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CES 2014: Now You Can Make 360 Degree Videos With a Single Camera (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '14 at 11:15 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's a-camera-that-gives-you-an-eye-in-the-back-of-your-head department:
The device that does this is the Geonaute 360 Degree Camera. The Geonaute display caught Tim Lord's eye at CES, and he got Geonauter (is that a word?) Marian Le Calves to show him the company's "action camera," which costs $499 -- or more accurately, will cost $499 when it starts shipping. Until then, you can pre-order. Or you could buy a GoPro camera for as little as $199. Geonaute has a bunch of videos on YouTube, some of which are quite fetching. But GoPo has a bunch of slick YouTube videos, too, and at this point they're the dominant brand in the action camera market niche. Will Geonaute be able to capture a decent market share with their 360 degree coolness -- and higher price? Or will they, GoPro, and other action camera vendors get into a price war so that every kid who has a skateboard can make good-looking videos?

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Senior Managers Are the Worst Information Security Offenders
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '14 at 10:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's security-is-for-little-people department:
An anonymous reader writes "As companies look for solutions to protect the integrity of their networks, data centers, and computer systems, an unexpected threat is lurking under the surface — senior management. According to a new survey, 87% of senior managers frequently or occasionally send work materials to a personal email or cloud account to work remotely, putting that information at a much higher risk of being breached. 58% of senior management reported having accidentally sent the wrong person sensitive information (PDF), compared to just 25% of workers overall."

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Who Is Liable When a Self-Driving Car Crashes?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '14 at 10:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's werecar-had-too-much-to-drink department:
innocent_white_lamb writes "Current laws make the driver of a car responsible for any mayhem caused by that vehicle. But what happens when there is no driver? This article argues that the dream of a self-driving car is futile since the law requires that the driver is responsible for the operation of the vehicle. Therefore, even if a car is self-driving, you as the driver must stay alert and pay attention. No texting, no reading, no snoozing. So what's the point of a self-driving car if you can't relax or do something else while 'driving?'"

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Real-Time Face Substitution in Javascript
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '14 at 09:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's ever-growing-mask department:
An anonymous reader writes with news of an interesting demo for clmtrackr (a Javascript library for tracking of facial features) that hides your face using 3D masks overlayed on the video from your webcam using WebGL. The effect is kind of neat, and a bit creepy. The demo works in Chromium here, but not in Firefox (Debian unstable). There are a couple other demos; the facial deformation demo is reminiscent of the intro screen to Mario 64.

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EU Committee Issues Report On NSA Surveillance; Snowden To Testify
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '14 at 09:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's everybody's-doing-it department:
Qedward writes with word that the EU Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee published the draft of their report on the impact of dragnet surveillance by the NSA on EU citizens (PDF). Quoting CIO: "... Members of the European Parliament say that it is 'very doubtful that data collection of such magnitude is only guided by the fight against terrorism,' and that there may be other motives such as political and economic espionage. The document urges EU countries to take legal action against the breach of their sovereignty perpetrated through such mass surveillance programs."

The same committee voted today to allow Edward Snowden to testify before them in a special hearing.

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Court Rules Against Online Anonymity
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '14 at 08:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's turns-out-anonymous-coward-is-a-cat department:
cstacy writes "The Virginia Court of Appeals has ruled (PDF) that people leaving negative feedback for a carpet cleaning service are not allowed to remain anonymous. Yelp must unmask seven critics to the carpet cleaner, who feels that they might not even be real customers."

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Canada Quietly Offering Sanctuary To Data From the US
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '14 at 08:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's privacy-and-poutine-eh department:
davecb writes "The Toronto Star's lead article today is Canada courting U.S. web giants in wake of NSA spy scandal, an effort to convince them their customer data is safer here. This follows related moves like Cisco moving R&D to Toronto. Industry Canada will neither confirm nor deny that European and U.S. companies are negotiating to move confidential data away from the U.S. This critically depends on recent blocking legislation to get around cases like U.S. v. Bank of Nova Scotia, where U.S. courts 'extradited' Canadian bank records to the U.S. Contrary to Canadian law, you understand ..."

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Japan To Create a Nuclear Meltdown
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '14 at 07:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's suddenly-godzilla department:
Taco Cowboy writes "Japanese researchers are planning an experiment to better understand what transpires during a nuclear meltdown by attempting to create a controlled nuclear meltdown. Using a scaled down version of a nuclear reactor — essentially a meter long stainless steel container — the experiment will involve the insertion of a foot long (30 cm) nuclear fuel rod, starting the fission process, and then draining the coolant. The experiment is scheduled to take place later this year."

