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Study: There's a Wi-Fi Hotspot For Every 150 People In the World
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 06:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's hope-you-like-sharing department:
mpicpp sends a BBC report on a study that found there are, on average, 150 people per Wi-Fi hotspot, worldwide. In the U.K. alone, there is one hotspot for every 11 people. The study estimates there will be roughly 47.7 million hotspots worldwide by the end of the year. France has the most, followed by the U.S., the U.K., and China. Future growth is expected to be high:
"Over the next four years, global hotspot numbers will grow to more than 340 million, the equivalent of one Wi-Fi hotspot for every 20 people on earth, the research finds. But this growth will not be evenly distributed. While in North America there will be one hotspot for every four people by 2018, in Africa it will be one for every 408. While Europe currently has the most dense wi-fi coverage, Asia will overtake it by 2018, according to the report."

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New Atomic Clock Reaches the Boundaries of Timekeeping
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 04:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's reaching-the-level-cap department:
SonicSpike sends an article from NPR about a high-tech clock being built at the University of Colorado Boulder. It's more precise than any clock before, able to keep perfect time for five billion years. "At the heart of this new clock is the element strontium. Inside a small chamber, the strontium atoms are suspended in a lattice of crisscrossing laser beams. Researchers then give them a little ping, like ringing a bell. The strontium vibrates at an incredibly fast frequency. It's a natural atomic metronome ticking out teeny, teeny fractions of a second." But this precision leads to a problem: the relativistic differences between keeping the clock on the floor versus hanging it on the wall now introduce more significant fluctuations than the clock itself. "Tiny shifts in the earth's crust can throw it off, even when it's sitting still. Even if two of them are synchronized, their different rates of ticking mean they will soon be out of synch. They will never agree. The world's current time is coordinated between atomic clocks all over the planet. But that can't happen with the new one."

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Birds Found Using Human Musical Scales For the First Time
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 04:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's song-of-the-wild department:
sciencehabit writes The flutelike songs of the male hermit thrush are some of the most beautiful in the animal kingdom. Now, researchers have found that these melodies employ the same mathematical principles that underlie many Western and non-Western musical scales—the first time this has been seen in any animal outside humans. It's doubtful that the similarity is due to the physics of the birds' vocal tract, the team reports. Rather, it seems male hermit thrushes choose to sing notes from these harmonic series. It may be that such notes are easier for the males to remember, or provide a ready yardstick for their chief critics—female hermit thrushes. The study adds to other research indicating that human music is not solely governed by cultural practices, but is also at least partially determined by biology.

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Flaw in New Visa Cards Would Let Hackers Steal $1M Per Card
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 03:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's have-some-money department:
First time accepted submitter biomass writes with news about a flaw in Visa's contactless card that lets anyone charge it $999,999. According to researchers at Newcastle University in the UK, the card system developed by VISA for use in the United Kingdom fails to recognize transactions made in non-UK foreign currencies and can therefore be tricked into approving any transaction up to 999,999.99. “With just a mobile phone we created a POS terminal that could read a card through a wallet,” Martin Emms, lead researcher of the project that uncovered the flaw, noted in a statement about the findings. “All the checks are carried out on the card rather than the terminal so at the point of transaction, there is nothing to raise suspicions. By pre-setting the amount you want to transfer, you can bump your mobile against someone’s pocket or swipe your phone over a wallet left on a table and approve a transaction.”

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Russia Takes Down Steve Jobs Memorial After Apple's Tim Cook Comes Out
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 02:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's honestly-not-the-onion department:
An anonymous reader writes Citing the need to abide by a law combating "gay propaganda," a memorial dedicated to the late Apple founder Steve Jobs has been torn down. This comes on the heels of new CEO Tim Cook coming out as gay. "In Russia, gay propaganda and other sexual perversions among minors are prohibited by law," ZEFS (a Russian group of companies that originally erected the statue) said, noting that the memorial had been "in an area of direct access for young students and scholars". "After Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly called for sodomy, the monument was taken down to abide to the Russian federal law protecting children from information promoting denial of traditional family values."

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"Car Talk" Co-Host Tom Magliozzi Dies At Age 77
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 02:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's don't-drive-like-my-brother department:
samzenpus writes "Many outlets are reporting the death of Tom Magliozzi, co-host of the long-running weekly National Public Radio show Car Talk. Tom and his brother Ray ran a repair shop in the '70s and in 1987 landed their radio gig. They were known as "Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers." The show stopped recording two years ago and is currently airing old episodes. Tom died of complications from Alzheimer's at age 77."

