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Toshiba's Satellite P55t, the company's first 4K laptop. Toshiba Are you reading this on a laptop right now? Are the screen's giant, blocky, visible pixels ruining your experience? If so, Toshiba has the fix: today it's announcing a 15.6-inch laptop with a 3840×2160, 282 PPI IPS display, the same model we originally saw at CES earlier this year. The Satellite P55t goes on sale April 22 and will cost $1,499.99, the same starting price as the company's Kirabook Ultrabook. In most important ways, the laptop is very well-specced. It includes quad-core Haswell CPUs from Intel, a dedicated AMD R9 M265X GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 RAM, 16GB of system RAM, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, four USB 3.0 ports, a 4K-capable full-size HDMI port, and an integrated Blu-ray writer. The one area where the laptop disappoints is in its 1TB mechanical hard drive—the extra storage space will be good for those working on high-resolution images and 4K video, but we'd at least like to see a hybrid SSD/HDD solution in a laptop this pricey. Toshiba On the right side, there's an Ethernet port, two USB 3.0 ports, and a Blu-ray writer. 4 more images in gallery Toshiba has also made a few additions that it hopes will attract photography enthusiasts: each display will be color calibrated at the factory, and the screen is Technicolor-certified. The laptop comes with a built-in application called "Chroma Tune" that will allow users to select from among a few different color profiles depending on their preferences and needs. A license for Adobe's Lightroom 5 photo editing software is included as well. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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The viral onslaught has its benefits for the bacteria. Zappys Technology Bacterial diseases cause millions of deaths every year. Most of these bacteria were benign at some point in their evolutionary past, and we don’t always understand what turned them into disease-causing pathogens. In a new study, researchers have tracked down when this switch happened in one flesh-eating bacteria. They think the knowledge might help predict future epidemics. The flesh-eating culprit in question is called GAS, or Group A β-hemolytic streptococcus, a highly infective bacteria. Apart from causing the flesh-eating disease necrotizing fasciitis, GAS is also responsible for a range of less harmful infections. It affects more than 600 million people every year, and it causes an estimated 500,000 deaths. These bacteria appeared to have affected humans since the 1980s. Scientists think that GAS must have evolved from a less harmful streptococcus strain. The new study, published in PNAS, reconstructs that evolutionary history. Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Hc_07 On Monday, after seven months of discussion and planning, the first-phase of a two-part audit of TrueCrypt was released. The results? iSEC, the company contracted to review the bootloader and Windows kernel driver for any backdoor or related security issue, concluded (PDF) that TrueCrypt has: “no evidence of backdoors or otherwise intentionally malicious code in the assessed areas.” While the team did find some minor vulnerabilities in the code itself, iSEC labeled them as appearing to be “unintentional, introduced a the result of bugs rather than malice.” Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Hacker and Internet troll Andrew 'weev Auernheimer demanded bacon, cream cheese and alfalfa sprouts following his Friday release from prison, hours after a federal appeals court vacated his conviction. According to a YouTube video posted on Motherboard, Auernheimer is shown joking with friends that included his lawyer, Tor Ekeland. He demands bacon in the vehicle ride away from the Allenwood Federal Correctional Center in Pennsylvania, according to the YouTube video. He says he lost 17 pounds, too, following his 2012 hacking conviction, which was viewed as a test of the reaches of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), the same statute Aaron Swartz was being prosecuted for before his 2013 suicide death. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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If you use Windows Phone 8 and want to get the new Windows Phone 8.1 hotness and give Cortana a spin before it rolls out officially—and you do, it's really great—then don't despair. Although the early access is a "developer preview," you don't actually have to write any code to get your hands on it. You just need a Microsoft Account and a Windows Phone 8 phone (obviously). First head to App Studio and sign in with the same Microsoft Account that you use on your phone. This will make some magical change to your account. Next, install the app "Preview for Developers." It's a regular app you can find in the store, or you can send it to your phone here. Then run the app. It's straightforward. It'll ask you to accept some terms and conditions, warning that you may void your warranty. If you don't want to do that, then you'll have to wait for the final release. Otherwise, sign in with your Microsoft Account—the same one that you used at App Studio and check one final box. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library via Wikipedia The catastrophic Heartbleed security bug that has already bitten Yahoo Mail, the Canada Revenue Agency, and other public websites also poses a formidable threat to end-user applications and devices, including millions of Android handsets, security researchers warned. Handsets running version 4.1.1 of Google's mobile operating system are vulnerable to attacks that might pluck passwords, the contents of personal messages, and other private information out of device memory, a company official warned on Friday. Marc Rogers, principal security researcher at Lookout Mobile, a provider of antimalware software for Android phones, said some versions of Android 4.2.2 that have been customized by the carriers or hardware manufacturers have also been found to be susceptible. Rogers said other releases may contain the critical Heartbleed flaw as well. Officials with BlackBerry have warned the company's messenger app for iOS, Mac OS X, Android, and Windows contains the critical defect and have released an update to correct it. The good news, according to researchers at security firm Symantec, is that major browsers don't rely on the OpenSSL cryptographic library to implement HTTPS cryptographic protections. That means people using a PC to browse websites should be immune to attacks that allow malicious servers to extract data from an end user's computer memory. Users of smartphones, and possibly those using routers and "Internet of things" appliances, aren't necessarily as safe. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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"The Innocence of Muslims." Several media groups and rights organizations have rallied behind Google, urging a federal appeals court to revisit its takedown order of the inflammatory "The Innocence of Muslims" video on YouTube. Media groups like the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and others told the Ninth US Circuit of Appeals Friday that its February decision "arguably expands the concept of copyright ownership in a manner that could allow the subjects of news coverage to exercise veto power over unflattering broadcasts" (PDF). The case concerns an actress in the 2012 video that sparked violent protests throughout the Muslim world. The actress, Cindy Lee Garcia, urged the appeals court to remove the video after complaining that she received death threats and was fired from her work. Garcia said she was duped into being in the "hateful anti-Islamic production." Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Duke Energy If you were collecting sections of the new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, you can now complete your set. Following the release of the section on the physical science of climate change in September and the section on the impacts of, and adaptations to, climate change just two weeks ago, the section on how to avoid future warming was finally released over the weekend in Berlin. This section was written by 235 scientists from 58 countries and cites almost 10,000 studies. The final publication of the entire report will take place in October, along with a short synthesis report summarizing the key findings in simpler, less-technical terms. How we got here If you add up all the human-caused greenhouse gas emissions around the world in 2010, it was equivalent to 49 billion tons of CO2. That number isn’t just growing, its growth is accelerating. Over the previous decade, it increased by about one billion tons each year, while the average from 1970-2000 was about 0.4 tons more each year. More than three-quarters of these emissions come from fossil fuels, and the rest come from things like deforestation, livestock production, and industrial pollutants. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Edward Snowden The Nation Institute The 2014 Pulitzer Public Service Award for "meritorious public service by a newspaper or news site" was awarded Monday to the UK-based publication The Guardian and the US-based publication The Washington Post for their reporting on documents provided to them by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. The two publications are being honored for their "revelation of widespread secret surveillance by the National Security Agency, helping through aggressive reporting to spark a debate about the relationship between the government and the public over issues of security and privacy." Their reporting has, for example, helped reveal the extent to which the US' NSA and the UK's Government Communications Headquarters have collected information en masse about millions of Americans’ phone calls and e-mails. Additionally, it has illuminated the mechanisms through which US telecommunications and technology companies have been complicit in government spying efforts. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Flickr user: Mandy Jansen Over the last year, a rabbi, a state NAACP official, a small town mayor, and other community leaders wrote op-eds and letters to Congress with remarkably similar language on a remarkably obscure topic. Each railed against a long-standing proposal that would give taxpayers the option to use pre-filled tax returns. They warned that the program would be a conflict of interest for the IRS and would especially hurt low-income people, who wouldn't have the resources to fight inaccurate returns. Rabbi Elliot Dorff wrote in a Jewish Journal op-ed that he "shudder[s] at the impact this program will have on the most vulnerable people in American society." "It's alarming and offensive" that the IRS would target "the most vulnerable Americans," two other letters said. The concept, known as return-free filing, is a government "experiment" that would mean higher taxes for the poor, two op-eds argued. Read 29 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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A new Banksy-style street art mural that appeared in Cheltenham, England, on Sunday. Photo by Kathryn Wright It's a known fact that