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WA Post Publishes 4 More Slides On Data Collection From Google, Et Al
Posted by News Fetcher on June 30 '13 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's so-much-wool-so-many-eyes department:
anagama writes "Lots of new program names, flowcharts, and detail in four previously unreleased PRISM slides published by the WA Post today. These slides provide some additional detail about PRSIM and outline how the NSA gets information from those nine well known internet companies. Apparently, the collection is done by the FBI using its own equipment on the various companies' premises and then passed to the NSA where it is filtered and sorted."

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Ask Slashdot: IT Spending In Engineering?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 30 '13 at 08:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's what-you-need-is-a-bean-counter-flinger department:
An anonymous reader writes "I work in the engineering division at a large organization, about 2000 people total and about 900 in the engineering division. As I'm sure many institutions have been faced with recently, we are dealing with reduced budgets. We have a new director who has determined that the engineering division spends too much on 'IT' and has given us a goal of reducing IT spending by 50%. We currently spend about 8% of the total engineering budget on IT related purchases. About 10% of that (i.e. 0.8% of the total budget) is spent on what I consider traditional IT such as email, office automation software, etc.. The rest goes towards engineering related IT such as clusters for large computations, workstations for processing, better networks to handle the large data sets generated, data collection systems for testing facilities, etc.. My gut says that 8% is low compared to other engineering institutions. What do other engineering organizations spend on IT (traditional and engineering)? What strategy would you use to convince your management that 8% spending on IT is already very efficient?"

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To Counter Widespread Surveillance, Stealth Clothing
Posted by News Fetcher on June 30 '13 at 07:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's just-a-billion-dollars-apiece department:
In Paul Theroux's dystopian novel O-Zone, wearing masks in public is simply a fact of life, because of the network of cameras that covers the inhabited parts of earth. Earthquake Retrofit writes with a story at the New York Times describing a life-imitating-art reaction to the perception (and reality) that cameras are watching more of your life than you might prefer: clothing that obscures your electronic presence. "[Adam Harvey] exhibited a number of his stealth-wear designs and prototypes in an art show this year in London. His work includes a series of hoodies and cloaks that use reflective, metallic fabric — like the kind used in protective gear for firefighters — that he has repurposed to reduce a person’s thermal footprint. In theory, this limits one’s visibility to aerial surveillance vehicles employing heat-imaging cameras to track people on the ground. He also developed a purse with extra-bright LEDs that can be activated when someone is taking unwanted pictures; the effect is to reduce an intrusive photograph to a washed-out blur. In addition, he created a guide for hairstyling and makeup application that might keep a camera from recognizing the person beneath the elaborate get-up. The technique is called CV Dazzle — a riff on 'computer vision' and 'dazzle,' a type of camouflage used during World War II to make it hard to detect the size and shape of warships."

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Voyager 1 Finds Unexpected Wrinkles At the Edge Of the Solar System
Posted by News Fetcher on June 30 '13 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's damn-thetans-are-playing-with-us department:
Voyager 1 has been close to the boundary of the solar system for quite a while; we've mentioned that the edge is near a few times before, including an evidently premature report in 2010 that Voyager had reached a distance so far from the sun that it could no longer detect solar winds and another in 2011 that it had reached an "outer shell" of solar influence. It turns out that the boundaries of the solar system are fuzzier than once anticipated; the L.A. Times is reporting that "Toward the end of July 2012, Voyager 1's instruments reported that solar winds had suddenly dropped by half, while the strength of the magnetic field almost doubled, according to the studies. Those values then switched back and forth five times before they became fixed on Aug. 25. Since then, solar winds have all but disappeared, but the direction of the magnetic field has barely budged." Also at Wired, which notes "That's hard to explain because the galaxy's magnetic field is thought to be inclined 60 degrees from the sun's field. No one is entirely sure what's going on. ... [It's] almost as if Voyager thought it was going outside but instead found itself standing in the foyer of the sun's home with an open door that allows wind to blow in from the galaxy."

