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Mozilla Science Lab Global Sprint

Anonymous Coward writes | 1 hour ago

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An anonymous reader writes "The event that puts San Francisco at the center of an extraordinary, two-day global blitz for web literacy and connected learning: the Mozilla Science Lab Global Sprint. The event under way in San Francisco, like the others in the Science Lab Global Sprint, are part of Mozilla’s two month “Maker Party” campaign to promote web literacy around the world. Tens of thousands of people will be taking part in close to 2,000 Maker Party events in 350 cities around the world between July 15 and September 15 as part of Mozilla’s drive to educate all web users on the mechanics, culture and citizenship of the internet – and to encourage everyone to acquire and apply the basic web literacy that Mozilla believes is central to survival and success in the 21st century.

For more information, check out http://software-carpentry.org/..."

Link to Original Source

Deaf advocacy groups to Verizon: Don't kill net neutrality on our behalf

Dega704 (1454673) writes | 1 hour ago

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Dega704 (1454673) writes "No company has lobbied more fiercely against network neutrality than Verizon, which filed the lawsuit that overturned the FCC's rules prohibiting ISPs from blocking and discriminating against Web content. But the absence of net neutrality rules isn't just good for Verizon—it's also good for the blind, deaf, and disabled, Verizon claims.

That's what Verizon lobbyists said in talks with congressional staffers, according to a Mother Jones report last month. "Three Hill sources tell Mother Jones that Verizon lobbyists have cited the needs of blind, deaf, and disabled people to try to convince congressional staffers and their bosses to get on board with the fast lane idea," the report said. With "fast lanes," Web services—including those designed for the blind, deaf, and disabled—could be prioritized in exchange for payment.

Now, advocacy groups for deaf people have filed comments with the FCC saying they don't agree with Verizon's position."

Link to Original Source

Microsoft brings two open source tools to Azure

mpicpp (3454017) writes | 3 hours ago

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mpicpp (3454017) writes "Following through on promises from new CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft continues to add support for non-Microsoft technologies, allowing them to run well on the company’s Azure cloud hosting platform.

The company has partnered with two organizations that offer popular open source programs for managing cloud resources—Packer and OpenNebula. Microsoft is releasing drivers that will make it easy to use the programs on Azure, as well as with Microsoft server software for in-house deployments.

Packer is increasingly being used by system administrators to create and then manage the operations of virtual machine images. Running from any OS, Packer assembles and configures the necessary components for a virtual machine and can create identical copies to run on different platforms, such as Linux and Windows.

Packer can also work with popular open source configuration tools such as Chef and Puppet to automate the procedures of rolling out many virtual machines at once.

“Packer has been so popular lately that we heard from people that they want it see it on Azure,” Mahugh said.

Microsoft is also adding support for the OpenNebula cloud management software. OpenNebula could be a key technology for companies interested in running hybrid clouds, a model in which some operations run on a public cloud like Azure and others run in-house, perhaps on a private cloud."

Link to Original Source

When Google Sells Your Data, It Might Be Illegally Killing Your Phone's Battery

Jason Koebler (3528235) writes | 3 hours ago

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Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "Personal information about you and your browsing, email, and app-using habits is regularly sent between apps on your Android phone, a potentially illegal practice that could be killing your battery life. A federal judge ruled that the claim, raised in a class action lawsuit against the company, "requires a heavily and inherently fact-bound inquiry."
That means that there's a good chance we're about to get a look into the ins and outs of Google's advertising backbone: what information is shared with who, and when."

