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Lennart Poettering: Open Source Community "Quite a Sick Place To Be In"
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '14 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's let-the-flamewar-begin department:
An anonymous reader writes "Free software programmer Lennart Poettering has been part of his fair share of controversy in the open source community, and his latest essay may raise the most eyebrows yet. Poettering takes on the idea that the community is one big happy family and has some harsh words for the loudest and most obnoxious members. He says in part: "I don't usually talk about this too much, and hence I figure that people are really not aware of this, but yes, the Open Source community is full of a#@&oles, and I probably more than most others am one of their most favourite targets. I get hate mail for hacking on Open Source. People have started multiple 'petitions' on petition web sites, asking me to stop working (google for it). Recently, people started collecting Bitcoins to hire a hitman for me (this really happened!). Just the other day, some idiot posted a 'song' on youtube, a creepy work, filled with expletives about me and suggestions of violence. People post websites about boycotting my projects, containing pretty personal attacks. On IRC, people /msg me sometimes, with nasty messages, and references to artwork in 4chan style. And there's more. A lot more."

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Google Code-In 2014 and Google Summer of Code 2015 Announced
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '14 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's all-things-google department:
d33tah notes the announcement of Google Code-In 2014 and Google Summer of Code 2015. A call to all students: if you have ever thought it would be cool to write code and see it make a difference in the world, then please keep reading. We are excited to announce the next editions of two programs designed to introduce students to open source software development, Google Summer of Code for university students and Google Code-in for 13-17 year old students.

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Hackers Compromised Yahoo Servers Using Shellshock Bug
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '14 at 11:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's protect-ya-neck department:
wiredmikey writes Hackers were able to break into some of Yahoo's servers by exploiting the recently disclosed Shellshock bug over the past few weeks. This may be the first confirmed case of a major company being hit with attacks exploiting the vulnerability in bash. Contacted by SecurityWeek, a Yahoo spokesperson provided the following statement Monday afternoon: "A security flaw, called Shellshock, that could expose vulnerabilities in many web servers was identified on September 24. As soon as we became aware of the issue, we began patching our systems and have been closely monitoring our network. Last night, we isolated a handful of our impacted servers and at this time we have no evidence of a compromise to user data. We're focused on providing the most secure experience possible for our users worldwide and are continuously working to protect our users' data."

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Living On a Carbon Budget: The End of Recreation As We Know It?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '14 at 10:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's cutting-down department:
Lasrick writes Dawn Stover looks at unrealistic expectations and the distribution of limited energy resources: 'This is a question that should move from the fringes of the energy debate to its very heart. Economists and energy experts shy away from issues of equity and morality, but climate change and environmental justice are inseparable: It's impossible to talk intelligently about climate without discussing how to distribute limited energy resources. It's highly unlikely that the world can safely produce almost five times as much electricity by 2035 as it does now—which is what it would take to provide everyone with a circa-2010 American standard of living, according to a calculation by University of Colorado environmental studies professor Roger Pielke Jr. The sooner policy makers accept this reality, the sooner they can get to work on a global solution that meets everyone's needs. First, though, they need to understand the difference between needs and wants.' Not something most people even think about.

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Why Military Personnel Make the Best IT Pros
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '14 at 09:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's office-army department:
Nerval's Lobster writes Every year, approximately 250,000 military personnel leave the service to return to civilian life. When the home front beckons, many will be looking to become IT professionals, a role that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is among the fastest growing jobs in the country. How their field skills will translate to the back office is something to ponder. With the advent of virtualization, mobile, and the cloud, tech undergoes rapid changes, as do the skill sets needed to succeed. That said, the nature of today's military—always on the go, and heavily reliant on virtual solutions—may actually be the perfect training ground for IT. Consider that many war-fighters already are IT technicians: They need to be skilled in data management, mobile solutions, security, the ability to fix problems as they arise onsite, and more. Military personnel used to working with everything from SATCOM terminals to iPads are ideally suited for handling these issues; many have successfully managed wireless endpoints, networks, and security while in the field. Should programs that focus on placing former military personnel in civilian jobs focus even more on getting them into IT roles?

