FullBandwidth writes: "Two Virginia aerospace players, Arlington-based Alliant Techsystems (ATK) and Dulles-based Orbital Sciences, are merging to create a $5 billion venture. The companies announced the merger in a joint announcement Tuesday. ATK is also spinning off its lucrative hunting gear segment into a separate company. 'The move is mutually beneficial, company executives said, as ATK looks to bolster its aerospace business and Orbital Sciences hopes to boost the scale of its existing operations as well as gain a foothold in the defense sector. ... Another beneficiary of the merger is NASA, a client of both companies.
Last year, Orbital successfully completed a supply run to the international space station using its Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft. Orbital’s expansion after the merger will make it a bigger player in the commercial space sector as it competes with the likes of SpaceX, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s company, said Howard Rubel, an equity research analyst at Jefferies.'"
Lasrick writes: "This article takes a look at cost estimates of nuclear power plant decommissioning from the 1980s, and how widely inaccurate they turned out to be. This is a pretty fascinating look at past articles in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that consistently downplayed the costs of decommissioning, for example: 'The Yankee Nuclear Power Station in Rowe, Massachusetts, took 15 years to decommission—or five times longer than was needed to build it. And decommissioning the plant—constructed early in the 1960s for $39 million—cost $608 million. The plant's spent fuel rods are still stored in a facility on-site, because there is no permanent disposal repository to put them in. To monitor them and make sure the material does not fall into the hands of terrorists or spill into the nearby river costs $8 million per year.'"
An anonymous reader writes "In 2013, a startup called Outbox drew a lot of attention for its ambitious goal: digitizing everybody's snail mail. It was a nice dream; no more walking down your driveway six days a week to clear out the useless junk it contained. But less than a year later, Outbox shut down. This article explains how the United States Postal Service swiftly crushed their plan to make mail better. The founders were summoned to a meeting with the Postmaster General, who told them. 'We have a misunderstanding. You disrupt my service and we will never work with you. You mentioned making the service better for our customers; but the American citizens aren't our customers—about 400 junk mailers are our customers. Your service hurts our ability to serve those customers.' The USPS's Chief of Digital Strategy said Outbox's business model 'will never work anyway. Digital is a fad.' The USPS wouldn't work with Outbox to forward customers' mail, and that eventually destroyed the business."
kelk1 sends this article from the Stanford News Service:
"Stanford bioengineers have developed faster, more energy-efficient microchips based on the human brain – 9,000 times faster and using significantly less power than a typical PC (abstract). Kwabena Boahen and his team have developed Neurogrid, a circuit board consisting of 16 custom-designed 'Neurocore' chips. Together these 16 chips can simulate 1 million neurons and billions of synaptic connections. The team designed these chips with power efficiency in mind. Their strategy was to enable certain synapses to share hardware circuits. ... But much work lies ahead. Each of the current million-neuron Neurogrid circuit boards cost about $40,000. (...) Neurogrid is based on 16 Neurocores, each of which supports 65,536 neurons. Those chips were made using 15-year-old fabrication technologies. By switching to modern manufacturing processes and fabricating the chips in large volumes, he could cut a Neurocore's cost 100-fold – suggesting a million-neuron board for $400 a copy."
Rambo Tribble writes: "In a case of 'live by the sword, die by the sword,' researchers have used the now-infamous Heartlbeed bug in OpenSSL to gain access to black-hat forums. A French researcher named Steven K. is quoted as saying, 'The potential of this vulnerability affecting black-hat services is just enormous.' Reportedly, the criminal-minded sites Darkode and Damagelab have already been compromised."
In related news, U.S. Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel posted an article at Whitehouse.gov yesterday reaffirming that the U.S. government had no prior knowledge of Heartbleed. He said, 'We rely on the Internet and connected systems for much of our daily lives. Our economy would not function without them. Our ability to project power abroad would be crippled if we could not depend on them. For these reasons, disclosing vulnerabilities usually makes sense. We need these systems to be secure as much as, if not more so, than everyone else.'
