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Simulated tsunamis for earthquakes in several locations. Rhett Butler Surfers love Hawaii’s waves, and many dream of catching “the big one.” For most people living in coastal areas vulnerable to tsunamis, though, “the big one” is a bad dream. We’ve seen many devastating events over the years, but our memory is not so long that Mother Nature can’t surprise us. The 2011 tsunami in Japan testified to that. In 2001, sediment from a past tsunami was found in a sinkhole on the southeast side of the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i. The mouth of that sinkhole is about a hundred meters from the shoreline—and over seven meters above sea level. The largest tsunami measured in the area had been three meters, courtesy of Chile’s monstrous magnitude 9.55 earthquake in 1960. Could it be that an event was big enough to send tsunami waves over seven meters high to Hawaii in the past? Researchers Rhett Butler, David Burney, and David Walsh simulated a variety of earthquakes around the Pacific to find out. They used a model that simulates the spread of tsunami waves, creating some virtual magnitude 9.0 to 9.6 earthquakes from Alaska to Kamchatka. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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brykmantra It was an eerie tale. Former US Vice President Dick Cheney announced last year that he disabled the wireless function of the implanted heart defibrillator amid fears it could be exploited by terrorists wanting to kill him. Cheney's announcement put a face to the fear of possible medical-device hacking exploits, and researchers and the federal government were slowly realizing there were genuine vulnerabilities associated with these implanted devices. They are equipped with computerized functions and wireless capabilities that allow the devices to be administered without requiring additional surgery, and therefore they could be rife for hackers to exploit. Cheney's move may have seemed far-fetched, but his paranoia is being confirmed as the Department of Homeland Security is now probing potential cybersecurity flaws in certain medical devices. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Comcast reported its third quarter earnings today with positive results—and even the bad news was good. "Video customer net losses declined to 81,000, the best third quarter result in seven years," the company's announcement said. "I am pleased to report strong revenue, operating cash flow, and free cash flow growth for the third quarter of 2014," CEO Brian Roberts said. In addition to slowing video losses over the past three months, "cable results highlight the consistent strength of high-speed Internet and business services," he said. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Cyrus Farivar Ello, the notably stripped-down, ad-free social network, announced Thursday that it has taken $5.5 million in venture capital and re-incorporated as a “Public Benefit Corporation.” The company’s founders and investors also published a one-page document in which they declared: Ello must never make money from selling ads Ello must never make money from selling user data In the event that Ello is ever sold, the new owners would also have to comply by these terms So how is Ello going to make money? Even its investors don't know. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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The Sony SmartWatch 3—the only Android Wear device with a GPS chip. Sony Google is announcing the rollout of the first major Android Wear update, which allows the smartwatch OS to do a few core functions without being tethered to a smartphone. The update—which was detailed last month—allows a Wear device to play music directly to Bluetooth headphones and use an internal GPS chip to track location, all without the need to tether to a smartphone. The most obvious use for the new feature is running. Now, with only a watch, a jogging user could listen to music and track their progress with one less device. This previously required dragging a phone along, but when you're running, it's nice to carry as little technology as possible. The bad news is that the first batch of Android Wear devices didn't plan ahead for this. While standalone music will work on existing devices, nothing on the market right now has a GPS chip. Early adopters of devices like the Moto 360 will have to buy a new smartwatch to take advantage of the GPS feature. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Michael Skrepnick it seems like everywhere scientists look, they're finding dinosaurs. A new species is emerging at the astounding pace of one per week. And this trend continues with the announcement of perhaps the strangest dinosaur find over the past few years: the toothless, hump-backed, super-clawed omnivore Deinocheirus mirificus, which lived about 70 million years ago in what is now Mongolia. Deinocheirus may even become a household name, thanks to spectacular new fossils from the Gobi Desert reported by South Korean paleontologist Young-Nam Lee and colleagues, who published their results in Nature. It is a one-of-a kind dinosaur—a creature so astoundingly weird that the world probably won't be able to avoid taking notice. Half a century of wild speculation It has been a banner year for dinosaur discoveries. First it was the “chicken from hell” and a dwarf tyrannosaur announced in the spring, then the long-snouted carnivore “Pinocchio rex” and the feathery glider Changyuraptor came in the summer. Over the past couple of months, we have been awed by the 65-ton, long-necked behemoth Dreadnoughtus and wowed by remarkable new fossils of the sail-backed, shark-eating Spinosaurus from Africa. Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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The joy of shooting three guns at once. It's Bayonetta's world, and we're all just living in it. That much was clear after watching her dispatch wave after wave of enemies in divine style in her first game. Nobody could possibly strap a pair of flamethrowers to their feet and breakdance the propellant over a crowd of hostile angels if they weren't 100 percent confident that they were completely in control of everything that happens next. That sense of control is the most easily accepted facet of Bayonetta 2. Hooking dragons out from hell and launching them at your enemies is as basic in this game as firing bullets from a gun is in a Call of Duty title. When Bayonetta 2 steps past that baseline and actually tries to put on a show, it somehow gets infinitely more absurd, and entertaining. If you played the first game in the Bayonetta series, you know the titular character gets her witchy powers through a pact with the aforementioned hell-spawn, giving her the canvas to express herself through a unique combination of magic, violence, and dance. The result isn't just ridiculous, but incredibly fluid and responsive. Bayonetta is a force of nature in combat, sliding effortlessly into battle to land blows with guns, fists, and any whatever weapons she can collect. Complete a combo uninterrupted, and Bayonetta calls forth a "Wicked Weave" demonic summon finisher before stringing the tempest over to another heavenly target. Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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President Barack Obama is being sued for violating the Fourth Amendment. White House Justice Department lawyers have asked a federal court in Pittsburgh to dismiss a sweeping lawsuit brought earlier this year by a local lawyer against President Barack Obama and other top intelligence officials. In a new motion to dismiss filed on Monday, the government told the court that the Pittsburgh lawyer, Elliott Schuchardt, lacked standing to make a claim that his rights under the Fourth Amendment have been violated as a result of multiple ongoing surveillance programs. Specifically, Schuchardt argued in his June 2014 complaint that both metadata and content of his Gmail, Facebook, and Dropbox accounts were compromised under the PRISM program as revealed in the documents leaked by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden. Read 23 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Tie a ribbon around your finger, Google Inbox. We'll be using your reminders for a while yet. No company rolls out the giant, invite-only drool carpet quite like Google. Doesn't matter if that comes in the form of gems like Gmail and Voice or bummers like Wave; the company's early-bird offerings always attract a ton of interested eyes, not to mention rushed conclusions from people who arrive for the mystique, not the product. Most of Google's limited beta launches have come from entirely new apps at a given time, which you might imagine adds to the mystique factor. But there's one bigger way to get attention: hijack and remix the look and feel of an established product like Gmail, which is exactly what Google Inbox aims to do. We received a Google Inbox invite within minutes of the app's announcement on Wednesday, and we didn't hesitate to load it on our Android phones and desktop Web browsers to test Android SVP Sundar Pichai's claim that the combination e-mail/task manager would help us "focus on what really matters." Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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It may not be Superman, but Ubuntu has done wonders for Linux. Nicolás Demarchi In October of 2004, a new Linux distro appeared on the scene with a curious name—Ubuntu. Even then there were hundreds, today if not thousands, of different Linux distros available. A new one wasn't particularly unusual, and for some time after its quiet preview announcement, Ubuntu went largely unnoticed. It was yet another Debian derivative. Today, Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, estimates that there are 25 million Ubuntu users worldwide. Those users span 240 countries, and they make Ubuntu the world's third most popular PC operating system. By Canonical's estimates, Ubuntu has roughly 90 percent of the Linux market. And Ubuntu is poised to launch a mobile version that may well send those numbers skyrocketing again. This month marks the tenth anniversary of Ubuntu. As you'll soon see in this look at the desktop distro through the years, Linux observers sensed there was something special about Ubuntu nearly from the start. However, while a Linux OS that genuinely had users in mind was quickly embraced, Ubuntu's ten-year journey since is a microcosm of the major Linux events of the last decade—encompassing everything from privacy concerns and Windows resentment to server expansion and hopes of convergence. Read 52 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Hardware hackers building interactive gadgets based on the Arduino microcontrollers are finding that a recent driver update that Microsoft deployed over Windows Update has bricked some of their hardware, leaving it inaccessible to most software both on Windows and Linux. This came to us via hardware hacking site