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Jetstream Retrofit Illustrates How Close Modern Planes Are To UAVs
Posted by News Fetcher on June 30 '13 at 04:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's hasn't-anyone-seen-airplanes-I-or-II? department:
cylonlover writes with this Gizmag excerpt: "In April of this year, a BAE Systems Jetstream research aircraft flew from Preston in Lancashire, England, to Inverness, Scotland and back. This 500-mile (805 km) journey wouldn't be worth noting if it weren't for the small detail that its pilot was not on board, but sitting on the ground in Warton, Lancashire and that the plane did most of the flying itself. Even this alteration of a standard commercial prop plane into an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) seems a back page item until you realize that this may herald the biggest revolution in civil aviation since Wilbur Wright won the coin toss at Kitty Hawk in 1903."

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With Catastrophes In Mind, Supercomputing Project Simulates Space Junk Collision
Posted by News Fetcher on June 30 '13 at 03:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's even-better-than-the-real-thing department:
aarondubrow writes "Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin developed a fundamentally new way of simulating fabric impacts that captures the fragmentation of the projectiles and the shock response of the target. Running hundreds of simulations on supercomputers at the Texas Advanced Computing Center, they assisted NASA in the development of ballistic limit curves that predict whether a shield will be perforated when hit by a projectile of a given size and speed. The framework they developed also allows them to study the impact of projectiles on body armor materials and to predict the response of different fabric weaves upon impact." With thousands of known pieces of man-made space junk, as well plenty of natural ones, it's no idle concern.

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The Father of Civilization: Profile of Sid Meier
Posted by News Fetcher on June 30 '13 at 12:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's he's-just-this-guy-you-know? department:
An anonymous reader writes with a link to Kotaku's recent profile of Civilization creator Sid Meier, and includes this snippet: "One year, as [coworker John] Stealey recalls, the two men went to an electronics trade conference. On the second night of the show, they stumbled upon a bunch of arcade games in a basement. One by one, Meier beat Stealey at each of them. Then they found Atari's Red Baron, a squiggly flight game in which you'd steer a biplane through abstract outlines of terrain and obstacles. Stealey, the Air Force man, knew he could win at this one. He sat down at the machine and shot his way to 75,000 points, ranking number three on the arcade's leaderboard. Not bad. Then Meier went up. He scored 150,000 points. 'I was really torqued,' Stealey says today. This guy outflew an Air Force pilot? He turned to the programmer. 'Sid, how did you do that?' 'Well,' Meier said. 'While you were playing, I memorized the algorithms.'"

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Snowden: NSA Spying On EU Diplomats and Administrators
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '13 at 09:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's open-line-sunday department:
An anonymous reader writes "According to a report dated 2010 recently provided by [former NSA contractor Edward] Snowden to the German news magazine 'Der Spiegel', the NSA has systematically been spying on institutions of the EU in Washington DC, New York, and Brussels. Methods of spying include bugging, phone taps, and network intrusions and surveillance according to the documents."

All part of a grand tradition.

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XenServer 6.2 Is Now Fully Open Source
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '13 at 07:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's boundless-bounty department:
First time accepted submitter Jagungal writes "Although the core Xen hypervisor has always been open source from the start, Citrix have now released the next version of their XenServer including all features and tools under an open source license. This includes also introducing a new XenServer.org community portal. The major change for users is that they now get all features from the licensed version for free but unless they pay for support, they have to do all security updates manually. Change logs for the new version 6.2 can be found here.

It's been a few years since Citrix started giving it away, free as in beer.


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Google Maps Updated With Skyfall Island Japan Terrain
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '13 at 04:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's his-secret-layer department:
MojoKid writes "The latest in the Bond film series, Skyfall, was certainly one to remember. And not all of those memories were pleasant. The head villain's island lair was a particularly spooky place.The decaying wasteland depicted in the film was a shadow of Hashima off the coast of Nagasaki Prefecture in Japan. Due to its unique flat shape, the island is most widely known in Japan by its nickname Gunkanjima — aka 'Battleship Island.' In some circles, it's called 'Dead Island.' Google actually sent an employee to the island with a Street View backpack in order to capture its condition and a panoramic view for all to see in 360 degrees. You can take a virtual walk across the island now, and Google also used its Business Photos technology to let you peek into the abandoned buildings, complete with ancient black-and-white TVs and discarded soda bottles."

