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50 Years Later, MIT Looks Back At AI and Networking Pioneer Project MAC
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '14 at 09:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's dome-heads department:
v3rgEz (125380) writes "Fifty years ago, a major project that ultimately seeded much of today's computer technology was created at MIT: Project MAC, and the Multics operating system initiative within the project. Daniel Dern interviews some of the key figures involved in the pioneering project, looking at how one laboratory helped spawn Ethernet, AI, and dozens of tech companies and other innovations that took ideas from the lab to the personal computer."

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Iran Court Summons Mark Zuckerberg For Facebook Privacy Violations
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '14 at 08:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's beacon-of-tolerance-and-privacy department:
wiredmikey (1824622) writes "An Iranian judge has summoned Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to answer allegations that his company's apps have breached people's privacy, it was reported Tuesday. The court in Fars province ordered that Zuckerberg address unspecified 'violation of privacy' claims made by Iranians over the reach of Facebook-owned apps, ISNA news agency reported. 'Based on the judge's verdict, the Zionist manager of Facebook... should report to the prosecutor's office to defend himself and make compensation for damages,' Rouhollah Momen-Nasab, a senior Iranian Internet security official, told ISNA. Access to social networks, including Twitter and Facebook, are routinely blocked by Iranian authorities, as are other websites considered un-Islamic or detrimental to the regime."

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Wikipedia Medical Articles Found To Have High Error Rate
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '14 at 07:46 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's frequently-transpose-black-and-yellow-bile department:
Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "A group of researchers publishing in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that 90% of the articles they sampled contained errors regarding common medical conditions. Unsurprisingly, they recommend your General Practitioner as a more reliable source, while noting, '... 47% to 70% of physicians and medical students admitting to using it [Wikipedia] as a reference.' At issue in the study is the small sample size used in the study, 10 medical conditions, and ongoing efforts to improve the quality of Wikipedia's articles, according to a Wikipedia spokesman, '... especially in relation to health and medicine.' The BBC has more approachable coverage."

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Samsung S5 Reports Stress Levels Through Heart Rate Variability Measure
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '14 at 07:17 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's just-happy-to-see-you department:
oztechmuse (2323576) writes "Samsung has just released an updated version of its health software for the Samsung Galaxy S5 that measures stress levels. Using the heart rate sensor on the back of the phone, the S5 will calculate a measure of stress from low to high. Although this may seem far-fetched to some, the phone is actually using a measure of the heart rate to calculate something called 'heart rate variability' or HRV. HRV has been shown to be related to a range of clinical conditions that include problems with the heart but also mental issues of stress and anxiety. Athletes have also used HRV as a measure of over-training and so use heart rate monitors to check if they need rest days. Samsung seems to be claiming the ground in terms of innovation in health-related sensor technology. In addition to the built-in pulse oximeter sensor used for the HRV measurements, Samsung phones now support direct connections to heart rate straps using the Ant+ protocol as well as through Bluetooth. Apple and others have a long way to go to catch up."

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The Flaw Lurking In Every Deep Neural Net
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '14 at 05:46 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's what-if-that-cat-was-your-mother department:
mikejuk (1801200) writes "A recent paper, 'Intriguing properties of neural networks,' by Christian Szegedy, Wojciech Zaremba, Ilya Sutskever, Joan Bruna, Dumitru Erhan, Ian Goodfellow and Rob Fergus, a team that includes authors from Google's deep learning research project, outlines two pieces of news about the way neural networks behave that run counter to what we believed — and one of them is frankly astonishing. Every deep neural network has 'blind spots' in the sense that there are inputs that are very close to correctly classified examples that are misclassified. To quote the paper: 'For all the networks we studied, for each sample, we always manage to generate very close, visually indistinguishable, adversarial examples that are misclassified by the original network.' To be clear, the adversarial examples looked to a human like the original, but the network misclassified them. You can have two photos that look not only like a cat but the same cat, indeed the same photo, to a human, but the machine gets one right and the other wrong. What is even more shocking is that the adversarial examples seem to have some sort of universality. That is a large fraction were misclassified by different network architectures trained on the same data and by networks trained on a different data set. You might be thinking 'so what if a cat photo that is clearly a photo a cat is recognized as a dog?' If you change the situation just a little and ask what does it matter if a self-driving car that uses a deep neural network misclassifies a view of a pedestrian standing in front of the car as a clear road? There is also the philosophical question raised by these blind spots. If a deep neural network is biologically inspired we can ask the question, does the same result apply to biological networks? Put more bluntly, 'Does the human brain have similar built-in errors?' If it doesn't, how is it so different from the neural networks that are trying to mimic it?"

