mdsolar writes "Just over half of the 183 nuclear missile launch officers at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana have been implicated in a widening exam cheating scandal, the Air Force said on Thursday, acknowledging it had 'systemic' problem within its ranks. The cheating was discovered during an investigation into illegal drug possession among airmen, when test answers were found in a text message on one missile launch officer's cell phone. The Air Force initially said 34 officers either knew about the cheating or cheated themselves. But Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told a Pentagon news conference on Thursday that the total number of implicated officers had grown to 92, all of them at Malmstrom, one of three nuclear missile wings overseeing America's 450 inter-continental missiles, or ICBMs."
Zothecula writes "Glancing at a clock face in one form or another has been the de facto way to measure the passage of time. Aisen Caro Chacin though, is exploring a different perspective. She wants to give everyone the ability to tell time using their noses. Her chemical-based watch called the Scent Rhythm emits specially-designed fragrances in minute doses, in tune with circadian cycle of the human body. You get a fragrance of coffee in the morning, the smell of money in the afternoon, a relaxing whiskey scent in the evening, and a soothing chamomile fragrance at night. More than being merely pleasant, each chemically-supplemented scent aims to induce action appropriate to the time of day; the caffeine in the coffee scent for example, aims to trigger the person into being more active."
wiredmikey writes "President Barack Obama has nominated a US Navy officer, Vice Admiral Michael Rogers, to take over as head of the embattled National Security Agency, the Pentagon said Thursday. Rogers, 53, would take the helm at a fraught moment for the spy agency, which is under unprecedented pressure after leaks from ex-intelligence contractor Edward Snowden revealed the extent of its electronic spying. If confirmed by lawmakers, Rogers would also take over as head of the military's cyber warfare command. Rogers, who trained as an intelligence cryptologist, would succeed General Keith Alexander, who has served in the top job since 2005. He currently heads the US Fleet Cyber Command, overseeing the navy's cyber warfare specialists, and over a 30-year career has worked in cryptology and eavesdropping, or 'signals intelligence.' His confirmation hearings in the Senate are likely to be dominated by the ongoing debate about the NSA's espionage, and whether its sifting through Internet traffic and phone records violates privacy rights and democratic values."
cartechboy writes "We all talk about the Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf as if electric cars are brand-new. In fact, electric cars were around long before you were alive, or your father, or maybe even your grandfather. It turns out that the very first Porsche ever built was an electric car--way back in 1898. It wasn't called a Porsche, but an 'Egger-Lohner electric vehicle, C.2 Phaeton model'--or P1 for short. Designed by Ferdinand Porsche when he was just 22 years old, it has a rear electric drive unit producing all of 3 horsepower--and an overdrive mode to boost that to a frightening 5 hp! It had an impressive range of 49 miles, not that much less than many of today's plug-in cars. Porsche recently recovered the P1 from a warehouse--where it has supposedly sat untouched since 1902--and plans to display it in original, unrestored condition at the Porsche Museum in Zuffenhausen, Germany."
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from the Washington Examiner: "Officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are conducting a massive, NSA-esque data-mining project collecting account information on an estimated 991 million American credit card accounts. It was also learned at a Congressional hearing Tuesday that CFPB officials are working with the Federal Housing Finance Agency on a second data-mining effort, this one focused on the 53 million residential mortgages taken out by Americans since 1998. ...Later in the hearing, [Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas] remarked that CFPB 'and NSA are in a contest of who can collect the most information,' ... although the CFPB disagreed with that statement. In previous testimony before Rep. Jeb Hensarling's panel, Antonakes said 'the combined data represents approximately 85-90 percent of outstanding card balances.' The Argus contract specifies that the company must collect 96 'data points' from each of the participating card issuers for each credit card account on a monthly basis. The 96 data points include a unique card-account identification reference number, ZIP code, monthly ending balance, borrower's income, FICO score, credit limit, monthly payment amount, and days past due. 'Would you object to getting permission from consumers, those people who you work for, before you collect and monitor their information?' Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., asked Cordray. 'That would make it impossible to get the data,' Cordray replied."
