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Snowden: Clinton's Private Email Server Is a 'Problem'

Fri, 2015-09-04 18:25
An anonymous reader points out comments from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in a new interview with Al Jazeera about Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was the U.S. Secretary of State. Snowden said, "Anyone who has the clearances that the Secretary of State has or the director of any top level agency has knows how classified information should be handled. When the unclassified systems of the United States government — which has a full time information security staff — regularly get hacked, the idea that someone keeping a private server ... is completely ridiculous." While Snowden didn't feel he had enough information to say Clinton's actions were a threat to national security, he did say that less prominent government employees would have probably been prosecuted for doing the same thing. For her part, Clinton said she used the private server out of convenience: "I was not thinking a lot when I got in. There was so much work to be done. We had so many problems around the world. I didn't really stop and think what kind of email system will there be."

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In New Study, HIV Prevention Pill Truvada Is 100% Effective

Fri, 2015-09-04 17:39
An anonymous reader writes: A study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases details the recent trial of a drug named Truvada, which researchers think might excel at preventing HIV infections (abstract). The scientists administered the drug to 657 people at high risk for contracting HIV, including users of injected drugs. At the end of the study, every single subject was still free of the virus. This is encouraging news in the fight against AIDS, though it shouldn't be taken to mean the drug is perfectly effective. Since researchers can't ethically expose people to HIV, we don't know for sure that any of the subjects were definitely saved by the drug. Other studies have also had to be stopped because it was clear subjects who were on a placebo were suffering from noticeably higher rates of infection. Leaders in the fight against AIDS say this new study closes a "critical gap" in existing research by demonstrating that Truvada can work in real-world health programs.

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Bugzilla Breached, Private Vulnerability Data Stolen

Fri, 2015-09-04 16:57
darthcamaro writes: Mozilla today publicly announced that secured areas of bugzilla, where non-public zero days are stored, were accessed by an attacker. The attacker got access to as many as 185 security bugs before they were made public. They say, "We believe they used that information to attack Firefox users." The whole hack raises the issue of Mozilla's own security, since it was a user password that was stolen and the bugzilla accounts weren't using two-factor authentication. According to Mozilla's FAQ about the breach (PDF), "The earliest confirmed instance of unauthorized access dates to September 2014. There are some indications that the attacker may have had access since September 2013."

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Brady Forrest Talks About Building a Hardware Startup (Video)

Fri, 2015-09-04 16:15
Brady Forrest is co-author of The Hardware Startup: Building Your Product, Business, and Brand. He has extensive experience building both products and startups, including staffing, financing, and marketing. If you are thinking or dreaming about doing a startup, you should not only watch the video to "meet" Brady, but read the transcript for more info than the video covers.

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20+ Chinese Android Smartphones Models Come With Pre-Installed Malware

Fri, 2015-09-04 15:29
An anonymous reader writes: Security researchers from G DATA have published research (PDF) into Android phones produced in China, which found that a large number of devices ship with pre-installed malware and spyware. Affected models include the Xiaomi MI3, Huawei G510, Lenovo S860, Alps A24, Alps 809T, Alps H9001, Alps 2206, Alps PrimuxZeta, Alps N3, Alps ZP100, Alps 709, Alps GQ2002, Alps N9389, Android P8, ConCorde SmartPhone6500, DJC touchtalk, ITOUCH, NoName S806i, SESONN N9500, SESONN P8, Xido X1111, Star N9500, Star N8000 and IceFox Razor. The researchers do not believe the manufacturers are responsible for the malware; rather, they suspect middlemen within distribution channels. "According to G DATA, the contamination of these smartphones is done by hiding malware as add-on code in legitimate apps. Since users don't usually interact with the malware and the add-on runs in the app's background, unless using a mobile antivirus solution, these infections are rarely discovered."

