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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

Technology

Hammerhead System Offers a Better Way To Navigate While Cycling 249

Posted by samzenpus
from the where-you-going? dept.
Mark Gibbs writes "If you've ever tried to navigate using a smartphone while cycling you'll know full well that you took your life in your hands. By the time you've focused on the map and your brain has decoded what you're looking at you've traveled far enough to be sliding on gravel or go careening into the side of a car. What's needed is a way that you can get directions from your smartphone without having to lose your focus and possibly your life and Hammerhead Navigation have one of the most interesting answers I've seen."
Mozilla

Mozilla's 2012 Annual Report: 90% of Revenue Came From Google 278

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-basket dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla today released its annual financial report for 2012, and while revenue is up quite substantially, the organization's reliance on Google continues to grow. In 2011, 85 percent of Mozilla's revenue came from Google. In 2012, the figure increased to 90 percent."
United States

FCC To Consider Cellphone Use On Planes 183

Posted by samzenpus
from the leave-your-electronic-devices-on dept.
aitikin writes "The Federal Communications Commission is expected to propose allowing passengers to use their cellphones on airplanes. While phone use would still be restricted during takeoff and landing, the proposal would lift an FCC ban on airborne calls and cellular data use by passengers once a flight reaches 10,000 feet. From the article: 'The move would lift a regulatory hurdle, but any use of cellphones on planes would still have to be approved by the airlines, which have said they would approach the issue cautiously due to strong objections from their customers. Airlines would have to install equipment in their planes that would communicate with cellphone towers on the ground.'"
Math

Ask Slashdot: How Reproducible Is Arithmetic In the Cloud? 226

Posted by timothy
from the irreproducible-results dept.
goodminton writes "I'm research the long-term consistency and reproducibility of math results in the cloud and have questions about floating point calculations. For example, say I create a virtual OS instance on a cloud provider (doesn't matter which one) and install Mathematica to run a precise calculation. Mathematica generates the result based on the combination of software version, operating system, hypervisor, firmware and hardware that are running at that time. In the cloud, hardware, firmware and hypervisors are invisible to the users but could still impact the implementation/operation of floating point math. Say I archive the virutal instance and in 5 or 10 years I fire it up on another cloud provider and run the same calculation. What's the likelihood that the results would be the same? What can be done to adjust for this? Currently, I know people who 'archive' hardware just for the purpose of ensuring reproducibility and I'm wondering how this tranlates to the world of cloud and virtualization across multiple hardware types."
Programming

Putting the Wolfram Language (and Mathematica) On Every Raspberry Pi 99

Posted by timothy
from the so-good-it's-named-after-two-animals dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Working with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, effective immediately, there's a pilot release of the Wolfram Language — as well as Mathematica—that will soon be bundled as part of the standard system software for every Raspberry Pi computer. Quite soon the Wolfram Language is going to start showing up in lots of places, notably on the web and in the cloud."
Space

At Long Last: IceCube Spots 28 High-Energy Neutrinos 109

Posted by timothy
from the barely-moves-the-windmill dept.
Wired reports that IceCube, the detection facility built just to detect such things, has seen just what it was looking for, even though the researchers involved didn't know it at the time. High-energy neutrinos, the target that IceCube was seeking, weren't showing up as had been hoped, but it turns out that there were quite a few (nearly 30 already, with 2013's data still being recorded) in the three years that the detector has been operating — they just weren't obvious until the data was combed for it. "Most of the 28 high-energy neutrinos so far detected originate from parts of the night sky that don’t include the Milky Way, making it quite likely that they are arriving from a distant source. There are still too few neutrinos to make any specific conclusions about AGNs or gamma-ray bursts, but the IceCube team will continue gathering new data."
Patents

Samsung Ordered To Pay Apple $290M In Patent Case 219

Posted by timothy
from the not-in-nickels-this-time dept.
itwbennett writes "After 3 days of deliberations, a jury has ordered Samsung to pay $290 million to Apple for infringement of several of its patents in multiple Samsung smartphones and tablets. The verdict is the second victory for Apple in its multiyear patent fight against Samsung in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Last year a jury in the same San Jose courtroom ruled Samsung should pay just over $1 billion for infringement of five Apple patents in multiple Samsung phones and tablets. But afterward, Judge Lucy Koh ordered a new trial to reconsider $450 million of the damages after finding the previous jury had applied an 'impermissible legal theory' to its calculations. Thursday's verdict is the result of that new trial."
Transportation

