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Iran Forced To Replace Centrifuges To Stop Stuxnet
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's going-to-have-to-amputate department:
Trailrunner7 writes "Reports that Iran had recovered from the infection of the Stuxnet worm may have been overblown, as a new report suggests the country is being forced to replace thousands of expensive centrifuges damaged by the worm. The report from the website DEBKAfile cites 'intelligence sources' in claiming that Stuxnet was not purged from Iran's nuclear sites and that the country was never able to return its uranium enrichment efforts to 'normal operation.' Instead, the country has said in recent days that it is installing newer and faster centrifuges at its nuclear plants and intends to speed up the uranium enrichment process, according to the country's foreign ministry."

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Why IT Won't Like Mac OS X Lion Server
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 09:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's sounds-oxymoronic-to-me department:
snydeq writes "InfoWorld's John Rizzo sees Mac OS X Lion Server as a downgrade that may prompt a move to Windows Server. 'Mac OS X 10.7 Lion Server adds innovative features and a new low price tag, but cuts in services and the elimination of advanced GUI administration tools may force some enterprise departments to think twice about the role of Mac servers on their networks,' Rizzo writes. 'Looking more deeply inside Lion Server, it's impossible to avoid the conclusion that Lion Server is not built for those of us in IT. The $50 price tag — down from $500 — is the first clue that Lion Server trying to be a server for the consumer. But the ironic part for IT administrators is that Lion Server actually requires a greater degree of technical knowledge than its predecessors.'"

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Ask Slashdot: Geeky Volunteer Work?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 08:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's lend-a-hand department:
An anonymous reader writes "I plan to be in-between jobs for 1-2 months later this year and use part of this time to do some volunteer work in Africa. My naive question: what to do and where to go? Is it possible to make good use of the skill-set of a typical geek? Any interesting projects worth supporting on-site?"

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Cast-off Gadgets Spy on Owners (on Purpose for a Change)
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 08:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's i-see-what-you-did-there department:
Eric Smalley writes "For the project, dubbed Backtalk, researchers sent refurbished Netbooks to developing countries via nonprofit organizations. They set up the computers to record location and pictures, and send the data home to MIT--with their new owners' consent... The MIT team used the data to build visual narratives about the computers' new lives."

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Review: Captain America
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 07:15 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's first-avenger-or-something department:
If you have been living under a rock, you might not be aware that the next in the ongoing series of Avengers prequel movies came out this weekend: Captain America follows Steve Rogers origin, and sets him up for next summer's kajillion dollar Whedonesque mega blockbuster. But how is it as a movie in its own right? Hit the link to read my 2 cents. Standard spoiler warnings apply.

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Gates: Not Much To Show For $5B Spent On Education
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 06:30 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's i-feel-dumber department:
theodp writes "Since 2000, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has poured some $5 billion into education grants and scholarships. Ten years into his record-breaking philanthropic push for school reform, the WSJ reports that Bill Gates is sober about the investment and willing to admit some missteps. 'I applaud people for coming into this space,' said Gates, 'but unfortunately it hasn't led to significant improvements.' This understanding of just how little influence seemingly large donations can have has led the foundation to rethink its focus in recent years. Instead of trying to buy systemic reform with school-level investments, a new goal is to leverage private money in a way that redirects how public education dollars are spent. Despite the good intentions, some are expressing concerns about how billionaires and the Gates Foundation rule our schools, including the lack of transparency and spotty track record of the wealthy would-be reformers. Perhaps Gates should consider funding a skunkworks educational project for retired Microsoft CTO Ray Ozzie, who was working on networked, self-paced computer assisted instruction in 1974 — 36 years before Bill and Google discovered Khan Academy!"

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Could the KGB Infiltrate LulzSec?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 05:45 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's sure-why-not department:
Barence writes "Foreign powers could try to infiltrate hacktivist networks in order to manipulate their actions, according to a security expert who advises governments and businesses on internet issues. Likening the emergence of the hacktivist movement to the arrival of militant groups such as the Red Brigade during the 1970s, government advisor and chair of the International E-crime Congress, Simon Moores, said that hacker groups could eventually be swayed by outside influences. "If you have a LulzSec or an Anonymous that is perhaps being manipulated by a foreign actor, it takes us back to the days of the Stasi and the KGB, which were manipulating [anti-nulear campaign group] CND quite easily from Moscow," he said."