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MIT Simplifies Design Process For 3D Printing

Fri, 2015-09-04 14:45
An anonymous reader writes: New software out of MIT and the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel takes CAD files and automatically builds visual models that users can alter with simple, visual sliders. It works by computing myriad design variations before a user asks for them. When the CAD file is loaded, the software runs through a host of size variations on various properties of the object, evaluating whether the changes would work in a 3D printer, and doing the necessary math to plan tool routes. When a user moves one of the sliders, it switches the design along these pre-computer values. "The system automatically weeds out all the parameter values that lead to unprintable or unstable designs, so the sliders are restricted to valid designs. Moving one of the sliders — changing the height of the shoe's heel, say, or the width of the mug's base — sweeps through visual depictions of the associated geometries." There are two big drawbacks: first, it requires a lot of up-front processing power to compute the variations on an object. Second, resolution for changes is fixed if you want quick results — changing the design for a pair of 3D-printed shoes from size 8 to size 9 might be instantaneous, but asking for a shoe that's a quarter of a millimeter longer than a size 8 would take several minutes to process. But for scrolling through the pre-computed design changes, the software can present "in real time what would take hours to calculate with a CAD program," and without the requisite experience with CAD.

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Solar Windows Could Help Power Buildings

Fri, 2015-09-04 14:02
Lucas123 writes: Several companies are now beginning to roll out translucent photovoltaic films or solar cells embedded in windows that can supplement a significant amount of energy in the buildings where they're used. SolarWindow Technologies, for example, is preparing to launch a transparent product made with organic PVs, while another company, Solaria, is cutting solar cells into thin strips and embedding them in windows. Both companies admit their products can't produce the 20% efficiency ratings of today's best rooftop solar panels, but they say that's not their objective. Instead, the companies are looking to take advantage of millions of skyscraper windows that today are simply unused real estate for renewable energy. One company is aiming at supplementing 20% to 30% of a skyscrapers power requirements. Meanwhile, universities are also jumping into the solar window arena. Oxford University has spun off a PV window company that produces semi-transparent solar cells made of semi-transparent perovskite oxide that has achieved a 20% solar energy efficiency.

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$415 Million Settlement Approved In Tech Worker Anti-Poaching Case

Fri, 2015-09-04 13:17
An anonymous reader writes: Adobe, Apple, Google, and Intel have been embroiled in a high-profile court case accusing them of creating anti-poaching agreements in an attempt to keep tech industry salaries under control. Now, Judge Lucy Koh has ruled that the $415 million settlement against the tech giants is fair, and will stand. Koh also cut in half the amount awarded to the attorneys in the case. The lawsuit was a class-action originally joined by about 64,000 workers. Other companies were involved with the case, and reached settlements earlier, and a few members of the class action may opt out of any settlement. But the remaining members will only get something in the vicinity of $6,000 apiece for the damage done to their earnings.

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Some Uber Ride Data Publicly Accessible Through Google

Fri, 2015-09-04 12:35
itwbennett writes: On Thursday, ZDNet reported that Uber ride data had leaked into Google search results. Zach Minors confirms in this article that a "site-specific Google search for trip.uber.com produced dozens of links to Uber rides that have been completed and cancelled, in countries around the world including the U.S., England, Russia, France and Mexico. Each link leads to a Web site with a map showing the ride's route, with the pickup and destination tagged with markers. A card on the page also shows the first name of the rider and driver, along the driver's photo, make and model of the car, and license plate number." However, what appeared to be a privacy red flag was not a "data leak," according to an Uber spokeswoman: "We have found that all these links have been deliberately shared publicly by riders. Protection of user data is critically important to us and we are always looking for ways to make it even more secure."

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Pentagon Halts Work at Labs For Dangerous Pathogens After Anthrax Scare

Fri, 2015-09-04 11:52
An anonymous reader writes: The Pentagon announced yesterday it is issuing a moratorium on work at nine different biodefense labs after live anthrax was discovered outside containment at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah. The facility was discovered to have been shipping live anthrax specimens — instead of dead ones — to other labs. Work can only begin again after the shuttered facilities are certain to be clean of anthrax and assured of safe conduct. "The review calls for the military labs to ensure that personnel are properly trained on lab safety procedures and that necessary maintenance is conducted on biosafety level 3 lab facilities that work with some of the most dangerous pathogens. It calls for validating record-keeping and inventories of the military's 'Critical Reagents Program' — including 'ensuring that all materials associated with the CRP are properly accounted for.'"

