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+ - 211 New Technology Produces Cheaper Tantalum and Titanium->

Submitted by Billy the Mountain
Billy the Mountain (225541) writes "A small UK company is bringing new technology online that could reduce the prices of tantalum and titanium ten-fold. According to this piece in The Economist: A tantalising prospect, the key is a technique similar to smelting aluminum with a new twist: The metallic oxides are not melted as with aluminum but blended in powder form with a molten salt that serves as a medium and electrolyte. This technology is known as the FFC Cambridge Process. Other metals include Neodymium, Tungsten and Vanadium"
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China

+ - 156 Data espionage sleuths aim to put Chinese companies in court->

Submitted by
holy_calamity
holy_calamity writes "Accusations that China is stealing corporate secrets have become commonplace, now a startup called CrowdStrike says it can gather firm enough evidence for victims to take legal action against those being fed information copied from their networks. Led by veterans of the FBI and McAfee, the company uses techniques such as planting fake data and embedding "beacons" into documents that send back traces of where they end up. Most infiltration of U.S. firms is by the Chinese military, which passes along what it finds to state-owned and allied industries, cofounder Dmitri Alperovitch told Technology Review. "You can’t do a lot against the PLA, but you can do a lot against that company," he says. Alperovitch says the some clients are already considering launching legal action or asking for government sanctions based on evidence provided by Crowdstrike."
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Moon

+ - 212 Vulcan to Join Our Solar System (Maybe)-> 1

Submitted by jollyrgr3
jollyrgr3 (1025506) writes "If William Shatner gets his wish one of Pluto's two new moons will be named Vulcan. News.com.au reports that James T. Kirk (aka) William Shatner picked the names Vulcan and Cerberus. The names still have to be approved by the International Astronomical Union as they have the final say. Full link here:
http://www.news.com.au/world/capt-kirk-aka-william-shatner-names-plutos-two-new-moons/story-fndir2ev-1226585541984"

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Chrome

+ - 175 Google Chrome Getting Audio Indicators To Show You Noisy Tabs

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Google is working on identifying Chrome tabs that are currently playing audio (or recording it). The feature is expected to show an audio animation if a tab is broadcasting or recording sound. François Beaufort first spotted the new feature, a part of which is already available in the latest Chromium build. For those who don't know, Chromium is the open source web browser project that shares much of the same code and features as Google Chrome, and new features are often added there first."
Science

+ - 204 DARPA wants to build high-tech helicopters on steroids->

Submitted by
coondoggie
coondoggie writes "Engineering an aircraft that can go fast, carry usable amounts of equipment and people and hover has always been one of aviation's greatest challenges. Sure there are plenty of fast helicopters but they are usually limited in the amount of weight they can carry. And there have been a few successful vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) jets — the AV-8 Harrier is the industry standard — and while it is fast, it can carry one person, the pilot. The future-looking folks at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency would like to change all that with a project they call the VTOL X-Plane program."
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Networking

+ - 140 West Virginia auditor blasts Cisco, state for "oversized" router buy -> 1

Submitted by
coondoggie
coondoggie writes "West Virginia wasted millions in federal grant money when it purchased 1,164 Cisco routers for $24 million in 2010, a state audit concluded. A report issued this month by the West Virginia Legislative Auditor found the state used a "legally unauthorized purchasing process" when awarding the router contract, paid for with federal stimulus funds, to Cisco. The auditor also found Cisco "showed a wanton indifference to the interests of the public" in recommending the investment in its model 3945 branch routers, the majority of which were "oversized" for the requirements of the state agencies using them, the report stated.
 "

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IOS

+ - 288 iOS 6.1.3 Beta 2 Patches Atleast One Vulnerablity Used by Evasi0n Jailbreak->

Submitted by hypnosec
hypnosec (2231454) writes "Apple recently seeded iOS 6.1.3 beta 2 to developers and it seems the beta version patches at least one of the vulnerabilities used by evasi0n thereby rendering the jailbreak tool useless — the time zone settings vulnerability. Released on February 21, the iOS 6.1.3 beta 2 brings with it enhancements to Japan Maps as well as fixes the much hyped Lock Screen bug. It was speculated that Apple would also patch exploits that would break evasi0n as it has been over three weeks since the jailbreak tool has been launched and Apple has had enough time to study it. David Wang aka @planetbeing, has confirmed that iOS 6.1.3 beta 2 does patch one of the vulnerabilities that they exploited in their evasi0n tool."
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Cellphones

+ - 177 Wikipedia Will Soon Be Available Via Text Messages ->

Submitted by
pigrabbitbear
pigrabbitbear writes "Even as we all love to debate the scholarly merits of Wikipedia, there's no denying that it's an immensely powerful research and learning tool. That goes doubly so in poor nations, where access to education materials can be limited to nonexistent.

