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'Let's Encrypt' Project Strives To Make Encryption Simple
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '15 at 07:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's reaching-for-peak-encryption department:
jones_supa writes: As part of an effort to make encryption a standard component of every application, the Linux Foundation has launched the Let's Encrypt project (announcement) and stated its intention to provide access to a free certificate management service. Jim Zemlin, executive director for the Linux Foundation, says the goal for the project is nothing less than universal adoption of encryption to disrupt a multi-billion dollar hacker economy. While there may never be such a thing as perfect security, Zemlin says it's just too easy to steal data that is not encrypted. In its current form, encryption is difficult to implement and a lot of cost and overhead is associated with managing encryption keys. Zemlin claims the Let's Encrypt project will reduce the effort it takes to encrypt data in an application down to two simple commands. The project is being hosted by the Linux Foundation, but the actual project is being managed by the Internet Security Research Group. This work is sponsored by Akamai, Cisco, EFF, Mozilla, IdenTrust, and Automattic, which all are Linux Foundation patrons. Visit Let's Encrypt official website to get involved.

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Intel's Core M Performance Is Erratic Between Devices
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '15 at 06:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's bring-back-the-turbo-button department:
An anonymous reader writes: AnandTech noticed some odd performance disparities with Intel's Core M CPU, a chip designed to bring high-powered processing to thin, fan-less devices. After investigating, they found that how OEMs build their laptops and tablets has a far greater effect on Core M performance than it does for other chips. "When an OEM designs a device for Core M, or any SoC for that matter, they have to consider construction and industrial design as well as overriding performance. ... This, broadly speaking, gives the OEM control over several components that are out of the hands of the processor designers. Screen size, thickness, industrial design, and skin temperature all have their limits, and adjusting those knobs opens the door to slower or faster Core M units, depending on what the company decides to target.

In the Core M units that we have tested at AnandTech so far this year, we have seen a variety of implementations with and without fans and in a variety of form factors. But the critical point of all of this comes down to how the OEM defines the SoC/skin temperature limitations of the device, and this ends up being why the low-end Core M-5Y10 can beat the high-end Core M-5Y71, and is a poignant part of our tests. Simply put, if the system with 5Y10 has a higher SoC/skin temperature, it can stay in its turbo mode for longer and can end up outperforming a 5Y71, leading to some of the unusual results we've seen so far."


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The Last Time Oceans Got This Acidic This Fast, 96% of Marine Life Went Extinct
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '15 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it's-not-easy-being-green department:
merbs writes: The biggest extinction event in planetary history was driven by the rapid acidification of our oceans, a new study concludes (abstract). So much carbon was released into the atmosphere, and the oceans absorbed so much of it so quickly, that marine life simply died off, from the bottom of the food chain up. That doesn't bode well for the present, given the similarly disturbing rate that our seas are acidifying right now. A team led by University of Edinburgh researchers collected rocks in the United Arab Emirates that were on the seafloor hundreds of millions of years ago, and used the boron isotopes found within to model the changing levels of acidification in our prehistoric oceans. They now believe that a series of gigantic volcanic eruptions in the Siberian Trap spewed a great fountain of carbon into the atmosphere over a period of tens of thousands of years. This was the first phase of the extinction event, in which terrestrial life began to die out.

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China's 'Great Cannon' -- a Cyber-weapon to Accompany the Great Firewall
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '15 at 05:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's speak-softly-and-carry-a-bunch-of-packets department:
An anonymous reader writes: A new report from The Citizen Lab identifies a distinct new technology entity sitting next to the Great Firewall of China. Dubbed the 'Great Cannon', the multi-process cluster revealed itself quite openly in the recent attacks on Greatfire.org and its two Github pages. The DDoS attack was so sustained that CL was able to study the new technology in depth, determining architectural similarities and unearthing many strong indications that it is a product of the Chinese authorities.

