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GPM Satellite To Usher In a New Era of Weather Observation
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '14 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's more-climate-data-to-argue-about department:
Zothecula writes: "A new satellite designed to take detailed, near real-time measurements of rain and snowfall on a global scale whilst mapping the interior of storm systems is set to launch. The Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory has been in development since 2005 and is a collaboration project between NASA and the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA). The satellite is due to be launched on the Japanese manufactured H-IIA delivery vehicle from the Tanegashima Space Centre, Tanegashima Island, Japan, on February 27."

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The Moderately Enthusiastic Programmer
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '14 at 11:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i'll-get-to-that-after-dinner department:
An anonymous reader writes "Developer Avdi Grimm posts about the trend throughout the software industry of companies demanding that job applicants be 'passionate' about programming when hiring into ordinary development jobs. Grimm says, 'I love code. I dream of code. I enjoy code. I find writing high quality code deeply satisfying. I feel the same way about helping others write code they can feel proud of. But do I feel 'strong and barely controllable emotion' about code? Honestly? No. ... I think some of the people writing these job ads are well-meaning. Maybe most of them. I think when they write "passionate" they mean "motivated." No slackers. No one who is a drag on the team. But sometimes I worry that it's code for we want to exploit your lack of boundaries. Maybe it's fanciful on my part, but there's a faintly Orwellian whiff to the language of these job ads: excuse me comrade, I couldn't help but notice that man over there is not chanting the team slogan with sincere revolutionary conviction.' Is it realistic for employers to expect us to be passionate about software we're hired to build? If they're looking for the head of a major product, then maybe it's warranted — but for everybody, even the grunts?"

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Engineers Invent Acoustic Equivalent of One-Way Glass
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '14 at 10:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sound-waves-aren't-welcome-here department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Up until now, acoustic waves traveling between two points in space always exhibited a basic symmetry summed up with the phrase, 'if you can hear, you can also be heard.' Not anymore; Tia Ghose reports at Live Science that a team at UT Austin has created a 'nonreciprocal acoustic circulator,' the first step that could lead to the sound equivalent of a one-way mirror. All waves — whether visible light, sound, radio or otherwise — have a physical property known as time reversal symmetry — a wave sent one way can always be sent back. For radio waves, researchers figured out how to break this rule using magnetic materials that set electrons spinning in one direction. The resulting radio waves detect the difference in the material in one direction versus the other, preventing reverse transmission. To accomplish the feat with sound waves, the team created a cavity loaded with tiny CPU fans that spin the air with a specific velocity. The air is spinning in one direction, so the flow of air 'feels' different to the wave in one direction versus the other, preventing backward transmission. As a result, sound waves can go in, but they can't go the other way. The result is one-directional sound. With such a device, people can hear someone talking, but they themselves cannot be heard. The findings will likely lead to many useful applications, says Sebastien Guenneau. 'I would be surprised if sound industries do not pick up this idea. This could have great applications in sound insulation of motorways, music studios, submarines and airplanes.'"

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Former Dev Gives Gloomy Outlook On Linux Support For the Opera Browser
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '14 at 09:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's blink-and-you'll-miss-it department:
An anonymous reader writes "It doesn't take a Columbo to figure out that the 'previous employer, a small browser vendor that decided to abandon its own rendering engine and browser stack' is referring to Opera in this comment answering the question 'Do you actually use the product you are working on?' It appears to originate from Andreas Tolfsen, a former Opera developer who is now part of the Mozilla project. From releasing a unified architecture browser including Linux support since 2001, Opera decided to put Linux development on indefinite hold, communicated through blog comments, and focus on Windows and Mac for their browser rewrite centered around the Blink engine that had its first beta release last spring. The promise to bring back the Linux version in due time was met with growing skepticism as the months went by, and clear answers have been avoided in the developer blog. The uncertainty has spawned user projects such as Otter browser in an attempt to recreate the Opera UI in a free application. Tolfsen's statement seem to be in line with what users have suspected all along: Opera for Linux is not something for the near future."

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The Schizophrenic State of Software In 2014
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '14 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's forgot-to-take-its-meds department:
jfruh writes "The current state of the world of software is going in two radically different directions. On the one hand, server-side software is maturing, with wide consensus on tools and techniques that can be used across platforms. On the other hand, client-side programming is an increasingly fragmented mess, with the need to build apps for the Web and for multiple PC and mobile platforms, all natively. But of course, the server and client sides have to work together to deliver what people actually want."

