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Building Deception Into Encryption Software
Posted by News Fetcher on January 29 '14 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's would-be-better-to-build-decepticons department:
holy_calamity writes "MIT Technology Review reports on a new cryptosystem designed to protect stolen data against attempts to break encryption by brute force guessing of the password or key. Honey Encryption serves up plausible fake data in response to every incorrect guess of the password. If the attacker does eventually guess correctly, the real data should be lost amongst the crowd of spoof data. Ari Juels, who invented the technique and was previously chief scientist at RSA, is working on software to protect password managers using the technique."

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Slashdot PT Cruiser Spotted In the Wild
Posted by News Fetcher on January 29 '14 at 11:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's temporal-disturbance department:
You may remember the Slashdot PT Cruiser if you've been around long enough. You might even wonder what fate befell it. You can sleep comfortably tonight for it has been spotted alive and seemingly well in Walnut Creek.

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What Killed the Great Beasts of North America?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 29 '14 at 10:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's mostly-spears department:
sciencehabit writes "Until about 11,000 years ago, mammoths, giant beavers, and other massive mammals roamed North America. Many researchers have blamed their demise on incoming Paleoindians, the first Americans, who allegedly hunted them to extinction. But a new study points to climate and environmental changes instead. The findings could have implications for conservation strategies, including controversial proposals for 'rewilding' lions and elephants into North America."

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Rovio Denies Knowledge of NSA Access, Angry Birds Website Defaced Anyway
Posted by News Fetcher on January 29 '14 at 10:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's bored-teenagers-at-their-finest department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Rovio Entertainment, the software company behind Angry Birds, denies that it knowingly shares data with the NSA, Britain's GCHQ, or any other national intelligence agency. But that didn't stop hackers from briefly defacing the Angry Birds website with an NSA logo and the title
'Spying Birds.' Rovio's troubles began with a New York Times article that suggested the NSA and GCHQ had installed backdoors in popular apps such as Angry Birds, allowing the agencies to siphon up enormous amounts of user data. The Times drew its information from government whistleblower Edward Snowden, who has leaked hundreds of pages of top-secret documents related to NSA activities over the past few months. 'The alleged surveillance may be conducted through third party advertising networks used by millions of commercial web sites and mobile applications across all industries,' Rovio wrote in a statement on its website. 'If advertising networks are indeed targeted, it would appear that no Internet-enabled device that visits ad-enabled web sites or uses ad-enabled applications is immune to such surveillance.' The company pledged to evaluate its relationships with those ad networks. The controversy is unlikely to dampen enthusiasm for the Angry Birds franchise, which has enjoyed hundreds of millions of downloads across a multitude of platforms. It could, however, add momentum to continuing discussions about the NSA's reach into peoples' lives."


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Journal of Cosmology Contributor Sues NASA To Investigate Mars "Donut"
Posted by News Fetcher on January 29 '14 at 09:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's chewbacca-hungers-for-donut-fungus department:
An anonymous reader writes "Rhawn Joseph, a self-described astrobiologist involved with the infamous Journal of Cosmology, is suing NASA, demanding 100 high-resolution photos and 24 micrographs be taken of the 'donut' rock that recently appeared in front of the Opportunity rover on Mars, on the basis that it is a living organism. The remarkable full text of the complaint, which cites NASA's mineralogical analysis of the rock as evidence against it being a rock, is available to read at Popular Science."

Really, the lawsuit is worth a read.

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Edward Snowden Nominated For Nobel Peace Prize
Posted by News Fetcher on January 29 '14 at 09:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's us-declares-war-on-norway department:
SmartAboutThings writes "Edward Snowden has a chance of getting the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, as two Norwegian members of the Parliament have nominated him — Baard Vegard Solhjell (a former environment minister) and Snorre Valen. So, the fact that members of the Norwegian Parliament have proposed him for the Nobel Peace Prize could improve his chance of winning. After all, if Obama got this prize, why wouldn't Snowden get it?"

