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Most Cave Paintings Were Painted By Women, Says Penn State Researcher
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '13 at 11:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's having-ruled-out-sandusky department:
barlevg writes "Analyzing hand-prints found in cave sites, an archaeologist from Penn State University has concluded that roughly 75% of all ancient cave art was painted by women. Previously it was thought that neolithic cave paintings were made mostly by men, perhaps to chronicle their kills. But an analysis of the relative lengths of fingers in hand stencils found on cave walls suggests that it was mostly prehistoric women--not men--who created these works."

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Acer Officially Announces C720 Chromebook
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '13 at 10:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's don't-stray-outside-the-wireless-zone department:
adeelarshad82 writes "Acer officially announced its new Chromebook, C720. The C720 is 30% thinner (at 0.75 inches thick) and lighter (at 2.76 pounds) than Acer's previous Chromebook, C7. The C720 Chromebook has an 11.6-inch anti-glare widescreen, with a 1,366-by-768 resolution. Acer claims seven second boot times and up to 8.5 hours of battery life. The C720 comes with 4GB of DDR3L memory and uses an Intel Celeron 2955U processor based on Haswell technology. The system also has 16GB of local SSD storage along with 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi to get to Google's cloud-based storage. Like previous Chromebooks, the C720 Chromebook is constantly updated with the latest version of the Chrome OS and built around the Chrome browser." One thing this machine lacks is the most intriguing feature of the new ARM-based (and lower-power) Chromebook 11 from HP: charging via Micro-USB.

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Will Cloud Services One Day Be Traded Just Like Stocks and Bonds?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '13 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's too-compute-intensive-to-fail department:
Brandon Butler writes "Today, cloud computing resources are bought and sold in a fairly straightforward process: A company needs extra compute capacity, for example, so they contract with a provider who spins up virtual machines for a certain amount of time. But what will that process look like in, say, 2020? If efforts by a handful of companies come to fruition, there could be a lot more wheeling and dealing that goes on behind the scenes. An idea is being floated to package cloud computing resources into blocks that can be bought and sold on a commodity futures trading market. It would be similar to how financial instruments like stocks, bonds and agricultural products like corn and wheat are traded on exchanges by investors. Blocks of cloud computing resources — for example a month's worth of virtual machines, or a year's worth of cloud storage — would be packaged by service providers and sold on a market. In the exchange, investors and traders could buy up these blocks and resell them to end users, or other investors, potentially turning a profit if the value of the resource increases."

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Why Julian Assange Should Embrace 'The Fifth Estate'
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '13 at 09:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's smear-jobs-are-delicious department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "It's no secret that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has a low opinion of the new film, "The Fifth Estate," in which he's portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch. He's railed against it several times, culminating in a lengthy statement (posted Oct. 9) in which he called it 'a geriatric snoozefest that only the US government could love.' That's in addition to a letter in which he refused to meet with Cumberbatch, saying that the script would force the actor to give a 'talented, but debauched, performance.' WikiLeaks and Assange are clearly attempting a bit of damage control ahead of the film's Oct. 11 release in the U.K. (followed by its U.S. debut on Oct. 18). But what if that pushback is the wrong reaction? That's not to say that Assange should gleefully embrace the film —the script portrays him as something of a hustler who freely lies about his past. Whatever its qualities, however, the film could get people talking about WikiLeaks' role in the broader geopolitical context, and that's ultimately a good thing for the organization: It's been quite some time since Assange and company have provided the world with an explosive, game-changing revelation. If nothing else, Assange can take some cold comfort from the case of Mark Zuckerberg, who faced similar issues when the David Fincher-directed 'The Social Network' made its debut in 2010; Facebook's PR team was probably preparing for the worst as the release date approached, but the film — despite its impressive box office, and the awards it won — ultimately did little to harm either the real-life Zuckerberg's reputation or Facebook's continuing growth."

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Google Offers Cash For Security Fixes To Linux and Other FOSS Projects
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '13 at 08:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's enlightened-self-interest department:
jrepin writes "Google is offering rewards as high as $3,133.70 for software updates that improve the security of OpenSSL, OpenSSH, BIND, and several other open-source packages that are critical to the stability of the Internet. The program announced Wednesday expands on Google's current bug-bounty program, which pays from $500 to $3,133.70 to people who privately report bugs found in the company's software and Web properties." Google isn't the only company that sees the value in rewarding those who find security problems: Microsoft just paid British hacker James Forshaw $100,000 for finding a serious security flaw in Windows 8.1.