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An Idea For Software's Industrial Revolution

Fri, 2015-09-04 11:08
An anonymous reader writes: Tech company Code Valley makes the bold claim that a software industrial revolution may be imminent (PDF). They propose shifting developers from the coding domain (current software development practice) to a "design-domain," where the emphasis is no longer on writing code, but on decentralized design – code becomes simply a by-product of this collaboration. In this design-domain, software programs are designed (and built) by a peer-to-peer supply chain of software vendors, each owned and managed by a software engineer. They envisage a global supply-chain of these software experts capable of reliably delivering immensely complex software.

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Cheap Smartphones Quietly Becoming Popular In the US

Fri, 2015-09-04 10:25
An anonymous reader writes: Bloomberg reports that ZTE and its cheap Android smartphones have been grabbing more and more of the market in the U.S. It's not that the phones are particularly good — it's that they're "good enough" for the $60 price tag. The company has moved up to fourth among smartphone makers, behind Apple, Samsung and LG. That puts them ahead of a lot of companies making premium devices: HTC, Motorola, and BlackBerry, to name a few. ZTE, a Chinese manufacturer, seems to be better at playing the U.S. markets than competitors like Xiaomi and Huawei, and they're getting access to big carriers and big retailers. "Its phone sales are all the more surprising because it's been frozen out of the more lucrative telecom networking market since 2012. That year, the House Intelligence Committee issued a report warning that China's intelligence services could potentially use ZTE's equipment, and those of rival Huawei Technologies, for spying. Huawei then dismissed the allegations as 'little more than an exercise in China bashing.'"

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ThinkGeek Opens First Physical Store In Orlando

Fri, 2015-09-04 09:40
New submitter Enderxeno writes with news that on September 25th, geek merchandise retailer ThinkGeek will open its first brick-and-mortar store in Orlando, Florida. The store will open in a mall, and the company will be running it with the help of GameStop, who bought ThinkGeek back in June. The new store will have a 3,000 square foot space that used to be occupied by Radio Shack, and it will focus "entirely on collectibles." (Disclosure: Slashdot and ThinkGeek used to share a corporate overlord. We don't talk anymore, but we still like them. Even though they finally took away our employee discounts.)

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Science Teacher Arrested After Crashing Drone At US Open

Fri, 2015-09-04 08:58
An anonymous reader writes: We all had that science teacher growing up — the one who took his classroom experiments a little too far. The one with the potato cannon. The one who made you wonder how he didn't get into trouble in his spare time. Well, it's finally happened for one science teacher from New York City. The 26-year-old man was arrested last night after he crashed a drone into some empty seats at the U.S. Open. He was charged with reckless endangerment, reckless operation of a drone, and operating a drone in a New York City public park outside a prescribed area for doing so. Nobody was injured, but the drone did fly through the arena while a pair of tennis players were in the middle of a match. The game was briefly interrupted when the drone crashed.

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NASA To 'Lasso' a Comet To Hitchhike Across the Solar System

Fri, 2015-09-04 08:14
evilviper writes: Traveling around space can require a lot of fuel, to help fight the fuel bill NASA has a spacecraft concept that would hitch a free ride on one of the many comets and asteroids traveling across our solar system. Comet Hitchhiker, developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, would feature a reusable tether system to replace the need for propellant for entering orbit and landing on objects. The spacecraft would first cast an extendable tether toward the object and attach itself using a harpoon attached to the tether. Next, it would reel out the tether while applying a brake that harvests energy while the spacecraft accelerates. This allows Comet Hitchhiker to accelerate and slowly match the speed of its ride, and keeping that slight tension on the line harvests energy that is stored on-board for later use, reeling itself down to the surface of the comet or asteroid. A comet hitchhiker spacecraft can obtain up to ~10 km/s of delta-V by using a carbon nanotube (CNT) tether, reaching the current orbital distance of Pluto (32.6 AU) in just 5.6 years.

