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Mystery Meteorite May Not Be From Mercury After All
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 08:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hailing-from-parts-unknown department:
gbrumfiel writes "A strange green meteorite found in Morocco caused a stir in the press earlier this month, when scientists reported that it might be the first chunk of Mercury ever found here on earth. But scientists who've been puzzling over the stone since then say the accumulating evidence may point in a different direction. The 4.56-billion-year-old rock might have come from the asteroid belt located between Mars and Jupiter. If true, then it would provide clues about the origin of the solar system as a whole instead of the origin of the innermost planet."

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Microsoft Telling Users To Uninstall Bad Patch
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 08:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's but-thanks-for-testing-it department:
msm1267 writes "Microsoft announced last night that it has stopped pushing a security update originally released on Patch Tuesday because the fix is causing some PCs to blue-screen. Microsoft recommends users uninstall the patch, which is also causing compatibility issues with some endpoint security software. MS13-036 was part of this week's Patch Tuesday update. It addressed three vulnerabilities in the Windows Kernel-Mode Driver, which if exploited could allow an attacker to elevate their privileges on a compromised machine. Users began reporting issues earlier this week with some systems failing to recover from restarts, or applications failing to load, after the patch was installed."

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Organic Pollutants Poison the Roof of the World
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's told-you-we-should-have-replaced-those-shingles department:
ananyo writes "Toxic chemicals are accumulating in the ecosystems of the Himalayas and the Tibetan plateau, researchers warn in the first comprehensive study to assess levels of organic pollutants in that part of the world. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are carbon-based compounds that are resistant to break-down. Some originate from the burning of fuel or the processing of electronic waste, and others are widely used as pesticides or herbicides or in the manufacture of solvents, plastics and pharmaceuticals. Some POPs, such as the pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and the herbicide Agent Orange, can cause diseases such as cancers, neurological disorders, reproductive dysfunction and birth defects. The researchers found large amounts of POPs (including DDT) in various components of the ecosystems such as soil, grass, trees and fish in the Himalayas and in the Tibetan plateau, especially at the highest elevations."

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Russian Adding $50 Billion To Space Effort
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 06:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's go-big-or-go-home department:
An anonymous reader sends news that Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled today a new $50 billion effort to maintain and extend the country's space capabilities. Part of this initiative is a new spaceport located in Russia, which will lead to the first manned launches from Russian soil in 2018. Manned launches currently originate from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
"The Russian space programme has been hurt in recent years by a string of launch failures of unmanned probes and satellites, but Putin vowed Moscow would continue to ramp up spending. He said that from 2013-2020, Russia would be spending 1.6 trillion rubles ($51.8 billion, 38 million euros) on its space sector, a growth far greater than any other space power. 'Developing our potential in space will be one of the priorities of state policy,' Putin said at a meeting in the regional capital Blagoveshchensk. ... speaking to Canadian spaceman Chris Hadfield, currently commander of the ISS, Putin hailed cooperation in space which meant world powers could forget about the problems of international relations and think 'about the future of mankind.'"

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MS Office Tablet Delay Gives Google a Real Chance, and Not Just Google Apps
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 06:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's microsoft-working-hard-to-break-vendor-lock-in department:
rtfa-troll writes "Microsoft Office slideware for iOS and Android has been resisting many migrations to Google Apps. Although a number of the largest companies, from KLM to Disney, have already moved to Google Apps, most large companies are still using Microsoft Office heavily. The majority of current Google users are smaller businesses. Now Microsoft has been forced to admit that its office suite for Android will be delayed by at least a year and Zdnet tells us that Google will be the big winner from that. However, they also say QuickOffice, rather than Google Apps, will be the main winner. Other Android app suites will benefit too, though currently the Android version of LibreOffice is only available as a dev build for sideloading and is having some difficulties packaging for Google Play, so it may not benefit from this delay unless more volunteers step up to help. Microsoft relies heavily on Office for revenue, so this may represent a real, long-term threat to the company."

