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Big Names Dominate Open Source Funding
Posted by News Fetcher on January 10 '15 at 12:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's all-about-the-open-source-benjamins department:
jones_supa writes: Network World's analysis of publicly listed sponsors of 36 prominent open-source non-profits and foundations reveals that the lion's share of financial support for open-source groups comes from a familiar set of names. Google was the biggest supporter, appearing on the sponsor lists of eight of the 36 groups analyzed. Four companies – Canonical, SUSE, HP and VMware – supported five groups each, and seven others (Nokia, Oracle, Cisco, IBM, Dell, Intel and NEC) supported four. For its part, Red Hat supports three groups (Linux Foundation, Creative Commons and the Open Virtualization Alliance).

It's tough to get more than a general sense of how much money gets contributed to which foundations by which companies – however, the numbers aren't large by the standards of the big contributors. The average annual revenue for the open-source organizations considered in the analysis was $4.36 million, and that number was skewed by the $27 million taken in by the Wikimedia Foundation (whose interests range far beyond OSS development) and the $17 million posted by Linux Foundation.


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The Mystery of Glenn Seaborg's Missing Plutonium: Solved
Posted by News Fetcher on January 10 '15 at 11:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's in-his-other-pants department:
KentuckyFC writes: In the early 1940s, Glenn Seaborg made the first lump of plutonium by bombarding uranium-238 with neutrons in two different cyclotrons for over a year, The resulting plutonium, chemically separated and allowed to react with oxygen, weighed 2.77 micrograms. It was the first macroscopic sample ever created and helped win Seaborg a Nobel prize ten years later. The sample was displayed at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley until the early naughties, when it somehow disappeared. Now nuclear detectives say they've found Seaborg's plutonium and have been able to distinguish it from almost all other plutonium on the planet using a special set of non-destructive tests. The team says the sample is now expected to go back on display at Seaborg's old office at Berkeley.

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Short-Term Exposure To Diesel Fumes Causes Changes In Gene Expression
Posted by News Fetcher on January 10 '15 at 10:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's knowing-when-to-hold-your-breath department:
BarbaraHudson writes: The Vancouver Sun is reporting on experiments using human volunteers showing that just two hours of exposure to diesel exhaust fumes led to biological changes; some genes were switched on while others turned off. The air quality during the diesel fume exposures is said to be comparable to a Beijing highway or shipping ports in British Columbia. The next step is for researchers to study how changes in gene expression from air pollution affect the human body over the long term, since the study shows genes may be vulnerable to pollution without producing any obvious or immediate symptoms of ill health."

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Cryptocurrency Based Basic Income Program Started In Finland
Posted by News Fetcher on January 10 '15 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's money-for-nothin' department:
jovius writes: Krypto Fin ry, the association behind Fimkrypto cryptocurrency (FIMK), has started to provide each registered Finnish citizen a payment of 1000 FIMK per month in December. 1000 FIMK equals few dimes at the moment, and a bit over 100 people have registered so far. (The registration is free.)

FIMK is based on NXT 2nd generation crypto system; the add-ons and development making it into 2.5G. The roadmap includes payment cards and other technology to enable easier exchange between fiat currencies — FIMK, Bitcoins and others. Krypto Fin ry received 533 BTC in initial donations last Summer. FIMK can be traded for example on DGEX, and it's also a valid payment method in few stores in Finland.


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LAPD Orders Body Cams That Will Start Recording When Police Use Tasers
Posted by News Fetcher on January 10 '15 at 07:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's looking-forward-to-all-the-youtube-clips department:
HughPickens.com writes: Lily Hay Newman reports that the LAPD has ordered 3,000 Tasers which, when discharged, will automatically activate cameras on officers' uniforms, creating visual records of incidents at a time of mounting concern about excessive force by U.S. law enforcement officers. The new digital Taser X26P weapons record the date, time, and duration of firing, and whether Taser wires actually strike suspects and how long the thousands of volts of electricity pulse through them. "This technology gives a much better picture of what happens in the field," says Steve Tuttle.

