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World Space Walk Simultaneously Puts Three Mars-Capable Spacesuits To the Test
Posted by News Fetcher on October 15 '13 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's first-one-to-pop-loses department:
Zothecula writes "On October 8, three teams in various parts of the world participated in an unprecedented simultaneous test of three experimental spacesuits. Coordinated from a mission control center in Innsbruck, Austria run by the Austrian Space Forum (OeWF), World Space Walk 2013 aims at setting standards for developing suits for the future exploration of the planet Mars."

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Buried In the Healthcare.gov Source: "No Expectation of Privacy"
Posted by News Fetcher on October 15 '13 at 06:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's just-initial-here-and-here-and-here-and-here department:
realized writes "The Obamacare website Healthcare.gov has a hidden terms of service that is not shown to people when they sign up. The hidden terms, only viewable if you 'view source' on the site says that the user has 'no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system.' Sadly, the $634 million dollar website still does not work for most people so its hard to confirm – though when its fixed in 2 months, we should finally be able to see it."

Note: As the article points out, that phrasing is "not visible to users and obviously not intended as part of the terms and conditions." So users shouldn't worry that that they've actually, accidentally agreed to any terms more onerous than the ones they can read on the signup page, but it's an interesting inclusion. What's the last EULA you read thoroughly?

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German Scientists Achieve Record 100Gbps Via Wireless Data Link
Posted by News Fetcher on October 15 '13 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's telefunken-junction department:
Mark.JUK writes "A joint team of German scientists working at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have successfully achieved a new world record for wireless data transfers. The team were able to transmit information at speeds of 100 Gigabits per second by using a radio network operating at the frequency of 237.5GHz and over a distance of 20 metres (note: a prior experiment hit 40Gbps over 1km between two skyscrapers). The radio signals were generated by a photon mixer device that uses two optical laser signals of different frequencies, which were then superimposed on a photodiode to create an electrical signal (237.5 GHz) that could be radiated via an antenna. But the team aren't happy with breaking one record and their future attempts will seek to break the 1 Terabit per second (Tbps) barrier."

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Google Fiber Partially Reverses Server Ban
Posted by News Fetcher on October 15 '13 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's read-write-tops-read-only department:
Lirodon writes "After being called out by the Electronic Frontier Foundation for banning the loosely-defined use of "servers" on its Fiber service, Google appears to have changed its tune, and now allows 'personal, non-commercial use of servers that complies with this AUP is acceptable, including using virtual private networks (VPN) to access services in your home and using hardware or applications that include server capabilities for uses like multi-player gaming, video-conferencing, and home security.'"

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NSA Scraping Buddy Lists and Address Books From Live Internet Traffic
Posted by News Fetcher on October 15 '13 at 04:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's deep-packet-inspection-for-fun-and-profit department:
Charliemopps writes that the Washington Post reports "The NSA is collecting hundreds of millions of contact lists from all over the world, many of them belonging to Americans. The intercept them from instant messaging services as they move across global data links. The NSA is gathering contact lists in large numbers that amount to a sizable fraction of the world's e-mail and instant messaging accounts."

According to the leaked document (original as a PDF), the NSA is intercepting some chat protocols and at least IMAP, and then analyzing the data for buddy list information and inbox contents.

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Aussie Company Planning To Use Drones For Textbook Delivery
Posted by News Fetcher on October 15 '13 at 01:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's death-by-textbook-delivery-drone department:
First time accepted submitter Michael Harris writes "According to The Age, an Australian company plans to use autonomous quadropters to deliver text books to University students in Sydney. Apparently the drone will locate you via your smartphone's GPS, fly autonomously to your location, and drop the book into your hands."

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China's State Press Calls For 'Building a De-Americanized World'
Posted by News Fetcher on October 14 '13 at 11:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's 1979-wants-their-rhetoric-back department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Businessweek reports on some not-so-subtle commentary from China's official Xinhua News Agency on the U.S. budget showdown: 'It is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world.' Key among its proposals: the creation of a new international reserve currency to replace the present reliance on U.S. dollars. 'The cyclical stagnation in Washington for a viable bipartisan solution over a federal budget and an approval for raising the debt ceiling has again left many nations' tremendous dollar assets in jeopardy and the international community highly agonized,' the authors write. 'The world is still crawling its way out of an economic disaster thanks to the voracious Wall Street elites.' The commentary calls for a greater role for developing-market economies in both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, adding 'the authority of the United Nations in handling global hot-spot issues has to be recognized. That means no one has the right to wage any form of military action against others without a UN mandate.' The commentary concludes that 'the purpose of promoting these changes is not to completely toss the United States aside, which is also impossible. Rather, it is to encourage Washington to play a much more constructive role in addressing global affairs.'"

