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How a 1960s Discovery In Neuroscience Spawned a Military Project
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 03:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's did-you-see-that department:
Harperdog writes "This is pretty fascinating: The Chronicle of Higher Ed has an article about a DARPA project that allows researchers to scan satellite photos, video, etc., and have a computer pick up differences in brain activity to tell whether an image has been seen...images that might flash by before conscious recognition. From the article: 'In a small, anonymous office in the Trump Tower, 28 floors above Wall Street, a man sits in front of a computer screen sifting through satellite images of a foreign desert. The images depict a vast, sandy emptiness, marked every so often by dunes and hills. He is searching for man-made structures: houses, compounds, airfields, any sign of civilization that might be visible from the sky. The images flash at a rate of 20 per second, so fast that before he can truly perceive the details of each landscape, it is gone. He pushes no buttons, takes no notes. His performance is near perfect.'"

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In Face of Flame Malware, Microsoft Will Revamp Windows Encryption Keys
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 03:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's reinforcing-the-walls department:
coondoggie writes "Starting next month, updated Windows operating systems will reject encryption keys smaller than 1024 bits, which could cause problems for customer applications accessing Web sites and email platforms that use the keys. The cryptographic policy change is part of Microsoft's response to security weaknesses that came to light after Windows Update became an unwitting party to Flame Malware attacks, and affects Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems."

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DHS Still Stonewalling On Body Scanning Ruling One Year Later
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 02:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's maybe-they're-just-really-lazy department:
OverTheGeicoE writes "About a year ago, the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on EPIC v. DHS, a lawsuit that sought to end TSA's use of body scanners. The Court found that DHS violated federal law by not seeking public comment before using body scanners as a primary search method. They ordered TSA to take public comment on its body scanning policy but did not require TSA to suspend its use of the scanners during the comment period. Several months later nothing had been done yet. One year later TSA has still done nothing, and even EPIC, the original plaintiff, seems to have given up. Others have apparently picked up the torch, however. Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute, has posted a piece on Ars Technica about TSA's violation of the court order. He also started a petition on Whitehouse.gov asking TSA to comply with the order. An earlier petition ended with a non-response from TSA Administrator John Pistole. Will the latest petition fare any better, even in an election year?"

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Holy iPad Slayer! Company Releases World's First Christian Tablet
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's no-one-comes-to-the-app-store-except-through-me department:
Velcroman1 writes "Steve Jobs worshippers need not apply. But if you're looking to get in God's good graces, or you're simply in the market for a family-friendly tablet, you may want to check out Family Christian's Edifi. Billed as the world's first Christian tablet, its genesis came with the inevitable intersection of technology and religion, according to Brian Honorable, a technology supervisor at Family Christian, the group that sells the tablet. 'We wanted to be able to offer our customers the ability to use our Holy Bible application, which has 27 different English translations of the Bible,' Honorable said."

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Study Finds Alcohol, Not Marijuana, Is the Biggest Gateway Drug For Teens
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can-of-worms department:
An anonymous reader writes with news of a study out of the University of Florida which found that alcohol is the biggest "gateway" drug, the use of which increases the likelihood of other drug use. Quoting:
"In the sample of students, alcohol also represented the most commonly used substance, with 72.2 percent of students reporting alcohol consumption at some point in their lifetime. Comparatively, 45 percent of students reported using tobacco, and 43.3 percent cited marijuana use. In addition, the drug use documented found that substance use typically begins with the most socially acceptable drugs, such as alcohol and cigarettes, then proceeds to marijuana use and finally to other illegal, harder drugs. Moreover, the study showed that students who used alcohol exhibited a significantly greater likelihood — up to 16 times — of licit and illicit substance use."

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OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) Won't Support Some 64-bit Macs With Older GPUs
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-invited-to-the-mountain-lion's-reindeer-games department:
MojoKid writes "Apple is pitching Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) as the cat's meow, with over 200 new features 'that add up to an amazing Mac experience' — but that only applies if you're rocking a compatible system. Some older Mac models, including ones that are 64-bit capable, aren't invited to the Mountain Lion party, and it's likely because of the GPU. It's being reported (unofficially) that an updated graphics architecture intended to smooth out performance in OS X's graphics subsystem is the underlying issue. It's no coincidence, then, that the unsupported GPUs happen to be ones that were fairly common back before 64-bit support became mainstream."

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Why Ultra-Efficient 4,000 mph Vacuum-Tube Trains Aren't Being Built
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's all-about-the-benjamins department:
cylonlover writes "In the 1800s, when pneumatic tubes shot telegrams and small items all around buildings and sometimes small cities, the future of mass transit seemed clear: we'd be firing people around through these sealed tubes at high speeds. And it turns out we've got the technology to do that today – mag-lev rail lines remove all rolling friction from the energy equation for a train, and accelerating them through a vacuum tunnel can eliminate wind resistance to the point where it's theoretically possible to reach blistering speeds over 4,000 mph (6,437 km/h) using a fraction of the energy an airliner uses – and recapturing a lot of that energy upon deceleration. Ultra-fast, high efficiency ground transport is technologically within reach – so why isn't anybody building it? This article looks into some of the problems."