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Australian iPhone and iPad Users Waylaid By Ransomware
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '14 at 05:46 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's beware-the-jabberwock-my-son department:
DavidGilbert99 (2607235) writes "Multiple iPhone/iPad/Mac users in Australia are reporting their devices being remotely locked and a ransom demand being made to get them unlocked again. However, unlike PC ransomware, the vector of attack here seems to be Apple's iCloud service with the attacker getting to a database of username/password credentials associated with the accounts. It is unclear if the database was one of Apple's or the hacker is simply using the fact that people reuse the same password for multiple accounts and is using data stolen from another source. Apple is yet to respond, but there has already been one report of the issue affecting a user in the UK."

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Servo Stock 3D Printer Brings Closed-Loop Control To Reprap
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '14 at 04:15 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's don't-break-the-circle department:
A limitation of current (affordable) 3D printers is their use of open loop controllers and stepper motors which limits reliability (drove the motor too quickly and skipped a step? Your model is ruined) and precision (~300 steps per revolution). A new project, Servo Stock instead uses cheap RC Servomotors combined with Hall Effect sensors, using a closed-loop controller to precisely position the extruder. The Servo Stock is derived from the delta robot Reprap Rostock (which is pretty cool even with stepper motors). The sensors give a resolution of 4096 ticks per rotation, and the controller can currently position the motors to within +/-2 ticks. They've also simplified the printer electronics by driving as much as possible from the controlling computer using Bowler, a new communication protocol for machine control. The Servo Stock also includes sensors for the hot end, presumably to be used to control the filament feed rate and temperature. The hardware models are fully parametric, allowing reasonably straightforward scaling of the design. Source for the hardware, firmware, and software is available.

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Torrentz.eu Domain Name Suspended
Posted by News Fetcher on May 27 '14 at 01:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's searching-is-now-a-crime department:
First time accepted submitter S37Rigor Mortis (1601271) writes "Torrentz.eu, the largest torrent search engine on the Internet, has had its domain name suspended following a request from the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit in the UK. The site continues to operate under two alternative domains, and is hoping to move the .eu domain to a new registrar."

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Mesa 10.2 Will Feature Better Adreno Driver, OpenMAX, Cherryview Support
Posted by News Fetcher on May 26 '14 at 11:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's windows-now-10%-wobblier department:
Via Phoronix comes news that Mesa 10.2 will be released in a few days with several interesting new features. Highlights include OpenGL 2.1 support for Freedreno (the driver for the Qualcomm graphics chips), video encoding and decoding on GCN Radeons using the new OpenMAX state tracker, and initial support for Intel's upcoming Cherryview Atom SoC. Progress is being made toward OpenGL 4 support, and the llvmpipe software rasterizer finally supports OpenGL 3.2. The release won't feature a few things: the Intel Sandybridge driver still does not support OpenGL 3.3, the R9 290 Radeons are still not working (despite claims by AMD a couple of years ago that cards starting with the Radeon 8000 series would be supported by the Free Software driver at hardware release time), and OpenCL support is still experimental.

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US Nuclear Plants Expanding Long-Term Waste Storage Facilities
Posted by News Fetcher on May 26 '14 at 08:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's just-make-sure-not-to-use-organic-litter department:
mdsolar (1045926) writes with news of nuclear plants across the U.S. dealing with the consequences of the failure of Yucca Mountain. From the article:

"The steel and concrete containers used to store the waste on-site were envisioned as only a short-term solution when introduced in the 1980s. Now they are the subject of reviews by industry and government to determine how they might hold up — if needed — for decades or longer. With nowhere else to put its nuclear waste, the Millstone Power Station overlooking Long Island Sound is sealing it up in massive steel canisters on what used to be a parking lot. The storage pad, first built in 2005, was recently expanded to make room for seven times as many canisters filled with spent fuel. ... The government is pursuing a new plan for nuclear waste storage, hoping to break an impasse left by the collapse of a proposal for Nevada's Yucca Mountain. The Energy Department says it expects other states will compete for a repository ... But the plan faces hurdles including a need for new legislation that has stalled in Congress."

