cold fjord writes "The Telegraph reports, 'GCHQ has received at least £100 million from the U.S. to help fund intelligence gathering, raising questions over American influence on the British agencies. ... It also emerged that the intelligence agency wants the ability to "exploit any phone, anywhere, any time" and that some staff have raised concerns over the "morality and ethics" of their operational work. ... The agency has faced claims it was handed intelligence on individuals from the US gained from the Prism programme that collected telephone and web records. However, it has been cleared of any wrongdoing or attempts to circumvent British law by the parliamentary intelligence and security committee, as well as by Mr Hague. The payments from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) are detailed in GCHQ's annual "investment portfolios", leaked by Mr Snowden to The Guardian. The NSA paid GCHQ £22.9million in 2009, £39.9million in 2010 and £34.7million in 2011/12. ...Another £15.5million went towards redevelopment projects at GCHQ's site in Bude, Cornwall, which intercepts communications from the transatlantic cables that carry internet traffic. ... A Cabinet Office spokesman said: "In a 60-year alliance it is entirely unsurprising that there are joint projects in which resources and expertise are pooled, but the benefits flow in both directions."'" dryriver also wrote in with news that several telecoms are collaborating with GHCQ (BT, Vodafone, and Verizon at least). From the article: "GCHQ has the ability to tap cables carrying both internet data and phone calls. By last year GCHQ was handling 600m 'telephone events' each day, had tapped more than 200 fibre-optic cables and was able to process data from at least 46 of them at a time. ... Documents seen by the Guardian suggest some telecoms companies allowed GCHQ to access cables which they did not themselves own or operate, but only operated a landing station for. Such practices could raise alarm among other cable providers who do not co-operate with GCHQ programmes that their facilities are being used by the intelligence agency."
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cylonlover writes with this news bite about a cool new ground to space laser communication system from NASA and ESA: "Space communications have relied on radio since the first Sputnik in 1957. It's a mature, reliable technology, but it's reaching its limits. The amount of data sent has increased exponentially for decades and NASA expects the trend to continue. The current communications systems are reaching their limits, so NASA and ESA are going beyond radio as a solution. As part of this effort, ESA has finished tests of part of a new communications system, in preparations for a demonstration in October in which it will receive a laser data download from a NASA lunar orbiter."
holy_calamity writes "MIT Technology Review reports that APT1, the China-based hacking group said to steal data from U.S. companies, has been caught taking over a decoy water plant control system. The honeypot mimicked the remote access control panels and physical control system of a U.S. municipal water plant. The decoy was one of 12 set up in 8 countries around the world, which together attracted more than 70 attacks, 10 of which completely compromised the control system. China and Russia were the leading sources of the attacks. The researcher behind the study says his results provide the first clear evidence that people actively seek to exploit the many security problems of industrial systems."
szotz writes "Although there was once a hint from a cosmic ray experiment (on Valentine's Day, no less), no one's found any solid evidence of monopoles (unpaired north and south magnets) flying around the cosmos. But physicists did find monopole-like quasiparticles in some exotic crystals in 2009. One of the discoverers has an article this month in IEEE Spectrum that looks at how the particles were found and what's happened since. They might seem like a wacky curiosity, but the author says we shouldn't write them off — they might one day make useful new 'magnetronic' devices."
alphadogg writes "The lead author of a controversial research paper about flaws in luxury car lock systems will deliver a presentation at this month's USENIX Security Symposium even though a UK court ruling (inspired by a Volkswagen complaint) has forced the paper to be pulled from the event's proceedings. USENIX has announced that 'in keeping with its commitment to academic freedom and open access to research,' researcher Roel Verdult will speak at the Aug. 14-16 conference, to be held in Washington, D.C. Verdult and 2 co-authors were recently prohibited by the High Court of Justice in the U.K. from publishing certain portions of their paper, 'Dismantling Megamos Crypto: Wireless Lockpicking a Vehicle Immobilizer.' Among the most sensitive information: Codes for cracking the car security system in Porsches, Audis, etc."