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Bitcoin Is Not Anonymous
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 05:00 AM
By CmdrTaco from Slashdot's yup-its-bitcoin department:
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers from University College Dublin have conducted an analysis of anonymity on Bitcoin, and found it is not inherently anonymous, and that in many cases, users and their transactions can be identified. They use techniques such as context discovery and flow analysis to investigate and visualize an alleged theft of Bitcoins, which, at the time of the theft, had a market value of approximately half a million U.S. dollars."

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IBM's Morphing Touchscreen Keyboard Interface
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 04:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's touch-me-where-you-can department:
cylonlover writes "While most people prefer using physical keyboards and only tolerate virtual keyboards on their mobile devices for the sake of portability, onscreen keyboards do potentially offer a flexibility that can't be matched by physical keyboards. It's this flexibility that IBM is looking to take advantage of with the company recently filing a U.S. patent application for a morphing touchscreen keyboard interface that would automatically resize, reshape and reposition keys based on a user's typing style."

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James Murdoch's Defense Crumbles
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 04:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's and-in-the-alternative-no-one-saw-me-do-it department:
Hugh Pickens writes "Brian Cathcart writes that whatever happens to News Corp., it will surely happen without James Murdoch, the clever, dashing heir apparent to his buccaneer father, Rupert, who has become a liability with little hope of survival. James Rupert told members of Parliament that when he approved a payment of about $1.1 million in 2008 to settle the first lawsuit brought by a phone-hacking victim, he was not shown an email that suggested phone hacking was more widespread at the News of the World, and not limited to one 'rogue' reporter. 'He is saying one thing—that in briefing him they gave an "incomplete picture" — and, remarkably, in a statement Thursday, they publicly denied that,' writes Cathcart. All the News Corp. executives used to tell the same story but one by one as the pressure has grown these people have been cast off or have drifted away and now as the little group has splintered and scattered, and they all need to save their own skins. 'It's not just James who is done,' writes David Carr in the NY Times. 'Rupert Murdoch, as we have long known him, is done as well.'"

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A Congressman and an Astronaut Propose a New Plan For NASA
Posted by News Fetcher on July 25 '11 at 01:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's can't-we-involve-bruce-willis-somehow? department:
MarkWhittington writes "Reflecting a rising discontent with the state of the U.S. space program in the wake of the last space shuttle mission, Rep. Pete Olson, R-Texas, and Apollo astronaut Walt Cunningham have proposed a new space plan that addresses space exploration, the role of commercial space, and reform of NASA."

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Getting the Latest Rover To Mars
Posted by News Fetcher on July 24 '11 at 10:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's ftd-take-note department:
derGoldstein writes "New Scientist has a great video up detailing every step of how the latest Mars rover will reach its target and get deployed. It's drastically different than the bouncing air-bag delivery system previously used (YouTube video)."

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Can AI Games Create Super-Intelligent Humans?
Posted by News Fetcher on July 24 '11 at 07:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's they-already-have department:
destinyland writes "A technology CEO sees game artificial intelligence as the key to a revolution in education, predicting a synergy where games create smarter humans who then create smarter games. Citing lessons drawn from Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age, Alex Peake, founder of Primer Labs, sees the possibility of a self-fueling feedback loop which creates 'a Moore's law for artificial intelligence,' with accelerating returns ultimately generating the best possible education outcomes. 'What the computer taught me was that there was real muggle magic ...' writes Peake, adding 'Once we begin relying on AI mentors for our children and we get those mentors increasing in sophistication at an exponential rate, we're dipping our toe into symbiosis between humans and the AI that shape them.'"