Hack A Day. The driver in question is for a line of USB-to-serial chips designed by Scottish firm FTDI. FTDI's chips are incredibly popular in this space, as just about every microcontroller and embedded device out there can communicate over a serial port. But this popularity has a downside; there's a vast number of knock-off chips in the wild that appear to be made by FTDI, but in fact aren't. FTDI develops drivers for its chips. The drivers can be obtained directly from FTDI, or they can be downloaded by Windows automatically, through Windows Update. This latter feature is a great convenience for most people, as it enables plug-and-play operation. The latest version of FTDI's driver, released in August, contains some new language in its EULA and a feature that has caught people off-guard: it reprograms counterfeit chips rendering them largely unusable, and its license notes that: Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Aurich Lawson / Thinkstock On July 6, 2012, a 22-year-old man named Jarryd Hector was partying at a home in Auckland, NZ when he decided to shine a green laser light at a Boeing 737 from Christchurch that was preparing to land at the Auckland Airport. The plane was carrying 118 passengers, the New Zealand Herald reported. Today, a judge at Manukau District Court sentenced Hector to four months of community detention and 150 hours of community service work for his laser antics. For the duration of his community detention, Hector will have to obey a curfew or face an 18-month prison sentence. He will also have to attend drug and alcohol counselling, the judge said. Police told Radio New Zealand News that Hector had shined the light into the cockpit of the landing plane for up to 30 seconds, which illuminated the flight deck and distracted the crew. The pilot notified air traffic control, which notified the police. The police then showed up at the party where Hector was and questioned him. At the time he admitted to using the laser, but said he wasn't shining it at the plane. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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A slide that Apple used in its closing statements during the GPNE v. Apple trial. It includes a few of the statements from the many companies trying to rebuff GPNE's attempts to get royalty payments based on old pager patents. Apple A San Jose jury has handed up a verdict [PDF] finding that Apple does not infringe two patents owned by GPNE Corp., a patent-holding company that has licensed its patents to more than 20 other large companies. While the jury found that Apple did not infringe a variety of patent claims, it found the two patents at issue, numbered 7,570,954 and 7,792,492, to be valid. The patents describe network communication technology, and they were issued in 2009 and 2010. Both are "continuation" patents, based upon other continuation patents, which stretch back to an original 1994 patent filing. Essentially, the GPNE claims are from pager-era patents that the company tried to use to extract royalty payments from iPhones and iPads. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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The femur from which the DNA samples originated. Bence Viola, MPI EVA Svante Pääbo's lab at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany has mastered the process of obtaining DNA from ancient bones. With the techniques in hand, the research group has set about obtaining samples from just about any bones they can find that come from the ancestors and relatives of modern humans. In their latest feat, they've obtained a genome from a human femur found in Siberia that dates from roughly the time of our species' earliest arrival there. The genome indicates that the individual it came from lived at a time where our interbreeding with Neanderthals was relatively recent, and Europeans and Asians hadn't yet split into distinct populations. The femur comes from near the town of Ust’-Ishim in western Siberia. It eroded out of a riverbank that contains a mixture of bones, some from the time where the sediments were deposited (roughly 30-50,000 years ago), and some likely older that had been washed into the sediments from other sites. The femur shows features that are a mixture of those of paleolithic and modern humans, and lacks features that are typical of Neanderthal skeletons. Two separate samples gave identical carbon radioisotope dates; after calibration to the 14C record, this places the bone at 45,000 years old, give or take a thousand years. That's roughly when modern humans first arrived in the region. That also turned out to be consistent with dates estimated by looking at the DNA sequence, which placed it at 49,000 years old (the 95 percent confidence interval was 30-65,000 years). Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Brian Kelley A Pew Research Center survey released Wednesday found that as many as four in 10 adults have been subjected to online harassment and that men and women suffer from different forms of harassment. "In broad trends, the data show that men are more likely to experience name-calling and embarrassment, while young women are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and stalking," the study stated. Twenty-seven percent of all of those who responded to the survey said they had been called offensive names. As many as 22 percent said someone had tried to "purposefully" embarrass them. Others said they felt threatened, were stalked, or sexually harassed. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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The Logan Square stop on the Chicago Transit Authority blue line. Kumar McMillan A report from BuzzFeed News Wednesday suggests that the tracking beacons that cropped up in New York phone booths last year have spread to new cities, including Los Angeles and Chicago. The beacons have been sprinkled around transit centers, including Chicago Transit Authority rail stops and LA bus stops. The beacons, created by Gimbal, connect with devices like smartphones via Bluetooth and can harvest information like the device's Bluetooth address, as well as the date, time, and location of connection. The beacons in New York were installed as a "test" by advertising company Titan 360. Though officials called for their removal over a year ago, they were not taken out of phone booths until earlier this month, after they were used in promotions for the Tribeca Film Festival and shopping app ShopAdvisor. Marketing company Martin Outdoor Media confirmed the beacons' existence in LA to BuzzFeed News, as did the CTA in Chicago. Martin called the beacons part of a "pilot program" in a press release last week, while the CTA stated its beacons were part of a "two-week test," to be followed up by a bigger test for a longer period with beacons placed and tracked by Titan. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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A new security feature for Google’s services will help users better protect their data by requiring that they insert a USB security key to log in to their account. Announced on Tuesday, the optional Security Key technology requires that a Chrome user take two additional steps to sign in to their Google account: plug a small key into the USB port on their computer and tap a button. The process is a simpler and more secure version of the 2-Step Verification process that Google offers to security-conscious users. With 2-Step Verification, users receive a code from Google on their phone or in e-mail that they must enter into Google’s site to complete the login process. Users that opt for the Security Key technology will have to purchase a special USB key, which typically costs less than $20. Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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On Wednesday, Google revealed "Inbox," a Web- and app-based e-mail platform that strives to integrate your mailbox with your calendar and to-do list. "Inbox is by the same people who brought you Gmail, but it’s not Gmail: it’s a completely different type of inbox, designed to focus on what really matters," Android SVP Sundar Pichai wrote at Google's official blog. The Inbox interface screams "Material" redesign, and its sidebar comes with a much wider range of sub-categories, dubbed "bundles," to divide your mail between. There are so many, in fact, that the typical Hangout list in Gmail has been forced to the right side of the Web app. The mobile app—only shown today as an Android option, natch—appears to put a stress around such bundling by default, as opposed to presenting e-mails in a default time orientation. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Nefarious things happen in the darknet. Flickr user: Martin Gommel The federal judge overseeing the Silk Road case against Ross Ulbricht has been subject to a death threat, and apparently she had her private information exposed on a secret "Hidden Wiki" website accessible only via Tor-equipped browsers. "Katherine Bolan Forrest is the judge who is unfairly ruining Ross Ulbricht's life and chance for a fair trial," wrote a Hidden Wiki editor who goes by the moniker ServingJustice. ServingJustice became angry at Forrest after July rulings that favored prosecutors. He wrote: Can Ulbricht really be accused of running a drug-selling conspiracy when he (ALLEGEDLY) merely ran a website that made the narcotics sales possible? And can he be charged with money laundering when bitcoin doesn’t necessarily meet the requisite definition of money?’ According to Forrest’s latest ruling, yes and yes... Justice is not being served, Ross Ulbricht is a hard working honest man who is now a fall guy that the US government decided to choose because he had a large amount of bitcoins, a currency they are doing everything in their power to make illegal. Without further ado, fuck this stupid bitch and I hope some drug cartel that lost a lot of money with the seizure of silk road will murder this lady and her entire family. He then posted "dox" on Forrest, revealing a Social Security number, date of birth, and a residential addresses he says are associated with Forrest (screenshot below). Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Former NSA chief Keith Alexander. Chairman of the Joint Chief A top National Security Agency official will no longer be moonlighting part-time with a private consulting firm run by former NSA chief Keith Alexander. The end of that arrangement comes days after the NSA said this particular work situation was "under internal review" due to potential conflicts of interest. The private company at issue— IronNet Cybersecurity—was founded by Alexander, who ran the spy agency from August 2005 until March 2014. IronNet Cybersecurity offers protection services to banks for up to $1 million per month. Patrick Dowd, the NSA's current chief technology officer, had been working with Alexander's private venture for up to 20 hours per week. Reuters reported Tuesday that the deal was over. "While we understand we did everything right, I think there's still enough issues out there that create problems for Dr. Dowd, for NSA, for my company," Alexander said. