posted 11 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes with findings from the Rosetta mission which suggests water on Earth probably came from asteroids, and not comets."Scientists have dealt a blow to the theory that most water on Earth came from comets. Results from Europe's Rosetta mission, which made history by landing on Comet 67P in November, shows the water on the icy mass is unlike that on our planet. The results are published in the journal Science. The authors conclude it is more likely that the water came from asteroids, but other scientists say more data is needed before comets can be ruled out."

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posted 11 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes Fabrice Bellard (creator of FFMPEG, QEMU, JSLinux...) proposes a new image format that could replace JPEG : BPG. For the same quality, files are about half the size of their JPEG equivalents. He released libbpg (with source) as well as a JS decompressor, and set up a demo including the famous Lena image.

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posted 11 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes Fabrice Bellard (creator of FFMPEG, QEMU, JSLinux...) proposes a new image format that could replace JPEG : BPG. For the same quality, files are about half the size of their JPEG equivalents. He released libbpg (with source) as well as a JS decompressor, and set up a demo including the famous Lena image.

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posted 12 days ago on slashdot
itwbennett writes IBM and Apple have unveiled the first results of the enterprise IT partnership they announced in July: 10 mobile applications aimed at businesses in six industries as well as government users. One of the apps, for example, allows a flight crew to personalize a passenger's in-flight experience. An app targeted at the banking industry allows a financial advisor to remotely access and manage a client's portfolio. And police officers can use iPhones to view video feeds from crime scenes with an app for law enforcement.

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posted 12 days ago on slashdot
Jason Baker writes Can you really trust your email provider? And even if you self-host your email server, can you really trust its security if you can't see the code? Over on Opensource.com, Olivier Thierry makes three cases for using open source to power your email solution: The power of numbers, the value of trust, and the importance of leverage.

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posted 12 days ago on slashdot
angry tapir writes As part of its crackdown on unauthorized downloading of copyright material, the Australian government will push ahead with the introduction of a scheme that will allow rights holders to apply for court orders to force ISPs to block websites. (Previously Slashdot noted that the Australian government had raised such a scheme as a possibility).

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posted 12 days ago on slashdot
hypnosec writes The Delhi High Court has banned Xiaomi and India online retailer Flipkart from selling any handsets that Ericsson claim are violating patents. The court has also asked Xiaomi and its agents to refrain from making, assembling, importing or selling any devices which infringe the patents in question. Xiaomi says: "We haven’t received an official note from the Delhi High Court. However, our legal team is currently evaluating the situation based on the information we have. India is a very important market for Xiaomi and we will respond promptly as needed and in full compliance with India laws. Moreover, we are open to working with Ericsson to resolve this matter amicably."

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posted 12 days ago on slashdot
sciencehabit writes For an agency regularly called 'adrift' without a mission, NASA will at least float through next year with a boatload of money for its science programs. Yesterday Congress reached agreement on a spending deal for fiscal year 2015 that boosts the budget of the agency's science mission by nearly 2% to $5.24 billion. The big winner within the division is planetary sciences, which received $160 million more than the president's 2015 request in March. Legislators also maintained support for an infrared telescope mounted on a Boeing 747, a project that the White House had proposed grounding. NASA's overall budget also rose by 2%, to $18 billion. That's an increase of $364 million over 2014 levels, and half a billion dollars beyond the agency's request.

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posted 12 days ago on slashdot
mi writes The U.S. Navy has declared an experimental laser weapon on its Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB) in the Persian Gulf an operational asset and U.S. Central Command has given permission for the commander of the ship to defend itself with the weapon. The 30 kilowatt Laser Weapon System (LaWS) was installed aboard USS Ponce this summer as part of a $40 million research and development effort from ONR and Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) to test the viability of directed energy weapons in an operational environment. No word yet on a smaller, shark-mounted version.

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posted 12 days ago on slashdot
Rambo Tribble writes A new report claims that almost a quarter of the "clicks" registered by digital advertisements are, in fact, from robots created by cyber crime networks to siphon off advertising dollars. The scale and sophistication of the attacks which were discovered caught the investigators by surprise. As one said, "What no one was anticipating is that the bots are extremely effective of looking like a high value consumer."

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posted 12 days ago on slashdot
First time accepted submitter Dave Knott writes Following the recent auction of James Watson's Nobel Prize medal, the winning bidder will return the medal to Watson. The $4.7 million winning bid was made by Alisher Usmanov, Russia's wealthiest man, a metal and telecommunications tycoon worth $15.8 billion US. In remarks carried by Russian television Tuesday, Usmanov hailed Watson one of the greatest biologists in the history of mankind, and stated that when he learned that Watson was selling the medal for charity, he decided to purchase it and immediately give it back to him.

