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Killer Whales Caught On Tape Speaking Dolphin
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '14 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's losing-the-accent department:
sciencehabit writes Two years ago, scientists showed that dolphins imitate the sounds of whales. Now, it seems, whales have returned the favor. Researchers analyzed the vocal repertoires of 10 captive orcas, three of which lived with bottlenose dolphins and the rest with their own kind. Of the 1551 vocalizations these seven latter orcas made, more than 95% were the typical pulsed calls of killer whales. In contrast, the three orcas that had only dolphins as pals busily whistled and emitted dolphinlike click trains and terminal buzzes, the scientists report in the October issue of The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. The findings make orcas one of the few species of animals that, like humans, is capable of vocal learning (video)—a talent considered a key underpinning of language."

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Fusion Reactor Concept Could Be Cheaper Than Coal
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '14 at 10:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's some-day-soon department:
vinces99 writes Fusion energy almost sounds too good to be true – zero greenhouse gas emissions, no long-lived radioactive waste, a nearly unlimited fuel supply. Perhaps the biggest roadblock to adopting fusion energy is that the economics haven't penciled out. Fusion power designs aren't cheap enough to outperform systems that use fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. University of Washington engineers hope to change that. They have designed a concept for a fusion reactor that, when scaled up to the size of a large electrical power plant, would rival costs for a new coal-fired plant with similar electrical output. The team published its reactor design and cost-analysis findings last spring and will present results Oct. 17 at the International Atomic Energy Agency's Fusion Energy Conference in St. Petersburg, Russia.

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Ask Slashdot: Dealing With an Unresponsive Manufacturer Who Doesn't Fix Bugs?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '14 at 09:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's complain-until-your-problem-is-their-problem department:
moofo writes: I've had huge problems with a security appliance since its installation. Specifically, the VPN SSL client is causing a problem for the majority of my remote clients. The company acknowledged the bug, but they are jerking me around, and no resolution is in sight. I tried third-party clients, but I'm wary of using them since they are not distributed by the manufacturer, and they require some maintenance to keep working properly.

I also talked to various executives at the company and besides giving me apologies, nothing good is coming my way. It's been more than two years (on a three-year subscription that I can't terminate early), and this is continually causing me trouble and aggravation. It also makes my internal customers unhappy. How do you deal with a manufacturer who doesn't fix bugs in a reasonable time frame?


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AMD Building New GPU Linux Kernel Driver To Unify With Catalyst Driver
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '14 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's playing-well-with-others department:
An anonymous reader writes: AMD is moving forward with their plans to develop a new open-source Linux driver model for their Radeon and FirePro graphics processors. Their unified Linux driver model is moving forward, albeit slightly different compared to what was planned early this year. They're now developing a new "AMDGPU" kernel driver to power both the open and closed-source graphics components. This new driver model will also only apply to future generations of AMD GPUs. Catalyst is not being open-sourced, but will be a self-contained user-space blob, and the DRM/libdrm/DDX components will be open-source and shared. This new model is more open-source friendly, places greater emphasis on their mainline kernel driver, and should help Catalyst support Mir and Wayland.

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US Says It Can Hack Foreign Servers Without Warrants
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '14 at 09:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's how-to-win-friends department:
Advocatus Diaboli tips news that the U.S. government is now arguing it doesn't need warrants to hack servers hosted on foreign soil. At issue is the current court case against Silk Road operator Ross Ulbricht. We recently discussed how the FBI's account of how they obtained evidence from Silk Road servers didn't seem to mesh with reality. Now, government lawyers have responded in a new court filing (PDF). They say that even if the FBI had to hack those servers without a warrant, it doesn't matter, because the Fourth Amendment does not confer protection to servers hosted outside the U.S. They said, "Given that the SR Server was hosting a blatantly criminal website, it would have been reasonable for the FBI to 'hack' into it in order to search it, as any such 'hack' would simply have constituted a search of foreign property known to contain criminal evidence, for which a warrant was not necessary."