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Canadian Spy Agency Snooped Travelers With Airport Wi-Fi
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '14 at 08:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's mapping-everyone's-hockey-allegiances department:
Walking The Walk writes "It seems the NSA isn't the only agency doing illegal domestic spying. According to a Snowden document obtained by the CBC, Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) has apparently been tracking domestic travelers, starting from when they first use free Wi-Fi at an airport, and continuing for days after they left the terminal. From the article: 'The document indicates the passenger tracking operation was a trial run of a powerful new software program CSEC was developing with help from its U.S. counterpart, the National Security Agency. In the document, CSEC called the new technologies "game-changing," and said they could be used for tracking "any target that makes occasional forays into other cities/regions."' The CBC notes early in the article that the spy agency 'is supposed to be collecting primarily foreign intelligence by intercepting overseas phone and internet traffic, and is prohibited by law from targeting Canadians or anyone in Canada without a judicial warrant.' Predictably, CSEC's chief is quoted saying that they aren't allowed to spy on Canadians, so therefore they don't. As observed by experts consulted for the story, that claim is equivalent to saying that they collect the data but we're to trust that they don't look at it."

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California Regulator Seeks To Shut Down 'Learn To Code' Bootcamps
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '14 at 07:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's here-for-the-danegeld department:
cultiv8 writes "The Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE), a unit in the California Department of Consumer Affairs charged with licensing and regulating postsecondary education in California, is arguing that 'learn to code' bootcamps fall under its jurisdiction and are subject to regulation. In mid-January, BPPE sent cease and desist letters to Hackbright Academy, Hack Reactor, App Academy, Zipfian Academy, and others. Unless they comply, these organizations face imminent closure and a hefty $50,000 fine. A BPPE spokesperson said these organizations have two weeks to start coming into compliance."

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Judge Rules BitTorrent Cases Must Be Tried Separately
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '14 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's enjoy-your-filing-fees department:
PhrostyMcByte writes "TorrentFreak reports that Federal Judge Stephanie Rose recently put a thorn in the plans of copyright holders hoping to file cheap mass-lawsuits against alleged pirates. Rejecting all but one Doe for such a lawsuit, Rose's order mentions that the plaintiffs have failed to demonstrate the five Does in the case were a part of the same 'transaction' needed to be tried together, with an uncommon understanding of BitTorrent showing that '... even in all five cases where Doe defendants allegedly have "hit dates" on the same day and close in time, there is no showing that the earlier defendants were still connected to the Internet and actively distributing data through the BitTorrent client at the same time as the later defendants.'"

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Yahoo Mail Resets Account Passwords After Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '14 at 06:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's fallout-from-an-earlier-breach department:
MAXOMENOS writes "Last night Yahoo! announced via their Tumblr page that they had detected attacks against some Yahoo Mail accounts. They reset the passwords to all affected accounts, and advised users of good password practices. Quoting: 'Based on our current findings, the list of usernames and passwords that were used to execute the attack was likely collected from a third-party database compromise. We have no evidence that they were obtained directly from Yahoo's systems. Our ongoing investigation shows that malicious computer software used the list of usernames and passwords to access Yahoo Mail accounts. The information sought in the attack seems to be names and email addresses from the affected accounts' most recent sent emails.'"

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Kansas To Nix Expansion of Google Fiber and Municipal Broadband
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '14 at 05:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's not-in-my-state department:
symbolset writes "Consumerist, among others, is reporting on a Kansas bill to restrict municipal support of broadband expansion. Purportedly to ensure a 'level playing field' to encourage commercial expansion in this area, these bills are usually referred to as oligopoly protection acts. Everywhere they have been implemented expansion of new broadband technology stops. In this specific case no municipal entity in Kansas will be able to enter the same sort of agreements that enabled Google Fiber. From the bill:

Except with regard to unserved areas, a municipality may not, directly or indirectly:

(1) Offer to provide to one or more subscribers, video, telecommunications or broadband service; or

(2) purchase, lease, construct, maintain or operate any facility for the purpose of enabling a private business or entity to offer, provide, carry, or deliver video, telecommunications or broadband service to one or more subscribers."


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Nintendo Could Base Comeback On Improving Peoples' Health
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '14 at 02:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's time-to-play department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "It's no secret that Nintendo faces significant challenges: revenues are down, rival platforms such as Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4 are attracting a lot of buzz, and iOS and Android have made significant inroads into mobile gaming. Rather than double down on its core business, however, Nintendo reportedly sees its salvation in new, nongaming segments such as... monitoring your health? 'We have now redefined entertainment to mean making it fun for people to improve the quality of their lives,' Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata told a company strategy meeting, according to The Wall Street Journal. But he refused to part with more detail about Nintendo's plans, except to claim that whatever's in the works isn't a wearable device along the lines of Nike's FuelBand or the FitBit, and it isn't an iteration of the Wii Balance Board, an accessory that measures the user's weight and center of balance while playing games."

