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Arrests Made After Group Hacks CIA Director's AOL Account
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '16 at 05:11 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's you've-got-jail department:
Slashdot reader FullBandwidth writes:
U.S. authorities have arrested two North Carolina men accused of hacking into the private email accounts of high-ranking U.S. intelligence officials. [The men] will be extradited next week to Alexandria, where federal prosecutors for the Eastern District of Virginia have spent months building a case against a group that calls itself Crackas With Attitude... Authorities say the group included three teenage boys being investigated in the United Kingdom.
The group used social engineering to access the email accounts of John Brennan, the director of the CIA, as well as the Director of National Intelligence, and former FBI deputy director Mark Giuliano, according to the article. One exploit involved "posing as a Verizon technician and tricking the company's tech-support unit into revealing the CIA director's account number, password and other details." An FBI affidavit alleges that a British teenager named "Cracka" also began forwarding the calls of a former FBI deputy director "to a number associated with the Free Palestine Movement," while "D3F4ULT" paid for a campaign of harassing phone calls. In addition, "According to the affidavit, Cracka appears to have gotten into the law enforcement database simply by calling an FBI help desk and asking for Giuliano's password to be reset..."

"One member told CNN [In a video interview] that he smoked marijuana 'all day every day' and was 'probably' high when gaining access to high-level accounts."

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China's Expensive Super Particle Collider Jeopardized By Criticism
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '16 at 03:51 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's flamed-by-a-Nobel-prize-winner department:
China's plan to build a particle collider that's four times the size of the Large Hadron Collider in Europe "may be in jeopardy" after criticisms of its cost went viral. Long-time Slashdot reader hackingbear quotes the South China Morning Post:

On Sunday, Dr Yang Chen-ning, co-winner of the Nobel Prize in physics in 1957...released an article on WeChat opposing the construction of the collider. He said the project would become an investment "black hole" with little scientific value or benefit to society, sucking resources away from other research sectors such as life sciences and quantum physics... Yang's article hit nearly all social media platforms and internet news portals, drawing tens of thousands of positive comments over the last couple of days...

Yang's main argument was that China would not succeed where the United States had failed. A similar project had been proposed in the U.S. but was eventually cancelled in 2012 as the construction far exceeded the initial budget... Yang said existing facilities including the Large Hadron Collider contributed little to the increase of human knowledge and was irrelevant to most people's daily lives. But Dr Wang Yifang, lead scientist of the project with the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of High Energy Physics, argued research in high energy physics lead to the world wide web, mobile phone touch screens and magnetic resonance imaging in hospitals, among other technological breakthroughs. The collider is expected to cost $21 billion, and won't be completed until 2050.

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Can Humankind Establish a Supply Chain in Space?
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '16 at 02:22 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's mission-to-Mars department:
Long-time Slashdot reader RockDoctor shares a new paper by NASA planetary scientist Philip Metzger, "detailing a roadmap for humanity to take control of the Solar System in order to solve problems on Earth" by utilizing the resources that are already on the moon. In a 2013 paper, Dr. Metgzer wrote: "[B]ootstrapping" can be achieved with as little as 12 metric tons landed on the Moon during a period of about 20 years... The industry grows exponentially because of the free real estate, energy, and material resources of space. The mass of industrial assets at the end of bootstrapping will be 156 metric tons with 60 humanoid robots or as high as 40,000 metric tons... Within another few decades with no further investment, it can have millions of times the industrial capacity of the United States...
Dr. Metzger wrote in 2013 that "This industry promises to revolutionize the human condition." (See RockDoctor's original submission for more details.) While Metzger now notes that "It will require a sustained commitment of several decades to complete," his new article points out that a lunar supply chain outpost "will cost about 1/3 or less of the existing annual budgets of the national space programs," thanks to advances in both robotics and artificial intelligence, and will help humanity develop renewable energy and greatly expand the availability of other limited resources.

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Samsung to Customers: Stop Using Note 7, Then Wait For Replacements
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '16 at 01:02 PM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's see-you-next-week department:
Samsung is now telling owners of their Galaxy Note 7 to "power down your device and return to using your previous phone. We will voluntarily replace your Galaxy Note7 device with a new one, beginning on September 19th... We acknowledge the inconvenience this may cause in the market but this is to ensure that Samsung continues to deliver the highest quality products to our customers." The BBC reports:
Samsung has urged owners of its Galaxy Note 7 phones to stop using or exchange the devices as they risk exploding. A statement by Samsung, the world's biggest mobile phone maker, said "our customers' safety is an absolute priority..." Earlier on Saturday, aviation authorities in the United Arab Emirates banned use of the devices on the Emirates and Etihad airlines.

