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Bismillah writes about NATO's annual Locked Shields cyber defense exercises. "The Western European and North American mutual defence pact organisation NATO has concluded an annual cyber defence exercise, defending a fictitious network against incoming attacks. Called Locked Shields 2013, the exercise involved 250 people in eleven locations around Europe, under the auspices of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCD-COE), the Finnish and Estonian Defence Forces and two government IT security organisations in the Baltic country."
kkleiner writes "A team has launched a crowdsourcing campaign to develop sustainable natural lighting by using a genetically modified version of the flowering plant Arabidopsis. Using the luciferase gene, the enzyme responsible for making fireflies glow, the researchers will design, print, and transform the genes into the target plant. The project, which was recently launched on Kickstarter, has already raised over $100k with over a month left to go."
mikejuk writes "The Carnegie Mellon University Biorobotics Lab demonstrates how the snakelike robots can aid search and rescue operations in collapsed buildings. The video appeared more or less at the same time as the current real disaster in Dhaka, Bangladesh where an 8-storey building collapsed, trapping some three thousand people. Bangladesh rescue teams, helped by members of the community, have so far worked with small tools and their bare hands to bring out survivors. Having a snake robot that could provide pictures from within the building would lead to speedier and more effective rescue operations."
SchrodingerZ writes "The nearest planet outside our solar system has recently been named Albertus Alauda. Originally named Alpha Centauri Bb, the planet is the closest known planet not orbiting the Sun, being a mere 4.3 light years away. The name comes from Jay Lark, who won the naming contest held by Uwingu starting last month and ending on April 22. Lark remarks that the name comes from the Latin name of his late grandfather, stating, "My grandfather passed away after a lengthy and valiant battle with cancer; his name in Latin means noble or bright and to praise or extol." The competition for naming the planet came from Uwing, a company which used the buying of name proposals and votes to fund grants for future space exploration ventures. Albertus Alauda won the competition with 751 votes, followed by Rakhat with 684 votes, and Caleo, with 622 votes."
AchilleTalon writes "One of the only well preserved dinosaur skin samples ever found is being tested at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) synchrotron to determine skin color and to explain why the fossilized specimen remained intact after 70-million years. University of Regina physicist Mauricio Barbi said the hadrosaur, a duck-billed dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous period (100-65 million years ago), was found close to a river bed near Grand Prairie, Alberta."
Strudelkugel writes in with a story about how big data is being used to recruit workers. "When the e-mail came out of the blue last summer, offering a shot as a programmer at a San Francisco start-up, Jade Dominguez, 26, was living off credit card debt in a rental in South Pasadena, Calif., while he taught himself programming. He had been an average student in high school and hadn't bothered with college, but someone, somewhere out there in the cloud, thought that he might be brilliant, or at least a diamond in the rough. 'The traditional markers people use for hiring can be wrong, profoundly wrong,' says Vivienne Ming, the chief scientist at Gild since late last year. That someone was Luca Bonmassar. He had discovered Mr. Dominguez by using a technology that raises important questions about how people are recruited and hired, and whether great talent is being overlooked along the way."
First time accepted submitter semilemon writes "The Canada Revenue Agency has started paying attention to BitCoin transactions, as it says users will have to pay tax on all transactions using the currency. From the article, "The CRA told the CBC there are two separate tax rules that apply to the electronic currency, depending on whether they are used as money to buy things or if they were merely bought and sold for speculative purposes. "Barter transaction rules apply where BitCoins are used to purchase goods or services," Canada Revenue Agency spokesman Philippe Brideau said in an email. In this situation, that means whatever you've received in exchange for your $1 worth of vegetables must be documented as a taxable gain of at least $1 somewhere. When it comes to trading BitCoins for profit, the tax man says there are tax implications there, too. "When BitCoins are bought or sold like a commodity, any resulting gains or losses could be income or capital for the taxpayer depending on the specific facts," ruled the CRA."
gmfeier writes "The EPA has significantly lowered its estimate of how much methane leaks during natural gas production. This has major implications for the fracking debate, but puts the EPA at odds with NOAA. From the article: 'The scope of the EPA's revision was vast. In a mid-April report on greenhouse emissions, the agency now says that tighter pollution controls instituted by the industry resulted in an average annual decrease of 41.6 million metric tons of methane emissions from 1990 through 2010, or more than 850 million metric tons overall. That's about a 20 percent reduction from previous estimates. The agency converts the methane emissions into their equivalent in carbon dioxide, following standard scientific practice.'"