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Lenovo Shows Android Laptop In Leaked User Manuals
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '13 at 08:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's cross-pollination department:
itwbennett writes "PC maker Lenovo accidentally posted manuals on its website showing an Android laptop called the IdeaPad A10. Lenovo spokesman Chris Millward said the company had planned on making an official announcement for the device, and that 'the product has not been canceled. It will be going out to the market.' Launch dates and pricing to come, but specs show that it could be a budget product."

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What the Surveillance State Does With Your Private Data
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '13 at 07:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's they-hate-that-expression department:
Lasrick writes "Conor Friedersdorf at the Atlantic writes up a new report (and infographic) from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School. 'What the Government Does With Americans' Data' is the best single attempt I've seen to explain all of the ways that surveillance professionals are collecting, storing, and disseminating private data on U.S. citizens. The report's text and helpful flow-chart illustrations run to roughly 50 pages. Unless you're already one of America's foremost experts on these subjects, it is virtually impossible to read this synthesis without coming away better informed.."

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If Java Is Dying, It Sure Looks Awfully Healthy
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '13 at 06:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's is-someone-brewing-another-pot? department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Andrew Binstock writes at Dr. Dobb's that a recurring prejudice in the forums where the cool kids hang out is against Java, often described as verbose and fading in popularity but Binstock sees little supporting evidence of Java being in some kind of long-term decline. While it is true that Java certainly can be verbose, several scripting languages have sprung up which are purpose-designed to spare developers from long syntactical passages to communicate a simple action, including NetRexx, Groovy, and Scala. As far as Java's popularity goes, normally, when technologies start their ultimate decline, tradeshows are the first to reflect the disintegrating community. But the recent JavaOne show was clearly larger and better attended than it has been in either of the last two years and vendors on the exhibiting floor were unanimous in saying that traffic, leads, and inquiries were up significantly over last year. Technically, the language continues to advance says Binstock. Java 8, expected in March, will add closures (that is, lambda expressions) that will reduce code, diminish the need for anonymous inner classes, and facilitate functional-like coding. Greater modularity which will be complete in Java 9 (due in 2016) will help efficient management of artifacts, as will several enhancements that simplify syntax in that release. 'When you add in the Android ecosystem, whose native development language is Java, it becomes very difficult to see how a language so widely used in so many areas — server, Web, desktop, mobile devices — is in some kind of decline,' concludes Binstock. 'What I'm seeing is a language that is under constant refinement and development, with a large and very active community, which enjoys a platform that is widely used for new languages. None of this looks to me like a language in decline.'"

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Saudi Justice: 10 Years and 2,000 Lashes For Internet Video of Naked Dancing
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '13 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's this-will-really-dent-exchange-student-applications department:
An anonymous reader writes with a link to The Huffington Post, which reports "that A Saudi man was sentenced to 2,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for dancing naked on the roof of a car and posting the video online, according to multiple reports. Three other men were also sentenced to three to seven years in jail and hundreds of lashes each for the incident, Agence France-Presse reported, citing Arabic-language paper Al-Sharq. The four men were hit with a number of charges, including "encouraging vice" and violating public morality, according to the report. The prosecutor in the case, which was heard by a judge in Saudi Arabia's conservative Al-Qassem province, reportedly objected to the sentences for being "too lenient," Gulf News notes. The video was reportedly circulated widely on the Internet, but could not be found by The Huffington Post."

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Cost of Healthcare.gov: $634 Million — So Far
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '13 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's oh-c'mon-what's-a-sevenfold-increase-among-friends? department:
First time accepted submitter Saethan writes "Healthcare.gov, the site to be used by people in 36 states to get insurance as part of the Affordable Care Act, has apparently cost the U.S. Government $634 million. Not only is this more than Facebook spent during its first 6 years in operation, it is also over $500 million above what the original estimate was: $93.7 million. Why, in a country with some of the best web development companies in the world, has this website, which is poor quality at best, cost so much?" That $634 million figure comes from this U.S. government budget-tracking system. Given that this system is national rather than for a single city, maybe everyone should just be grateful the contract didn't go to TechnoDyne.

