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Chinese Ninebot Buys US Rival Segway
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's lean-into-it department:
An anonymous reader writes Xiaomi-backed startup Ninebot, a Chinese maker of electric-powered personal transportation products, has acquired U.S. rival Segway – the two-wheeler upright scooter which has become a running joke, synonymous with various comedic appearances (such as in U.S. sitcom Arrested Development and the 2009 comedy Paul Blart: Mall Cop), and the death of its owner at the hands of an unfortunate Segway-induced cliff fall. However Gao Lufeng, chief executive, still recognizes the potential of the Segway and has bought the U.S. company for an undisclosed amount. Lufeng confirmed that Ninebot had also secured $80mn in funding from Xiaomi and venture capital firm Sequoia Capital.

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Magician Turned Professor Talks About the Math Behind Shuffling Cards
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's nothing-up-my-sleeve department:
An anonymous reader writes with this story about magician and professor of mathematics and statistics at Stanford University Persi Diaconis. "Now a professor of mathematics and statistics at Stanford University, Diaconis has employed his intuition about cards, which he calls 'the poetry of magic,' in a wide range of settings. Once, for example, he helped decode messages passed between inmates at a California state prison by using small random 'shuffles' to gradually improve a decryption key. He has also analyzed Bose-Einstein condensation — in which a collection of ultra-cold atoms coalesces into a single 'superatom' — by envisioning the atoms as rows of cards moving around. This makes them 'friendly,' said Diaconis, whose speech still carries the inflections of his native New York City. 'We all have our own basic images that we translate things into, and for me cards were where I started.' In 1992, Diaconis famously proved — along with the mathematician Dave Bayer of Columbia University — that it takes about seven ordinary riffle shuffles to randomize a deck. Over the years, Diaconis and his students and colleagues have successfully analyzed the effectiveness of almost every type of shuffle people use in ordinary life."

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MIT Celebrates 10 Years of SCIgen Bogus CompSci Paper Generator With New Tool
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 10:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's making-it-all-up department:
alphadogg writes Three MIT grads this week are celebrating the 10th anniversary of their clever SCIgen program, which randomly generates computer science papers realistic enough to get accepted by sketchy technical conferences and publishers, with a brand new tool designed to poke even more fun at such outfits. Just a bit late for April Fool's Day, the new SCIpher program from the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab alums enables users to hide messages inside randomly-generated calls for papers from phony conferences whose names are so ridiculous that they sound legit. An MIT spokesman says the new tool is really just a way for geeky friends to mess with each other, whereas SCIgen pointed out major flaws in the worlds of scientific journals and conferences.

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NVIDIA's New GPUs Are Very Open-Source Unfriendly
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's returning-to-par department:
An anonymous reader writes: The Nouveau driver developers working on open-source support for the GeForce 900 Maxwell graphics cards have found this new generation to be "very open-source unfriendly" and restricting. NVIDIA began requiring signed firmware images, which they have yet to provide to Nouveau developers, contrary to their earlier statements. The open-source developers have also found their firmware signing to go beyond just simple security precautions. For now the open-source NVIDIA driver can only enable displays with the GTX 900 series without any hardware acceleration.

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GAO Warns FAA of Hacking Threat To Airliners
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 08:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-agile-enough-to-respond department:
chicksdaddy writes: A report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) warns that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration may be failing to address cyber security vulnerabilities that could allow remote attacks on avionics systems needed to keep the plane airborne. In a report issued Tuesday (PDF), the GAO said, "significant security-control weaknesses remain that threaten the agency's ability to ensure the safe and uninterrupted operation of the national airspace system." Among those: a lack of clear certification for aircraft airworthy readiness that encompasses cyber security protections. That lapse could allow planes to fly with remotely exploitable vulnerabilities that could affect aircraft controls and guidance systems.