An anonymous reader writes "A secretive EU body has agreed to develop a device to be fitted to all cars allowing police to cut off any engine at will, it emerged today. The device, which could be imposed within a decade, would also allow police to track a vehicle's movements as well as immobilise it. According to The Daily Telegraph a group of senior EU officials, including several Home Office mandarins, have signed off the proposal at a secret meeting in Brussels."
v3rgEz writes "A new startup out of MIT offers early adopters a chance at the afterlife, of sorts: It promises to build an AI representation of the dearly departed based on chat logs, email, Facebook, and other digital exhaust generated over the years. "Eterni.me generates a virtual YOU, an avatar that emulates your personality and can interact with, and offer information and advice to your family and friends after you pass away," the team promises. But can a chat bot plus big data really produce anything beyond a creepy, awkward facsimile?"
An anonymous reader writes "GitHub today launched the GitHub Bug Bounty program 'to better engage with security researchers.' In short, the company will pay between $100 and $5,000 for each security vulnerability discovered and responsibly disclosed by hackers. The program currently covers the GitHub API, GitHub Gist, and GitHub.com. GitHub says its other Web properties and applications are not part of the program, but it says vulnerabilities found 'may receive a cash reward at our discretion.'"
Billly Gates points to this basic summary of the features of the recently released LibreOffice 2.4, writing: "In catching up with MS Office, the new LibreOffice 4.2 now has full Windows 7/8 integration including Aero peek, thumbnails, jumplists, and recent documents all from the taskbar. In addition, one weak area for LibreOffice has been enterprise network support and the lack of active directory tools: LibreOffice now has GPO and active directory support for system administrators to deploy and manage LibreOffice over corporate networks. LibreOffice also includes an expert configuration Window to assist power users and system administrators when deploying to hundreds of workstation at a time." Read on for some more details about the release, including some information about support for AMD's Mantle CPU acceleration support.
New submitter fplatten writes "I think this is all you need to see to know what legacy Steve Ballmer has left at Microsoft, where its IE browser market share has collapsed from a high of 86% in 2002 to just 9% now. I guess this is just another in a long list of tech companies that failed to maintain its dominant market share. Also, IE may be the one product that never really deserved it, but just piggybacked on Windows, and users left in droves once decent (more secure) alternatives and standards became popular." Microsoft stockholders probably don't feel too badly about the Ballmer legacy overall, though -- browser choice is a pretty small arm of the octopus.
Daniel_Stuckey writes "It's no secret that apps like maps or local weather know your current location, and you're probably cool with that because you want to use the handy services they provide in exchange. But chances are there are many other apps on your phone, anything from dictionaries to games, that are also geolocating your every move without your knowledge or permission. Now researchers are developing a new app to police these smartphone spies, by tracking which apps are secretly tracking you, and warning you about it. Before your eyes glaze over at the mention of yet another privacy tool, it's worth noting that this new app is the first to be able to provide this line of defense between snooping apps and smartphone users for Android phones. Android's operating system is engineered not to allow apps to access information about other apps. But a team at Rutgers University found a way around that, by leveraging a function of Android's API to send a signal whenever an app requests location information from the operating system. MIT Technology Review reported on the research today."
Rambo Tribble writes "Researchers from Virginia Tech are reporting they have uncovered the secrets behind the genus Chrysopelea's aerodynamic feats . These ophidians are capable of gliding some distance while appearing to slither through the air. The BBC's article on the revelations hosts a short video of the phenomenon. At the heart of Chrysopelea's feat is a remarkable ability of the snakes to alter their body's cross-section. Finally, snakes that don't need to be on no stinking plane." The paper [PDF] has some more cool pictures, too.
ancientribe writes "Cyber security pro Kerstyn Clover in this Dark Reading post shares some rare insight into what it's like to be a woman in the field. She ultimately found her way to her current post as a member of the incident response and forensics team at SecureState, despite the common societal hurdles women face today in the STEM field: 'I taught myself some coding and computer repair in probably the most painstaking ways possible, but my experiences growing up put me at a disadvantage that I am still working to overcome,' she writes."
First time accepted submitter Kreuzfeld writes "For many years, astronomers have suspected that brown dwarfs — 'failed stars' with masses between those of planets and stars — have cloudy atmospheres. Our recent paper in Nature presents the first global, 2D map of the patchy clouds in the atmosphere of a brown dwarf: our neighbor, the 6.5 light-years-distant Luhman 16B. Eventually, astronomers will use this technique to make weather movies of global cloud patterns on brown dwarfs and extrasolar planets."