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The Greatest Keyboard Ever Made
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '14 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's how-to-irritate-coworkers department:
HughPickens.com writes Adi Robertson argues that IBM's Model M keyboard, soon to turn 30 is still the only keyboard worth using for many people. Introduced in 1985 as part of the IBM 3161 terminal, the Model M was initially called the "IBM Enhanced Keyboard." A PC-compatible version appeared the following spring, and it officially became standard with the IBM Personal System / 2 in 1987. The layout of the Model M has been around so long that today it's simply taken for granted, but the keyboard's descendants have jettisoned one of the Model M's most iconic features — "buckling springs," designed to provide auditory and tactile feedback to the keyboard operator. "Model M owners sometimes ruefully post stories of spouses and coworkers who can't stand the incessant chatter. But fans say the springs' resistance and their audible "click" make it clear when a keypress is registered, reducing errors," writes Robertson. "Maybe more importantly, typing on the Model M is a special, tangible experience. Much like on a typewriter, the sharp click gives every letter a physical presence."

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Why America Won't Match Sweden's Cheap, Fast, Competitive Internet Services
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '14 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's not-enough-enmity-for-the-finns department:
ashshy writes: Swedish Internet services run both cheaper and faster than American ones. For example, many Swedes can pay about $40 a month for 100/100 mbps, choosing between more than a dozen competing providers. It's all powered by a nationwide web of municipal networks in direct competition with ex-government telecom Telia's fiber backbone. The presence of regional government in the Swedish data stream makes many Americans uncomfortable, to say nothing of the very different histories between these backbone buildouts. The Motley Fool explains how the Swedish model developed, and why the U.S. is unlikely ever to follow suit.

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Systemd Adding Its Own Console To Linux Systems
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '14 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's if-you-want-something-done-right department:
An anonymous reader writes: The next version of systemd is poised to introduce an experimental "systemd-consoled" that serves as a user-space console daemon. The consoled furthers the Linux developers' goal of eventually deprecating the VT subsystem found within the Linux kernel in favor of a user-space driven terminal that supports better localization, increased security, and greater robustness of the kernel's seldom touched and hairy CONFIG_VT'ed code.

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Chrome 38 Released: New APIs and 159 Security Fixes
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '14 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's onward-and-upward department:
An anonymous reader writes: In addition to updating Chrome for iOS, Google has released Chrome 38 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. While Chrome 38 beta brought a slew of new features, the stable release is pretty much just a massive security update. This means that, with Chrome 38, Google isn't adding any features to the stable channel (full changelog). That said, Chrome 38 does address 159 security issues (including 113 "relatively minor ones"). Google spent $75,633.70 in bug bounties for this release.

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GNOME 3 Winning Back Users
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '14 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's out-of-the-doghouse department:
Mcusanelli writes: GNOME 3, the open source desktop environment for Linux systems that once earned a lot of ire, is receiving newfound praise for the maturity of GNOME Shell and other improvements. The recent release of version 3.14 capped off a series of updates that have gone a long way toward resolving users' problems and addressing complaints. One of the big pieces was the addition of "Classic mode" in 3.8, which got it into RHEL 7, and Debian is switching back as well.

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Department of Defense May Give Private Cloud Vendors Access To Top Secret Data
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '14 at 09:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's what-could-possibly-go-wrong department:
An anonymous reader sends news that the U.S. Department of Defense is pondering methods to store its most sensitive data in the cloud. The DoD issued an information request (PDF) to see whether the commercial marketplace can provide remote computing services for Level 5 and Level 6 workloads, which include restricted military data. "The DoD anticipates that the infrastructure will range from configurations featuring between 10,000 and 200,000 virtual machines. Any vendors selected to the scheme would be subject to an accreditation process and to security screening, and the DoD is employing the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program to establish screening procedures for authorized cloud vendors, and to generate procedures for continuous monitoring and auditing."

