galactic's proposed launch site, Spaceport America, which broke ground in southern New Mexico's high desert in 2009 with almost a quarter of a billion dollars from taxpayers, $76m of which came from the two local counties. Truth or Consequences, population 6,000 and home to the Spaceport America Visitor Center, is one of the poorest places in the state. The increased taxes, adopted across impoverished Sierra County, contributed to about $5m as of 2014. Since 2009, state school budgets have been cut and an estimated $26m in necessary repairs to the town's water system has been put on hold. There's no more money to pay for it. The average annual income of residents is just $15,000 per year, one third of residents live below the poverty line, and just 20% over the age of 25 have obtained a bachelor's degree.

What Effect Will VW's Scandal Have On Robocars? - Tue Oct 6 00:23:02 2015

pRobotika writes: It's looking bad for Volkswagen, German car manufacturers and possibly even car manufacturers as a whole. But the revelations that VW put software in their cars to deliberately cheat on emissions tests could have even greater repercussions. Robocars' Brad Templeton looks at the effect for manufacturers of autonomous vehicles. From the Robohub article: "There may be more risk from suppliers of technology for robocars. Sensor manufacturers, for instance, may be untruthful about their abilities or, more likely, reliability. While the integrators will be inherently distrustful, as they will take the liability, one can see smaller vendors telling lies if they see it as the only way to get a big sale for their business."

Study Finds Humans Are Worse Than Radiation For Chernobyl Animals - Mon Oct 5 23:40:48 2015

derekmead writes: A study published today in Current Biology shows that wildlife in the Chernobyl exclusion zone is actually more abundant than it was before the disaster. According to the authors, led by Portsmouth University professor of environmental science Jim Smith, the recovery is due to the removal of the single biggest pressure on wildlife—humans. "The wildlife at Chernobyl is very likely better than it was before the accident, not because radiation is good for animals, but because human occupation is much worse,” Portsmouth University professor of environmental science Jim Smith says. “We were trying to emphasize that this study is a remarkable illustration of an obvious, but important message,” he said. “It is ordinary human habitation and use (farming, forestry, hunting) of land which does most ecological damage.”

DNA Vaccine Sterilizes Mice, Could Lead To One-Shot Birth Control For Cats, Dogs - Mon Oct 5 22:58:01 2015

sciencehabit writes: Animal birth control could soon be just a shot away. A new injection makes male and female mice infertile by tricking their muscles into producing hormone-blocking antibodies. If the approach works in dogs and cats, researchers say, it could be used to neuter and spay pets and to control reproduction in feral animal populations. A similar approach could one day spur the development of long-term birth control options for humans.

What Non-Geeks Hate About the Big Bang Theory - Mon Oct 5 22:14:46 2015

v3rgEz writes: It has been said that there is a lot to dislike about the Big Bang Theory, from the typical geek's point of view: It plays in stereotypes of geekdom for cheap laughs, makes non-sensical gags, and has a laugh track in 2015. But what does the rest of America (well, the part of America not making it the number one show on television) think? FCC complaints recently released accuse the show of everything from animal cruelty to subliminal messaging, demanding that the sitcom be ripped from the airwaves lest it ruin America. The full complaints for your reading pleasure.

Ask Slashdot: What Is Your Most Awesome Hardware Hack? - Mon Oct 5 21:32:32 2015

An anonymous reader writes: Another Slashdotter once asked what kind of things someone can power with an external USB battery. I have a followup along those lines: what kind of modifications have you made to your gadgets to do things that they were never meant to do? Consider old routers, cell phones, monitors, etc. that have absolutely no use or value anymore in their intended form. What can you do with them? Have you ever done something stupid and damaged your electronics?

Linux Kernel Dev Sarah Sharp Quits, Citing 'Brutal' Communications Style - Mon Oct 5 21:11:36 2015

JG0LD writes: A prominent Linux kernel developer announced today in a blog post that she would step down from her direct work in the kernel community. “My current work on userspace graphics enabling may require me to send an occasional quirks kernel patch, but I know I will spend at least a day dreading the potential toxic background radiation of interacting with the kernel community before I send anything,” Sharp wrote. Back in July, 2013 Sarah made a push to make the Linux Kernel Development Mailing List a more civil place.

Linux Kernel Dev Sarah Sharp Quits, Citing 'Brutal' Communications Style - Mon Oct 5 20:47:58 2015

JG0LD writes: A prominent Linux kernel developer announced today in a blog post that she would step down from her direct work in the kernel community. “My current work on userspace graphics enabling may require me to send an occasional quirks kernel patch, but I know I will spend at least a day dreading the potential toxic background radiation of interacting with the kernel community before I send anything,” Sharp wrote. Back in July Sarah made a push to make the Linux Kernel Development Mailing List a more civil place.

CodeWeavers To Release CrossOver For Android To Run Windows Programs - Mon Oct 5 20:04:11 2015

An anonymous reader writes: For the better part of three years there has been talk about running Wine on Android to bring Windows x86 programs to Android phones/tablets, and it's going to become a reality. CodeWeavers is planning to release CrossOver For Android before the end of the year. This will allow native Windows binaries to run on Android, but will be limited to Android-x86 due to struggles in emulating x86 Windows code on ARM. The tech preview will be free and once published the open-source patches will be published for Wine.

On-Chip Liquid Cooling Permits Smaller Devices With No Heatsinks Or Fans - Mon Oct 5 19:18:58 2015

An anonymous reader writes: DARPA-funded research into on-chip liquid cooling has resulted in a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) liquid-cooled device that can operate at 24 degrees Celsius, versus 60 degrees Celsius for an equivalent air-cooled device. The cooling fluid resides only nanometers from the heat it must address, and operates so efficiently as to offer potential to stack CPUs and GPUs using copper columns, as well as dispensing with heat-sinks and fan systems. With those components removed, the system can facilitate far more compact designs than are currently feasible.

Twitter Shuts Down JSON API and Names New CEO - Mon Oct 5 18:36:36 2015

An anonymous reader writes: This month Twitter is closing down the JSON endpoint API which thousands of third-party software and plugin developers have depended upon for years. The alternative Rest API offers data which is aggregated or limited in other ways, whilst the full-featured share data offered by Gnip (purchased last year by Twitter) can cost developers thousands per month to access — in one case up to £20,000 a month. The general objective seems to be to either drive users back to the core Twitter interface where they can be monetized via the social network's advertising, or to regain lost advertising by converting open source data — currently utilized a lot in scientific research — into premium information, offering the possibility for well-funded organizations to gain reputations as Twitter barometers without ever needing to expose the expensive, accurate share figures. The company also announced today that co-founder Jack Dorsey would be the new CEO.

Sensor Network Makes Life Easier For Japan's Aging Rice Farmers - Mon Oct 5 17:54:33 2015

szczys writes: The average age of Japan's rice farmers is 65-70 years old. The work is difficult and even small changes to the way things are done can have a profound impact on these lives. The flooded paddies where the rice is grown must maintain a consistent water level, which means farmers must regularly traverse the terraced fields to check many different paddies. A simple sensor board is changing this, letting farmers check their fields by phone instead of in person.

This might not sound like much, but reducing the number of times someone needs to walk the fields has a big effect on the man-hours spent on each crop. The system, called TechRice, is inexpensive and the nodes recharge batteries from a solar cell. The data is aggregated on the Internet and can be presented as a webpage, a text-message interface, or any other reporting scheme imaginable by utilizing the API of the Open Source software. This is a testament to the power we have as small groups of engineers to improve the world.

Nissan Creates the Ultimate Distracted Driving Machine - Mon Oct 5 16:40:00 2015

jfruh writes: More and more research is suggesting that it isn't safe to text or even talk on our phones hands-free while driving, but one brave car company is pushing full-speed in the other direction. Nissan has created a concept car in which every surface, including the entire dashboard and even the seats, is a display device. The car is the result of "extensive" surveys with the younger generation that came to the conclusion that, according to Nissan, young people "feel that time spent in a car should be time for connecting and sharing experiences with friends."

B612 Foundation Loses Partnership With NASA; Asteroids Not a Significant Risk - Mon Oct 5 15:57:27 2015

StartsWithABang writes: Yes, asteroids might be humanity's undoing in the worst-case scenario. It's how the dinosaurs went down, and it could happen to us, too. The B612 foundation has been working to protect us by mapping and then learning to deflect potential threats to our planet, but their proposed mission needed $450 million, a goal they've fallen well short of. As a result, NASA has severed their partnership, which is a good thing for humanity: the risk assessment figures show that worrying about killer asteroids is largely a waste.

Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal Is Reached - Mon Oct 5 15:15:26 2015

An anonymous reader writes: The NY Times reports that negotiators have finally reached agreement over the Trans-Pacific Partnership from the U.S. and 11 other nations. The TPP has been in development for eight years, and has the potential to dramatically strengthen U.S. economic ties to east Asia. Though the negotiations have been done in secret, the full text of the agreement should be published within a month. Congress (and the legislative houses of the other participating countries) will have 90 days to review it and decide whether to ratify it. The TPP has been criticized in tech circles for how it regards intellectual property and facilitates website blocking, among other issues.

Proponents will also have to answer broader questions about whether it stifles competition, how it treats individuals versus large corporations, as if it creates environmental problems. To give you an idea of how complex it is: "The Office of the United States Trade Representative said the partnership eventually would end more than 18,000 tariffs that the participating countries have placed on United States exports, including autos, machinery, information technology and consumer goods, chemicals and agricultural products ranging from avocados in California to wheat, pork and beef from the Plains states."

Advertising Malware Affects Non-Jailbroken iOS Devices - Mon Oct 5 14:32:06 2015

An anonymous reader writes: Malware called YiSpecter is infecting iOS devices belonging to Chinese and Taiwanese users, and is the first piece of malware that successfully targets both jailbroken and non-jailbroken devices, Palo Alto Networks researchers warn. What's more, the techniques it uses for hiding are making it difficult to squash the infection. YiSpecter's malicious apps were signed with three iOS enterprise certificates issued by Apple so that they can be installed as enterprise apps on non-jailbroken iOS devices via in-house distribution. Through this kind of distribution, an iOS app can bypass Apple's strict code review procedures and can invoke iOS private APIs to perform sensitive operations.

Majority of EU Nations Seek Opt-Out From Growing GM Crops - Mon Oct 5 13:46:39 2015

schwit1 writes: Nineteen EU member states have requested opt-outs for all or part of their territory from cultivation of a Monsanto genetically-modified crop, which is authorized to be grown in the European Union, the European Commission said on Sunday. Under a law signed in March, individual countries can seek exclusion from any approval request for genetically modified cultivation across the 28-nation EU. The law was introduced to end years of stalemate as genetically modified crops divide opinion in Europe. The requests are for opt-outs from the approval of Monsanto's GM maize MON 810, the only crop commercially cultivated in the European Union, or for pending applications, of which there are eight so far, the Commission said.

Sex, Drugs, and Transportation: How Politicians Tried To Keep Uber Out of Vegas - Mon Oct 5 13:04:23 2015 writes: Johana Bhuiyan has written an interesting article about how the Las Vegas taxi industry used every political maneuver in its arsenal to keep Uber and Lyft off the strip. Vegas is one of the most lucrative transportation markets in the country, with some 41.1 million visitors passing through it annually. The city's taxi industry has raked in a whopping $290 million this year to date (PDF). What made Vegas unique — what made it Uber's biggest challenge yet — was the extent to which local governments were willing to protect the incumbents. According to Bhuiyan, in Las Vegas, Uber and its pugnacious CEO Travis Kalanick really did run into the corrupt taxi cartel bogeymen they'd long claimed to be saving us from, and this cartel would prove to be their most formidable opponent. But when push came to shove and the fight turned ugly, the world's fastest-growing company ran right over its entrenched opposition.

3 Scientists Share Nobel For Parastic Disease Breakthroughs - Mon Oct 5 12:21:34 2015

The Australian reports that a trio of scientists (hailing from from Japan, China, and Ireland) has been awarded this year's Nobel Prize in Medicine for their work in treating parasitic diseases. Irish scientist William Campbell (currently research fellow emeritus at New Jersey's Drew University), and Japanese biochemist Satoshi Omura, were awarded half of the monetary award for their work in defeating roundworm infections; the drug they developed as a result, Avermectin, has helped drastically lower two devastating diseases -- river blindness and lymphatic filariasis -- and has shown promise in treating other ailments as well. The other half of the prize has been awarded to Chinese researcher Youyou Tu, who discovered a novel antimalarial drug based on her research into traditional herbal medicines. (Also at The Washington Post, CNN, The New York Times, and elsewhere. The awards were live-blogged by The Guardian.)

An Ice House Design Concept For Mars Bets Long On Liquid Water - Mon Oct 5 11:53:01 2015

The Times of India reports that NASA has awarded a $25,000 first prize to Space Exploration Architecture for their design, called "Mars Ice House," of a habitat suitable for Mars. The concept relies on the (predicted) availability of Martian water, as well as on 3-D printing; according to the text accompanying the design. The 5-cm thick shell of ice which would serve as both skin and support structure for the shelter "protects against radiation without compromising life above ground." Two other teams (Gamma and LavaHive) were awarded second and third-place prizes, respectively.

TiVo's Latest Offering Detects and Skips Ads, Adds 4K Capability - Mon Oct 5 09:10:58 2015

As described by The Verge, the newest generation of TiVo is in some ways a step backward: it comes with fewer tuners than some earlier models, and less storage as well. However, two big features that distinguish the company's new Bolt DVR may entice users anyhow: it adds 4K recording, and (probably of use to more people, given the scarcity of 4K content, not to mention its file size) also can recognize and skip commercials, a feature that users have sorely missed as a mainstream feature in standalone DVRs for quite a while. (And it's possible that broadcasters will come up with a way to kill the commercial-skip function as they did with Dish's AutoHop.)

Google Lets Advertisers Target By (Anonymized) Customer Data - Mon Oct 5 06:32:14 2015

An anonymous reader writes: Google's new advertising product, called Customer Match, lets advertisers upload their customer and promotional email address lists into AdWords. The new targeting capability extends beyond search to include both YouTube Trueview ads and the newly launched native ads in Gmail. Customer Match marks the first time Google has allowed advertisers to target ads against customer-owned data in Adwords. Google matches the email addresses against those of signed-in users on Google. Individual addresses are hashed and are supposedly anonymized. Advertisers will be able to set bids and create ads specifically geared to audiences built from their email lists. This new functionality seems to make de-anonymization of google's supposedly proprietary customer data just a hop, skip and jump away. If you can specify the list of addresses that get served an ad, and the criteria like what search terms will trigger that ad, you can detect if and when your target searches for specific terms. For example, create an email list that contains your target and 100 invalid email addresses that no one uses (just in case google gets wise to single-entry email lists). Repeat as necessary for as many keywords and as many email addresses that you wish to monitor.