There's always recycling or transmutation.

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Chelsea Clinton At NCWIT: More PE, Less Zuckerberg
Posted by News Fetcher on May 26 '14 at 07:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's pizza-and-mountain-dew-considered-harmful department:
theodp (442580) writes "Among the speakers at last week's National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Summit was Chelsea Clinton, who spoke fondly of the Commodore she received as a kid on Christmas Day in 1987. During the Q&A, Clinton was asked (Vimeo), 'What do you see as some of the right policies that could help put Computer Science — which is undeniably the most important 21st Century skill — into our classrooms?' To which the former First Daughter responded, 'I won't quibble with the fact that I think it's very important. I also think other things admittedly are important.' Such as? Aligning Computer Science with Common Core, for one thing ('Ensure that Computer Science is part of the definition of science'). Using state budget surpluses to hire additional physical education teachers for elementary and middle school students, for another ('For Computer Science, as any subject, kids that are well-fed with healthy food and who have been activated in their bodies will able to learn and retain information in any subject better than if they're not'). And, last but not least, 'continuing to tell stories of people that are not...people who don't look like Mark Zuckerberg as successful in Computer Science and technology.' NCWIT, by the way, was listed as a "major partner" on last December's Hour of Code, which arguably made Mark Zuckerberg the face of Computer Science for K-12 students in the nationwide campaign embraced by President Obama during CSEdWeek."

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PHK: HTTP 2.0 Should Be Scrapped
Posted by News Fetcher on May 26 '14 at 04:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's just-give-up department:
Via the HTTP working group list comes a post from Poul-Henning Kamp proposing that HTTP 2.0 (as it exists now) never be released after the plan of adopting Google's SPDY protocol with minor changes revealed flaws that SPDY/HTTP 2.0 will not address. Quoting: "The WG took the prototype SPDY was, before even completing its
previous assignment, and wasted a lot of time and effort trying to
goldplate over the warts and mistakes in it.

And rather than 'ohh, we get HTTP/2.0 almost for free', we found
out that there are numerous hard problems that SPDY doesn't even
get close to solving, and that we will need to make some simplifications
in the evolved HTTP concept
if we ever want to solve them. ...
Wouldn't we get a better result from taking a much deeper look
at the current cryptographic and privacy situation, rather than
publish a protocol with a cryptographic band-aid which doesn't solve
the problems and gets in the way in many applications ? ...
Isn't publishing HTTP/2.0 as a 'place-holder' is just a waste of
everybody's time, and a needless code churn, leading to increased
risk of security exposures and failure for no significant gains ?


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Kids With Wheels: Should the Unlicensed Be Allowed To 'Drive' Autonomous Cars?
Posted by News Fetcher on May 26 '14 at 03:45 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's ever-heard-of-a-bicycle? department:
Hallie Siegel (2973169) writes "From the Open Roboethics Research Initiative: Earlier this month, when we asked people about your general thoughts on autonomous cars, we found that one of the main advantages of autonomous cars is that those who are not licensed to drive will be able to get to places more conveniently. Some results from our reader poll: About half of the participants (52%) said that children under the legal driving age should not be able to ride driverless cars, 38% of the participants believe that children should be able to ride driverless cars alone and the other 10% also think that children should be able to drive autonomous cars with proven technology and specific training."

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B-52 Gets First Full IT Upgrade Since 1961
Posted by News Fetcher on May 26 '14 at 03:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's all-the-better-to-bomb-you-with department:
An anonymous reader writes in with good news for everyone who wants to hold a LAN party in a Stratofortress. "The US Air Force's 10th Flight Test Squadron recently took delivery of the first B-52H Stratofortress to complete a refit through the Combat Network Communications Technology (CONECT) program. It's an effort to bring the Cold War era heavy bomber into the 21st century way of warfare—or at least up to the 1990s, technology-wise. While the aircraft received piecemeal upgrades over the past 50 years of flying, CONECT is the first major information technology overhaul for the Air Force's B-52H fleet since the airplanes started entering service in 1961."