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The DHS's Latest Investment: Terahertz Laser Scanners
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can-we-shoot-you-with-this-laser-to-uhhhh-scan-you? department:
MrSeb writes "It seems like every time I set foot in an airport, there is some new machine I need to stand in, walk through, or put my shoes on. The argument can be made that much of this is security theater — an effort to just make things look safe. However, if a new kind of laser-based molecular scanner lives up to its promise and finds its way into airports as planned, it could actually make a difference. A company called Genia Photonics has developed a programmable picosecond laser that is capable of spotting trace amounts of a variety of substances. Genia claims that the system can detect explosives, chemical agents, and hazardous biological substances at up to 50 meters. This device relies on classic spectroscopy; just a very advanced form of it. In the case of Genia's scanner, it is using far-infrared radiation in the terahertz band. This is why the US Department of Homeland Security is so keen on getting it into airports. Understandably, some are calling foul on the possible privacy concerns, but this technology is halfway to a Star Trek tricorder."

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DirecTV Drops Viacom Channels
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 11:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can't-we-all-just-get-along department:
An anonymous reader writes "DirecTV has dropped all of Viacom's channels. This includes channels such as MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon. The drop is reported to be over a carrier fee dispute. It appears programming content can magically disappear from satellite, too, and not just from streaming services. Viacom said it was 'because contract talks with DirecTV had “reached an impasse.” DirecTV, in turn, said in a statement that it had offered Viacom “increased fees for their networks going forward; we just can’t afford the extreme increases they are asking for.”' I guess pirating and physical media is the only way to make sure the content we pay for doesn't disappear."

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Hubble Discovers 5th Moon of Pluto
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 11:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's more-traffic-for-some-new-horizons-frogger department:
Stirling Newberry writes "This image shows 'P5,' the placeholder name for a fifth natural moon of Pluto, a tiny sliver that orbits ~29,000 miles from its primary in a circular orbit. Other than Charon, Hubble has been the means by which astronomers have found all of the known moons of Pluto. 'The new detection will help scientists navigate NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft through the Pluto system in 2015, when it makes an historic and long-awaited high-speed flyby of the distant world. The team is using Hubble’s powerful vision to scour the Pluto system to uncover potential hazards to the New Horizons spacecraft. Moving past the dwarf planet at a speed of 30,000 miles per hour, New Horizons could be destroyed in a collision with even a BB-shot-size piece of orbital debris.'"

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UK ISP Asks Religious Groups To Set Parental Controls
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 11:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's think-of-the-children department:
Barence writes "A British ISP is inviting religious groups to help set parental controls for its customers. Claranet says it is recruiting volunteer 'Guardians' from a number of different organizations — including religious organizations, schools and child safety experts. A press spokesman for the ISP said that an 'Islamic advisor' was among the first batch of Guardians, but refused to identify them. The Claranet Guardians will be asked to choose whether they think 140 different categories of internet content are appropriate. Within those categories, the Guardians can choose to add or remove individual websites from the blacklists, which are created by a third-party company that Claranet also refused to name."

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CowboyNeal On Dota 2, Modern Games, and Software Development
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 10:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's listen-up department:
CowboyNeal writes "Unless you don't care about PC gaming at all, by now you're aware of Valve's entry into the MOBA/ARTS genre, Dota 2. Despite still being in a closed beta, it's currently the number one game on Valve's Steam gaming service, and judging from Valve's earlier declaration regarding Steam on Linux, it's only a matter of time, even if that time be a year or more, before we see Dota 2 come to Linux as well as Mac. Valve has big plans for Dota 2, no less big than what happened with Team Fortress 2, even if it took them a few years to get to where Team Fortress 2 is today. What makes the current state of Dota 2 noteworthy, however, is that it has managed to displace Team Fortress 2 as Steam's most popular game, while still being tested in a closed beta." Read on for the rest of CowboyNeal's thoughts on games, and what it's like being a Slashdot poll option.

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Gloves Translate Sign Language Into Auditory Speech
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 09:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's babel-gloves department:
Zothecula writes about some pretty cool sensor gloves. From the article: "Since beginning in 2003, the Microsoft Imagine Cup has tasked students the world over with developing technology aimed at solving real-world problems. In this, its 10th year, students were asked to build their project around a specific Millennium Development Goal ... The winners have just been announced ... [and winning] first place (and US$25,000) in the Software Design category was the Ukraine's quadSquad with their EnableTalk gloves that translate sign language into speech in real time."