NHTSA Tells Tesla To Stop Exaggerating Model S Safety Rating 284

Posted by timothy
from the all-the-kids-are-above-average dept.
cartechboy writes "There's always that kid in the class that ruins it for everyone when being graded on a curve. At the moment, that kid is Tesla and Elon Musk. Tesla's been proudly claiming the Model S is one of the safest cars in the word despite the recent fire controversy. And while it may be just that, claiming it earned 5.4 stars from NHTSA isn't pleasing the safety agency as there is no such thing as a rating higher than five. While NHTSA already released a statement indirectly to Tesla saying it doesn't release ratings higher than 5, Tesla continued to promote this fictitious rating. Now NHTSA has updated its guidelines explicitly stating safety ratings are whole numbers only and that 5 stars is the maximum advertisers can claim. If advertisers and automakers decide to disregard these rules NHTSA is threatening removal from the program or referral to state authorities for appropriate action. Basically, hey Tesla, stop making false claims."
Education

Microsoft Certifications For High School Credits In Australia 126

Posted by timothy
from the vocational-training dept.
kanad writes "High school students in Queensland, Australia would be able to do Microsoft certifications online and get credits. The exam fees will be free for students and courses include Microsoft's products like Sharepoint and SQL Server. Ostensibly this is for making kids ready for the workforce. but Australian IT entrepreneur Matt Barrie CEO of freelancer.com has criticised it for vendor lock-in and Microsoft's influence in the educational system."
Crime

Sweden Will Deliver Pirate Bay Co-Founder To Denmark 56

Posted by timothy
from the amazon-prime dept.
wiredmikey writes "Sweden said it will hand over Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg to Denmark where he is wanted for questioning on alleged hacking charges. 'It (the extradition) will take place on November 27,' the prosecutor in charge of the case, Henrik Olin, said, adding that Sweden was responding to an arrest warrant issued by Copenhagen. In June, Danish police revealed that the 30-year-old Swedish hacker is suspected of illegally downloading police files between April and August 2012. He is currently serving a one-year sentence in Sweden for hacking into the computer systems of contractors working for the national tax authority."
Programming

Microsoft Adds Node.js Support To Visual Studio 197

Posted by timothy
from the could-be-the-biggest-open-source-company dept.
shutdown -p now writes "Coming from the team that had previously brought you Python Tools for Visual Studio, Microsoft has announced Node.js Tools for Visual Studio, with the release of the first public alpha. NTVS is the official extension for Visual Studio that adds support for Node.js, including editing with Intellisense, debugging, profiling, and the ability to deploy Node.js websites to Windows Azure. An overview video showcases the features, and Scott Hanselman has a detailed walkthrough. The project is open source under Apache License 2.0. While the extension is published by Microsoft, it is a collaborative effort involving Microsoft, Red Gate (which previously had a private beta version of similar product called Visual Node), and individual contributors from the Node.js community."
Government

Project Rescue Expert Todd Williams Talks About Healthcare.gov (Video) 276

Posted by Roblimo
from the health-website-that-isn't-healthy dept.
By now, most Americans have either heard or learned firsthand that the Healthcare.gov website doesn't work right. Slings, arrows, and brickbats are being slung all over Washington, and Congressional representatives are busily thundering imprecations at all and sundry who were involved in putting Healthcare.gov together. If there have been any Congressional hearing focusing on how to fix the problems, though, we have not seen them. You'd think that our representatives would bring in people like today's interviewee, Todd Williams, who has written a book titled Rescue the Problem Project and runs a company that specializes in rescuing failed projects. What's more, Todd is just one of many Americans who have helped rescue projects that have gone awry. Hopefully our government has at least one of them working on Healthcare.gov by now, although we haven't heard that they've selected a strong turnaround manager and set him or her to work on the project -- and you'd think they would have told us if they had.
Biotech

Bionic Eye Implant Available In US Next Month 102

Posted by timothy
from the I'm-a-transhumanitarianist-myself dept.
kkleiner writes "Starting next month, Americans suffering from degenerative eye diseases can get excited about the launch of the Argus II, a bionic eye implant to partially restore vision. Designed for those suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, the Argus II is a headset that looks akin to Google Glass but is actually hard wired into the optic nerve to transmit visual information from a 60 electrode array. The device opens the door for similar 'humanitarian' implants that both reduce the difficulty in getting government approval and increase the adoption of brain implants."
Google

Google Nexus Gets Wireless Charger 223

Posted by timothy
from the just-lay-still dept.
judgecorp writes "Wireless charging has had little success so far (except for toothbrushes) but Google is giving it a good try, with a Nexus Wireless Charger that works with LG's Nexus 4 and 5 as well as the latest version of Google's tablet, the second generation Nexus 7. The charger operates using the Qi standard, which seems to be ahead of rival Powermat."
ISS

ISS Astronauts Fire-Up Awesome 'Cubesat Cannon' 52

Posted by timothy
from the pew-pew-pew dept.
astroengine writes "As if the International Space Station couldn't get any cooler, the Japanese segment of the orbiting outpost has launched a barrage of small satellites — known as "cubesats" — from their very own Cubesat Cannon! Of course, the real name of the cubesat deployment system isn't quite as dramatic, but the JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD) adds a certain sci-fi flair to space station science."
Security

