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Report: Space Elevators Are Feasible
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '14 at 09:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i'll-order-a-dozen department:
Daniel_Stuckey writes "It's the scourge of futurists everywhere: The space elevator can't seem to shake its image as something that's just ridiculous, laughed off as the stuff of sci-fi novels and overactive imaginations. But there are plenty of scientists who take the idea quite seriously, and they're trying to buck that perception. To that end, a diverse group of experts at the behest of the International Academy of Astronautics completed an impressively thorough study this month on whether building a space elevator is doable. Their resulting report, 'Space Elevators: An Assessment of the Technological Feasibility and the Way Forward,' found that, in a nutshell, such a contraption is both totally feasible and a really smart idea. And they laid out a 300-page roadmap detailing how to make it happen."

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Scientists Demonstrate Virus That Spreads Across Wi-Fi Access Points
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '14 at 07:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's proof-of-concept department:
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at the University of Liverpool have shown for the first time that WiFi networks can be infected with a virus that can move through densely populated areas as efficiently as the common cold spreads between humans. The team designed and simulated an attack by a virus, called 'Chameleon,' that not only could spread quickly between homes and businesses, but avoided detection and identified the points at which WiFi access is least protected by encryption and passwords. The research appears in EURASIP Journal on Information Security."
The technical details are explained in the journal article.

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DARPA Funds Research Into a Network-Based Interpretation of Dreams
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '14 at 05:16 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-was-funneled-into-a-distortive-hub-by-percolative-clowns department:
KentuckyFC writes "Despite the universal experience of dreaming, psychologists and neuroscientists have little understanding of its purpose and mechanisms, or how it varies from one culture to another. So new approaches to oneirology, or dream research, are always welcome. Now a DARPA-funded research team is using network science to analyse dreams for the first time. Dreams have become amenable to network studies because dream reports and their interpretations are now widely available on the web in repositories such as UC Santa Cruz's Dreambank. The DARPA team crawled these databases in English, Chinese and Arabic for symbols that appear in dreams and their descriptions. They then created a network for each language by treating symbols as nodes and linking them to other nodes with similar descriptions. They then searched the networks for regions of more densely connected nodes that form communities. For example, in English, symbols such as 'ladder,' 'hill' and 'goal" form just such a community, representing 'achievement after a struggle.' Finally, they compared the communities from different languages to look for similarities. The results show that dream symbols seem to be connected in similar ways regardless of the cultural background of the dreamers. That provides a new window into the cultural links between dreams experienced by people in different parts of the world."

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Apple Urges Arizona Governor To Veto Anti-Gay Legislation
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '14 at 04:31 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's getting-involved department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "According to NBC, Apple has confirmed that it urged Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to veto a bill that would allow business owners with strongly held religious beliefs to deny service to gays and lesbians. Last November Tim Cook announced that Apple was building a sapphire glass plant in Mesa, AZ, that would bring 2,000 new jobs to the state. 'Apple is indisputably one of the world's most innovative companies and I'm thrilled to welcome them to Arizona,' said Gov. Brewer at the time. 'Apple will have an incredibly positive economic impact for Arizona and its decision to locate here speaks volumes about the friendly, pro-business climate we have been creating these past four years.' According to Philip Elmer-DeWitt, it sounds like Tim Cook may be having second thoughts about how 'friendly' and 'pro-business' the climate in Arizona really is."

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New Review Slams Fusion Project's Management
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '14 at 03:46 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's doing-great-except-for-the-fusion-stuff department:
sciencehabit writes "ITER, the international fusion reactor project in France, is reeling from an assessment that found serious problems with the project's leadership, management, and governance. The report is so damning that after a 13 February special session that reviewed and accepted the report's conclusions and recommendations, the ITER Council — the project's governing body — restricted its readership to a small number of senior managers and council members. 'We feared that if [the assessment] leaked to people who don't know about the ITER agreement, the project could be interpreted as a major failure, which is not what the management assessor intended,' says nuclear engineer Bob Iotti of the consulting firm CH2M HILL, who chairs that council."