Daniel_Stuckey writes: "CISPA is back for a third time—it has lost the 'P,' but it's just as bad for civil liberties as ever. The Senate Intelligence Committee is considering a new cybersecurity bill that contains many of the provisions that civil liberties groups hated about the Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). Most notably, under the proposed bill companies could not be sued for incorrectly sharing too much customer information with the federal government, and broad law enforcement sharing could allow for the creation of backdoor wiretaps. The bill, called the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2014, was written by Senate Intelligence Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and is currently circulating around the committee right now but has not yet been introduced. Right now, the bill is only a 'discussion draft,' and the committee is still looking to make revisions to the bill before it is officially introduced."
pdclarry writes: "Anyone managing email servers or lists has suspected for several weeks a major hack of AOL's servers, based on a sudden spurt in spam ostensibly from AOL email addresses (but actually spoofed) and sent to the contact lists of those AOL accounts. Of course, there is a steady stream of such spam from hacked individual accounts on many services, but the magnitude and suddenness of the most recent spam attack argues against individual account invasions. Well, AOL has finally come clean. Apparently unknown individuals accessed AOL's servers and took screen names, account information including mailing addresses, contact lists, encrypted passwords and encrypted answers to security questions. And possibly credit card information. AOL claims that it affects 'only' 2% of their members, but recommends that everyone change their passwords and security questions."
New submitter freddieb writes: "An individual who had been jamming cellphone traffic on interstate 4 in Florida was located by FCC agents with the assistance of Hillsborough County Sheriff's Deputies. The individual had reportedly been jamming cellphone traffic on I-4 for two years. The FCC is now proposing a $48,000 fine for his actions. They say the jamming 'could and may have had disastrous consequences by precluding the use of cell phones to reach life-saving 9-1-1 services provided by police, ambulance, and fire departments.'"
eldavojohn writes: "Word was leaking this week of some familiar faces in London hanging out together. Finally today an official cast listing for Star Wars Episode VII was handed down from on high to us mere mortals (Google Cache and Onion AV recap available). From the short release, 'Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film.' Let's not bicker and argue about who shot first but instead come to an agreement on expected levels of almost certain disappointment. No, this will not feature the Expanded Universe (EU) — you can now refer to those tales as 'Legends' which are not part of Star Wars canon. Instead prepare yourself for what will likely be the mother of all retcon films."
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at the Kaspersky Lab have uncovered a zero-day Adobe Flash vulnerability that affects Windows, OS X, and Linux. 'While the exploit Kaspersky observed attacked only computers running Microsoft Windows, the underlying flaw, which is formally categorized as CVE-2014-1776 and resides in a Flash component known as the Pixel Bender, is present in the Adobe application built for OS X and Linux machines as well.' Adobe has reportedly patched the bug for all platforms. Researchers first detected the bug from attacks performed on seven Syrian computers. The attacks seem to have been hosted on the Syrian Ministry of Justice website, which has led to speculation that these are state-sponsored vulnerability exploits. This speculation is further supported by evidence that one of the exploits was 'designed to target computers that have the Cisco Systems MeetingPlace Express Add-In version 5x0 installed. The app is used to view documents and images during Web conferences.'"
MightyMartian (840721) writes "I've been working for an organization now for over seven years, my best run yet. A couple of years ago, the company went through some major changes and I bought in as an owner and as a managing director; my responsibilities encompassing administration, finance and IT. It's a small (20 employee or so, plus nearly that many with subcontracting companies) organization so needless to say I retained my direct IT responsibilities.
My fellow board members have decided that I need to detach myself from the day to day IT operations and take over more management duties; in particular in the finance and budgeting end of things. Right now I'm in the process of interviewing a new IT system administrator who will, over time, take on most of my IT roles. However, since this has been a one-man shop for seven years; namely my shop, I confess some reservations about handing over the keys and moving permanently up to the top floor.
Does anybody have any suggestions on the level of permissions for servers, networks and infrastructure I should start with? Do I, for the moment, retain some of the critical functionality; like superuser passwords, and slowly move the new system administrator into his or her role, or do I move more quickly, give him the basics and then let him fly on his own?"
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla today officially launched Firefox 29 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. This is a massive release: Firefox Sync has been revamped and is now powered by Firefox Accounts, there's a new customization mode, and the company's major user interface overhaul Australis has finally arrived. 'The tabs are sleek and smooth to help you navigate the Web faster. It’s easy to see what tab you’re currently visiting and the other tabs fade into the background to be less of a distraction when you’re not using them. The Firefox menu has moved to the right corner of the toolbar and puts all your browser controls in one place. The menu includes a “Customize” tool that transforms Firefox into a powerful customization mode where you can add or move any feature, service or add-on.' Here are the full release notes and a demo video."
harrymcc (1641347) writes "On May 1, 1964 at 4 a.m. in a computer room at Dartmouth University, the first programs written in BASIC ran on the university's brand-new time-sharing system. With these two innovations, John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz didn't just make it easier to learn how to program a computer: They offered Dartmouth students a form of interactive, personal computing years before the invention of the PC. Over at TIME.com, I chronicle BASIC's first 50 years with a feature with thoughts from Kurtz, Microsoft's Paul Allen and many others."