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Amazon Sues To Block Fake Reviews
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '15 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's 4-out-of-5-stars-would-review-again department:
An anonymous reader writes Amazon has filed suit against operators of sites that offer Amazon sellers the ability to purchase fake 4 and 5 star customer reviews. The suit is the first of its kind and was filed in King County Superior Court against a California man, Jay Gentile, identified in Amazon's filings as the operator of buyazonreviews.com. The site also targets unidentified "John Does" who operate similar sites: buyreviewsnow.com, bayreviews.net, and buyamazonreviews.com. From the article: "The site buyazonreviews.com, which the suit claims is run by Gentile, didn't respond to a request for comment. But Mark Collins, the owner of buyamazonreviews.com, denied Amazon's claims. In an email interview, Collins said the site simply offers to help Amazon's third-party sellers get reviews. 'We are not selling fake reviews. however we do provide Unbiased and Honest reviews on all the products,' Collins wrote. 'And this is not illegal at all.'"

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3D Printed Guns Might Lead To Law Changes In Australia
Posted by News Fetcher on April 10 '15 at 01:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's print-and-shoot department:
angry tapir writes An inquiry by an Australian Senate committee has recommended the introduction of uniform laws across jurisdictions in the country "regulating the manufacture of 3D printed firearms and firearm parts". Although current laws are in general believed to cover 3D printed guns, there are concerns there may inconsistencies across different Australian jurisdictions. Although there aren't any high-profile cases of 3D printed weapons being used in crimes in the country, earlier this year a raid in Queensland recovered 3D printed firearm parts.

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German Teenager Gets Job Offer By Trying To Use FOI For His Exam Papers
Posted by News Fetcher on April 09 '15 at 11:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's looking-for-an-edge department:
Bruce66423 writes "A German schoolboy has taken exam preparation to ingenious new levels by making a freedom of information request to see the questions in his forthcoming Abitur tests, the equivalent of A-levels in the UK." and SATS in the USA. The media attention from his FoI request has already garnered him an offer of work from another transparency-related organization, the research website Correctiv. “If I have time before university starts I’ll definitely do it,” he said.

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A Data-Driven Exploration of the Evolution of Chess
Posted by News Fetcher on April 09 '15 at 08:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what-does-the-horse-do-again? department:
HughPickens.com writes Randy Olsen has a interesting article where he explores a data set of over 650,000 chess tournament games ranging back to the 15th century and looks at how chess has changed over time. His findings include:

Chess games are getting longer. Chess games have been getting steadily longer since 1970, increasing from 75 ply (37 moves) per game in 1970 to a whopping 85 ply (42 moves) per game in 2014. "This trend could possibly be telling us that defensive play is becoming more common in chess nowaday," writes Olsen. "Even the world's current best chess player, Magnus Carlsen, was forced to adopt a more defensive play style (instead of his traditional aggressive style) to compete with the world's elite."

The first-move advantage has always existed. White consistently wins 56% and Black only 44% of the games every year between 1850 and 2014 and the first-move advantage becomes more pronounced the more skilled the chess players are. "Despite 150+ years of revolutions and refinement of chess, the first-move advantage has effectively remained untouched. The only way around it is to make sure that competitors play an even number of games as White and Black."

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Has Google Indexed Your Backup Drive?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 09 '15 at 06:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's it's-out-there department:
itwbennett writes Depending on how you've configured the device, your backup drive may have been indexed by Google, making some seriously personal information freely available online to anyone who knows what they're looking for. Using a few simple Google searches, CSO's Steve Ragan discovered thousands of personal records and documents online, including sales receipts with credit card information and tax documents with social security numbers. In all cases, the files were exposed because someone used a misconfigured device acting as a personal cloud, or FTP (File Transfer Protocol) was enabled on their router.

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America's Methane Mystery: NASA Set To Investigate Hotspot Over the 4 Corners
Posted by News Fetcher on April 09 '15 at 04:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's hot-spot department:
schwit writes A "hot spot" of the largest concentration of methane seen over the United States is in the area near the Four Corners intersection of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah and covers 2,500 square miles. The hotspot predates widespread fracking in the area. Researchers from several institutions are now in the Four Corners region of the U.S. Southwest with a suite of airborne and ground-based instruments, aiming to uncover reasons for a mysterious methane "hot spot" detected from space. "With all the ground-based and airborne resources that the different groups are bringing to the region, we have the unique chance to unequivocally solve the Four Corners mystery," said Christian Frankenberg, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, who is heading NASA's part of the effort.