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Radar Expert Explains How To Cheaply Add Radar To Your Own Hardware Projects
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '14 at 03:31 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's for-tracking-your-personal-airfleet department:
szczys writes "Gregory Charvat has been playing with and teaching others about entry-level radar concepts for a long time. Now he's sat down and explained how you can do it yourself inexpensively. He says, 'One enabling technology for Radar was the cathode ray tube (CRT), which facilitated a method of measuring the time delay between transmitted and received waveforms. ... Today, rather than using a CRT we can use high-speed digitizers. This offers the obvious advantage of applying signal processing to acquired data so that only moving targets are detected, tracking can be achieved, imaging, and a multitude of other modes. But for hobbyist and consumer projects we do not need this much power, range, and can not afford the cost. We need the ability to sense like a long range radar (detecting only moving targets, imaging, Doppler, signatures, etc) but at short ranges and at low costs.' Charvat then proceeds to walk through several options for the amatuer hardware hacker."

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Consumer Reports Says Tesla Model S Is Best Overall Vehicle
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '14 at 02:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's opinionmaker-has-opinion department:
cartechboy writes "When one thinks of Consumer Reports, refrigerator ratings and car seat reviews usually come to mind, but the organization actually reviews cars too. In fact, it just released a new round of top vehicle picks and it said the Tesla Model S is is the Best Overall Car you can buy. It's unusual, to say the least, for an outlet that typically names a Toyota or Lexus to choose an electric car that costs nearly $100,000 in most popular configurations from a Silicon Valley upstart. Interestingly, the Toyota Prius was named the Best Green Car. Isn't the Model S green? But I digress. A company that many thought would be bankrupt and closed by now has produced a brand-new electric car from scratch that Consumer Reports feels is the best car it's actually tested since 2007."

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Major Scientific Journal Publisher Requires Public Access To Data
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '14 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's open-all-day-every-day department:
An anonymous reader writes "PLOS — the Public Library of Science — is one of the prolific publishers of research papers in the world. 'Open access' is one of their mantras, and they've been working to push the academic publishing system into a state where research isn't locked behind paywalls and subscription services. To that end, they've announced a new policy for all of their journals: 'authors must make all data publicly available, without restriction, immediately upon publication of the article.' The data must be available within the article itself, in the supplementary information, or within a stable, public repository. This is good news for replicating experiments, building on past results, and science in general."

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Electric Bikes Get More Elegant Every Year (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '14 at 01:01 PM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's he-huffed-and-he-puffed-his-way-up-the-hill-because-he-forgot-he-was-riding-an-electric-bike department:
Tim Lord first saw Faraday Bicycles at CES, where their bikes drew plenty of attention and a fair amount of media interest. The company ran a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2012, and 2014 is when they are starting to ship their pre-ordered bicycles and hope to get new orders for lots more. Tim's travels later took him to San Francisco, where he had a chance to visit the shop where Faraday bikes are made, and to talk with some of the people who are designing and making them. (If you don't see the video below, please use this link.)

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How Mobile Apps Are Reinventing the Worst of the Software Industry
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '14 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-don't-want-to-rate-your-app-and-i-don't-want-to-tweet-about-it department:
An anonymous reader writes "Jeff Atwood, co-founder of Stack Overflow, says the mobile app ecosystem is getting out of hand. 'Your platform now has a million apps? Amazing! Wonderful! What they don't tell you is that 99% of them are awful junk that nobody would ever want.' Atwood says most companies trying to figure out how to get users to install their app should instead be figuring out just why they need a mobile app in the first place. Fragmentation is another issue, as mobile devices continue to speciate and proliferate. 'Unless you're careful to build equivalent apps in all those places, it's like having multiple parallel Internets. "No, sorry, it's not available on that Internet, only the iOS phone Internet." Or even worse, only on the United States iOS phone Internet.' Monetization has turned into a race to the bottom, and it's led to worries about just what an app will do with the permissions it's asking for. Atwood concludes, 'The tablet and phone app ecosystem is slowly, painstakingly reinventing everything I hated about the computer software industry before the web blew it all up.'"