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Browser Choice May Affect Your Job Prospects
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 05:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's good-god,-this-applicant-is-using-Lynx department:
krygny sends this quote from The Economist:
"The internet browser you are using to read this blog post could help a potential employer decide whether or not you would do well at a job. How might your choice of browser affect your job prospects? When choosing among job applicants, employers may be swayed by a range of factors, knowingly and unknowingly. ... Evolv, a company that monitors recruitment and workplace data, has suggested that there are better ways to identify the right candidate for job. ... Among other things, its analysis found that those applicants who have bothered to install new web browsers on their computers (such as Mozilla's Firefox or Google's Chrome) perform better and stay in their posts for 15% longer, on average."

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A Tale of Two Tests: Why Energy Star LED Light Bulbs Are a Rare Breed
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other department:
cylonlover writes "Just over a week ago Gizmag reported that Philips' 22 W LED light bulb, designed as a like-for-like replacement of a 100-W incandescent light bulb, was the first LED bulb of its type to receive the stamp of approval from Energy Star. But looking at the Energy Star requirements reported by Philips in its press release, it seemed a little strange that Philips' product is the only one to have been certified – given that products long on the market appear, at face value, to meet those requirements. Since then, Gizmag has spoken to LED light bulb makers Switch Lighting and other industry players to find out why they're apparently playing catch-up."

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Hackers Could Abuse Electric Car Chargers To Cripple the Grid, Researchers Say
Posted by News Fetcher on April 12 '13 at 01:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's everybody-panic department:
alphadogg writes "Hackers could use vulnerable charging stations to prevent the charging of electric vehicles in a certain area, or possibly even use the vulnerabilities to cripple parts of the electricity grid, a security researcher said during the Hack in the Box conference in Amsterdam on Thursday. While electric cars and EV charging systems are still in their infancy, they could become a more common way to travel within the next 10 years. If that happens, it is important that the charging systems popping up in cities around the world are secure in order to prevent attackers from accessing and tempering with them, said Ofer Shezaf, of HP ArcSight. At the moment, they are not secure at all, he said."

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FDA Approves Software For iPhone-Based Vision Test
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '13 at 11:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's can-you-see-me-now? department:
anderzole writes "The FDA recently gave clearance to Vital Art and Science Inc. (VAS) to market software which enables people with degenerative eye conditions such as macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy to monitor their vision at home with their iPhone. The software, which is called myVisionTrack, isn't a replacement for regular visits to the doctor, but rather allows patients to keep tabs on their vision in between visits with eye care professionals. VAS notes that retinal diseases affect approximately 40 million individuals worldwide and 13 million in the United States. While treatments have been developed to deal with degenerative eye conditions, early diagnosis is of paramount importance — which is why the software is so important."

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"Winnti" Attacks On Online Gaming Servers Dissected
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '13 at 08:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's protect-ya-neck department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Kaspersky Lab has completed a detailed analysis of "Winnti," a group of Asian hackers who target servers hosted by gaming companies, copying their source code and surreptitiously stealing money or virtual goods over time. In findings published April 10, the security firm said it had completed the latest phase of its eighteen-month investigation. A more detailed account of an actual attacks was published separately (PDF). Winnti has attacked two gaming companies in North America, two in Germany, two in Russia, and fourteen in South Korea. Although the Winnti group has been around for years, it first came to light in 2011, when Trojans began appearing on the PCs of users playing MMORPGs, online computer games which usually require a monthly subscription. Those Trojans, which included RAT (Remote Administration Tool) functionality, had been "signed" with the digital certificate of KOG, a South Korean gaming company. In the course of its investigation, Kaspersky discovered that the gaming companies (which often share resources, partner, and subcontract out work to one another) had provided an opportunity for the Winnti team to secure access to otherwise legitimate digital certificates, which could be used to sign malware. Malware signed by Japanese gaming company YNK Japan was used to attack the servers of social networks Cyworld and Nate in South Korea in 2011."