The daily harassment of women in the game industry

Anonymous Coward writes | 3 hours ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Brianna Wu, leader of a game development studio, has an article exposing the constant harassment of women in the games industry. She says, "I’m not writing this piece to evoke your sympathy. I’m writing to share with you what prominent, successful women in the industry experience, in their own words." She goes through the individual stories of several women targeted by this vitriol, and tries to figure out why it happens. Quoting: "We live in a society that’s sexist in ways it doesn’t understand. One of the consequences is that men are extremely sensitive to being criticized by women. ... This is why women are socialized to carefully dance around these issues, disagreeing with men in an extremely gentle manner. Not because women are nicer creatures than men. But because our very survival can depend on it. ... Growing a thicker skin isn't the answer, nor is it a proper response. Listening, and making the industry safer for the existence of visible women is the best, and only, way forward.""
Link to Original Source

CNN iPhone App Sends iReporters' Passwords In The Clear

chicksdaddy (814965) writes | 3 hours ago

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chicksdaddy (814965) writes "The Security Ledger reports on newly published research from the firm zScaler that reveals CNN's iPhone application — one of the leading mobile news apps — transmits user login session information in clear text. (https://securityledger.com/2014/07/cnn-app-leaks-passwords-of-citizen-reporters/). The security flaw could leave users of the application vulnerable to having their login credential snooped by malicious actors on the same network or connected to the same insecure wifi hotspot. That's particularly bad news if you're one of CNN's iReporters — citizen journalists — who use the app to upload photos, video and other text as they report on breaking news events, zScaler warned in a blog post.

According to a zScaler analysis (http://research.zscaler.com/2014/07/cnn-app-for-iphone.html), CNN's app for iPhone exposes user credentials in the clear both during initial setup of the account and in subsequent mobile sessions. The iPad version of the CNN app is not affected, nor is the CNN mobile application for Android. A spokesman for CNN said the company had a fix ready and was working with Apple to have it approved and released to the iTunes AppStore.

The privacy of journalists' private communications has never been more a risk. Reporters find themselves in the crosshairs of sophisticated hacking crews, often working at the beck and call of anti-democratic regimes. They have infiltrated the networks of newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post — often in search of confidential communications between reporters and policy makers or human rights activists. (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/31/technology/chinese-hackers-infiltrate-new-york-times-computers.html) Here in the U.S., the Obama Administration is aggressively pursuing Pulitzer Prize winning journalist James Risen of The New York Times in order to uncover the source for a chapter in his book State of War concerning a covert US operation against Iran. (http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/06/02/318214947/times-reporter-must-testify-about-source-court-decides)"

Link to Original Source

Had there been no Higgs boson, this observation would have been the bomb

sciencehabit (1205606) writes | 4 hours ago

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sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Ever wonder what particle physicists would have done had the Higgs boson not existed? Even before they fired up the atom smasher that 2 years ago blasted out the Higgs—the $5.5 billion Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European particle physics lab, CERN, near Geneva, Switzerland—researchers said that if they didn't find that coveted quarry, it wouldn't be a total disaster. If there were no Higgs, they said, then a particular ordinary particle interaction should instead go haywire and hint at whatever nature was doing to get by without the Higgs. Now, physicists at the LHC have spotted the rare interaction in that "no-lose" theorem, which is known as WW scattering."
Link to Original Source

UK to use Open Document Format for government documents

sfcrazy (1542989) writes | 4 hours ago

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sfcrazy (1542989) writes "UK has decided to use ‘open standards’ for sharing and viewing government documents. The announcement was made by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude. One of the primary objectives of this move is to create a level playing field for suppliers of all sizes. The move must put some pressure on Google to offer full support for ODF in Chrome, Android and Google Docs."
Link to Original Source

Firefox 31 Released

Anonymous Coward writes | 5 hours ago

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An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla has released version 31 of its Firefox web browser for desktops and Android devices. According to the release notes, major new features include malware blocking for file downloads, automatic handling of PDF and OGG files if no other software is available to do so, and a new certificate verification library. Smaller features include a new search field on the new tab page, better support for parental controls, and partial implementation of the OpenType MATH table. Mozilla also took the opportunity to note the launch of a new game, Dungeon Defenders Eternity, which will run at near-native speeds on the web using asm.js, WebGL, and Web Audio. "We’re pleased to see more developers using asm.js to distribute and now monetize their plug-in free games on the Web as it strengthens support for Mozilla’s vision of a high performance, plugin-free Web.""
Link to Original Source

Google Offers a Cool Million Bucks For a Better Inverter

Anonymous Coward writes | 5 hours ago

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An anonymous reader writes "With the Little Box Challenge, Google (and IEEE, and a few other sponsors like Cree and Rohm) is offering a $1 million prize to the team which can "design and build a kW-scale inverter with the highest power density (at least 50 Watts per cubic inch)." Going from cooler-sized to tablet sized, they say, would make whole lot of things better, and the prize is reserved for the best performing entrant.