< article continued at Slashdot >

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SpaceX Rocket Launch Succeeds, But Landing Test Doesn't
Posted by News Fetcher on January 10 '15 at 06:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's better-luck-next-time department:
New submitter 0x2A writes: A Falcon 9 rocket built by SpaceX successfully launched a Dragon cargo ship toward the International Space Station early Saturday— and then returned to Earth, apparently impacting its target ocean platform during a landing test in the Atlantic.

"Rocket made it to drone spaceport ship, but landed hard. Close, but no cigar this time. Bodes well for the future tho," Elon Musk tweeted shortly after the launch. He added that they didn't get good video of the landing attempt, so they'll be piecing it together using telemetry and debris. "Ship itself is fine. Some of the support equipment on the deck will need to be replaced."


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Anonymous Declares War Over Charlie Hebdo Attack
Posted by News Fetcher on January 10 '15 at 05:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's fighting-fire-with-bits department:
mpicpp writes with news that hackers claiming to represent Anonymous have declared war on terrorists. They pledged to take down websites and social media accounts being used by jihadists as retaliation for the Charlie Hebdo attack. They said,
"It is clear that some people do not want, in a free world, this inviolable and sacred right to express in any way one's opinions. Anonymous will never leave this right violated by obscurantism and mysticism. We will fight always and everywhere the enemies of freedom of speech. ... Freedom of speech and opinion is a non-negotiable thing, to tackle it is to attack democracy. Expect a massive frontal reaction from us because the struggle for the defense of those freedoms is the foundation of our movement.

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For the First Time In 3 Years, Investments In Renewable Energy Increased
Posted by News Fetcher on January 10 '15 at 02:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's renewed-interest-in-renewables department:
Lucas123 writes: Driven largely by oil price weakness, 2015 could be the best year to date for investments in renewable energy technology, according to several new reports. According to Bloomberg Energy Finance, new funding for wind, solar, biofuels and other low-carbon energy technologies grew 16% to $310 billion last year. It was the first growth since 2011 (PDF), erasing the impact of lower solar-panel prices and falling subsides in the U.S. and Europe that hurt the industry in previous years. Demand for solar power grew 16% year-over-year in 2014, representing 44 gigawatts of capacity purchased during the year. Worldwide solar demand in 2015 is projected to be 51.4GW, compared with 39GW in 2014. Government policies will continue to improve for renewables — solar, in particular — given that anti-dumping duties imposed on Chinese modules by the U.S. last year are expected to be removed this year, Deutsche Bank said.

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Linux Controls a Gasoline Engine With Machine Learning
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '15 at 11:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's penguin-engine department:
An anonymous reader writes: Here's a short (2 min) video of PREEMPT_RT Linux controlling a gasoline engine from one burn to the next using a Raspberry Pi. It's using an adaptive machine learning algorithm that can predict near chaotic combustion in real-time. A paper about the algorithm is available at the arXiv.

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OpenSSL Patches Eight New Vulnerabilities
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '15 at 09:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's getting-ahead-in-the-game department:
itwbennett writes: Server administrators are advised to upgrade OpenSSL again to fix eight new vulnerabilities, two of which can lead to denial-of-service (DoS) attacks. Although the flaws are only of moderate and low severity, "system administrators should plan to upgrade their running OpenSSL server instances in the coming days," said Tod Beardsley, engineering manager at vulnerability intelligence firm Rapid7.

