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Researchers Find Problems With Rules of Bitcoin

Unknown Lamer posted about 7 months ago | from the ruining-everything-with-math dept.

Bitcoin 301

holy_calamity (872269) writes "Using game theory to analyze the rules of cryptocurrency Bitcoin suggests some changes are needed to make the currency sustainable in the long term, reports MIT Technology Review. Studies from Princeton and Cornell found that current rules governing the mining of bitcoins leave room for cheats or encourage behavior that could destabilize the currency. Such changes could be difficult to implement, given the fact Bitcoin — by design — lacks any central authority." The main problem discovered is that transaction fees do not provide enough incentive to continue operating as "miner" after there are no more bitcoins left to be mined.

Microsoft Ships Surface Pro 2 Tablets With Wrong, Slower Processor

Unknown Lamer posted about 7 months ago | from the get-what-you-paid-for? dept.

Microsoft 147

SmartAboutThings (1951032) writes "Microsoft launched the Surface Pro 2 tablet in October 2013 with several hardware upgrades, like the new 1.6GHz Core i5-4200U processor specifically optimized for longer battery life and increased performance. Three months later, Microsoft decided to upgrade the CPU with a 1.9GHz Core i5-4300U unit that would be capable of taking these improvements even further. Although Redmond kept quiet about the improvement, tech savvy buyers were aware of the change. Now, according to some new reports, it seems that the company is still shipping the old models to buyers, despite the fact that Microsoft promised to deliver only upgraded models featuring the new CPU."

Florida Judge Rules IP Address Can't Identify a BitTorrent Pirate

Unknown Lamer posted about 7 months ago | from the you-are-number-74.110.69.73 dept.

Piracy 158

An anonymous reader writes "Florida District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro has dismissed a lawsuit brought by Malibu Media against an alleged BitTorrent pirate. Though Malibu Media explained how they geolocated the download site and verified that the IP address was residential rather than a public wifi hotspot, the judge reasoned that the 'Plaintiff has not shown how this geolocation software can establish the identity of the Defendant....Even if this IP address is located within a residence, the geolocation software cannot identify who has access to that residence's computer and who would actually be using it to infringe Plaintiff's copyright.' Judge Ungaro's ruling is not the first of its kind, but it could signal a growing legal trend whereby copyright lawsuits can no longer just hinge on the acquisition of an IP address."

Ubuntu Phone Isn't Important Enough To Demand an Open Source Baseband

Unknown Lamer posted about 7 months ago | from the pick-your-battles dept.

Cellphones 137

colinneagle (2544914) writes "Canonical is producing a version of the Ubuntu Linux distribution specifically for smartphones, but Richard Tynan, writing for PrivacyInternational.org, recently pointed out that the baseband in Ubuntu-powered phones will remain proprietary. ... Some have criticized Canonical for missing an opportunity to push for a fully Open Source smartphone, but in order to fix this problem (and open up the code for this super-critical bit of software), we need companies that have a large amount of clout, in the smartphone market, to make it a priority. Canonical (with Ubuntu) just doesn't have that clout yet. They're just now dipping their toes into the smartphone waters. But you know who does have that clout? Google.

Google has made a point of touting Open Source (at least sometimes), and they are the undisputed king of the smartphone operating system world. And yet I hear no big moves by Google to encourage phone manufacturers to utilize Open Source baseband firmware, such as OsmocomBB. So has Canonical missed an opportunity? No. Not yet. If (some may say 'when') Ubuntu gains a critical amount of market share in the phone world, that will be their chance to pressure manufacturers to produce a truly Open Source phone. Until then, Canonical needs to continue to work within the world we have today."

Scientist Live-Blogs His Lab's Attempts To Generate New Type of Stem Cells

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the in-real-time dept.

Biotech 20

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "In the latest twist in the story of STAP cells, a new kind of stem cell described in two Nature papers in January, a scientist is live-blogging his latest attempt to generate the cells. The papers described how subjecting cells from newborn mice to a mildly acidic solution turned them into pluripotent stem cells, the sought-after cells that can become all the body's cell types. Kenneth Ka-Ho Lee, a stem cell researcher at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, has already tried once to make the cells, following the methods published in Nature in January. That attempt failed, which Lee documented publicly on the website ResearchGate. The lack of success mirrors other reports from scientists around the world in the weeks since the papers were published, despite a more detailed set of methods posted by some of the authors on 5 March. Today, Lee posted in the comment section of his ResearchGate review that he had set up a team of four lab members to do the experiments. They will live blog the research, and promise frequent updates."

JavaScript Inventor Brendan Eich Named New CEO of Mozilla

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the man-with-the-plan dept.