To that end, Wikimedia started the Wikipedia Zero project, which aims to partner with mobile service providers to bring Wikipedia to poor regions free of charge. It's a killer strategy, because while computer and internet access is still fleeting for much of the world, cell phones are far more ubiquitous. Wikimedia claims that four mobile partnerships signed since 2012 brings free Wiki service to 330 million cell subscribers in 35 countries, a huge boon for folks whose phones have web capability but who can't afford data charges."

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Mars

+ - 159 Comet C/2013 A1 to Hit Mars in 2014?->

Submitted by
astroengine
astroengine writes "According to preliminary orbital prediction models, comet C/2013 A1 will buzz Mars on Oct. 19, 2014. C/2013 A1 was discovered by ace comet-hunter Robert McNaught at the Siding Spring Observatory in New South Wales, Australia, on Jan. 3. When the discovery was made, astronomers at the Catalina Sky Survey in Arizona looked back over their observations to find “prerecovery” images of the comet dating back to Dec. 8, 2012. These observations placed the orbital trajectory of comet C/2013 A1 through Mars orbit on Oct. 19, 2014. Due to uncertainties in the observations — the comet has only been observed for 74 days (so far), so it’s difficult for astronomers to forecast the comet’s precise location in 20 months time — comet C/2013 A1 may fly past at a very safe distance of 0.008 AU (650,000 miles). But to the other extreme, its orbital pass could put Mars directly in its path."
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+ - 183 Real-world generating capacity of wind farms at large scales overestimated->

Submitted by AchilleTalon
AchilleTalon (540925) writes "Research by Harvard professor David Keith suggests that the global capacity for energy generation from wind power has been overestimated, and that geophysical / climate effects of turbines will reduce the benefits of large-scale power installations.

"People have often thought there's no upper bound for wind power—that it's one of the most scalable power sources," says Harvard applied physicist David Keith. After all, gusts and breezes don't seem likely to "run out" on a global scale in the way oil wells might run dry.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-02-real-world-capacity-farms-large-scales.html#jCp"

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Security

+ - 182 Airport Manager Won't Let TSA Replace Body Scanner With Magnetometer->

Submitted by OverTheGeicoE
OverTheGeicoE (1743174) writes "TSA recently announced that it would remove all of Rapiscan's X-ray body scanners from airports by June. As part of this effort, it is trying to move a millimeter-wave body scanner from the Helena, Montana airport to replace an X-ray unit at a busier airport. Strangely enough, they have encountered resistance from the Helena's Airport Manager, Ron Mercer. Last Thursday, workers came to remove the machine, but were prevented from doing so by airport officials. Why? Perhaps Mercer agrees with Cindi Martin, airport director at Montana's Glacier Park International Airport airport, who called the scheduled removal of her airport's scanner 'a great disservice to the flying public' in part because it 'removed the need for the enhanced pat-down.'"
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Television

+ - 187 LG acquires webOS source code and patents from HP, for smart TVs->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "LG is set to breathe new life into the webOS platform after the company announced today that it has acquired the software and its intellectual property from HP. The news, which was first noted by CNET, comes after HP abandoned webOS device and software development in August 2011, then open-sourced the platform so that developers might be able to salvage something from the software that was widely acclaimed, despite the lack of smartphone and tablet sales which it powered. LG now claims complete ownership of the webOS source code, its documentation and webOS websites. It has obtained HP licenses, as well as the patents that Palm transferred to its owner when it was acquired in 2010.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57570990-94/webos-lives-lg-to-resurrect-it-for-smart-tvs/"

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Intel

+ - 178 Intel Announces Clover Trail+ Atom Platform For Smartphones and Tablets->