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Nature: Global Temperatures Are a Falling Trend
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 08:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's romney-declares-drill-baby-drill department:
New submitter sosume writes "An article in Nature shows that the temperature in the Roman times were actually higher than current temperatures. A team lead by dr Esper of the University of Mainz has researched tree rings and concluded that over the past 2,000 years, the forcing is up to four times as large as the 1.6Wm2 net anthropogenic forcing since 1750 using evidence based on maximum latewood density data from northern Scandinavia, indicating that this cooling trend was stronger (0.31C per 1,000years, ±0.03C) than previously reported, and demonstrate that this signature is missing in published tree-ring proxy records."

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Contest To Crack William Gibson Poem Agrippa
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 08:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's brought-to-you-by-lisp department:
An anonymous reader writes "A new cracking contest to cryptanalyse a William Gibson poem. The electronic poem ('Agrippa') was written back in 1992 and self-encrypts after being displayed once. The person who successfully cracks the encryption will win a copy of every published Gibson book."

The poem/program binary was recovered in 2008, but it looks like no one has managed (bothered?) to crack the code.

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Ouya Android Console Blows Past Kickstarter Goal
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 07:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's smells-like-2001 department:
mikejuk writes with a winner for quickest follow-up in a while as the Ouya console managed to raise over $2 million in a mere eight hours. From the article: "On the surface it all sounds like a really good idea. The OUYA games console is planned to be an open competitor to the likes of Xbox and PS3. It seems so good that it has been crowd funded to the tune of $1 million — but why exactly is it needed? There must be a good reason — after all the wisdom of crowds is never wrong. The simple answer seems to be freedom. The company claims that you can do what you want to the machine. A CyanogenMod port would allow you to do what you like to the OS and it wouldn't void your warranty. You can hack the hardware or software. However, it is important to note that this isn't open hardware. ... In the same way the software seems to be open and yet controlled. ... The Kickstarter page says 'When we say, "open" we mean it. We've made many decisions based on this philosophy:..' But it isn't Open Source. And yet it is so much better than the alternative. Perhaps this is a sign of just how desperate we all are to get away from the control of the big console manufacturers, that we will fund anything that sounds even slightly reasonable. The walled gardens of Apple, Sony and Microsoft no longer seem the warm and welcoming places they once did (if they ever did)"

Issues not raised on yesterday's post; the console will require a significant number of binary blobs just to function, and it's really unclear whether or not it will actually be DRM free. Anyone remember Indrema?

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FTC Reportedly Fining Google $22.5 Million Over Safari Privacy Abuse
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 07:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's 'tis-but-a-flesh-wound department:
New submitter Slashbots writes "Google will settle with the FTC for nearly $22.5 million over its bypassing of Apple's Safari browser privacy settings. Google, the largest settlement with FTC over privacy related charges ever. By abusing privacy hole in Safari, Google circumvented user settings to show them advertising and track the users, 'Safari, unlike other browsers, blocks cookies from ad networks like Google's. But because of a loophole, Google had been able to avoid the block, as researchers discovered in February. It installed cookies and tracked Safari users across the Web to show them personalized ads.'"

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Formspring Hacked - 420,000 Password Hashes Leaked
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 06:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's sky-is-falling department:
wiredmikey writes with news of yet another business suffering a data breach. From the article: "Formspring, the Social Q&A portal ..., admitted to being breached on Tuesday. The compromise led to the loss of 420,000 passwords, forcing the site to reset all member passwords. Mirroring the recent LinkedIn breach, Formspring said that it was alerted to a forum post that contained 420,000 password hashes. Engineers shutdown the service and confirmed the passwords were indeed theirs. In less than a day, an investigation revealed that the attacker(s) had 'broken into one of our development servers and was able to use that access to extract account information from a production database' .... There have been no reported incidents of individual account compromise, but there were reports of Phishing by some users on Twitter attempting to capitalize on the incident."

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Firefox 15 Coming With Souped-Up, Faster Debugger
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 05:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's catching-up-with-the-lisp-machine department:
StormDriver writes "Firefox 15 has hit the Mozilla pre-beta Aurora channel, and it features a redesigned, built-in debugger."

The original weblog post has more. Thanks to improved debugger internals in SpiderMonkey, supposedly code should run just as fast with debugging enabled as without (ever try loading Slashdot with firebug accidentally enabled?). There are also new tools for testing mobile layouts from the comfort of your workstation, and the debugger can attach to remote processes (Something Emacs users have enjoyed for years now, albeit in a hackish manner and without support for mobile Firefox).

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RIM CEO On What Went Wrong
Posted by News Fetcher on July 11 '12 at 05:00 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's second-system-syndrome-is-a-killer department:
AZA43 writes "After releasing some very ugly financial numbers in late June, BlackBerry-maker RIM went on a media blitz to downplay the significance of its latest earnings and counter increasingly negative media attention. ... But a new Q&A with BlackBerry chief Thorsten Heins offers a unique take on what exactly went wrong at RIM — Heins blames the company's downfall [partly] on LTE in the U.S. — and he actually seems genuine in his answers."

A peek into the mind of RIM's upper management.

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