Mozilla 112

darthcamaro (735685) writes "Mozilla today announcedthat Brendan Eich would be its new CEO . Eich had been serving as Mozilla's CTO and has been with Mozilla since day one — literally day one. Eich was a Netscape engineer when AOL decided to create the open-source Mozilla project in 1998. The choice of Eich as CEO seems obvious to some, after a string of recent short-tenured CEOs at Mozilla's helm."

Bring On the Monsters: Tolkien's Translation of Beowulf To Be Published

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the when-grendel-met-sauron dept.

Books 94

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Tolkien was often criticized by his academic colleagues for wasting time on fiction, even though that fiction has probably done more to popularize medieval literature than the work of 100 scholars. Now John Garth reports that HarperCollins plans to publish Tolkien's long-awaited 1926 translation of the oldest surviving Old English epic poem about Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, who kills the monster Grendel with his bare hands and Grendel's mother with a sword of a giant that he found in her lair. Verlyn Flieger, identifies Beowulf as representing one of the two poles of Tolkien's imagination: the darker half, in which we all face eventual defeat – a complete contrast to the sudden joyous upturn of hope that he also expresses so superbly. 'In truth,' writes Garth, 'it is his ability to move between the two attitudes that really lends him emotional power as a writer.' Tolkien pushed the monsters to the forefront arguing that they 'represent the impermanence of human life, the mortal enemy that can strike at the heart of everything we hold dear, the force against which we need to muster all our strength – even if ultimately we may lose the fight.' Without the monsters, the peculiarly northern courage of Beowulf and his men is meaningless. Tolkien, veteran of the Somme, knew that it was not. 'It will be fascinating to see how [Tolkien] exercised his literary, historical and linguistic expertise on the poem,' concludes Garth adding that Tolkien was the arch-revivalist of literary medievalism, who made it seem so relevant to the modern world. 'I can't wait to see his version of the first English epic.'"

Is the Tesla Model S Pedal Placement A Safety Hazard?

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the keep-stomping dept.

Transportation 394

cartechboy (2660665) writes "When things go wrong with the Tesla Model S electric car, its very loyal--and opinionated--owners usually speak up. And that's just what David Noland has done. An incident in which his Model S didn't stop when he pressed the brake pedal scared him--and got him investigating. He measured pedal spacing on 22 different new cars at dealers--and his analysis suggests that the Tesla pedal setup may be causing what aviation analysts call a 'design-induced pilot error'. And pedal design, as Toyota just learned to the tune of $1.2 billion, is very important indeed in preventing accidents."

AT&T Exec Calls Netflix "Arrogant" For Expecting Net Neutrality

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the playing-the-game dept.

The Internet 466

jayp00001 (267507) writes "'As we all know, there is no free lunch, and there’s also no cost-free delivery of streaming movies. Someone has to pay that cost. Mr. Hastings' arrogant proposition is that everyone else should pay but Netflix. That may be a nice deal if he can get it. But it's not how the Internet, or telecommunication for that matter, has ever worked,' writes AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of Legislative Affairs, James Cicconi. Mr. Cicconi took issue with a blog post from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on the importance of net neutrality.

Google Now Arrives In Chrome For Windows and Mac

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the get-it-while-it's-hot dept.

Google 74

An anonymous reader writes "Google today announced Google Now is coming to the Chrome stable channel for Windows and Mac 'starting today and rolling out over the next few weeks.' This means Google Now notifications will finally be available to desktop and laptop Chrome users, in addition to Android and iOS users. To turn the feature on, all you need to do is sign in to Chrome with the same Google Account you're using for Google Now on mobile. If you use Google Now on multiple devices, you will need to manage your location settings for each device independently (change Location Reporting on Android and iOS)."

What Fire and Leakage At WIPP Means For Nuclear Waste Disposal

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the where-should-I-put-this? dept.

United States 154

Lasrick (2629253) writes "An underground fire and a separate plutonium leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) has left the US with no repository for transuranic (TRU) waste--that is, radioactive elements heavier than uranium on the periodic chart, such as plutonium, americium, curium and neptunium. WIPP is a bedded salt formation in New Mexico, chosen because of its presumed long-term stability and self-sealing properties, and it currently holds, among other things, 4.9 metric tons of plutonium. Despite assurances from the DOE that the plant would soon reopen, New Mexico has cancelled WIPP's disposal permit indefinitely. Robert Alvarez, who has served as senior policy adviser to the Energy Department's secretary and as deputy assistant secretary for national security, explores what happened at WIPP, and what it means for defense nuclear waste storage."

Russians Take Ukraine's Last Land Base In Crimea

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the in-soviet-russia dept.

