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The Meteors You've Waited All Year For

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the now-with-more-supermoon dept.

Space 31

StartsWithABang (3485481) writes It's finally here! Sure, we witnessed the birth of a new meteor shower earlier this year, but it was a flop. Many other showers have come-and-gone like they do every year, but none of them have given us a significant number of meteors-per-hour. But even with a near-full Moon out, it's finally time for the Perseids, the most reliable meteor shower year-after-year. Here's where to find them, where they come from and a whole lot more, including some surprising facts about where they don't come from: cometary tails!

Judge Rejects $324.5 Million Settlement For Tech Workers, Argues For More

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the sticking-it-to-the-men dept.

The Courts 268

An anonymous reader writes with this news from Reuters: A U.S. district judge on Friday ruled that the $324.5 million settlement negotiated by Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe with the tech workers who brought an antitrust lawsuit against them was too low. The judge cited the settlement amount of a similar lawsuit brought against Disney and Intuit last year which resulted in plaintiffs obtaining proportionally more for lost wages. And yet, according to the judge, the current plaintiffs have "much more leverage". She cited evidence clearly showing Apple's Steve Jobs strong-arming the other companies in the suit into agreeing to a no-employee-poaching agreement, and in one instance, of Google failing to rope in Facebook into a similar agreement which resulted in a 10% increase of all Google employee salaries. In other words, clear evidence that the no-poaching agreement effectively suppressed the salaries of these companies' tech workers. Another hearing is scheduled for September 10.

How Facebook Is Saving Power By 10-15% Through Better Load Balancing

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the 10-percent-at-web-scale dept.

Power 54

An anonymous reader writes Facebook today revealed details about Autoscale, a system for power-efficient load balancing that has been rolled out to production clusters in its data centers. The company says it has "demonstrated significant energy savings." For those who don't know, load balancing refers to distributing workloads across multiple computing resources, in this case servers. The goal is to optimize resource use, which can mean different things depending on the task at hand.

Leaked Docs Show Spyware Used To Snoop On US Computers

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the who's-zoomin'-who dept.

United States 135

Advocatus Diaboli writes Software created by the controversial UK-based Gamma Group International was used to spy on computers that appear to be located in the United States, the UK, Germany, Russia, Iran, and Bahrain, according to a leaked trove of documents analyzed by ProPublica. It's not clear whether the surveillance was conducted by governments or private entities. Customer e-mail addresses in the collection appeared to belong to a German surveillance company, an independent consultant in Dubai, the Bosnian and Hungarian Intelligence services, a Dutch law enforcement officer, and the Qatari government.

Can We Call Pluto and Charon a 'Binary Planet' Yet?

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the complex-gyrations dept.

Space 115

astroengine writes The debate as to whether Pluto is a planet or a dwarf planet rumbles on, but in a new animation of the small world, one can't help but imagine another definition for Pluto. As NASA's New Horizons spacecraft continues its epic journey into the outer solar system, its Kuiper Belt target is becoming brighter and more defined. Seen through the mission's Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) camera, this new set of observations clearly shows Pluto and its biggest moon Charon locked in a tight orbital dance separated by only 11,200 miles. (Compared with the Earth-moon orbital separation of around 240,000 miles, you can see how compact the Pluto-Charon system really is.) Both bodies are shown to be orbiting a common point — the "barycenter" is located well above Pluto's surface prompting a new debate on whether or not Pluto and Charon should be redefined as a "binary planet".

Study Finds That Astronauts Are Severely Sleep Deprived

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the loud-snoring-small-space dept.

Space 106

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Researchers tracked the sleep patterns of 85 crew members aboard the International Space Station and space shuttle and found that despite an official flight schedule mandating 8.5 hours of sleep per night, they rarely got more than five. In fact, getting a full night's rest was so difficult that three-quarters of shuttle mission crew members used sleep medication, and sometimes entire teams were sedated on the same night. Given that sleep deprivation contributes to up to 80% of aviation accidents, it's important to better understand why sleep is so difficult in space, the authors say."

Ask Slashdot: Life Beyond the WRT54G Series?

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the blue-pill-that-stacks-neatly dept.