"Our testing philosophy is to not look inside the box. You provide us with a box that has 5 wires coming out of it: two DC inputs, two AC outputs and grounding connection and we only monitor what goes into and comes out of those wires, along with the temperature of the outside of your box, over the course of 100 hours of testing. The inverter will be operating in an islanded more—that is, not tied or synced to an external grid. The loads will be dynamically changing throughout the course of the testing, similar to what you may expect to see in a residential setting." he application must be filled out in English, but any serious applicants can sign up, "regardless of approach suggested or team background, will be successful in registering." Registration runs though September.

#power #google #invertor #contest #ieee #technology"

Elephants may have best noses on Earth

sciencehabit (1205606) writes | 5 hours ago

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sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Scientists have identified and examined olfactory receptor genes from 13 mammalian species. The researchers found that every species has a highly unique variety of such genes: Of the 10,000 functioning olfactory receptor genes the team studied, only three are shared among the 13 species. Perhaps not surprisingly, given the length of its trunk, the African elephant has the largest number of such genes—nearly 2000, the scientists report online today in the Genome Research. In contrast, dogs have only 1000, and humans and chimpanzees, less than 400—possibly because higher primates rely more on their vision and less on their sense of smell."
Link to Original Source

Miscalculation may explain expansion of Antarctic sea ice

sciencehabit (1205606) writes | 5 hours ago

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sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Despite global warming, the fringe of sea ice around Antarctica is expanding slightly, in contrast to the marked decline of sea ice in the Arctic. Scientists have blamed this curious fact on various forces, from shifting winds to smaller waves, but a new study suggests a more mundane culprit: an error in the way the satellite data have been processed. The miscalculation, the authors say, might be making the sea ice increase appear larger than it is."
Link to Original Source

Montana's Department of Public Health and Human Services Hacked

neighborhoodhacker (3755191) writes | 6 hours ago

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neighborhoodhacker (3755191) writes "Montana's Department of Public Health and Human Services has been hacked and over 1 million patients have been notified of the breach. It is believed that the compromised server has been accessible to these hackers since July of 2013. Unfortunately, sensitive patient data has likely been obtained through the breach most notably patient's social security numbers. Affected patients have been offered free credit monitoring but it is unsure of the full repercussions of the attack."
Link to Original Source

Robots Are Set to Conduct National Security Clearance Interviews

meghan elizabeth (3689911) writes | 6 hours ago

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meghan elizabeth (3689911) writes "Advancing a career in the US government might soon require an interview with a computer-generated head here who wants to know about that time you took ketamine.

A recent study by psychologists at the National Center for Credibility Assessment, published in the journal Computers and Human Behavior, asserts that not only would a computer-generated interviewer be less “time consuming, labor intensive, and costly to the Federal Government,” people are actually more likely to admit things to the robot."

U.K. Cabinet Office Adopts ODF as Exclusive Standard for Sharable Documents

Andy Updegrove (956488) writes | 6 hours ago

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Andy Updegrove (956488) writes "The U.K. Cabinet Office accomplished today what the Commonwealth of Massachusetts set out (unsuccessfully) to achieve ten years ago: it formally required compliance with the Open Document Format (ODF) by software to be purchased in the future across all government bodies. Compliance with any of the existing versions of OOXML, the competing document format championed by Microsoft, is neither required nor relevant. The announcement was made today by The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude. Henceforth, ODF compliance will be required for documents intended to be shared or subject to collaboration. PDF/A or HTML compliance will be required for viewable government documents. The decision follows a long process that invited, and received, very extensive public input – over 500 comments in all."
Link to Original Source

Verizon's offer: Let us track you, get free stuff

mpicpp (3454017) writes | 6 hours ago

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mpicpp (3454017) writes "Are you comfortable having your location and Web browsing tracked for marketing purposes? If so, Verizon's got a deal for you.