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Ten US Senators Seek Investigation Into the Replacement of US Tech Workers
Posted by News Fetcher on April 09 '15 at 03:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's boss-wants-a-bonus department:
dcblogs notes this story about a bipartisan group of U.S. senators that has asked for an investigation into whether companies are firing American workers and replacing them with foreign workers for the sake of cutting costs. "Ten U.S. senators, representing the political spectrum, are seeking a federal investigation into displacement of IT workers by H-1B-using contractors. They are asking the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and the Labor Department to investigate the use of the H-1B program "to replace large numbers of American workers" at Southern California Edison (SCE) and other employers. The letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and the secretaries of the two other departments, was signed by U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has oversight over the Justice Department. The other signers are Sens. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), a longtime ally of Grassley on H-1B issues; Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), David Vitter (R-La.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.). Neither California senator signed on. "Southern California Edison ought to be the tipping point that finally compels Washington to take needed actions to protect American workers," Sessions said. Five hundred IT workers at SCE were cut, and many had to train their replacements."

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FAA Allows AIG To Use Drones For Insurance Inspections
Posted by News Fetcher on April 09 '15 at 02:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's adjuster-in-the-sky department:
An anonymous reader writes with news that AIG is the latest insurance company given permission by the FAA to use drones for inspections. "The Federal Aviation Administration has been rather stingy when it comes to giving companies the OK to test, let alone employ, drones. After getting permission this week, AIG joins State Farm and USAA as insurance providers with exemptions that allow them to use the UAVs to perform tasks that are risky to regular folks — things like roof inspections after a major storm. In addition to keeping its inspectors safe, the company says drones will speed up the claims process, which means its customers will, in theory, get paid faster. 'UAVs can help accelerate surveys of disaster areas with high resolution images for faster claims handling, risk assessment, and payments,' the news release explains. 'They can also quickly and safely reach areas that could be dangerous or inaccessible for manual inspection, and they provide richer information about properties, structures, and claim events.'"

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Virtual Desktop Makes Windows OS Oculus Rift-Capable
Posted by News Fetcher on April 09 '15 at 02:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's with-a-little-help department:
An anonymous reader writes Virtual Desktop is a free program that makes the Windows operating system compatible with the Oculus Rift VR headset. To the surprise of some, plugging the Oculus Rift into a computer doesn't result in a native view of the OS, meaning that users have to put on and take off the headset as they move from one VR-specific app to the next. If you want to use typical Windows programs—like Photoshop, Firefox, or Microsoft Office—no dice! That's where Virtual Desktop comes in, enabling the entire Windows desktop, and any application that can run on it, to be seen through the Oculus Rift. It also works as a bridge between VR-specific applications, allowing you to move from one to the next without ever taking off the headset. The latest version released today includes voice commands for launching VR games, global monitor mirroring, performance improvements, and is built against the latest Oculus Rift SDK.

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Ask Slashdot: How To Introduce a 7-Year-Old To Programming?
Posted by News Fetcher on April 09 '15 at 01:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's first-you-must-erase-his-mind department:
THE_WELL_HUNG_OYSTER writes I'm a professional programmer and have been programming since I was a small boy. I want to introduce this to my 7-year-son but know nothing about teaching this to children. Since he enjoys Roblox and Minecraft very much, and knows how to use computers already, I suspect teaching him to write his own small games would be a good starting point. I'm aware of lists like this one, but it's quite overwhelming. There are so many choices that I am overwhelmed where to start. Anyone in the Slashdot in the community have recent hands-on experience with such tools/systems that he/she would recommend?

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Google Is Too Slow At Clearing Junkware From the Chrome Extension Store
Posted by News Fetcher on April 09 '15 at 01:01 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's imperfect-world department:
Mark Wilson writes Malware is something computer users — and even mobile and tablet owners — are now more aware of than ever. That said, many people do not give a second thought to installing a browser extension to add new features to their most frequently used application. Despite the increased awareness, malware is not something a lot of web users think of in relation to extensions; but they should.