The Military 551

An anonymous reader writes "Firing shots in the air and using stun grenades, Russian troops captured the last Ukrainian military base in Crimea today. From the LA Times: 'Meanwhile, Ukrainian and Russian officials were carrying on talks on evacuating Ukraine's loyal servicemen and families from the peninsula, a top Ukrainian military official said during a briefing Monday in Kiev. "About 50% [of Ukraine servicemen stationed in Crimea] joined the Russian side," said Olexandr Razmazin, army deputy chief of staff, the UNIAN news agency reported. The decision has been made to carry out the evacuation, he said, "but we need to work out a legal way to do it."'"

KDE and Canonical Developers Disagree Over Display Server

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the no-meeting-of-the-minds dept.

KDE 202

sfcrazy (1542989) writes "Robert Ancell, a Canonical software engineer, wrote a blog titled 'Why the display server doesn't matter', arguing that: 'Display servers are the component in the display stack that seems to hog a lot of the limelight. I think this is a bit of a mistake, as it’s actually probably the least important component, at least to a user.' KDE developers, who do have long experience with Qt (something Canonical is moving towards for its mobile ambitions), have refuted Bob's claims and said that display server does matter."

How Satellite Company Inmarsat Tracked Down MH370

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the needle-in-a-haystack dept.

United Kingdom 491

mdsolar (1045926) writes "Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has announced that, based on satellite data analysis from UK company Inmarsat, Malayian Airlines flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean, and no one on board survived. 'Effectually we looked at the doppler effect, which is the change in frequency, due to the movement of a satellite in its orbit. What that then gave us was a predicted path for the northerly route and a predicted path the southerly route,' explained Chris McLaughlin, senior vice president of external affairs at Inmarsat. 'What we discovered was a correlation with the southerly route and not with the northern route after the final turn that the aircraft made, so we could be as close to certain as anybody could be in that situation that it went south. Where we then went was to work out where the last ping was, knowing that the aircraft still had some fuel, but that it would have run out before the next automated ping. We don't know what speed the aircraft was flying at, but we assumed about 450 knots.' Inmarsat passed the relevant analysis to the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) yesterday. The cause of the crash remains a mystery."

SpaceX Resupply Mission To Launch March 30

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the ready-to-go dept.

Space 48

An anonymous reader writes "Originally scheduled to launch on March 16, SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft will now launch March 30. From the article: 'Officials delayed launch from March 16 after engineers raised concerns that petroleum stains discovered on thermal blankets could contaminate sensitive components on a high-definition imaging camera and an optical communications experiment mounted inside the Dragon spacecraft's trunk. "After careful review and analysis, engineering teams representing both the ISS and SpaceX have determined Dragon is ready to fly 'as-is.' All parties agree that the particular constituents observed in Dragon's trunk are in line with the previously defined environments levels and do not impose additional risk to the payloads," SpaceX said in a statement.'"

Cisco Plans $1B Investment In Cloud

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the better-late-than-never dept.

Businesses 61

itwbennett (1594911) writes "Cisco Systems said Monday it plans to invest over $1 billion to expand its cloud business over the next two years, including building a global, OpenStack-based 'network of clouds' that it has dubbed the 'intercloud'. The Intercloud will support any workload, on any hypervisor and interoperate with any cloud, both private and public, according to Cisco."

Turkish Finance Minister Defends Twitter Ban

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the I'd-do-it-again dept.

Censorship 94

An anonymous reader writes "Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek has defended his governments ban on Twitter and accused the social networking site of not complying with court orders. Simsek said: 'The Turkish telecommunications watchdog has made a number of statements saying that they have asked Twitter on a number of occasions to remove some content on the back of court orders and Twitter has been refusing to comply. I don’t think any global company, whether it’s a media company, whether it’s an industrial company, it shouldn’t see itself [as being] above the law.'" As a result of the ban, Tor gained over 10,000 new users in Turkey.

Drone-Assisted Hunting To Be Illegal In Alaska

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the eye-in-the-sky dept.

Government 397

garymortimer (1882326) writes in with news about rules for hunting with drones in Alaska. "At its March 14-18 meeting in Anchorage, the seven-member Alaska Board of Game approved a measure to prohibit hunters from spotting game with such aircraft, often called drones. While the practice does not appear to be widespread, Alaska Wildlife Troopers said the technology is becoming cheaper, easier to use and incorporates better video relay to the user on the ground. A drone system allowing a hunter or helper to locate game now costs only about $1,000, said Capt. Bernard Chastain, operations commander for the Wildlife Troopers. Because of advances in the technology and cheaper prices, it is inevitable hunters seeking an advantage would, for example, try to use a drone to fly above trees or other obstacles and look for a moose or bear to shoot, he said."

In the Unverified Digital World, Are Journalists and Bloggers Equal?

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the but-I-play-one-on-tv dept.