The GAO report did not provide details of any specific vulnerability affecting any specific aircraft. Rather, GAO cited FAA personnel and experts, saying that the possibility exists that "unauthorized individuals might access and compromise aircraft avionics systems," in part by moving between Internet-connected in-flight entertainment systems and critical avionics systems in the aircraft cabin.

Security researchers have long warned that hackers could jump from in-flight entertainment systems in the passenger cabin to cockpit avionics systems if airlines did not take proper precautions, such as so-called "air gapping" the networks. At last year's Black Hat Briefings, researcher Ruben Santamarta of IOActive demonstrated a method of hacking the satellite communications equipment on passenger jets through their WiFi and inflight entertainment systems.


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Researchers Design a Self-Powered Digital Camera
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 08:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's thankfully-not-a-selfie-powered-camera department:
Jason Koebler writes: Researchers at Columbia University have designed a fully electric digital camera that powers itself using ambient light. Put in a well-lit room, it would work indefinitely. The camera's image sensor does double duty. It measures the light needed to make the photograph, and it also takes excess light and uses it to power a capacitor (it has no battery) that runs the camera (PDF). The research team says the technology can be used to create self-powered cameras that can live on the internet of things.

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Samsung SSD On a Tiny M.2 Stick Is Capable of Read Speeds Over 2GB/sec
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 07:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's unless-it's-got-the-evo840-problem department:
MojoKid writes: Samsung has just announced its new SM951-NVMe SSD, the industry's first NVMe SSD to employ an M.2 form-factor. Samsung says the new gumstick style drive is capable of sequential read and write speeds of 2,260 MB/sec and 1,600 MB/sec respectively. Comparable SATA-based M.2 SSDs typically can only push read/write speeds of 540 MB/sec and 500 MB/sec, while most standard PCIe versions muster just north of 1GB/sec. The Samsung SM951-NVMe's performance is actually very comparable to the Intel SSD 750 Series PCIe x4 card but should help kick notebook performance up a notch in this common platform configuration.

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Jack Thompson Will Be Featured In BBC Film 'Grand Theft Auto'
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 07:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's enjoy-your-legacy-buddy department:
New submitter requerdanos writes: Former attorney and professional troll Jack Thompson is set to become a major motion picture figure, played by Bill Paxton, in the upcoming film Grand Theft Auto. According to Cinema Blend, "Paxton is in line to play Jack Thompson. A Miami lawyer, Thompson came into the public eye by frequently blasting Grand Theft Auto, creator Rockstar Games, and video game violence in general. Before that, he was known for attacking media companies who promoted both hip hop and sex. In 2008, allegations of professional misconduct, including harassment, defamation, intimidation, and false statements led to Thompson being disbarred."

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Remote Code Execution Vulnerability Found In Windows HTTP Stack
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 06:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's another-day,-another-vuln department:
jones_supa writes: A remote code execution vulnerability exists in the Windows HTTP stack that is caused when HTTP.SYS parses specially-crafted HTTP requests. An attacker who has successfully exploited this vulnerability could execute arbitrary code under the SYSTEM context. Details of the bug are withheld, but exploit code is floating around. Microsoft describes the issue in security bulletin MS15-034. An update (KB3042553) is already available for all supported editions of Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows 8.1, and Windows Server 2012 R2. As a workaround, Microsoft offers disabling IIS kernel caching.

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'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's brought-to-you-by-years-of-pointless-irritation department:
An anonymous reader writes: There has been a lot of interest in the activities of the Church of Scientology recently, especially since the release of Alex Gibney's documentary Going Clear. A petition against tax-exempt status for Scientology has been started on the U.S. White House petition website. If it receives more than 100,000 signatures, it will qualify for an official White House response. Even Slashdot has had its own run-ins with Scientology in the past — one of many internet sites to face legal threats from the Church. Has the time come for Scientology go "clear?"

