littlesparkvt writes "A team of astrophysicists at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft und- Raumfahrt; DLR), together with German and European colleagues, has discovered the most extensive exoplanetary system to date. Seven planets circle the star KOI-351 – more than in other known planetary systems. They are arranged in a similar fashion to the eight planets in the Solar System, with small rocky planets close to the parent star and gas giant planets at greater distances. Although the planetary system around KOI-351 is packed together more tightly, it provides an interesting comparison to our cosmic home."
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schwit1 writes "The reservoir of molten rock underneath Yellowstone National Park in the United States is at least two and a half times larger than previously thought. Despite this, the scientists who came up with this latest estimate say that the highest risk in the iconic park is not a volcanic eruption but a huge earthquake. Jamie Farrell, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Utah, mapped the underlying magma reservoir by analyzing data from more than 4,500 earthquakes. Seismic waves travel more slowly through molten rock than through solid rock, and seismometers can detect those changes. The images show that the reservoir resembles a 4,000-cubic-kilometer underground sponge, with 6–8% of it filled with molten rock. It underlies most of the Yellowstone caldera and extends a little beyond it to the northeast."
An anonymous reader writes "On the whole, Battlefield 4 had a reasonable launch. The have clearly learned from their past experiences with Battlefield 3 and, more notably, SimCity. Still, some customers are unable to access the game (until, presumably, October 30th at 7PM EDT, 39 hours after launch) because they are incorrectly flagged by region-locking. Do regional release dates help diminish all the work EA has been putting into Origin with their refund policy and live technical support? Should they just take our money and deliver the service before we change our minds?"
KindMind writes "Robert Cringely writes on the idea that technological advances have changed the health care system, and not for the better. The idea is that companies now rate individuals instead of groups, and so move to a mode of simply avoiding policies that might lose money, instead of the traditional way that insurance costs were spread over a group. From the article: 'Then in the 1990s something happened: the cost of computing came down to the point where it was cost-effective to calculate likely health outcomes on an individual basis. This moved the health insurance business from being based on setting rates to denying coverage. In the U.S. the health insurance business model switched from covering as many people as possible to covering as few people as possible — selling insurance only to healthy people who didn't much need the healthcare system.'"
ananyo writes "Using data pulled from online genealogy sites, a renowned 'genome hacker' has constructed what is likely the biggest family tree ever assembled. The researcher and his team now plan to use the data — including a single uber-pedigree comprising 13 million individuals, which stretches back to the 15th century — to analyze the inheritance of complex genetic traits, such as longevity and facial features. In addition to providing the invitation list to what would be the world's largest family reunion, the work presented by computational biologist Yaniv Erlich at the American Society of Human Genetics annual meeting in Boston could provide a new tool for understanding the extent to which genes contribute to certain traits. The pedigrees have been made available to other researchers, but Erlich and his team at the Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have stripped the names from the data to protect privacy."
jfruh writes "Most day-to-day programmers have only a general idea of how compilers transform human-readable code into the machine language that actually powers computers. In an attempt to streamline applications, many compilers actually remove code that it perceives to be undefined or unstable — and, as a research group at MIT has found, in doing so can make applications less secure. The good news is the researchers have developed a model and a static checker for identifying unstable code. Their checker is called STACK, and it currently works for checking C/C++ code. The idea is that it will warn programmers about unstable code in their applications, so they can fix it, rather than have the compiler simply leave it out. They also hope it will encourage compiler writers to rethink how they can optimize code in more secure ways. STACK was run against a number of systems written in C/C++ and it found 160 new bugs in the systems tested, including the Linux kernel (32 bugs found), Mozilla (3), Postgres (9) and Python (5). They also found that, of the 8,575 packages in the Debian Wheezy archive that contained C/C++ code, STACK detected at least one instance of unstable code in 3,471 of them, which, as the researchers write (PDF), 'suggests that unstable code is a widespread problem.'"
McGruber writes "The U.S. government fined Infosys $35 million after an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department found that the Indian company used inexpensive, easy-to-obtain B-1 visas meant to cover short business visits — instead of harder-to-get H-1B work visas — to bring an unknown number of its employees for long-term stays. The alleged practice enabled Infosys to undercut competitors in bids for programming, accounting and other work performed for clients, according to people close to the investigation. Infosys clients have included Goldman Sachs Group, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. Infosys said in an email that it is talking with the U.S. Attorney's office, 'regarding a civil resolution of the government's investigation into the company's compliance' with employment-record 'I-9 form' requirements and past use of the B-1 visa. A company spokesman, who confirmed a resolution will be announced Wednesday, said Infosys had set aside $35 million to settle the case and cover legal costs. He said the sum was 'a good indication' of the amount involved."
rjmarvin writes "Adobe's investigation into the massive data breach they were hit with this past August has revealed that over 38 million active users, not to mention inactive accounts, had their user IDs and passwords pilfered by hackers. An Adobe spokesperson confirmed the number, along with the theft of Adobe Photoshop source code. The initial report earlier this month put the extent of the breach at only 3 million credit card accounts, plus stolen Adobe Acrobat, Reader and ColdFusion source code."