The Internet 156

oztechmuse (2323576) writes "As the source of news moves increasingly away from traditional channels to the millions of people carrying mobile phones and sharing commentary, photos and video on social networks, the distinction between journalists and bloggers has become increasingly blurred. Making sense of this type of information has been as much a challenge for journalists as it has bloggers. Journalists, like bloggers, have had to learn new skills in working in this environment. Highlighting this has been the release of the Verification Handbook which attempts to educate journalists in how to process user-generated content in the form of videos or images acknowledging that much of the reporting about situations, especially emergency ones, comes from the public. The techniques outlined are accessible to anyone reporting on a story, adding to the eroding gap between bloggers and journalists."

Last Week's Announcement About Gravitational Waves and Inflation May Be Wrong

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the not-so-fast dept.

Space 194

KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "If you've been living under a stone, you might not have heard last week's announcement that astrophysicists from the BICEP2 experiment have found the first evidence of two extraordinary things. The first is primordial gravitational waves--ripples in spacetime from the very first moments after the Big Bang. The second is that these waves are evidence of inflation, the theory that the universe expanded rapidly, by twenty orders of magnitude in the blink of an eye after the Big Bang. But that can only be possible if the gravitational waves formed before inflation occurred. Now critics have begun to mutter that the waves might have formed later and so provide no evidence of inflation. The new thinking is that as the universe cooled down after inflation, various phase changes occurred in the Universe which generated the laws of physics we see today. These phase changes would have been violent events that generated their own ripples in space time, which would look very much like the primordial gravitational waves that the BICEP2 team claims to have found. So the BICEP2 team must rule out this possibility before they can claim evidence of inflation. But the critics say the data does not yet allow this to be done. That doesn't mean inflation didn't occur. Indeed, the critics say this is still the most likely explanation. But until the phase change possibility is ruled out, the result must be considered ambiguous. So put the champagne back in the fridge."

Apple Reportedly In Talks With Comcast For Separate Apple Streaming Path

samzenpus posted about 7 months ago | from the fast-lane dept.

The Internet 150

An anonymous reader writes "Apple is reportedly in talks with Comcast to obtain a network pathway dedicated to live and on-demand programming for subscribers of unspecified Apple services. In other words, Apple traffic would be separated from the rest of the public's internet traffic. This deal is different from the one Netflix made with Comcast in that Apple is reportedly asking for separate traffic in the path from Comcast facilities to consumer homes; the Netflix deal only gains Netflix direct access to the Comcast network. While net neutrality rules no longer restrict ISPs from monetizing their traffic prioritization, Comcast is still bound in that respect until 2018 as part of the conditions for its acquisition of NBCUniversal in 2011."

Titanium-Headed Golf Clubs Create Brush Fire Hazard In California

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the match-point dept.

News 169

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Things to pack in your golf bag: clubs, balls, tees, beverages and a fire extinguisher. The NYT reports that scientists have determined that striking a rock while swinging a titanium club can create a shower of sparks that are hot enough, and last long enough, to start a brush fire. The finding, by researchers at the University of California, Irvine, clears up what fire officials in Southern California have seen as a mystery: the origin of two recent golf course fires in Irvine and Mission Viejo including one that burned 25 acres and injured a firefighter in 2010. "That was hard for anybody to believe," says Steve Concialdi, a captain with the Orange County Fire Authority. "We were thinking they were started by cigars or cigarettes." Most clubs come with stainless steel heads, but a significant number have recently been produced with a titanium alloy, which makes them lighter and easier to swing. The only problem is that, when struck against hard surfaces — like rocks or concrete — the impact with the rock abrades the titanium surface, producing small particles — up to about one-fiftieth of an inch in diameter — that burned for up to a second, at temperatures high enough to cause dry vegetation to ignite. Given the drought in California and the extreme fire danger, Concialdi says the fire department is asking golfers using titanium-coated clubs to move their balls away from rocks and dry vegetation and onto the irrigated fairways. He says while golfers may complain it's making the game easier, it's too risky to do otherwise this season. "Talk about a hazard," says Concialdi. "We are looking at a severe fire season because of the drought, and no one should take chances with titanium clubs on dry ground.""

MIT Researcher Enlists Bacteria To Assemble Nanotech Materials

timothy posted about 7 months ago | from the would-change-ikea-directions-forever dept.

Biotech 36

The Register reports on an approach to nanotech that combines biological computing with micro-mechanics, embodied in the work of MIT associate professor Timothy Lu. Lu's research has resulted in the creation of tiny structures assembled using modified E. coli. "Specifically," says the article, "the MIT researchers were able to put bacteria to work producing conducting biofilms, some of which were studded with quantum dots, and arranging gold nanowires. This paves the way for the development of mass manufactured cell-based material factories, and even 'living materials' that have some of the desirable properties of bones or trees, Lu confirmed." His most radical idea, says Lu, is furniture that shapes itself to cushion the user's most-stressed areas.

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