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Cybercriminals Ramp Up Activity Ahead of 2014 World Cup

wiredmikey (1824622) writes | about a month and a half ago

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wiredmikey (1824622) writes "With the FIFA World Cup 2014 kicking off this week in Brazil, cybercriminals and scammers are working hard to take advantage of visitors to the World Cup in Brazil and those following the world soccer tournament online. In recent months, several security vendors have published advisories about the various scams, phishing and malware operations that target Internet users interested in the World Cup. While individuals from all over the world have been targeted, many of the malicious campaigns focus on Brazil and neighboring South American countries.

While news that cybercriminals are zoning in on a large global event is no surprise, the scale and tactics being used is quite wide in scope, ranging from malware distribution and phishing scams, to fraudulent ticket sales, spam and other promising yet fraudulent schemes.For those visiting Brazil to watch the games in person, the cyber threats also include rogue wireless access points, ATMs rigged with card skimmers and Point-of-Sale malware."

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New study suggests patent trolls really are killing startups

mpicpp (3454017) writes | about a month and a half ago

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mpicpp (3454017) writes "Heavy patent litigation scared off about $22 billion in VC funding over 5 years.

Patent reform advocates have long argued that "patent trolls"—companies that do nothing but sue over patents—are harmful to innovation, not just a plague on big companies. A new study attempted to find out if there's any real data behind that accusation or if it's just a few sad anecdotes.

Turns out there is a very real, and very negative, correlation between patent troll lawsuits and the venture capital funding that startups rely on. A just-released study [PDF] by Catherine Tucker, a professor of marketing at MIT's Sloan School of Business, finds that over the last five years, VC investment "would have likely been $21.772 billion higher... but for litigation brought by frequent litigators."

The study defines "frequent litigators" as companies that file 20 or more patent lawsuits, which limits the definition to true-blue "patent trolls," or Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs), the term used by the paper. The study covers the period from 1995 to 2012.

Tucker's paper estimates a 95 percent confidence interval for the amount of lost investment to be between $8.1 billion and $41.8 billion. Those numbers are relative to a baseline of just under $131 billion of investment that actually occurred during that five-year period time."

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Introducing the newest tactic for governments to raise cash

schwit1 (797399) writes | about a month and a half ago

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schwit1 (797399) writes "Each of the 50 states has its own regulations pertaining to the seizure of dormant bank accounts. Georgia’s Disposition of Unclaimed Properties Act sets the threshold as low as one year. In other words, if you have a checking account in Georgia that you haven’t touched in twelve months, the state government is going to grab it.

So much for setting aside money for a rainy day and having the discipline to never touch it. If you’ve locked away money for your children’s savings or unforeseen emergencies, your government might be sharpening its knives ready to dig in.

First, it calls into question the fundamental principle of private property. How can something be yours if the state can legislate its authority to seize it? And even if the account holder has long since passed, shouldn’t the funds, by default, be awarded to the survivors nominated in accordance with the instructions in his/her last will and testament? It is a rather ignoble act indeed to set aside the wishes of the dead so that the state can have yet another resource to plunder. More concerning, though, is that if the state can simply legislate its authority to seize dormant bank accounts, then they can just as easily lower the bar.

It’s just another example of how the entire system is rigged against the individual and all the more reason to divorce oneself from it. Physical gold, anyone?"

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Wolfenstein: The New Order Review (The Gamer's Lounge)

kube00 (1768000) writes | about a month and a half ago

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kube00 (1768000) writes "Wolfenstein: The New Order was a pleasant surprise to most gamers. Wolfenstein has a long history tied into the past and present of what defines modern gaming. But there is something about this series, it is like an old friend that comes over once and awhile out. What is it about this FPS that is so compelling? The Gamers Lounge is happy to report Wolfenstein: The New Order is a good game and offers something a little different than the standard FPS's on the market."
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Gecko feet inspire hand-held Spider-Man paddles

ygslash (893445) writes | about a month and a half ago

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ygslash (893445) writes "DARPA is developing hand-held paddles that can be used to scale vertical walls. The adhesion technology employed in the paddles is based on Van der Waals force, inspired by the feet of certain species of geckos known for their excellent climbing ability. In a recent test, a man weighing almost 100 kg (220 lbs) and carrying a heavy pack that added about 23 kg (50 lbs) of additional weight, was able to scale a vertical glass wall almost 8 m (25 ft) high using the paddles. However, the paddles are reported to be 'not battlefield-ready yet'. Apparently, smooth glass walls are not usually what you need to climb in real battlefield conditions."

