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Physicists Plan to Build a Bigger LHC
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '13 at 07:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's type-thirteen-planet department:
ananyo writes "When Europe's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) started up in 2008, particle physicists would not have dreamt of asking for something bigger until they got their US$5-billion machine to work. But with the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson, the LHC has fulfilled its original promise — and physicists are beginning to get excited about designing a machine that might one day succeed it: the Very Large Hadron Collider. The giant machine would dwarf all of its predecessors (see 'Lord of the rings'). It would collide protons at energies around 100 TeV, compared with the planned 14TeV of the LHC at CERN, Europe's particle-physics lab near Geneva in Switzerland. And it would require a tunnel 80-100 kilometres around, compared with the LHC's 27-km circumference. For the past decade or so, there has been little research money available worldwide to develop the concept. But this summer, at the Snowmass meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota — where hundreds of particle physicists assembled to dream up machines for their field's long-term future — the VLHC concept stood out as a favorite."

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Pentagon Readies Contingency Plans Due To BlackBerry's Uncertain Future
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '13 at 07:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's sound-of-nails-being-hammered department:
cold fjord writes "Nextgov reports, 'The Defense Department, owner of 470,000 BlackBerrys, is distancing itself from the struggling vendor while moving ahead with construction of a department wide app store and a system for securing all mobile devices, including the latest iPhones, iPads, and Samsung smartphones and tablets. Just two months ago, when BlackBerry announced the company would radically curtail commercial sales, Pentagon officials said their business partnership remained unaffected. ... A 2012 strategy to transition personnel from PCs to smartphones and tablets did not favor any one device maker ... "This multi-vendor, device-agnostic approach minimizes the impact of [a] single vendor to our current operations," Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart said. Implementation of the strategy centers on a "mobile device management" system to track handhelds that touch military networks so that they do not compromise military information or corrupt Defense systems.'"

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How Blockbuster Could Have Owned Netflix
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '13 at 06:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's video-store-killed-the-video-store department:
schnell writes "Your age probably determines whether you think of Blockbuster Video as a fond memory or a dinosaur predestined for extinction. While the last Blockbuster rental at the last remaining Blockbuster video store took place last week, Variety retells a now-classic story of how Blockbuster could have bought Netflix for a song, but didn't because it failed to take the new DVD-by-mail and video streaming markets seriously. Who is next to join Blockbuster, Polaroid, Borders and Best Buy on the ash heap of superseded retail business models?"

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The Second Operating System Hiding In Every Mobile Phone
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '13 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's spoiler:-it's-windows-ME department:
Jah-Wren Ryel writes "Every smartphone or other device with mobile communications capability (e.g. 3G or LTE) actually runs not one, but two operating systems. Aside from the operating system that we as end-users see (Android, iOS, PalmOS), it also runs a small operating system that manages everything related to radio. So, we have a complete operating system, running on an ARM processor, without any exploit mitigation (or only very little of it), which automatically trusts every instruction, piece of code, or data it receives from the base station you're connected to. What could possibly go wrong?"

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Facebook Patented Making NSA Data Handoffs Easier
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '13 at 02:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can-make-a-fortune-on-the-infringement-suits department:
theodp writes "In June, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg blasted 'outrageous press reports' about the PRISM surveillance program, denying that Facebook was ever 'part of any program to give the U.S. or any other government direct access to our servers.' What Zuckerberg didn't mention, and what the press overlooked, is that the USPTO granted Facebook a patent in May for its Automated Writ Response System. Like the NSA-enabling systems described by the NY Times on the same day Zuckerberg cried foul, the patent covers technical methods to more efficiently share the personal data of users with law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in response to lawful government requests via APIs and secured portals installed at company-controlled locations. 'While handing over data in response to a legitimate FISA request is a legal requirement,' the Times noted, 'making it easier for the government to get the information is not, which is why Twitter could decline to do so.'"