MojoKid writes "AMD has a new set of drivers coming in a couple of days that are poised to resolve a number of longstanding issues and enable a handful of new features as well, most notably support for Mantle. AMD's new Catalyst 14.1 beta driver is going to be the first publicly available driver from AMD that will support Mantle, AMD's "close to the metal" API that will let developers wring additional performance from GCN-based GPUs. However, the new drivers will also add support for the HSA-related features introduced with the recently released Kaveri APU, and will reportedly fix the frame pacing issues associated with Radeon HD 7000 series CrossFire configurations. A patch for Battlefield 4 is due to arrive soon as well and AMD is claiming performance gains in excess of 40 percent in CPU limited scenarios but smaller gains in GPU-limited conditions, with average gains of 11 — 13 percent over all." First time accepted submitter Spottywot adds some details about the Battlefield 4 improvements, writing that Johan Andersson, one of the Technical Directors in the Frostbite team, says that the best performance gains are observed when a game is bottlenecked by the CPU, "which can be quite common even on high-end machines." "With an AMD A10-7850K 'Kaveri' APU Mantle provides a 14 per cent improvement, on a system with an AMD FX-8350 and Radeon 7970 Mantle provides a 25 per cent boost, while on an Intel Core i7-3970x Extreme system with 2x AMD Radeon R9 290x cards a huge 58 per cent performance increase was observed."
muterobert writes "Owlchemy Labs, the developers behind the excellent Oculus Rift ready game, Aaaaaaaculus!, share their impressions of their time at Steam Dev Days and detail their experiences using Valve's secretive virtual reality HMD prototype. An excerpt: 'I was told to walk off of the cube and it was physically difficult to step forward into the space where there was no solid footing, even though I knew that there would be a solid floor with a rug right there for me. It's amazing how the mind can trick you.'"
Nerval's Lobster writes "Google had previously sold Motorola's Home division for $2.4 billion. Combine that with yesterday's $2.91 billion sale of Motorola's remaining assets, subtract the $12.5 billion acquisition price for the company back in 2011, and Google's little smartphone adventure cost it roughly $7.1 billion even before you start throwing in expenses related to actual production, marketing, and personnel. That's a hefty chunk of change, but some analysts think the deal was ultimately a good one because it allowed Google to pick up patents, engineering talent, and insight into the mobile-device marketplace. It's debatable, however, whether those patents ultimately helped Android in the still-raging smartphone wars, and Google was slow to promote Motorola smartphones out of fear of irritating other Android manufacturers. At least Google can console itself with the thought that so many of its other acquisitions—including YouTube and DoubleClick—resulted in massive profits; but you can't hit a home run every time you step up to bat."
An anonymous reader writes "Nearly 85 years after pioneering theoretical physicist Paul Dirac predicted the possibility of their existence, an international collaboration led by Amherst College Physics Professor David S. Hall '91 and Aalto University (Finland) Academy Research Fellow Mikko Möttönen has created, identified and photographed synthetic magnetic monopoles in Hall's laboratory on the Amherst campus. The groundbreaking accomplishment paves the way for the detection of the particles in nature, which would be a revolutionary development comparable to the discovery of the electron." That's quite a step beyond detecting monopoles; the Nature abstract is online, but the full paper is paywalled.
jfruh writes "Tip4Commit is a new service that allows anyone to link a tip for a developer to GitHub commits for open source projects. The tips are denominated in Bitcoin — and it appears that some developers aren't interested, with almost 40% of the total value tipped going uncollected. One dev who hasn't collected his $136 in tips is Linux inventor Linus Torvalds. It's not clear if the devs who aren't collecting their tips are opposed to the concept of tipping on open source projects or just don't want to deal with Bitcoin."