Human Blood Substitute Could Help Meet Donor Blood Shortfall

Zothecula (1870348) writes | about a month and a half ago

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Zothecula (1870348) writes "According to the World Health Organization, over 107 million blood donations are collected around the globe every year, most of which goes on to help save lives. However, while the need for blood is global, much of that which is donated is not accessible to many who need it, such as those in developing countries. And of the blood donated in industrialized countries, the amount often falls short of requirements. To help address this imbalance, scientists at the University of Essex are developing an artificial blood substitute. It would be able to be stored at room temperatures for up to two years, which would allow it to be distributed worldwide without the need for refrigeration and make it immediately accessible at the site of natural disasters."
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Uber protests snarl traffic in Paris, Madrid

mpicpp (3454017) writes | about a month and a half ago

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mpicpp (3454017) writes "Uber Technologies Inc., the ride-service company that's rankling cabbies across the U.S., is fighting its biggest protest yet from European drivers who say the smartphone application threatens their livelihoods.

Traffic snarled in parts of Madrid and Paris Wednesday, with a total of more than 30,000 taxi and limo drivers from London to Berlin blocking tourist centers and shopping districts. They are asking regulators to apply tougher rules on San Francisco's Uber, whose software allows customers to order a ride from drivers who don't need licenses that can cost $270,000 apiece."

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Aliens and the Fermi paradox

sayhem (1842674) writes | about a month and a half ago

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sayhem (1842674) writes "Various explanations for why we don’t see aliens have been proposed—perhaps interstellar travel is impossible or maybe civilizations are always self-destructive. But with every new discovery of a potentially habitable planet, the Fermi Paradox becomes increasingly mysterious. There could be hundreds of millions of potentially habitable worlds in the Milky Way alone.

This impression is only reinforced by the recent discovery of a “Mega-Earth," a rocky planet 17 times more massive than the Earth but with only a thin atmosphere. Previously, it was thought that worlds this large would hold onto an atmosphere so thick that their surfaces would experience uninhabitable temperatures and pressures. But if this isn’t true, there is a whole new category of potentially habitable real estate in the cosmos."

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TweetDeck Has Been Hacked

redletterdave (2493036) writes | about a month and a half ago

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redletterdave (2493036) writes "TweetDeck, Twitter’s tool for real-time tracking and engagement of posts, was found to be vulnerable to cross-site scripting (XSS), a type of computer vulnerability commonly found in web applications that allows hackers to inject script into webpages to access user accounts and important security information. As a result of the hack, a tweet with an emoticon heart is being shared more than 38,000 times — automatically."
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Behind the Great Firewall: What it's really like to log on from China

alphadogg (971356) writes | about a month and a half ago

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alphadogg (971356) writes "China makes headlines every other week for its censorship of the Internet, but few people outside the country know what it's like to live with those access controls, or how to get around them. This IDG News Service writer has lived in China for close to six years and censorship has been a near constant, lurking in the background ready to "harmonize" the Web and throw a wrench in his online viewing. It's been especially evident this month. Google's services, which don't follow the strict censorship rules, are currently blocked. How long that will last is unknown, but it coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests earlier this month — an event the Chinese government wants no one to remember."
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A Scientist Is Growing Asparagus In Meteorites to Prepare Us for Space Farming

Jason Koebler (3528235) writes | about a month and a half ago

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Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "For those of us without a green thumb, growing even the most hardy plants in perfect conditions can seem impossible. How about trying to grow plants on a meteorite? Well, at least one scientist is doing it, with moderate levels of success.
"People have been talking about terraforming, but what I'm trying to do is give some concrete evidence that it's possible to do this, that it's possible to grow in extraterrestrial materials," Michael Mautner, one of the world's only "astroecologists" said. "What I've found is that a range of microorganisms—bacteria, fungi, and even asparagus and potato plants—can survive with the nutrients that are in extraterrestrial materials.""