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India's Mars Mission Back On Track After Brief Hiccup
Posted by News Fetcher on November 13 '13 at 01:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's drank-water-from-the-far-side-of-the-cup department:
New submitter rahultyagi writes "After running into some problems in its fourth orbit-raising maneuver two days ago, Mangalyaan (India's Mars Orbiter Mission) seems to be back on track now. A supplementary burn lasting ~304 seconds was completed today, raising the apogee of MOM to 118,642 km — the intended apogee after the original maneuver. After the glitch two days ago, ISRO again seems to be on track to become the first entity to have a successful Mars mission on its first attempt. Though, of course, there are quite a few things that might still go wrong before this can be called a successful mission. Let's all hope that a year from now, we are all celebrating the entry of another nation into the small club capable of successful interplanetary missions."

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Puzzled Scientists Say Strange Things Are Happening On the Sun
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '13 at 11:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-blame-the-schools department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Robert Lee Hotz reports in the WSJ that current solar activity is stranger than it has been in a century or more. The sun is producing barely half the number of sunspots as expected, and its magnetic poles are oddly out of sync. Based on historical records, astronomers say the sun this fall ought to be nearing the explosive climax of its approximate 11-year cycle of activity—the so-called solar maximum. But this peak is 'a total punk,' says Jonathan Cirtain. 'I would say it is the weakest in 200 years,' adds David Hathaway, head of the solar physics group at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. Researchers are puzzled. They can't tell if the lull is temporary or the onset of a decades-long decline, which might ease global warming a bit by altering the sun's brightness or the wavelengths of its light. To complicate the riddle, the sun also is undergoing one of its oddest magnetic reversals on record, with the sun's magnetic poles out of sync for the past year so the sun technically has two South Poles. Several solar scientists speculate that the sun may be returning to a more relaxed state after an era of unusually high activity that started in the 1940s (PDF). 'More than half of solar physicists would say we are returning to a norm,' says Mark Miesch. 'We might be in for a longer state of suppressed activity.' If so, the decline in magnetic activity could ease global warming, the scientists say. But such a subtle change in the sun—lowering its luminosity by about 0.1%—wouldn't be enough to outweigh the build-up of greenhouse gases and soot that most researchers consider the main cause of rising world temperatures over the past century or so. 'Given our current understanding of how the sun varies and how climate responds, were the sun to enter a new Maunder Minimum, it would not mean a new Little Ice Age,' says Judith Lean. 'It would simply slow down the current warming by a modest amount.'"

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The Operations of a Cyber Arms Dealer
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '13 at 10:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-can't-hug-your-children-with-cyber-arms department:
An anonymous reader writes "FireEye researchers have linked eleven distinct APT cyber espionage campaigns previously believed to be unrelated (PDF), leading them to believe that there is a shared operation that supplies and maintains malware tools and weapons used in them. The eleven campaigns they tied together were detected between July 2011 and September 2013, but it's possible and very likely that some of them were active even before then. Despite using varying techniques, tactics, and procedures, the campaigns all leveraged a common development infrastructure, and shared — in various combinations — the same malware tools, the same elements of code, binaries with the same timestamps, and signed binaries with the same digital certificates."

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Microsoft Warns Customers Away From RC4 and SHA-1
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '13 at 09:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's avoiding-collisions department:
Trailrunner7 writes "The RC4 and SHA-1 algorithms have taken a lot of hits in recent years, with new attacks popping up on a regular basis. Many security experts and cryptographers have been recommending that vendors begin phasing the two out, and Microsoft on Tuesday said it is now recommending to developers that they deprecate RC4 and stop using the SHA-1 hash algorithm. RC4 is among the older stream cipher suites in use today, and there have been a number of practical attacks against it, including plaintext-recovery attacks. The improvements in computing power have made many of these attacks more feasible for attackers, and so Microsoft is telling developers to drop RC4 from their applications. The company also said that as of January 2016 it will no longer will validate any code signing or root certificate that uses SHA-1."

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CyanogenMod Windows-Based Installer Released, With Supporting Android App
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '13 at 08:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's ready-for-prime-time department:
Zanadou writes "CyanogenMod today released for general availability a friendly[er]-to-use Windows-based installer that will automagically (no need to first root and/or unlock the bootloader) step users though downloading, flashing and setting up an appropriate CyanogenMod version on supported Android phones. Along with this, a 'companion app' that apparently helps set up the installer is now available the Play Store, along with a newly-refreshed download page. Still no image for 'hammerhead' (Nexus 5), though."