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Peanut Allergy Treatment Trial In UK "A Success"
Posted by News Fetcher on January 31 '14 at 12:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what-doesn't-kill-me department:
cold fjord writes "The BBC reports, 'Peanuts are the most common cause of fatal allergic reactions to food. There is no treatment so the only option for patients is to avoid them completely, leading to a lifetime of checking every food label before a meal. The trial ... tried to train the children's immune system to tolerate peanut. Every day they were given a peanut protein powder — starting off on a dose equivalent to a one 70th of a peanut. Once a fortnight the dose was increased while the children were in hospital and then they continued taking the higher dose at home. The majority of patients learned to tolerate the peanut. ... Dr Andrew Clark, told the BBC: "It really transformed their lives dramatically, this really comes across during the trial. ... Dr Pamela Ewan added ... further studies would be needed and that people should not try this on their own as this "should only be done by medical professionals in specialist settings".' The story also notes, 'The findings, published in the Lancet, suggest 84% of allergic children could eat the equivalent of five peanuts a day after six months.'"

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Feds Grab 163 Web Sites, Snatch $21.6 Million In NFL Counterfeit Gear
Posted by News Fetcher on January 30 '14 at 11:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's without-expressed-written-consent department:
coondoggie writes "As they have for the past few years the US Customs department teamed with the National Football League to cut into the lucrative counterfeit sports gear market. In what the feds called 'Operation Team Player,' special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and officers from Customs and Border Protection worked with the National Football League (NFL) and other sports leagues along with law enforcement agencies to identify illegal shipments imported into the U.S., as well as stores and vendors selling counterfeit trademarked items."

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It's Not Memory Loss - Older Minds May Just Be Fuller of Information
Posted by News Fetcher on January 30 '14 at 10:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's filled-to-the-briim department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Benedict Carey writes in the NYT that the idea that the brain slows with age is one of the strongest in all of psychology but a new paper suggests that older adults'; performance on cognitive tests reflects the predictable consequences of learning on information-processing, and not cognitive decline. A team of linguistic researchers from the University of Tübingen in Germany used advanced learning models to search enormous databases of words and phrases. Since educated older people generally know more words than younger people, simply by virtue of having been around longer, the experiment simulates what an older brain has to do to retrieve a word. When the researchers incorporated that difference into the models, the aging 'deficits' largely disappeared. That is to say, the larger the library you have in your head, the longer it usually takes to find a particular word (or pair). 'What shocked me, to be honest, is that for the first half of the time we were doing this project, I totally bought into the idea of age-related cognitive decline in healthy adults,' says lead author Michael Ramscar but the simulations 'fit so well to human data that it slowly forced me to entertain this idea that I didn't need to invoke decline at all.' The new report will very likely add to a growing skepticism about how steep age-related decline really is. Scientists who study thinking and memory often make a broad distinction between 'fluid' and 'crystallized' intelligence. The former includes short-term memory, like holding a phone number in mind, analytical reasoning, and the ability to tune out distractions, like ambient conversation. The latter is accumulated knowledge, vocabulary and expertise. 'In essence, what Ramscar's group is arguing is that an increase in crystallized intelligence can account for a decrease in fluid intelligence,' says Zach Hambrick, In the meantime the new digital-era challenge to 'cognitive decline' can serve as a ready-made explanation for blank moments, whether senior or otherwise (PDF). 'It's not that you're slow.,' says Carey. 'It's that you know so much.'"

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Half of US Nuclear Missile Wing Implicated In Cheating
Posted by News Fetcher on January 30 '14 at 07:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what-did-you-get-for-question-four? department:
mdsolar writes "Just over half of the 183 nuclear missile launch officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana have been implicated in a widening exam cheating scandal, the Air Force said on Thursday, acknowledging it had 'systemic' problem within its ranks. The cheating was discovered during an investigation into illegal drug possession among airmen, when test answers were found in a text message on one missile launch officer's cell phone. The Air Force initially said 34 officers either knew about the cheating or cheated themselves. But Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told a Pentagon news conference on Thursday that the total number of implicated officers had grown to 92, all of them at Malmstrom, one of three nuclear missile wings overseeing America's 450 inter-continental missiles, or ICBMs."