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Like so many great leaps for mankind, getting a human to one of Jupiter's moons must begin with a small step. And Objective Europa is aiming to do exactly that. A small team — architects, futurist designers, private space pioneers and even Jacques Cousteau's son — is beginning the planning stage to send human beings on a one-way trip to the Jovian moon Europa. The effort is headed up by Kristian Von Bengston, the founder of Copenhagen Suborbitals, an open source DIY space program based in his native Denmark. And he's quite serious about transporting a man or woman beyond our atmosphere, Mars and the asteroid belt."
Zothecula writes "With some help from a robotic fish, scientists have discovered that zebrafish are much like humans in at least one way – they get reckless when they get drunk. OK, 'drunk' might not be technically accurate, but when exposed to alcohol, the fish show no fear of a robotic version of one of their natural predators, the Indian leaf fish. When they're "sober," they avoid the thing like crazy. The researchers believe that the experiments indicate a promising future for robots in behavioral studies."
msmoriarty writes "Google's Don Dodge, GitHub's Tom Preston-Werner, New Relic's Lew Cirne and others recently got together in San Francisco on a panel called 'The Developer is King: The Power Behind the Throne.' According to coverage of the event, the panelists all agreed that programmers — both independent ones and those employed by companies — have more power, and thus opportunities, than ever. Even the marketing power of developers was acknowledged: 'The only way to convince a developer is by giving them a demo and showing them how it's better,' said Preston-Werner. 'The beauty is, you plant these seeds around the world, and those people will evangelize it for you. Because another thing that developers are great at is telling other developers what works for them.'"
sciencehabit writes "If you take some scientists' word for it, the biggest agricultural revolution since the domestication of livestock is starting on Monday — in an arts center in London. At a carefully orchestrated media event, Dutch stem cell researcher Mark Post is planning to present the world's first test-tube hamburger. Its patty — financed by an anonymous billionaire — is made from meat that Post has laboriously grown from bovine stem cells in his lab at an estimated cost of $375,000, just to prove a point: that it is possible to produce meat without slaughtering animals."
An anonymous reader writes "Google today announced Android Device Manager, a new app coming later this month that helps you find your lost phone or tablet. The service will be available for devices running Android 2.2 (Froyo) or above. Details are scarce right now, but Google does say Android Device Manager will let you ring your phone at maximum volume so you can find it, even if it's been silenced. We also know you'll need to be signed into your Google Account to use the service."
Nerval's Lobster writes "They may not all support what the NSA will do with its giant new datacenter in Bluffdale, but Utah officials do seem to agree on the value of having a world-class, $1.5 billion datacenter built in their territory. In general, they're for it, and are proving that by changing a law that would have added about $2.4 million in taxes to the datacenter's power bill—an addition that was an unpleasant surprise to NSA officials when they heard about it in May. A bill signed into law April 1 imposed a tax of up to 6 percent on electricity from Rocky Mountain Power, a requirement the NSA protested in an email to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert April 26. State tax agencies swear they informed the NSA about the impact of the law when it was still under debate; NSA officials denied knowing anything about it and complained that it would make Utah a less attractive site for the datacenter, which was only three to four months from completion at the time."
Solar1ze writes "I've just started a role in an IT services firm. I'm required to take over from an incumbent who has been in the position for three years. What are some of the best practices for knowledge transfer you have used when you've taken over from another IT staff member? How do you digest the thousands of hosts, networks and associated software systems in a week, especially when some documentation exists, but much of it is still in the mind of the former worker?"
Rick Zeman writes "Those of us of a certain age recall The Oregon Trail with fondness as the pioneering educational game that had the audacity to make learning fun! This article takes a look at the history behind the game, even going back to its initial text-based offering, showing how some programming magic pulled a generation of kids together. Quoting: '[F]or two weeks, the roommates holed up in a former janitor’s closet at Bryant Junior High School, where the school’s teletype was stored, and spent their evenings programming. Using Rawitsch’s historical knowledge, Heinemann and Dillenberger developed a series of algorithms, punching hundreds of lines of code into the teletype. But just because they created the program didn’t mean they could breeze through it. When Heinemann tried The Oregon Trail for the first time, he died of pneumonia midway!'"
Beeftopia writes "Conventional wisdom has suggested selfishness is most beneficial evolutionary strategy for humans, while cooperation is suboptimal. This dovetailed with a political undercurrent dating back more than a century, starting with social Darwinism. A new paper in the journal Nature Communications casts doubt on this school of thought. The paper shows that while selfishness is optimal in the short term, it fails in the long term. Cooperation is seen as the most effective long term human evolutionary strategy."