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Venezuela: Cheap Television Sets For All!
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '13 at 07:46 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you're-next-radio-shack department:
solareagle writes "Venezuelan President Maduro has declared war on 'bourgeois parasites' by taking over Daka, an electronics retailer similar to Best Buy. USA Today reports, 'National guardsmen, some of whom had assault rifles, were positioned around outlets of [Daka] ... Maduro has ordered to lower prices or face prosecution. Thousands of people lined up at the Daka stores hoping for a bargain after the government forced the companies to charge "fair" prices. "I want a Sony plasma television for the house," said Amanda Lisboa, 34, a business administrator who waited seven hours outside a Caracas store ... "It's going to be so cheap!" "This is for the good of the nation," Maduro said, referring to the military's occupation of Daka. "Leave nothing on the shelves, nothing in the warehouses Let nothing remain in stock!" Maduro said his seizures are the 'tip of the iceberg' and that other stores would be next if they did not comply with his orders.'"

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Google Chrome 31 Is Out: Web Payments, Portable Native Client
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '13 at 06:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's onward-and-upward department:
An anonymous reader writes "Google today released Chrome version 31 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The new version includes support for Web payments, Portable Native Client, and 25 security fixes. 'Under the hood, PNaCl works by compiling native C and C++ code to an intermediate representation, rather than architecture-specific representations as in Native Client. The LLVM-style bytecode is wrapped into a portable executable, which can be hosted on a web server like any other website asset. When the site is accessed, Chrome fetches and translates the portable executable into an architecture-specific machine code optimized directly for the underlying device. This translation approach means developers don’t need to recompile their applications multiple times to run across x86, ARM or MIPS devices.' You can update to the latest release now using the browser's built-in silent updater, or download it directly from google.com/chrome."

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Soylent: No Food For 30 Days
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '13 at 05:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's do-twinkies-count? department:
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Senior Editor of Motherboard Brian Merchant went an entire month without eating regular food. Instead, the journalist whisked up a concoction called soylent, an efficient take on the future of nourishment and nutrition. Merchant says: 'It was my second day on Soylent and my stomach felt like a coil of knotty old rope, slowly tightening. I wasn't hungry, but something was off. I was tired, light-headed, low-energy, but my heart was racing. My eyes glazed over as I stared out the window of our rental SUV as we drove over the fog-shrouded Bay Bridge to Oakland. Some of this was nerves, sure. I had twenty-eight days left of my month-long all-Soylent diet—I was attempting to live on the full food replacement longer than anyone besides its inventor—and I felt woozy already. ... By the third week of Soylent, not eating food seemed normal. I saw a doctor, who said I was healthy; I was still losing weight, but nothing serious. Yet, given that a daily mixture of Soylent contains 2,400 calories, both Rob and Dr. Engel thought it was odd that I’d shed so much. Dr. Engel said that given my weight, height, and body mass, I should only require about 1,800 calories a day. I could still be adjusting to the new diet, or I could have such a hyperactive metabolism that before Soylent, I was tearing through hundreds of extra calories per day and staying trim.'"

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Sunlight Helps Turn Salty Water Fresh
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '13 at 04:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's that's-very-kind-of-the-sunlight department:
MTorrice writes "With energy-efficient desalination techniques, water-starved communities could produce fresh water from salty sources such as seawater and industrial wastewater. But common methods like reverse osmosis require pumping the water, which uses a substantial amount of energy. So some researchers have turned to forward osmosis, because in theory it should use less energy. Now a team has demonstrated a forward osmosis system that desalinates salty water with the help of sunlight. The method uses a pair of hydrogels to absorb and squeeze out freshwater."

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Weak Statistical Standards Implicated In Scientific Irreproducibility
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '13 at 04:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's nobody-who-needs-to-understand-statistics-understands-statistics department:
ananyo writes "The plague of non-reproducibility in science may be mostly due to scientists' use of weak statistical tests, as shown by an innovative method developed by statistician Valen Johnson, at Texas A&M University. Johnson found that a P value of 0.05 or less — commonly considered evidence in support of a hypothesis in many fields including social science — still meant that as many as 17–25% of such findings are probably false (PDF). He advocates for scientists to use more stringent P values of 0.005 or less to support their findings, and thinks that the use of the 0.05 standard might account for most of the problem of non-reproducibility in science — even more than other issues, such as biases and scientific misconduct."

