By BeauHD from Slashdot's assumption-based-truth department
An anonymous reader writes: A U.S. judge has just admitted the existence of the NSA's infamous PRISM program by name, apparently the first time any federal judge has done so. PRISM has been an open secret since June 2013, when documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden were first made public. An ominous NSA PowerPoint training slide claimed that PRISM allowed "collection [of user data] directly from the servers" of major American tech companies like Yahoo, Google, and Apple, though those tech companies immediately and fiercely protested that no, to their knowledge, they didn't give the NSA such access. It's since been generally accepted that the NSA wasn't physically accessing those companies' servers with PRISM, but instead creating a streamlined legal process to compel those companies, via orders processed in the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, to turn over users' data. Since the program's disclosure, most government reports and redacted FISA court orders have referred to PRISM by the legal authority the NSA claims authorizes it, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. But that's confusing, because 702 also authorizes what's called Upstream collection, which gives the NSA access to raw internet data -- not the same thing as PRISM, which is more specifically targeted.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's battery-life-is-the-least-of-our-worries department
Zothecula writes: Drones are being utilized in everything from parcel delivery to search and rescue, but their limited flight times are restricting their ability to travel great distances or stay for extended periods of time in the field. Simply adding more batteries, however, affects flight characteristics and reduces the load the drone can carry. To help solve this problem, researchers at the Pohang University of Science and Technology (Postech) have created a miniature fuel cell they claim not only provides enough energy to keep a drone in the sky for over an hour, but may well find applications in powering everything from smartphones to cars in the not-too-distant future. Developed by Professor Gyeong Man Choi and his Ph.D. student Kun Joong Kim at Postech, the new solid oxide fuel cell is claimed by the researchers to be the first to use porous stainless steel in combination with thin-film electrolyte, all brought together using a technique known as tape casting-lamination-cofiring. Allied with electrodes of low heat capacity, this amalgamation not only results in increased performance, but also in higher long-term durability. The Postech device generates power by converting hydrogen (in this case, "Wet" H2 gas comprising 97 percent H2 and 3 percent H2O mixture) supplied as fuel gas to the anode to create electricity. It does this through the use of a solid oxide material acting as the electrolyte that allows the conduction of negative oxygen ions from the cathode to the anode. These ions diffuse through the solid oxide electrolyte to the anode where they oxidize the fuel. This reaction produces electrons, which then flow through an external circuit to provide power.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's figuratively-launched-by-NASA department
mmoorebz writes: Talligent, a provider of cost- and capacity-management solutions for OpenStack and hybrid clouds, announced its 2016 State of OpenStack Report yesterday. In the report, it identified some concerns IT professionals have with OpenStack, its use cases, and some barriers professionals are facing. John Meadows, vice president of business development at Talligent, said that businesses should have confidence in the path OpenStack is taking. "Companies considering adopting OpenStack should understand that there are still challenges with regards to complexity and deployment," said Meadows. "A successful OpenStack deployment will include some mix of technical expertise, operational tools, and the support of a solid OpenStack partner." Additionally, the shift to an on-demand cloud for IT service delivery requires a new approach to tracking, managing and comparing IT resources, said Meadows. Management tools should be designed to support automation, and deliver real-time insight for OpenStack adoption.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's poking-and-prodding department
Vigile writes: One of the concerns surrounding the recent debate of the Unified Windows Platform and games being released on it, such as the recent Gears of War Ultimate Edition, was the inability for media and consumers, and even entry level developers, to properly profile the performance of those applications. All of the standard testing applications like Fraps, FCAT and other overlays are locked out of UWP games. A Intel graphics engineer released a tool called PresentMon on GitHub yesterday that accesses event timers in Windows to monitor Present commands in any API, including DX11, DX12, Vulkan as well as games built on the Windows Store platform. Using this data, PC Perspective was able to profile the performance of the new Gears of War on PC, comparing frame time variability between the two flagship parts from NVIDIA and AMD. While it's not a perfect utility yet, there is hope now that this open source code will allow for performance metrics on any and all gaming titles.Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's still-struggling-but-won't-give-up department
Reader chasm22 points to a Phys.org report about the second straight loss of Lee Sedol to AlphaGo, the program developed by Google's DeepMind unit. The human Go champion, Sedol found himself "speechless" after the showdown on Thursday. The human versus machine face-off lasted more than four hours, which to Sedol's credit is a slight improvement over his previous match, which had ended with him resigning nearly half an hour remaining on the clock.
"It was a clear loss on my part," Sedol said at a press conference on Thursday. "From the beginning there was no moment I thought I was leading." Demis Hassabis, who heads Google's DeepMind, said, "Because the number of possible Go board positions exceeds the number of atoms in the universe, top players rely heavily on their intuition."
Sedol will battle Google's AlphaGo again on Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's baby-steps department
mdsolar writes: The deep ocean was once assumed to be lifeless and barren. Today we know that even the deepest waters teem with living creatures, some of them thought to be little changed from when life itself first appeared on the planet. The deep ocean is also essential to the earth's biosphere. It regulates global temperatures, stores carbon, provides habitat for countless species and cycles nutrients for marine food webs. Currently stressed by pollution, industrial fishing, and oil and gas development, these cold, dark waters now face another challenge: mining. With land-based mineral sources in decline, seabeds offer a new and largely untapped frontier for mineral extraction, and companies are gearing up to mine a treasure trove of copper, zinc, gold, manganese, and other minerals from the ocean floor. Scientists, regulators, and mining companies are now collaborating on frameworks and strategies for mining the seabed responsibly. Cindy Van Dover, director of the Duke University Marine Laboratory and chair of the school's Division of Marine Science and Conservation, says that's encouraging, given that seabed mining appears to be inevitable.Read Replies (0)