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Astronomers Catch Asteroid Striking Moon On Video
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '14 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's meteorite-indicted,-court-date-set department:
spineas writes "A 4.5-foot-wide asteroid struck the moon in September 2013, and astronomers were lucky enough to catch the impact flash on video, now confirmed as the brightest ever witnessed from Earth. The Orlando Sentinel reports that the asteroid likely weighed nearly 900 pounds, and exploded on impact with the moon with the force of 15 tons of TNT."

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Google Fighting Distracted Driver Laws
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '14 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's think-of-it-as-driving-on-hard-mode department:
Rambo Tribble writes "Reuters reports Google has initiated lobbying efforts to stymie attempts by some states to enact distracted driver laws aimed at wearable technologies, such as Google Glass. 'Google's main point to legislators is that regulation would be premature because Google Glass is not yet widely available, the state elected officials say. Illinois state Senator Ira Silverstein, a Chicago Democrat who introduced a Google Glass restriction bill in December, responded that it was clear the merchandise was heading for the broader public.' Given the toll on our highways shown to arise from distracted drivers, is this responsible corporate behavior to protect their product, or an unethical endangering of lives?"

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New iOS Keylogging Vulnerability Discovered
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '14 at 11:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's it's-called-eye-phone-duh department:
exomondo writes "Following hot on the heels of the iOS (and OS X) SSL security bug comes the latest vulnerability in Apple's mobile operating system. It is a security bug that can be used as a vector for malware to capture touch screen, volume rocker, home button and (on supported devices) TouchID sensor presses, information that could be sent to a remote server to re-create the user's actions. The vulnerability exists in even the most recent versions of iOS and the authors claim that they delivered a proof-of-concept monitoring app through the App Store."

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Ask Slashdot: When Is a Better Career Opportunity Worth a Pay Cut?
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '14 at 10:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's don't-burn-too-many-bridges department:
An anonymous reader writes "I am currently working for a software company that rakes in a lot of money and has an EBIT that puts other companies to shame. The company is great: good benefits, lots of vacation time, very good salary. However the problem is that their architecture is already established, change is often slow moving, and most of the decisions are made by architects as oppose to developers. I find my job somewhat mundane and I am losing interest. I recently was offered another job, with a small company that doesn't have the capital/revenue stream to provide all the perks that my current employer has. Needless to say, this small company wants someone to take their system into the modern age, which means re-design/new architecture, implementation, maintenance, team lead, etc.... thus, more experience to add to my resume. These are things that I won't be able to do easily in my current job. My concern is that it appears this company has really high expectations, and since I had to take a small pay cut to get this position it leaves a but of uneasiness in my stomach for future promotions/advancements. However I believe in their product, their vision/goals, the people and the future of the company. I feel excited but also scared as its a bit of a gamble. Has anyone else experienced the same thing?"

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Facebook Shuts Down @Facebook Email System
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '14 at 09:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's shot-in-the-dark-went-wild department:
First time accepted submitter beaker_72 writes "The BBC are reporting that Facebook will end their email system which provided users an @Facebook.com email address in March. The official line from Facebook is that not many people have been using the service. Is that really the case or have they found it too challenging to monetize that part of their service? Did users stay away from this 'service' because they've become more savvy and recognized it for what it was — another way to harvest their data? Or is it the case that the market is currently saturated with free webmail services and there wasn't room for another one?"