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Gates Donates $500M+ To Fight Malaria and Other Diseases
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 02:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's end-the-suffering department:
jones_supa writes In the 63rd annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in New Orleans, Bill Gates announced that he will donate over $500 million to fight malaria and other infectious diseases in the developing world. Gates described the Ebola epidemic that has killed more than 4,900 people in West Africa since the beginning of the year as a "critical moment in the history of global health", and said it underscores the need for stronger efforts to stay ahead of disease threats such as drug-resistant malaria and dengue fever. The more than $500 million announced Sunday includes over $150 million to the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative to advance development of next-generation malaria vaccines, and $29 million to the Clinton Health Access Initiative to support malaria elimination efforts in Southern Africa and the Greater Mekong Sub-region of Southeast Asia.

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Mozilla Teases First Browser Dedicated To Devs
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 01:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's made-just-for-you department:
hypnosec writes Mozilla has teased a browser for developers — a first of its kind — in a bid to equip developers with a set of tools at one place for better and enhanced productivity. Speaking about the perils of developers Mozilla says that developers, while developing for the web, use a range of tools, which don't always work well together because of which they have to switch between platforms. This process of switching from one platform to another makes developer less productive Mozilla says. The not-for-profit organization hasn't detailed its browser for developer to a great extent, but has revealed that it will be releasing the browser on November 10.

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Ford Develops a Way To Monitor Police Driving
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 01:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's stay-inside-the-lines department:
cartechboy writes Sometimes you wonder, "Who's watching the police?" Well, now it appears everyone can as Ford has developed a way to track how the police drive. The automaker has announced a new telematics system for police cars that will keep tabs on the cops while they are driving, tracking their behavior in real time. The system will be able to tell what speed the police offers are traveling, whether they're wearing their seat belts, and where they're driving. The idea behind this system is to improve fleet management with a side benefit of creating a degree of transparency to improve public trust.

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Interviews: Ask CMI Director Alex King About Rare Earth Mineral Supplies
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 12:30 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's dude-I-loved-their-2nd-album department:
The modern electronics industry relies on inputs and supply chains, both material and technological, and none of them are easy to bypass. These include, besides expertise and manufacturing facilities, the actual materials that go into electronic components. Some of them are as common as silicon; rare earth minerals, not so much. One story linked from Slashdot a few years back predicted that then-known supplies would be exhausted by 2017, though such predictions of scarcity are notoriously hard to get right, as people (and prices) adjust to changes in supply. There's no denying that there's been a crunch on rare earths, though, over the last several years. The minerals themselves aren't necessarily rare in an absolute sense, but they're expensive to extract.)
The most economically viable deposits are found in China, and rising prices for them as exports to the U.S., the EU, and Japan have raised political hackles. (At the same time, those rising prices have spurred exploration and reexamination of known deposits off the coast of Japan, in the midwestern U.S., and elsewhere.

< article continued at Slashdot >

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Smartphone App To Be Used As Hotel Room Keys
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's dial-r-for-room department:
An anonymous reader writes Starwood Hotels and Resorts has became the first chain to let guests unlock doors with their phones at 10 Aloft, Element and W hotels. They hope to expand the program to 140 more properties in those brands by the middle of next year. From the article: "The technology's developer says that it uses its own encrypted secure channel to ensure thieves cannot abuse the innovation. But one expert had reservations. "Nothing is 100% secure, and once this technology is in widespread use it will make a very tasty target for hackers," said Prof Alan Woodward from the University of Surrey's department of computing.

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China Plans To Build a Domestic Robotics Industry
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 11:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's all-your-robots-are-belong-to-us department:
jfruh writes China is known as a manufacturing export powerhouse, but it imports much of one particularly important kind of manufacturing tool: robots. Now the country's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is developing a "robotics technology roadmap," with a goal of owning over 45 percent of the high-end robotics market by 2020.

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Adobe's Digital Editions Collecting Less Data, Says EFF
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 10:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's less-spying-same-great-taste department:
itwbennett writes Tests on the latest version of Adobe System's e-reader software shows the company is now collecting less data following a privacy-related dustup last month, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Adobe was criticized in early October after it was discovered Digital Editions collected metadata about e-books on a device, even if the e-books did not have DRM. Those logs were also sent to Adobe in plain text. Digital Editions version 4.0.1 appears to only collect data on e-books that have DRM (Digital Rights Management), writes Cooper Quintin, a staff technologist with the EFF.