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AMD/ATI Drops Windows XP Support
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '13 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's sky-is-falling-just-very-slowly department:
Billly Gates writes "The latest beta drivers for the Catalyst drivers control suite only list Vista as the lowest version they will support. We still have almost a year before Windows XP support finally ends. Will NVidia follow? So if you own a AMD system you will not receive audio, chipset, video, or any other drivers for your XP system and must upgrade or use an outdated legacy version. Looks like another death knell for this very long lasting platform."

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Making Your Datacenter Into Less of a Rabid Zombie Power Hog
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '13 at 02:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's watch-for-the-foaming-mouths department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Despite the growing list of innovative (and sometimes expensive) adaptations designed to transform datacenters into slightly-less-active power gluttons, the most effective way to make datacenters more efficient is also the most obvious, according to researchers from Stanford, Berkeley and Northwestern. Using power-efficient hardware, turning power down (or off) when the systems aren't running at high loads, and making sure air-cooling systems are pointed at hot IT equipment—rather than in a random direction—can all do far more than fancier methods for cutting datacenter power, according to Jonathan Koomey, a Stanford researcher who has been instrumental in making power use a hot topic in IT. Many of the most-publicized advances in building "green" datacenters during the past five years have focused on efforts to buy datacenter power from sources that also have very low carbon footprints. But "green" energy buying didn't match the impact of two very basic, obvious things: the overall energy efficiency of the individual pieces of hardware installed in a datacenter, and the level of efficiency with which those systems were configured and managed, Koomey explained in a blog published in conjunction with his and his co-authors' paper on the subject in Nature Climate Change . (The full paper is behind a paywall but Koomey offered to distribute copies free to those contacting him via his personal blog.)"

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Mouse Cloned From Drop of Blood
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '13 at 01:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's vampire-mouse department:
Ogi_UnixNut writes "Scientists in Japan have succeeded in cloning a mouse from a drop of blood. From the BBC: 'Circulating blood cells collected from the tail of a donor mouse were used to produce the clone, a team at the Riken BioResource Center reports in the journal Biology of Reproduction.' The female mouse managed to live a normal lifespan and could reproduce, according to the researchers."

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ICANN Set To Broaden World of Domain Names
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '13 at 12:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's sounds-like-a-disney-attraction department:
hypnosec writes "ICANN, as a step towards expanding global top level domain (gTLD) names, has approved a new Domain Name Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA) that is expected to bring about waves of continued improvements in the domain name ecosystem. The new agreement is a result of efforts of over a year of negotiations that took place between ICANN and Registrar Stakeholders Group. The new agreement brings quite a few improvements, including making it mandatory for registrars to appoint a point-of contact for reporting abuse, and to establish registrar responsibilities for reseller compliance, enhancement of compliance tools, audit rights, and certification requirements, among others."

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Ask Slashdot: Explaining Cloud Privacy Risks To K-12 Teachers?
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '13 at 11:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's use-a-car-and-donut-analogy department:
hyperorbiter writes "With the advent of Google Apps for Education, there has been a massive uptake by the K12 schools I deal with on signing students up with their own Google powered email address under the school domain. This combined by the fact that the students' work when using Google Apps is stored offshore and out of our control — with no explicit comeback if TOS are breached by Google — it seems to me that the school cannot with integrity maintain it has control over the data and its use. I have expressed a concern that it is unethical to use these services without informing the students' parents of what is at stake e.g. the students are getting a digital footprint from the age of seven and are unaware of the implications this may have later in life. The response has often been that I'm over-reacting and that the benefits of the services far outweigh the concerns, so rather than risk knee jerk reactions by parents (a valid concern) and thereby hampering 'education', it's better to not bring this stuff up. My immediate issue isn't so much about the use of the cloud services now, but the ethics over lack of disclosure in the parental consent process. Does anyone have ideas about defining the parameters of 'informed consent' where we inform of risks without bringing about paranoia? (Google Apps is just an example here, I think it applies to many cloud services.)"