Three Australian airlines have already banned use of the phone, and by last week 35 incidents had been reported to Samsung, which believes that the exploding batteries affect 24 phones out of every million (or one phone out of every 41,666).

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LinuxScreenshots.org Closes. All Screenshot Tours Released For Downloading
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '16 at 11:42 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's coming-soon-to-BitTorrent department:
A new announcement on their web site reads:

LinuxScreenshots.org is closed. An archive of all screenshot tours from this site has been made freely available to the community, which consists of 2300 releases from 580 distributions. You may download this archive for fun, or to start your own Linux screenshots website. Please help seed torrents.

I contacted the site's owner, who confirmed the news, saying their goal is to let the community take control of the screenshots. The archives are available on Dropbox and BitTorrent.

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Vandalism Detection Contest Sponsored For Wikidata
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '16 at 11:42 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's Adobe-to-the-rescue department:
Remember when Bing Maps lost a city because they used bad Wikipedia data? An anonymous Slashdot reader writes:

Since knowledge bases like Wikidata are poised to be integrated into all kinds of information systems, wrong facts are not just displayed on Wikidata's pages but may propagate directly to all systems using the knowledge base. Hence, detecting and reverting vandalism and other kinds of damaging edits is an even more important task than on Wikipedia.

Recently, German scientists published the first machine learning-based approach on vandalism detection in Wikidata, and now Adobe sponsors a competition on vandalism detection, the WSDM Cup Challenge, awarding $2500 for the best-performing solutions that will also be published open source.

"Given a Wikidata revision, compute a vandalism score denoting the likelihood of this revision being vandalism (or similarly damaging)," read the official rules, pushing for a near real-time solution to be submitted before December 22. And the winners will also be invited to the headquarters of Wikimedia Germany to discuss implenting their solutions.

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Intel Breaks Qualcomm's Hold On Apple's Baseband Chips
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '16 at 10:21 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's chipping-away department:
Long-time Slashdot reader randomErr writes: In a big blow to Qualcomm, Apple plans to incorporate Intel baseband chips into at least some models of the new iPhone 7. The selection of Intel chip means that in newer iPhones Apple will no longer support CDMA technology popularized by Qualcomm. The Wall Street Journal states that many industry analysts believe Intel could be supplying as many as half of of baseband chips for Apple's handsets.

This was the last key iPhone component that didn't have two sources, and the Journal estimates that Intel's revenues could now increase by up to $700 million before the end of 2016.

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Stephen Wolfram Reveals Ambitious Plan to Teach Computational Thinking
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '16 at 09:01 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's try-my-language department:
Can we teach future generations how to solve their problems with computers? Slashdot reader mirandakatz writes:
Doctors, lawyers, teachers, farmers -- whatever the profession, it'll soon be full of computational thinking. Mathematica and Wolfram Alpha creator Stephen Wolfram argues on Backchannel that it's essential we start teaching kids to talk to computers today to ensure their success in the future -- and he's got a comprehensive lesson plan.

Arguing that Wikipedia popularized "a more direct style of presenting information," Wolfram writes that computer-assisted education continues the trend, "taking things which could only be talked around, and turning them into things that can be shown through computation directly and explicitly." Wolfram's 11,000-word essay adds that "with all the knowledge and automation that we've built into the Wolfram Language we're finally now to the point where we have the technology to be able to directly teach broad computational thinking, even to kids.." (And without having to start off with loops and conditionals...)

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Microsoft Hopes To Hire More Coders With Autism
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '16 at 09:01 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's neurodiversity department:
Autistic people are methodical and detail-oriented, and a new Microsoft program is trying to hire more of them, according to Fast Company. Slashdot reader tedlistens writes:

Vauhini Vara takes a look at the at the (difficult) efforts of Microsoft to recruit more autistic engineers and make a more neurodiverse workplace, through the lens of one of those coders. "The program, which began in May 2015, does away with the typical interview approach, instead inviting candidates to hang out on campus for two weeks and work on projects while being observed and casually meeting managers who might be interested in hiring them. Only at the end of this stage do more formal interviews take place.