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Intel 5th Gen Core Series Performance Preview With 2015 Dell XPS 13
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '15 at 07:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's separating-fact-from-marketing department:
MojoKid writes: Intel's strategically timed CES 2015 launch of their new 5th Gen Core Series processors for notebooks was met with a reasonably warm reception, though it's always difficult to rise above the noise of CES chatter. Performance claims for Intel's new chip promise major gains in graphics and more modest increases in standard compute applications. However, the biggest bet Intel placed on the new Broadwell-U architecture is performance-per-watt throughput and battery life in premium notebook products that are now in production with major OEM partners. A few manufacturers were early out of the gate with new Core i5 5XXX series-based machines, however, none of the major players caught the same kind of buzz that Dell received, with the introduction of their new XPS 13 Ultrabook with its near bezel-less 13-inch WQHD (3200X1800) display. As expected, the Core i5-5200U in this machine offered performance gains of anywhere from 10 to 20 percent, in round numbers, depending on the benchmark. In gaming and graphics testing is where the new 5200U chip took the largest lead over the previous gen Core i5-4200U CPU, which is one of the most common processors found in typical ultrabook style 13-inch machines.

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Closure On the Linux Lockup Bug
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '15 at 06:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's it-was-dead-the-whole-time department:
jones_supa writes: Dave Jones from Red Hat has written a wrap-up of the strange bug that has made some machines running Linux to freeze. (Previous discussion.) Right down to his final week at Red Hat before Dave gave all his hardware back, Linus Torvalds managed to reproduce similar symptoms, by scribbling directly to the HPET timer. He came up with a hack that at least made the kernel survive for him. When Dave tried the same patch, the machine ran for three days before he interrupted it, which was a promising result. The question remains, what was scribbling over the HPET in his case? The only two plausible scenarios Dave could think of were that Trinity generated 0xFED000F0 as a random address and passed that to a syscall which wrote to it, or a hardware bug. That's where the story ends for now. Linus' hacky workaround didn't get committed, but him and John Stultz continue to back and forth on hardening the clock management code in the face of screwed up hardware, so maybe soon we'll see something real get committed on that area.

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Google Sees Biggest Search Traffic Drop Since 2009 As Yahoo Gains Ground
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '15 at 05:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's and-we're-back department:
helix2301 writes: Google's grip on the Internet search market loosened in December, as the search engine saw its largest drop since 2009. That loss was Yahoo's gain, as the Marissa Mayer-helmed company added almost 2% from November to December to bring its market share back into double digits. Google's lead remains overwhelming, with just more than three-quarters of search, according to SatCounter Global Stats. Microsoft's Bing gained some momentum to take 12.5% of the market. Yahoo now has 10.4%. All other search engines combined to take 1.9%.

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Virgin Galactic Test Flights To Restart This Year
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '15 at 05:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's progress-must-continue department:
astroengine writes: Test flights of Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo are on schedule to begin again this year – this time with its own pilots, the chief executive of Richard Branson's space startup said Friday. The first in a series of planned passenger spaceships was destroyed on Oct. 31, 2014, during a fatal test flight being conducted by manufacturer Scaled Composites. The National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the accident, determined that co-pilot Michael Alsbury, who died in the crash, released the ship's moveable tail section early. The vehicle was not traveling fast enough for aerodynamic forces to keep the so-called "feather" pinned in place, as designs called for. As a result, the ship was torn apart, jettisoning pilot Pete Siebold in the process, who managed to parachute to safety.

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EFF Takes On Online Harassment
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '15 at 05:30 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's can't-we-all-just-get-along department:
Gamoid writes: The Electronic Frontier Foundation has identified online harassment as a major challenge facing free speech on the Internet, and lays out its plan to fix it. They say, "Online harassment is a digital rights issue. At its worst, it causes real and lasting harms to its targets, a fact that must be central to any discussion of harassment. Unfortunately, it's not easy to craft laws or policies that will address those harms without inviting government or corporate censorship and invasions of privacy—including the privacy and free speech of targets of harassment. ... Just because the law sometimes allows a person to be a jerk (or worse) doesn’t mean that others in the community are required to be silent or to just stand by and let people be harassed. We can and should stand up against harassment. Doing so is not censorship—it’s being part of the fight for an inclusive and speech-supporting Internet."