4 Calif. Students Arrested For Alleged Mass-Killing Plot - Mon Oct 5 05:59:13 2015

The New York Times reports that four high school students in the small California town of Tuolumne, about 120 miles east of San Francisco, have been arrested, but not yet charged, for planning an attack on their school, Summerville High School. According to the Times, three of the four were overheard discussing this plot, and a fourth conspirator was later identified. Their goal, according to Toulumne sheriff James Mele, was "to shoot and kill as many people as possible at the campus"; they had not however been able yet to obtain the weapons they wanted to carry out the attack. From NBC News' version of the story: "Detectives located evidence verifying a plot to shoot staff and students at Summerville High School," Mele said. "The suspects' plan was very detailed in nature and included names of would-be victims, locations and the methods in which the plan was to be carried out."

4 Calif. Students Arrested For Alleged Mass-Killing Plot - Mon Oct 5 04:02:31 2015

The New York Times reports that four high school students in the small California town of Tuolumne, about 120 miles east of San Francisco, have been arrested, but yet charged, for planning an attack on their school, Summerville High School. According to the Times, three of the four were overheard discussing this plot, and a fourth conspirator was later identified. Their goal, according to Toulumne sheriff James Mele, was "to shoot and kill as many people as possible at the campus"; they had not however been able yet to obtain the weapons they wanted to carry out the attack. From NBC News' version of the story: "Detectives located evidence verifying a plot to shoot staff and students at Summerville High School," Mele said. "The suspects' plan was very detailed in nature and included names of would-be victims, locations and the methods in which the plan was to be carried out."

Daimler Tests a Self-Driving Truck On the Autobahn - Mon Oct 5 00:51:58 2015

Engadget reports that Daimler has tested an autonomous truck in one environment guaranteed to put stress on any car: the German Autobahn. While the Mercedes Actros truck was guided with a mix of "radar, a stereo camera array and off-the-shelf systems like adaptive cruise control," there was a human crew on hand, too, just in case. From the article: This doesn't mean you'll see fleets of robotic trucks in the near future. Daimler had to get permission for this run, and the law (whether European or otherwise) still isn't equipped to permit regular autonomous driving of any sort, let alone for giant cargo haulers. Still, this could make a better case for approving some form of self-driving transportation.

Japan Display Squeezes 8K Resolution Into 17-inch LCD, Cracks 510 PPI At 120Hz - Sun Oct 4 23:36:52 2015

MojoKid writes: By any metric, 8K is an incredibly high resolution. In fact, given that most HD content is still published in 1080p, the same could be said about 4K. 4K packs in four times the pixels of 1080p, while 8K takes that and multiplies it by four once again; we're talking 33,177,600 pixels. We've become accustomed to our smartphones having super-high ppi (pixels-per-inch); 5.5-inch 1080p phones are 401 ppi, which is well past the point that humans are able to differentiate individual pixels. Understanding that highlights just how impressive Japan Display's (JDI) monitor is, as it clocks in at 510 ppi in a 17-inch panel. Other specs include a 2000:1 contrast ratio, a brightness of 500cd/m2, and a 176 degree viewing angle. While the fact that the company achieved 8K resolution in such a small form-factor is impressive in itself, also impressive is the fact that it has a refresh rate of 120Hz.

Desktop Turing-Welchman Bombe Build - Sun Oct 4 23:02:24 2015

An anonymous reader writes: I completed a months long project to build my own version of the Turing-Welchman Bombe. My machine uses a Raspberry Pi2 and an Arduino to drive stepper motors to turn the three output indicator drums and to drive an LCD display, to work like the indicator unit on the real Bombe. Everything was custom made by me at home. The unit is built to reflect the style of the real Bombe at Bletchley Park and to run in a similar way but as a portable, desktop sized unit. To demonstrate it I use the same Weather Report Menu as used at BP to demonstrate their real Bombe. The entire build was painstakingly documented over many months but the link given shows an overview and a film of the completed machine in action.

OpenIndiana Hipster 2015.10: Keeping an Open-Source Solaris Going - Sun Oct 4 21:26:16 2015

An anonymous reader writes: It's been five years since Oracle killed off OpenSolaris while the community of developers are letting it live on with the new OpenIndiana "Hipster" 15.10 release. OpenIndiana 15.10 improves its Python-based text installer as it looks to drop its GUI installer, switches out the Oracle JDK/JRE for OpenJDK, and updates its vast package set. However, there are still a number of outdated packages on the system like Firefox 24 and X.Org Server 1.14 while the default office suite is a broken OpenOffice build, due to various obstacles in maintaining open-source software support for Solaris while being challenged by limited contributors. Download links are available via the release notes. There's also a page for getting involved if wishing to improve the state of open-source Solaris.

This is not F1 (or NASCAR): High-End Hybrids Race In Texas - Sun Oct 4 20:32:30 2015

Ars Technica takes an in-depth look at some of the tech side of the hybrid racing circuit, in particular the World Endurance Championship . From the article: Hybrid systems are allowed to deploy between 2MJ and 8MJ of energy during a single lap of Le Mans, augmenting the power from an internal combustion engine. Energy can be recovered from up to two motor/generator units (MGUs); usually this means recapturing kinetic energy from the front and rear wheels under braking. To balance things out, cars that recover and deploy 8MJ carry less fuel, and the flow rate at which they can feed it to the engine decreases. Audi's R18, with its mix of turbo diesel and flywheel hybrid technology, was king of the hill for several years, but the hybrid systems were much less powerful. Last year, Toyota's gasoline V8 and supercapacitor-powered TS040 was the car to beat. But 2015 is the year of the Porsche 919 Hybrid. Porsche chose lithium-ion batteries to hybridize the 919's turbocharged gasoline V4, and this year is able to capture and deploy the full 8MJ (Toyota is in the 6MJ class and Audi 4MJ). The article spends more space on Audi's approach than the others, but offers a cool glimpse at all three of these companies' niches within the field, as represented at the Texas' Lone Star Le Mans.

Chrome AdBlock Joining Acceptable Ads Program (And Sold To Anonymous Company) - Sun Oct 4 19:29:28 2015

basscomm writes: Hot on the heels of the formation of the independent board to oversee "acceptable ads", users of the popular Chrome ad blocking extension, AdBlock, got notice that AdBlock is participating in the program, and that acceptable ads are being turned on by default. At the bottom of the announcement, buried in the fine print is word that AdBlock has been sold, but nobody will say to whom.

Ask Slashdot: Best Country For Secure Online Hosting? - Sun Oct 4 17:52:29 2015

An anonymous reader writes: I've recently discovered that my hosting company is sending all login credentials unencrypted, prompting me to change providers. Additionally, I'm finally being forced to put some of my personal media library (songs, photos, etc.) on-line for ready access (though for my personal consumption only) from multiple devices and locations... But I simply can't bring myself to trust any cloud-service provider. So while it's been partially asked before, it hasn't yet been answered: Which country has the best on-line personal privacy laws that would made it patently illegal for any actor, state, or otherwise, to access my information? And does anyone have a recommendation on which provider(s) are the best hosts for (legal) on-line storage there?

When Fraud Detection Shuts Down Credit Cards Inappropriately - Sun Oct 4 16:38:01 2015

reifman writes: On Sunday, Capital One declined a $280 travel reservation I charged at India-based and immediately shut off my card for all transactions until I contacted them by phone. It wasn't the first time that CapitalOne had shut off my card after a single suspect transaction. But, I'd actually purchased from using my CapitalOne card on two prior occasions. It was an example of very poor fraud detection and led me on a tour of their pathetic customer service. The banks want to cut their losses regardless of how it impacts their customers. Having had my own credit card suspended out of an abundance of caution on a different credit card issuer's part (for legitimate charges), but having recently had some widely known scam charges get accepted, the fraud protection algorithms that the credit companies use certainly seem inscrutable sometimes, and so do the surrounding practices about communicating with customers. How would you like it to work instead?

Stolen Patreon User Data Dumped On Internet - Sun Oct 4 15:45:08 2015

After the personal data breach at crowd-funding site Patreon reported a few days ago, there's some worse news: the information isn't just in limbo any more; Patreon reported Saturday that the compromised information has been leaked in the form of a massive data dump. (The slightly good news is that no credit card information was leaked.)

Vostochny Launch Building Built To the Wrong Size - Sun Oct 4 14:53:01 2015

schwit1 writes: The Russians have just discovered that their Soyuz 2 rocket does not fit in the building just finished at their new spaceport at Vostochny: "The cutting-edge facility was meant be ready for launches of Soyuz-2 rockets in December, but an unidentified space agency told the TASS news agency late Thursday that the rocket would not fit inside the assembly building where its parts are stacked and tested before launch. The building 'has been designed for a different modification of the Soyuz rocket,' the source said, according to news website Medusa, which picked up the story from TASS." The rocket had just been delivered to Vostochny for assembly, so this report, though unconfirmed at this time, fits well with current events.

Hour of Code Kicks Off In Chile With Dog Poop-Themed CS Tutorial - Sun Oct 4 13:38:02 2015

theodp writes: In an interesting contrast to the Disney princess-themed Hour of Code tutorial that 'taught President Obama to code' last December, Chile is kicking off its 2015 Hora del Codigo this week with a top-featured Blockly tutorial that teaches computer science by having kids drag-and-drop blocks of code to pick up dog poop. "Collect all the shit you have left your dog," reads the Google translated instructions for the final coding exercise. In its new video for the Hour of Code 2015 campaign, tech billionaire-backed notes that it's striving to reach 200 million schoolchildren worldwide by this December. Presumably towards that end, warns that it will penalize Computer Science tutorials that "work only in English."

Legionnaires' Bacteria Reemerges In Previously Disinfected Cooling Towers - Sun Oct 4 12:34:29 2015

schwit1 writes with the New York Times' unsettling report that 15 water-cooling towers in the Bronx that this week tested positive for Legionnaires' disease had been disinfected less than two months ago. From the NYT: After an outbreak of the disease killed 12 people in July and August in the South Bronx, the city required every building with cooling towers, a common source of the Legionella bacteria that cause the disease, to be cleaned within two weeks. ... [The] city found this week that bacteria had regrown in at least 15 towers that had been cleaned recently in the Morris Park section of the Bronx. The testing occurred after a fresh outbreak in that area that has killed one person and sickened at least 12, and spurred an order from health officials for the towers to be disinfected again.

'Legacy' London Car Hire Companies Lawyer Up Against Uber - Sun Oct 4 09:26:42 2015

An anonymous reader writes with The Stack's report that: The London Private Hire Car Association (LPHCA) has engaged a major firm of lawyers to present its case against Uber in the UK capital, citing lack of continuous insurance checks, Uber's tax avoidance practices and even 'loitering' Uber drivers as reasons to impose regulations which would eliminate Uber's competitive advantage in London. A lot of Londoners like to have that competition around, though.

Michigan Mammoth May Have Been Butchered By Humans - Sun Oct 4 06:16:19 2015

Forbes reports that a mammoth recently unearthed in rural Michigan includes evidence that the animal was butchered for food: From the article: A small stone that could potentially be a cutting tool was also found with the mammoth bones. To confirm that this animal was butchered by humans, researchers will examine the bones for cut marks that would indicate people were processing it for meat. A third piece of evidence is the organized way the neck vertebrae of the mammoth were found. "An animal doesn't just come apart naturally leaving a sequence of tightly articulated vertebrae like that," Fisher said, indicating that the animal would have had to have been moved by humans for paleontologists to find the bones laid out in such a fashion.

Apollo-Era Photos Now Up at NASA's Flickr Account, In High-Res - Sun Oct 4 03:07:42 2015

Boing Boing reports that NASA has uploaded to its Flickr account 8400 photographs from the agency's Apollo days -- "just about every image captured by Apollo astronauts on lunar missions." The astronauts were shooting with some very nice cameras, and the results are worth seeing at 1800dpi.

Inside the Spaceflight of 'The Martian' - Sun Oct 4 00:08:03 2015

benonemusic writes: Science writer Michael Greshko partnered with a team of scientists and engineers to explore the spacecraft and mission plans in The Martian (novel and movie), down to the rescue plan itself. Incorporating the help of Andy Weir, the novel's author, he comes up with a calendar of events for The Martian, explores the hazards of going back to save Mark Watney, and explains how a real world interplanetary spacecraft would pull off a rescue maneuver.

The Decline of 'Big Soda': Is Drinking Soda the New Smoking? - Sat Oct 3 23:15:27 2015 writes: Margot Sanger-Katz reports in the NYT that soda consumption is experiencing a serious and sustained decline as sales of full-calorie soda in the United States have plummeted by more than 25 percent over the past twenty years. Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they are actively trying to avoid the drinks that have been a mainstay of American culture but bottled water is now on track to overtake soda as the largest beverage category in two years. The changing patterns of soda drinking appear to come thanks, in part, to a loud campaign to eradicate sodas. School cafeterias and vending machines no longer contain regular sodas. Many workplaces and government offices have similarly prohibited their sale.

For many public health advocates, soda has become the new tobacco — a toxic product to be banned, taxed and stigmatized. "There will always be soda, but I think the era of it being acceptable for kids to drink soda all day long is passing, slowly," says Marion Nestle. "In some socioeconomic groups, it's over." Soda represents nearly 25% of the U.S. beverage market and its massive scale have guaranteed profit margins for decades. Historically, beverage preferences are set in adolescence, the first time that most people begin choosing and buying a favorite brand. But the declines in soda drinking appear to be sharpest among young Americans. "Kids these days are growing up with all of these other options, and there are some parents who say, 'I really want my kids to drink juice or a bottled water,' " says Gary A. Hemphill. "If kids grow up without carbonated soft drinks, the likelihood that they are going to grow up and, when they are 35, start drinking is very low."

Selected Provisions: TPP, CETA, and TiSA Trade Agreements - Sat Oct 3 22:28:01 2015

While proponents suggest that international trade agreements increase economic prosperity, writes reader Dangerous_Minds, it's often hard to find much detail about their details. Here's an exception: Freezenet is offering an update to known provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), and the Trades in Services Agreement (TiSA). Among the findings are provisions permitting a three-strikes law and site blocking, multiple anti-circumvention laws, ISP liability, the search and seizure of personal devices to enforce copyright at the border, and an open door for ISP-level surveillance. Freezenet also offers a brief summary of what was found while admitting that provisions found in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) as it relates to digital rights remains elusive for the time being.

Google As Alphabet Subsidiary Drops "Don't Be Evil" - Sat Oct 3 20:35:44 2015

CNet, The Verge, and many other outlets are reporting that with the official transition of Google (as overarching company) to Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet, Google's made another change that's caught a lot of people's attention: the company has swapped out their famous motto "Don't be evil" for one with a slightly different ring: "Do the right thing." Doing the right thing sounds like a nice thing to aspire to, but doesn't seem quite as exciting.