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Apple Sapphire Glass Supplier GT Advanced Files For Bankruptcy
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '14 at 08:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's end-of-the-line department:
mrspoonsi writes GT Advanced Technologies is filing for bankruptcy. In an announcement on Monday, GT Advanced, which makes sapphire displays that many investors hoped would be in Apple's newest iPhone, said that it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In early September, shares of GT Advanced got crushed after the company's sapphire displays were not in the latest version of Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. GT Advanced, however, signed a multi-year agreement with Apple last November to supply the company with sapphire material. That agreement included a $578 million prepayment, which GT Advanced is set to repay Apple over a five-year period starting in 2015.

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Professor Kevin Fu Answers Your Questions About Medical Device Security
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '14 at 08:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's listen-up department:
Almost a year ago you had a chance to ask professor Kevin Fu about medical device security. A number of events (including the collapse of his house) conspired to delay the answering of those questions. Professor Fu has finally found respite from calamity, coincidentally at a time when the FDA has issued guidance on the security of medical devices. Below you'll find his answers to your old but not forgotten questions.

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Bugzilla Bug Exposes Zero-Day Bugs
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '14 at 07:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's bug-hive department:
tsu doh nimh writes A previously unknown security flaw in Bugzilla — a popular online bug-tracking tool used by Mozilla and many of the open source Linux distributions — allows anyone to view detailed reports about unfixed vulnerabilities in a broad swath of software. Bugzilla is expected today to issue a fix for this very serious weakness, which potentially exposes a veritable gold mine of vulnerabilities that would be highly prized by cyber criminals and nation-state actors.

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Nobel Prize For Medicine Awarded For "Brain GPS" Research
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '14 at 06:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's big-brains department:
Dave Knott writes U.S.-British scientist John O'Keefe and Norwegian married couple May-Britt Moser and Edvard Moser won the Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday for discovering the "inner GPS" that helps the brain navigate through the world. O'Keefe, currently director of the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre in Neural Circuits and Behaviour at University College London, discovered the first component of this system in 1971 when he found that a certain type of nerve cell was always activated when a rat was at a certain place in a room. He demonstrated that these "place cells" were building up a map of the environment, not just registering visual input. Thirty-four years later, the Mosers, of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, identified another type of nerve cell — the "grid cell" — that generates a coordinate system for precise positioning and path-finding, These findings on rats — and research suggests humans have the same system in their brains — represent a paradigm shift in our knowledge of how cells work together to perform cognitive functions and could help scientists understand the mechanisms behind Alzheimer's disease.

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Microsoft's "RoomAlive" Transforms Any Room Into a Giant Xbox Game
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '14 at 05:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's from-the-comfort-of-your-own-home department:
An anonymous reader writes Microsoft has unveiled a new augmented reality experience called "RoomAlive". Using projectors and Kinect, RoomAlive allows for fully interactive gaming experiences that take up an entire 3D space. From the article: "RoomAlive builds on the familiar concepts of IllumiRoom, but pushes things a lot further by extending an Xbox gaming environment to an entire living room. It's a proof-of-concept demo, just like IllumiRoom, and it combines Kinect and projectors to create an augmented reality experience that is interactive inside a room. You can reach out and hit objects from a game, or interact with games through any surfaces of a room. RoomAlive tracks the position of a gamers head across all six Kinect sensors, to render content appropriately."

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Dubai Police To Use Google Glass For Facial Recognition
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '14 at 05:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's watching-you-better department:
cold fjord sends word about what the Dubai police plan on doing with their Google Glass. Police officers in Dubai will soon be able to identify suspects wanted for crimes just by looking at them. Using Google Glass and a custom-developed facial recognition software, Dubai police will be able to capture photos of people around them and search their faces in a database of people wanted for crimes ... When a match is made in the database, the Glass device will receive a notification. .... What's particularly interesting about the project is that facial recognition technology is banned by the Google Glass developer policy. ... The section of the policy that addresses such technology seems to disqualify the Dubai police force's plan for Glass."