"The goal is to create a situation that is better suited to autistic people's styles of communicating and thinking. Microsoft isn't the first to attempt something like this: The German software firm SAP, among a handful of others, have similar programs -- but Microsoft is the highest-profile company to have gone public with its efforts, and autistic adults are hoping it will spark a broader movement."

One autistic coder says they make better employees because "You don't have to tell someone not to go home early. They'll just stay." But there's also a push to bring different analytical and creative approaches into Microsoft's company culture. The article ultimately asks the question, "Could the third-largest corporation in the world make the case that hiring and employing autistic people, with all their social and intellectual quirks, was good, not bad, for business?"

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Senator Urges Colleagues to Prevent Expansion of Government Hacking
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '16 at 07:31 AM
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's searching-for-search-warrants department:
Thursday Sen. Ron Wyden urged the Senate to block a pending change to federal Rule 41, which starting in December will allow judges to authorize remote access to an unlimited number of computers. An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes On The Wire's update on the "Stopping Mass Hacking" Act:

In May, Wyden introduced a one-sentence bill that would prevent the change. The Senate has taken no action on the bill thus far and Wyden on Thursday warned that continued inaction on the issue would be dangerous. "If the Senate does nothing, if the Senate fails to act, what's ahead for Americans is a massive expansion of government hacking and surveillance powers..."

Wyden asked the Senate to pass his bill by unanimous consent, but Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) objected, saying that the change to Rule 41 was a simple one that would help law enforcement agencies know which venue is the correct one to ask for a warrant... Cornyn cited recent reports about hacks of the election systems in some states, possibly by foreign governments, as evidence of the need for the change. "This isn't a time to retreat and allow cyberspace to be run amok by cybercriminals. This is a very sensible tool of venue."

Google, PayPal, and the Tor Project are all opposing the pending rule change, along with the EFF, which is gathering signatures online for a petition arguing that vaguer warrants "could impact any person using a computer with Internet access anywhere in the world."

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Apple iPhone 7 Plus Packs 3GB RAM, Early A10 Fusion Benchmarks Look Very Strong
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '16 at 06:11 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's do-more-with-less department:
MojoKid writes from a report via HotHardware: Apple's A10 Fusion processor, paired with the iPhone 7, is already making its mark on benchmark circuit. Although you may or may not be impressed with Apple's new handset, as usual, Cupertino's latest smartphone is looking very strong performance-wise. According to Geekbench numbers, which showcase the iPhone 7 Plus running iOS 10.0.1 (Golden Master), the 5.5-inch smartphone has 3GB of RAM onboard (the iPhone 7 reportedly contains 2GB RAM). Compared to the previous generation iPhone 6s Plus, this is an increase of 1GB. Compared to Android flagships, which come with 4GB or even 6GB of RAM, 3GB might seem paltry. However, benchmarks show time and time again that Apple's SoCs are among the fastest in the industry and simply do more with less resources. Apple says that the advances it has made with the A10 allow the processor to be twice as fast as the A8 in the iPhone 6 Plus and 40 percent faster than the A9 in the iPhone 6s Plus. The iPhone 7 Plus received a Geekbench single-core score of 3233, while its multi-core score comes in at 5363. For comparison, the beefy A9X processor in the iPad Pro -- also paired with 3GB of RAM -- puts up scores of 3009 and 4881 respectively. Likewise, these numbers far outpace those of the iPhone 6s Plus, which delivers 2407 and 4046 respectively.

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New Research Reveals Hundreds of Undiscovered Black Holes
Posted by News Fetcher on September 10 '16 at 02:11 AM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's galactic-globular-clusters department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Phys.Org: New research by the University of Surrey published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society has shone light on a globular cluster of stars that could host several hundred black holes, a phenomenon that until recently was thought impossible. Globular clusters are spherical collections of stars which orbit around a galactic center such as our Milky-way galaxy. Using advanced computer simulations, the team at the University of Surrey were able to see the un-see-able by mapping a globular cluster known as NGC 6101, from which the existence of black holes within the system was deduced. These black holes are a few times larger than the Sun, and form in the gravitational collapse of massive stars at the end of their lives. It was previously thought that these black holes would almost all be expelled from their parent cluster due to the effects of supernova explosion, during the death of a star. It is only as recently as 2013 that astrophysicists found individual black holes in globular clusters via rare phenomena in which a companion star donates material to the black hole. This work, which was supported by the European Research Council (ERC), has shown that in NGC 6101 there could be several hundred black holes, overturning old theories as to how black holes form.