Soon-to-Be US Ed Chief Was Almost FB CEO's Ed Chief - Sat Oct 3 18:59:36 2015

theodp writes: Before President Obama announced John B. King as his pick to replace outgoing U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan (who is returning to Chicago, where his kids now attend a $30K-a-year private school), King was Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's pick to lead Zuck's failed $100 million "reform" effort of Newark's Schools. From The Prize: Who's in Charge of America's Schools?: "[Newark Mayor Cory] Booker asked [NJ Governor Chris] Christie to grant him control of the schools by fiat, but the governor demurred, offering him instead a role as unofficial partner in all decisions and policies, beginning with their joint selection of a 'superstar' superintendent to lead the charge. Booker's first choice was John King, then deputy New York State education commissioner, who had led some of the top-performing charter schools in New York City and Boston and who credited public school teachers with inspiring him to persevere after he was orphaned as a young boy in Brooklyn. [Mark] Zuckerberg and [his wife Priscilla] Chan flew King to Palo Alto for a weekend with them and [Facebook executive Sheryl] Sandberg; Christie hosted him at the governor's beach retreat on the Jersey Shore; and Booker led King and his wife, Melissa, on a tour of Newark, with stops at parks and businesses that hadn't existed before his mayoralty. But after much thought, King turned them down. Zuckerberg, Christie, and Booker expected to arrive at their national model within five years. King believed it could take almost that long to change the system's fundamental procedures and to raise expectations across the city for children and schools. "John's view was that no one has achieved what they're trying to achieve: build an urban school district serving high-poverty kids that gets uniformly strong outcomes," said an acquaintance who talked with King about the offer. "You'd have to invest not only a long period of time but tremendous political capital to get it done." King had questions about a five-year plan overseen by politicians who were likely to seek higher office."

Cape Verde Boulders Indicate Massive Tsunami 73,000 Years Ago - Sat Oct 3 17:37:21 2015

TaleSlinger writes: Researchers from University of Bristol, UK found that boulders strewn 200m above sea level on Cape Verde, off the west coast of Africa, were ripped from cliffs below and washed up there by a tsunami between 170m and 270m (550-850ft). Researchers at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory dated the tsunami at 73,000 years ago. It's interesting that this is about the same time as the Mt. Toba Eruption and about the same time humans nearly became extinct.

F-35 Ejection Seat Fears Ground Lightweight Pilots - Sat Oct 3 16:43:01 2015

An anonymous reader writes: Writing for Defense News, Lara Seligman and Aaron Mehta report that "[c]oncerns about increased risk of injury to F-35 pilots during low-speed ejections have prompted the US military services to temporarily restrict pilots who weigh less than 136 pounds from flying the aircraft. During August tests of the ejection seat, built by Martin-Baker, testers discovered an increased risk of neck injury when a lightweight pilot is flying at slower speeds. Until the problem is fixed, the services decided to restrict pilots weighing under 136 pounds from operating the plane, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, F-35 integration office director, told Defense News in a Tuesday interview."

US Bombs Hit Doctors Without Borders Hospital - Sat Oct 3 15:38:01 2015

Prune writes: According to multiple news sources, U.S. airstrikes partially destroyed a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) hospital in Afghanistan, killing at least nine staff members and at least 50 overall, including patients, and this after giving its coordinates to U.S. forces multiple times. I'm especially saddened to report this given I had become one of the supporters of this charity after recommendations from Slashdot members in a discussion about choosing charities to donate to a while back.

Artists Create a 1000-Year GIF Loop - Sat Oct 3 14:34:19 2015

jovius writes: Finnish artists Juha van Ingen and Janne Särkelä have developed a monumental GIF called AS Long As Possible, which loops once per 1000 years. The 12 gigabyte GIF is made of 48,140,288 numbered frames, that change about every 10 minutes. They plan to start the loop in 2017, when GIF turns 30 years old. "If nurturing a GIF loop even for 100 — let alone 3,000 years — seems an unbelievable task, how much remains of our present digital culture after that time?", van Ingen said. The artists plan to store a mother file somewhere and create many iterations of the loop in various locations — and if one fails, it may be easily synchronized with, and replaced by, another. Maybe they should use FLIF instead.

DHS Detains Mayor of Stockton, CA, Forces Him To Hand Over His Passwords - Sat Oct 3 13:41:22 2015

schwit1 writes: Anthony Silva, the mayor of Stockton, California, recently went to China for a mayor's conference. On his return to San Francisco airport he was detained by Homeland Security, and then had his two laptops and his mobile phone confiscated. They refused to show him any sort of warrant (of course) and then refused to let him leave until he agreed to hand over his password.

Volkswagen Diesel Scandal Logistics Imply Sizable Conspiracy - Sat Oct 3 12:36:21 2015

Guinnessy writes with an interesting analysis of the Volkswagen software cheating scandal: Physics Today's Charles Day takes a look at how diesel engines work, and why it's clear it's not just a lone software engineer who came up with the cheat. "...[S]oftware is impotent without hardware. To recognize when a car was being tested and not driven, the defeat device required data from a range of sensors -- sensors that a noncheating car might not need.... Whereas it's conceivable that a single software engineer, directed by a single manager, could have secretly written and uploaded the code that ran the defeat device, installing its associated hardware would require a larger and more diverse team of conspirators," he says.

Some Apple iPhone 6s and 6s Plus Smartphones Mysteriously Powering Down - Sat Oct 3 11:22:13 2015

MojoKid writes: Apple's iPhone 6s and 6s Plus were two of the most highly anticipated smartphones to launch so far this year. The excitement surrounding Apple's new refresh cycle flagships was so great that Apple reported record first weekend sales, with 13 million devices finding their way to customers. However, it appears that some of those customers are having a puzzling issue with their brand new iPhones. Owners are reporting that their phones are turning off randomly when left alone — even when the smartphones have sufficient battery remaining. "New Phone 6s 128GB turned off for no reason the last two nights," wrote Joachim Frey in an Apple discussion thread. "In the morning you then have to push the power-on button for a long time to get it started."

Samsung Decides Not To Patch Kernel Vulnerabilities In Some S4 Smartphones - Sat Oct 3 08:20:13 2015

An anonymous reader writes: QuarksLAB, a security research company, has stumbled upon two kernel vulnerabilities for Samsung Galaxy S4 devices, which Samsung has decided to patch only for recent devices running Android Lollipop, but not Jelly Bean or KitKat. The two vulnerabilities (kernel memory disclosure and kernel memory corruption) were discovered in February 2014 and reported to Samsung in August 2014, affecting the samsung_extdisp driver of Samsung S4 (GT-I9500) devices. Bugs break ASLR and lead to denial of service (DoS) state or even elevating attacker privileges.

A Broke Fan Owes $5,400 For Pokemon-Themed Party Posters - Sat Oct 3 05:10:48 2015

Jason Koebler writes: A fan has been ordered by a Washington judge to pay the Pokémon Company International $5,400 for copyright infringement after attempting to throw a Pokemon-themed party earlier this summer. Even though he canceled the free event, the Pokemon Company successfully sued Ramar Larkin Jones, for using an image of Pikachu to promote the Unofficial PAX Pokemon Kickoff Party.

Ask Slashdot: Is the Gap Between Data Access Speeds Widening Or Narrowing? - Sat Oct 3 02:12:43 2015

New submitter DidgetMaster writes: Everyone knows that CPU registers are much faster than level1, level2, and level3 caches. Likewise, those caches are much faster than RAM; and RAM in turn is much faster than disk (even SSD). But the past 30 years have seen tremendous improvements in data access speeds at all these levels. RAM today is much, much faster than RAM 10, 20, or 30 years ago. Disk accesses are also tremendously faster than previously as steady improvements in hard drive technology and the even more impressive gains in flash memory have occurred. Is the 'gap' between the fastest RAM and the fastest disks bigger or smaller now than the gap was 10 or 20 years ago? Are the gaps between all the various levels getting bigger or smaller? Anyone know of a definitive source that tracks these gaps over time?

How Steve Jobs Outsmarted Carly Fiorina - Fri Oct 2 23:47:05 2015 writes: Carly Fiorina likes to boast about her friendship with Apple founder Steve Jobs but Fortune Magazine reports that it turns out Carly may have outfoxed of by Apple's late leader. In January 2004, Steve Jobs and Carly Fiorina cut a deal where HP could slap its name on Apple's wildly successful iPod and sell it through HP retail channels but HP still managed to botch things up. The MP3 player worked just like a regular iPod, but it had HP's logo on the back and in return HP agreed to continue pre-loading iTunes onto its PCs. According to Steven Levy soon after the deal with HP was inked, Apple upgraded the iPod, making HP's version outdated and because of Fiorina's deal HP was banned from selling its own music player until August 2006. "This was a highly strategic move to block HP/Compaq from installing Windows Media Store on their PCs," says one Apple source. "We wanted iTunes Music store to be a definitive winner. Steve only did this deal because of that."

In short, Fiorina's "good friend" Steve Jobs blithely mugged her and HP's shareholders. By getting Fiorina to adopt the iPod as HP's music player, Jobs had effectively gotten his software installed on millions of computers for free, stifled his main competitor, and gotten a company that prided itself on invention to declare that Apple was a superior inventor.

Office 2016 Proving Unstable With Apple's El Capitan - Fri Oct 2 23:13:56 2015

An anonymous reader writes: Users of Microsoft Office on the Mac are reporting widespread instabilities and conflicts after upgrading to the latest version of the Apple desktop operating system, El Capitan. The first indications that El Capitan and Office 2016 were not working well together came in a now epic thread at Microsoft Community. Many users have surmised that new restrictions in file permissions in El Capitan caused the problems initially, though nearly all agree that Office's Outlook email client is the critical point of failure in the current round of application crashes and loss of functionality.

Motorola Marketed the Moto E 2015 On Promise of Updates, Stops After 219 Days - Fri Oct 2 22:21:15 2015

An anonymous reader writes: Over the past few years, Motorola has emerged as one of the best manufacturers for low-to-mid-range Android phones. Unlike many other major manufacturers, they keep their version of Android close to stock in order to keep OS updates flowing more easily. When they began marketing the Moto E 2015, updates were one of the features they trumpeted the loudest. But after the company published a list of devices that will continue to get updates, Android Police found the Moto E to be conspicuously absent. The phone launched on February 25, a mere 219 days ago. According to an official Motorola marketing video from launch day, "...we won't forget about you, and we'll make sure your Moto E stays up to date after you buy it."

SolarCity Says It Has Produced the World's Highest Efficiency Solar Panel - Fri Oct 2 21:37:14 2015

Lucas123 writes: SolarCity, one of the country's leading solar panel makers and installers, today said it has been able to create a product that has a 22.04% efficiency rating, topping its closest competitor SunPower, by about one percent. While the percentages may appear small, SolarCity said the new panels, which will go into pilot production later this month, will produce 30% to 40% more energy with the same footprint as its current panels, and they will cost no more to make.

Sprint To Begin Layoffs, Cut $2.5 Billion In Expenses - Fri Oct 2 21:05:29 2015

An anonymous reader writes: Sprint's struggles to remain a major carrier continue. Just a few days after announcing that it is dropping out of a major low-band spectrum auction, the company now says it must cut between $2 billion and $2.5 billion in costs over the next six months. The cuts will need to be aggressive — according to the Wall Street Journal (paywalled), Sprint "had $7.5 billion in operating expenses during the three months ended June 30," even as it cut $1.5 billion over the past year. The only good news for Sprint is that its subscriber base is still slowly growing, though not quickly enough to keep pace with T-Mobile, let alone Verizon or AT&T.

Vigilante Malware Protects Routers Against Other Security Threats - Fri Oct 2 20:22:17 2015

Mickeycaskill writes: Researchers at Symantec have documented a piece of malware that infects routers and other connected devices, but instead of harming them, improves their security. Affected routers connect to a peer-to-peer network with other compromised devices, to distribute threat updates. 'Linux.Wifatch' makes no attempt to conceal itself and even left messages for users, urging them to change their passwords and update their firmware. Symantec estimates 'tens of thousands' of devices are affected and warns that despite Wifatch's seemingly philanthropic intentions, it should be treated with caution.

"It should be made clear that Linux.Wifatch is a piece of code that infects a device without user consent and in that regard is the same as any other piece of malware," said Symantec. "It should also be pointed out that Wifatch contains a number of general-purpose back doors that can be used by the author to carry out potentially malicious actions." There is one simple solution to rid yourself of the malware though: reset your device

$50 Fire Tablet With High-capacity SDXC Slot Doesn't See E-books On the SD Card - Fri Oct 2 19:37:46 2015

Robotech_Master writes: For all that the $50 Fire tablet has a 128 GB capable SDXC card slot that outclasses every other tablet in its price range, and it evolved out of Amazon's flagship e-book reader, it strangely lacks the ability to index e-books on that card. This seems like a strange oversight, given that every other media app on the tablet uses that card for downloading and storage, and its 5 GB usable internal memory isn't a lot for people who have a large library of picture-heavy e-books—especially if they want to install other apps, too.

This Machine Produces the Largest Humanmade Waves In the World - Fri Oct 2 18:43:01 2015

sciencehabit writes: A new experimental facility at Deltares, a research institute in the Nethelands, has begun producing the largest humanmade waves in the world. Like kids building sandcastles below the tideline on the beach, scientists will let the walls of water crash on dikes of different designs and other structures—sometimes until they're destroyed. The Delta Flume, to be inaugurated on 5 October, is a 300-meter-long water-filled trough that is 9.5 meters high and 5 meters wide. At one end sits a gigantic metal plate called a wave board; four pistons move it back and forth to whip up the kind of waves that the sea can unleash.

EPA Gave Volkswagen a Free Pass On Emissions Ten Years Ago Due To Lack of Budget - Fri Oct 2 17:59:38 2015

An anonymous reader writes: A new report suggests that continuing cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency's budget contributed to Volkswagen being able to cheat on its emissions tests. When the test scripts were developed the department — which can still only conduct 'spot tests' on 20% of all qualifying vehicles — was forced to concentrate on heavy machinery and truck manufacturers, which at the time had a far higher incidence of attempting to cheat on vehicle standards tests. Discounting inflation the EPA's 2015 budget is on a par with its 2002 budget (PDF), and has been cut by 21% since 2010.

Moon Express Signs Launch Contract For Possible First Private Lunar Landing - Fri Oct 2 17:16:13 2015

MarkWhittington writes: According to a story in, Moon Express, one of the leading contestants in the Google Lunar X Prize competition, has made a giant leap toward its goal of being the first private group to land on the moon. The company has signed a contract with Rocket Lab, a new launch company based in New Zealand, for five launches of its upcoming Electron rocket. The first two launches will take place in 2017 and will be attempts to land the MX-1 lander on the lunar surface in time to win the prize by the current deadline by the end of that year.

DARPA Is Looking For Analog Approaches To Cyber Monitoring - Fri Oct 2 16:34:30 2015

chicksdaddy writes: Frustrated by adversaries continued success at circumventing or defeating cyber defense and monitoring technologies, DARPA is looking to fund new approaches, including the monitoring of analog emissions from connected devices, including embedded systems, industrial control systems and Internet of Things endpoints, Security Ledger reports.