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"Choice Blindness" Can Transform Conservatives Into Liberals - and Vice Versa
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '13 at 06:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's yes-we-are-all-individuals department:
ananyo writes "When U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney said last year that he was not even going to try to reach 47% of the US electorate, and that he would focus on the 5–10% thought to be floating voters, he was articulating a commonly held opinion: that most voters are locked in to their ideological party loyalty. But Lars Hall, a cognitive scientist at Lund University in Sweden, knew better. When Hall and his colleagues tested the rigidity of people's political attitudes and voting intentions during Sweden's 2010 general election, they discovered that loyalty was malleable: nearly half of all voters were open to changing their minds. Hall's group polled 162 voters during the final weeks of the election campaign, asking them which of two opposing political coalitions — conservative or social democrat/green — they intended to vote for. The researchers also asked voters to rate where they stood on 12 key political issues, including tax rates and nuclear power. The person conducting the experiment secretly filled in an identical survey with the reverse of the voter's answers, and used sleight-of-hand to exchange the answer sheets, placing the voter in the opposite political camp. The researcher invited the voter to give reasons for their manipulated opinions, then summarized their score to give a probable political affiliation and asked again who they intended to vote for. On the basis of the manipulated score, 10% of the subjects switched their voting intentions, from right to left wing or vice versa. Another 19% changed from firm support of their preferred coalition to undecided. A further 18% had been undecided before the survey, indicating that as many as 47% of the electorate were open to changing their minds, in sharp contrast to the 10% of voters identified as undecided in Swedish polls at the time (research paper). Hall has used a similar sleight of hand before to show that our moral compass can often be easily reversed."

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Can NASA, Air Force, and Private Industry Really Mitigate an Asteroid Threat?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '13 at 04:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's activate-mr.-willis department:
coondoggie writes "There has been much chatter about the threat of an asteroid or significant meteor strike on Earth — mostly caused by the untracked meteor that blasted its way to international attention when it exploded in the sky above Russia injuring nearly 1,200 people in February. It was one of those amazing coincidences that on that same day an asteroid NASA had been tracking for months — asteroid 2012 DA14 — was to harmlessly cross Earth's path. Those events and the topic of mitigating asteroid and meteor or Near Earth Object threats to Earth prompted a couple congressional hearings by the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, the latest of which was held this week. None of the NEOs found to date have more than a tiny chance of hitting Earth in the next century. Thus the near-term risk of an unwarned impact from large asteroids, and hence the majority of the risk from all NEOs, has been reduced by more than 90%. Assuming none are found to be an impact threat, discovering 90% of the 140 meter sized objects will further reduce the total risk to the 99% level. By finding these objects early enough and tracking their motions over the next 100 years, even those rare objects that might be found threatening could be deflected using existing technologies."

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High-Speed Camera Grabs First 3D Shots of Untouched Snowflakes
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '13 at 03:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's in-mid-air department:
sciencehabit writes "Researchers have developed a camera system that shoots untouched flakes 'in the wild' as they fall from the sky. By grabbing a series of images of the tumbling crystals—its exposure time is one-40,000th of a second, compared with about one-200th in normal photography—the camera is revealing the true shape diversity of snowflakes. Besides providing beautiful real-time 3D snowflake photographs from a ski resort in Utah, the goal is to improve weather modeling. More accurate data on how fast snowflakes fall and how their shapes interacts with radar will improve predictions of when and where storms will dump snow and how much."

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Top Coders Tell Agents, "Show Me the Money!"
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '13 at 03:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's pay-me department:
theodp writes "So, you're a 10x developer or a 25x programmer, but not getting paid like one? Keep your chin up! BusinessWeek reports that Silicon Valley is going Hollywood and top software developers can now get their very own agent through 10x Management, which bills itself as 'the talent agency for the technology industry.'"