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The Scent Rhythm Watch Tells Time By Releasing Fragrances
Posted by News Fetcher on January 30 '14 at 05:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's smells-like-dinner-time department:
Zothecula writes "Glancing at a clock face in one form or another has been the de facto way to measure the passage of time. Aisen Caro Chacin though, is exploring a different perspective. She wants to give everyone the ability to tell time using their noses. Her chemical-based watch called the Scent Rhythm emits specially-designed fragrances in minute doses, in tune with circadian cycle of the human body. You get a fragrance of coffee in the morning, the smell of money in the afternoon, a relaxing whiskey scent in the evening, and a soothing chamomile fragrance at night. More than being merely pleasant, each chemically-supplemented scent aims to induce action appropriate to the time of day; the caffeine in the coffee scent for example, aims to trigger the person into being more active."

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Obama Nominates Vice Admiral Michael Rogers New NSA Chief
Posted by News Fetcher on January 30 '14 at 04:31 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's big-boss-man department:
wiredmikey writes "President Barack Obama has nominated a US Navy officer, Vice Admiral Michael Rogers, to take over as head of the embattled National Security Agency, the Pentagon said Thursday. Rogers, 53, would take the helm at a fraught moment for the spy agency, which is under unprecedented pressure after leaks from ex-intelligence contractor Edward Snowden revealed the extent of its electronic spying. If confirmed by lawmakers, Rogers would also take over as head of the military's cyber warfare command. Rogers, who trained as an intelligence cryptologist, would succeed General Keith Alexander, who has served in the top job since 2005. He currently heads the US Fleet Cyber Command, overseeing the navy's cyber warfare specialists, and over a 30-year career has worked in cryptology and eavesdropping, or 'signals intelligence.' His confirmation hearings in the Senate are likely to be dominated by the ongoing debate about the NSA's espionage, and whether its sifting through Internet traffic and phone records violates privacy rights and democratic values."

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Meet the Electric Porsche From 1898
Posted by News Fetcher on January 30 '14 at 03:46 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's 40-rods-to-the-hogshead department:
cartechboy writes "We all talk about the Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf as if electric cars are brand-new. In fact, electric cars were around long before you were alive, or your father, or maybe even your grandfather. It turns out that the very first Porsche ever built was an electric car--way back in 1898. It wasn't called a Porsche, but an 'Egger-Lohner electric vehicle, C.2 Phaeton model'--or P1 for short. Designed by Ferdinand Porsche when he was just 22 years old, it has a rear electric drive unit producing all of 3 horsepower--and an overdrive mode to boost that to a frightening 5 hp! It had an impressive range of 49 miles, not that much less than many of today's plug-in cars. Porsche recently recovered the P1 from a warehouse--where it has supposedly sat untouched since 1902--and plans to display it in original, unrestored condition at the Porsche Museum in Zuffenhausen, Germany."

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Federal Agency Data-Mining Hundreds of Millions of Credit Card Accounts
Posted by News Fetcher on January 30 '14 at 02:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-frogs-love-warm-water department:
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from the Washington Examiner: "Officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are conducting a massive, NSA-esque data-mining project collecting account information on an estimated 991 million American credit card accounts. It was also learned at a Congressional hearing Tuesday that CFPB officials are working with the Federal Housing Finance Agency on a second data-mining effort, this one focused on the 53 million residential mortgages taken out by Americans since 1998. ...Later in the hearing, [Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas] remarked that CFPB 'and NSA are in a contest of who can collect the most information,' ... although the CFPB disagreed with that statement. In previous testimony before Rep. Jeb Hensarling's panel, Antonakes said 'the combined data represents approximately 85-90 percent of outstanding card balances.' The Argus contract specifies that the company must collect 96 'data points' from each of the participating card issuers for each credit card account on a monthly basis. The 96 data points include a unique card-account identification reference number, ZIP code, monthly ending balance, borrower's income, FICO score, credit limit, monthly payment amount, and days past due. 'Would you object to getting permission from consumers, those people who you work for, before you collect and monitor their information?' Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., asked Cordray. 'That would make it impossible to get the data,' Cordray replied."

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EU Secretly Plans To Put a Back Door In Every Car By 2020
Posted by News Fetcher on January 30 '14 at 01:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's don't-worry-we'll-only-track-you department:
An anonymous reader writes "A secretive EU body has agreed to develop a device to be fitted to all cars allowing police to cut off any engine at will, it emerged today. The device, which could be imposed within a decade, would also allow police to track a vehicle's movements as well as immobilise it. According to The Daily Telegraph a group of senior EU officials, including several Home Office mandarins, have signed off the proposal at a secret meeting in Brussels."

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