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Developer Loses Single-Letter Twitter Handle Through Extortion
Posted by News Fetcher on January 29 '14 at 08:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's kevin-mitnick-returns-to-get-a-cool-twitter-handle department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Naoki Hiroshima, creator of Cocoyon and a developer for Echofon, writes at Medium that he had a rare one-letter Twitter username — <tt>@N</tt> — and had been offered as much as $50,000 for its purchase. 'People have tried to steal it. Password reset instructions are a regular sight in my email inbox,' writes Hiroshima. 'As of today, I no longer control @N. I was extorted into giving it up.' Hiroshima writes that a hacker used social engineering with Paypal to get the last four digits of his credit card number over the phone then used that information to gain control of his GoDaddy account. 'Most websites use email as a method of verification. If your email account is compromised, an attacker can easily reset your password on many other websites. By taking control of my domain name at GoDaddy, my attacker was able to control my email.' Hiroshima received a message from his extortionist. 'Your GoDaddy domains are in my possession, one fake purchase and they can be repossessed by godaddy and never seen again. I see you run quite a few nice websites so I have left those alone for now, all data on the sites has remained intact. Would you be willing to compromise? access to @N for about 5 minutes while I swap the handle in exchange for your godaddy, and help securing your data?' Hiroshima writes that it''s hard to decide what's more shocking, the fact that PayPal gave the attacker the last four digits of his credit card number over the phone, or that GoDaddy accepted it as verification. Hiroshima has two takeaways from his experience: Avoid custom domains for your login email address and don't let companies such as PayPal and GoDaddy store your credit card information."

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Facebook Puts 10,000 Blu-ray Discs In Low-Power Storage System
Posted by News Fetcher on January 29 '14 at 08:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's 2002-wants-its-backup-solution-back department:
itwbennett writes "Facebook said last year that it was exploring Blu-ray for its data-center storage needs, and on Tuesday it showed a prototype system at the Open Compute Project summit meeting in San Jose, California. It designed the system to store data that hardly ever needs to be accessed, or for so-called 'cold storage' (think duplicates of users' photos and videos that it keeps for backup). The Blu-ray system reduces costs by 50% and energy use by 80% compared with its current cold-storage system, which uses hard disk drives, said Jay Parikh, Facebook's vice president of infrastructure engineering."

It's a prototype, and they're also evaluating low power flash as another alternative to keeping seldom accessed data on hard drives.

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Google Launches Cordova Powered Chrome Apps For Android and iOS
Posted by News Fetcher on January 29 '14 at 07:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's breaking-free department:
An anonymous reader writes "Google has launched Chrome apps for Android and iOS. The company is offering an early developer preview of a toolchain based on Apache Cordova, an open-source mobile development framework for building native mobile apps using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Developers can use the tool to wrap their Chrome app with a native application shell that enables them to distribute it via Google Play and Apple's App Store."

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Acid Bath Offers Easy Path To Stem Cells
Posted by News Fetcher on January 29 '14 at 06:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's horror-movie-turned-science department:
ananyo writes "In 2006, Japanese researchers reported a technique for creating cells that have the embryonic ability to turn into almost any cell type in the mammalian body — the now-famous induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. In papers published this week in Nature, another Japanese team says that it has come up with a surprisingly simple method — exposure to stress, including a low pH — that can make cells that are even more malleable than iPS cells, and do it faster and more efficiently. The work so far has focused on mouse white blood cells but the group are now trying to make the method work with cells adult humans. If they're successful, that would dramatically speed up the process of creating stem cells for potential clinical applications."

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US Forces Coursera To Ban Students From Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria
Posted by News Fetcher on January 29 '14 at 06:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's knowledge-is-a-controlled-export department:
An anonymous reader writes "Coursera is an online website that offers free courses from many of the world's top universities. Now, all students from Syria, Sudan, Iran and Cuba will no longer be able to access Coursera. The official blog provides more info regarding the ban: '
Until now the interpretation of export control regulations as they relate to MOOCs has been unclear and Coursera has been operating under the interpretation that MOOCs would not be restricted. We recently received information that has led to the understanding that the services offered on Coursera are not in compliance with the law as it stands ... United States export control regulations prohibit U.S. businesses, such as MOOC providers like Coursera, from offering services to users in sanctioned countries, including Cuba, Iran, Sudan, and Syria. Under the law, certain aspects of Coursera's course offerings are considered services and are therefore subject to restrictions in sanctioned countries, with the exception of Syria.'"