Submitted by
MojoKid
MojoKid writes "Today, Intel announced the follow-on to their Medfield Atom platform for smartphones, code-named Clover Trail+. Clover Trail is powering a few Windows 8 Pro tablets currently. However, Clover Trail+, Intel’s new performance and feature-optimized version of Clover Trail for smartphones and tablets, has a long row to hoe versus incumbents like Qualcomm, Samsung and NVIDIA, at least in the highly competitive handset arena. What’s interesting this time around is that Clover Trail+ seems to really have the chops (at least on paper) to keep pace with the performance of current, best-of-class ARM-based architectures that have been so dominant in smartphones. Clover Trail+ is another 32nm design and Intel has beefed up almost every major functional block on the platform. From its now dual-core, 4-thread capable Atom CPU, to its new PowerVR SGX 544MP2 graphics engine, 2GB of LPDDR2 1066 DRAM, up to 256GB of NAND storage, a higher resolution 16MP camera and Intel’s XMM 6360 HSPA+ 42Mbps modem, with LTE support from their XMM 7160 radio moving forward; Intel’s Clover Trail+ smartphone reference design brings a lot more to the table than Medfield ever did."
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Science

+ - 302 Why the Arabic World Turned Away From Science->

Submitted by
Geoffrey.landis
Geoffrey.landis writes "The historical period that we call the dark ages, from perhaps 600 to 1200 AD, was the golden age of Islamic science, when great advances in science and technology were taking place in the middle east. But somehow, as the west experienced its renaissance, the blossoming of the age of science, and the founding of the modern technological world, the Arabic world instead turned away from science. Muslim countries have nine scientists, engineers, and technicians per thousand people, compared with a world average of forty-one, and of roughly 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, only two scientists from Muslim countries have won Nobel Prizes in science. Why? In an article "Why the Arabic World Turned Away from Science" in The New Atlantis, Hillel Ofek examines both the reasons why Islamic science flourished, and why it failed. Are we turning the same way, with a rising tide of religious fundamentalism and dogma shouting down the culture of inquiry and free thinking needed for scientific advances? Perhaps we should be looking at the decline of Islamic science as a cautionary tale."
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Medicine

+ - 149 Scientists Create Mice That Can't Feel Cold->

Submitted by
kkleiner
kkleiner writes "Scientists created a group of mice that were incapable of feeling cold by killing off the neurons in the body whose specific job it is to transmit cold sensation from the skin to the brain. Rather than an attempt to create an X-men-like mutation, the study sheds light on how the nervous system transmits sensory information from the body to the brain and may help to develop more sophisticated pain medicines. The study was published in the February 13 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience — led by David McKemy, associate professor of neurobiology at the University of Southern California Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences."
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+ - 172 How million-dollar frauds turned photo conservation into a mature science->

Submitted by
carmendrahl
carmendrahl writes "Photos used to be second-class citizens in the art world, not considered as prestigious as paintings or sculpture. But that changed in the 1990s. As daguerrotypes and the like started selling for millions of dollars, fakes also slipped in. Unfortunately, the art world didn't have good ways of authenticating originals.
Cultural heritage researchers had to play catch-up, and quickly. Two fraud cases, one involving avant garde photographer Man Ray, turned photo conservation from a niche field into a mature science. And today eBay plays an important role in helping ferret out the frauds."

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Android

+ - 162 Mobile Carriers Use Firefox OS To Fight Google, Apple->

Submitted by
jfruh
jfruh writes "The first Firefox OS phones are arriving, and the fledgling mobile platform is getting a surprising amount of backing from mobile carriers. One reason: those carriers believe it provides a weapon against Apple and Google, which the mobile industry sees as raking in profits for apps and phones that rightfully belong to the companies that deal with government regulations and build out mobile infrastructure."
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Microsoft

+ - 183 Microsoft admits to being hacked too->

Submitted by colinneagle
colinneagle (2544914) writes "Once upon a time, Microsoft claimed that falling prey to social engineering tactics and then being hacked was a "rookie mistake." But now is the time for companies to jump on the bandwagon, to admit they were targeted by cyberattacks and successfully infiltrated. The stage is so crowded with 'giants' at this point, that there are fewer 'bad press' repercussions than if only one major company had admitted to being breached. Microsoft now admitted, hey we were hacked too.

"As reported by Facebook and Apple, Microsoft can confirm that we also recently experienced a similar security intrusion," wrote Matt Thomlinson, General Manager of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Security. Unlike the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal there was no mention of Chinese hackers. Is there a moral to these sad tales? Perhaps only that anyone can become a victim.

However, back in 2011, John Howie, Microsoft's senior director in the Online Services Security & Compliance (OSSC) team, basically claimed that unlike RSA or Sony, Microsoft sites are unhackable and can't be DDoSed. In regards to the breach at RSA, Howie told Computing News, "RSA got hacked because someone got socially engineered and opened a dodgy email attachment. A rookie mistake." Furthermore "Sony was coded badly and failed to patch its servers. These are rookie mistakes." Howie added, "At Microsoft we have robust mechanisms to ensure we don't have unpatched servers. We have training for staff so they know how to be secure and be wise to social engineering.""

