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NASA Appointed Team Set Out Priorities For a Europa Surface Mission
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '13 at 03:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's because-we-can department:
astroengine writes "Europa has only been seen from afar, but its aura of intrigue has inspired scientists to study ideas as to how to explore the icy Jovian moon. In a new study published in the journal Astrobiology [paper], a NASA-appointed science definition team lays out the rich tapestry of discovery facing any mission to study Europa, but what questions do we need answering? 'If one day humans send a robotic lander to the surface of Europa, we need to know what to look for and what tools it should carry,' said Robert Pappalardo, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and the study's lead author. 'There is still a lot of preparation that is needed before we could land on Europa, but studies like these will help us focus on the technologies required to get us there, and on the data needed to help us scout out possible landing locations. Europa is the most likely place in our solar system beyond Earth to have life today, and a landed mission would be the best way to search for signs of life.'"

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TV Show Piracy Soars After CBS Blackout
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '13 at 03:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's almost-as-if-these-things-are-related department:
TorrentFreak reports that piracy rates of the television show Under the Dome shot up by more than a third last weekend, even though official ratings dropped. What caused the increase? On Friday, three million subscribers to Time Warner's cable TV service lost access to CBS programming, the network on which Under the Dome airs. The article says this provides compelling evidence that the availability of a show is a key factor in the decision to pirate it.
"To find out whether download rates in the affected markets increased, we monitored U.S. BitTorrent downloads of last week's episode as well as the one that aired this Monday following the blackout. The data from these two samples show that in Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit and Pittsburgh, relatively more people downloaded the latest episode, an indication that customers are turning to unauthorized channels to get the show. With hundreds of thousands of downloads Under The Dome is one of the most pirated TV-shows at the moment. Of all sampled downloaders in the U.S. 10.9% came from the blackout regions for last week's episode, and this increased to 14.6% for Monday's episode, a 34% increase. In New York City, one of the largest affected markets, the relative piracy rate more than doubled from 1.3% of all U.S. downloads last week to 3% for the episode that aired after the blackout."

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Federal Judge Declares Bitcoin a Currency
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '13 at 02:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's i-bet-the-IRS-just-got-excited department:
tlhIngan writes "An East Texas federal judge has concluded that Bitcoin is a currency that can be regulated under American Law. The conclusion came during the trial of Trendon Shavers, who is accused of running the Bitcoin Savings and Trust (BTCST) as a Ponzi scheme. Shavers had argued that since the transactions were all done in Bitcoins, no money changed hands and thus the SEC has no jurisdiction. The judge found that since Bitcoins may be used to purchase goods and services, and more importantly, can be converted to conventional currencies, it is a form of currency (PDF) and investors wishing to invest in the BTCST provided an investment of money, and thus the SEC may regulate such business"

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Ask Slashdot: Is Development Leadership Overvalued?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '13 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's or-is-followership-undervalued department:
gspec writes "I am an engineer with about 14 years experience in the industry. Lately I have been interviewing with a few companies hoping to land a better position. In almost all those interviews, I was asked these types of question: 'Have you been a leader in a project?' or 'Why after these many years, you are not in a management? Do you lack leadership skills?' Sometimes these questions discourage me and make me feel like an underachiever. I found an article in which the author talked about exactly this, and I agree with him. I think in this modern society, especially in the U.S., we overvalue the leaders and undervalue the followers to the point that we forget that leaders cannot do any good if they do not have good followers."

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New Technique Creates 3D Images Through a Single Lens
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '13 at 01:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's also-known-as-a-pirate's-eye-view department:
Zothecula writes "A team at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) has come up with a promising new way to create 3D images from a stationary camera or microscope with a single lens. Rather than expensive hardware, the technique uses a mathematical model to generate images with depth and could find use in a wide range of applications, from creating more compelling microscopy imaging to a more immersive experience in movie theaters."