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NASA's Asteroid Redirect Mission May Not Actually Redirect an Asteroid
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '15 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-because-it-is-easy-but-because-it-is-hard department:
MarkWhittington writes: When President Obama first proposed visiting an asteroid in his 2010 speech at the Kennedy Space Center, many assumed that the mission would be a deep space mission to an Earth-approaching asteroid in its "native orbit" in voyage taking weeks. Then, NASA dropped the idea in 2013 favor of the Asteroid Redirect Mission in which a tiny asteroid would be diverted to lunar orbit to be visited by astronauts. Now, according to a Thursday story in Space News, the ARM might take place without redirecting an asteroid.

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Lizard Stresser DDoS-for-Hire Service Built On Hacked Home Routers
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '15 at 01:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's go-change-your-parents'-router-credentials department:
tsu doh nimh writes: The online attack service launched late last year by the same criminals who knocked Sony and Microsoft's gaming networks offline over the holidays is powered mostly by thousands of hacked home Internet routers, reports Brian Krebs. From the story: "The malicious code that converts vulnerable systems into stresser bots is a variation on a piece of rather crude malware first documented in November by Russian security firm Dr. Web, but the malware itself appears to date back to early 2014. As we can see in that writeup, in addition to turning the infected host into attack zombies, the malicious code uses the infected system to scan the Internet for additional devices that also allow access via factory default credentials, such as 'admin/admin,' or 'root/12345.' In this way, each infected host is constantly trying to spread the infection to new home routers and other devices accepting incoming connections (via telnet) with default credentials.

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Fewer Grants For Young Researchers Causing Brain Drain In Academia
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '15 at 12:31 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's funding-our-future department:
BarbaraHudson writes: Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels has written about the decline of research grants to younger researchers. "For more than a generation, grants for young scientists have declined. The number of principal investigators with a leading National Institutes of Health grant who are 36 years old or younger dropped from 18 percent in 1983 to 3 percent in 2010. Meanwhile, the average age when a scientist with a medical degree gets her first of these grants has risen from just under 38 years old in 1980 to more than 45 in 2013. The implications of these data for our young scientists are arresting. Without their own funding, young researchers are prevented from starting their own laboratories, pursuing their own research, and advancing their own careers in academic science. It is not surprising that many of our youngest minds are choosing to leave their positions."

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Forget Stuxnet: Banking Trojans Attacking Power Plants
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '15 at 11:45 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's subprime-malware-lending department:
New submitter PLAR writes: Everyone's worried about the next Stuxnet sabotaging the power grid, but a security researcher says there's been a spike in traditional banking Trojan attacks against plant floor networks. The malware poses as legitimate ICS/SCADA software updates from Siemens, GE and Advantech. Kyle Wilhoit, the researcher who discovered the attacks, says the attackers appear to be after credentials and other financial information, so it looks like pure cybercrime, not nation-state activity.

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CES 2015: WakaWaka Sheds Light On Technology, Profit, and Philanthropy (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on January 09 '15 at 11:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's beats-candles-6-ways-to-sunday department:
Camille van Gestel and co-founder Maurits Groen started solar-centric manufacturer WakaWaka with an explicit aim other than making money, though he's certainly not opposed to making some along the way. So it's not a non-profit, but van Gestel calls WakaWaka, which was named in a roundabout way after the Shakira song, a "purpose-driven company," with that purpose being -- no exaggeration needed -- to cast light on the world. They're doing just that, with the aid of recycled materials, low-power LEDs, and efficient solar cells. As a result, one of the portable light products that the group has created has become one of the most valued possessions among people displaced by the war in Syria, and more are lighting up villages in Haiti and elsewhere. I talked with Van Gestel at this year's CES, where the company's picked up a pair of CES Innovation Awards, and he has some advice for people who'd like to turn their technical skills to philanthropic endeavors, especially ones that involve hardware or technical infrastructure. Some of it can be summed up as "Spread the wealth, but don't do it for free." Between ongoing feedback gathered from users, a buy-one-give-one style distribution system, and requiring participation by recipients, he says WakaWaka has been able to reach people with their solar lighting products in a way that's much more valuable than just dumping hardware on them, and along the way has gotten a lot of feedback from the buyers whose purchases subsidize the company's non-profit activities. (Alternate Video Link.)

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