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New Cellphone Surveillance Safeguards Imposed On Federal Law Enforcement

Fri, 2015-09-04 07:28
Earthquake Retrofit writes: The NPR website has an interesting story that the Justice Department says it will beef up legal requirements for using cell-site simulators. It includes a rare picture of the device and refers to them as dirt boxes. From the story: "Under the new policy, federal investigators will be required to get a warrant from a judge demonstrating probable cause, in most domestic criminal probes. Agents will need to explain to judges how the technology is being used. And they'll be directed to destroy volumes of bystanders' data 'no less than once daily.' 'This policy is really designed to ... try to promote transparency, consistency and accountability, all while being mindful of the public's privacy interest,' said Deputy U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates."

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For Future Wearable Devices, the Network Could Be You

Fri, 2015-09-04 05:26
angry tapir writes: Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have found a way for wearable devices to communicate through a person's body instead of the air around it. Their work could lead to devices that last longer on smaller batteries and don't give away secrets as easily as today's systems do. From the Computerworld story: "A team led by Professor Patrick Mercier of the university's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering has discovered a way to use the body itself as the medium for data transmission. It uses magnetic fields and shows path loss that's 10 million times lower than what happens with Bluetooth. This could make the magnetic networks much more efficient, so devices don't have to work as hard to communicate and can have smaller batteries -- or get longer useful lives with the same size batteries. The team hasn't actually tested the system's energy use yet. They envision the technology being used for networks of health sensors that monitor many parts of the body."

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Another Neurodegenerative Disease Linked To a Prion

Fri, 2015-09-04 03:02
MTorrice writes: A new study concludes that a brain protein causes the rare, Parkinson's-like disease called multiple systems atrophy (MSA) by acting like a prion, the misbehaving type of protein infamously linked to mad cow disease. The researchers say the results are the most definitive demonstration to date that proteins involved in many neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, exhibit prion-like behavior: They can misfold into shapes that then coax others to do the same, leading to protein aggregation that forms neurotoxic clumps. If these other diseases are caused by prion-like proteins, then scientists could develop treatments that slow or stop disease progression by designing molecules that block prion propagation.

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Ada Lovelace and Her Legacy

Fri, 2015-09-04 00:36
nightcats writes: Nature has an extensive piece on the legacy of the "enchantress of abstraction," the extraordinary Victorian-era computer pioneer Ada Lovelace, daughter of the poet Lord Byron. Her monograph on the Babbage machine was described by Babbage himself as a creation of "that Enchantress who has thrown her magical spell around the most abstract of Sciences and has grasped it with a force that few masculine intellects (in our own country at least) could have exerted over it." Ada's remarkable merging of intellect and intuition — her capacity to analyze and capture the conceptual and functional foundations of the Babbage machine — is summarized with a historical context which reveals the precocious modernity of her scientific mind. "By 1841 Lovelace was developing a concept of 'Poetical Science', in which scientific logic would be driven by imagination, 'the Discovering faculty, pre-eminently. It is that which penetrates into the unseen worlds around us, the worlds of science.' She saw mathematics metaphysically, as 'the language of the unseen relations between things;' but added that to apply it, 'we must be able to fully appreciate, to feel, to seize, the unseen, the unconscious.' She also saw that Babbage's mathematics needed more imaginative presentation."

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Pioneer Looks To Laserdisc Tech For Low-Cost LIDAR

Thu, 2015-09-03 22:02
itwbennett writes: Pioneer is developing a 3D LIDAR (light detection and ranging) sensor for use in autonomous vehicles that could be a fraction of the cost of current systems (the company envisions a price point under $83). Key to this is technology related to optical pickups once used in laserdisc players, which Pioneer made for 30 years. From the ITWorld story: "The system would detect objects dozens of meters ahead, measure their distance and width and identify them based on their shape. Pioneer, which makes GPS navigation systems, is working on getting the LIDAR to automatically produce high-precision digital maps while using a minimum of data compared to the amount used for standard maps for car navigation."

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