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How Silicon Valley's Tech Reign Will End
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '13 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's reports-of-its-death-seem-premature department:
theodp writes "Silicon Valley's stranglehold on West Coast innovation is in danger. The main problem? It's no fun to live in Silicon Valley. Technology is people, explains The Atlantic's Derek Thompson, and more people are choosing to live in cities. And Silicon Valley isn't like a city, it's like a suburb. 'What's happening now,' says author Bruce Katz, 'is workers want to be in Oakland and San Francisco.' So, how might Silicon Valley save itself? 'Silicon Valley is going to have to urbanize,' Katz said. '[There is a] migration out of Silicon Valley to places where people really want to live.'"

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Number of Federal Wiretaps Rose 71 Percent In 2012
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '13 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's transparent-is-the-right-word department:
cold fjord writes "Looks like last year was pretty busy. I wonder how many were leaks and media? From the Washington Post: "The number of wiretaps secured in federal criminal investigations jumped 71 percent in 2012 over the previous year, according to newly released figures. Federal courts authorized 1,354 interception orders for wire, oral and electronic communications, up from 792 the previous year, ... There was a 5 percent increase in state and local use of wiretaps in the same period. ... There is no explanation of why the federal figures increased so much, and it is generally out of line with the number of wiretaps between 1997 and 2009, which averaged about 550 annually. There was also a large number of wiretaps in 2010, when 1,207 were secured. A single wiretap can sweep up thousands of communications. One 30-day local wiretap in California, for instance, generated 185,268 cellular telephone interceptions, of which 12 percent were incriminating, according to the report. The vast majority of the wiretaps in both federal and state cases were obtained as part of drug investigations, and they overwhelmingly were directed at cellphones ... Only 14 court orders were for personal residences. Most jurisdictions limit the period of surveillance to 30 days, but extensions can be obtained."""

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Australian Air Force's Recruiting Puzzle Shown To Be Unsolvable
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '13 at 07:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's we-meant-to-do-that department:
KernelMuncher writes "Australia's Royal Air Force has been left red-faced after a job ad asked applicants to solve a complex math problem that was revealed to be unsolvable. The service posted the puzzle in a bid to attract the country's best minds to its ranks. 'If you have what it takes to be an engineer in the Air Force call the number below,' it read, above a complicated formula which candidates had to crack. But there was a slight difficulty: The problem had typos and ended up not giving potential operatives the correct contact information."

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NSA Revelation Leads FTC To Propose "Reclaim Your Name" Initiative
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '13 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's agency-vs.-agency-vs.-reality department:
First time accepted submitter clegrand writes "Julie Brill, a member of the Federal trade Commission, has proposed a voluntary big data industry initiative to allow consumers access to their personal records and the ability to correct them. She has coined it 'Reclaim Your Name.' While some big data companies such as Acxiom already allow such access, it is not an industry-wide practice. She sees this campaign as a natural extension of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and a logical partner for the ongoing effort of the Do Not Track mechanism currently under standardization review with the W3C."

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MIT Researchers Can See Through Walls Using Wi-Fi
Posted by News Fetcher on June 29 '13 at 05:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's upgrade-your-router department:
itwbennett writes "MIT Professor Dina Katabi and graduate student Fadel Adib have developed a system they call Wi-Vi that uses Wi-Fi signals to visualize moving forms behind walls. How it works: 'Wi-Vi transmits two Wi-Fi signals, one of which is the inverse of the other. When one signal hits a stationary object, the other cancels it out. But because of the way the signals are encoded, they don't cancel each other out for moving objects. That makes the reflections from a moving person visible despite the wall between that person and the Wi-Vi device. Wi-Vi can translate those faint reflections into a real-time display of the person's movements.'"

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