jfruh (300774) writes "As the heydays of Internet portals recede into the mists of history and Yahoo tries to figure out what it wants to be when it grows up, the company has decided to dip its toes into the incredibly expensive and unpredictable world of producing full-length television shows to compete with the likes of Netflix, Amazon, and HBO. One of the two may intrigue Slashdot readers: Paul Feig, co-creator of the cult '90s hit 'Freaks and Geeks' (and more recently the director of 'Bridesmaids') will product "Other Space," a comedy-adventure about a misfit group of space travelers who stumble onto an alternate universe. The second show, about a fictional Las Vegas NBA team, will appeal to Yahoo's sports audience." I wonder how long it will be until Google, Microsoft, and Apple are also all producing TV shows.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Sean Gallagher writes that the government built facilities for the Minuteman missiles in the 1960s and 1970s and although the missiles have been upgraded numerous times to make them safer and more reliable, the bases themselves haven't changed much and there isn't a lot of incentive to upgrade them. ICBM forces commander Maj. Gen. Jack Weinstein told Leslie Stahl from "60 Minutes" that the bases have extremely tight IT and cyber security, because they're not Internet-connected and they use such old hardware and software. "A few years ago we did a complete analysis of our entire network," says Weinstein. "Cyber engineers found out that the system is extremely safe and extremely secure in the way it's developed." While on the base, missileers showed Stahl the 8-inch floppy disks, marked "Top Secret," which is used with the computer that handles what was once called the Strategic Air Command Digital Network (SACDIN), a communication system that delivers launch commands to US missile forces. Later, in an interview with Weinstein, Stahl described the disk she was shown as "gigantic," and said she had never seen one that big. Weinstein explained, "Those older systems provide us some, I will say, huge safety, when it comes to some cyber issues that we currently have in the world.""
MojoKid (1002251) writes "AMD has just announced their upcoming mainstream, low-power APUs (Accelerated Processing Units), codenames Beema and Mullins. These APUs are the successors to last year's Temash and Kabini APUs, which powered an array of small form factor and mobile platforms. Beema and Mullins are based on the same piece of silicon, but will target different market segments. Beema is the mainstream part that will find its way into affordable notebook, small form factor systems, and mobile devices. Mullins, however, is a much lower-power derivative, designed for tablets and convertible systems. They are full SoCs with on-die memory controllers, PCI Express, SATA, and USB connectivity, and a host of other IO blocks. AMD is announcing four Beema-based mainstream APUs today, with TDPs ranging from 10W – 15W. There are three Mullins-based products being announced, two quad-cores and a dual-core. The top of the line-up is the A10 Micro-6700T. It's a quad-core chip, with a max clock speed of 2.2GHz, 2MB of L2, and a TDP of only 4.5W. In the benchmarks, the A10-6700T quad core is actually able to surpass Intel's Bay Trail Atom platform pretty easily across a number of tests, especially gaming and graphics."
An anonymous reader writes "Netflix [on Monday] confirmed that it has reached a deal to gain itself access to Verizon's network. This deal is similar to the one that Netflix already made with Comcast and should improve streaming video quality for Verizon customers. Readers should note that Netflix is paying Verizon and Comcast only to gain access to its networks by by-passing third-party transit providers like Cogent and Level 3. If the FCC's new proposal passes, ISPs like Verizon and Comcast could also charge Netflix for faster direct connections to its customers over the last mile."
indros13 (531405) writes "Net neutrality took a hit when the FCC gave its blessing to "Internet fast lanes' last week and one commentator believes that the solution is simple: public ownership of the hardware. 'Owning the means of distribution is a traditional function of local government. We call our roads and bridges and water and sewer pipe networks public infrastructure for a reason. In the 19th century local and state governments concluded that the transportation of people and goods was so essential to a modern economy that the key distribution system must be publicly owned. In the 21st century the transportation of information is equally essential.'
Is the Internet essential infrastructure? Should local governments step in to preserve equality of access?"
Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "Two prominent nutrition experts have put forth the theory that the current obesity epidemic is, in large part, the result of processed foods tricking our appetite control mechanisms. They argue that evolution has given humans a delicately balanced system that balances appetite with metabolic needs, and that processed foods trick that system by making foods high in fats and carbohydrates have the gustatory qualities of proteins. As the researchers put it, 'Many people eat far too much fat and carbohydrate in their attempt to consume enough protein.'"