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HeLa Cell Line Genome Data To Be Published
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '13 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's making-right-what-once-went-wrong department:
ananyo writes "Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, has brokered a deal with the family of Henrietta Lacks to release the genetic sequence of the HeLa cell line to researchers. The HeLa cell line was established in 1951 from a biopsy of a cervical tumour taken from Henrietta Lacks, a working-class African-American woman living near Baltimore. The cells were taken without the knowledge or permission of her or her family, and they became the first human cells to grow well in a lab. They contributed to the development of a polio vaccine, the discovery of human telomerase and countless other advances. Controversy erupted earlier this year after researchers published the sequence without the permission of the Lacks family. In a Q&A with the journal Nature, Collins explains how the deal was reached."

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AOSP Maintainer Quits
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '13 at 12:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's thanks-for-all-the-hard-work department:
In a post on Google+, Jean-Baptiste Quéru, long-time maintainer of the Android Open Source Project, has said he'll no longer be working on it. "There's no point being the maintainer of an Operating System that can't boot to the home screen on its flagship device for lack of GPU support, especially when I'm getting the blame for something that I don't have authority to fix myself and that I had anticipated and escalated more than 6 months ahead." Quéru is referring to the recently-released Nexus 7 revision, for which Google has not provided factory images of Android 4.3. This seems to be because GPU maker Qualcomm is refusing to release the blobs necessary to boot the device.

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Is 'Fair Use' Unfair To Humans?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '13 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's iguanas-have-had-it-too-good-for-too-long department:
An anonymous reader writes "This article in Wired advances the idea that humans are losing the copyright battle against machines because the fair use laws are tilted against them. The writer wanted to include photos in his book, but the licensing fees were too high. The aggregators, though, like Google, are building their own content by scraping all of the photos they can find. If anyone complains, they just say, 'Fill out a DMCA form.' Can humans compete against the machines? Should humans be able to use the DMCA to avoid copyright fees too? Should web sites be able to shrug and say, 'Hey, we just scraped it?'"

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Building a Full-Auto Gauss Gun
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '13 at 11:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's science-is-fun department:
Okian Warrior writes "Adding to the 3-D printed gun/rifle controversy, Delta-V Engineering built a Full-auto Gauss gun (aka 'machine gun'), capable of firing 15 steel bolts from its magazine in less than two seconds. At 3% the muzzle velocity of a .22, it's still in the prototype stage. Bullets are made from turned-down nails, and the gun uses no chemical propellants. The builder has posted the design notes online. Video of the gun in action is pretty interesting."

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Dolphin Memories Span At Least 20 Years
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '13 at 10:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's how's-it-going-bob department:
sciencehabit writes "A new study reveals that bottlenose dolphins can remember each other's signature contact whistles — calls that function as names — for more than 20 years, the longest social memory ever recorded for a nonhuman animal. 'The ability to remember individuals is thought to be extremely important to the "social brain,"' says Janet Mann, a marine mammal biologist at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., who was not involved in the research. Yet, she notes, no one has succeeded in designing a test for this talent in the great apes — our closest kin — let alone in dolphins."

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Snowden Gave 15,000 Documents to Glenn Greenwald; Obama Cancels Russia Summit
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '13 at 09:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's where's-sarah-palin-when-you-need-her department:
sl4shd0rk writes "The American journalist Glenn Greewald, who published much of the initial info on illegal NSA programs, plans to release more revelations on the NSA spying machine in 10 days. 'The articles we have published so far are a very small part of the revelations that ought to be published,' Greenwald said on Tuesday. Greenwald further elaborated on public posturing which many nations are currently taking: 'The Brazilian government is showing much more anger in public than it is showing in private discussions with the U.S. government. All governments are doing this, even in Europe.'"