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Ebola Vaccine Trials Forcing Tough Choices
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '14 at 07:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's do-you-feel-lucky,-punk? department:
An anonymous reader writes: Medical researchers hope an experimental vaccine for Ebola can help protect against infection and slow the spread of the disease. Efficacy trials for the vaccine begin in a few months, and it's forcing some difficult decisions for health care officials. The first test will involve front line health care workers, who, as a group, are at the gravest risk of infection. But every trial needs a control group, and scientists are bitterly divided over whether the vaccine should be withheld from a portion of those putting their lives on the line to protect the rest of us. Development of the vaccine has been vastly accelerated already, due to the virus's spread and its mortality rate.

"The leading alternative is a design known as step-wedge, which essentially uses time to create a control group. In this design, researchers take advantage of the inescapable reality that large-scale trials can't give everyone the vaccine on the exact same date; they compare the rates of infection in people already vaccinated with those who have yet to receive the shots. Barney Graham, a virologist ... says "people are more comfortable" with the step-wedge design, because everyone in such a study would get the Ebola vaccine. But statistically speaking, this design makes it more difficult to determine the vaccine's worth, and it takes longer." NY Mag has a related story summarizing the treatments currently being used to fight Ebola.


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Fuel Efficiency Numbers Overstate MPG More For Cars With Small Engines
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '14 at 06:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's emperor's-new-hybrid department:
whoever57 writes: All official numbers for fuel economy in the EU typically overstate the miles-per-gallon figure that drivers can expect to achieve in typical driving. A recent study confirmed this once again. However, what the study also found was that MPG figures are more unrealistic for cars with smaller engines than for cars with larger engines. Actual MPG figures achieved based on typical drives for cars with small engines could be as much as 36% under the official number, while those cars with 3-liter engines would typically achieve 15% less than the official figure.
These discrepancies need to be accounted for if we're going to be serious about regulating fuel efficiency. But then, we should be using gallons-per-mile instead of miles-per-gallon, too.

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Nobel Prize In Chemistry Awarded To Trio For Microscope Advancement
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '14 at 05:30 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's go-small-or-go-home department:
The 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell, and William E. Moerner for their work in bypassing the limits of traditional optical microscopy. Hell developed a method called Simulated Emission Depletion microscopy, which uses one laser beam to cause a collection of molecules to fluoresce, and another laser beam to cancel out that fluorescence everywhere other than a nanometer-sized volume. Repeating this process over an entire sample provides nanometer resolution for the resulting image. Betzig and Moerner did important work on Single-Molecule microscopy. "The method relies upon the possibility to turn the fluorescence of individual molecules on and off. Scientists image the same area multiple times, letting just a few interspersed molecules glow each time. Superimposing these images yields a dense super-image resolved at the nanolevel." The three scientists' work was pivotal to enabling nano-scale microscopy and allowing detailed study of objects at the molecular level.

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Europol Predicts First Online Murder By End of This Year
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '14 at 05:15 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's need-a-sherlock-to-go-with-watson department:
An anonymous reader sends this story from The Stack:
The world's first "online murder" over an internet-connected device could happen by the end of this year, Europol has warned. Research carried out by the European Union's law enforcement agency has found that governments are not equipped to fight the growing threat of "online murder," as cyber criminals start to exploit internet technologies to target victims physically. The study, which was published last week, analyzed the possible physical dangers linked to cyber criminality and found that a rise in "injury and possible deaths" could be expected as computer hackers launch attacks on critical connected equipment. The assessment particularly referred to a report by IID, a U.S. security firm, which forecast that the world's first murder via a "hacked internet-connected device" would happen by the end of 2014.

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Vax, PDP/11, HP3000 and Others Live On In the Cloud
Posted by News Fetcher on October 08 '14 at 05:00 AM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's cloud-of-the-living-dead department:
judgecorp writes: Surprisingly, critical applications still rely on old platforms, although legacy hardware is on its last legs. Swiss emulation expert Stromasys is offering emulation in the cloud for old hardware using a tool cheekily named after Charon, the ferryman to the afterlife. Systems covered include the Vax and PDP/11 platforms from Digital Equipment (which was swallowed by Compaq and then HP) as well as Digital's Alpha RISC systems, and HP's HP3000. It also offers Sparc emulation, although Oracle might dispute the need for this.

