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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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Judge: No Privacy Expectations For Data On P2P Networks
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '13 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's enjoy-your-prison-term department:
An anonymous reader writes "A federal judge in Vermont has denied a motion to suppress evidence filed by three defendants in a child porn case. The three had alleged their Fourth Amendment rights were violated when police used an automated P2P query-response tool to gather information from their computers. That information subsequently led to their arrest and indictments. The judge held (PDF) that the defendants had either inadvertently, or otherwise, made the information available for public download on a P2P network and therefore couldn't assert any privacy claims over the data."

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AMD Confirms Kaveri APU Is a 512-GPU Core Integrated Processor
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '13 at 11:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's can't-even-count-that-high department:
MojoKid writes "At APU13 today, AMD announced a full suite of new products and development tools as part of its push to improve HSA development. One of the most significant announcements to come out the sessions today-- albeit in a tacit, indirect fashion, is that Kaveri is going to pack a full 512 GPU cores. There's not much new to see on the CPU side of things — like Richland/Trinity, Steamroller is a pair of CPU modules with two cores per module. AMD also isn't talking about clock speeds yet, but the estimated 862 GFLOPS that the company is claiming for Kaveri points to GPU clock speeds between 700 — 800MHz. With 512 cores, Kaveri picks up a 33% boost over its predecessors, but memory bandwidth will be essential for the GPU to reach peak performance. For performance, AMD showed Kaveri up against the Intel 4770K running a low-end GeForce GT 630. In the intro scene to BF4's single-player campaign (1920x1080, Medium Details), the AMD Kaveri system (with no discrete GPU) consistently pushed frame rates in the 28-40 FPS range. The Intel system, in contrast, couldn't manage 15 FPS. Performance on that system was solidly in the 12-14 FPS range — meaning AMD is pulling 2x the frame rate, if not more."

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Red Hat Wants to be a Dominant Force in the Cloud (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '13 at 10:30 AM
By Roblimo from Slashdot's the-lightness-of-being-an-open-source-cloud department:
Red Hat has two primary Cloud Evangelists: Gordon Haff and Richard Morrell. Richard says this about himself: "I'm Red Hat's Cloud Security Blogger and Cloud Evangelist based in Europe. Passionate about good code and Open Hybrid Cloud. Founder of SmoothWall protecting millions of networks for 13 years globally. My blogging and my podcasting is my own editorial and does not represent the views of Red Hat..." We have known Richard since the 20th Century, so this interview has been a long time coming. In it, he talks about how Red Hat is working to become as strong in the Open Source cloud world as it already is in GNU/Linux. This interview may not "represent the views of Red Hat," but it obviously represents the views of a loyal Red Hat employee who is also a long-time Linux enthusiast.

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Ask Slashdot: Communication Skills For Programmers?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '13 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's especially-when-the-idiots-are-in-charge department:
An anonymous reader writes "As a new developer at a young-ish software company, I've been told my communication skills need some work. I'm not painfully introverted or socially inept, but I get lost in my work and only contact people if I need something from them or they ask me a question. Traditional advice isn't relevant to casual, less hierarchical companies — I don't have to hold my tongue when someone is wrong or worry about formalities. But I do need to connect with people professionally, since my team members and managers decide my perf and advancement. How do you keep colleagues abreast of your work without having exponentially many needless conversations?"

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Chicago State University Lawyers Attack Faculty Bloggers
Posted by News Fetcher on November 12 '13 at 09:31 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's tenurous-grasp-on-reality department:
An anonymous reader writes "A blog run by faculty members at Chicago State University (CSU) has been threatened by university lawyers with a cease and desist notice. Since 2009 the blog has posted information critical of CSU's policies and hiring practices. The notice threatened legal action if the site is not disabled by Friday due to violations of 'trade names and marks' without permission and violations of University policies. The blog admin changed the name of the blog in the meanwhile to Crony State University and replaced an image on the page pending legal counsel. Also the blog is currently still active."

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