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Elon Musk Asks Twitter For Help In Finding Cause of SpaceX Explosion
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 11:22 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's unidentified-flying-object department:
On September 1, SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket exploded on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, Florida, and destroyed the AMOS-6 satellite that belonged to Facebook, which was going to be used to beam internet to developing parts of the world. Since the cause for the explosion has yet to be solved, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is asking for help via Twitter. Slashdot reader Thelasko writes: Elon Musk stated on Twitter last night, "Still working on the Falcon fireball investigation. Turning out to be the most difficult and complex failure we have ever had in 14 years." He went on to say, "Important to note that this happened during a routine filling operation. Engines were not on and there was no apparent heat source." Other Tweets mention a "bang" sound before the fire, and that SpaceX "have not ruled out" the possibility that something struck the rocket.

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10 Percent of the World's Wilderness Has Been Lost Since 1990s
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 08:32 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's human-impact department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Live Science: Wilderness areas around the world have experienced catastrophic declines over the last two decades, with one-tenth of global wilderness lost since the 1990s, according to a new study. Since 1993, researchers found that a cumulative wilderness area twice the size of Alaska and half the size of the Amazon has been stripped and destroyed. The shrinking wilderness is due, in part, to human activity such as mining, logging, agriculture, and oil and gas exploration. The researchers said their findings underscore the need for international policies to recognize the value of wilderness and to protect wilderness areas from the threats they face. Central Africa and the Amazon saw the most wilderness decline, the researchers found. Of the roughly 1.27 million square miles (3.3 million square kilometers) of global wilderness lost, the Amazon accounted for nearly one-third, and 14 percent of the world's wilderness was lost from Central Africa, according to the study. The researchers determined that only 11.6 million square miles (30.1 million square km) of wilderness is left, which equates to just 20 percent of the Earth's total land mass. The study was published online in the journal Current Biology.

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Microsoft Is Bringing WebVR To Microsoft Edge On Windows 10
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 07:17 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's coming-to-an-internet-browser-near-you department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from MSPoweruser: Microsoft today announced that the company is bringing support for WebVR to Microsoft Edge on Windows 10. With WebVR, users can experience Virtual Reality content from their web browser on a virtual reality headset such as the Oculus Rift. WebVR support on Microsoft Edge may also be useful for the Windows Holographic Shell on Windows 10, which is expected to arrive sometime later this year. For those unfamiliar, Microsoft will be allowing virtual reality headset owners to use Windows Holographic on their Windows 10 PC -- therefore, Microsoft Edge supporting WebVR can turn out to be very useful. WebVR is already supported in browsers like Google Chrome and Firefox, but it'll be coming to Microsoft Edge in the near-future. At the moment, Microsoft isn't sharing many details about WebVR on Microsoft Edge. While there isn't any official info on when the company plans to release this feature, we suspect it'll be coming with Windows 10 Redstone 2 which is expected to arrive in early 2017.

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Video Shows How Bacteria Invade Antibiotics And Transform Into Superbugs
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 05:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's visually-stunning department:
guises writes: By making a giant petri dish out of bands of increasingly antibiotic-laced agar, a couple of microbiologists have created a means to watch bacterial evolution as it happens: colonies introduced to the dish expand to fill the areas in which they can survive and then mutate and spread into the areas in which they can not. It takes only eleven days for the bacteria to evolve sufficient resistance to survive in an area with a thousand times the concentration of antibiotics that would have killed the original colonies. And it makes a pretty neat video.