DARPA is putting $36m to fund the Leveraging the Analog Domain for Security (LADS) Program (PDF). The agency is looking for proposals for "enhanced cyber defense through analysis of involuntary analog emissions," including things like "electromagnetic emissions, acoustic emanations, power fluctuations and thermal output variations." At the root of the program is frustration and a lack of confidence in digital monitoring and protection technologies developed for general purpose computing devices like desktops, laptops and servers.

The information security community's focus on "defense in-depth" approaches to cyber defense are ill suited for embedded systems because of cost, complexity or resource limitations. Even if that were possible, DARPA notes that "attackers have repeatedly demonstrated the ability to pierce protection boundaries, exploiting the fact that any security logic ultimately executes within the same computing unit as the rest of the (compromised) device software and the attacker's code."/i

FLIF: Free Lossless Image Format - Fri Oct 2 15:53:18 2015

nickweller sends a link to an informational post about FLIF, the Free, Lossless Image Format. It claims to outperform PNG, lossless WebP, and other popular formats on any kind of image. "On photographs, PNG performs poorly while WebP, BPG and JPEG 2000 compress well (see plot on the left). On medical images, PNG and WebP perform relatively poorly while BPG and JPEG 2000 work well (see middle plot). On geographical maps, BPG and JPEG 2000 perform (extremely) poorly while while PNG and WebP work well (see plot on the right). In each of these three examples, FLIF performs well — even better than any of the others." FLIF uses progressive decoding to provide fully-formed lossy images from partial downloads in bandwidth-constrained situations. Best of all, FLIF is free software, released under the GNU GPLv3.

NASA Targets Venus, Asteroids With Potential Missions - Fri Oct 2 15:11:30 2015

coondoggie writes: NASA this week picked five possible contenders for a relatively low-cost robotic mission to space. The five candidates from a batch of 27 –include Venus, near-Earth object and asteroid operations – will ultimately be whittled down to one or two that will cost approximately $500 million, not including launch vehicle or post-launch operations, NASA stated. The DAVINCI probe would "study the chemical composition of Venus' atmosphere during a 63-minute descent. It would answer scientific questions that have been considered high priorities for many years, such as whether there are volcanoes active today on the surface of Venus and how the surface interacts with the atmosphere of the planet." A longer-range spacecraft called Lucy would "perform the first reconnaissance of the Jupiter Trojan asteroids, objects thought to hold vital clues to deciphering the history of the solar system."

American IT Workers Increasingly Alleging Discrimination - Fri Oct 2 14:26:49 2015

An anonymous reader writes: Some U.S. IT workers who have been replaced with H-1B contractors are alleging discrimination and are going to court. They are doing so in increasing numbers. There are at least seven IT workers at Disney who are pursuing, or plan to pursue, federal and state discrimination administrative complaints over their layoffs. Separately, there are ongoing court cases alleging discrimination against two of the largest India-based IT services firms, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services. There may also be federal interest in examining the issue.

GitHub's Next Move: Turn Everybody Into a Programmer - Fri Oct 2 13:43:10 2015

mattydread23 writes: This interview with GitHub CEO Chris Wanstrath and product VP Kakul Srivastava explains a little more what GitHub is planning for the future — and how the company is trying to live up to its $2 billion valuation. Basically, if every developer in the world uses and loves GitHub, the next logical step is to turn more people into developers. "Even today, Wanstrath says, there are journalists and scientists who are using GitHub to find, build, and share data-driven applications that assist with research or interactive projects. The goal, then, is to gradually make it a lot easier for anybody to get started on the platform. As more and more people get educated as programmers from an early age, Wanstrath wants GitHub to be the service of choice for the next generation to really get their feet wet. "

Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 Is Shipping - Fri Oct 2 13:02:13 2015

jones_supa writes: Microsoft's mail and calendar server package Exchange Server 2016 is being refreshed and is now out of preview, along with the 2016 revamp for other Office products. The new Exchange tries to simplify the software's architecture while still adding new features and working better with other Office products. You can now use links from Sharepoint 2016 and OneDrive for Business as email attachments, instead of having to upload the actual file, leading to more robust file sharing and editing. Add-ins have been introduced, which allows extensibility similar to extensions on a web browser. Microsoft is providing a 180-day trial for free.

Experian Breached, 15 Million T-Mobile Customer's Data Exposed - Fri Oct 2 12:18:47 2015

New submitter Yuuki! writes: The Washington Post reports that T-Mobile's Credit Partner, Experian, has been breached revealing names, addresses, Social Security numbers, birth dates and driver's license and passport numbers for any customer who has applied for device financing or even services from T-Mobile which required a credit check. Both parties were quick to point out that no no credit card or banking data was stolen as part of the attack. The attack started back in September 2013 and was only just discovered on September 16, 2015. Both Experian and T-Mobile have posted statements on their websites and Experian is offering credit for two free years of identity resolution services and credit monitoring in the wake of the breach.

Oculus Founder Explains Why the Rift VR Headset Will Cost "More Than $350" - Fri Oct 2 11:36:01 2015

An anonymous reader writes: When Oculus took to Kickstarter in 2012, the company sought to create the 'DK1', a development kit of the Rift which the company wanted to eventually become an affordable VR headset that they would eventually take to market as a consumer product. At the time, the company was aiming for a target price around $350, but since then the company, and the scope of the Rift headset, has grown considerably. That's one reason why Oculus Founder Palmer Luckey says that the consumer Rift headset, launching in Q1 2016, will cost more than $350. '...the reason for that is that we've added a lot of technology to this thing beyond what existed in the DK1 and DK2 days,' says Luckey.

China Beats US In Early Cuban Internet Infrastructure Investment - Fri Oct 2 09:38:39 2015

lpress writes: The US would like to sell Cuba Internet service and equipment, but we have had little success so far. China has won the first round — they financed and installed Cuba's undersea cable, supplied backbone equipment and public WiFi access centers and will provide equipment for the forthcoming home DSL rollout. That being said, Cuba has very little connectivity today and most of what they have and plan to install is already obsolete by today's standards, so they will be buying a lot of equipment in the future.

NASA's New Horizons Shows Pluto's Moon Charon Is a Strange, New World - Fri Oct 2 08:15:11 2015

MarkWhittington writes: NASA's New Horizons has returned a stunning series of images of Pluto, the dwarf planet that resides on the edge of the solar system, revealing a strange new world of ice mountains and glaciers of frozen nitrogen. NASA also released images of Pluto's largest moon Charon. Scientists expected a plain ball of rock pockmarked with craters, but what they saw was anything but plain and monotonous.

EU Probes TVs Over Energy Test Scores - Fri Oct 2 07:11:00 2015

joesreviewss writes: The European Commission says it will follow up on evidence that Samsung and another TV-maker use software that alters their screens' power use during tests. The BBC reports: "One study indicates that some Samsung TVs nearly halve their power consumption when a standardised test is carried out. Another accuses a different unnamed manufacturer of adjusting the brightness of its sets when they "recognise" the test film involved. Samsung has denied any wrongdoing. It acknowledged that it used software that altered its televisions' performance during tests, but said this was the effect of a general energy efficiency feature that came into effect during normal use and had nothing to do with the testing process."

The FAA Has Missed Its Congressionally Mandated Deadline To Regulate Drones - Fri Oct 2 04:32:54 2015

derekmead writes: When Congress passed the FAA Modernization Act in 2012, it gave the agency until September 30, 2015 to fully regulate commercial drones for use in the United States. Well, it's October 1, and we're left with a patchwork of regulatory band-aids, quasi-legal "guidelines," and a small drone rule that still hasn't gone into effect yet. This news shouldn't surprise anyone. The agency has missed most every milestone—both internal and lawmaker mandated—that has been set for it. The last two years have been fraught with lawsuits, confusion on enforcement within its own local offices (some FAA agents have told pilots they can't post videos on YouTube, for example), and various conflicting guidelines as to who can fly a drone where, and for what purposes.

How Someone Acquired the Domain Name For a Single Minute - Fri Oct 2 02:05:43 2015

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.

IBM Scientists Find New Way To Shrink Transistors - Fri Oct 2 00:09:33 2015

MarcAuslander writes that IBM scientists have discovered a way to replace silicon semiconductors with carbon nanotube transistors, an innovation the company hopes will dramatically improve chip performance and get the industry past the limits of Moore's law. According to the Times: In the semiconductor business, it is called the 'red brick wall' — the limit of the industry's ability to shrink transistors beyond a certain size. On Thursday, however, IBM scientists reported that they now believe they see a path around the wall. Writing in the journal Science, a team at the company's Thomas J. Watson Research Center said it has found a new way to make transistors from parallel rows of carbon nanotubes.

East Texas Judge Throws Out 168 Patent Cases - Thu Oct 1 23:28:01 2015

Earthquake Retrofit writes: Ars Technica is reporting that an East Texas judge has thrown out 168 patent cases in one fell swoop. The judge's order puts the most litigious patent troll of 2014, eDekka LLC, out of business. The ruling comes from a surprising source: U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap, the East Texas judge who has been criticized for making life extra-difficult for patent defendants. Gilstrap, who hears more patent cases than any other U.S. judge, will eliminate about 10 percent of his entire patent docket by wiping out the eDekka cases.

Patreon Hacked, Personal Data Accessed - Thu Oct 1 22:44:36 2015

AmiMoJo writes: In a blog post Jake Conte, CEO and co-founder of Patreon, writes: "There was unauthorized access to registered names, email addresses, posts, and some shipping addresses. Additionally, some billing addresses that were added prior to 2014 were also accessed. We do not store full credit card numbers on our servers and no credit card numbers were compromised. Although accessed, all passwords, social security numbers and tax form information remain safely encrypted with a 2048-bit RSA key."

San Francisco Still Among Most Dangerous For Pedestrians - Thu Oct 1 22:01:16 2015

dkatana writes: The city of San Francisco averages 200 injuries per year and 30 deaths. This is almost double the number of Barcelona, Catalonia, which has about the same population. The city started a Vision Zero program, aimed at reducing and ultimately eliminate pedestrian deaths by 2024. But after a year-long Vision Zero education push called Safe Streets SF, whose key message is that pedestrians always have the right of way, the results have been modest. Now a series of banners on light poles in the South of Market neighborhood with the message: 'Slow down! We live here!' are trying to convince drivers to respect people on foot.

Amazon To Cease Sale of Apple TV and Chromecast - Thu Oct 1 21:50:18 2015

Mark Wilson writes: As of 29 October, shoppers will no longer be able to buy Apple TV or Chromecast devices from Amazon. Citing compatibility issues with Prime Video, Amazon emailed marketplace sellers to inform them it is not accepting new listings for the two media devices, and any existing listings will be removed at the end of October. The move indicates not only the importance Amazon places on its streaming Prime Video service, but also that it views Apple and Google as serious rivals. The two companies have yet to respond to the news, but it is unlikely to be well-received.

Amazon To Cease Sale of Apple TV and Chromecast - Thu Oct 1 21:18:56 2015

Mark Wilson writes: As of 29 October, shoppers will no longer be able to buy Apple TV or Chromecast devices from Amazon. Citing compatibility issues with Prime Video, Amazon emailed marketplace sellers to inform them it is not accepting new listings for the two media devices, and any existing listings will be removed at the end of October. The move indicates not only the importance Amazon places on its streaming Prime Video service, but also that it views Apple and Google as serious rivals. The two companies have yet to respond to the news, but it is unlikely to be well-received.

30 Years a Sysadmin - Thu Oct 1 20:37:19 2015

itwbennett writes: Sandra Henry-Stocker's love affair with Unix started in the early 1980s when she 'was quickly enamored of the command line and how much [she] could get done using pipes and commands like grep.' Back then, she was working on a Zilog minicomputer, a system, she recalls, that was 'about this size of a dorm refrigerator'. Over the intervening years, a lot has changed, not just about the technology, but about the job itself. 'We might be 'just' doing systems administration, but that role has moved heavily into managing security, controlling access to a wide range of resources, analyzing network traffic, scrutinizing log files, and fixing the chinks on our cyber armor,' writes Henry-Stocker. What hasn't changed? Systems administration remains a largely thankless role with little room for career advancement, albeit one that she is quick to note is 'seldom boring' and 'reasonably' well-paid. And while 30 years might not be a world's record, it's pretty far along the bell curve; have you been at it longer?

10 Confirmed Dead In Shooting at Oregon's Umpqua Community College - Thu Oct 1 20:03:42 2015

CNN and other sources report that an attacker, now in custody, shot and killed a reported ten people, and wounded another 20, at Oregon's Umpqua Community College, about three hours south of Portland, and described by CNN as "technically a gun-free zone." Students are being evacuated to a nearby fairgrounds, and local authorities advise anyone to avoid the area of the college. Wikipedia editors are also quickly compiling information about the attack. More news on the attack is still breaking; expect updates here.

We Asked Doc Searls: Do Ad Blockers Cause Cancer? (Video) - Thu Oct 1 19:21:24 2015

Ask Slashdot: Simple, Cross-Platform Video Messaging? - Thu Oct 1 18:29:46 2015

DeathToBill writes: I spend a lot of time away from my kids (think months at a time) who are aged 3-8. I keep in touch with them by Skype, but the young ones are not really old enough to concentrate on it and we're often in quite different timezones, so it's not often it can be very spontaneous. We'd like to have some way that we can record short video messages of things we're doing and send them to each other. It needs to have an iPad app that is simple enough for a three-year-old to use with help and for a five-year-old to use without help; it needs to have an Android or web client, preferably one that doesn't require an Apple ID; it needs to be able to record a short video and send it to someone. As far as I can tell, iMessage requires Apple kit (there is an Android app but it sends all your messages through a server in China...) and Whatsapp works on iPhone but not iPad. What can you suggest?

UK Gamers Can Now Get Their Money Back For Publishers' Broken Promises - Thu Oct 1 17:47:56 2015

An anonymous reader writes: An amendment to the UK Consumer Rights Act regarding digital-only purchases seems to give British videogamers redress towards publishing houses which deliver buggy code or inveigle consumers to pre-order games based on trailers or betas that demonstrate features, characters or quality not delivered in the RTM release. But the legislation is so loosely worded as to be an invitation to litigation and interpretation, and does not address mis-delivery issues for consumer models such as cloud subscriptions.

Xiaomi Investigated For Using Superlatives In Advertising, Now Illegal In China - Thu Oct 1 17:06:39 2015

An anonymous reader writes: Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is under investigation for using superlative messaging on its website, according to a leaked document from the Beijing Ministry of Industry and Commerce. A new Chinese law states that adjectives used to promote products must not mislead consumers. The Xiaomi investigation [Chinese] follows claims made by rival Cong that the company used phrases such as 'the best' and 'the most advanced', in its online campaigns and therefore violated the country's advertising law. (The law against suprelatives doesn't seem to apply to communications by the government, about the government.)

Yelp For People To Launch In November - Thu Oct 1 16:33:01 2015 writes: Caitlin Dewey reports in the Washington Post that 'Peeple' — basically Yelp, but for humans will launch in November. Subtitled "character is destiny," Peeple is an upcoming app that promises to "revolutionize the way we're seen in the world through our relationships" by allowing you to assign reviews of one to five stars to everyone you know: your exes, your co-workers, the old guy who lives next door. You can't opt out — once someone puts your name in the Peeple system, it's there unless you violate the site's terms of service. And you can't delete bad or biased reviews — that would defeat the whole purpose. "People do so much research when they buy a car or make those kinds of decisions," says co-founder Julia Cordray. "Why not do the same kind of research on other aspects of your life?"