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Intel Details Handling Anti-Aliasing On CPUs
Posted by News Fetcher on July 24 '11 at 04:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's upping-the-spec-of-normalcy department:
MojoKid writes "When AMD launched their Barts GPU that powers the Radeon 6850 and 6870, they added support for a new type of anti-aliasing called Morphological AA (MLAA). However, Intel originally developed MLAA in 2009 and they have released a follow-up paper on the topic--including a discussion of how the technique could be handled by the CPU. Supersampling is much more computationally and bandwidth intensive than multisampling, but both techniques are generally too demanding of more horsepower than modern consoles or mobile devices are able to provide. Morphological Anti-aliasing, in contrast, is performed on an already-rendered image. The technique is embarrassingly parallel and, unlike traditional hardware anti-aliasing, can be effectively handled by the CPU in real time. MLAA is also equally compatible with ray tracing or rasterized graphics."

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Public AAC Listening Test @ ~96 Kbps [July 2011].
Posted by News Fetcher on July 24 '11 at 03:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's listening-for-artifacts department:
The folks at the Hydrogen Audio Forums have for years been benefiting the world with their patience, technical skills, and hyper-focus on sound quality, by comparing the real-world sound of various codecs and bit-rates for audio encoding. Under the scope for the latest public listening test (slated to run until July 27) are the following AAC encoders: Nero 1.5.4; Apple QuickTime 7.6.9 true VBR; Apple QuickTime 7.6.9 constrained VBR; Fraunhofer (Winamp 5.62); Coding Technologies (Winamp 5.61); and ffmpeg's AAC (low anchor).

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675k Stolen Credit Cards = Ten Years In Jail
Posted by News Fetcher on July 24 '11 at 02:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's probably-three-and-parole-actually department:
wiredmikey writes "A hacker that had been found with more than 675,000 stolen credit card numbers that reportedly led to loses totaling more than $36 million, was sentenced on Friday to 120 months in prison. After pleading guilty on April 21, 2011, Rogelio Hackett Jr., 25, of Lithonia, Georgia, was slapped with a maximum prison sentence and ordered to pay a $100,000 fine. According to court documents, U.S. Secret Service special agents executing a search warrant in 2009 at Hackett's home found more than 675,000 stolen credit card numbers and related information in his computers and email accounts. Hackett admitted in a court filing that since at least 2002, he has been trafficking in credit card information he obtained either by hacking into business computer networks and downloading credit card databases, or purchasing the information from others using the Internet through various carding forums."

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For Texas Textbooks, a Victory For Evolution
Posted by News Fetcher on July 24 '11 at 01:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's evolving-attitude department:
An anonymous reader writes "The Texas Board of Education has unanimously come down on the side of evolution. In an 8-0 vote, the board today approved scientifically accurate high school biology textbook supplements from established mainstream publishers — and did not approve the creationist-backed supplements from International Databases, LLC."

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'The Code Has Already Been Written'
Posted by News Fetcher on July 24 '11 at 12:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's is-that-how-you-see-things department:
theodp writes "John D. Cook points out there's a major divide between the way scientists and programmers view the software they write. Scientists see their software as a kind of exoskeleton, an extension of themselves. Programmers, on the other hand, see their software as something they will hand over to someone else, more like building a robot. To a scientist, the software soup's done when they get what they want out of it, while professional programmers give more thought to reproducibility, maintainability, and correctness. So what happens when the twain meet? 'The real tension,' says Cook, 'comes when a piece of research software is suddenly expected to be ready for production. The scientist will say 'the code has already been written' and can't imagine it would take much work, if any, to prepare the software for its new responsibilities. They don't understand how hard it is for an engineer to turn an exoskeleton into a self-sufficient robot.'"

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Android Password Data Stored In Plain Text
Posted by News Fetcher on July 24 '11 at 11:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's so-don't-give-people-your-phone department:
jampola writes "The Hacker News is reporting that Android password data is being stored as plain text in its SQlite database. Hackers News says that 'The password for email accounts is stored into the SQLite DB which in turn stores it on the phone's file system in plain text. Encrypting or at least transforming the password would be desirable.' I'm sure most would agree encrypted password data in at least SHA or MD5 would be kind of a good idea!"

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FDA To Scrutinize Mobile Medical Apps
Posted by News Fetcher on July 24 '11 at 10:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's because-regulation-is-always-good department:
mikejuk writes "It looks like 'first do no harm' is coming to an app near you. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking input on its proposed oversight of some health-related mobile phone apps. It it is almost too easy to create an app that aims to help people detect or manage some condition or other — but should programmers play the roll of doctor even in seemingly harmless areas."

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