Meanwhile, U.S. Senate Leaders are claiming a deal is close to reopen the federal government until mid-January and defer the debt ceiling debate until mid-February.

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Unifying Undersea Wireless Communication Using TCP/IP
Posted by News Fetcher on October 14 '13 at 08:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's whales-need-internet-too department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Wireless and cellular networks cover beaches and extend over the ocean to ships at sea but not, so far, under the ocean. A team of researchers at the University of Buffalo believe they've solved at least the technical problem of how to push wireless networking signals for long distances through the deep ocean to connect offshore oil and gas platforms, floating and underwater tsunami sensors and other remote facilities without having to bounce signals off a satellite first. Radio waves tend to be smothered or distorted by travel through water; most ocean-based sensors use acoustic waves instead, which link sensors into underwater acoustic sensor networks (UWASN). The team designed a low-power IPv4/IPv6-compatible networking protocol that uses very low power, compresses headers, is tolerant of fragmented data and connection delays, allows bi-directional communication with (and reconfiguration of) existing underwater sensors and is compatible with standard TCP/IP networks and IP router proxies. The approach is more than a simple translation from one networking medium to another. It leaves the higher-level TCP/IP networking protocols intact, but adds an adaptation layer between the data-link layer and network layer that compresses headers, changes packet size, transmission time-out settings and other requirements to be compatible with slower underwater transmissions. The team tested the implementation using a Linux-based driver, both PC and ARM-based computers and a Teledyne Benthos SM-75 Modem. They sealed two network nodes in 40-pound waterproof cases, dumped them into Lake Erie near Buffalo and transmitted instant-messaging signals from the application IPTUX from one to the other. They were also able to transfer files using FTP from an underwater client to server."

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Linux RNG May Be Insecure After All
Posted by News Fetcher on October 14 '13 at 06:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's proofs-ahead department:
Okian Warrior writes "As a followup to Linus's opinion people skeptical of the Linux random number generator, a new paper analyzes the robustness of <tt>/dev/urandom</tt> and <tt>/dev/urandom</tt> . From the paper: 'From a practical side, we also give a precise assessment of the security of the two Linux PRNGs, /dev/random and /dev/urandom. In particular, we show several attacks proving that these PRNGs are not robust according to our definition, and do not accumulate entropy properly. These attacks are due to the vulnerabilities of the entropy estimator and the internal mixing function of the Linux PRNGs. These attacks against the Linux PRNG show that it does not satisfy the "robustness" notion of security, but it remains unclear if these attacks lead to actual exploitable vulnerabilities in practice.'"

Of course, you might not even be able to trust hardware RNGs. Rather than simply proving that the Linux PRNGs are not robust thanks to their run-time entropy estimator, the authors provide a new property for proving the robustness of the entropy accumulation stage of a PRNG, and offer an alternative PRNG model and proof that is both robust and more efficient than the current Linux PRNGs.

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DOJ: Defendant Has No Standing To Oppose Use of Phone Records
Posted by News Fetcher on October 14 '13 at 04:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's defense-is-futile department:
An anonymous reader writes with news of problems a man caught by the NSA dragnet for donating a small sum of money to an organization that the federal government considered terrorist in nature is having mounting an appeal. From the article: "Seven months after his conviction, Basaaly Moalin's defense attorney moved for a new trial, arguing that evidence collected about him under the government's recently disclosed dragnet telephone surveillance program violated his constitutional and statutory rights. ... The government's response (PDF), filed on September 30th, is a heavily redacted opposition arguing that when law enforcement can monitor one person's information without a warrant, it can monitor everyone's information, 'regardless of the collection's expanse.' Notably, the government is also arguing that no one other than the company that provided the information — including the defendant in this case — has the right to challenge this disclosure in court."

This goes far beyond the third party doctrine, effectively prosecuting someone and depriving them of the ability to defend themselves by declaring that they have no standing to refute the evidence used against them.

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Java Spec Compatibility Weakened Android's TLS Encryption
Posted by News Fetcher on October 14 '13 at 03:45 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's all-the-better-to-hear-you department:
sfcrazy writes "It has been discovered that Google downgraded the SSL encryption of Android after version 2.3.4 and defaulted to RC4 and MD5 ciphers. It may appear that NSA is at play here as both are broken and can be easily compromised. But after digging the code Georg Lukas concluded that the blame goes to Oracle. 'The cipher order on the vast majority of Android devices was defined by Sun in 2002 and taken over into the Android project in 2010 as an attempt to improve compatibility.'"