The wireless giant announced a new program this week called "Smart Rewards" that offers customers credit card-style perks like discounts for shopping, travel and dining. You accrue points through the program by doing things like signing onto the Verizon website, paying your bill online and participating in the company's trade-in program.

Verizon emphasizes that the data it collects is anonymized before it's shared with third parties.
The program is novel in that offers Verizon users some compensation for the collection of their data, which has become big business for telecom and tech companies. Some privacy advocates have pushed data-collecting companies to reward customers for their personal information in the interest of transparency."

Link to Original Source

Spinning trademark revoked

Elixon (832904) writes | 6 hours ago

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Elixon (832904) writes "Have you ever tried spinning? You might be surprised to learn that the word "spinning" as it pertains to indoor spinning is registered trademark of Mad Dogg Athletics, Inc. If you are in fitness business and you didn't know it already you could learn it the hard way. Until yesterday. OHIM issued its fresh decision to revoke a community trademark "SPINNING". Where it leaves allegedly more then 200.000 certified spinning instructors and 35.000 certified spinning facilities is yet to be seen."

Oso disaster had its roots in earlier landslides

vinces99 (2792707) writes | 7 hours ago

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vinces99 (2792707) writes "The disastrous March 22 landslide that killed 43 people in the rural Washington state community of Oso involved the "remobilization" of a 2006 landslide on the same hillside, a new federally sponsored geological study concludes.

The research indicates the landslide, the deadliest in U.S. history, happened in two major stages. The first stage remobilized the 2006 slide, including part of an adjacent forested slope from an ancient slide, and was made up largely or entirely of deposits from previous landslides. The first stage ultimately moved more than six-tenths of a mile across the north fork of the Stillaguamish River and caused nearly all the destruction in the Steelhead Haven neighborhood. The second stage started several minutes later and consisted of ancient landslide and glacial deposits. That material moved into the space vacated by the first stage and moved rapidly until it reached the trailing edge of the first stage, the study found.

The report, released Tuesday on the four-month anniversary of the slide, details an investigation by a team from the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance Association, or GEER. The scientists and engineers determined that intense rainfall in the three weeks before the slide likely was a major issue, but factors such as altered groundwater migration, weakened soil consistency because of previous landslides and changes in hillside stresses played key roles.

"Perhaps the most striking finding is that, while the Oso landslide was a rare geologic occurrence, it was not extraordinary," said Joseph Wartman, a University of Washington associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and a team leader for the study.

"We observed several other older but very similar long-runout landslides in the surrounding Stillaguamish River Valley. This tells us these may be prevalent in this setting over long time frames. Even the apparent trigger of the event – several weeks of intense rainfall – was not truly exceptional for the region," Wartman said."

Link to Original Source

Why are the world's scientists continuing to take chances with smallpox?

Lasrick (2629253) writes | 7 hours ago

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Lasrick (2629253) writes "MIT's Jeanne Guillemin looks at the recent blunders with smallpox and H5N1 at the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health to chronicle the fascinating history of smallpox eradication efforts and the attempts (thwarted by Western scientists) to destroy lab collections of the virus in order to make it truly extinct. 'In 1986, with no new smallpox cases reported, the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO, resolved to destroy the strain collections and make the virus extinct. But there was resistance to this; American scientists in particular wanted to continue their research.' Within a few years, secret biological warfare programs were discovered in Moscow and in Iraq, and a new flurry of defensive research was funded. Nevertheless, Guillemin and others believe that changes in research methods, which no longer require the use of live viruses, mean that stocks of the live smallpox virus can and should finally be destroyed."
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