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South Park Game Censored On Consoles Outside North America
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '14 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's some-people-just-hate-speech department:
RogueyWon writes "South Park has long been vocal in its opposition to media censorship from any source, launching scathing attacks on everything from 'think of the children' moral crusades to the censorship of religious imagery. In a curious twist, therefore, Ubisoft, the publisher of the upcoming video game South Park: The Stick of Truth, has decided to censor certain scenes from the game's Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions from release in Europe, Australia, the Middle East and Africa. American versions, as well as the European PC release, so far appear to have escaped the censor's pen."

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'Google Buses' Are Bad For Cities, Says New York MTA Official
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '14 at 08:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's and-a-pony department:
An anonymous reader writes "The Director of Sustainability for New York's MTA is calling out Google, Apple, and Yahoo for 'deliberately' building their campuses away from public amenities like restaurants, and public transportation. 'With very few honorable exceptions like Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, who recently moved his company headquarters from suburban Henderson to downtown Las Vegas, tech companies seem not to have gotten the memo that suburbs are old and bad news,' he writes. Instead of launching their own bus services to ferry people from the city to their campuses, as the tech companies have done, the Googles and Apples of the world should 'locate themselves in existing urban communities. Ideally, in blighted ones,' says Dutta." Maybe cities just don't have the right mix of amenities, price, space, parking, and other factors to make them better places to put certain businesses.

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Navy Won't Investigate Nuclear Pollution At San Francisco's Treasure Island
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '14 at 07:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's charming-fixer-upper-quaint-'50s-charm-must-see department:
Lasrick writes "The Center for Investigative Reporting spent a year investigating whether San Francisco's Treasure Island is contaminated with radioactive material left over from the decades the island was a naval base. Treasure Island is being transferred into civilian hands, and the city of San Francisco has plans to turn it into a 'second downtown.' Despite the fact that radioactive debris has been found around the island, the Navy refuses to conduct testing that might show whether radiation cleanup should be started before development begins, Independent testing by CIR and others has found high levels of cesium 137 and other radioactive substances at several spots on the island, and by examining unclassified military documents, CIR has found that the history of the nuclear work done at Treasure Island and the lack of safety protocols at the time mean the contamination is most likely wide-spread. Complaints by current residents has only resulted in bureaucratic infighting among state health departments and the Navy."

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Copyright Ruling On Publishing Calculated Results: Common Sense Breaks Out
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '14 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-then-I'd-have-to-kill-you department:
bfwebster writes "During the past few years, I served as an IT expert witness in BanxCorp v. Costco et al., in which BanxCorp sued Costco and Capital One for citing (with credit) its web-published national averages for CD and money market rates in their advertising. Judge Kenneth M. Karas issued his summary judgment opinion last fall, finding that BanxCorp's published averages are 'uncopyrightable facts' due to the simple calculation involved and the lack of ongoing human judgment in what banks were involved. Here is my summary of his findings, along with a link to the actual ruling."

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Mt. Gox Gone? Apparent Theft Shakes Bitcoin World
Posted by News Fetcher on February 25 '14 at 06:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's repercussions-will-repurcate department:
mendax was one of many readers to write with news about the apparent shutdown of Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, in the wake of massive theft. "The New York Times is reporting that Mt. Gox, the most prominent Bitcoin exchange, 'appeared to be on the verge of collapse late Monday, raising questions about the future of a volatile marketplace.' 'On Monday night, a number of leading Bitcoin companies jointly announced that Mt. Gox, the largest exchange for most of Bitcoin's existence, was planning to file for bankruptcy after months of technological problems and what appeared to have been a major theft. A document circulating widely in the Bitcoin world said the company had lost 744,000 Bitcoins in a theft that had gone unnoticed for years. That would be about 6 percent of the 12.4 million Bitcoins in circulation.' Maybe the U.S. Dollar isn't so bad after all." Forbes goes further, and says flatly that Mt. Gox has shut down; Wired calls it an implosion. Reader electron gunner links to the alleged leaked document which outlines the exchange's crisis strategy. Watch this story for updates, since there are bound to be new developments.

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