The Java spec from 2002 specified RC4 and MD5 as the first two ciphers for TLS; Android, however, used DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA by default. The default cipher list for Java 7 was updated, but Android is stuck using JDK 6 and a default cipher list over a decade old.

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RMS: How Much Surveillance Can Democracy Withstand?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 14 '13 at 03:00 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's guix-install-freedom department:
Covalent writes "RMS describes how much surveillance is too much (hint: it's all too much) and how to combat, circumvent, and prevent future surveillance. How much of what is suggested is plausible? How much is just a pipe dream? Discuss!"

The article contains and extensive list of things we do that give too much data to centralized organization, and offers solutions to combat all of them. From the article: "The goal of making journalism and democracy safe therefore requires that we reduce the data collected about people by any organization, not just by the state. We must redesign digital systems so that they do not accumulate data about their users. If they need digital data about our transactions, they should not be allowed to keep them more than a short time beyond what is inherently necessary for their dealings with us."

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Support For NASA Spending Depends On Perception of Size of Space Agency Budget
Posted by News Fetcher on October 14 '13 at 02:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's paying-the-cost department:
MarkWhittington writes "Alan Steinberg, a post doctorate fellow in political science at Sam Houston State University, conducted a study surrounding the vexing problem of how to motivate more people to support increased levels of funding for NASA. In an October 14, 2013 piece in The Space Review, Steinberg announced the results of a study conducted with a group of college students. Steinberg's approach was based on the findings of a study by Roger Launius conducted in the late 1990s that suggested that the American public believe that NASA spending takes up about 20 percent of the federal budget. It has in fact never exceeded four percent, which it enjoyed at the height of the Apollo program, and is currently about .5 percent. Steinberg was testing a notion advanced by Neil deGrasse Tyson that if people knew the true size of NASA's budget they would be more likely to support increasing it."

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Imagination Tech Announces MIPS-based 'Warrior P-Class' CPU Core
Posted by News Fetcher on October 14 '13 at 01:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's check-it-out department:
MojoKid writes "Imagination Technologies has announced the first CPU based on its new version of the MIPS architecture. The new P5600 chip (codenamed Warrior) is a 32-bit CPU based on the MIPS Series 5 architecture and is designed to challenge companies like ARM in the embedded and mobile markets. Major features of the new chip include: support for 40-bit memory extensions, or up to 1TB of RAM, a 128-bit SIMD engine (Single Instruction, Multiple Data), and Hardware virtualization (MIPS R5 can virtualize other machines in hardware). The P5600 core is being touted as supporting up to six cores in a cache-coherent link, most likely similar to ARM's CCI-400. According to IT, the chip is capable of executing 3.5 DMIPs/MHz in CoreMark, which theoretically puts the P5600 on par with the Cortex-A15."

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Why Small-Scale Biomass Energy Projects Aren't a Solution To Climate Change
Posted by News Fetcher on October 14 '13 at 12:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's try-something-else department:
Lasrick writes "Roberto Bissio has an excellent piece in a roundtable on biomass energy, pointing out that small scale biomass energy projects designed for people in poor countries aren't really a solution to climate change. After pointing out that patent protections could impede wide-spread adoption, Bissio adds that the people in these countries aren't really contributing to climate change in the first place: 'Why? Because poor people, whose carbon emissions these technologies would reduce, produce very little carbon in the first place. As I mentioned in Round One, the planet's poorest 1 billion people are responsible for only 3 percent of global carbon emissions. The 1.26 billion people whose countries belong to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development account for 42 percent of emissions. The rich, if they reduced their emissions by just 8 percent, could achieve more climate mitigation than the poor could achieve by reducing their emissions to zero. The rich could manage this 8 percent reduction by altering their lifestyles in barely noticeable ways. For the poor, a reduction of 100 percent would imply permanent misery.'"

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Broadcom Laying Off LTE and Modem Design Employees
Posted by News Fetcher on October 14 '13 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's hit-the-road department:
Dawn Kawamoto writes "Within days of closing its deal to acquire LTE-related assets from Renesas Electronics, Broadcom is now taking the hatchet to its own internal LTE and modem design team members by doling out pink slips. Although several hundred Broadcom workers in the U.S. and overseas are getting layoff notices, the figure could go substantially higher because the company expects to cut roughly $45 million in operating expenses relating to the deal between now and the next 12 months."