According to Caitlin, one does not have to stretch far to imagine the distress and anxiety that such a system will cause even a slightly self-conscious person; it's not merely the anxiety of being harassed or maligned on the platform — but of being watched and judged, at all times, by an objectifying gaze to which you did not consent. "If you're one of the people who miss bullying kids in high school, then Peeple is definitely going to be the app for you!," says Mike Morrison. "I'm really looking forward to being able to air all of my personal grievances, all from the safety of my phone. Thanks to the app, I'll be able to potentially ruin someone's life, without all the emotional stress that would occur if I actually try to fix the problem face-to-face."

Stagefright 2.0 Vulnerabilities Affect 1 Billion Android Devices - Thu Oct 1 15:50:09 2015

msm1267 writes: Security researcher Joshua Drake today disclosed two more flaws in Stagefright, one that dates back to the first version of Android, and a second dependent vulnerability that was introduced in Android 5.0. The bugs affect more than one billion Android devices, essentially all of them in circulation. One of the vulnerabilities was found in a core Android library called libutils; it has been in the Android OS since it was first released and before there were even Android mobile devices. The second vulnerability was introduced into libstagefright in Android 5.0; it calls into libutils in a vulnerable way. An attacker would use a specially crafted MP3 or MP4 file in this case to exploit the vulnerabilities. Google has released patches into the Android Open Source Project tree, but public patches are not yet available.

First of 2 Australian NBN Satellites Launched Successfully - Thu Oct 1 15:08:01 2015

New submitter aduxorth writes: Sky Muster, the first of the two satellites that will comprise Australia's NBN's Long-Term Satellite Service, has been successfully launched from Guiana Space Centre in South America. The two geostationary satellites will offer a total capacity of 135 gigabits per second, with 25/5Mbps wholesale speeds available to end users. The second satellite is expected to launch next year. Testing of this satellite will start soon and will continue until services are launched early next year.

Apple Bans iFixit Repair App From App Store After Apple TV Teardown - Thu Oct 1 14:22:40 2015

alphadogg writes: iFixit, the fix-it-yourself advocate for users of Apple, Google and other gear, has had its repair manual app banned from Apple's App Store after it conducted an unauthorized teardown of Apple TV and Siri remote. iFixit blogged "we're a teardown and repair company; teardowns are in our DNA -- and nothing makes us happier than figuring out what makes these gadgets tick. We weighed the risks, blithely tossed those risks over our shoulder, and tore down the Apple TV anyway." iFixit does still have Windows and Android apps, and has no immediate plans to rewrite its Apple app to attempt being reinstated.

The Real Cost of Mobile Ads - Thu Oct 1 13:39:19 2015

New submitter cvdwl writes: A New York Times (mildly paywalled) article and associated analysis discuss the consumer cost of mobile ads, assuming a US$0.01/MB data plan. The article provides one of the only estimates I've seen of the the real cost in time and money (and time is money) of mobile advertising. Ethics of ad-blockers aside, this highlights the hidden costs of data-heavy (often lazy and poorly developed) web-design. In a nutshell, the worst sites took 10-30s load 10-20MB, costing $0.15-0.40, over 4G due to a blizzard of video, heavy images, and occasionally just massive scripts. The best sites had high content to ad ratios, typically loading 1-3MB of content and >500kB of advertising.

Reports: Telstra Customers Suffering Crippling Speeds To Any Apple Service - Thu Oct 1 13:08:01 2015

An anonymous reader writes: It appears a large number of customers of Telstra (one of Australia's largest telcos) have been suffering crippling speeds while attempting to connect to any Apple Service for the better part of four days. Reports indicate this is affecting Apple Music, Apple App Stores (on both iOS and OSX) and are stopping many Telstra customers from getting access to app updates and the much anticipated El Capitan release of OS X. Mobile phone customers as well as home broadband customers seem to be affected at this stage with a large number of posts both on Twitter and the Whirlpool Broadband Forum. It appears one Twitter user has also fully summarised all the issues in a single post including many of the Twitter posts as well.

Google and Microsoft Agree To Stand Down In Patent Wars - Thu Oct 1 12:25:01 2015

_0x783czar writes: Today Google and Microsoft have announced an end to litigious hostilities between themselves; signaling another step on the road to peace as the "global smartphone wars" wind down. This moves settles 18 lawsuits in the U.S. and Germany, including those involving Motorola Mobility's patents, which Google retained after selling Motorola Mobility to Lenovo. Both companies hope this move will help settle the smartphone wars and refocus their efforts on consumers. Reuters reports: "Google and Microsoft have agreed to collaborate on certain patent matters and anticipate working together in other areas in the future to benefit our customers."

Scientists Discover How To Get Kids To Eat Their Vegetables - Thu Oct 1 11:42:50 2015 writes: Roberto Ferdman writes in the Washington Post that researchers at Texas A&M University, looking for patterns in food consumption among elementary school children, found an interesting quirk about when and why kids choose to eat their vegetables. After analyzing plate waste data from nearly 8,500 students, it seems there's at least one variable that tends to affect whether kids eat their broccoli, spinach or green beans more than anything: what else is on the plate. Kids are much more likely to eat their vegetable portion when it's paired with a food that isn't so delicious that it gets all the attention. For example, when chicken nuggets and burgers, the most popular items among schoolchildren, are on the menu, vegetable waste tends to rise significantly. When other less-beloved foods, like deli sliders or baked potatoes, are served, the opposite seems to happen."Our research team looked at whether there is a relationship between consumption of certain entrees and vegetables that would lead to plate waste," says Dr. Oral Capps Jr. "We found that popular entrees such as burgers and chicken nuggets, contributed to greater waste of less popular vegetables."

Traci Man, who has been studying eating habits, self-control and dieting for more than 20 years, believes that food pairings are crucial in getting kids to eat vegetables. "Normally, vegetables will lose the competition that they're in — the competition with all the other delicious food on your plate. Vegetables might not lose that battle for everyone, but they do for most of us. This strategy puts vegetables in a competition they can win, by pitting vegetables against no food at all. To do that, you just eat your vegetable first, before any of the other food is there," says Mann. "We tested it with kids in school cafeterias, where it more than quadrupled the amount of vegetables eaten. It's just about making it a little harder to make the wrong choices, and a little easier to make the right ones."

The Case For Going To Phobos Before Going To Mars - Thu Oct 1 09:36:41 2015

MarkWhittington writes: The current NASA thinking concerning the Journey to Mars program envisions a visit to the Martian moon Phobos in the early 2030s before attempting a landing on the Martian surface in the late 2030s, as Popular Mechanics noted. The idea of a practice run that takes astronauts almost but not quite to Mars is similar to what the space agency did during the 1960s Apollo program. Apollo 8 and Apollo 10 each orbited the moon but did not land on it before the Apollo 11 mission went all the way to the lunar surface, fulfilling President John. F. Kennedy's challenge.

Foam-Eating Worms May Offer Solution To Mounting Waste - Thu Oct 1 07:10:05 2015

ckwu writes: Polystyrene foams—including products like Styrofoam—are rarely recycled, and the materials biodegrade so slowly that they can sit in a landfill for hundreds of years. But a pair of new studies shows that mealworms will dine on polystyrene foam when they can't get a better meal, converting almost half of what they eat into carbon dioxide. In one study, the researchers fed mealworms polystyrene foam and found that the critters converted about 48% of the carbon they ate into carbon dioxide and excreted 49% in their feces. In the second study, the researchers showed that bacteria in the mealworms' guts were responsible for breaking down the polystyrene--suggesting that engineering bacteria might be a strategy for boosting the reported biodegradation.

South Korean Citizen IDs Vulnerable, Based On US Model - Thu Oct 1 04:42:08 2015

An anonymous reader writes: South Korea's Resident Registration Number (RRN) has been proven 'vulnerable to almost any adversary' by the 'Queen of re-identification', Harvard Professor Latanya Sweeney, who previously proved that 87 percent of all Americans could be uniquely identified using just their ZIP code, birthdate, and sex. Sweeney was able to decrypt personal information from the RRN numbers of 23,163 deceased Koreans with 100% success by two different methods of attack, and notes that the South Korean system is based on one currently in use in the U.S.

Former Cisco CEO: China, India, UK Will Lead US In Tech Race Without Action - Thu Oct 1 02:16:06 2015

Mickeycaskill writes: Former Cisco CEO John Chambers says the US is the only major country without a proper digital agenda and laments the fact none of the prospective candidates for the US Presidential Election have made it an issue. Chambers said China, India, the UK and France were among those to recognize the benefits of the trend but the US had been slow — risking any economic gains and support for startups. "This is the first time that our government has not led a technology transition," he said. "Our government has been remarkably slow. We are the last major developed country in the world without a digital agenda. I think every major country has this as one of their top two priorities and we don't. We won't get GDP increase and we won't be as competitive with our startups. The real surprise to me was how governments around the world, except ours, moved."

Researchers: Thousands of Medical Devices Are Vulnerable To Hacking - Thu Oct 1 00:38:17 2015

itwbennett writes: At the DerbyCon security conference, researchers Scott Erven and Mark Collao explained how they located Internet-connected medical devices by searching for terms like 'radiology' and 'podiatry' in the Shodan search engine. Some systems were connected to the Internet by design, others due to configuration errors. And much of the medical gear was still using the default logins and passwords provided by manufacturers. 'As these devices start to become connected, not only can your data gets stolen but there are potential adverse safety issues,' Erven said.

Dormant Virus Wakes Up In Some Patients With Lou Gehrig's Disease - Wed Sep 30 23:55:45 2015

MTorrice writes: Our chromosomes hold a partial record of prehistoric viral infections: About 8% of our genomes come from DNA that viruses incorporated into the cells of our ancestors. Over many millennia, these viral genes have accumulated mutations rendering them mostly dormant. But one of these viruses can reawaken in some patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive muscle wasting disease commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. A new study demonstrates that this so-called endogenous retrovirus can damage neurons, possibly contributing to the neurodegeneration seen in the disease. The findings raise the possibility that antiretroviral drugs, similar to those used to treat HIV, could slow the progression of ALS in some patients.

Legal Loophole Offers Volkswagen Criminal Immunity - Wed Sep 30 23:13:02 2015

An anonymous reader writes: According to the Wall Street Journal (paywalled) a loophole in the 1970 Clean Air Act could make it impossible for U.S. prosecutors to subject Volkswagen to criminal charges over its use of standards-dodging 'defeat devices' in its emissions-testing software. Prosecutors are now reported to be considering alternative methods, including (considerably lesser) charges that Volkswagen lied to regulation authorities.

Virginia State Police Cars Hacked - Wed Sep 30 22:30:00 2015

ancientribe writes: Two models of Virginia State Police cruisers were hacked in an experiment to expose vulnerabilities in the vehicles and to come up with ways to protect the cars from hackers. Mitre Corp., the Virginia Dept. of Motor Vehicles, the University of Virginia, and other organizations in cooperation with DHS and the DOT demonstrated the attacks on an unmarked 2012 Chevrolet Impala and a marked patrol car, a 2013 Ford Taurus. GM and Ford even provided their comments to the press in the wake of the experiment.

NVIDIA Launches GeForce NOW Game Streaming Service - Wed Sep 30 21:46:33 2015

MojoKid writes: NVIDIA has championed game streaming for a number of years now. Whether it be from a GeForce GTX-equipped PC to one of its SHIELD devices or from its cloud-based GRID gaming beta service to a SHIELD, Today though, NVIDIA is kicking its game streaming business up a notch by launching a new service dubbed GeForce NOW. The service streams PC games from the cloud to SHIELD devices at up to full HD 1080p resolutions at 60 fps. It may be tempting to call GeForce NOW an official re-branding of its GRID game streaming beta but that is reportedly not the case. The GRID beta is going away with the launch of GeForce NOW (an update will replace the GRID app with GeForce NOW), but according to NVIDIA, GeForce NOW was re-architected from the ground up to provide a better overall experience. NVIDIA sees GeForce NOW as sort of a "Netflix for games." There is a small monthly fee of $7.99 for a subscription, which gives customers access to a slew of games. There are too many to list but top notch titles like Batman: Arkham City, Ultra Street Fighter IV, GRID 2 and many others are included. In addition to the games included in the subscriptions price, NVIDIA will also be offering GeForce NOW users access to AAA-titles on the day of release, for a fee. The games will typically be sold at a regular retail prices but not only will users get to play those games via the GeForce NOW streaming service on SHIELD devices, they'll also receive a key for playing the game on a PC as well. To use GeForce NOW you'll need an NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV, SHIELD portable, or SHIELD tablet (with the latest software updates installed) and a SHIELD-approved 5GHz router. Your broadband connection must also offer download speeds of at least 12Mb/s. 20Mb/s is recommended for 720p / 60 FPS quality, and 50Mb/s is recommended for 1080p / 60 FPS.

Mars Mission: How Hard? NASA Astronauts Weigh In - Wed Sep 30 21:02:47 2015

astroengine writes: In an interesting interview with Discovery News, retired NASA astronauts Clay Anderson (Expedition 15/16) and Steve Swanson (Expedition 39/40) discussed their views on how the US space agency should select the first Mars-bound astronauts — a mission that is slated to commence in the late 2020's. While Swanson thinks that the current NASA astronaut selection process should suffice for a long-duration foray to the Red Planet, Anderson isn't so sure, saying, "(Mars) doesn't require a jet fighter pilot. It doesn't require a Ph.D. astronaut — although those people would be just fine, but I think that it's going to take people that are very good generalists, that can do many things." As depicted in the upcoming Matt Damon movie, "The Martian," Mark Watney (Damon) is thrown into an unexpected, life-threatening situation, requiring him to use his general skill set to survive on the barren landscape until he's rescued. As the first manned missions to Mars will likely throw unforeseen challenges at the explorers, it will probably be a good idea to have a crew that are adept at thinking on the fly and skilled in many different areas rather than being a specialist in one.

Will 'Chip and Pin' Credit Card Technology Really Increase Security? (Video) - Wed Sep 30 20:19:30 2015

Nerves Rattled By Highly Suspicious Windows Update Delivered Worldwide - Wed Sep 30 20:09:09 2015

An anonymous reader writes: If you're using Windows 7 you might want to be careful about which updates you install. Users on Windows forums are worried about a new "important" update that looks a little suspect. Ars reports: "'Clearly there's something that's delivered into the [Windows Update] queue that's trusted,' Kenneth White, a Washington DC-based security researcher, told Ars after contacting some of the Windows users who received the suspicious update. 'For someone to compromise the Windows Update server, that's a pretty serious vector. I don't raise the alarm very often but this has just enough characteristics of something pretty serious that I think it's worth looking at.'" UPDATE: Microsoft says there's nothing to worry about, the company "incorrectly published a test update."