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The Human Body May Not Be Cut Out For Space
Posted by News Fetcher on January 29 '14 at 05:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's until-we-reach-starship-enterprise-tech-anyway department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "The human body did not evolve to live in space, and the longest any human has been off Earth is 437 days. Some problems, like the brittling of bone, may have been overcome already. Others have been identified — for example, astronauts have trouble eating and sleeping enough — and NASA is working to understand and solve them. But Kenneth Chang reports in the NY Times that there are some health problems that still elude doctors more than 50 years after the first spaceflight. The biggest hurdle remains radiation. Without the protective cocoon of Earth's magnetic field and atmosphere, astronauts receive substantially higher doses of radiation, heightening the chances that they will die of cancer. Another problem identified just five years ago is that the eyeballs of at least some astronauts became somewhat squashed. 'It is now a recognized occupational hazard of spaceflight,' says Dr. Barratt. 'We uncovered something that has been right under our noses forever.' NASA officials often talk about the 'unknown unknowns,' the unforeseen problems that catch them by surprise. The eye issue caught them by surprise, and they are happy it did not happen in the middle of a mission to Mars. Another problem is the lack of gravity jumbles the body's neurovestibular system (PDF) that tells people which way is up. When returning to the pull of gravity, astronauts can become dizzy, something that Mark Kelly took note of as he piloted the space shuttle to a landing. 'If you tilt your head a little left or right, it feels like you're going end over end.' Beyond the body, there is also the mind. The first six months of Scott Kelly's one-year mission are expected to be no different from his first trip to the space station. Dr. Gary E. Beven, a NASA psychiatrist, says he is interested in whether anything changes in the next six months. 'We're going to be looking for any significant changes in mood, in sleep, in irritability, in cognition.' In a Russian experiment in 2010 and 2011, six men agreed to be sealed up in a mock spaceship simulating a 17-month Mars mission. Four of the six developed disorders, and the crew became less active as the experiment progressed. 'I think that's just an example of what could potentially happen during a Mars mission, but with much greater consequence,' says Dr. Beven. 'Those subtle changes in group cohesion could cause major problems.'"

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Samsung's First Tizen Smartphone Gets Leaked
Posted by News Fetcher on January 29 '14 at 02:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's finally-arriving-to-market department:
SmartAboutThings writes "We are less than a month away from seeing the first ever Tizen smartphone from Samsung. The leaked image points toward a Feb. 24th launch date at MWC 2014 in Barcelona. The phone design is very similar to Galaxy phones, while the UI reminds us of Windows Phone 8. Samsung is also one of the world's top smartphone vendors, so it should have a decent chance at developing a mobile OS of its own, don't you think?"

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Megatons To Megawatts Program Comes To a Close
Posted by News Fetcher on January 28 '14 at 11:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's time-to-make-some-gigascale-weapons department:
necro81 writes "In the aftermath of the Cold War, the disintegrating Soviet Union had tens of thousands of nuclear weapons and tons of weapons-grade fissile material. In the economic and political turmoil, many feared that it would fall into unfriendly hands. However, thanks to the doggedness of an MIT professor, Dr. Thomas Neff, 500 metric tons of weapons grade material made its way into nuclear reactors in the United States through the Megatons to Megawatts program. During the program, about 10% of all electricity generated in the U.S. came from weapons once aimed at the country. Now, after nearly 20 years, the program is coming to an end. The final shipment of Soviet-era uranium, now nuclear fuel, has arrived in Baltimore."

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Oracle Broadens Legal Fight Against Third-party Solaris Support Providers
Posted by News Fetcher on January 28 '14 at 09:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's friendly-neighborhood-corporation-looking-out-for-you department:
angry tapir writes "Oracle is continuing its legal battle against third-party software support providers it alleges are performing such services in a manner that violates its intellectual property. Last week, Oracle sued StratisCom, a Georgia company that offers customers support for Oracle's Solaris OS, claiming it had 'misappropriated and distributed copyright, proprietary software code, along with the login credentials necessary to download this code from Oracle's password-protected websites.'"

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AMD Announces First ARM Processor
Posted by News Fetcher on January 28 '14 at 08:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's welcome-to-the-bigs department:
MojoKid writes "AMD's Andrew Feldman announced today that the company is preparing to sample its new eight-core ARM SoC (codename: Seattle). Feldman gave a keynote presentation at the fifth annual Open Compute Summit. The Open Compute Project (OCP) is Facebook's effort to decentralize and unpack the datacenter, breaking the replication of resources and low volume, high-margin parts that have traditionally been Intel's bread-and-butter. AMD is claiming that the eight ARM cores offer 2-4x the compute performance of the Opteron X1250 — which isn't terribly surprising, considering that the X1250 is a four-core chip based on the Jaguar CPU, with a relatively low clock speed of 1.1 — 1.9GHz. We still don't know the target clock speeds for the Seattle cores, but the embedded roadmaps AMD has released show the ARM embedded part actually targeting a higher level of CPU performance (and a higher TDP) than the Jaguar core itself."