New submitter souperfly writes "The Inquirer has a list of 21 sites that the RIAA is looking to get shut down by ISPs this week. The list includes sites filestube, Bomb-Mp3, Mp3skull, Bitsnoop, Extratorrent, Torrenthound, Torrentreactor and Monova, and at least one ISP — Virgin Media in the UK — has confirmed the number of targeted sites. BT confirmed it will block the site, but didn't say when. Before, it was thought that only six sites were lined up for a chop."
New submitter Smerta writes "On Thursday, a jury verdict found Toyota's ECU firmware defective, holding it responsible for a crash in which a passenger was killed and the driver injured. What's significant about this is that it's the first time a jury heard about software defects uncovered by a plaintiff's expert witnesses. A summary of the defects discussed at trial is interesting reading, as well the transcript of court testimony. 'Although Toyota had performed a stack analysis, Barr concluded the automaker had completely botched it. Toyota missed some of the calls made via pointer, missed stack usage by library and assembly functions (about 350 in total), and missed RTOS use during task switching. They also failed to perform run-time stack monitoring.' Anyone wonder what the impact will be on self-driving cars?"
rehabs computers and sells computer parts, at least in Austin, Texas. The Goodwill Computer Museum is a natural outgrowth of that effort. In this video, museum curator Lisa Worley takes Slashdot's Timothy Lord on a tour of the museum. Remember that TRS-80 you threw away in 1982? Well, they saved several of them to stimulate your nostalgia-based pleasure nodules. Ditto many other devices both common and rare, including a pre-Dell computer made and signed by Texas computer celebrity Michael Dell. So sit back and enjoy the ride, as Timothy does the walking and Lisa does the talking, kind of like Night at the Museum -- but without CGI dinosaurs and other life forms getting between you and the classic computers.
benrothke writes "David Mitchell Smith wrote in the Gartner report Hype Cycle for Cloud Computing last year that while clearly maturing and beyond the peak of inflated expectations, cloud computing continues to be one of the most hyped subjects in IT. The report is far from perfect, but it is accurate in the sense that while cloud computing is indeed ready for prime time, the hype with it ensures that too many firms will be using it with too much hype, and not enough reality and detailed requirements. While there have been many books written about the various aspects of cloud computing, Testing Cloud Services: How to Test SaaS, PaaS & IaaS is the first that enables the reader to successfully make the transition from hype to actuality from a testing and scalability perspective." Read on for the rest of Ben's review.
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla today officially launched Firefox 25 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Additions include Web Audio API support, as well as guest browsing and mixed content blocking on Android. Firefox 25 can be downloaded from Firefox.com and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. As always, the Android version is trickling out slowly on Google Play. The release notes are here: desktop, mobile."
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Of all the weapons the Pentagon relies on to defend the United States, one of the strangest and most secretive is Andrew Marshall, a 92-year-old man who's spent the last 40 years staring into the future trying to predict the next big threat to America. Known fondly as "Yoda" to his many fans in Washington, Marshall heads up the Office of Net Assessment—the Defense Department's think tank tasked with taking a long view, out-of-the-box approach to defense strategy. In his role as the Pentagon's visionary sage, Marshall is credited with predicting the fall of the Soviet Union, the rise of China's global prominence, the role of autonomous weapons and robots in warfare, and even helping end the Cold War. Now, facing budget cuts, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is considering reorganizing or possibly even shuttering the futurist think tank, Defense News recently reported."
Gunfighter writes "StreetInsider.com reports that Dell, Inc. completed its go-private transaction by Michael Dell, Dell's Founder, Chairman and CEO, and Silver Lake Partners, a leading global technology investment firm. Stockholders will receive $13.75 in cash for each share of Dell common stock they hold, plus payment of a special cash dividend of $0.13 per share to stockholders of record as of the close of business on Oct. 28, 2013, for total consideration of $13.88 per share in cash. The total transaction is valued at approximately $24.9 billion."
A year ago today, Superstorm Sandy struck the northeastern U.S. The storm destroyed homes — in some cases entire neighborhoods — and brought unprecedented disruptions to the New York City area's infrastructure, interrupting transportation, communications, and power delivery. It even damaged a Space Shuttle. In the time since, the U.S. hasn't faced a storm with Sandy's combination of power and placement, but businesses have had some time to rethink how much trust they can put in even seemingly impregnable data centers and other bulwarks of modernity: a big enough storm can knock down nearly anything. Today, parts of western Europe are recovering from a major storm as well: more than a dozen people were killed as the predicted "storm of the century" hit London, Amsterdam, and other cities on Sunday and Monday. In Amsterdam, the city's transportation system took a major hit; some passengers had to shelter in place in stopped subway cars while the storm passed. Are you (or your employer) doing anything different in the post-Sandy era, when it comes to preparedness to keep people, data, and equipment safe?
destinyland writes "A glitch in iOS7 has cost "a significant number" of Apple users their Wi-Fi access, according to ZDNet. But they also report that Apple is now censoring posts in their "Apple Support Communities" forums where users suggest possible responses to their loss of WiFi capabilities (including exercising their product warranty en masse). "We understand the desire to share experiences in your topic, 'Re: wifi greyed out after update to ios7,'" read one warning sent to Lawrence Lessig, "but because these posts are not allowed on our forums, we have removed it." Lessig — who co-founded Creative Commons (and was a board member of the Free Software Foundation) has been documenting the ongoing "comments slaughter" on his Twitter feed, drawing attention to what he says is the Borg-like behavior of Apple as a corporation. Lessig "is now part of an angry mob in Apple's forums who upgraded to iOS 7 and lost Wi-Fi connectivity," ZDNet notes, adding that as of this morning their reporter has been unable to obtain an official response from Apple."