Nerves Rattled By Highly Suspicious Windows Update Delivered Worldwide - Wed Sep 30 19:35:50 2015

An anonymous reader writes: If you're using Windows 7 you might want to be careful about which updates you install. Users on Windows forums are worried about a new "important" update that looks a little suspect. Ars reports: "'Clearly there's something that's delivered into the [Windows Update] queue that's trusted,' Kenneth White, a Washington DC-based security researcher, told Ars after contacting some of the Windows users who received the suspicious update. 'For someone to compromise the Windows Update server, that's a pretty serious vector. I don't raise the alarm very often but this has just enough characteristics of something pretty serious that I think it's worth looking at.'"

AdBlock Plus To Introduce Independent Board To Oversee Acceptable Ads Program - Wed Sep 30 18:52:26 2015

Mark Wilson writes: Ad blocking has been in the news quite a lot recently, not least because of iOS 9's new support for advertising avoidance. Perhaps the most famous tool in the arena is Adblock Plus. It's something that many people have become reliant on for cleaning up their online experience but Eyeo — the company behind AdBlock Plus — has been keen to encourage people to permit the display of some advertising through its Acceptable Ads program. That companies can pay to bypass Adblock Plus is nothing new, although Adblock Plus insists that most ads that are deemed 'acceptable' are added for free. Today Eyeo announces that it is going to hand over control of the Acceptable Ads program to a completely independent board.

500 Million Users At Risk of Compromise Via Unpatched WinRAR Bug - Wed Sep 30 18:09:43 2015

An anonymous reader writes: A critical vulnerability has been found in the latest version of WinRAR, the popular file archiver and compressor utility for Windows, and can be exploited by remote attackers to compromise a machine on which the software is installed. "The issue is located in the 'Text and Icon' function of the 'Text to display in SFX window' module," Vulnerability Lab explained in a post on on the Full Disclosure mailing list. "Remote attackers are able to generate own compressed archives with malicious payloads to execute system specific codes for compromise."

Houston's Gifted Education Program Biased Against Blacks and Latinos - Wed Sep 30 17:27:05 2015

tiberus sends an NPR report investigating the fairness of gifted and talented programs in Houston schools. Analysts believe black and hispanic students are at put at a disadvantage because of the way in which the program is run. Quoting: Donna Ford, at Vanderbilt University, thinks that put Isaac at a disadvantage. She's been researching gifted education for decades, and when it comes to Houston's program she says, "I think it's a clear case of segregation, gifted education being segregated by race and income." Houston school leaders asked Ford to take a close look at their enrollment in the program, and she gave it a failing grade. "Racial bias has to be operating, inequities are rampant. Discrimination does exist whether intentional or unintentional," she told the school board in May of this year. Ford found that both Hispanic and black students are underrepresented in gifted programs and that black students are missing out the most. She also found that about half the seats in those programs go to higher-income students, even though the majority of the district is poor.

The Global Struggle To Prevent Cyberwar - Wed Sep 30 16:42:38 2015

blottsie writes: What constitutes war in the 21st century? In an age of almost constant cyberattacks against major corporations and world governments, the consensus among international-law experts is clear: Nobody knows. This sweeping Daily Dot investigation explores the ongoing struggle to define "cyberwar," the increasing geopolitical aggression in cyberspace, and the major players now attempting to write the rules of online battlefields before it's too late.

"Technical experts and legal scholars repeatedly stress that the idea of a 'cyber Pearl Harbor'—a devastating sneak attack on U.S. infrastructure by a powerful state actor that launched a sustained international conflict—is wildly overblown. Right now, Watts said, 'states bite at one another’s ankles in a way to impede progress or to harass them,' but 'as for the likelihood of a major cyber war, I would rate it pretty low.'

Cyber armageddon may be extremely unlikely, but the many attacks below the level of formal armed conflict have still extracted a staggering price, in both economic and political terms. ... For starters, cyber-arms control is effectively hopeless. There’s no point, experts say, in trying to contain the spread of offensive cyber technology. Instead, the best hope for international law is to focus on reducing the incentives for malicious behavior."

Linux Foundation Puts the Cost of Replacing Its Open Source Projects At $5 Billion - Wed Sep 30 15:59:46 2015

chicksdaddy writes: Everybody recognizes that open source software incredibly valuable, by providing a way to streamline the creation of new applications and services. But how valuable, exactly? The Linux Foundation has released a new research paper that tries to put a price tag on the value of the open source projects it comprises, and the price they've come up with is eye-popping: $5 billion. That's how much the Foundation believes it would cost for companies to have to rebuild or develop from scratch the software residing in its collaborative projects.

To arrive at that figure, the Foundation analyzed the code repositories of each one of its projects using the Constructive Cost Model (COCOMO) to estimate the total effort required to create these projects. With 115,013,302 total lines of source code, LF estimated the total amount of effort required to retrace the steps of collaborative development to be 41,192.25 person-years — or 1,356 developers 30 years to recreate the code base present in The Linux Foundation's current collaborative projects listed above.

Tesla Unveils the Model X - Wed Sep 30 15:27:57 2015

An anonymous reader writes with news that Tesla has officially unveiled its Model X SUV. It's their third vehicle, after the Roadster and Model S. Its 90kWh battery provides 250 miles of range, and the vehicle can go from zero to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds. According to Reuters, the high-end versions of the Model X will cost between $132,000 and $144,000, while the base model's pricing is not yet known. The vehicle's doors open upward, and it can have seating for either six or seven passengers, depending on layout. The back row of seats can fold down when not in use. The Model X has automatic emergency braking, a 5,000 pound towing capacity, and a so-called "bioweapon defense mode" for its air circulation system that keeps positive pressure within the cabin.

New Attack Bypasses Mac OS X Gatekeeper - Wed Sep 30 14:32:02 2015

msm1267 writes: Mac OS X's Gatekeeper security service is supposed to protect Apple computers from executing code that's not signed by Apple or downloaded from its App Store. A researcher, however, has built an exploit that uses a signed binary to execute malicious code. Patrick Wardle, a longtime Apple hacker, said Gatekeeper performs only an initial check on an application to determine whether it came from an untrusted source and should not be executed. Using a signed binary that passes the initial check and then loads a malicious library or app from the same or relative directory, however, will get an advanced attacker onto an OS X machine. Wardle disclosed his research and proof of concept to Apple, which said it is working on a patch, and may push out a short-term mitigation in the meantime.

NY Times: Temporary Visas To Import Talent Help Copycats Take Jobs Abroad - Wed Sep 30 13:59:45 2015

ErichTheRed writes: A new article from the NY Times surprised me. It describes what we in the IT industry see all the time — H-1B visas being used way outside of their original purpose. I think this is significant because the article describes the problem well and shows how Tata, Accenture, etc. are offshoring regular office work as well as IT work. I feel that showing the average Joe/Jane that their nice safe middle class office job isn't so safe is the only way to sway popular opinion on this important matter! Reader theodp notes that Congress is making H-1B visa less costly for India-based IT services providers.

Treefinder Revokes Software License For Users In Immigrant-Friendly Nations - Wed Sep 30 13:15:50 2015

dotancohen writes: The author of bioinformatics software Treefinder is revoking the license to his software for researchers working in eight European countries because he says those countries allow too many immigrants to cross their borders, effective 1 October. The author states, "Immigration to my country harms me, it harms my family, it harms my people. Whoever invites or welcomes immigrants to Europe and Germany is my enemy."

Citadel Botnet Operator Gets 4.5 Years In Prison - Wed Sep 30 12:31:04 2015

An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. Department of Justice has announced that Dimitry Belorossov, a.k.a. Rainerfox, an operator of the "Citadel" malware, has been sentenced to 4.5 years in prison following a guilty plea. Citadel was a banking trojan capable of stealing financial information. Belorossov and others distributed it through spam emails and malvertising schemes. He operated a 7,000-strong botnet with the malware, and also collaborated to improve it. The U.S. government estimates Citadel was responsible for $500 million in losses worldwide. Belorossov will have to pay over $320,000 in restitution.

Advance In Super/Ultra Capacitor Tech: High Voltage and High Capacity - Wed Sep 30 11:49:23 2015

fyngyrz writes: Ultracaps offer significantly faster charge and discharge rates as well as considerably longer life than batteries. Where they have uniformly fallen short is in the amount of energy they can store as compared to a battery, and also the engineering backflips required to get higher voltages (which is the key to higher energy storage because the energy stored in a cap scales with the square of the cap's voltage, whereas doubling the cap's actual capacitance only doubles the energy, or in other words, the energy increase is linear.) This new development addresses these shortcomings all at once: considerably higher voltage, smaller size, higher capacitance, and to top it off, utilizes less corrosive internals. The best news of all: This new technology looks to be easy, even trivial, to manufacture, and uses inexpensive materials — and that is something neither batteries or previous types of ultracaps have been able to claim. After the debacle of EEStor's claims and failure to meet them for so long, and the somewhat related very slow advance of other ultracap technology, it's difficult not to be cynical. But if you read TFA (yes, I know, but perhaps you'll do it anyway) you may decide some optimism might actually be called for.

Tracing the Limits of Computation - Wed Sep 30 09:32:24 2015

An anonymous reader writes: For more than 40 years, researchers had been trying to find a better way to compare two arbitrary strings of characters, such as the long strings of chemical letters within DNA molecules. The most widely used algorithm is slow and not all that clever: It proceeds step-by-step down the two lists, comparing values at each step. If a better method to calculate this "edit distance" could be found, researchers would be able to quickly compare full genomes or large data sets, and computer scientists would have a powerful new tool with which they could attempt to solve additional problems in the field.

Yet in a paper presented at the ACM Symposium on Theory of Computing, two researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology put forth a mathematical proof that the current best algorithm was "optimal" — in other words, that finding a more efficient way to compute edit distance was mathematically impossible. But researchers aren't quite ready to record the time of death. One significant loophole remains. The impossibility result is only true if another, famously unproven statement called the strong exponential time hypothesis (SETH) is also true.

Uber Raided By Dutch Authorities, Seen As 'Criminal Organization' - Wed Sep 30 06:23:01 2015

An anonymous reader writes: Uber offices in Amsterdam have been raided by Dutch authorities, as reported by several local media sources (Google translation of original in Dutch). This follows intimidatory deterrence practices earlier in The Netherlands, with Uber drivers being fined in the past months, and fresh allegations that the company would act as a "criminal organization" by offering a platform for taxi rides without license (read: without the authorities earning money from the practice). Time for tech companies to consider moving their European offices elsewhere? Uber's lawyers must be incredibly busy. Proposed regulations in London would effectively end the company's service there, while the mayor of Rio de Janeiro said he would ban Uber's operations outright. They're receiving mixed messages from Australia — just a day after running afoul of regulations in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory is moving to legalize it.

Talking Science and God With the Pope's New Chief Astronomer - Wed Sep 30 04:23:01 2015

sciencehabit writes: On 18 September, Pope Francis appointed Jesuit brother Guy Consolmagno as the new director of the Vatican Observatory, which employs a dozen astronomers to study asteroids, meteorites, extrasolar planets, stellar evolution, and cosmology. The observatory is based at the pope's summer residence south of Rome and operates a 1.8-meter telescope in Arizona, where the skies are clearer. Science Magazine chatted with Consolmagno about a variety of topics, including whether God gets in the way of doing good astronomy. Consolmagno said, "First of all, I want to provide space for other astronomers to do their work. And I also want to show the world that religion supports astronomy. It is often religious people who most need to see that; they need to know that astronomy is wonderful and that they shouldn't be afraid of it. I often quote John Paul II, when he said [of evolution] that "truth cannot contradict truth." If you think you already know everything about the world, you are not a good scientist, and if you think you know all there is to know about God, then your religious faith is at fault."

Apple, Microsoft Tout Their Privacy Policies To Get Positive PR - Wed Sep 30 02:28:01 2015

jfruh writes: Apple hasn't changed its privacy policy in more than a year — but that didn't stop the company from putting up a glossy website explaining it in layman's terms. Microsoft too has been touting its respect for its users's privacy. This doesn't represent any high-minded altruism on those companies' parts, of course; it's part of their battle against Google, their archrival that offers almost all of its services for free and makes its money mining user data.

Elon Musk Predicts 1,000km EV Range In Two Years, Autonomous Cars In Three - Wed Sep 30 00:21:32 2015

An anonymous reader writes: Speaking with a Danish TV show, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk made a couple of interesting statements about Tesla's future. The company's Model S sedan advertises a range of 200-300 miles (322-483 km) depending on variant, average speed, and tires. Musk says the company will produce an electric vehicle capable of breaking the 1,000km (621 mi) mark by "2017 for sure." Later, Musk went even further, saying he expected "full autonomy" for Tesla vehicles to arrive in "approximately three years." He doesn't expect them to be legal at that point, as regulations will take time to catch up.

$20 Million XPRIZE Takes On Carbon Emissions - Tue Sep 29 23:36:07 2015

An anonymous reader writes: XPRIZE has announced a new, $20 million competition that aims to tackle carbon emissions. They're not looking to reduce emissions, but rather to convert them into something useful. They provide examples: "products like new and sustainable building materials; low-emission transportation fuels; and alternative chemical products that can be used to make everything from clothing and running shoes, to safer, stronger automobiles and breakthrough medicines." Awards will be given for making use of emissions from two different sources: coal power plants and natural gas power plants. "The winning team will convert the most CO2 emissions into the highest value products. To be competitive, teams will have to make the business case for their approach as well as minimize their use of energy, water, land, and other inputs that have consequences for the environment."

Targeting Tools Help Personalize TV Advertising - Tue Sep 29 22:53:01 2015

schwit1 writes: Surgical marketing messages are taken for granted on the Internet. Yet, they are just now finding their way onto television, where the audience is big though harder to target. As brands shift more of their spending to the Web where ads are more precise, the TV industry is pushing back. Using data from cable set-top boxes that track TV viewing, credit cards and other sources, media companies including Comcast's NBCUniversal, Time Warner's Turner, and Viacom are trying to compete with Web giants like Google and Facebook and help marketers target their messages to the right audience. Where can I get adblock for my FiOS?

Carly Fiorina: I Supplied HP Servers For NSA Snooping - Tue Sep 29 22:10:05 2015

MFingS writes: According to an article at Motherboard, shortly after 9/11, NSA director Michael Hayden requested extra computing power and Carly Fiorina, then CEO of HP, responded by re-routing truckloads of servers to the agency. Fiorina acknowledged providing the servers to the NSA during an interview with Michael Isikoff in which she defended warrantless surveillance (as well as waterboarding) and framed her collaboration with the NSA in patriotic terms. Fiorina's compliance with Hayden's request for HP servers is but one episode in a long-running and close relationship between the GOP presidential hopeful and U.S. intelligence agencies.

iOS 9 'Wi-Fi Assist' Could Lead To Huge Wireless Bills - Tue Sep 29 21:28:01 2015

Dave Knott writes: One of the new features introduced in iOS9 is "Wi-Fi Assist." This enables your phone to automatically switch from Wi-Fi to a cellular connection when the Wi-Fi signal is poor. That's helpful if you're in the middle of watching a video or some other task on the internet that you don't want interrupted by spotty Wi-Fi service. Unfortunately, Wi-Fi Assist is enabled by default, which means that users may exceed their data cap without knowing it because their phone is silently switching their data connection from Wi-Fi to cellular.