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Foxconn Accused of Forcing InternsTo Build PS4s Or Lose School Credit
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '13 at 05:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's give-'em-some-credit department:
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from a short article at Geek.com, based on this Chinese newspaper report (Google translation) that thousands of students have been (figuratively) press-ganged into assembling PlayStation 4 consoles, ahead of the PS4's November launch. From the article: "The students involved were offered internships at the company while studying an IT engineering course. But those that accepted aren't being assigned work that matches their course or skill set. Instead, they are being put on the production lines. The reason it is being called a forced internship is because if any of the students refuse to do the work they are assigned, six credits will be deducted from their course total. Without those six credits it's thought to be impossible to pass, meaning the students have to do the work or risk losing their qualification."

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Guardian Ignores MI5 Warnings, Vows To 'Publish More Snowden Leaks'
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '13 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's from-bad-to-worse department:
dryriver writes in with news that a new round of Snowden leaks may be on the way. "Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger says he plans to publish more revelations from Edward Snowden despite MI5 warning that such disclosures cause enormous damage. Mr Rusbridger insisted the paper was right to publish files leaked by the US intelligence analyst and had helped to prompt a necessary and overdue debate. Mr Rusbridger said more stories would be published in the future as the leaked documents were 'slowly and responsibly' worked through. His comments come after criticism from the new head of MI5, Andrew Parker. Making public the 'reach and limits' of intelligence-gathering techniques gave terrorists the advantage, he said. He warned that terrorists now had tens of thousands of means of communication 'through e-mail, IP telephony, in-game communication, social networking, chat rooms, anonymising services and a myriad of mobile apps'. Mr Parker said it was vital for MI5 to retain the capability to access such information if it was to protect the country. "

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Collapse of Quantum Wavefunction Captured In Slow Motion
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '13 at 03:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's look-at-this department:
ananyo writes "It is the most fundamental, and yet also the strangest postulate of the theory of quantum mechanics: the idea that a quantum system will catastrophically collapse from a blend of several possible quantum states to just one the moment it is measured by an experimentalist. Researchers have now been able to capture that collapse through the use of weak measurements — indirect probes of quantum systems that tweak a wavefunction slightly while providing partial information about its state, avoiding a sudden collapse. Atomic and solid-state physicist Kater Murch of the University of California, Berkeley, and his colleagues performed a series of weak measurements on a superconducting circuit that was in a superposition — a combination of two quantum states. They did this by monitoring microwaves that had passed through a box containing the circuit, based on the fact that the circuit's electrical oscillations alter the state of the microwaves as they pass through the box. Over a couple of microseconds, those weak measurements captured snapshots of the state of the circuit as it gradually changed from a superposition to just one of the states within that superposition — as if charting the collapse of a quantum wavefunction in slow motion."

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Researchers Create Microscopic 'Cages' To Study Bacterial Behavior
Posted by News Fetcher on October 10 '13 at 02:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's coccus-pokey department:
First time accepted submitter Philip Ross writes "Scientists at the University of Texas looked at the interactions between bacteria in 3D-printed environments to better understand what makes some microbes resistant to antibiotics, something health officials have been warning us about for a long time. They used high-precision lasers to print multiple two-dimensional images, using a chip modified from a digital movie projector, onto a layer of flexible gelatin where bacteria were growing. As layers of protein were added to the gelatin, which contains photosensitive molecules that become aroused and bond together after being hit with a laser, they formed a tiny encasing around the bacteria."

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Ford Showcases Self-Parking Car Technology
Posted by News Fetcher on October 09 '13 at 11:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's look-ma-no-hands department:
MojoKid writes "Although the dream of roads full of driverless cars is a ways off, several companies such as Tesla and Google are taking steps toward that goal by developing self-driving car technology. Ford is now also demonstrating self-parking technology called Fully Assisted Parking Aid that will actually help a driver locate a spot and then make the car automatically park itself--without the driver inside. Indeed, you'll be able to hop out of the car and use a smartphone app to tell your car to park itself. This is ideal for both parking in tight spaces (i.e., you don't have to squeeze your way out of your vehicle while trying not to bang the next car's door) and for those who are just terrible at parking to begin with."