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International Space Station Mission Extended To 2024
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '14 at 06:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's and-hopefully-longer department:
An anonymous reader writes with news that funding has been secured for the ISS through at least 2024. From NASA: "'...We are pleased to announce that the Obama Administration has approved an extension of the International Space Station until at least 2024. We are hopeful and optimistic that our ISS partners will join this extension effort and thus enable continuation of the groundbreaking research being conducted in this unique orbiting laboratory for at least another decade. ... A further benefit of ISS extension is it will give NASA and its private-sector partners time to more fully transition to the commercial space industry the transportation of cargo and crew to low-Earth-orbit, allowing NASA to continue to increase its focus on developing the next-generation heavy-lift rocket and crew capsule necessary for deep-space exploration."

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Security Experts Call For Boycott of RSA Conference In NSA Protest
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '14 at 06:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's how-to-add-yourself-to-a-watch-list department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "ZDNet reports that at least eight security researchers or policy experts have withdrawn from RSA's annual security conference in protest over the sponsor's alleged collaboration with the National Security Agency. Last month, it was revealed that RSA had accepted $10 million from the NSA to use a flawed default cipher in one of its encryption tools. The withdrawals from the highly regarded conference represent early blowback by experts who have complained that the government's surveillance efforts have, in some cases, weakened computer security, even for innocent users. Jeffrey Carr, a security industry veteran who works in analyzing espionage and cyber warfare tactics, took his cancellation a step further calling for a boycott of the conference, saying that RSA had violated the trust of its customers. 'I can't imagine a worse action, short of a company's CEO getting involved in child porn,' says Carr. 'I don't know what worse action a security company could take than to sell a product to a customer with a backdoor in it.' Organizers have said that next month's conference in San Francisco will host 560 speakers, and that they expect more participants than the 24,000 who showed up last year. 'Though boycotting the conference won't have a big impact on EMC's bottom line, the resulting publicity will,' says Dave Kearns. 'Security is hard enough without having to worry that our suppliers — either knowingly or unknowingly — have aided those who wish to subvert our security measures.'"

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The True Color of Ancient Sea Creatures
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '14 at 05:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's cool-colors department:
sciencehabit writes "Looking a bit like a dolphin, but with a long slim snout filled with pointy teeth, one species of ichthyosaur was practically invisible in the murky depths of Jurassic seas, thanks to dark pigmentation that covered its entire body. That's one conclusion of a new study that provides an unprecedented peek at the coloration of sea creatures alive during or soon after the dinosaur era. The approach involves bombarding fossils with charged particles and then analyzing the particles that are knocked from the surface, which reveals remnants of ancient pigments. Dark pigmentation may have helped ichthyosaurs and other predators camouflage themselves in the murky depths while they hunted prey."

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UK Benefits System In Deeper Trouble?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '14 at 02:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what's-all-this-then department:
judgecorp writes "Two media reports suggest that the Universal Credit scheme to overhaul Britain's welfare programme is in trouble. The IT project to support Universal Credit was launched by the Cabinet Office, and it will be completed and run by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) — but the Guardian says the Cabinet Office has pulled out its elite experts too soon, while a different leak told Computer Weekly that the four original suppliers — HP, IBM, Accenture and BT — have been effectively frozen out in an internal change. It's the biggest change to Britain's benefits system for many years, and all the evidence says it's not going well."

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Security Expert: Yahoo's Email Encryption Needs Work
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '14 at 11:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's feeling-secure department:
itwbennett writes "On Tuesday, Yahoo delivered on a promise that it made in October to enable email encryption for everyone by default by January 8. While this is a great step, the company's HTTPS implementation appears to be inconsistent across servers and even technically insecure in some cases, according to Ivan Ristic, director of application security research at security firm Qualys. For example, some of Yahoo's HTTPS email servers use RC4 as the preferred cipher with most clients. 'RC4 is considered weak, which is why we advise that people either don't use it, or if they feel they must, use it as a last resort,' Ristic said."

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Algorithm Aims To Predict Fiction Bestsellers
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '14 at 08:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what-do-the-numbers-say? department:
benonemusic writes "Three computer scientists at Stony Brook University in New York believe they have found some rules through a computer program that might predict which fiction books will be successful. Their algorithm had as much as an 84 percent accuracy rate when applied to already published manuscripts in Project Gutenberg and other sources. Among their findings was that more successful books relied on verbs describing thought processes rather than actions and emotions. However, some disagree with the findings. Author Ron Hansen said style is not the key, but instead readers' interest in the topics in the book." There has been work done already on finding the formula for a hit song, and using analytics to craft a blockbuster movie.