the city of Cheltenham is home to the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the UK's counterpart to the National Security Agency. And on Sunday, locals received a GCHQ-themed surprise—new street art around a public telephone booth that depicts men in trench coats secretly recording what happens inside. The mural was painted at the intersection of Fairview Road and Hewlett Road, just three miles from GCHQ's main building. Local residents believe that the mural could be the work of the British graffiti artist Banksy, according to The Telegraph. Banksy is famous for his various street art "vandalism" projects across the globe, which often comment on social and political themes. While the wiretapping techniques in the mural appear historically bent, the theme of government eavesdropping on phone calls is quite timely. The message comes after a seemingly endless stream of revelations about the American and British dragnet surveillance, started by government whistleblower Edward Snowden and his first leaks in June 2013. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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A model of the Solara 50, Titan Aerospace's commercial "atmospheric satellite," hangs above the company's booth at the AUVSI Unmanned Systems conference. Sean Gallagher Titan Aerospace—the drone-maker that was previously pegged as a Facebook acquisition—has been snapped up by Google, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal (subscription required). Titan creates “atmospheric satellites,” solar-powered drones that can fly for five years without landing. According to the report, Google says the Titan team will be headed to Project Loon, Google's balloon-based Internet project. Loon also uses solar-powered drones in the form of balloons instead of airplanes, so the two teams seem like a good match. The Journal also says the team might help out Manaki, a Google-owned company working on an airborne wind turbine (basically a drone plane on the end of a power cable). Atmospheric satellites could also be a big help to Google Maps and Google Earth since they both use satellite imagery. A fleet of camera-packing drones could take all the photos Google needs. One of Titan's "smaller" drone models, called the "Solara 50," has a wingspan of 164 feet. That's larger than a Boeing 767. Before the acquisition, the Titan Aerospace's drone Internet project expected to hit "initial commercial operations" in 2015. By using specialty communications equipment, the company claimed it could get Internet speeds of up to one gigabit per second. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Past case law shows you can't sue companies that provide basic Web services, even if the clients are running some illegal activities. A legal effort by several Texas women to attack a "revenge porn" site that posted nude photos of them can go forward against the site's creators. However, the women won't be allowed to sue Go Daddy, which provided hosting services for the now-defunct Texxxan.com website. The lawyer representing the women, John Morgan, filed a proposed class action lawsuit against both the then-anonymous creators of the site and Go Daddy in January 2013. The Texas state court judge overseeing the case wouldn't let Go Daddy out of the lawsuit, but he's now been overruled by a three-judge appeals panel based in Beaumont, Texas. In an opinion published Thursday, the court found that Go Daddy is clearly protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), which immunizes "interactive computer services" against most types of lawsuits over content that they didn't create. The plaintiffs argued that CDA 230 shouldn't apply, since the site itself was breaking the law, and the "speech" on the website isn't protected by the First Amendment. Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Laura Gilmore/Flickr Utah law enforcement officials searched, without a warrant, the prescription drug records of 480 public paramedics, firefighters and other personnel to try to figure out who was stealing morphine from emergency vehicles. This type of snooping doesn't require crypto-cracking technology or other National Security Agency spying tools disclosed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. All it took was a law enforcement official's hunch in this case to search every member of the Unified Fire Authority's prescription records. The American Civil Liberties Union on Monday derided the 2013 dragnet search as "shocking" and called it a "disregard for basic legal protections" to provide law enforcement with "unfettered" access to such private data. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Netflix's decision to pay Comcast for a direct connection to the Comcast network has resulted in significantly better video streaming performance for customers of the nation's largest broadband provider. Netflix has bemoaned the payment, asking the government to prevent Comcast from demanding such interconnection "tolls."But there's little doubt the interconnection has benefited consumers in the short term. Average Netflix performance for Comcast subscribers rose from 1.51Mbps to 1.68Mbps from January to February, though the interconnection didn't begin until late February. In data released today, Netflix said average performance on Comcast has now risen further to 2.5Mbps, a 65 percent increase since January. Comcast's increased speed allowed it to pass Time Warner Cable, Verizon, CenturyLink, AT&T U-verse, and others in Netflix's rankings. Comcast remains slower than Cablevision, Cox, Suddenlink, Charter, and Google Fiber. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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The Falcon 9 shows off its new landing hardware. SpaceX The latest SpaceX resupply mission to the International Space Station is set to lift off at 6pm US Eastern Time today. The Falcon 9 launch vehicle will be sending a Dragon capsule into orbit to bring over 5,000 lbs of supplies and science experiments to the ISS. If all goes according to plan, the Dragon will rendezvous with the Station early Wednesday morning (also US Eastern). This is SpaceX's third resupply mission, so parts of the liftoff and rendezvous are likely to be routine. Lately, however, SpaceX has been doing interesting things with its Falcon boosters after payload separation. Back in September, the Falcon flipped around in flight and fired its engines to reverse direction, the first step toward a controlled return to the atmosphere. This time around, the company is planning on expanding on that test. "During today’s launch SpaceX will attempt to recover the first stage of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle as part of SpaceX’s reusability program," a SpaceX spokesperson told Ars. "It’s important to note this is not a primary mission objective and the probability of recovering the first stage is low, maybe 30-40 percent." Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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T-Mobile CEO John Legere in July 2013. T-Mobile T-Mobile US CEO John Legere today said that data overage fees are greedy and predatory and that the company plans to stop charging them. Legere today also launched a Change.org petition calling on AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint to eliminate overage charges—despite the fact that T-Mobile plans to continue charging entry-level customers for extra data. Just last week, T-Mobile announced a Simple Starter plan for $40 a month, which includes unlimited talk and text and up to 500MB of 4G data with "no data overage charges." Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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UC Santa Barbara Computers, cell phones, and any other device being used to read this article rely on a three-century-old approach to computation that represents data with a binary system. However, it’s possible that some computations will shift to a different system entirely thanks to developments in the field of quantum computing. Classical computing uses logic gates with a 1 or 0 value. Quantum bits, or qubits, can represent a 1, 0, or any state achieved by a mixture of these two through their quantum superposition. Single qubits can be linked to create a single computer that can perform parallel calculations that are out of the reach of today’s hardware. Studies conducted at the Max-Planck-Institut in Germany may help enable these sorts of parallel computations. In their studies, published in Nature, researchers have used the two spin orientations of an atom, along with two polarization states of a photon, to represent a 0 or 1. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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The EFF Jennifer Lynch is a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and works on open government, transparency and privacy issues, including drones, automatic license plate readers and facial recognition. New documents released by the FBI show that the Bureau is well on its way toward its goal of a fully operational face recognition database by this summer. The EFF received these records in response to our Freedom of Information Act lawsuit for information on Next Generation Identification (NGI)—the FBI’s massive biometric database that may hold records on as much as one-third of the US population. The facial recognition component of this database poses real threats to privacy for all Americans. Read 21 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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NASA Early tomorrow morning, starting at about 1am on the East Coast, there will be a total eclipse of the Moon that will be visible from most of North America. The first signs will be a gradual dimming, followed by the appearance of the Earth's shadow a bit before 2am Eastern Time; by 3am, the total eclipse will begin, lasting for about an hour and a half. This will be the first of four eclipses that are grouped in what's called a tetrad. Although there have been only 142 tetrads over the last 500 years, they tend to cluster; there were none between 1582 and 1908, but we'll have eight tetrads this century. (The first already occurred in 2003/2004.) The other eclipses in this tetrad will be in October of this year, followed by one each in April and September of 2015. Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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Sean Parker suits up to fix our broken political system. Photo by Suman Park The billionaire cofounder of Napster and former president of Facebook, Sean Parker, has teamed up with Silicon Valley angel investor Ron Conway and SalesForce.com CEO Marc Benioff to build a new startup company aimed at boosting voter engagement in the US, according to Politico. The company, Brigade, is intended to help Americans engage with the political process on all levels of government and mend what Brigade’s founders see as our broken political system. Parker, who will be the company’s chairman and CEO, will initially contribute more than $9 million to the project. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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The support deadline for Windows XP has come and gone, and to no one's surprise, there are still many organizations using the obsolete platform. The British and Dutch governments are paying Microsoft for extended support, and joining them is the Internal Revenue Service. The House Financial Services and General Government subcommittee heard last week that the agency's Windows XP to Windows 7 migration was still ongoing, with about 58,000 machines (of a total of 110,000) still on the unsupported operating system. The agency is trying to find $30 million to finish the upgrade. Until the replacement is complete, the agency is paying Microsoft for its expensive extended support, but there are quibbles over how much is being paid. Computerworld initially calculated that it would be around $11 million, a little more than the $9.2 million that the British government is paying. The IRS, however, says that the sum is much lower—less than $500,000, with the exact figure to be published at some later date. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Soon, you'll be able to use Apple's CarPlay without buying a whole new car. Apple So far, consoles compatible with Apple's CarPlay feature have only been integrated into a handful of high-end cars. If you want to use the feature without buying an entirely new vehicle, Alpine Electronics will soon be able to hook you up—Nikkei reports that the company will begin selling a standalone CarPlay console in the US and Europe this fall. The console is "likely" to have a 7-inch display and will reportedly cost between $500 and $700. Alpine already sells a lineup of entertainment and navigation systems, and it's possible that this new CarPlay-compatible version will offer similar features when there's no iPhone connected to it. Current CarPlay-compatible vehicles offer the CarPlay interface when an iPhone is connected, but it's available as an alternative to the automakers' own software solutions rather than a complete replacement. CarPlay was first demonstrated as "iOS in the Car" at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference last year and was officially released earlier this year as part of the iOS 7.1 update. It provides access to Apple Maps' turn-by-turn navigation features, your music and podcasts, and a handful of third-party streaming services approved by Apple; as of this writing, there's no public API that developers can use to support the feature independently. CarPlay requires a compatible in-dash display and an iPhone 5, 5C, or 5S connected via a Lightning cable. Rumors of a wireless version of CarPlay persist, but it's not clear whether these first CarPlay-compatible displays will be able to operate wirelessly when (and if) that capability arrives. Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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xxdigipxx Underscoring the severity of the Heartbleed bug affecting huge swaths of the Internet, hackers exploited the vulnerability to steal taxpayer data for at least 900 Canadian citizens and an unknown number of businesses, officials in that country warned Monday morning. Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) officials said they removed public access to online tax services last Tuesday, a day after the catastrophic defect in the widely used OpenSSL cryptography library surfaced. But by then it was too late. Hackers casing online CRA services were nonetheless able to exploit the OpenSSL flaw, which makes it possible to pluck private encryption keys, passwords, and other sundry sensitive data out of the private computer memory of servers running vulnerable versions of the open-source library. "Regrettably, the CRA has been notified by the Government of Canada's lead security agencies of a malicious breach of taxpayer data that occurred over a six-hour period," Canadian officials disclosed in a blog post published Monday morning. "Based on our analysis to date, Social Insurance Numbers (SIN) of approximately 900 taxpayers were removed from CRA systems by someone exploiting the Heartbleed vulnerability. We are currently going through the painstaking process of analyzing other fragments of data, some that may relate to businesses, that were also removed." Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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An image of graphene, showing defects in its single-atom thickness. UC Berkeley Hydroelectricity is one of the oldest techniques for generating electrical power, with over 150 countries using it as a source for renewable energy. Hydroelectric generators only work efficiently at large scales, though—scales large enough to interrupt river flow and possibly harm local ecosystems. And getting this sort of generation down to where it can power small devices isn't realistic. In recent years, scientists have investigated generating electrical power using nano-structures. In particular, they have looked at generating electricity when ionic fluids—a liquid with charged ions in it—are pushed through a system with a pressure gradient. However, the ability to harvest the generated electricity has been limited because it requires a pressure gradient to drive ionic fluid through a small tube. But scientists have now found that dragging small droplets of salt water on strips of graphene generates electricity without the need for pressure gradients. In their study, published in Nature Nanotechnology, researchers from China grew a layer of graphene and placed a droplet of salt water on it. They then dragged the droplet across the graphene layer at different velocities and found that the process generated a small voltage difference. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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