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Anti-Polygraph Instructor Who Was Targeted By Feds Goes Public
Posted by News Fetcher on January 28 '14 at 07:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's nothing-but-the-truth department:
George Maschke writes "Last year, the McClatchy newspaper group reported on a federal criminal investigation into individuals offering instruction on how to pass polygraph tests. The ongoing investigation, dubbed 'Operation Lie Busters,' has serious free speech implications, and one of the two men known to have been targeted is presently serving an 8-month prison term. The other, Doug Williams, himself a former police polygrapher, has this week for the first time gone public with the story of federal agents' February 2013 raid on his office and home (video). Williams, who has not been charged with a crime but remains in legal jeopardy, is selling his story in an e-book. Public interest website AntiPolygraph.org (which I co-founded) has published a synopsis."

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New 3D Printer Can Print With Carbon Fiber
Posted by News Fetcher on January 28 '14 at 05:16 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's harder-better-faster-stronger department:
cold fjord sends this news from Popular Mechanics:
"[M]aking custom racecar parts out of carbon fiber is daunting. The only real method available is CNC machining, an expensive and difficult process that requires laying pieces by hand. To improve the process, [Gregory Mark] looked to 3D printing. But nothing on the market could print the material, and no available materials could print pieces strong enough for his purposes. So Mark devised his own solution: the MarkForged Mark One, the world's first carbon fiber 3D printer. Mark debuted his Boston area-based startup MarkForged at SolidWorks World 2014 in San Diego with a working prototype. The Mark One can print in carbon fiber, fiberglass, nylon and PLA (a thermoplastic). ... The main advantage of the Mark One: It can print parts 20 times stiffer and five times stronger than ABS, according to the company. It even has a higher strength-to-weight ratio than CNC-machined aluminum. ... Mark says that he imagines this machine is for anybody who wants to print in a material as strong as aluminum. Beyond racecars, it could be useful to industries like prosthetics."

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U.S. Border Patrol Drone Goes Down, Rest of Fleet Grounded
Posted by News Fetcher on January 28 '14 at 04:31 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's in-the-event-of-a-water-landing department:
coondoggie writes "The U.S. Customs and Border Protection service said today it has grounded its nine remaining unmanned aircraft after one of them was forced to ditch in the Pacific Ocean. The unmanned aircraft had an unknown mechanical failure while on patrol off the southern California coast. The crew determined that it wouldn't make it back to Sierra Vista, Arizona, 'and put the aircraft down in the water.' The drone cost about $12 million. 'The Predator B, also known as the MQ-9 Reaper in the U.S. Air Force, can fly as many as 27 hours and reach an altitude of 50,000 feet (15,240 meters), according to the website of Poway, California-based General Atomics. It has a wingspan of 66 feet (20 meters) and can carry more than 3,000 pounds (1,361 kilograms) of cameras, weapons or other payload, according to the company.'"

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Quentin Tarantino Vs. Gawker: When Is Linking Illegal For Journalists?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 28 '14 at 03:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's when-it-makes-somebody-mad department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Jon Healey writes in the LA Times that a new lawsuit against the Gawker Media site Defamer for linking to an infringing copy of an unreleased screenplay should send chills down the spines of every reporter who writes about copyright issues. Tarantino had kept the script for his ensemble western The Hateful Eight unpublished, but someone obtained a copy and posted it online. In its piece, Defamer quoted only a brief excerpt and a short summary published earlier that day by the Wrap. But it also included two links to the leaked screenplay on a file-sharing site called AnonFiles. In a complaint filed in federal court in Los Angeles, Tarantino's lawyers say they repeatedly asked Gawker Media to remove the links, to no avail. John Cook, Gawker's editor, responded with a post that rebuts the complaint's most damaging allegations, saying Defamer had no involvement whatsoever in the leak or the script's posting online. Cook also quotes Tarantino's comments last week to Deadline Hollywood, in which the filmmaker said he likes having his work online for people to read and review. 'Reporters often assume that providing links to items of public interest is perfectly aboveboard, even if the items themselves aren't. If this case goes to trial, it could help clarify what links simply can't be published legally, regardless of the news value,' writes Healey. 'I'm not arguing that what Gawker did was legal — that's a judge's decision. I'm just saying that there's a journalistic reason for Gawker to do what it did, and those of us who write about copyrights struggle often with the question of how to report what seems newsworthy without crossing a line that's drawn case by case.'"

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