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Is It Time To Throw Out the College Application System?
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '14 at 04:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's trying-something-else department:
An anonymous reader points out this opinion piece by professor Adam Grant that questions how useful the current college application system is and suggests some alternate methods to gather information about candidates. "The college admissions system is broken. When students submit applications, colleges learn a great deal about their competence from grades and test scores, but remain in the dark about their creativity and character. Essays, recommendation letters and alumni interviews provide incomplete information about students' values, social and emotional skills, and capacities for developing and discovering new ideas. This leaves many colleges favoring achievement robots who excel at the memorization of rote knowledge, and overlooking talented C students. Those with less than perfect grades might go on to dream up blockbuster films like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg or become entrepreneurs like Steve Job"

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Past Measurements May Have Missed Massive Ocean Warming
Posted by News Fetcher on October 06 '14 at 01:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's it's-getting-hot-in-here department:
An anonymous reader writes "Previous estimates of global ocean warming have been significantly underestimated due to historically sparse temperature data from the Southern Ocean, new research has found. From the article: "Earth's oceans have absorbed more than 90% of the warming caused by greenhouse gases, researchers estimate, with the stored heat showing up as warmer seawater. But a new analysis suggests scientists may have underestimated the size of the heat sink in the upper ocean—which could have implications for researchers trying to understand the pace and scale of past warming."

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Maps Suggest Marco Polo May Have "Discovered" America
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '14 at 10:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's he-saw-it-first department:
An anonymous reader writes in with news about maps attributed to Marco Polo that seem to show the coast of Alaska. "For a guy who claimed to spend 17 years in China as a confidant of Kublai Khan, Marco Polo left a surprisingly skimpy paper trail. No Asian sources mention the footloose Italian. The only record of his 13th-century odyssey through the Far East is the hot air of his own Travels, which was actually an "as told to" penned by a writer of romances. But a set of 14 parchments, now collected and exhaustively studied for the first time, give us a raft of new stories about Polo's journeys and something notably missing from his own account: maps. If genuine, the maps would show that Polo recorded the shape of the Alaskan coast—and the strait separating it from Asia—four centuries before Vitus Bering, the Danish explorer long considered the first European to do so. Perhaps more important, they suggest Polo was aware of the New World two centuries before Columbus."

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Why the FCC Will Probably Ignore the Public On Network Neutrality
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '14 at 07:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's ignoring-you-is-easy department:
walterbyrd writes The rulemaking process does not function like a popular democracy. In other words, you can't expect that the comment you submit opposing a particular regulation will function like a vote. Rulemaking is more akin to a court proceeding. Changes require systematic, reliable evidence, not emotional expressions . . . In the wake of more than 3 million comments in the present open Internet proceeding-which at first blush appear overwhelmingly in favor of network neutrality-the current Commission is poised to make history in two ways: its decision on net neutrality, and its acknowledgment of public perspectives. It can continue to shrink the comments of ordinary Americans to a summary count and thank-you for their participation. Or, it can opt for a different path.

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Linux 3.17 Kernel Released With Xbox One Controller Support
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '14 at 04:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's check-it-out department:
An anonymous reader writes The Linux 3.17 kernel was officially released today. Linux 3.17 presents a number of new features that include working open-source AMD Hawaii GPU support, an Xbox One controller driver, free-fall support for Toshiba laptops, numerous ARM updates, and other changes.