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Nokia To Buy Alcatel-Lucent for $16.6 Billion
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 05:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's go-big-or-go-home department:
totalcaos sends news that Nokia has announced plans to buy Alcatel-Lucent for $16.6 billion worth of stock. Both companies have approved the transaction, though now they must wait for regulatory approval. They said they expect the deal to close in the first half of 2016.
The combined company is expected to become the world’s second-largest telecom equipment manufacturer behind Ericsson of Sweden, with global revenues totaling $27 billion and operations spread across Asia, Europe and North America. The companies are betting that, by joining forces, they can better compete against Chinese and European rivals bidding to provide telecom hardware and software to the world’s largest carriers, including AT&T and Verizon in the United States, Vodafone and Orange in Europe, and SoftBank in Japan. ... Analysts say that Nokia has progressively focused on its equipment unit, which now represents roughly 85 percent of the company’s annual revenue. On Wednesday, Nokia confirmed that it had put its digital maps business — a competitor for Google Maps — up for sale.

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Hubble and the VLT Uncover Evidence For Self-Interacting Dark Matter
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 04:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it's-perfectly-natural-and-healthy department:
astroengine writes: A new study carried out by the ESO's Very Large Telescope and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has revealed for the first time that dark matter may well interact with itself — a discovery that, at first glance, seems to contradict what we thought we knew about the nature of this invisible mass. "In this study, the researchers observed the four colliding galaxies and found that one dark matter clump appeared to be lagging behind the galaxy it surrounds. The dark matter is currently 5000 light-years (50 000 million million kilometers) behind the galaxy — it would take NASA’s Voyager spacecraft 90 million years to travel that far. A lag between dark matter and its associated galaxy is predicted during collisions if dark matter interacts with itself, even very slightly, through forces other than gravity. Dark matter has never before been observed interacting in any way other than through the force of gravity."

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World's Oldest Stone Tools Discovered In Kenya
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 01:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's when-all-you-have-is-a-stone-flake,-everything-looks-like-a-bone-chip department:
sciencehabit writes: Researchers say they have found the oldest tools made by human ancestors—stone flakes dated to 3.3 million years ago. That's 700,000 years older than the oldest-known tools to date, suggesting that our ancestors were crafting tools several hundred thousand years before our genus Homo arrived on the scene. If correct, the new evidence could confirm disputed claims for very early tool use, and it suggests that ancient australopithecines like the famed 'Lucy' may have fashioned stone.

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New Samsung SSD 840 EVO Read Performance Fix Coming Later This Month
Posted by News Fetcher on April 15 '15 at 12:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's slower-than-fastest-but-faster-than-slowest department:
An anonymous reader writes: The Samsung SSD 840 EVO read performance bug has been on the table for over six months now. Initially Samsung acknowledged the issue fairly quickly and provided a fix only a month after the news hit the mainstream tech media, but reports of read performance degradation surfaced again a few weeks after the fix had been released, making it clear that the first fix didn't solve the issue for all users. Two months ago Samsung announced that a new fix is in the works and last week Samsung sent out the new firmware along with Magician 4.6 for testing, which will be available to the public later this month.

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US Navy Researchers Get Drones To Swarm On Target
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '15 at 10:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's teaching-skynet-how-to-kill-us department:
coondoggie writes: The Office of Naval Research today said it had successfully demonstrated a system that lets small-unmanned aircraft swarm and act together over a particular target. The system, called Low-Cost UAV Swarming Technology (LOCUST) features a tube-based launcher that can send multiple drones into the air in rapid succession. The systems then use information sharing between the drones, allowing autonomous collaborative behavior in either defensive or offensive missions, the Navy said.

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EU To Hit Google With Antitrust Charges
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '15 at 08:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's don't-be-too-good-at-what-you-do department:
Bruce66423 sends news that the European Union has decided to hit Google with antitrust charges that could lead to fines of over $6 billion. The EU has been investigating Google for five years now. "The European Commission has highlighted four main areas of concern in its investigation: potential bias in Google’s search results, scraping content from rival websites, agreements with advertisers that may exclude rival search-advertising services and contracts that limit marketers from using other platforms." They're also keeping an eye on Android-related business practices.

