sciencehabit writes "Samples drilled from 3.5-million-year-old seafloor rocks have yielded the strongest evidence yet that a variety of microorganisms live deeply buried within the ocean's crust. These microbes make their living by consuming methane and sulfate compounds dissolved in the mineral-rich waters flowing through the immense networks of fractures in the crust. The new find confirms that the ancient lavas formed at midocean ridges and found throughout deep ocean basins are by volume the largest ecosystem on Earth, scientists say."
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Mrs. Grundy writes "When creative professionals want to visualize colors in three dimensions, they often use dedicated and sometimes expensive software. Photographer Mark Meyer shows how, with the help of its Python scripting interface, you can create graphics of color models in Blender. He demonstrates plotting in XYZ, LAB, and xyY space, and also includes the Blender file to show how it's done."
An anonymous reader writes "The team at Pwnie Express released their Pwn Plug, which combined an off the shelf SheevaPlug with a feature packed open source firmware that turned it into an incredibly capable security tool. Then came the Power Pwn, which hid the same type of functionality into what looked like a standard power strip. Today they've launched their latest product, continuing along the same line of hiding cutting edge open source security tools in plain sight: the Pwn Pad."
adeelarshad82 writes "It's been leaked, teased, accused of being a copy of its predecessor, and celebrated as the likely champion of the mobile ecosystem for 2013. Samsung has finally unveiled the next in their line of globally available smartphones, the Galaxy S4. The phone carries a 5-inch Super AMOLED display with 1080p resolution at 441ppi, weighs only 130 grams and is no more than 7.9mm thick. On the inside, the Exynos based Octo-Core processor clocked at 1.6 GHz and the Snapdragon based Quad-Core 1.9GHz processor power this machine. Galaxy S4 is also packing 2GB of RAM and a 2600mAh battery, and its microSD slot is accessible though the removable rear panel. The S4 will include several new features, such as Air Gesture, Smart Pause, and Smart Scroll. Samsung's vice president of portfolio planning said many of the software improvements in the Samsung Galaxy S4 could make their way into existing Samsung Galaxy S3 phones."
First time accepted submitter zmitch32 writes "I live in a dorm, and I have ADHD, so every little noise distracts me. I know this annoyance isn't limited to those with ADHD, so how does everyone else block out the noise? I can't really cover my walls in soundproof foam because I live in a dorm. I can't just listen to music because I find it too interesting and just end up getting distracted by it. I use ear plugs to block out small noises, but they don't block out human voices very well at all. What do you guys/gals recommend?"
MojoKid writes "Earlier this week, the newly minted head of the United States' Cyber Command team and NSA head General Keith Alexander told assembled lawmakers that the U.S. has created an offensive cyberwarfare division designed to do far more than protect U.S. assets from foreign attacks. This is a major change in policy from previous public statements — in the past, the U.S. has publicly focused on defensive actions and homegrown security improvements. General Alexander told the House Armed Services Committee, 'This is an offensive team that the Defense Department would use to defend the nation if it were attacked in cyberspace. Thirteen of the teams that we're creating are for that mission alone.' This is an interesting shift in U.S. doctrine and raises questions like: What's proportional response to China probing at utility companies? Who ought to be blamed for Red October? What's the equivalent of a warning shot in cyberspace? When we detect foreign governments probing at virtual borders, who handles the diplomatic fallout as opposed to the silent retribution?"
destinyland writes "Jacob Appelbaum, the Tor Project's main advocate, argues that Open Source software is necessary 'to both verify and improve' available cryptography. (Adding 'We also need that to ensure that everyone has a reasonable baseline — which is part of the cypherpunk ethos.') In this new interview, he's critical of a general public silence over government encroachments on privacy, but points to the current impact of the Tor network now as something that 'runs, is open and is supported by a large community spread across all walks of life.' And he ultimately identifies Tor as 'part of an ecosystem of software that helps people regain and reclaim their autonomy,' saying the distributed anonymous network 'helps to enable people to have agency of all kinds; it helps others to help each other and it helps you to help yourself.'"
Nerval's Lobster writes "The fastest supercomputer in the world, Oak Ridge National Laboratory's 'Titan,' has been delayed because an excess of gold on its motherboard connectors has prevented it from working properly. Titan was originally turned on last October and climbed to the top of the Top500 list of the fastest supercomputers shortly thereafter. Problems with Titan were first discovered in February, when the supercomputer just missed its stability requirement. At that time, the problems with the connectors were isolated as the culprit, and ORNL decided to take some of Titan's 200 cabinets offline and ship their motherboards back to the manufacturer, Cray, for repairs. The connectors affected the ability of the GPUs in the system to talk to the main processors. Oak Ridge Today's John Huotari noted the problem was due to too much gold mixed in with the solder."