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Jolla Ports Wayland To Android GPU Drivers
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '13 at 02:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's cross-platform-the-hard-way department:
An anonymous reader writes "A Jolla Sailfish OS engineer has ported Wayland to run on Android GPU drivers. The implementation uses libhybis with the Android driver so that the rest of the operating system can be a conventional glibc-based Linux operating system, such as Mer / Sailfish OS. The code is to be LGPL licensed. The reported reasoning for making Wayland support Android GPU drivers was difficulty in ODM vendors not wishing to offer driver support for platforms aside from Android."

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Bing Tops Google At Finding Malware
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '13 at 01:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's sometimes-that's-just-what-you-want-to-find department:
adeelarshad82 writes "According to an 18-month study from German independent testing lab AV-Test, searches on Bing returned five times more links to malicious websites than Google searches. The study looked at nearly 40 million websites provided by seven different search engines. About 10 million results came from Bing and another 10 million from Google. 13 million sites were provided by the Russian service Yandex, with the rest coming from Blekko, Faroo, Teoma and Baidu respectively. Of these 40 million sites, AV-Test found 5,000 pieces of malware—and admittedly small percentage of websites."

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Not Even Investors Know What Google Glass Is For
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '13 at 12:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's no-wireless-less-space-than-a-nomad-lame department:
bdking writes "Google says it plans to ship its Google Glass Explorer Edition by the end of April to developers and consumers who paid $1,500 to test the computer-enabled eyewear, with vague plans for a general release (at a lower price) by year's end. But what will you really be able to do with Google Glass, beyond having information presented before your eyes? Even investors who are set to spend millions funding apps development for Google Glass have no clue. Is Google Glass being overhyped as a 'transformational' device?" I bet every real estate agent in the world would like one of these hooked up to a database of houses for sale, so they could instantly scan all the relevant information.

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Iceman Had Bad Teeth
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '13 at 12:01 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's recommend-doctor-brinkley department:
sciencehabit writes "Europe's best-known mummy wasn't just a medical mess; he also had terrible teeth, according to a new study. Ötzi, a Stone Age man who died atop a glacier about 5300 years ago, suffered from severe gum disease and cavities. When Ötzi was discovered atop a glacier on the Austro-Italian border, his frozen corpse was intensively studied. But no one took a close look at his teeth until now. Using 3D computer tomography (a CAT scan), the hunter's mouth could be examined for clues as to the life he led. A fall or other accident killed one of his front teeth, still discolored millennia later. And he may have had a small stone, gone unnoticed in his whole-grain bread or gruel, to thank for a broken molar. That gruel may be the culprit behind Ötzi's cavities and gum disease, too. The uptick in starches, the researchers suggest, could explain the increasing frequency of cavities in teeth from the time—a problem that's been with us ever since."

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Australian Networks Block Community University Website
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '13 at 11:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's you-cannot-read-this-error-message department:
Peter Eckersley writes "At the EFF we were recently contacted by the organisers of the Melbourne Free University (MFU), an Australian community education group, whose website had been unreachable from a number of Australian ISPs since the 4th of April. It turns out that the IP address of MFU's virtual host has been black-holed by several Australian networks; there is suggestive but not conclusive evidence that this is a result of some sort of government request or order. It is possible that MFU and 1200 other sites that use that IP address are the victims of a block that was put in place for some other reason. Further technical analysis and commentary is in our blog post."

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Judge Slams Apple-Motorola Suit As 'Business Strategy'
Posted by News Fetcher on April 11 '13 at 11:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's stating-the-obvious department:
jfruh writes "Faced with an Apple vs. Motorola lawsuit that involves 180 claims and counterclaims across 12 patents, a judge in Florida has thrown up his hands and accused both companies of acting in bad faith. Claiming the parties' were engaged in 'obstreperous and cantankerous conduct', he said that the lawsuit was part of 'a business strategy that appears to have no end.'"

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