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Porn-Surfing Execs Infecting Corporate Networks With Malware
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '13 at 03:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's IT-admins-know-your-secrets department:
wiredmikey writes "According to a recent survey of malware analysts at U.S. enterprises, 40% of the time a device used by a member the senior leadership team became infected with malware was due to executives visiting a pornographic website. The study, from ThreatTrack Security, also found that nearly six in 10 of the malware analysts have investigated or addressed a data breach that was never disclosed by their company. When asked to identify the most difficult aspects of defending their companies' networks from advanced malware, 67% said the complexity of malware is a chief factor; 67% said the volume of malware attacks; and 58% cited the ineffectiveness of anti-malware solutions."

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Bill Gates's Plan To Improve Our World
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '13 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's quest-to-bluescreen-malaria department:
An anonymous reader writes "Bill Gates has written an article in Wired outlining his strategy to improve people's lives through philanthropy and investment in technology and the sciences. He says, 'We want to give our wealth back to society in a way that has the most impact, and so we look for opportunities to invest for the largest returns. That means tackling the world's biggest problems and funding the most likely solutions. That's an even greater challenge than it sounds. I don't have a magic formula for prioritizing the world's problems. You could make a good case for poverty, disease, hunger, war, poor education, bad governance, political instability, weak trade, or mistreatment of women. ...I am a devout fan of capitalism. It is the best system ever devised for making self-interest serve the wider interest. This system is responsible for many of the great advances that have improved the lives of billions—from airplanes to air-conditioning to computers. But capitalism alone can't address the needs of the very poor. This means market-driven innovation can actually widen the gap between rich and poor. ... We take a double-pronged approach: (1) Narrow the gap so that advances for the rich world reach the poor world faster, and (2) turn more of the world's IQ toward devising solutions to problems that only people in the poor world face.'"

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Apple II DOS Source Code Released
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '13 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's half-the-size-of-the-itunes-EULA department:
gbooch writes "The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, is not just a museum of hardware, but also of software. The Museum has made public such gems as the source code for MacPaint, Photoshop, and APL, and now code from the Apple II. As their site reports: 'With thanks to Paul Laughton, in collaboration with Dr. Bruce Damer, founder and curator of the Digibarn Computer Museum, and with the permission of Apple Inc., we are pleased to make available the 1978 source code of Apple II DOS for non-commercial use. This material is Copyright © 1978 Apple Inc., and may not be reproduced without permission from Apple.'"

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Microsoft Kills Stack Ranking
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '13 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's voted-off-the-managerial-island department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Microsoft once demanded that its managers place their subordinates on a scale from 'top' to 'poor,' a practice that fueled some epic backstabbing within divisions. Last year, a Microsoft contractor with knowledge of the company's internal review processes told Slashdot that Microsoft was actively working to fix that system; just this week, the company announced that stack ranking was well and truly dead (and that's certainly one way to fix it). 'Lisa Brummel, head of human resources for the company, sent an e-mail to employees notifying them of the change today, according to my contacts,' ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley wrote. According to the memo, there are 'no more ratings,' 'no more curves,' and 'Managers and leaders will have flexibility to allocate rewards in the manner that best reflects the performance of their teams and individuals, as long as they stay within their compensation budget.' They're trying to encourage more teamwork and collaboration throughout the company. As we discussed on Saturday, Yahoo is adopting this method just as Microsoft is abandoning it."

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Aging Linux Kernel Community Is Looking For Younger Participants
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '13 at 12:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's fresh-meat department:
Lemeowski writes "Time has been good to Linux and the kernel community, with the level of participation and volume of activity reaching unprecedented levels. But as core Linux kernel developers grow older, there's a very real concern about ensuring younger generations are getting involved. In this post, Open Access supporter Luis Ibanez shares some exciting stats about recent releases of the Linux kernel, but also warns that 'Maintaining the vitality of this large community does not happen spontaneously. On the contrary, it requires dedication and attention by community members on how to bring new contributors on board, and how to train them and integrate them alongside the well-established developers.'"

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