The U.S. decided to pull out of a summit with Russia next month, citing the decision to grant Snowden asylum as a factor: "However, given our lack of progress on issues such as missile defense and arms control, trade and commercial relations, global security issues, and human rights and civil society in the last twelve months, we have informed the Russian Government that we believe it would be more constructive to postpone the summit until we have more results from our shared agenda. Russia's disappointing decision to grant Edward Snowden temporary asylum was also a factor that we considered in assessing the current state of our bilateral relationship. Our cooperation on these issues remains a priority for the United States, so on Friday, August 9, Secretaries Hagel and Kerry will meet with their Russian counterparts in a 2+2 format in Washington to discuss how we can best make progress moving forward on the full range of issues in our bilateral relationship."

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Chrome's Insane Password Security Strategy
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '13 at 08:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's passwords-for-password-locker department:
jones_supa writes "One day web developer Elliott Kember decided to switch from Safari to Chrome and in the process, discovered possibly a serious weakness with local password management in Chrome. The settings import tool forced the passwords to be always imported, which lead Kember to further investigate how the data can be accessed. For those who actually bother to look at the 'Saved passwords' page, it turns out that anyone with physical access can peek all the passwords in clear text very easily with a couple of mouse clicks. This spurred a lengthy discussion featuring Justin Schuh, the head of Chrome security, who says Kember is wrong and that this behavior of Chrome has been evaluated for years and is not going to change."

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John Carmack Joins Oculus VR As CTO
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '13 at 08:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's outerspace-to-innerspace department:
Guspaz writes "In a surprising move that in retrospect makes a lot of sense, Oculus VR has announced that John Carmack will be joining the company full-time as CTO. Carmack also tweeted that his time division would be 'Oculus over Id over Armadillo. Busy busy busy!'"

From the press release, quoting John Carmack: "I have fond memories of the development work that led to a lot of great things in modern gaming — the intensity of the first person experience, LAN and internet play, game mods, and so on. Duct taping a strap and hot gluing sensors onto Palmer's early prototype Rift and writing the code to drive it ranks right up there. Now is a special time. I believe that VR will have a huge impact in the coming years, but everyone working today is a pioneer. The paradigms that everyone will take for granted in the future are being figured out today; probably by people reading this message. It's certainly not there yet. There is a lot more work to do, and there are problems we don't even know about that will need to be solved, but I am eager to work on them. It's going to be awesome!"

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Interview: Oceanographer David Gallo Answers Your Questions
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '13 at 08:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's up-from-the-depths department:
A while ago you had a chance to ask oceanographer and Director of Special Projects at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, David Gallo, about the mysteries of the deep and the tech we're using to get there. Below you'll find his answers to your questions.

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Researchers Develop New Trap To Capture Bloodsucking Bed Bugs
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '13 at 07:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's brooklyn-to-become-inhabitable department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Bedbugs (Cimex lectularius) are small blood-sucking insects that can live in cracks and crevices in and around your bed and crawl out at night to bite your exposed skin and feed on your blood, just as mosquitoes do. Now BBC reports that researchers from the Rutgers University Department of Entomology have developed a new trap that has a 77% probability of capturing bed bugs, nearly three times as many bed bugs over 28 days (PDF), as the the Climbup insect interceptor trap, which the authors cite as the best monitor on the market. A better trap design can allow people to detect bed bugs while they are still in small numbers. 'If you have only 10 or 20 bugs in your apartment, it's very hard to see with your eyes,' says Lead author Narinderpal Singh. 'When people realize they have bed bugs they are often already in their thousands, or hundred thousands. It's relatively easy to eradicate the bed bugs when they are in small numbers, but when they are everywhere, it's very hard to eradicate them.' The device can be created at home very cheaply and consists of a plastic dog bowl that's been inverted, with the outer wall covered with a layer of dyed-black surgical tape. The researchers contend that higher walls make their trap more effective than the interceptor trap because it's harder for bugs to escape."