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Kim Severson reports at the NYT that by keeping schools and government offices open, and by not requiring tractor-trailers to use chains or stay out of the city's core, metropolitan Atlanta gambled and lost. "We don't want to be accused of crying wolf," said Gov. Nathan Deal, who pointed out that the storm had been forecast to just brush the south side of the city. If the city had been closed and the storm had been as light as some forecasters had told him it was going to be, he said, money would have been lost, and people would have complained. Tuesday's snowfall, that brought only 2-3 inches of snow to most of the Atlanta metro area, and the hundreds of thousands of motorists who flooded the metropolitan area's roadways as the storm moved in — created travel nightmares for commuters, truckers, students and their families. Some commuters were stuck in their vehicles up to 18 hours after they first hit the roads. Others abandoned their cars in or beside the road. Hundreds of students spent the night at school. Some surrounding cities, including Hiram, Woodstock, Sandy Springs and Acworth, opened emergency shelters for stranded motorists. "It's an easy joke made by Northerners," wrote Joe Sterling and Sarah Aarthun. "A dusting of snow shuts down an entire city and hapless drivers white-knuckle their way through a handful of flurries." Further North streets are salted well in advance of a coming storm but Atlanta doesn't have the capacity for that kind of treatment. "We simply have never purchased the amount of equipment necessary," said meteorologist Chad Myers adding Atlanta had plenty of warning. "Why would you in a city that gets one snow event every three years? Why would you buy 500 snowplows and salt trucks and have them sit around for 1,000 days, waiting for the next event?""
Trailrunner7 writes "As the noise and drama surrounding the NSA surveillance leaks and its central character, Edward Snowden, have continued to grow in the last few months, many people and organizations involved in the story have taken great pains to line up on either side of the traitor/hero line regarding Snowden's actions. While the story has continued to evolve and become increasingly complex, the opinions and rhetoric on either side has only grown more strident and inflexible, leaving no room for nuanced opinions or the possibility that Snowden perhaps is neither a traitor nor a hero but something else entirely."
Rambo Tribble writes "Reuters is reporting that concessions by the Internet giant have paved the way for a resolution to the long-standing European Union investigation into Google's alleged anti-competitive practices. From the article: 'A settlement with the European Union's regulator would mean that Google, the world's biggest internet search engine, would escape a possible fine of as much as $5 billion or 10 percent of its 2012 revenue. Such an outcome would mirror the company's success in the United States last year where it received only a mild reprimand from the Federal Trade Commission, which said Google had not manipulated its website results following a 19-month investigation.'"
sciencehabit writes "Many people take vitamins such as A, E, and C thinking that their antioxidant properties will ward off cancer. But some clinical trials have suggested that such antioxidants, which sop up DNA-damaging molecules called free radicals, have the opposite effect and raise cancer risk in certain people. Now, in a provocative study that raises unsettling questions about the widespread use of vitamin supplements, Swedish researchers have showed that moderate doses of two widely used antioxidants spur the growth of early lung tumors in mice."
gallifreyan99 writes "The real revolution in drugs isn't Silk Road—it's the open web. Thanks to the net, almost anyone with a basic handle on chemistry can design, manufacture and sell their own narcotics, and in most cases the cops are utterly unable to stop them. This piece is kind of crazy: the writer actually creates a new powerful-but-legal stimulant based on a banned substance, and gets a Chinese lab to manufacture it."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Researchers in Germany have discovered what they say is a way to get computers to do more than execute all the steps of a problem-solving calculation as fast as possible – by getting them to imitate the human brain's habit of finding shortcuts to the right answer. A team of scientists from Freie Universität Berlin, the Bernstein Center Berlin, and Heidelberg University have refined the idea of parallel computing into one they describe as neuromorphic computing. In their design, a whole series of processors designed as silicon neurons rather than ordinary CPUs are linked together in a network similar to the highly interconnected mesh that links nerve cells in the human brain. Problems fed into the neuro mesh are broken up and processed in parallel, but not always using the same process. The method by which neuromorphic processors handle problems varies with the way they're linked together, as is the case with neurons in the brain. The chips are designed to copy the layout and functions of brain cells, but the way they're interconnected is based on another highly efficient biological model. 'The design of the network architecture has been inspired by the odor-processing nervous system of insects,' said one of the researchers. 'This system is optimized by nature for a highly parallel processing of the complex chemical world.' In tests using real-world datasets, the prototype was able to match the performance of specialized Bayeseian pattern-matching systems. Even better, the stable decisions reached by 'output neuron populations' take approximately 100 milliseconds, which is the same speed required by the insect nervous systems on which the network design is based, according to the paper."