An anonymous reader writes "Russians are going nuts over a new anti-piracy law that enables Roskomnadzor (the Federal Supervision Agency for Information Technologies and Communications) to 'blacklist' Internet resources before the issue of a court order. Indeed, 1700 websites have issued a blackout, just like U.S. firms did in protest at the Stop Online Piracy Act. The law, widely known as the Russian SOPA, has been slammed by some major tech firms from the country, including Yandex. Freedom of speech campaigners are worried it could be used for political censorship, while digital companies say it will slow down the development of Internet services in the country."
bsk_cw writes "This article takes a long look at four major consumer tech ecosystems — Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft — and examine how well (or badly) they're serving up their media. The authors talk about how each company approaches gaming, music, video, books, etc., and how each integrates all its parts into some kind of whole. The conclusion? That none of the four can be said to be the best in all things, but they're certainly trying."
jrepin writes "The Calligra team is proud and pleased to announce the release of version 2.7 of the Calligra Suite, Calligra active and the Calligra Office Engine. Words, the word processing application, has a new look for the toolbox. In the same toolbox there are also new controls to manipulate shapes with much enhanced usability. Author, the writer's application, has new support for EPUB3: mathematical formulas and multimedia contents are now exported to ebooks using the EPUB format. There is also new support for book covers using images. Plan, the project management application, has improvement in the scheduling of tasks. The formula shape now has new ways to enter formula: a matlab/octave mode and a LaTEX mode."
itwbennett writes "Following rival MediaTek's announcement of plans to release an eight-core processor in the fourth quarter, Qualcomm has declared eight-core processors 'dumb'. 'You can't take eight lawnmower engines, put them together and now claim you have an eight-cylinder Ferrari. It just doesn't make sense,' Qualcomm's senior vice president Anand Chandrasekher said, according to a transcript of his comments to Taiwan media provided on Friday. Asked whether Qualcomm would one day launch its own octa-core processor, Chandrasekher said, 'We don't do dumb things.'"
Rambo Tribble writes "U.S. researchers have come to the conclusion that a changing climate can drive increased violence in human society. Their findings are to reported in Science (abstract). 'They report a "substantial" correlation between climate and conflict. Their examples include an increase in domestic violence in India during recent droughts, and a spike in assaults, rapes and murders during heatwaves in the U.S. The report also suggests rising temperatures correlated with larger conflicts, including ethnic clashes in Europe and civil wars in Africa.' Marshall Burke, one of the authors, said, 'This is a relationship we observe across time and across all major continents around the world. The relationship we find between these climate variables and conflict outcomes are often very large.' Add this to the developing scarcity of water due to global warming and the prospects for a peaceful future do not bode well."
New submitter b06r011 writes "The 12th actor to play Doctor Who will be revealed on BBC1 this Sunday at 1900. Rupert Grint and Peter Capaldi have been tipped as favourites to replace Matt Smith but that is no reason to stop idle speculation on a Friday afternooon. This all raises an interesting point though — particularly for Dr Who, where the replacement of an actor whilst maintaining the character is a key part of the plot. Would you rather find out in advance or wait until the end of the regeneration sequence?"
Bennett Haselton writes "How did a $400-billion company ship millions of units of a phone with a calendar app that displays the wrong date, a texting app that can't reply to group texts, a screen capture function that doesn't work, and a phone app that won't let me use the keypad unless the speakerphone is on? The answer, perhaps, suggests deeper questions about why market forces fix certain problems but not others, and what to do about it." Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.
mdsolar writes "According to the Associated Press, 'The largest utility in the U.S. is scuttling plans to build a $24.7 billion nuclear power plant in a small Gulf Coast county in Florida, the company announced Thursday. Duke Energy Corp. said it made the decision because of delays by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in issuing licenses for new plants, and because of recent legislative changes in Florida.' Meanwhile, 'Duke Energy's plans to build two nuclear reactors in South Carolina have been delayed by federal regulators who say budget cuts and changes to the plans require more time. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission told Duke in a letter that a final hearing on plans to build the William S. Lee nuclear plant in Cherokee County would have to wait until 2016. The original target had been this past March."