Researcher Offers New Perspective On Stuxnet-Wielding Sabotage Program 46

Posted by timothy
from the back-then-we-tied-an-onion-to-our-belts dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Help Net Security: "Stuxnet, the malware that rocket the security world and the first recorded cyber weapon, has an older and more complex 'sibling' that was also aimed at disrupting the functioning of Iran's uranium enrichment facility at Natanz, but whose modus operandi was different. The claim was made by well-known German control system security expert and consultant Ralph Langner, who has been analyzing Stuxnet since the moment its existence was first discovered. He pointed out that in order to known how to secure industrial control systems, we need to know what actually happened, and in order to do that, we need to understand all the layers of the attack (IT, ICS, and physical), and be acquainted with the actual situation of all these layers as they were at the time of the attack."
Graphics

Building a (Virtual) Roman Emperor's Villa 50

Posted by timothy
from the fly-through-the-vomitorium dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Scientists have been using everything from supercomputing clusters to 3D printers to virtually recreate dinosaur bones. Now another expert is trying to do something similar with the ancient imperial villa built for Roman emperor Hadrian, who ruled from 117 A.D. to 138 A.D. Hadrian's Villa is already one of the best-preserved Roman imperial sites, but that wasn't quite good enough for Indiana University Professor of Informatics Bernie Frischer, who trained as a classical philologist and archaeologist before being seduced by computers into what evolved into the academic discipline of digital analysis and reproduction of archaeological and historical works. The five-year effort to recreate Hadrian's Villa is based on information from academic studies of the buildings and grounds, as well as analyses of how the buildings, grounds and artifacts were used; the team behind it decided to go with gaming platform Unity 3D as a key part of the simulation."
Security

Microsoft Customers Hit With New Wave of Fake Tech Support Calls 201

Posted by timothy
from the only-do-this-to-your-parents dept.
rjmarvin writes "A new surge of callers posing predominately as Microsoft technicians are attempting and sometimes succeeding in scamming customers, convincing them their PCs are infected and directing them to install malware-ridden software or give the callers remote access to the computer. The fraudsters also solicit payment for the fake services rendered. This comes only a year after the FTC cracked down on fake tech support calls, charging six scam operators last October."
GNOME

MATE To Make It Into Debian Repositories 152

Posted by timothy
from the best-news-of-the-day-so-far dept.
sfcrazy writes "Fans of the MATE desktop environment, which is a fork of Gnome 2, will be happy to know that MATE is scheduled to be included in the official Debian repositories. Early 2012, it was requested that MATE be included in said repositories, and almost 2 years later, it appears we're almost there."
Biotech

HIV Tracking Technology Could Pinpoint Who's Infecting Who 203

Posted by timothy
from the yet-you-say-you-were-in-burma-at-the-time dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "No man is an island, but evolutionarily, each person functions like one for the HIV virus. That's according to Thomas Leitner, a researcher working on a project aimed at creating technology for tracking HIV through a population. The technology, which is being studied at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, may allow people to identify who infected them with the virus, a development that could have major implications in criminal proceedings. "If you're familiar with Darwin's finches, you have a population of birds on one island and they keep moving and evolving as they spread to other islands so that each population is a little different," Leitner said. "With HIV, it's the same. Every person infected with HIV has a slightly different form of the virus. It's the ultimate chameleon because it evolves this way.""
The Almighty Buck

Cyprus University Accepts Bitcoin For Tuition Fee Payments 157

Posted by timothy
from the sound-in-ads-needs-to-die-die-die dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The University of Nicosia has begun accepting bitcoins as payment for its courses, as well as launching a Master of Science degree focusing on digital currencies. The announcement is part of a proposal set up by the university to develop the Mediterranean island into a hub for bitcoin trading, processing and banking, as use of the virtual currency continues to gain traction." Warning: Auto-playing ad, with sound.
Earth

Galileo Navigation System Gets Go-Ahead From EU Parliament 178

Posted by timothy
from the und-wo-bin-ich-jetzt? dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Plans to start up the EU's first global satellite navigation system (GNSS) built under civilian control, entirely independent of other navigation systems and yet interoperable with them, were approved by MEPs on Wednesday. Both parts of this global system — Galileo and EGNOS — will offer citizens a European alternative to America's GPS or Russia's Glonass signals. The Galileo system could be used in areas such as road safety, fee collection, traffic and parking management, fleet management, emergency call, goods tracking and tracing, online booking, safety of shipping, digital tachographs, animal transport, agricultural planning and environmental protection to drive growth and make citizens' lives easier."
Transportation

