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Artificial Skin Made From Spider Silk
Posted by News Fetcher on August 12 '11 at 08:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's wall-crawler department:
Tissue engineer Hanna Wendt has released a study about using spider silk to create artificial skin. The study found that "spider silks display excellent mechanical features that even rival man-made, high-tech fibers," but didn't mention anything about patients gaining the ability to climb walls or sense impending danger. From the article: "Despite being impressed by how human cells responded to spider silk, Wendt thinks the use of synthetic fibers must be considered, especially since harvesting large amounts of spider silk is not practical."

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Why Companies Knowingly Ship Insecure Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on August 12 '11 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-enough-tps-reports department:
wiredmikey writes "A recent survey which included responses from 800 engineers and developers that work on embedded devices revealed that 24% of respondents knew of security problems in their company's products that had not been disclosed to the public before the devices were shipped. But just what that means in terms of attitudes towards security may be more complex than it seems. Additionally, just 41% said their company has 'allocated sufficient time and money to secure' its device products against hacks and attacks. Despite this, 64 percent felt that when engineers call attention to potential security problems, 'those problems are addressed before the device is released.' So, what exactly does this illustrate about the state of security in the development process? The answer, some say, is a jumbled collage of business pressures, bug prioritization and varying attention to security."

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Ask Slashdot: Am I Too Old To Learn New Programming Languages?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 12 '11 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's sorry-i-will-get-off-your-lawn department:
ProgramadorPerdido writes "I have been a developer for 25 years. I learned Basic, VB, C, FoxPro, Cobol, and Assembler, but the languages I used the most were Pascal and Delphi. I then concentrated on a now-non-mainstream language for 11 years, as it was used at work. One day I had the chance to move into Project Management and so I did for the last 2 years. Now, at almost 40 years old, I'm at a crossroad. On one side I realized developing is the thing I like best, while on the other side, the languages I'm most proficient with are not that hot on the market. So I came here looking for any advice on how to advance my career. Should I try to learn web development (html, xhtml, css, php, python, ruby)? Should I learn Java and/or C#? Or am I too old to learn and work a new language? Should I go back to PM work even if I do not like it that much? Any similar experiences?"

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Scotland Yard Confirms It's Using Facial Recognition Tech
Posted by News Fetcher on August 12 '11 at 06:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-guys-are-a-riot department:
nonprofiteer writes "Scotland Yard confirms that it's using facial recognition technology to identify rioters in London. 'A law enforcement official, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said that facial recognition is one of many tools police are using to hunt suspects still at large.' Meanwhile, the vigilante group trying an amateur stab applying facial recognition to the riot photos abandoned the project because the results sucked. This is the big test of the surveillance state that London has become. Are all those cameras effective, or just taking a toll on privacy without bringing added security?"

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LinkedIn Hurries To Address Privacy Stumble
Posted by News Fetcher on August 12 '11 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's somebody's-getting-fired department:
swandives writes "LinkedIn will make changes to a 'social advertising' feature that has been criticized for using members' names and photographs in advertisements on its website. Amid mounting criticism, the social networking service says it has been 'listening' to its users and 'could have communicated' its intentions with the new ad feature more clearly. As a result, it said, it will change how the advertisements appear. If a LinkedIn user 'follows' a company or service on LinkedIn, the ad feature can display the user's name and photo in advertisements for that company. LinkedIn said its goal was to deliver more useful ads, but some LinkedIn users complained it was a privacy violation, particularly because they have to opt out of the feature rather than opt in. It will be interesting to see whether the changes affect stocks, especially since the network's IPO in May, when shares closed at more than double the initial price, prompting concerns over another dot-com bubble."

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Why Google Needs Firefox
Posted by News Fetcher on August 12 '11 at 05:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's why-can't-i-quit-you department:
MrSeb writes "Almost the entirety of Mozilla's income — 97% of $104 million — arrives in the form of royalties from the Firefox search box, and the lion's share (86%, $85 million) of those royalties are paid by the default search engine: Google. In November 2011, however, Mozilla's contract with Google will expire. Will Google renew it? A better question to ask, though, is whether Mozilla wants Google as its primary search engine."