Amazon Launches 'Flex,' a Crowdsourced Delivery Service - Tue Sep 29 20:42:20 2015

sckirklan writes: Amazon has rolled out a new service called Amazon Flex. It lets people sign up to deliver packages using their mobile phone and their car, earning $18-25/hr while doing so. Think Uber, but for package delivery. Their goal is to fully support one-hour delivery within certain cities. The service is available in Seattle to start, and it'll soon expand to Manhattan, Baltimore, Miami, Dallas, Austin, Chicago, Indianapolis, Atlanta, and Portland. No news on what they think of bicycle couriers, but given their focus on being green, I'd imagine something is in the works.

Why Kickstarter Became a Public Benefit Corporation (Video) - Tue Sep 29 20:00:36 2015

Snowden Joins Twitter, Follows NSA - Tue Sep 29 19:18:20 2015

wiredmikey writes: Edward Snowden joined Twitter Tuesday, picking up more than a quarter of a million followers on the social network in just over two hours. Snowden followed a single Twitter account: the U.S. National Security Agency, from which he stole electronic documents revealing the agency's secret surveillance programs. "Can you hear me now?" he asked in his first tweet, which was quickly resent by Twitter users tens of thousands of times. In his second, Snowden noted the recent news about the planet Mars and then quipped about the difficulty he had finding asylum after the U.S. government fingered him as the source of the NSA leaks. "And now we have water on Mars!" he wrote. "Do you think they check passports at the border? Asking for a friend."

Google Shows Off 2 New Nexus Phones, a New Pixel, and More - Tue Sep 29 18:45:36 2015

Two of the products officially unveiled at Google's much-anticipated (at least much-hyped) release announcement were widely and correctly predicted: a pair of new Nexus phones. The flagship is the all-metal Huawei 6P, with a 5.7" AMOLED display (2,560x1,440), 3GB of RAM, and a Snapdragon 810 chip. The Huawei overshadows the nonetheless respectable second offering, the LG-made Nexus 5X, which makes concessions in the form of less RAM (2GB instead of the 6P's 3), smaller battery (2700mAh, instead of 3450) and a lesser Snapdragon chip inside (808, rather than 810). Both phones, though, come with USB-C and with a big upgrade for a line of phones not generally praised for its cameras: a large-pixel 12.3-megapixel Sony camera sensor. Much less predicted: Google announced a new bearer for the Pixel name, after its line of high-end Chromebooks; today's entrant is a tablet, not running Chrome, and it's running Android rather than Chrome OS. The Pixel C tablet will debut sometime later this year; google touts it as "the first Android tablet built end-to-end by Google." Also on the agenda today, news that Android 6 will start hitting Nexus devices next week.

Ask Slashdot: Advanced KVM Switch? - Tue Sep 29 18:00:35 2015

jez9999 writes: I have a rather advanced use-case for my home work area that I need a KVM-type device for, and I was wondering whether such a thing even existed. I want a 3-PC setup; 2 desktops (PC1 and PC2) and 1 laptop going through a dock (DOCK1). I want to connect 2 monitors (SCREEN1 and SCREEN2), 1 mouse, and 1 keyboard (INPUTS). So far it's relatively straightforward, as I could just switch everything between the 3 devices.

But here's the kicker; I'd like at least 4 modes of operation: one mode to output PC1 video to both screens (dual-screen) and redirect INPUTS to it, one mode to output PC2 video to both screens (dual-screen) and redirect INPUTS to it, one mode to output PC1 video to SCREEN1, extend DOCK1 video to SCREEN2, and redirect INPUTS to DOCK1, and one mode to output PC1 video to SCREEN1, extend DOCK1 video to SCREEN2, and redirect INPUTS to PC1.

Basically with the latter two modes I'd like to be able to switch between inputting to PC1 & DOCK1, whilst continuing to be able to monitor each by outputting each one's video to one of the 2 monitors. However, I also want to be able to go dual-screen with and control PC1 & PC2.

In terms of ports I'd like to use HDMI (or possibly DVI-D) and USB for peripherals; not VGA or PS/2.

Is there any KVM switch out there able to do this kind of thing? I guess I'm probably looking for some kind of programmable KVM which allows me to specify, for each 'mode of operation', which inputs are routed to which outputs. Failing that, is there some other way I can get the setup I want (or something close)?

Newly Found TrueCrypt Flaw Allows Full System Compromise - Tue Sep 29 17:29:18 2015

itwbennett writes: James Forshaw, a member of Google's Project Zero team has found a pair of flaws in the discontinued encryption utility TrueCrypt that could allow attackers to obtain elevated privileges on a system if they have access to a limited user account. 'It's impossible to tell if the new flaws discovered by Forshaw were introduced intentionally or not, but they do show that despite professional code audits, serious bugs can remain undiscovered,' writes Lucian Constantin.

Advertisers Already Using New iPhone Text Message Exploit - Tue Sep 29 16:34:29 2015

Andy Smith writes: The annoying App Store redirect issue has blighted iPhone users for years, but now there's a new annoyance and it's already being exploited: Visit a web page on your iPhone and any advertiser can automatically open your messages app and create a new text message with the recipient and message already filled in. We can only hope they don't figure out how to automatically send the message, although you can bet they're trying.

Retro Roundup: Old Computers Emulated Right In Your Browser - Tue Sep 29 15:51:54 2015

An anonymous reader writes: If you ever wanted to program an Altair, an Apple I, or a COSMAC ELF you may think you either have to buy one (expensive now) or load and configure simulation software. However, there's a slew of browser-based emulators for everything from a PDP-11 to Windows 1.0 out there. Some use Java, but many use Javascript and many perform better on a modern PC then they did in their original. If you want to learn some history or just want to finally play with the computers you saw in the magazines 35 years ago, these are great fun and slightly addictive.

Rogue Biohacking Is Not a Problem - Tue Sep 29 15:08:52 2015

Lasrick writes: Although biosecurity experts have long warned that biohackers will eventually engineer pathogens in the same way that computer enthusiasts in the 1970s developed viruses and adware, UC Berkeley's Zian Liu thinks fears about 'rogue biohackers' are overblown. He lists the five barriers that make it much more difficult to bioengineer in your garage than people think, but also suggests some important chokeholds regulators can take to prevent a would-be bioweaponeer from getting lucky.

ALS Patients Use a Brain Implant To Type 6 Words Per Minute - Tue Sep 29 14:26:46 2015

the_newsbeagle writes: With electrodes implanted in their neural tissue and a new brain-computer interface, two paralyzed people with ALS used their thoughts to control a computer cursor with unprecedented accuracy and speed. They showed off their skills by using a predictive text-entering program to type sentences, achieving a rate of 6 words per minute. While paralyzed people can type faster using other assistive technologies that are already on the market, like eye-gaze trackers and air-puff controllers, a brain implant could be the only option for paralyzed people who can't reliably control their eyes or mouth muscles.

(Over-)Measuring the Working Man - Tue Sep 29 13:43:02 2015 writes: Tyler Cowen writes in MIT Technology Review that the improved measurement of worker performance through information technology is beginning to allow employers to measure value fairly precisely and as we get better at measuring who produces what, the pay gap between those who make more and those who make less grows. Insofar as workers type at a computer, everything they do is logged, recorded, and measured. Surveillance of workers continues to increase, and statistical analysis of large data sets makes it increasingly easy to evaluate individual productivity, even if the employer has a fairly noisy data set about what is going on in the workplace. Consider journalism. In the "good old days," no one knew how many people were reading an article, or an individual columnist. Today a digital media company knows exactly how many people are reading which articles for how long, and also whether they click through to other links. The result is that many journalists turn out to be not so valuable at all. Their wages fall or they lose their jobs, while the superstar journalists attract more Web traffic and become their own global brands.

According to Cowen, the upside is that measuring value tends to boost productivity, as has been the case since the very beginning of management science. We're simply able to do it much better now, and so employers can assign the most productive workers to the most suitable tasks. The downsides are several. Individuals don't in fact enjoy being evaluated all the time, especially when the results are not always stellar: for most people, one piece of negative feedback outweighs five pieces of positive feedback.

FBI and DEA Under Review For Misuse of NSA Mass Surveillance Data - Tue Sep 29 12:57:22 2015

Patrick O'Neill writes: The FBI and DEA were among the agencies fed information from a NSA surveillance program described as "staggering" by one judge who helped strike the program down. Now the two agencies are under review by the Justice Department for the use of parallel construction as well as looking into the specifics and results of cases originating from NSA tips. (Here's some more on the practice of parallel construction in this context.)

When Schools Overlook Introverts - Tue Sep 29 12:25:42 2015

Esther Schindler writes: A few years ago, Susan Cain's book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking seemed to give the world a bit of enlightenment about getting the most out of people who don't think they should have to be social in order to succeed. For a while, at least some folks worked to respect the needs and advantages of introversion, such as careful, reflective thinking based on the solitude that idea-generation requires.

But in When Schools Overlook Introverts, Michael Godsey writes, "The way in which certain instructional trends — education buzzwords like "collaborative learning" and "project-based learning" and "flipped classrooms" — are applied often neglect the needs of introverts. In fact, these trends could mean that classroom environments that embrace extroverted behavior — through dynamic and social learning activities — are being promoted now more than ever." It's a thoughtful article, worth reading. As I think many people on slashdot will agree, Godsley observes, "This growing emphasis in classrooms on group projects and other interactive arrangements can be challenging for introverted students who tend to perform better when they're working independently and in more subdued environments."

Raytheon Wins US Civilian Cyber Contract Worth $1 Billion - Tue Sep 29 11:32:57 2015

Tokolosh writes: Raytheon is a company well-known in military-industrial and political circles, but not so much for software, networking and cybersecurity. That has not stopped the DHS awarding it a $1 billion, five year contract to help more than 100 civilian agencies manage their computer security. Raytheon said DHS selected it to be the prime contractor and systems integrator for the agency's Network Security Deployment (NSD) division, and its National Cybersecurity Protection System (NCPS). The contract runs for five years, but some orders could be extended for up to an additional 24 months, it said. Dave Wajsgras, president of Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services, said the company had invested over $3.5 billion in recent years to expand its cybersecurity capabilities. He said cybersecurity incidents had increased an average of 66 percent a year worldwide between 2009 and 2014. As you might expect, Raytheon spends heavily on political contributions and lobbying.

How the FBI Hacks Around Encryption - Tue Sep 29 09:36:51 2015

Advocatus Diaboli writes with this story at The Intercept about how little encryption slows down law enforcement despite claims to the contrary. To hear FBI Director James Comey tell it, strong encryption stops law enforcement dead in its tracks by letting terrorists, kidnappers and rapists communicate in complete secrecy. But that's just not true. In the rare cases in which an investigation may initially appear to be blocked by encryption — and so far, the FBI has yet to identify a single one — the government has a Plan B: it's called hacking.

Hacking — just like kicking down a door and looking through someone's stuff — is a perfectly legal tactic for law enforcement officers, provided they have a warrant. And law enforcement officials have, over the years, learned many ways to install viruses, Trojan horses, and other forms of malicious code onto suspects' devices. Doing so gives them the same access the suspects have to communications — before they've been encrypted, or after they've been unencrypted.

New Nanoparticle Sunblock Is Stronger and Safer, Scientists Say - Tue Sep 29 07:21:07 2015

sciencehabit writes: What's the best sunscreen? It's a question that troubles beachgoers, athletes, and scientists alike. Mark Saltzman, who falls into the last category, was so concerned by the time his third child was born that he wanted to engineer a better sunblock. "The initial goal was to make a sunblock that lasted longer," says Saltzman, a biomedical engineer at Yale University. "But as I read more about sunscreen, I became aware of people's concerns about safety." Now, he and his colleagues have unveiled the results of their research: a nanoparticle-based sunblock, which they say is longer lasting and less likely to leak into the body than traditional sunscreen.

Are Enterprise Architects the "Miltons" of Their Organizations? - Tue Sep 29 04:41:02 2015

StewBeans writes: InfoWorld recently pointed out that the "architect" part of enterprise architect is a misnomer, because what they are building can't be a static, unmoving structure or it will fail. Businesses need to remain fluid and flexible as technology and consumer behaviors evolve, so modern enterprise architects must "develop frameworks with constant change as a first principle." The business value of these frameworks, however, is often called into question, and EAs have even been called the "Miltons" (as in Milton from Office Space) of the enterprise. If the field of enterprise architecture is changing to focus more on digital transformation, how does that compete with or compliment IT's role in the enterprise, which is also focused on digital transformation? The enterprise architect of BJ's Wholesale breaks down his responsibilities and addresses some myths about the EA role in this article.

Study: $1.8 Billion In Reshipping Fraud With Stolen Cards Each Year - Tue Sep 29 02:12:59 2015

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara and others studied the economy of how criminals monetize stolen credit cards by operating reshipping scams as means to cash out, KrebsOnSecurity reports: "A time-honored method of extracting cash from stolen credit cards involves "reshipping" scams, which manage the purchase, reshipment and resale of carded consumer goods from America to Eastern Europe — primarily Russia. A new study suggests that some 1.6 million credit and debit cards are used to commit at least $1.8 billion in reshipping fraud each year, and identifies some choke points for disrupting this lucrative money laundering activity. [...] disrupting the reshipping chains of these scams has the potential to cripple the underground economy by affecting a major income stream of cybercriminals. By way of example, the team found that a single criminal-operated reshipping service can earn a yearly revenue of over 7.3 million US dollars, most of which is profit."

John Harrison: Inventor and Longitude Hero - Tue Sep 29 00:15:43 2015

szczys writes: Here's an interesting fact: when at sea you can't establish your longitude without a reliable clock. You can figure out latitude with a sextant, but not longitude. Early clocks used pendulums that don't work on a rocking boat. So in the 1700's the British government offered up £20,000 for a reliable clock that would work at sea. John Harrison designed a really accurate ocean-worthy clock after 31 years of effort and was snubbed for the prize which would be £2.8 Million at today's value. After fighting for the payout for another 36 years he did finally get it at the ripe old age of 80. The methods he used to build this maritime chronometer were core to every wrist and pocket watch through the first third of the 20th Century. One of his timepieces, designated Clock B, was declared by Guinness to be the world’s “most accurate mechanical clock with a pendulum swinging in free air” more than 250 years after it was designed.