Physical Media: Down, But Maybe Not Out

jfruh (300774) writes | about a month and a half ago

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jfruh (300774) writes "For many tech-savvy folks, it may come as surprise that physical media like DVD and Blu-Ray still generate more movie revenue than streaming services. But PriceWaterhouse Coopers is predicting that the the lines will cross in 2017 as physical media sales and rentals decline; already, fully half of those reveneues come from supermarket Redbox kiosks. Still, there are signs that physical media won't vanish entirely, including the obsessive needs of collectors and the music industry's increasing suspicions of digital sales."
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Bloomberg Testing Productivity App for Oculus Rift

Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes | about a month and a half ago

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Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "So far, the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset has found its most widespread use in gaming. But as the device rises in prominence, more companies are testing its capabilities as a work tool. Bloomberg is one of those companies, having designed software that allows Oculus-equipped traders and financial pros to view dozens of virtual “screens,” each one packed with data. The platform is clearly aimed at those Masters of the Universe who stack their real-world desks with four, six or eight screens—the better to take the pulse of the markets. Think of it as a traditional Bloomberg terminal on steroids. “This is a mockup of how virtual reality can be applied in the workplace,” Nick Peck, a Bloomberg employee responsible for creating the software, told Quartz. “I really wanted to explore how virtual reality could solve one of the most basic problems we hear about: limited screen real estate.” A virtual-reality Bloomberg terminal isn’t the only practical application proposed by Oculus Rift users: earlier this year, the Norwegian Armed Services began testing whether the hardware could be used to drive tanks, on the supposition that off-the-shelf cameras and a headset built for virtual gaming could prove cheaper than custom-built military equipment."
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Amazon Dispute Now Making Movies Harder To Order

trazom28 (134909) writes | about a month and a half ago

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trazom28 (134909) writes "Hachette books aren't the only products that are now harder to order on Amazon — the online retailer is going after movies, too. Amazon has turned off the preorder function for DVDs of prominent Warner Bros. films as it seeks to raise pressure on the company during negotiations.
"The Lego Movie," for example, is listed as "currently unavailable" on Amazon. Set for release in the home video marketplace on June 17, there is no option to place a preorder."

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New Permission System Potentially Makes Android Much Less Secure

capedgirardeau (531367) writes | about a month and a half ago

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capedgirardeau (531367) writes "An update to the Google Play store now groups app permissions into collections of related permissions making them much less fine grained and potentially misleading for users. For example the SMS permissions group would allow an app access to both reading and sending SMS messages. The problem is that once an app has access to the group of permissions, it can make use of any of the allowed actions at anytime without ever informing the user. As Google explains: "It’s a good idea to review permissions groups before downloading an app. Once you’ve allowed an app to access a permissions group, the app may use any of the individual permissions that are part of that group. You won’t need to manually approve individual permissions updates that belong to a permissions group you’ve already accepted.""

HP Just Unveiled The Machine - A New Type of Computer

pacopico (802691) writes | about a month and a half ago

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pacopico (802691) writes "HP Labs is trying to make a comeback. According to Businessweek, HP is building something called The Machine. It's a type of server that will use memristors for memory and silicon photonics for interconnects and ship possibly by 2017 (good luck). As for The Machine's software, HP plans to build three open source operating systems, including a new one from scratch and its own versions of Linux and Android. The new computer is meant to solve a coming crisis due to limitations around DRAM and Flash. About three-quarters of HP Labs personnel are working on this project."
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Interviews: Ask Andrew "bunnie" Huang About Hardware and Hacking

samzenpus (5) writes | about a month and a half ago

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samzenpus (5) writes "Andrew "bunnie" Huang holds a Ph.D in electrical engineering from MIT and is one of the most famous hardware and software hackers in the world. He is a contributing writer for MAKE magazine, and has worked on a number of projects ranging from autonomous robotic submarines to peel-and-stick electronics. We recently covered one of his latest projects, an open source hardware laptop called Novena which features entirely NDA-free components. Bunnie has has agreed to take a break from his work and hack away at any questions you may have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post."