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Researchers Make Graphene From Girl Scout Cookies
Posted by News Fetcher on August 12 '11 at 04:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's why-the-aliens-need-our-resources department:
An anonymous reader writes "Last year we learned that the miracle material graphene could be made from common table sugar, and now researchers at Rice University have taken the discovery one step further by literally baking it from a box of girl scout cookies. A group of graduate students led by chemist James Tour recently teamed up with Houston Girl Scout troop 25080 to perform the feat using a single box of Trefoil cookies — which could potentially yield $15 billion worth of graphene."

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US Energy Panel Cautiously Endorses Fracking
Posted by News Fetcher on August 12 '11 at 04:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's like-they're-the-fracking-experts department:
Hugh Pickens writes "The Christian Science Monitor reports that a U.S. Energy Department advisory panel has endorsed fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, a promising technology that injects a mixture of water, sand, and chemicals underground to fracture rock and release shale gas previously thought unretrievable, paving the way for tens of thousands of new wells. If fracking can be done safely, it could be a major source of domestic energy over the next century. Shale gas makes up about 14 percent of the U.S. natural gas supply today, but is expected to reach 45 percent by 2035. But first, serious environmental concerns must be addressed. Earlier this year, a Duke University study of 68 private groundwater wells in Pennsylvania and New York state found evidence that shale-gas extraction has caused them to become contaminated with methane. One key recommendation by the panel is a call for transparency regarding the use of chemicals in the extraction process. Drillers say they would like to keep the exact formula of the chemicals they use secret because it represents a competitive advantage."

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3D Hacking Environment Links Kinect, Blender, and Metasploit
Posted by News Fetcher on August 12 '11 at 01:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's need-to-work-in-2d-life-angle department:
baxpace writes with a link describing a way to test your own security systems for vulnerabilities using Kinect-interpreted natural gestures in tandem with the Metasploit Framework and the Blender game engine, writing: "The idea is to hack into your own systems while in a 3D, first person shooter style environment that interfaces with the Kinect sensor. The game engine was built using Blender and looks to be one of the most pleasing ways of uncovering your own systems' architectural/networking vulnerabilities."

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Google Adds Games To Google+
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '11 at 11:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's tic-tac-toe-better-have-an-i'm-feeling-lucky-button department:
derGoldstein writes with this quote from the official Google blog:
"Today we're adding games to Google+. ... We want to make playing games online just as fun, and just as meaningful, as playing in real life ... When you're ready to play, the Games page is waiting — click the games button at the top of your stream. You can see the latest game updates from your circles, browse the invites you've received and check out games that people you know have played recently. The Games page is also where your game accomplishments will appear. So you can comfortably share your latest high score — your circles will only see the updates when they're interested in playing games too."

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BitTorrent Trial Makes Australia's High Court
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '11 at 10:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's which-is-totally-success department:
daria42 writes "Australia's highest court has agreed to hear the long-running BitTorrent case between one of the country's largest ISPs, iiNet, and a group of film and TV studios represented by a copyright organization known as AFACT. The case has the potential to determine once and for all whether Australians who download content via BitTorrent can have their Internet connections disconnected upon the request of the studios. It's lawyers at ten paces!"

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How Does GPS Change Us?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '11 at 07:31 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's reorientation-session department:
ATKeiper writes "People have talked for a while about the effects of GPS on our driving ability and our sense of direction; one researcher at McGill has even been developing an exercise regimen to compensate for our supposedly atrophying navigational ability. But is GPS reshaping our lives in a more fundamental sense? The author of this new essay draws on science, sociology, and literature to argue that GPS is transforming how we think about travel and exploration. How can we discover 'the new' in an age when everything around us is mapped?" My own experience is that GPS has made me much more aware of location, by showing me the bird's-eye view, and letting me instantly compare alternate routes.

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Scientists Modify Organism With Artificial Amino Acid
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '11 at 04:31 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's warm-glow-of-the-worms department:
IndigoDarkwolf writes "The Beeb reports that biologists Sebastian Greiss and Jason Chin have genetically modified a multicellular organism (Caenorhabditis elegans, a tiny worm) to combine an amino acid not found in nature into a custom-built protein. The protein created by their genetically-modified worm contained a dye which glows when exposed to UV light. While previous work showed that genetic modification could incorporate non-natural amino acids into custom proteins for single-celled organisms, this is the first time an entire animal has been modified."