Since the beginning of 2015 — just over three months — Google has already received over 100,000 complaints from Chrome users about 'ad injectors' hidden in extensions. Security researchers have also discovered that a popular extension — Webpage Screenshot — includes code that could be used to send browsing history back to a remote server. Google is taking steps to clean up the extension store to try to prevent things like this happening, but security still needs to be tightened up.


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1+ Year Running Arch Linux On a Lenovo Yoga 2 Chronicled
Posted by News Fetcher on April 09 '15 at 12:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's not-yet-doing-corpse-position department:
New submitter KeithCu writes with a lengthy explanation of the joys (and just a handful of glitches) he's had in running Arch Linux on his ultraportable, a Lenovo Yoga 2. Other than the hardware-specific issues, I've been amazed by how well Arch Linux works, given that it doesn't have release cycles, or a big team with a lot of money supporting and marketing it. I've heard only 30 developers maintain the core Arch packages, with most of them having a full-time job doing something else! At the same time, it shouldn't be a total surprise things work so well, because free software doesn't just fall off a turnip truck.

Not many reviews feature pictures of a laptop charred from building LibreOffice.

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U.S Pens $200 Million Deal For Massive Nuclear Security-Focused Supercomputer
Posted by News Fetcher on April 09 '15 at 11:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's get-calculatin' department:
An anonymous reader writes For the first time in over twenty years of supercomputing history, a chipmaker [Intel] has been awarded the contract to build a leading-edge national computing resource. This machine, expected to reach a peak performance of 180 petaflops, will provide massive compute power to Argonne National Laboratory, which will receive the HPC gear in 2018. Supercomputer maker Cray, which itself has had a remarkable couple of years contract-wise in government and commercial spheres, will be the integrator and manufacturer of the "Aurora" super. This machine will be a next-generation variant of its "Shasta" supercomputer line. The new $200 million supercomputer is set to be installed at Argonne's Leadership Computing Facility in 2018, rounding out a trio of systems aimed at bolstering nuclear security initiatives as well as pushing the performance of key technical computing applications valued by the Department of Energy and other agencies.

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Uber Finally Accepts Cash -- For Autorickshaws In Delhi
Posted by News Fetcher on April 09 '15 at 11:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's diffusion-of-innovations department:
An anonymous reader writes Car-hailing giant Uber has launched a new service called UberAUTO in Delhi, which will not only make no charge for hailing an autorickshaw, but will permit customers to pay cash for the first time in the company's history. As there seems to be no specific reason why the three-wheeled carriers should be exempt from Uber's online-only payment policy, the move invites speculation that the $40 billion firm is experimentig with unlocking another revenue stream.

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FTC Creates Office Dedicated To "Algorithmic Transparency"
Posted by News Fetcher on April 09 '15 at 10:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's from-the-government-and-here-to-help department:
jfruh writes When Facebook's EdgeRank algorithm filters a meme you posted out of your friends' feed, you might find that annoying. When your bank's algorithm denies you a mortgage, that has a serious effect on your life. But both kinds of algorithms are generally opaque to customers and regulators, and the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection has set up an office dedicated to figuring out these algorithms affect our lives and intersect with the law. Perhaps they can start with how the IRS selects people to audit, and whether constantly shifting TSA policies make sense.

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Reason: How To Break the Internet (in a Bad Way)
Posted by News Fetcher on April 09 '15 at 09:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's but-the-council-of-wise-men-have-decreed department:
Widespread public sentiment favors the FCC's move to impose rules intended to establish "net neutrality"; an anonymous reader writes with a skeptical viewpoint: "No decent person," write Geoffrey Manne and Ben Sperry in a special issue of Reason, "should be *for* net neutrality." Across the board, the authors write, letting the FCC dictate ISP business practices will result in everything they say they're trying to avoid. For instance, one of the best ways to route around a big firm's brand recognition is to buy special treatment in the form of promotions, product placement and the like (payola, after all, is how rock and roll circumvented major label contempt for the genre). That will almost certainly be forbidden under the FCC's version of neutrality.

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