twofishy writes "Something I've noticed amongst financial service companies in London is a growing use of Java in preference to C/C++ for exchange systems, High Frequency Trading and over low-latency work. InfoQ has a good written panel discussion with Peter Lawrey, Martin Thompson, Todd L. Montgomery and Andy Piper. From the article: 'Often the faster an algorithm can be put into the market, the more advantage it has. Many algorithms have a shelf life and quicker time to market is key in taking advantage of that. With the community around Java and the options available, it can definitely be a competitive advantage, as opposed to C or C++ where the options may not be as broad for the use case. Sometimes, though, pure low latency can rule out other concerns. I think currently, the difference in performance between Java and C++ is so close that it's not a black and white decision based solely on speed. Improvements in GC techniques, JIT optimizations, and managed runtimes have made traditional Java weaknesses with respect to performance into some very compelling strengths that are not easy to ignore.'"
jones_supa writes "QuakeCon 2013 is running full tilt. John Carmack kicked off his speech by addressing the 'elephant in the room,' discussing the arrival of a new console generation to a crowd of attendees at the largely PC-focused event. He's optimistic about the coming console cycle, commenting that it's 'obviously going to be a good thing for gamers, developers, and an excellent thing for AMD.' John said he hasn't run quite enough tests on the hardware for the two consoles, but said they're both 'very close, and very good.' In his traditional long talk (watch on YouTube), Carmack also commented on Microsoft's always-on Kinect, its recently reversed DRM policies for the upcoming Xbox One, the death of optical media, and the state of handheld gaming."
rtfa-troll writes "The story from yesterday about the Feds monitoring Google searches has turned into a warning about how work place surveillance could harm you. It turns out that Michele Catalano's husband's boss tipped off the police after finding 'suspicious' searches (including 'pressure cooker bombs') in his old work computer's search history. Luckily for the Catalanos, who even allowed a search of their house when they probably didn't have to, it seems the policemen and FBI agents were professional and friendly. Far from being imperiled by a SWAT raid, Catalano spoke to some men in black cars who were polite and even mentioned to Catalano that 99 times out of 100, these tip-offs come to nothing. Perhaps the lesson is to be a bit more careful about your privacy, so that what you do on the internet remains between you and the professionals at the NSA."
Lasrick writes "At the Dot Earth blog in the NY Times, 'Big companies have many, and sometimes conflicting, interests, as a spokesperson for Google tried to explain to the environmental blogger Brian Merchant this way: “[W]hile we disagree on climate change policy, we share an interest with Senator Inhofe in the employees and data center we have in Oklahoma.” Now the Web giant is facing fresh criticism, this time in an open letter from 17 scientists and policy researchers who were invited to Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters back in 2011 to explore ways to improve climate science communication....'"
First time accepted submitter Jason Waddell writes "According to Kickstarter's historic backing data, crowdfunding follows a very predictable pattern: a strong opening, a mid-campaign 'dead zone', and a small resurgence at the end of the campaign. We combine Kickstarter's trends with the Ubuntu Edge Indiegogo crowdfunding data to forecast whether the innovative Ubuntu phone will reach its $32 million campaign goal."
Dawn Kawamoto writes "You should never do anything just for the money, but Twitter has 88 engineering jobs up for grabs and the company is apparently showing signs it may be moving closer to launching an IPO. If you find a Twitter job that works for you, better to get hired now when the cost to exercise your stock options will likely be far less than what you'll pay if hired after the company is public."
cold fjord writes "Counsel & Heal reports, 'Many people are stuck in the vicious cycle of late nights and late mornings. However, a new study reveals that a week of camping in the great outdoors may help people set their clocks straight. A new study, published in the journal Current Biology, reveals that if given a chance, our body's internal biological clocks will tightly synchronize to a natural, midsummer light-dark cycle. The study found that a week of exposure to true dawn and dusk with no artificial lights had a significant effect on people who might otherwise describe themselves as night owls. Researchers found that under those conditions, night owls quickly become early birds. "By increasing our exposure to sunlight and reducing our exposure to electrical lighting at night, we can turn our internal clock and sleep times back and likely make it easier to awaken and be alert in the morning," Kenneth Wright of the University of Colorado Boulder said in a news release.'"