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Gravity: Can Film Ever Get the Science Right?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 14 '13 at 12:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's suspension-of-disbelief department:
dryriver writes in with a story lamenting the lack of accurate science in movies. "The relationship between science and science fiction has always been tempestuous. Gravity focuses on two astronauts stranded in space after the destruction of their space shuttle. Since Gravity's US release (it comes to the UK in November) many critics have praised the film for its scientific accuracy. But noted astrophysicist Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, had several issues with the accuracy of Gravity's portrayal of space. Through a series of posts on Twitter, Tyson — who later emphasized that he 'enjoyed the film very much' — highlighted various errors. He noted the Hubble space telescope (orbiting at 350 miles above sea level), the International Space Station (at 250 miles), and a Chinese space station could never be in line of sight of one another. On top of that, most satellites orbit west to east, yet in the film the satellite debris was seen drifting east to west. Tyson also noted how Sandra Bullock's hair did not float freely as it would in zero-gravity. This is arguably not so much an error in physics, but a reflection of the limitations of cinematic technology to accurately portray actors in zero-gravity. That is, of course, without sending them into space for the duration of the film. The Michael Bay film Armageddon is known for its woeful number of inaccuracies, from the space shuttles separating their rocket boosters and fuel tanks in close proximity to each other (risking a collision) and to objects falling on to the asteroid under a gravitational pull seemingly as strong as the Earth's. More than one interested observer tried to work out how big the bomb would have to be to blow up an asteroid in the way demanded in the movie. Answer: Very big indeed. Nasa is reported to have even used Armageddon as part of a test within their training program, asking candidates to identify all the scientific impossibilities within the film."

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Lessons From the Healthcare.gov Fiasco
Posted by News Fetcher on October 14 '13 at 11:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's better-luck-next-time department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "In theory, the federal government's Health Insurance Marketplace was supposed to make things easy for anyone in the market for health insurance. But fourteen days after the Website made its debut, the online initiative—an integral part of the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act—has metastasized into a disaster. Despite costing $400 million (so far) and employing an army of experienced IT contractors (such as Booz Allen Hamilton and CGI Group), the Website is prone to glitches and frequent crashes, frustrating many of those seeking to sign up for a health-insurance policy. Unless you're the head of a major federal agency or a huge company launching an online initiative targeted at millions of users, it's unlikely you'll be the one responsible for a project (and problems) on the scale of the Health Insurance Marketplace. Nonetheless, the debacle offers some handy lessons in project management for Websites and portals of any size: know your IT specifications (federal contractors reportedly didn't receive theirs until a few months ago), choose management capable of recognizing the problems that arise (management of Healthcare.gov was entrusted to the Medicare and Medicaid agency, which didn't have the technical chops), roll out small if possible, and test, test, test. The Health Insurance Marketplace fiasco speaks to an unfortunate truth about Web development: even when an entity (whether public or private, corporation or federal government) has keen minds and millions of dollars at its disposal, forgetting or mishandling the basics of successful Web construction can lead to embarrassing problems."

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Book Review: Getting Started With Drupal Commerce
Posted by News Fetcher on October 14 '13 at 10:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it department:
Michael Ross writes "An online store is one of the most common use cases for a website nowadays. For those web developers and business owners who choose the current version of Drupal as a basis for such an e-commerce project, the canonical solution is Drupal Commerce. There are numerous online resources for learning Commerce, and yet for the longest time no printed book. Now we have Getting Started with Drupal Commerce, written by Richard Jones." Read below for the rest of Michael's review. Getting Started with Drupal Commerce
author Richard Jones
pages 152 pages
publisher Packt Publishing
rating 7/10
reviewer Michael Ross
ISBN 978-1783280230
summary An introduction to the leading Drupal e-commerce solution

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Ford, University of Michigan Open Next-Generation EV Battery Research Lab
Posted by News Fetcher on October 14 '13 at 09:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's giving-it-a-charge department:
cartechboy writes "Its no secret that one constraint on electric vehicle adoption is battery production capacity and cost. Right now battery costs add thousands of dollars in price tags on electric vehicles, so the race is on to gain capacity make cheaper batteries. Today, Ford and the University of Michigan are announcing an $8 million EV experimental battery research lab to try and accelerate this type of early testing. The lab, which will be on campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan, will allow automakers, battery makers and individual researchers to test battery cells earlier in the process than ever. The lab says it will have strict controls to protect each entity's individual intellectual property as the research in theory happens all in one place."

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