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Dance Your Ph.D. Winner Announced
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 10:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's just-dance department:
sciencehabit writes When she isn't out in the forest gathering data for her Ph.D. in plant biology at the University of Georgia, Athens, Uma Nagendra spends a good deal of her time hanging upside down from a trapeze doing circus aerials. "It turns out that there are a lot of scientists doing it," she says. To combine the two halves of her life, she teamed up with her fellow aerialists to create the midair dance based on her scientific research. Nagendra's circus extravaganza is the overall winner of this year's "Dance Your Ph.D." contest.

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Scotland Builds Power Farms of the Future Under the Sea
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 09:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's life-is-the-bubbles department:
HughPickens.com writes "The Pentland Firth is a raw, stormy sound between the Scottish mainland and the Orkney Islands, known for some of the world's fastest flowing marine waters. Daily tides here reach 11 miles per hour, and can go as high as 18 – a breakneck current that's the reason people are describing Scotland as the Saudi Arabia of tidal power. Now Megan Garber reports in The Atlantic that a new tidal power plant, to be installed off the Scottish coast aims to make the Scotland a world leader for turning sea flow into electricity. Underwater windmills, the BBC notes, have the benefit of invisibility—a common objection to wind turbines being how unsightly they are to human eyes. Undersea turbines also benefit from the fact that tides are predictable in ways that winds are not: You know how much power you're generating, basically, on any given day. The tidal currents are also completely carbon-free and since sea water is 832 times denser than air, a 5 knot ocean current has more kinetic energy than a 350 km/h wind.

< article continued at Slashdot >

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The 7th Underhanded C Contest Is Online
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 09:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's back-again department:
Xcott Craver writes The 7th Underhanded C Contest is now open. The goal of the contest is to write code that is as readable, clear, innocent and straightforward as possible, and yet somehow exhibits evil behavior that cannot be seen even when staring at the source code. The winners from 2013 are also online, and their clever and insightful submissions make for fun reading.

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Silicon Valley Swings To Republicans
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 08:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's going-the-other-way department:
phantomfive writes Silicon Valley is making a mark in Washington as Google has recently replaced Goldman as the largest lobbyist, but until recently, most of the money in from Silicon Valley went to democratic candidates. In 2014, that has changed, and Republicans are getting most of the money. Why the change? Gordon Crovitz suggests it's because Harry Reid blocked patent reform. Reid gets a large chunk of donations from trial lawyers, who oppose the reform.

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Japan's Annual Nuclear Drill Highlights Problems
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 07:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's deja-vu-all-over-again department:
AmiMoJo writes The Japanese government's disaster drill for nuclear power plants has highlighted some issues. The 2-day drill began on Sunday on the scenario that an earthquake had triggered an accident at the Shika plant in Ishikawa Prefecture. A group of residents gathered at a port to flee in boats on the assumption that the earthquake had made roads unusable. But the sea was too rough to sail, and officials had not considered an alternative in case of bad weather. Participating organizations were connected via a video link, but there were problems with the sound. Officials at the Toyama Prefectural government office could not hear part of the evacuation order.

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Chinese Hackers Mess With Texas By Attacking Fracking Firms
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 06:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's secrets-to-success department:
chicksdaddy writes The technology revolution that is "fracking" has created billions in wealth for states like Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio and Wyoming. But all that oil and all those dollars have attracted the attention of sophisticated spies from near and far to steal valuable trade secrets. Digital Guardian's blog notes this report from News 4 San Antonio in Texas which quotes local FBI officials saying they are "very concerned" about theft of trade secrets from companies engaged in "fracking" in the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas. "It's corporate espionage, there's no question about it," said Christopher Combs of the San Antonio FBI. "Foreign governments or foreign companies are looking for any competitive advantage. Whether it's the widget that you use to drill, or it's a process that you use to track inventory better. They're really looking at the company as a whole to find out every little thing that you do that makes you a better company on the world market." Combs declined to name specific firms, but said that Chinese firms are "aggressively" engaged in industrial espionage. However, the problem isn't limited to China. Companies with ties to governments that are U.S. allies are believed to be conducting espionage against innovative US firms as well.

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SpaceShipTwo's Rocket Engine Did Not Cause Fatal Crash
Posted by News Fetcher on November 03 '14 at 06:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's pilot-error department:
astroengine writes It wasn't SpaceShipTwo's hybrid rocket motor — which was flying on Friday with a new type of fuel — that caused the fatal crash, the head of the accident investigation agency said late Sunday. The ship's fuel tanks and its engine were recovered intact, indicating there was no explosion. "They showed no signs of burn-through, no signs of being breached," Christopher Hart, acting chairman of the National Transportation and Safety Board, told reporters at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, Calif. Instead, data and video relayed from the ship show its hallmark safety feature — a foldable tail section designed for easy re-entry into the atmosphere from space — was deployed early, causing the in-flight break-up.

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