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NVIDIA Launches Mobile Maxwell GeForce GTX 980M and GTX 970M Notebook Graphics
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '14 at 06:46 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's where-efficiency-is-king department:
MojoKid writes: When Nvidia launched their new GeForce GTX 980 and 970 last month, it was obvious that these cards would be coming to mobile sooner rather than later. The significant increase that Maxwell offers in performance-per-watt means that these GPUs should shine in mobile contexts, maybe even more-so than in desktop. Today, Nvidia is unveiling two new mobile GPUs — the GeForce GTX 980M and 970M. Both notebook graphics engines are based on Maxwell's 28nm architecture, and both are trimmed slightly from the full desktop implementation. The GTX 980M is a 1536-core chip (just like the GTX 680 / 680M) while the GTX 970 will pack 1280 cores. Clock speeds are 1038MHz base for the GTX 980M and 924MHz for the GTX 970M, which is significantly faster than the previous gen GTX 680M's launch speeds. The 980M will carry up to 4GB of RAM, while the 970M will offer 3GB and a smaller memory bus.

From eyeballing relative performance expectations, the GTX 970M should be well-suited to 1080p or below at high detail levels, while the GTX 980M should be capable of ultra detail at 1080p or higher resolutions. Maxwell's better efficiency means that it should offer a significant performance improvement over mobile Kepler, even with the same number of cores. Also with this launch Nvidia is introducing "Battery Boost" as a solution for games with less demanding graphics, where battery life can be extended by governing clock speeds to maintain playable frames, without overpower the GPU at higher than needed frame rates.


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Sharp Developing LCD Screens In Almost Any Shape
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '14 at 05:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's looking-forward-to-my-dodecahedral-computer-display department:
jfruh writes: Traditional LCD panels are rectangular because the tiny chips that drive each pixel of the display are fitted along the edge of the glass panel on which the screen is made. But in a new breed of screens from Sharp, the chips are embedded between the pixels so that means a lot more freedom in screen shape: only one edge of the screen needs to be a straight line, which could give rise to a host of new applications.

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Glut of Postdoc Researchers Stirs Quiet Crisis In Science
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '14 at 04:46 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's opportunity-cost department:
HughPickens.com writes: Carolyn Johnson reports in the Boston Globe that in recent years, the position of postdoctoral researcher has become less a stepping stone and more of a holding tank. Postdocs are caught up in an all-but-invisible crisis, mired in an underclass as federal funding for research has leveled off, leaving the supply of well-trained scientists outstripping demand. "It's sunk in that it's by no means guaranteed — for anyone, really — that an academic position is possible," says Gary McDowell, a 29-year old biologist doing his second postdoc. "There's this huge labor force here to do the bench work, the grunt work of science. But then there's nowhere for them to go; this massive pool of postdocs that accumulates and keeps growing." The problem is that any researcher running a lab today is training far more people than there will ever be labs to run. Often these supremely well-educated trainees are simply cheap laborers, not learning skills for the careers where they are more likely to find jobs. This wasn't such an issue decades ago, but universities have expanded the number of PhD students they train from about 30,000 biomedical graduate students in 1979 to 56,800 in 2009, flooding the system with trainees and drawing out the training period.

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Twitter Sues US Government Over National Security Data Requests
Posted by News Fetcher on October 07 '14 at 03:01 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's your-hashtags-could-prevent-the-next-9/11 department:
mpicpp sends news that Twitter is suing the U.S. government to fight their rules on what information can be shared about national security-related requests for user data. Service providers like Twitter are prohibited from telling us the exact number of National Security Letters and FISA court orders they've received. Google has filed a challenge based on First Amendment rights, and Twitter's lawsuit (PDF) is taking a similar approach. Twitter VP Ben Lee says, "We've tried to achieve the level of transparency our users deserve without litigation, but to no avail. In April, we provided a draft Transparency Report addendum to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a report which we hoped would provide meaningful transparency for our users. After many months of discussions, we were unable to convince them to allow us to publish even a redacted version of the report."

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