An anonymous reader writes with some potentially troubling news about some security issues with the Navy's newest class of coastal warships."A Navy team of computer hacking experts found some deficiencies when assigned to try to penetrate the network of the USS Freedom, the lead vessel in the $37 billion Littoral Combat Ship program, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The Freedom arrived in Singapore last week for an eight-month stay, which its builder, Lockheed Martin Corp., hopes will stimulate Asian demand for the fast, agile and stealthy ships. 'We do these types of inspections across the fleet to find individual vulnerabilities, as well as fleet-wide trends,' said the official."
cylonlover writes "Ammonium nitrate is a commonly used fertilizer, but when mixed with a fuel such as diesel, it makes a powerful explosive – as seen in last week's fertilizer plant explosion in Texas. But it's the deliberate use of the compound in improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and acts of terror such as the Oklahoma City bombing that gives rise to even greater cause for concern. This is why Kevin Fleming, an optical engineer at Sandia National Laboratories, developed a fertilizer alternative that isn't detonable and therefore can't be used in a bomb."
hypnosec writes "Google has released the kernel source code of Google Glass publicly just a couple of days after the wearable gadget was rooted by Jay Freeman. Releasing the source code, Google has noted that the location is just temporary and it would be moving to a permanent location soon saying: 'This is unlikely to be the permanent home for the kernel source, it should be pushed into git next to all other android kernel source releases relatively soon.'"
First time accepted submitter Thorhs writes "According to preliminary results (all votes counted, no official word yet) the Icelandic Pirate Party was able to secure 3 members of the national Parliament, the first PP to reach a national Parliament. Things were hairy election night, the PP lost all their MPs when they dropped below the 5% barrier 'needed' in the somewhat complex election system. Thankfully they managed to slip back up above, with 5.1% of the total votes. The old 'crash parties', the ones in charge before our epic financial crash, (Independent and Progressive parties) are the prime candidates to form a new government with just over 51% of the votes, getting 40 of 63 seats. RUV (Icelandic) has good coverage."
An anonymous reader writes "On April 28, 2003, Apple launched the iTunes Music Store. In their original press release, they called it 'revolutionary,' in typical PR fashion. As the service reaches its 10th anniversary, it seems they were actually correct. From The Verge: 'At launch, it was Mac-only and offered a relatively tiny catalog: 200,000 songs (it currently has 26 million). But it did have the support of the major record labels of the day: Universal, EMI, Warner, Sony, and BMG. The partnerships were key to helping Apple take control of music distribution — without the songs, the iPod was a nicely designed but empty box. ... Jobs certainly had his challenges. Vidich said he's the one who suggested that iTunes charge 99 cents per track and he remembers Jobs nearly hugged him. At the time, Sony Music execs wanted to charge more than $3 a track, according to Vidich. No doubt a $3 song price would have tied an anchor around iTunes' neck, stifling growth. 99 cents, on the other hand, was below the sub-$1 psychological barrier — and has continued to be an important price point for not only music but the wide swath of 99-cent iOS apps in the store. ... Apple bet that the majority of consumers wouldn't have an issue with its lock-in tactics, and it bet correctly.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Jen Andre, software engineer and co-founder of Threat Stack, writes about the problem of password breaches in the wake of the LivingSocial hack. She notes that the problem here is longstanding — it's easy for LivingSocial to force password resets, but impossible to get users to create different passwords for each site they visit. We've tried education, and it's failed. Andre suggests a different approach: building out better auditing infrastructure. 'We, as an industry, need a standard for auditing that allows us to reliably track and record authentication events. Since authentication events are relatively similar across any application, I think this could be accomplished easily with a simple JSON-based common protocol and webhooks. ... [It] could even be a hosted service that learns based on my login behaviors and only alerts me when it thinks a login entry is suspicious— kind of how Gmail will alert if I am logging in from a strange location. Because these audit entries are stored on a third-party box, if a certain web application is compromised, it won't have access to alter its audit log history since it lives somewhere else.'"
symbolset writes "Outbound Intel CEO Paul Otellini created quite a stir when mentioning that touchscreen laptops would reach a $200 price point. CNET is now reporting in an interview with Intel chief product officer Dadi Perlmutter that these touchscreen laptops will run Android on Intel Atom processors at first. 'Whether Windows 8 PCs hit that price largely depends on Microsoft, he said. "We have a good technology that enables a very cost-effective price point," Perlmutter said. The price of Windows 8 laptops "depends on how Microsoft prices Windows 8. It may be a slightly higher price point." ... Perlmutter didn't specify what the Android notebooks will look like, but it's probable they'll be convertible-type devices. He also noted that he expects the PC market to pick up in the back half of the year and heading into 2014 as new devices become available."