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Blackhole Exploit Kit Successor Years Away
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '14 at 05:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's new-villian-please department:
msm1267 writes "The Blackhole Exploit Kit has been out of commission since October when its alleged creator, a hacker named Paunch, was arrested in Russia. The kit was a favorite among cybercriminals who took advantage of its frequent updates and business model to distribute financial malware to great profit. Since the arrest of Paunch, however, a viable successor has yet to emerge--and experts believe one will not in the short term. This is partially the reason for the increase in outbreaks of ransomware such as CryptoLocker as hackers aggressively attempt to recover lost profits."

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Bizarre Star Could Host a Neutron Star In Its Core
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '14 at 04:31 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's look-at-that department:
ananyo writes "Astronomers say that they have discovered the first example of a long-sought cosmic oddity: a bloated, dying star with a surprise in its core — an ultradense neutron star. Such entities, known as Thorne-Zytkow objects, are theoretically possible but would alter scientists' understanding of how stars can be powered. Since Thorne-Zytkow objects were first proposed in 1975, researchers have occasionally offered up candidates, but none have been confirmed."

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Weapons Systems That Kill According To Algorithms Are Coming. What To Do?
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '14 at 04:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's have-them-fight-the-decepticons department:
Lasrick writes "Mark Gubrud has another great piece exploring the slippery slope we seem to be traveling down when it comes to autonomous weapons systems: Quote: 'Autonomous weapons are robotic systems that, once activated, can select and engage targets without further intervention by a human operator. Advances in computer technology, artificial intelligence, and robotics may lead to a vast expansion in the development and use of such weapons in the near future. Public opinion runs strongly against killer robots. But many of the same claims that propelled the Cold War are being recycled to justify the pursuit of a nascent robotic arms race. Autonomous weapons could be militarily potent and therefore pose a great threat.'"

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A Rebuttal To Charles Stross About Bitcoin
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '14 at 03:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's opinions-are-like-cryptocurrencies department:
New submitter buddha379 writes "Over the holidays we discussed a story from SF author Charles Stross called 'Why I Want Bitcoin to Die in a Fire,' just as Bitcoin's price collapsed on news of the Chinese government's cautious approach to the fledgling internet currency. Well known economist Paul Krugman quoted the piece in a NY Times blog post called 'Bitcoin is Evil'. Now, with U.S. regulators reaffirming their hands off approach, U.S. companies embracing it and prices surging again, Bitcoin Magazine returns with a rebuttal called 'Why Charles Stross Doesn't Know a Thing about Bitcoin.' The article notes that like many other popular pieces, Stross' story seems to 'completely miss the point on why Bitcoin is a revolutionary concept.'"

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Mending Hearts With Light-Activated Glue
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '14 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's only-if-you're-out-of-duct-tape department:
the_newsbeagle writes "When surgeons set out to repair holes in the walls of the heart's chambers or in blood vessels, they often do invasive open-heart surgery and use sutures, staples, and glue to keep a patch in place. But the sutures and staples are a rough fix, and many of the glues on the market today don't work well on wet tissue that's continually flexed by the heart's contractions and the movement of pumping blood. Today biomaterial researchers announced a new light-activated glue that could make surgery less invasive, quicker, and easier. The adhesive was inspired by slugs' and sandcastle worms' sticky secretions, which work underwater, and it can be applied with slender tools during minimally invasive surgery. A flash of UV light then sets the glue, which bends and flexes with the tissue."

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CES 2014: Building Self-Guiding Lego Robots for Fun and (Maybe) Profit (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on January 08 '14 at 01:30 PM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's first-comes-a-robot-then-comes-a-driverless-car-then-comes-an-android-to-replace-you-and-me department:
Lauro Ojeda is a researcher at the University of Michigan who also works with a Korean company, Microinfinity, that says it works with everything "from basic sensors to full navigation systems, and is becoming the world leading navigation system company." Prof. Ojeda also has a personal website, robotnav.com, where he posts his navigation and control code (under an open source license, of course) that you are welcome to download, play with, install on any suitable device you have handy, and modify at will. A lot of his work is with Lego-based robots because they're both inexpensive and readily available almost anywhere. If you already have a good-sized Lego collection, you probably only need a few pieces to follow or even surpass Prof. Ojeda's work. And who knows? If you manage to make an autonomous Lego robot, your next stage may be a car that drives itself so you can watch SyFy reruns on your way to work instead of worrying about the truck in the left lane that looks like it's about to make a right turn.

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