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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The Federal Communications Commission today paused the "180-day informal time clock" in its review of the proposed Comcast/Time Warner Cable and AT&T/DirecTV mergers. The extension comes in response to a request by Dish Network; Comptel; Monumental Sports and Entertainment; RCN; Grande Communications, Inc.; Choice Cable TV of Puerto Rico; and Writers Guild of America, West. These organizations filed their request for an extension after content companies refused to allow access to confidential carriage agreements, despite the FCC issuing a joint protective order requiring limited disclosure. The content companies that objected to providing confidential information included CBS, Scripps, Disney, Time Warner, Twenty First Century Fox, Univision, Viacom, Discovery, and TV One. Today's FCC order states: Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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CN.dart.call("xrailTop", {sz:"300x250", kws:[], collapse: true});iOS 5, 6, and 7 got many minor updates throughout their life cycles, but each received only one "major" update in their year or so as Apple's newest mobile operating system. iOS 5.1, 6.1, and 7.1 were all released several months after the initial release, and each update marked the point where the version became "mature." Apple is mixing things up with iOS 8. Version 8.1 is here just a month after the initial release, and plentiful evidence shows that both versions 8.2 and 8.3 are already in testing at Cupertino. It's a rapid-fire schedule more in line with iOS 4, a release in which bug fixes and new features were introduced at a steady but more gradual clip. iOS 8.1 shouldn't be compared to iOS 7.1, which gestated for a full six months and was vetted in five separate beta builds. It still introduces quite a few new features, though, and in the spirit of keeping our comprehensive iOS 8 review up to date, we've taken the most important ones for a test drive. This release doesn't fix all of iOS 8's biggest problems, but it's an important first step toward a more stable and more useful OS. Read 24 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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A composite image of the galaxy M82, composed of x-ray images from the NuSTAR telescope (seen in purple) and the Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue), and optical images from the NOAO 2.1 meter telescope (gold). X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Toulouse/M.Bachetti et al, Optical: NOAO/AURA/NSF A new observation of the M82 galaxy has turned up a surprise—a previously undiscovered, incredibly bright object. The object, called M82 X-2, is bright enough to be classified as an ultra-luminous X-ray source, or ULX. It sits close to its previously discovered sibling, M82 X-1, near the core of M82. The discovery, which was made by NASA’s NuSTAR (Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array) and the Chandra X-ray Observatory, has provided new clues about the nature of that mysterious class of objects. X-2 turns out to be the brightest pulsar ever discovered—so bright that it challenges current models of how pulsars work. NuSTAR had initially been pointed toward M82 in the hope of observing a new supernova, and the team of researchers had no idea that they would happen upon a new ULX. They were surprised to discover a pulsating ULX amid a group of bright X-ray sources. To clarify which source was producing the pulsations, the Chandra X-ray Observatory observed the region, successfully separating X-2 from the noise. Read 24 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Chris Isherwood A newly publicized document shows that five local police departments in southeastern Virginia have been secretly and automatically sharing criminal suspects’ telephone metadata and compiling it into a large database for nearly two years. According to a 2012 memorandum of understanding (MOU) published for the first time Monday by the Center for Investigative Reporting, the police departments from Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Suffolk all participate in something called the "Hampton Roads Telephone Analysis Sharing Network," or HRTASN. The Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Task Force, or PNETF, "will provide administrative and technical assistance to participating agencies in conducting pen register intercepts as described below." Read 27 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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A federal judge has dismissed a proposed securities fraud class action lawsuit connected to Electronic Arts' bungled rollout of the popular Battlefield 4 video game. EA and several top executives were sued in December and were accused of duping investors with their public statements and concealing issues with the first-person shooter game. The suit claimed executives were painting too rosy of a picture surrounding what ultimately would be Battlefield 4's disastrous debut on various gaming consoles beginning last October, including the next-generation Xbox One. But US District Judge Susan Illston of San Francisco said their comments about EA and the first-person shooter game were essentially protected corporate speak. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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