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NASA Asks Boeing, SpaceX To Stop Work On Next-Gen Space Taxi
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '14 at 03:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's take-a-break department:
BarbaraHudson writes Due to a challenge by Sierra Nevada, NASA has asked the winners for the next earth-to-orbit launch vehicles to halt work, at least temporarily. "After rewarding Boeing and SpaceX with the contracts to build the spacecrafts NASA is now asking the companies to stop their work on the project. The move comes after aerospace company Sierra Nevada filed a protest of the decision after losing out on the bid. Sierra Nevada was competing against Boeing and SpaceX for a share of the $6.8 billion CCP contracts. The contracts will cover all phases of development as well as testing and operational flights. Each contract will cover a minimum of two flights and a maximum of four, with each agency required to have one test flight with a NASA representative on board.... According to NASA's Public Affairs Office, this legal protest stops all work currently being done under these contracts. However, officials have not commented on whether-or-not the companies can continue working if they are using private funds."

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HP Is Planning To Split Into Two Separate Businesses Sources Say
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '14 at 02:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's breaking-things-up department:
mrspoonsi writes Hewlett-Packard is planning to split itself into two separate businesses, The Wall Street Journal is reporting. Sources tell the WSJ that HP will split its personal-computer and printer segments from its corporate hardware and services business. The announcement could come as early as Monday, the sources said. The company reorganized itself in 2012 under CEO Meg Whitman. That move combined its computer and printer businesses. The PC and computer segment is massive for HP. For the first six months this year, it reported $27.8 billion in revenue. That's about three times the size of HP's next biggest unit, the Enterprise Group, which makes servers, storage, and network hardware. Under the new split, Whitman would be chairman of the computer and printer business, and CEO of a separate Enterprise Group, according to one of the sources. Patricia Russo, who sits on HP's board, would be chairman of the enterprise company. The printer and PC operation would be led by Dion Weisler, a current exec in that division."

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US Navy Develops Robot Boat Swarm To Overwhelm Enemies
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '14 at 01:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's angry-bees department:
HughPickens.com writes "Jeremy Hsu reports that the US Navy has been testing a large-scale swarm of autonomous boats designed to overwhelm enemies. In the test, large ship that the Navy sometimes calls a high-value unit, HVU, is making its way down the river's thalweg, escorted by 13 small guard boats. Between them, they carry a variety of payloads, loud speakers and flashing lights, a .50-caliber machine gun and a microwave direct energy weapon or heat ray. Detecting the enemy vessel with radar and infrared sensors, they perform a series of maneuvers to encircle the craft, coming close enough to the boat to engage it and near enough to one another to seal off any potential escape or access to the ship they are guarding. They blast warnings via loudspeaker and flash their lights. The HVU is now free to safely move away.

Rear Adm. Matthew Klunder, chief of the Office of Naval Research (ONR), points out that a maneuver that required 40 people had just dropped down to just one. "Think about it as replicating the functions that a human boat pilot would do. We've taken that capability and extended it to multiple [unmanned surface vehicles] operating together within that, we've designed team behaviors," says Robert Brizzolara. The timing of the briefing happens to coincide with the 14-year anniversary of the bombing of the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen that killed 17 sailors. It's an anniversary that Klunder observes with a unique sense of responsibility. "If we had this capability there on that day. We could have saved that ship. I never want to see the USS Cole happen again."


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How Computer Vision Algorithms Cope With Detecting Human Figures In Art
Posted by News Fetcher on October 05 '14 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's because-we-can department:
KentuckyFC writes The human visual system has evolved to recognize people in almost any pose under a vast range of lighting conditions. But abstract art pushes this ability to its limits by distorting the human form. In particular, Cubism seeks to represent three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional plane by juxtaposing snapshots from different angles. The result is that a Cubist picture contains many 'fragments of perception' of the same object. That's why it is often hard for people to recognize the human figures that these pictures contain. Now a group of computer scientists have tested how computer vision algorithms fare at the task of spotting human figures in Cubist art. They compared a variety of different algorithms against humans in trying to spot human figures in 218 Cubist paintings by Picasso. Humans easily outperform all the algorithms at this task. But some algorithms were much better than others. The most successful were based on so-called "deformable parts models" that recognize human figures by looking for body parts rather than the entire form. Interestingly, the team says this backs up various studies by neuroscientists suggesting that the human brain works in a similar way.

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