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New Horizons Captures First Color Image of Pluto and Charon
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '15 at 07:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's pictures-that-are-both-unimpressive-and-really-impressive department:
192_kbps writes: NASA published today the first color image of Pluto and Charon captured by the New Horizons probe, revealing a reddish world. "The fastest spacecraft ever launched, New Horizons has traveled a longer time and farther away - more than nine years and three billion miles - than any space mission in history to reach its primary target. Its flyby of Pluto and its system of at least five moons on July 14 will complete the initial reconnaissance of the classical solar system. This mission also opens the door to an entirely new "third" zone of mysterious small planets and planetary building blocks in the Kuiper Belt, a large area with numerous objects beyond Neptune's orbit." The picture is blurry, but far better than the few pixels Hubble can resolve, the image whets the appetite for New Horizon's closest approach on July 14th."

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Cracking Passwords With Statistics
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '15 at 06:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's statistics-is-the-most-powerful-tool-nobody-uses-correctly department:
New submitter pjauregui writes: When users are asked to create a "secure" password, most sites simply demand things like "must contain 1 uppercase letter and one punctuation character." But those requirements often lead to users picking exactly 1 uppercase letter, and using it to begin their password. What was intended to increase randomness is instead creating structure that statistical analysis can exploit. This article starts by asking the reader, "Think like a hacker and ask yourself how fast your passwords might be able to be cracked based on their structure." The author then describes his method for cracking passwords at scale, efficiently, stating that many attackers approach this concept headfirst: They try any arbitrary password attack they feel like trying with little reasoning. His post is a discussion that demonstrates effective methodologies for password cracking and how statistical analysis of passwords can be used in conjunction with tools to create a time boxed approach to efficient and successful cracking.

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Road To Mars: Solving the Isolation Problem
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '15 at 04:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's cryostasis-is-not-just-for-sci-fi-and-weekly-meetings department:
An anonymous reader writes: As space technology matures, new missions are being funded and humanity is setting its goals ever further. Space agencies are tackling some of the new problems that crop up when we try to go further away than Earth's moon. This New Yorker article takes a look at research into one of the biggest obstacles: extended isolation. Research consultant Jack Stuster once wrote, "Future space expeditions will resemble sea voyages much more than test flights, which have served as the models for all previous space missions." Long-duration experiments are underway to test the effects of isolation, but it's tough to study. You need many experiments to derive useful conclusions, but you can't just ship 100 groups of a half-dozen people off to remote areas of the globe and monitor all of them. It's also borderline unethical to expose the test subjects to the kind of stress and danger that would be present in a real Mars mission. The data collected so far has been (mostly) promising, but we have a long way to go. The technology and the missions themselves will probably come together long before we know how to deal with isolation. At some point, we'll just have to hope our best guess is good enough.

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How Mission Creep Killed a Gaming Studio
Posted by News Fetcher on April 14 '15 at 03:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-actually-about-duke-nukem-forever department:
Nerval's Lobster writes: Over at Kotaku, there's an interesting story about the reported demise of Darkside Game Studios, a game-development firm that thought it finally had a shot at the big time only to collapse once its project requirements spun out of control. Darkside got a chance to show off its own stuff with a proposed remake of Phantom Dust, an action-strategy game that became something of a cult favorite. Microsoft, which offered Darkside the budget to make the game, had a very specific list of requirements for the actual gameplay. The problem, as Kotaku describes, is those requirements shifted after the project was well underway. Darkside needed more developers, artists, and other skilled tech pros to finish the game with its expanded requirements, but (anonymous sources claimed) Microsoft refused to offer up more money to actually hire the necessary people. As a result, the game's development imploded, reportedly followed by the studio. What's the lesson in all this? It's one of the oldest in the book: Escalating and unanticipated requirements, especially without added budget to meet those requirements, can have devastating effects on both a project and the larger software company.

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