Airline Pilots Rely Too Much On Automation, Says Safety Panel 270

Posted by samzenpus
from the hands-on dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Nearly all people connected to the aviation industry agree that automation has helped to dramatically improve airline safety over the past 30 years but Tom Costello reports at NBC News that according to a new Federal Aviation Administration report commercial airline pilots rely too much on automation in the cockpit and are losing basic flying skills. Relying too heavily on computer-driven flight decks now poses the biggest threats to airliner safety world-wide, the study concluded. The results can range from degraded manual-flying skills to poor decision-making to possible erosion of confidence among some aviators when automation abruptly malfunctions or disconnects during an emergency. 'Pilots sometimes rely too much on automated systems,' says the report adding that some pilots 'lack sufficient or in-depth knowledge and skills' to properly control their plane's trajectory. Basic piloting errors are thought to have contributed to the crash of an Air France Airbus A330 plane over the Atlantic in 2009, which killed all 228 aboard, as well as a commuter plane crash in Buffalo, NY, that same year. Tom Casey, a retired airline pilot who flew the giant Boeing 777, said he once kept track of how rarely he had to touch the controls on an auto-pilot flight from New York to London. From takeoff to landing, he said he only had to touch the controls seven times. 'There were seven moments when I actually touched the airplane — and the plane flew beautifully,' he said. 'Now that is being in command of a system, of wonderful computers that do a great job — but that isn't flying.' Real flying is exemplified by Capt. Chesley Sullenberger, says Casey, who famously landed his US Airways plane without engines on the Hudson River and saved all the passengers in what came to be known as the 'Miracle on the Hudson.' The new report calls for more manual flying by pilots — in the cockpit and in simulations. The FAA says the agency and industry representatives will work on next steps to make training programs stronger in the interest of safety."
Transportation

Online Car Retailer Launching Nation's First Car "Vending Machine" 99

Posted by samzenpus
from the correct-change-only dept.
cartechboy writes "Last year's Gallup poll showed that car salespeople are the least trusted professionals in America, ranking even below members of Congress. Enter, Carvana, an online dealership operating in Atlanta, Georgia. They allow customers to shop for cars online, secure loans online, and pay for cars online. Now they have gone one step farther and are claiming to remove the despised car salesperson from test drives and even post-purchase pickup by creating, yes, a giant auto vending machine. The facility, which will open at the end of November, will be a fully digital, 24-7 interactive 'vehicle-delivery center' designed to offer customers pick-up options after purchasing a vehicle online. They'll have floor-to-ceiling windows, custom LED lighting, flat screen TV's plus interactive keypads that identify customers based on unique buyer credentials. There will be three car pickup bays to allow for simultaneous pickups. One thing they won't have: car sales people (Note: there will be customer service reps there to answer questions). Carvana plans to expand on the idea, presumably if this Atlanta facility works."
Communications

World's Smallest FM Radio Transmitter Created With Graphene 60

Posted by samzenpus
from the smallest-morning-zoo dept.
minty3 writes "The team used graphene's mechanical 'stretchability' in order to create a voltage controlled oscillator (VCO) – an electronic component that can generate an FM signal. The VCO was used to send and receive audio signals of 100 megahertz. The team used pure tones and more complex music signals to tune the VCO's output and found that both kinds of signals could be 'faithfully reproduced' by an ordinary radio receiver."
Space

NASA's Next Frontier: Growing Plants On the Moon 193

Posted by samzenpus
from the to-boldly-grow dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with news about a NASA project that aims to grow plants on the moon in specially made containers. "In 2015, NASA will attempt to make history by growing plants on the Moon. If they are successful, it will be the first time humans have ever brought life to another planetary body. The Lunar Plant Growth Habitat team, a group of NASA scientists, contractors, students and volunteers, is finally bringing to life an idea that has been discussed and debated for decades. They will try to grow arabidopsis, basil, sunflowers, and turnips in coffee-can-sized aluminum cylinders that will serve as plant habitats. But these are no ordinary containers – they’re packed to the brim with cameras, sensors, and electronics that will allow the team to receive image broadcasts of the plants as they grow. These habitats will have to be able to successfully regulate their own temperature, water intake, and power supply in order to brave the harsh lunar climate."
Crime

Glut In Stolen Identities Forces Price Cut 152

Posted by samzenpus
from the cheaper-by-the-dozen dept.
CowboyRobot writes "The price of a stolen identity has dropped as much as 37 percent in the cybercrime underground: to $25 for a U.S. identity, and $40 for an overseas identity. For $300 or less, you can acquire credentials for a bank account with a balance of $70,000 to $150,000, and $400 is all it takes to get a rival or targeted business knocked offline with a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS)-for-hire attack. Meanwhile, ID theft and bank account credentials are getting cheaper because there is just so much inventory (a.k.a. stolen personal information) out there. Bots are cheap, too: 1,000 bots go for $20, and 15,000, for $250."

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