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Army Researching Network System That Defends Against Social Engineering
Posted by News Fetcher on October 09 '13 at 09:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's protect-ya-neck department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "The U.S. Army Research Laboratory has awarded as much as $48 million to researchers trying to build computer-security systems that can identify even the most subtle human-exploit attacks and respond without human intervention. The more difficult part of the research will be to develop models of human behavior that allow security systems decide, accurately and on their own, whether actions by humans are part of an attack (whether the humans involved realize it or not). The Army Research Lab (ARL) announced Oct. 8 a grant of $23.2 million to fund a five-year cooperative effort among a team of researchers at Penn State University, the University of California, Davis, Univ. California, Riverside and Indiana University. The five-year program comes with the option to extend it to 10 years with the addition of another $25 million in funding. As part of the project, researchers will need to systematize the criteria and tools used for security analysis, making sure the code detects malicious intrusions rather than legitimate access, all while preserving enough data about any breach for later forensic analysis, according to Alexander Kott, associate director for science and technology at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. Identifying whether the behavior of humans is malicious or not is difficult even for other humans, especially when it's not clear whether users who open a door to attackers knew what they were doing or, conversely, whether the "attackers" are perfectly legitimate and it's the security monitoring staff who are overreacting. Twenty-nine percent of attacks tracked in the April 23 2013 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report could be traced to social-engineering or phishing tactics whose goal is to manipulate humans into giving attackers access to secured systems."

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Azerbaijan Election Results Released Before Voting Had Even Started
Posted by News Fetcher on October 09 '13 at 07:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's and-the-winner-is department:
Jah-Wren Ryel writes "Florida's hanging chads ain't going nothing on Azerbaijan. Fully a day before the polls were to open, election results were accidentally released via an official smartphone app, confirming what everybody already knew — the election was rigged from the beginning. The official story is that the app's developer had mistakenly sent out the 2008 election results as part of a test. But that's a bit flimsy, given that the released totals show the candidates from this week, not from 2008."

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Disney Engineers Develop Touch Screens That Mimic Tactile Sensations
Posted by News Fetcher on October 09 '13 at 06:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's look-and-touch department:
Lucas123 writes "Engineers at Disney Research in Pittsburgh have developed an algorithm that creates the illusion of a 3D surface on touch screens. Using electrical impulses, the touch screen technology offers the sensation of ridges, edges, protrusions and bumps and any combination of those textures. While Disney is not alone in developing tactile response touchscreens, its researchers said the traditional approach has been to use a library of 'canned effects,' that are played back when someone touches a screen. Disney's algorithm doesn't just playback one or two responses, but it offers a set of controls that make it possible to tune tactile effects to a specific visual artifact on the fly. 'Our algorithm is concise, light and easily applicable on static images and video streams,' the researchers stated." This summer Disney unveiled AIREAL, a system designed to give tactile sensations to people using motion control devices.

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In Room With No Cell Service, Verizon Works On Future of Mobile
Posted by News Fetcher on October 09 '13 at 04:16 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's app-of-tomorrow department:
alphadogg writes "If you think your house has bad cellular coverage, Verizon Wireless has you beat: A small, windowless room high up in a San Francisco office building gets no service at all. That's not because carriers are neglecting the bustling South of Market business district where the room is located. Instead, it's because Verizon is paying so much attention to what's going on there. The room with zero bars is in the heart of the Verizon Innovation Center, where Verizon network and business experts help developers of new wireless devices and apps to turn their ideas into products."

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TEPCO Workers Remove Wrong Pipe Get Splashed With Radioactive Water
Posted by News Fetcher on October 09 '13 at 03:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's how-bad-is-it? department:
An anonymous reader writes "A day after TEPCO workers mistakenly turned off cooling pumps serving the spent pool at reactor #4 at the crippled nuclear plant comes a new accident — 6 workers apparently removed the wrong pipe from a primary filtration system and were doused with highly radioactive water. They were wearing protection yet such continuing mishaps and 'small mistakes' are becoming a pattern at the facility."

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