Doctors On Edge As Healthcare Gears Up For 70,000 Ways To Classify Ailments - Mon Sep 28 23:31:40 2015 writes: Melinda Beck reports in the WSJ that doctors, hospitals and insurers are bracing for possible disruptions on October 1 when the U.S. health-care system switches to ICD-10, a massive new set of codes for describing illnesses and injuries that expands the way ailments are described from 14,000 to 70,000. Hospitals and physician practices have spent billions of dollars on training programs, boot camps, apps, flashcards and practice drills to prepare for the conversion, which has been postponed three times since the original date in 2011. With the move to ICD-10, the one code for suturing an artery will become 195 codes, designating every single artery, among other variables, according to OptumInsight, a unit of UnitedHealth Group Inc. A single code for a badly healed fracture could now translate to 2,595 different codes, the firm calculates. Each signals information including what bone was broken, as well as which side of the body it was on.

Propoenents says ICD-10 will help researchers better identify public-health problems, manage diseases and evaluate outcomes, and over time, will create a much more detailed body of data about patients' health—conveying a wealth of information in a single seven-digit code—and pave the way for changes in reimbursement as the nation moves toward value-based payment plans. "A clinician whose practice is filled with diabetic patients with multiple complications ought to get paid more for keeping them healthy than a clinician treating mostly cheerleaders," says Dr. Rogers. "ICD-10 will give us the precision to do that." As the changeover deadline approaches some fear a replay of the Affordable Care Act rollout debacle in 2013 that choked computer networks, delaying bills and claims for several months. Others recollect the end-of-century anxiety of Y2K, the Year 2000 computer bug that failed to materialize. "We're all hoping for the best and expecting the worst," says Sharon Ahearn. "I have built up what I call my war chest. That's to make sure we have enough working capital to see us through six to eight weeks of slow claims."

Samsung Pay Launches In the United States - Mon Sep 28 22:47:33 2015

An anonymous reader writes: Ready to take on Apple Pay and Android Pay, Samsung Pay is now live in the United States. The service has already launched in South Korea, where it saw over $30 million in transactions its first month. The Verge reports: "Samsung Pay may be more capable than other competing services, but its availability has some limits. First, it's only built into Samsung's newest devices: the Galaxy S6, the S6 Edge and Edge+, and the Note 5. You also need a credit or debit card from Visa, MasterCard, or American Express card, and it has to be issued by one of just a few banks: Bank of America, Citi, American Express, and US Bank are available at launch. (Samsung Pay also works with customer loyalty cards.)"

How Amazon's Robots Move Everything Around - Mon Sep 28 22:05:45 2015

dkatana writes: Amazon's drones have a long way to become reality, but the real magic of the Internet of Things (IoT) is already happening at Amazon's vast fulfillment warehouses in the US. Amazon runs a fleet of thousands of small robots moving storage pods around so orders can be fulfilled in record time. They are so efficient that they can move an entire warehouse and have ready to operate again during the weekend. All together the small robots have traveled over 93 million miles — almost the distance from Earth to the Sun.

Google AdSense Click Fraud Made Possible By Uncloaking Advertisers' Sites - Mon Sep 28 21:21:20 2015

An anonymous reader writes: A Spanish researcher claims to have uncovered a vulnerability in the security procedures of Google's AdSense program which would allow a third party to manipulate clicks on Google's syndicated ad service by 'de-cloaking' the obfuscated advertiser URLs that Google AdSense placements provide as links. He has also provided downloadable PHP files to show the exploit in action.

Ditch Linux For Windows 10 On Your Raspberry Pi With Microsoft's IoT Kit - Mon Sep 28 20:39:28 2015

An anonymous reader writes: Partnering with Adafruit, Microsoft has announced the Windows IoT Core Starter Kit. The $75 kit comes comes with an SD card preloaded with Windows 10 IoT. According to the Raspberry Pi blog: "The pack is available with a Pi 2 for people who are are new to Raspberry Pi or who'd like a dedicated device for their projects, or without one for those who'll be using a Pi they already own. The box contains an SD card with Windows 10 Core and a case, power supply, wifi module and Ethernet cable for your Pi; a breadboard, jumper wires and components including LEDs, potentiometers and switches; and sensors for light, colour, temperature and pressure. There's everything you need to start building."

Uber's Rivals Forming an International Alliance - Mon Sep 28 19:57:46 2015

jfruh writes: Didi Kuaidi is China's biggest native ride-sharing app, and it's using its cash hoard to build an alliance to take on global giant Uber. On the heels of a $100 million investment in Lyft, the company is also investing in Ola, India's biggest entry in the market. The deals have been described as involving sharing technology and market knowledge. "We look forward to exchanging learnings from two of the worlds largest markets and the tremendous synergies this partnership can bring, towards our commitment of building mobility for a billion Indians," Ola said about the new deal in a statement Monday.

Rosetta's Comet Is Actually 2 Comets Stuck Together - Mon Sep 28 19:14:57 2015

astroengine writes: Scientists have solved the mystery of why the comet being studied by Europe's Rosetta spacecraft is shaped like a rubber duck — it started off as TWO separate comets, a new study shows. Ever since Rosetta sent back pictures of its twin-lobed target more than a year ago, scientists have debated whether the comet, known as 67P/Churyumov-Garasimenko, could be the result of two comets that merged together during the solar system's early years. The other option is that the so-called "neck region" between 67P's two lobes experienced some particularly active and still unexplained outgassing over the eons, eroding its more spherical shape into a body that resembles a rubber duck. "Our study rules out the possibility that the comet shape is the outcome of erosion," planetary scientist Matteo Massironi, with the University of Padova in Italy, wrote in an email to Discovery News. Rather, the neck region is where two independent bodies collided, analysis of high-resolution images taken by the orbiting Rosetta spacecraft shows.

Europe Agrees To Agree With Everyone Except US What 5G Should Be - Mon Sep 28 18:31:10 2015

itwbennett writes: Following agreements signed by the EU with South Korea in June 2014 and with Japan in May 2015, the EU and China "have agreed to agree by the end of the year on a working definition for 5G," reports Peter Sayer. "About the only point of agreement so far is that 5G is what we'll all be building or buying after 4G, so any consensus between the EU and China could be significant," says Sayer.

Ask Slashdot: Building a Software QA Framework? - Mon Sep 28 17:48:01 2015

New submitter DarkHorseman writes: I am looking into a new position with my employer and have the opportunity to work with the development and QA team to further the creation of a Quality Assurance Framework that will be used into the long-term future. This is software that has been in continuous development, in-house, for >10 years and is used company-wide (Fortune100, ~1000 locations, >10k users, different varieties based on discipline) as a repair toolset on a large variety of computers (high variability of SW/HW configuration). Now is the time to formalize the QA process. We have developed purpose-built tools and include vendor-specific applications based on business need. This framework will ideally provide a thorough and documentable means by which a team of testers could help to thoroughly ensure proper functionality before pushing the software to all locations. The information provided by along with other sources has been invaluable in understanding the software side of QA but I have seen very little in terms of actual creation of the framework of the process. What would you consider the best resources to prepare me to succeed? Even if your QA needs are for smaller projects, what advice do you have for formalizing the process?

iPhone 6s's A9 Processor Racks Up Impressive Benchmarks - Mon Sep 28 17:05:36 2015

MojoKid writes: Underneath the hood of Apple's new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models is a new custom designed System-on-Chip (SoC) that Apple has dubbed its A9 processor. It's a 64-bit chip that, according to Apple, is the most advanced ever built for any smartphone, and that's just one of many claims coming out of Cupertino. Apple is also claiming a level of gaming performance on par with dedicated game consoles and with a graphics engine that's 90 percent faster than the previous generation. For compute chores, Apple says the A9 chip improves overall CPU performance by up to 70 percent. These performance promises come without divulging too much about the physical makeup of the A9, though in testing its dual-core SoC does seem to compete well with the likes of Samsung's octal-core Exynos chips found in the Galaxy S6 line. Further, in intial graphics benchmark testing, the A9 also leads the pack in mosts tests, sometimes by a healthy margin, even besting Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810 in tests like 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited.

LibreOffice Turns Five - Mon Sep 28 16:31:08 2015

An anonymous reader writes: Italo Vignoli, founding member of The Document Foundation, reflects on the project's five-year mark in an article on "LibreOffice was launched as a fork of on September 28, 2010, by a tiny group of people representing the community in their capacity as community project leaders. At the time, forking the office suite was a brave -- and necessary -- decision, because the open source community did not expect to survive for long under Oracle stewardship." The project that was does still exist, in the form of Apache Open Office, but along with most Linux distros, I've switched completely to LibreOffice, after some initial misgivings.

Scientists Have Spotted the Signs of Flowing Water On Mars - Mon Sep 28 15:59:27 2015

New submitter universe520 writes: Using neat imaging technology that allows them to determine the chemical compound of a substance by looking at the light reflected from it, scientists have spotted the traces of flowing water on Mars. By looking at the dark streaks on some photos of Mars, Lujendra Ojha from Georgia Tech has found compounds that are made in liquid water—meaning that water may be trickling down those streaks when the climate is just right. From the linked Economist piece: Details remain to be worked out, including where the water in question originates. Possibly, it derives from subsurface ice. Or it might condense out of Mars’s thin, dry atmosphere. Wherever it does come from, though, the amounts in question are modest in the extreme. But even modest amounts of water are intriguing to biologists. If Martians evolved during their planet’s earlier, wetter phase, the continued presence of water means it is just about possible that a few especially hardy types have survived until the present day—clinging on in dwindling pockets of dampness in the way that some “extremophile” bacteria on Earth are able to live in cold, salty and arid environments.

Scientists Have Spotted the Signs of Flowing Water On Mars - Mon Sep 28 15:47:23 2015

New submitter universe520 writes: Using neat imaging technology that allows them to determine the chemical compound of a substance by looking at the light reflected from it, scientists have spotted the traces of flowing water on Mars. By looking at the dark streaks on some photos of Mars, Lujendra Ojha from Georgia Tech has found compounds that are made in liquid water—meaning that water may be trickling down those streaks when the climate is just right. From the linked Economist piece: Details remain to be worked out, including where the water in question originates. Possibly, it derives from subsurface ice. Or it might condense out of Mars’s thin, dry atmosphere. Wherever it does come from, though, the amounts in question are modest in the extreme. But even modest amounts of water are intriguing to biologists. If Martians evolved during their planet’s earlier, wetter phase, the continued presence of water means it is just about possible that a few especially hardy types have survived until the present day—clinging on in dwindling pockets of dampness in the way that some “extremophile” bacteria on Earth are able to live in cold, salty and arid environments.

Romance and Rebellion In Software Versioning - Mon Sep 28 15:14:14 2015

joabj writes: Most software releases more or less follow the routine convention of Major.Minor.Bugfix numbering (i.e. Linux 4.2.1). This gives administrators an idea of what updates are major ones and might bring compatibility issues. As Dominic Tarr points out in his essay "Sentimental Versioning," a few projects boldly take on more whimsical schemes for versioning, such as Donald Knuth's use of successive Pi digits to enumerate new updates to TeX, or Node.js's punk-rock careening between major and minor releases. If you break convention, Tarr seems to be arguing, at least do so with panache.

EFF: DMCA Hinders Exposing More Software Cheats Like Volkswagen's - Mon Sep 28 14:20:43 2015

ideonexus writes: Automakers have argued that the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act makes it unlawful for researchers to review the code controlling their vehicles without the manufacturer's permission, making it extremely difficult to expose software cheats like the one Volkswagen used to fake emissions tests. Arguing that this obfuscation of code goes so far as to endanger lives at times, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) maintains that, "When you entrust your health, safety, or privacy to a device, the law shouldn't punish you for trying to understand how that device works and whether it is trustworthy."

Tardis Wars: The BBC Strikes Back - Mon Sep 28 13:37:19 2015

New submitter Elixon writes: Czech trademark monitoring service IP Defender reported that The British Broadcasting Corporation applied for a figurative trademark on the "POLICE PUBLIC CALL BOX" for wide range of goods and services like cinematographic and photographic films, printed publications, key chains, textile goods, toys, telecommunications and more. The Metropolitan Police was defeated by the BBC in the past while trying to monopolize the London police box; now its the BBC's turn.

ISRO Launches Astrosat, India's First Dedicated Space Observatory - Mon Sep 28 13:15:07 2015

vasanth writes with a link to the Hindu, which reports: A few days after it celebrated the successful completion of a year around the Red planet by its first inter-planetary mission — the Mars Orbiter, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Monday launched its first dedicated multi wavelength space observatory into space, besides six satellites for Canada, Indonesia and the United States. Though the national space agency has launched satellites for Indonesia and Canada earlier, this is the first time ISRO is launching satellites for the United States. ASTROSAT's sensors will provide coverage in optical, Ultraviolet, low and high energy X-ray ranges, rather than the concentrating on a narrower range. Major institutions all over India will take part in the new craft's observations.

Rare "Healthy" Smokers Lungs Explained - Mon Sep 28 12:23:01 2015

Bruce66423 writes: New research suggests that a proportion of the population suffers little problems with smoking because their genes enable the smoke's effects to be overcome. The Medical Research Council reports: "The new findings, which used the first analyses of genetic data from participants in UK Biobank, may one day help scientists develop better treatments for diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a collection of life-threatening lung disorders affecting almost one million people in the UK. The findings could also help improve interventions aimed at helping smokers to give up."

UberX Runs Into Trouble In Australia With NSW Suspending Vehicle Registration - Mon Sep 28 11:36:31 2015

Harlequin80 writes: RMS (Roads & Maritime Service) the New South Wales' governing body for transport has begun suspending the vehicle registration of UberX drivers. After failing to deter drivers through prosecutions, with Uber covering fines and legal costs of its drives, RMS has begun suspending the registration of the vehicles as it forces the vehicle off the road for 3 months. Under the NSW Passenger Transport Act paid ride sharing is illegal and this will see UberX drivers losing the use of their vehicle for both Uber and personal use.

The Man Who Invents Languages For a Living - Mon Sep 28 09:06:46 2015

An anonymous reader writes: David J. Peterson is fluent in eight languages: English, Spanish, French, German, Russian, Esperanto, Arabic and American Sign Language, but it is the languages he's created that gives him notoriety. He created Dothraki, Giant, and High Valyrian for Game of Thrones, Shiväisith for Thor: The Dark World, and four different languages for the TV show Defiance. Peterson recently sat down with NPR to talk about inventing languages for a living, and offers some advice on how to make your own.

Edward Snowden Promotes Global Treaty To Curtail Surveillance - Mon Sep 28 06:18:01 2015

An anonymous reader writes: in a video appearance Edward Snowden said Domestic digital spying on ordinary citizens is an international threat that will only be slowed with measures like a proposed international treaty declaring privacy a basic human right. "This is not a problem exclusive to the United States.... This is a global problem that affects all of us. What's happening here happens in France, it happens in the U.K., it happens in every country, every place, to every person," he said.

Researchers Identify Newer and More Precise System For Genome Editing - Mon Sep 28 03:04:13 2015

An anonymous reader writes: Scientists have identified a new advanced molecular system system for human genome editing with potential to increase power and precision of genome engineering. The team including the scientist who first harnessed the CRISPR-Cas9 system for mammalian genome editing, described the features of the new system and demonstrated that it can be engineered to edit the genomes of human cells.