FDA details 2013 meeting with Apple over sensor technologies

Anonymous Coward writes | about a month and a half ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Several Apple watchers are suggesting that the company's next product will be a wearable. When it was revealed a few months ago that a group of senior Apple executives — including Bud Tribble and Jeff Williams — had met with FDA officials in December 2013, their beliefs were reinforced further.

Typically, what happens in a closed Apple meeting remains forever secret. But with the FDA involved, there's only so much Apple can keep hidden away. The folks at Apple Toolbox filed a freedom of information (FOI) request seeking specific details regarding the topics discussed and the overall framework of the meeting.

Three months later, Apple Toolbox received a response from the FDA detailing the major talking points of the discussion. Of particular interest is a tidbit regarding Apple's interest in sensor technologies.

"Apple sees mobile technology platforms as an opportunity for people to learn more about themselves. With the potential for more sensors on mobile devices, Apple believes there is the opportunity to do more with devices, and that there may be a moral obligation to do more.""

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Uber Demonstrations Snarl Traffic From London to Berlin

Graculus (3653645) writes | about a month and a half ago

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Graculus (3653645) writes "Uber Technologies Inc., the car-sharing service that’s rankling cabbies across the U.S., is fighting its biggest protest yet from European drivers who say the smartphone application threatens their livelihoods. Traffic snarled in parts of Madrid and Paris today, with a total of more than 30,000 taxi and limo drivers from London to Berlin blocking tourist centers and shopping districts. They are asking regulators to apply tougher rules on San Francisco-based Uber, whose software allows customers to order a ride from drivers who don’t need licenses that can cost 200,000 euros ($270,000) apiece."

Project Un1c0rn Wants to Be the Google for Lazy Security Flaws

Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes | about a month and a half ago

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Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "Following broad security scares like that caused by the Heartbleed bug, it can be frustratingly difficult to find out if a site you use often still has gaping flaws. But a little known community of software developers is trying to change that, by creating a searchable, public index of websites with known security issues. Think of Project Un1c0rn as a Google for site security. Launched on May 15th, the site's creators say that so far it has indexed 59,000 websites and counting. The goal, according to its founders, is to document open leaks caused by the Heartbleed bug, as well as "access to users' databases" in Mongo DB and MySQL. According to the developers, those three types of vulnerabilities are most widespread because they rely on commonly used tools. For example, Mongo databases are used by popular sites like LinkedIn, Expedia, and SourceForge, while MySQL powers applications such as WordPress, Drupal or Joomla, and are even used by Twitter, Google and Facebook."
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P.F. Chang's Investigating Credit Card Breach Nationwide

tsu doh nimh (609154) writes | about a month and a half ago

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tsu doh nimh (609154) writes "Nationwide chain P.F. Chang’s China Bistro said Tuesday that it is investigating claims of a data breach involving credit and debit card data reportedly stolen from restaurant locations nationwide.On June 9, thousands of newly-stolen credit and debit cards went up for sale on rescator[dot]so, an underground store best known for selling tens of millions of cards stolen in the Target breach. Several banks contacted by KrebsOnSecurity said they acquired from this new batch multiple cards that were previously issued to customers, and found that all had been used at P.F. Chang’s locations between the beginning of March 2014 and May 19, 2014.The ad for the Ronald Reagan batch of cards also includes guidance for potential customers who wish to fund their accounts via Western Union or MoneyGram wire transfers, advice that strongly suggests those involved in this apparent heist are once again from Russia and Eastern Europe: "Western Union transfers will be received in the next 48-72 hours! Money Gram transfers will be received 10-11 of June. Please note: 12, 13, 14, 15 of June are the government holidays in the drops country and Money Gram transfers will be received starting Monday June 16th." June 12 is "Russia Day," a national holiday in Russia since 1992 that celebrates the declaration of state sovereignty of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic on June 12, 1990."
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Killing Zombies in VR with the Latest Version of Project Holodeck at E3 2014

muterobert (2927951) writes | about a month and a half ago

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muterobert (2927951) writes "Ben Lang from Road to VR goes hands on and heads in with virtual reality technology company Survios' newest version of untethered VR system 'Prime 3'. He moves around the virtual space, holding and reloading weapons as you would in real life.