An anonymous reader writes "Of the 42,000 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) surveyed, just 20 were found to be responsible for nearly half of all the spamming IP addresses — and some ISPs have more than 60% of compromised hosts, mostly in Asia. Phishing Bad Neighborhoods, on the other hand, are mostly in the U.S. Also, there is a silent ticking 'spam' bomb in BRIC countries: if India would have the same Internet penetration rate as the United States while keeping its current ratio of malicious IP addresses, we would observe 200% more spamming IP addresses worldwide. These are just few of the striking results of an extensive study from the University of Twente, in The Netherlands, which scrutinizes the Internet Bad Neighborhoods to develop next-generation algorithms and solutions to better secure networks."
An anonymous reader writes "After running uninterrupted for 3737 days, this humble Sun 280R server running Solaris 9 was shut down. At the time of making the video it was idle, the last service it had was removed sometime last year. A tribute video was made with some feelings about Sun, Solaris, the walk to the data center and freeing a machine from internet-slavery."
First time accepted submitter kdogg73 writes "Jens Bergensten and the Mojang team have released the latest version of Minecraft — version 1.5, dubbed 'Redstone.' Changes and updates include an added redstone comparator, redstone block, hoppers and droppers, light and weight sensors, Herobrine removal, and many bug fixes. Videos detailing the changes and new redstone devices already litter YouTube."
In a way, this app is nothing but a cute gimmick. There are many apps that allow you to make panoramic photos on an iPhone, not to mention the panorama feature built into iOS6 -- and plenty for Android, too. But Cycloramic makes your iPhone spin around while standing on edge (on a smooth surface), which is a fine stunt and a great party trick. And it's endorsed by Steve Wozniak, which is a boast few iPhone apps can make. He calls it "Unexpected, fanciful, and useful all at the same time!" Even if it had no practical value whatsoever, you might want to blow 99 cents on Cyclorama just to watch your phone make you dizzy. Most Android phones won't stand on edge. (Tim's won't and neither will mine.) So an Android version would require a stand. Or at least a pattern so we could make our own stands out of cardboard or sheet plastic. But that's a "maybe," and apparently not likely to come along soon. For the moment we'll just have to envy iPhone owners as their phones magically spin around, taking photos now and then as they turn.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "At the Fast Software Encryption conference in Singapore earlier this week, University of Illinois at Chicago Professor Dan Bernstein presented a method for breaking TLS and SSL web encryption when it's combined with the popular stream cipher RC4 invented by Ron Rivest in 1987. Bernstein demonstrated that when the same message is encrypted enough times--about a billion--comparing the ciphertext can allow the message to be deciphered. While that sounds impractical, Bernstein argued it can be achieved with a compromised website, a malicious ad or a hijacked router." RC4 may be long in the tooth, but it remains very widely used.
An anonymous reader writes "Adobe has shut down its BrowserLab service, used by many for testing content across multiple desktop platforms. The company pointed its customers to two alternatives: BrowserStack and Sauce Labs. BrowserLab offered cross-browser testing by producing screenshots of websites from various browsers across Windows and OS X platforms. It was very useful for developers looking to support as many different users as possible."
judgecorp writes "The British Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is investigating whether British software firm Autonomy fiddled its accounts to inflate the price which HP paid for it to a whopping $10 billion. There's a problem though. Autonomy's Introspect software is used to trawl large data sets for information and is in use at the SFO for jobs such as this fraud investigation. It's not just ironic: the SFO says its £4.6 million contract with Autonomy could create a conflict of interest and it may have to pull out of the investigation."
Dishwasha writes "What do you do to stay fit? Probably like many of you, this code monkey has lead a fairly sedentary life consisting most on fritos, tab, and mountain dew. Every time I attempt to incorporate exercise in even the most modest amount it never really seems to work out. 'Just do it' or joining and going to a gym just doesn't seem to work and with time being my most precious resource at this point, I would like to incorporate exercise in to my daily work process. Our office recently switched to standing desks, which is great, and I would like to possibly bring in a flat treadmill that fits under the standing desk, but my bosses have balked unless the equipment is whisper silent. We are a small business in a traditional office park with no exercise facility. Do any other geeks out there have a similar set up and would like to share what they use to stay heart healthy and improve circulation during their work day? What other ways do you incorporate exercise in to your geeky or nerdy lifestyle?"
It's a long, slow road from tentative discovery, to various forms of peer review, to wide acceptance, never mind theory and experimental design, but recent years' work to pin down the Higgs Boson seem to be bearing fruit in the form of cautious announcements. FBeans writes with excerpts from both the New York Times ("Physicists announced Thursday they believe they have discovered the subatomic particle predicted nearly a half-century ago, which will go a long way toward explaining what gives electrons and all matter in the universe size and shape.") and from The Independent ("Cern says that confirming what type of boson the particle is could take years and that the scientists would need to return to the Large Hadron Collider — the world's largest 'atom smasher' — to carry out further tests. This will measure at what rate the particle decays and compare it with the results of predictions, as theorised by Edinburgh professor Peter Higgs 50 years ago.")
pev writes with a report in The Guardian that "European car manufacturers are rigging fuel efficiency tests by stripping down car interiors, over inflating tyres, taping over panel gaps and generally cheating. This overestimates the figures by 25% to 50%. One would have thought that a simple clause stating that cars have to be tested in the conditions that they are sold in would have been obvious?"
yanom writes "My school gave me several circa-2006 computers with no operating system. I fixed them up, and now they run Lubuntu fairly well, making them great internet/LibreOffice/general Linux workstations. I've been wanting to donate them to local nonprofits where they'll go to good use — for example, I've already given several to a local church for them to use in their afterschool care/tutoring program. However, I'm having trouble finding other places where these machines could go to good use. How should I best conduct this search? How can I find nonprofits that could benefit from these workstations?"