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posted 12 days ago on slashdot
Bennett Haselton writes The corruption of the #Ferguson and #Gamergate hashtags demonstrates how vulnerable the hashtag system is to being swamped by an "angry mob". An alternative algorithm could be created that would allow users to post tweets and browse the ones that had been rated "thoughtful" by other users participating in the same discussion. This would still allow anyone to contribute, even average users lacking a large follower base, while keeping the most stupid and offensive tweets out of most people's feeds. Keep reading to see what Bennett has to say.

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posted 12 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: Oren Etzioni has been an artificial intelligence researcher for over 20 years, and he's currently CEO of the Allen Institute for AI. When he heard the dire warnings recently from both Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, he decided it's time to have an intelligent discussion about AI. He says, "The popular dystopian vision of AI is wrong for one simple reason: it equates intelligence with autonomy. That is, it assumes a smart computer will create its own goals, and have its own will, and will use its faster processing abilities and deep databases to beat humans at their own game. ... To say that AI will start doing what it wants for its own purposes is like saying a calculator will start making its own calculations." Etzioni adds, "If unjustified fears lead us to constrain AI, we could lose out on advances that could greatly benefit humanity — and even save lives. Allowing fear to guide us is not intelligent."

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posted 12 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: We are on the second day since The Pirate Bay was raided by Swedish police. While it's still unclear how hard the site was hit, not everyone is mourning its troubles. Peter Sunde, one of the well-known founders of TPB, wrote, "The Pirate Bay has been raided, again. That happened over 8 years ago last time. That time, a lot of people went out to protest and rally in the streets. Today few seem to care. And I'm one of them." He paints a rather crusty picture: "The site was ugly, full of bugs, old code and old designs. It never changed except for one thing – the ads. More and more ads were filling the site, and somehow when it felt unimaginable to make these ads more distasteful, they somehow ended up even worse." Adding to that, the plan had always been to pull the plug after 10 years, so others could take over. However, when that day came last year, the site remained online. The big question that remains right now is whether The Pirate Bay will make another comeback, or if this is indeed the end. Peter seems to believe that the latter may be the case, but that others will fill the gap.

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posted 12 days ago on slashdot
Zothecula writes: A new genetic therapy that helped blind mice and dogs respond to light stimulus could restore sight to people who suffer from diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa (a gradual loss of vision from periphery inwards). The therapy uses chemicals known as photoswitches, which change shape when hit with light, to open the channels that activate retinal cells. Treated mice can distinguish between steady and flashing light (abstract), while dogs with late-stage retinal degeneration also regain some sensitivity to light.

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posted 12 days ago on slashdot
StartsWithABang writes: Most meteor showers originate from comets well out beyond Neptune, only entering the inner Solar System periodically. In those cases, we have to wait long periods of time for the showers to develop, and suffer many years with paltry displays as we pass through the parts of the comet's orbit thin in particles. But the Geminids are special: they're formed from a short-period asteroid and only began in the mid-19th century. Ever since then they've been intensifying, and conditions are right this year for the most spectacular display of all time. Here's how to catch 2014's greatest meteor shower, including where to look, when, and where to go online in case of clouds.

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posted 12 days ago on slashdot
Trailrunner7 writes: Researchers have discovered a new version of the Destover malware that was used in the recent Sony Pictures Entertainment breaches, and in an ironic twist, the sample is signed by a legitimate certificate stolen from Sony. The new sample is essentially identical to an earlier version of Destover that was not signed. Destover has been used in a variety of attacks in recent years and it's representative of the genre of malware that doesn't just compromise machines and steal data, but can destroy information as well. The attackers who have claimed credit for the attack on Sony have spent the last couple of weeks gradually releasing large amounts of information stolen in the breach, including unreleased movies, personal data of Sony employees and sensitive security information such as digital certificates and passwords. The new, signed version of Destover appears to have been compiled in July and was signed on Dec. 5, the day after Kaspersky Lab published an analysis of the known samples of the malware.

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posted 12 days ago on slashdot
M-Saunders writes: While everyone obsesses about frame rates and polygon counts, there's one game that hasn't changed visually for decades. NetHack may look incredibly primitive today, but it's still arguably the best game of all time, with an unmatched level of depth, creativity and replayability. Linux Voice looks at this fascinating dungeon romp, explaining what makes it great, how to get started with it, and how to discover some of its secrets.