"At one point while playing, I was wielding the shotgun with two hands, with the table of weapons was on my right side. Several zombies were approaching and I needed a bit more fire power. I dropped the shotgun, reached over with my right hand to grab the tommy gun off the table, then virtually tossed it from my right hand to my left hand (because I’m a lefty), then pulled my pistol out of the holster with my right hand and continued to shoot both weapons.""

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Civilization V Officially Available on Linux for SteamOS

jrepin (667425) writes | about a month and a half ago

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jrepin (667425) writes "Aspyr Media, in partnership with 2K and Firaxis Games, announced that the critically acclaimed Sid Meier’s Civilization V, and all available expansion packs and downloadable content, is now available on Linux for SteamOS. The title includes Steam Play support. This release of Sid Meier’s Civilization V on Linux targets SteamOS and features support for Valve’s upcoming Steam Controller."
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Official World Cup Ball 'The Brazuca' Is Almost Perfect, Scientists Say

Diggester (2492316) writes | about a month and a half ago

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Diggester (2492316) writes "The 2014 FIFA world cup is scheduled to begin on the 12th of June and the buzz is building up each day. A major chunk of the buzz is about the official football of the World Cup made by Adidas, the Brazuca. The name combines the words Brasil (the host nation) and Bazooka. It is certainly as unique a football as its name and looks to be as impressive on the field as it is to behold."
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There's No Wind Chill on Mars

sciencehabit (1205606) writes | about a month and a half ago

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sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Even though daytime temperatures in the tropics of Mars can be about –20C, a summer afternoon there might feel about the same as an average winter day in southern England or Minneapolis. That’s because there’s virtually no wind chill on the Red Planet, according to a new study—the first to give an accurate sense of what it might feel like to spend a day walking about on our celestial neighbor. “I hadn’t really thought about this before, but I’m not surprised,” says Maurice Bluestein, a biomedical engineer and wind chill expert recently retired from Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis. The new findings, he says, “will be useful, as people planning to colonize Mars need to know what they’re getting themselves into.”"
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Google admits tax laws need to change

Anonymous Coward writes | about a month and a half ago

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An anonymous reader writes "The managing director of Googleâ(TM)s Australia and New Zealand operations has called on governments to clarify grey areas in the global tax system and put an end to a blame game of shaming individual companies over transfer pricing practices. She said Google contributed to the economy in many areas, but the company supported the idea of changes in tax law."
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West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is being melted by geothermal heat from below

bricko (1052210) writes | about a month and a half ago

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bricko (1052210) writes "Thwaites Glacier, the large, rapidly changing outlet of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, is not only being eroded by the ocean, it's being melted from below by geothermal heat, researchers at the Institute for Geophysics at The University of Texas at Austin (UTIG) report in the current edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The findings significantly change the understanding of conditions beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet where accurate information has previously been unobtainable.

The Thwaites Glacier has been the focus of considerable attention in recent weeks as other groups of researchers found the glacier is on the way to collapse, but more data and computer modeling are needed to determine when the collapse will begin in earnest and at what rate the sea level will increase as it proceeds. The new observations by UTIG will greatly inform these ice sheet modeling efforts."

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Biodegradable Fibers as Strong as Steel Made From Wood Cellulose

Zothecula (1870348) writes | about a month and a half ago

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Zothecula (1870348) writes "A team of researchers working at Stockholm's KTH Royal Institute of Technology claim to have developed a way to make cellulose fibers stronger than steel on a strength-to-weight basis. In what is touted as a world first, the team from the institute's Wallenberg Wood Science Center claim that the new fiber could be used as a biodegradable replacement for many filament materials made today from imperishable substances such as fiberglass, plastic, and metal. And all this from a substance that requires only water, wood cellulose, and common table salt to create it."
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Alienware swaps SteamOS for Windows

Anonymous Coward writes | about a month and a half ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Valve left many OEMs hanging when they delayed Steam machines until sometime next year to work out their controller issues. Many of these companies excitedly showed off new Steam machine hardware that they cannot ship so Alienware has been the first to re-purpose its Debian-based Steam machine to be a Windows-based Steam machine bundled with an XBox controller. While Windows 8.x has not been particularly well-received it does support a lot more games than Linux and when configured to boot straight into Steam Big Picture mode the influence of the underlying OS is visible only in the larger game library."
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