We'd like to wish you a happy Pi Day. It may be just as arbitrary as some other holidays (though perhaps easier to schedule than some), but any excuse for some delicious food is one I'll take. Reader alphadogg writes with a few suggestions of ways to take part in this convenient celebration of both rationality and irrationality. (And lead your comment with the number of digits you can recite offhand ...)
Hugh Pickens writes writes "The news that that Google is killing off Google Reader in their annual spring cleaning means hordes of abandoned RSS users will need a new home to get their news fix before July 1, 2013. Sure, Google Reader may not have been the most beautifully designed product to come out of Mountain View, Calif., but it sure was convenient. And now that it's going away, it's evident just how valuable it has been. 'It's a tough question that's not unlike asking what's the best planet to live on not named Earth or the best thing to breathe not named air,' writes Casey Chan. 'Google Reader was that obvious a choice.' So what's the best RSS reader not named Google Reader? Is it Reeder? Or NetNewsWire? Maybe Feedly? Or should we all just ditch RSS and get with Twitter?" Personally, I've taken a liking to Akregator on my desktop and Sparse RSS on my phone (syncing done woefully manually by exporting the list of feeds from my desktop reader and importing into the phone reader now and then). Update: 03/14 14:43 GMT by T : Depending on your aesthetics and platform of choice, you might like one of these four options, too.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Geek.com: "Ever since SimCity launched, there has been a suspicion that the need for the game to always be connected to a server was mainly a form of DRM, not for social game features and multiplayer. Then a Maxis developer came forward to confirm the game doesn't actually need a server to function, suggesting the information coming out of EA wasn't the whole truth. Now EA and Maxis have some explaining to do as a modder has managed to get the game running offline indefinitely." The writer names a few small ways in which the game is actually improved by being offline, too.
Hesh writes "With the impending arrival of the first batch of Oculus Rift VR headsets to developers, Rod Furlan put up a very detailed guide on how to build your very own headset with off-the-shelf parts and a few hours of spare time based off of the original design of the headset from the forums where it all started. This is a very exciting time for VR, and DIY headsets will allow everyone to try out new tricks and form factors while finally being able to test with a whole new world of compatible software that is about to be released very soon."
Celarent Darii writes "In what looks like good news for the American Space program, NASA has restarted production of plutonium. According to the article, after the closure of Savannah Rivers reactor NASA purchased plutonium from Russia, but since 2010 this was no longer possible. The native production of plutonium is a step forward for the space program to achieve the energy density for long term space exploration."
hypnosec writes "The US government's National Vulnerability Database (NVD) maintained by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been offline for a few days because of malware infestation. The public-facing site has been taken offline because traces of malware were found on two of the web servers that house it. A post on Google+ containing an email from Gail Porter details the discovery of suspicious activity and subsequent steps taken by NIST. As of this writing the NVD website is still serving a page not found message."
An anonymous reader writes "Being able to diagnose people with Alzheimer's disease years before debilitating symptoms appear is now a step closer to reality. Researchers behind Neurotrack, the technology startup that took the first place health prize at this year's South by Southwest (SXSW) startup accelerator in Austin. The company says their new technology can diagnose Alzheimer's disease up to six years before symptoms appear with 100% accuracy."
SirJorgelOfBorgel writes "It appears Google has begun removing ad-blocker apps for Android from the Play store, citing breaches of the Play Store Developer Distribution Agreement. The apps would be welcome back as soon as they no longer violated the agreement, though that doesn't seem possible while keeping the apps' core functionality intact." Update: 03/18 20:06 GMT by U L : You can still easily install ad blockers using F-Droid, the Free Software only replacement for Play.
First time accepted submitter Dario Izzo writes "The European Space Agency is giving the opportunity to try innovative software algorithms on board of one of its planned orbiting platform. The core architecture includes processors of unprecedented power (for space platforms) and it is fully reconfigurable even down to the operating system and firmware levels. Peripherals include cameras, GPS and attitude control. The full technical specifications are available via the European Space Agency web pages."
coondoggie writes "The bottom line for NASA as well as any number of government agencies in this new era of sequestration is money — and NASA in this case has too many programs chasing too few dollars. That is just one of a number of bleak conclusions NASA's Inspector General Paul Martin laid out to a Congressional hearing adding that 'declining budgets and fiscal uncertainties present the most significant external challenges to NASA's ability to successfully move forward on its many projects and programs. For the first 6 months of this year, NASA has operated under a continuing resolution that funds the Agency at last year's level of $17.8 billion. Moreover, NASA's share of the Government-wide sequestration cuts reduce that spending authority by $894 million.'"