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posted 12 days ago on slashdot
sciencehabit writes: Massive dunes, some of them 100 meters tall and a kilometer or more wide at their base, cover about one-eighth of Titan's surface. And they take an exceptionally long time to form, according to a new study. Using radar data gleaned by the Cassini probe when it occasionally swooped past Saturn's haze-shrouded moon, researchers conclude that it would take about 3000 Saturn years (or 88,200 Earth years) to shift Titan's dunes to the extent seen in the images. A similar phenomenon has taken place on Earth, the researchers note: The overall patterns in many large dune fields in the southwestern Sahara and the southwestern United States, shaped by the winds that blew during the most recent ice age more than 10,000 years ago, remain largely unaffected by modern winds that now blow in a different direction.

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posted 13 days ago on slashdot
An anonymous reader writes: The harmful effects of ultraviolet light have been long known. But now researchers at Tohoku University in Japan claim that visible blue light is also lethal to many insects, possibly even more so than UV, even at reasonable daylight intensities. Moreover, they report that certain species are more sensitive to specific wavelengths: Given the same intensity (3x10^18 photons/sec/m^2), light in the 440-467nm range was far more lethal to fruit flies than light of longer or shorter wavelengths. The wavelength 417nm was three times as effective at killing mosquito larvae than the shorter 404nm light, contradicting the notion that higher-energy photons always cause more damage. The research has wide implications for modeling the effect of natural and manmade environmental changes on insect populations and for selectively controlling populations of certain species.

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posted 13 days ago on slashdot
theodp writes: Politico reports on how a tech PR blitz on the importance of coding in K-12 schools has won over President Obama, who's now been dubbed the "coder-in-chief" after sitting down Monday to "write" a few lines of computer code with middle school students as part of a PR campaign for the Hour of Code, which has earned bipartisan support in Washington. From the article: "The $30 million campaign to promote computer science education has been financed by the tech industry, led by Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, with corporate contributions from Microsoft, Google, Amazon and other giants. It's been a smash success: So many students opened up a free coding tutorial on Monday that the host website crashed. But the campaign has also stirred unease from some educators concerned about the growing influence of corporations in public schools. And it's raised questions about the motives of tech companies, which are sounding an alarm about the lack of computer training in American schools even as they lobby Congress for more H-1B visas to bring in foreign programmers."

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posted 13 days ago on slashdot
judgecorp writes: Canonical just announced Ubuntu Core, which uses containers instead of packages. It's the biggest Ubuntu shakeup for 20 years, says Canonical's Mark Shuttleworth, and is based on a tiny core, which will run Docker and other container technology better, quicker and with greater security than other Linux distros. Delivered as alpha code today, it's going to become a supported product, designed to compete with both CoreOS and Red Hat Atomic, the two leading container-friendly Linux approaches. Shuttleworth says it came about because Canonical found it had solved the "cloud" problems (delivering and updating apps and keeping security) by accident — in its work on a mobile version of Ubuntu.

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posted 13 days ago on slashdot
linuxscreenshot writes: The Fedora Project has announced the release of Fedora 21. "As part of the Fedora.next initiative, Fedora 21 comes in three flavors: Cloud, Server, and Workstation. Cloud is now a top-level deliverable for Fedora 21, and includes images for use in private cloud environments like OpenStack, as well as AMIs for use on Amazon, and a new "Atomic" image streamlined for running Docker containers. The Fedora Server flavor is a common base platform that is meant to run featured application stacks, which are produced, tested, and distributed by the Server Working Group. The Fedora Workstation is a new take on desktop development from the Fedora community. Our goal is to pick the best components, and integrate and polish them. This work results in a more polished and targeted system than you've previously seen from the Fedora desktop." Here are screenshots for Fedora 21: GNOME, KDE, Xfce, LXDE, and MATE.

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posted 13 days ago on slashdot
o_ferguson writes: TorrentFreak is reporting that police in Sweden carried out a raid in Stockholm today, seizing servers, computers, and other equipment. At the same time The Pirate Bay and several other torrent-related sites disappeared offline. Although no official statement has been made, TF sources confirm action against TPB. This is not the first time that this has happened.

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posted 13 days ago on slashdot
"Welcome to the Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut," is the headline on the museum's website. The site also says, "Our volunteers are happy to give personal tours," and that's what today's two videos (and two more we'll run tomorrow or later in the week) are: personal tours of the museum conducted by volunteer Bernie Michaels, known in ham radio circles as W2LFV. (Alternate Video Link 1) (Alternate Video Link 2)

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