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Report: Apple To Unveil "Smart Home" System
Posted by News Fetcher on May 26 '14 at 02:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's ask-the-house department:
An anonymous reader writes "According to a reports Apple will be unveiling a new smart home system at the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference. The system will allow users to control security systems, appliances and lighting with their iPhones. A "select number" of device makers will be certified to offer products that work with Apple's upcoming system, according to the report, which didn't name any of the manufacturers."

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Organic Cat Litter May Have Caused Nuclear Waste Accident
Posted by News Fetcher on May 26 '14 at 01:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's that's-a-bad-kitty department:
mdsolar (1045926) writes in with a story about how important buying the right kind of kitty litter can be. "In February, a 55-gallon drum of radioactive waste burst open inside America's only nuclear dump, in New Mexico. Now investigators believe the cause may have been a pet store purchase gone bad. 'It was the wrong kitty litter,' says , a geochemist in Richland, Wash., who has spent decades in the nuclear waste business. It turns out there's more to cat litter than you think. It can soak up urine, but it's just as good at absorbing radioactive material. 'It actually works well both in the home litter box as well as the radiochemistry laboratory,' says Conca, who is not directly involved in the current investigation. Cat litter has been used for years to dispose of nuclear waste. Dump it into a drum of sludge and it will stabilize volatile radioactive chemicals. The litter prevents it from reacting with the environment. And this is what contractors were doing as they packed Cold War-era waste for shipment to the dump. But at some point, they decided to make a switch, from clay to organic. 'Now that might sound nice, you're trying to be green and all that, but the organic kitty litters are organic,' says Conca. Organic litter is made of plant material, which is full of chemical compounds that can react with the nuclear waste. 'They actually are just fuel, and so they're the wrong thing to add,' he says. Investigators now believe the litter and waste caused the drum to slowly heat up 'sort of like a slow burn charcoal briquette instead of an actual bomb.' After it arrived at the dump, it burst."

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Book Review: Hacking Point of Sale
Posted by News Fetcher on May 26 '14 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's read-all-about-it department:
benrothke (2577567) writes "The only negative thing to say about Hacking Point of Sale: Payment Application Secrets, Threats, and Solutions is its title. A cursory look at it may lead the reader that this is a book for a script kiddie, when it is in fact a necessary read for anyone involved with payment systems. The book provides a wealth of information that is completely pragmatic and actionable. The problem is, as the book notes in many places, that one is constantly patching a system that is inherently flawed and broken." Keep reading for the rest of Ben's review. Hacking Point of Sale: Payment Application Secrets, Threats, and Solutions
author Slava Gomzin
pages 312
publisher Wiley
rating 10/10
reviewer Ben Rothke
ISBN 978-1118810118
summary Superb book on POS, PCI and payment security

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Bug In DOS-Based Voting Machines Disrupts Belgian Election
Posted by News Fetcher on May 26 '14 at 11:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's slowing-things-down department:
jfruh (300774) writes "In 20 cantons in Belgium's Flanders region, voting machines are x86 PCs from the DOS era, with two serial ports, a parallel port, a paltry 1 megabyte of RAM and a 3.5-inch disk drive used to load the voting software from a bootable DOS disk. A software bug in those machines is slowing the release of the results from yesterday's election, in which voters chose members of the regional, national, and European parliaments. The remaining voting machines, which are Linux-based, are unaffected, as were voters in the French-speaking Wallonia region of the country, most of whom use paper ballots."

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Registry Hack Enables Continued Updates For Windows XP
Posted by News Fetcher on May 26 '14 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's buying-time department:
DroidJason1 (3589319) writes "A registry workaround, which tricks Windows Update into thinking you are running Windows Embedded POSReady 2009, allows you to get free security updates until 2019. All you need is a simple 32bit or 64bit registry entry in order to make this work. POSReady 2009 is slated to receive security updates for another five years. Microsoft ended support for Windows XP on April 8th of 2014."

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Google Releases VirusTotal Uploader For OS X
Posted by News Fetcher on May 26 '14 at 10:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's check-it-out department:
An anonymous reader writes "Google today announced the release of VirusTotal Uploader for OS X, allowing Mac users to upload suspicious files for scanning. You can download it now directly for OS X 10.8 and 10.9 from VirusTotal. For those who don't know, VirusTotal Uploader for Windows is a popular tool for submitting suspicious files to the online scanning service. The process is as simple as right-clicking any file and selecting the relevant option from the context menu."

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