Networking 427

First time accepted submitter jarmund (2752233) writes "I first got a WRT54GL in 2007. Now, 7 years later, it's still churning along, despite only having one of its antennae left after an encounter with a toddler. As it is simply not up to date to today's standards (802.11N for example), what is a worthy successor? I enjoyed the freedom to choose the firmware myself (I've run Tomato on it since 2008), in addition to its robustness. A replacement will be considered second-rate unless it catered for the same freedom as its predecessor." Is there a canonical best household router nowadays?

The ESports Athletes Who Tried To Switch Games

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the obscure-sports-quarterly dept.

The Almighty Buck 146

An anonymous reader writes "Michael Jordan's infamous attempt at baseball aside, athletes have sometimes switched sports successfully in the past — and perhaps a sure a sign as any that eSports are coming of age is pro gaming's top players are now trying to do the same. A new feature looks at the top players who've tried to make the jump from one first person shooter to another, or even between genre — from StarCraft 2 to League of Legends — and finds that while some have thrived, others has shown that each title can require a very particular, and sadly non-transferrable, skill set."

Russia Cracks Down On Public Wi-Fi; Oracle Blocks Java Downloads In Russia

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the interesting-times dept.

Censorship 254

Linking to a story at Reuters, reader WilliamGeorge writes "Russia is further constraining access to the internet and freedom of speech, with new laws regarding public use of WiFi. Nikolai Nikiforov, the Russian Communications Minister, tweeted that "Identification of users (via bank cards, cell phone numbers, etc.) with access to public Wifi is a worldwide practice." This comes on top of their actions recently to block websites of political opponents to Russian president Vladimir Putin, require registration of prominent bloggers, and more. The law was put into effect with little notice and without the input of Russian internet providers. Sergei Plugotarenko, head of the Russian Electronic Communications Association, said "It was unexpected, signed in such a short time and without consulting us." He added, "We will hope that this restrictive tendency stops at some point because soon won't there be anything left to ban." In addition to the ID requirement to use WiFi, the new law also requires companies to declare who is using their web networks and calls for Russian websites to store their data on servers located in Russia starting in 2016." That's not the only crackdown in progress, though: former Slashdot code-wrestler Vlad Kulchitski notes that Russian users are being blocked from downloading Java with an error message that reads, in essence, "You are in a country on which there is embargo; you cannot download JAVA." Readers at Hacker News note the same, though comments there indicate that the block may rely on a " specific and narrow IP-block," rather than being widespread. If you're reading this from Russia, what do you find?

Skype Reverses Decision To Drop OS X 10.5 Support, Retires Windows Phone 7 App

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the nobody-worth-spying-on-with-windows-7-it-seems dept.

Communications 99

An anonymous reader writes Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard users recently found that Skype no longer works on their system: despite upgrading to the latest version they still can't sign in. We got in touch with the Microsoft-owned company and after two days, we got confirmation that a solution was in the works. "We have a Skype version for Mac OS X 10.5 users which will soon be available for download," a Skype spokesperson told TNW. Unfortunately, the same can't be said for Windows Phone 7. In a support page titled "Is Skype for Windows Phone 7 being discontinued?," the Microsoft-owned company answers the question with a "yes" and elaborates that it is "permanently retiring all Skype apps for Windows Phone 7." Again, this isn't just old versions going away, or support being removed, but the apps themselves have disappeared.

Long-Wave Radar Can Take the Stealth From Stealth Technology

timothy posted about 3 months ago | from the f35s-cost-more-than-$300-million-each dept.

The Military 275

AbrasiveCat (999190) writes "In the continuing game of cat and mouse between offensive and defensive technologies of war, the technology of radar stealth may have been matched by new multiple frequency radar systems. U.S Naval Institute News reports the Chinese and Russians may be developing such systems. The present radar systems use high frequency waves for accurately locating an incoming target. Stealth aircraft are designed to adsorb or reflect these waves away from the receiver. It turns out longer wave radars can see the stealth aircraft. The longer wave radar lacks the precision of the high frequency radar, but when the two are combined, as the Russians, Chinese (and U.S.) are doing, you can produce accurate targeting radar. The F117 may have been in a golden age for stealth technology, it will be interesting to see if the F35 arrives too late to be effective against other countries with advanced radar systems."