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Former Director of the ISS Division At NASA Talks About Science Behind 'Elysium'
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '13 at 06:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's hardware-part-two department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "In the new movie 'Elysium,' Earth a century and a half from now is an overtaxed slum, low on niceties like clean water and riddled with crime and sickness. The ultra-rich have abandoned terra firma in favor of Elysium, an orbital space station where the champagne flows freely and the medical care is the best possible. Mark Uhran, former director of the International Space Station Division at NASA headquarters, talked with Slashdot about what it would take (and how much it would cost) to actually build a space station like that for civilians. It turns out NASA did a report way back in 1975 describing what it would take to build a Stanford torus space station like the one in the movie: rotation for artificial gravity, a separate shield for radiation and debris, the ability to mine materials from astroids or possibly the moon, and $190.8 billion in 1975 dollars (the equivalent of $828.11 billion today). Looks like the ultra-rich are stuck on Earth for the time being."

And still artificial gravity experiments languish.

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Former NSA Chief Warns Hackers Will Attack US If Snowden Is Captured
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '13 at 05:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's nihilistic-anarcho-scum-coming-to-a-store-near-you department:
Okian Warrior writes "The Guardian is reporting Michael Hayden speculating that hackers and transparency groups are likely to respond with cyber-terror attacks if the United States government apprehends whistleblower Edward Snowden. Hayden called the potential attackers 'Nihilists, anarchists, activists, Lulzsec, Anonymous, twentysomethings who haven't talked to the opposite sex in five or six years.'"

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IBM Opens Up POWER Architecture For Licensing
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '13 at 05:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's finally-gonna-get-that-sweet-workstation department:
New submitter HAL11000 was the first of many to write with news that IBM and others have formed a new consortium to license the POWER architecture to third parties "IBM puts up POWER architecture for licensing and announces the OpenPower Consortium with Google, Nvidia, Mellanox, and Tyan."

Quoting El Reg: "The plan, according to McCredie, is to open up the intellectual property for the Power architecture and to allow customizations by licensees, just like ARM Holdings has done brilliantly with its ARM processors ... Nvidia is very excited about the prospects of marrying Power processors and Nvidia GPUs for both HPC and general purpose systems. ... Tyan will presumably be working on alternative motherboards to the ones that IBM has manufactured for its own use." There are mentions of the POWER firmware being "open sourced," but it is unclear if that actually means Open Source or something more like the Open Group's definition of open (vendors only).

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Obamacare Exchanges Months Behind In Testing IT Data Security
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '13 at 04:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's moving-at-the-speed-of-government department:
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from a Reuters report:
"The federal government is months behind in testing data security for the main pillar of Obamacare: allowing Americans to buy health insurance on state exchanges due to open by October 1. The missed deadlines have pushed the government's decision on whether information technology security is up to snuff to exactly one day before that crucial date, the Department of Health and Human Services' inspector general said in a report. As a result, experts say, the exchanges might open with security flaws or, possibly but less likely, be delayed.'They've removed their margin for error,' said Deven McGraw, director of the health privacy project at the non-profit Center for Democracy & Technology. 'There is huge pressure to get (the exchanges) up and running on time, but if there is a security incident they are done. It would be a complete disaster from a PR viewpoint.' The most likely serious security breach would be identity theft, in which a hacker steals the social security numbers and other information people provide when signing up for insurance."

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Zimbabweans Hit By Cyber Attacks During Election
Posted by News Fetcher on August 07 '13 at 01:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's failsafes-failed-safely department:
judgecorp writes "During last week's Zimbabwean election, some huge denial of service attacks took down sites including several reporting on human rights issues and potential irregularities in the election. Those affected suspect government involvement. ... GreenNet is only just recovering today, with some customer websites still down, having reported the strike on Thursday morning, the day after Zimbabweans headed to the polls. It appeared to be a powerful attack – TechWeek understands it was at the 100Gbps level – aimed at GreenNet’s co-location data centre provider Level 3, which subsequently did not let GreenNet move workloads within that facility. ... The DDoS that hit GreenNet was not a crude attack using a botnet to fire traffic straight at a target port, but a DNS reflection attack using UDP packets, which can generate considerable power. DNS reflection sees the attacker spoof their IP address to pretend to be the target, send lines of attack code to a DNS server, which then sends back large amounts of traffic to the victim."

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