First time accepted submitter muterobert writes "InfinitEye is a prototype head mounted display that uses dual 1280×800 displays to create a massive 210 degree field of view. I traveled to Toulouse, France to be the first journalist in the world to go hands-on with the unit. These are my thoughts on the trip, the team, and the HMD itself. 'Natural and Panoramic Virtual Reality' is the best phrase I can come up with that summarises the InfinitEye's capabilities. If using the Oculus Rift is like opening the sunroof on a virtual world, the InfinitEye takes the roof clean off — at least if you base your opinion solely on horizontal FOV. But the new HMD also offers 1280×800 per eye in comparison the current Oculus Rift Dev Kit's 640×800 (and only slightly fewer pixels per eye than the Oculus Rift HD prototype)."
llebeel writes "Almost a third of Samsung's Galaxy Gear Smartwatches sold are being returned, a leaked document has revealed, which shows that over 30 percent are being returned after sale at Best Buy locations in the US. The higher than expected return rate could be due to that realisation, with customers impulse buying and then realising that the smartwatch isn't everything it's cracked up to be." I'd like to hear from more people with smart watches who are happy with them, to better understand the appeal.
rtoz writes "Motorola has announced 'Project Ara,' afree and open hardware platform for smartphones. The purpose of Project Ara is to create a modular smartphone that would allow users to swap hardware components according their own wish. The design for Project Ara consists of an endoskeleton (endo) and modules. The endo is the structural frame that holds all the modules in place. A module can be anything, from a new application processor to a new display or keyboard, an extra battery, a pulse oximeter — or something not yet thought of." Motorola's not the first one to think of such a thing; this project is in cooperation with Phonebloks, which had already been pushing for reusable, reconfigurable phone components.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Dylan Scott writes at TPM that Kentucky, with its deeply conservative congressional delegation, seems like an unlikely place for Obamacare to find success. Instead, Kentucky's online health insurance exchange has proven to be one of the best, and shows that the marketplace concept can work in practice. Kentucky routinely ranks toward the bottom in overall health, and better health coverage is one step toward reversing that norm. It started with the commitment to build the state's own website rather than default to the federal version. On July 17, 2012, a few weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear created the exchange via executive order, over the objections of a Republican-controlled state legislature, which sought other means — including an effort to prevent the exchange from finding office space — to block the site's creation. ... Testing was undertaken throughout every step of the process, says Carrie Banahan, kynect's executive director, and it was crucial because it allowed state officials to identify problems early in the process. ... From a design standpoint, Kentucky made the conscious choice to stick to the basics, rather than seeking to blow users away with a state-of-the-art consumer interface. It 'doesn't have all the bells and whistles that other states tried to incorporate,' says Jennifer Tolbert. 'It's very straightforward in allowing consumers to browse plans without first creating an account.' A big part of that was knowing their demographics: A simpler site would make it easer to access for people without broadband Internet access, and the content was written at a sixth-grade reading level so it would be as easy to understand as possible."
sciencehabit writes "A new study of the monkey brain suggests that primates are uniquely adapted to recognize the features of snakes and react in a flash. What's more, by selecting for traits that helped animals avoid them, the reptiles ultimately endowed us with forward-facing eyes, for example, and enlarged visual centers deep in our brains that are specialized for picking out specific features in the world around us, such as the general shape of a snake's body camouflaged among leaves.The results lend support to a controversial hypothesis: that primates as we know them would never have evolved without snakes."
MojoKid writes "Apple's late 2013 edition iMacs are largely unchanged in external form, though they're upgraded in function with a revamped foundation that now pairs Intel's Haswell 4th Generation Core processors with NVIDIA's GeForce 700 Series graphics. The Cupertino company also outfitted these latest models with faster flash storage options, including support for PCI-E based storage, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology, all wrapped in a 21.5-inch (1920x1080) or 27-inch IPS displays with a 2560x1440 resolution. As configured, the 27-inch iMac reviewed here bolted through benchmarks with relative ease and posted especially solid figures in gaming tests, including a 3DMark 11 score of 3,068 in Windows 7 (via Boot Camp). Running Cinebench 11.5 in Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks also helped showcase the CPU and GPU combination. Storage benchmarks weren't nearly as impressive though, for iMacs based on standard spinning media. For real IO throughput, it's advisable to go with Apple's Flash storage options."