Paint Dust Covers the Upper Layer of the World's Oceans

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the zooplankton-love-fiberglass dept.

Earth 141

sciencehabit (1205606) writes Even when the sea looks clean, its surface can be flecked with tiny fragments of paint and fiberglass. That's the finding from a study that looked for plastic pollution in the uppermost millimeter of ocean. The microscopic fragments come from the decks and hulls of boats, and they could pose a threat to zooplankton, an important part of the marine food web.

Cornering the Market On Zero-Day Exploits

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the sell-out-or-get-the-hammer dept.

Security 118

Nicola Hahn (1482985) writes Kim Zetter of Wired Magazine has recently covered Dan Greer's keynote speech at Black Hat USA. In his lengthy address Greer, representing the CIA's venture funding arm, suggested that one way that the United States government could improve cyber security would be to use its unparalleled budget to buy up all the underground's zero-day vulnerabilities.

While this would no doubt make zero-day vendors like VUPEN and middlemen like the Grugq very wealthy, is this strategy really a good idea? Can the public really trust the NSA to do the right thing with all those zero-day exploits? Furthermore, recall the financial meltdown of 2008 where the public paid the bill for Wall Street's greed. If the government pays for information on all these unpatched bugs would society simply be socializing the cost of hi-tech's sloppy engineering? Whose interests does this "corner-the-market" approach actually serve?

WHO Declares Ebola Outbreak An International Emergency

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the we're-all-gonna-die dept.

Medicine 183

mdsolar (1045926) writes with news that, with the Ebola outbreak growing out of control, the WHO has declared an international health emergency. From the article: With cases rapidly mounting in four West African countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) today declared the Ebola outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), a designation that allows the agency to issue recommendations for travel restrictions but also sends a strong message that more resources need to be mobilized to bring the viral disease under control. ... This is only the third time the health agency has issued a PHEIC declaration since the new International Health Regulations (IHR), a global agreement on the control of diseases, were adopted in 2005. The previous two instances were in 2009, for the H1N1 influenza pandemic, and in May for the resurgence of polio.

Oracle Hasn't Killed Java -- But There's Still Time

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the common-lisp-rising dept.

Java 371

snydeq (1272828) writes Java core has stagnated, Java EE is dead, and Spring is over, but the JVM marches on. C'mon Oracle, where are the big ideas? asks Andrew C. Oliver. 'I don't think Oracle knows how to create markets. It knows how to destroy them and create a product out of them, but it somehow failed to do that with Java. I think Java will have a long, long tail, but the days are numbered for it being anything more than a runtime and a language with a huge install base. I don't see Oracle stepping up to the plate to offer the kind of leadership that is needed. It just isn't who Oracle is. Instead, Oracle will sue some more people, do some more shortsighted and self-defeating things, then quietly fade into runtime maintainer before IBM, Red Hat, et al. pick up the slack independently. That's started to happen anyhow.'

Red Hat CEO: Open Source Goes Mainstream In 2014

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the year-of-the-linux-lightbulb dept.

Linux Business 65

ashshy (40594) writes Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst likes to post "state of the union" addresses at the end of every year. Last December, he said that open source innovation is going mainstream in 2014. In an interview with The Motley Fool, Whitehurst matches up his expectations against mid-year progress. Spoiler alert: It's mostly good news.

Network Hijacker Steals $83,000 In Bitcoin

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the rerouting-the-internet-for-fun-and-profit dept.

Bitcoin 101

An anonymous reader writes with news that bogus BGP announcements can be used to hijack work done by cryptocurrency mining pools. Quoting El Reg: Researchers at Dell's SecureWorks Counter Threat Unit (CTU) have identified an exploit that can be used to steal cryptocurrency from mining pools — and they claim that at least one unknown miscreant has already used the technique to pilfer tens of thousands of dollars in digital cash. The heist was achieved by using bogus Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) broadcasts to hijack networks belonging to multiple large hosting companies, including Amazon, Digital Ocean, and OVH, among others. After sending the fake BGP updates miners unknowingly contributed work to the attackers' pools.