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General Motors Recalls 4.3 Million Vehicles Over a Software Bug
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 05:41 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's drove-my-chevy-to-the-levy-and-the-levy-was-dry department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Gizmodo: If you own a GM vehicle from 2014-2017, listen up: General Motors is recalling nearly 4.3 million vehicles worldwide after discovering a software defect that prevents air bags from deploying during a crash. The software bug may also prevent the seat belts from locking properly. The flaw has already been linked to one death and three injuries. Vehicles affected by the recall include 2014-2016 car models of the Buick LaCross, Chevy SS, and Chevy Spark EVs. It also includes 2014-2017 models of the Buick Encore, GMC Sierra, Chevy Corvette, Chevy Trax, Chevy Caprice, Chevy Silverado. Additionally, the recall affects 2015-2017 models of the Chevy Tahoe, Chevy Silverado HD, Chevy Suburban, GMC Yukon, GMC Yukon XL, GMC Sierra HD, Cadillac Escalade, and Cadillac Escalade ESV. GM will notify owners of affected vehicles and update the software for free, according to the NHTSA. "In the affected vehicles, certain driving conditions may cause the air bag sensing and diagnostic module (SDM) software to activate a diagnostic test," the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in a statement. "During the test, deployment of the frontal air bags and the seat belt pretensioners would not occur in the event of a crash."

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CPSC: Stop Using The Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 04:12 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's ticking-time-bomb department:
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 can not seem to catch a break. In addition to the recall issued by Samsung over faulty batteries that have the potential to burst into flames, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is urging Galaxy Note 7 users to avoid turning on or charging the devices while flying on planes. Most recently, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a statement "urging all consumers who own a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 to power them down and stop charging or using the device." TechCrunch reports: "The government body is 'working quickly to determine whether a replacement Galaxy Note 7 is an acceptable remedy for Samsung or their phone carriers to provide to customers.' In other words, they may still decide that the problem is of a scale sufficient to issue a complete product recall. This could be the case should the problem causing the fire prove to be in the phone itself as well as the battery. The CPSC and Samsung are working together on a more official notice with advice on what to do (other than turn it off), so until then, stay safe."

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Apple Removed Headphone Jack From New iPhones Because It Owns Largest Bluetooth Headphone Company
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 04:12 PM
By manishs from Slashdot's that-explains-it department:
Apple's new iPhones -- the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus -- don't have the headphone jack. The company's SVP Phil Schiller said the move signifies "courage" from the company to put a 100-year-old audio standard to bed. But there could be one more reason for this transition to a Bluetooth/Wireless headphones future: it owns the largest Bluetooth headphones company -- Beats. The Verge reports: More likely is that the lack of a headphone jack on the iPhone -- and increasingly, on Android phones as well -- will lead to an uptick in sales of Bluetooth headphones. And it just so happens that Apple owns the number one Bluetooth headphone company, Beats. Beats brings in more revenue from Bluetooth headphones than LG, Bose, or Jaybird, according to NPD figures released in July. In terms of unit sales, it controls over a quarter of the Bluetooth headphone market. Bluetooth headphones are also disproportionately profitable among headphones. NPD has them accounting for 54 percent of all dollars spent in the market, despite representing only 17 percent of units sold in the U.S.. These headphones sell at high prices with high margins, and Apple's company is making the best of it so far. Sales of Bluetooth headphones are already growing, with units up 64 percent year over year according to NPD's US figures. And Apple's removal of the headphone jack is likely to give them another boost.

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Smartphones Can Steal 3D Printing Plans By Listening To The Printer
Posted by News Fetcher on September 09 '16 at 02:51 PM
By BeauHD from Slashdot's always-listening department:
An anonymous reader quotes a report from FedScoop: Smartphones equipped with special programming can become a sophisticated spy sensor capable of stealing designs from a 3D printer -- just by measuring the noise and electromagnetic radiation the printer emits. Researchers from the University of Buffalo recently discovered how a smartphone on a bench about 8 inches away from a 3D printer could allow someone to reconstruct a simple object being printed with 94 percent accuracy. Complex objects can be copied with 90 percent accuracy. The attack basically reverse-engineers the printing blueprint by reconstructing the movement of the nozzle from the electromagnetic and acoustic energy it generates while working. Most information came from electromagnetic waves, which accounted for about 80 percent of the useful data. The remaining 20 percent came from acoustic waves. Wenyao Xu, assistant professor in the University of Buffalo's Department of Computer Science and Engineering, is the lead author of the study, "My Smartphone Knows What You Print: Exploring Smartphone-Based Side-Channel Attacks Against 3D Printers," which will be presented at the Association for Computing Machinery's 23rd annual Conference on Computer and Communications Security next month in Austria.

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