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Earth

+ - 183 Long-lost continent found under the Indian Ocean->

Submitted by
ananyo
ananyo writes "The drowned remnants of an ancient microcontinent may lie scattered beneath the waters between Madagascar and India, a new study suggests. Evidence for the long-lost land comes from Mauritius, a volcanic island about 900 kilometres east of Madagascar. The oldest volcanic rocks on the island date to about 8.9 million years ago. Yet grain-by-grain analyses of beach sand collected at two sites on the Mauritian coast revealed around 20 zircons — tiny crystals of zirconium silicate that are exceedingly resistant to erosion or chemical change — that were far older. One of these zircons was at least 1.97 billion years old.
The researchers that made the discovery think that geologically recent volcanic eruptions brought shards of the buried continent to the Earth’s surface, where the zircons eroded from their parent rocks to pepper the island’s sands. Analyses of Earth’s gravitational field reveal several broad areas where sea-floor crust at the bottom of the Indian ocean is much thicker than normal — at least 25 to 30 kilometres thick, rather than the normal 5 to 10 kilometres. Those crustal anomalies may be the remains of a landmass that researchers have now dubbed Mauritia, which they suggest split from Madagascar when tectonic rifting and sea-floor spreading sent the Indian subcontinent surging northeast millions of years ago."

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The Military

+ - 156 Human Rights Watch: Petition Against Robots on the Battle Field-> 1

Submitted by
KublaCant
KublaCant writes ""At this very moment, researchers around the world – including in the United States – are working to develop fully autonomous war machines: killer robots. This is not science fiction. It is a real and powerful threat to humanity". These are the first words of a Human Rights Watch Petition to Presdient Obama to keep robots from the battlefield. The argument is that robots possess neither common sense, "real" reason, any sense of mercy nor — most important — the option to not obey illegal commands. What with the fast-spreading use of drones et al. , we are allegedly a long way off from Asimov's famous Three Laws of Robotics being implanted in autonomous fighting machines, or into any ( semi- ) autonomous robot. A "Stop the Killer Robots" campaign will also be launched in April at the British House of Commons and includes many of the groups that successfully campaigned to have international action taken against cluster bombs and landmines. They hope to get a similar global treaty against autonomous weapons. The Guardian has more about this, including quotes from well-known robotics researcher Noel Sharkey from Sheffield University."
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Earth

+ - 208 Russian meteor blast heard around the world->

Submitted by cylonlover
cylonlover (1921924) writes "When the Chelyabinsk meteor exploded high over Russia on February 15, it was a blast heard around the world. This isn't just a figure of speech. Though too low-frequency for human hearing, sound waves from the 500-kiloton detonation of the 17-meter (56-ft) rock were picked up in Antarctica – some 15,000 km (9,320 miles) away – by 17 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) infrasound stations dedicated to detecting nuclear explosions above or below ground."
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Medicine

+ - 178 Physician Suicides After Discovered Secretly Videotaping Patients for Years

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Doctors have been sanctioned for snapping photos of patients during surgery, for posting or writing anything with identifying information about patients or even for looking at their medical records out of curiosity. Now the Washington Post reports that for more than two decades, women came to see Johns Hopkins gynecologist Nikita Levy and trusted him with not only the most private parts of their bodies but also with their innermost secrets. This week patients were reeling from the news that their doctor had committed suicide after being accused of surreptitiously videotaping and photographing many of his patients. Police said they have removed nearly 10 image-filled computer hard drives from Levy’s home in Towson, Md. “Never in a thousand years would I have imagined such a thing,” says Deborah Doerfer, a certified nurse midwife who worked with Levy off and on for nearly 20 years. “He was incredibly compassionate. He was always there to take care of his patients. They expected him to be on call 24/7, and he was.” Police would not speculate how many images the hard drives may contain, nor when Levy allegedly began recording them. Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says police found multiple cameras in at least one examination room, although he would not describe how they were hidden. “Everybody understands what’s at stake here," says Lois Shepherd, an expert on biomedical ethics at the University of Virginia. "Just like when we’re in surgery and under anesthesia, we trust that our body will be exposed as necessary for a procedure, but not more than necessary. And certainly not for people’s titillation, or even for their curiosity.” Johns Hopkins Medicine has set up a hotline that patients can call to arrange for counseling."

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