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Google's 'ID Validation' Is a Joke, But Not Funny
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '11 at 03:46 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's your-voice-is-your-password-so-yell department:
An anonymous reader writes "I was curious about the whole profile reporting and ID validation process on Google+ so I decided to do a little experimental work to find out just what is involved. Answer: very little which could be called rigor." Tease: this story involves a form of I.D. only slightly less funny than the 409-eater with a passport in the name of James Tiberius Kirk.

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China Catches Up With Google's Driverless Car
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '11 at 02:46 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's OK-but-it's-just-following-the-wall department:
mikejuk writes "While Google makes headlines with its driverless car and even manages to lobby Nevada to legalize driverless cars on the public road — China quietly pushes ahead on its own. A driverless car navigated 286km of expressway all on its own. Using nothing but a pair of video cameras and laser rangefinders, i.e. no GPS, it managed to arrive safely even through fog. The computer vision based approach means that at the moment it can only drive during daylight hours. Google might need to speed up ..."

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Ask Slashdot: Info On Upcoming Handhelds?
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '11 at 02:16 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's what's-small-and-upcoming department:
FullBandwidth writes "Seems like some intrepid Slashdotters are always getting scoops on the soon-to-be-released handhelds (phones, tablets). What's the best way to get technical information and release dates? Apparently in the U.S., the vendors have to submit a certain amount of documentation that then gets published on the fcc.gov website, but I'm not sure if many of us have time to pore over that site. Are there reliable sites or RSS feeds dedicated to what's the bleeding edge of mobile computing?" I glance at Liliputing more days than I don't, partly because of frequent links to new handhelds and tablets as they hit the FCC. Where else should people look?

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Human Brain Is Sensitive To Light In Ears
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '11 at 01:31 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's also-to-the-name-of-the-devil department:
vuo writes "Finnish researchers have shown that the human brain contains photoreceptors that react to intracranial illumination. Light is provided through the ear canal with bright-light headsets by Valkee. These devices, much like earphones or should we say 'earlumes,' are registered medical devices. Retinal illumination or bright-light therapy has been previously assumed to be the only way light indirectly affects brains. Light therapy helps with mood swings, seasonal affective disorder, jetlag and other circadian rhythm disruptions."

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UK Police Arrest 12 Over Facebook Use Inciting Riots
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '11 at 01:16 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's where-was-prothero-at-the-time? department:
An anonymous reader writes "Scotland Yard vowed to track down and arrest protesters who posted 'really inflammatory, inaccurate' messages on Facebook, but it didn't stop at just two people. While two teenagers were arrested earlier this week in connection with messages posted on Facebook allegedly encouraging people to start rioting, 10 more have now joined them."

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New Serial ATA Standards Target SSDs, Tablets
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '11 at 12:31 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's bits-faster-are-faster-bits department:
crookedvulture writes "SATA-IO has devised a couple of new storage interfaces optimized for solid-state drives. To serve high-performance SSDs that are fast approaching the 6Gbps ceiling imposed by the current Serial ATA specification, the SATA Express standard will meld the Serial ATA software stack with PCI Express to offer up to 16Gbps of bandwidth. SATA Express isn't expected to be completed until the end of the year, but the new uSSD standard looks to be ready for prime time. Designed for tablets and ultraportables, uSSD sticks with current 6Gbps speeds but ditches traditional Serial ATA connectors, allowing SSD controller chips to be soldered directly to motherboards. SanDisk already has a 128GB uSSD primed for ultrabooks."

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GPRS Can Be Hacked Easily, Claims German Researcher
Posted by News Fetcher on August 11 '11 at 12:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's wo-bin-ich-genau? department:
hypnosec writes "A German technology researcher on Wednesday showed global mobile makers and technology firms how General Packet Radio Service can easily be tapped, intercepted, and decrypted with an average mobile phone and a few applications. According to the New York Times, Karsten Nohl, a computer engineer and mobile security researcher, demonstrated to fellow researchers gathered to attend Chaos Communication Camp, a Berlin-based hackers event, how to intercept the voice or data messages sent between mobile devices over GPRS easily, owing to weak protection provided by mobile network carriers for data information. Nohl, in collaboration with his colleague Luca Melette, tapped the information within a radius of five kilometers using a seven-year-old inexpensive mobile phone from Motorola." Computerworld also has an informative, link-laden account. If you are attending this year's CCC (only every four years, sadly), feel free to drop a line (with the submissions form) about cool projects you encounter there.

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