'Unparticles' May Hold the Key To Superconductivity

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the too-cool-for-existence dept.

Science 48

KentuckyFC (1144503) writes One curious property of massless particles like photons is that their energy or momentum can take any value across many orders of magnitude, a property that physicists call scale invariance. By contrast, massive particles like electrons always have the same mass regardless of their energy or momentum. So massive particles are not scale invariant. The concept of unparticles is the idea that some "stuff" may have mass, energy and momentum and yet also be scale invariant. This stuff must be profoundly different from ordinary particles, hence the name: unparticles. Nobody has ever seen an unparticle but now physicists are suggesting that unparticles may hold the key to understanding unconventional superconductivity. Their thinking is that at very low temperatures, ordinary particles can sometimes behave like unparticles. In other words, their properties become independent of the scale at which they're observed. So if an unparticle moves without resistance on a tiny scale, then it must also move without resistance at every scale, hence the phenomenon of superconductivity. That could provide some important insights into unconventional superconductivity which has puzzled physicists since it was discovered in the 1980s.

Yahoo To Add PGP Encryption For Email

Unknown Lamer posted about 3 months ago | from the gpg-for-grandma dept.

Yahoo! 175

Bismillah (993337) writes Yahoo is working on an easy to use PGP interface for webmail, the company's chief information security officer Alex Stamos said at Black Hat 2014. This could lead to some interesting standoffs with governments and law enforcement wanting to read people's messages. From the article: "'We are working to design a key server architecture that allows for automatic discovery of public keys within Yahoo.com and other participating mail providers and to integrate encryption into the normal mail flow,' Stamos said."

IBM Creates Custom-Made Brain-Like Chip

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the it's-alive dept.

IBM 105

An anonymous reader writes In a paper published Thursday in Science, IBM describes its creation of a brain-like chip called TrueNorth. It has "4,096 processor cores, and it mimics one million human neurons and 256 million synapses, two of the fundamental biological building blocks that make up the human brain." What's the difference between TrueNorth and traditional processing units? Apparently, TrueNorth encodes data "as patterns of pulses". Already, TrueNorth has a proven 80% accuracy in image recognition with a power consumption efficiency rate beating traditional processing units. Don't look for brain-like chips in the open market any time soon, though. TrueNorth is part of a DARPA research effort that may or may not translate into significant changes in commercial chip architecture and function.

What Do You Do When Your Mind-Numbing IT Job Should Be Automated?

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the with-my-eyes-closed dept.

Businesses 228

jfruh writes Not everyone has a job like Homer Simpson, who's been replaced at various times by a brick tied to a lever and a chicken named Queenie. But many IT workers have come up against mind-numbing, repetitive tasks that probably could be automated. So: what do you do about it? Well, the answer depends on how much power you have in an organization and how much your bosses respect your opinion.

AMD Prepares To Ship Gaming SSDs

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the time-for-an-upgrade dept.

AMD 110

Lucas123 writes An AMD website in China has leaked information about the upcoming release of a line of SSDs aimed at gamers and professionals that will offer top sequential read/write speeds of 550MB/s and 530MB/s, respectively. AMD confirmed the upcoming news, but no pricing was available yet. The SSDs will come in 120GB, 240GB and 480GB capacities and will use Toshiba's 19-nanometer flash lithography technology. According to IHS, AMD is likely entering the gaming SSD market because desktop SSD shipments are expected to experience a 39% CAGR between now and 2018.

UK Police Won't Comment On The Tracking of People's Phone Calls

samzenpus posted about 3 months ago | from the ask-me-that-later dept.

United Kingdom 52

Daniel_Stuckey writes You've maybe heard a bit about Stingray. Over the past couple of years, it has emerged that police forces in the US have been using the powerful surveillance tool, which tricks phones into connecting to a dragnet, to track mobile devices, and intercept calls and text messages. Meanwhile, the London Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) continue to remain tight lipped about their use of the technology, leaving citizens in the dark on what privacy protections, if any, are in place for those who may get swept up by the broad surveillance techniques.

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