An anonymous reader writes "Some folks would like you to think that 1995 was the year everybody was brought online and that, starting this year, we'll bring everything else along for the ride. If that seems far fetched to you, Glen Martin writes about how the Internet of Things has more in common with the age of steam than the digital revolution: 'Philadelphia's Centennial Exposition of 1876 was America's first World's Fair, and was ostensibly held to mark the nation's 100th birthday. But it heralded the future as much as it celebrated the past, showcasing the country's strongest suit: technology. ... While the Internet changed everything, says Stogdill, "its changes came in waves, with scientists and alpha geeks affected first, followed by the early adopters who clamored to try it. It wasn’t until the Internet was ubiquitous that every Kansas farm boy went online. That 1876 Kansas farm boy may not have foreseen every innovation the Industrial Revolution would bring, but he knew — whether he liked it or not — that his world was changing."'"
An anonymous reader writes "The Washington Post reports, 'In the past several decades, the number of private and recreational pilots across the country has plummeted, as has the number of small aircraft being manufactured — trends that some say have been accelerated by increasingly strict federal regulations. If the decline continues, it will spell trouble for entrepreneurs ... Since 1980, the number of pilots in the country has nosedived from about 827,000 in 1980 to 617,000, according to the Frederick, Md.-based Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. During about the same period, data from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association in Washington show that production of single-engine planes plunged from 14,000 per year to fewer than 700.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Bitcoin values dropped sharply over the weekend after the largest trading exchange, MtGox, revealed that an investigation into unusual trading activity turned up a flaw in the underlying Bitcoin software that allowed an attacker to double withdrawal a transaction" Not so fast according to database experts: the real problem is that Mt Gox (and other exchanges) are using a surrogate transaction id rather than a natural key in their databases: "The flaw isn't so much in Bitcoin as it is in exchange-systems. Many exchanges use the tx-id to uniquely identify transactions, but as it turns out, an attacker can change the tx-id without changing the actual transaction, rebroadcast the changed transaction (effectively creating a double-spend) and if his altered transaction gets accepted into a block instead of the legit transaction, the attacker receives his coins and can complain with the exchange that he didn't. The exchange will then check their db, fetch the tx-id from it, look it up in the blockchain and not find it. So they could conclude that the transaction indeed failed and credit the account with the coins. ... A simple workaround is to not use the tx-id to identify transactions on the exchange side, but the (amount, address, timestamp) instead."
goruka writes with news that a new game engine has been made available to Free Software developers under the permissive MIT license "Godot is a fully featured, open source, MIT licensed, game engine. It focuses on having great tools, and a visual oriented workflow that can deploy to PC, Mobile and Web platforms with no hassle. The editor, language and APIs are feature rich, yet simple to learn. Godot was born as an in-house engine, and was used to publish several work-for-hire commercial titles. With more than half a million lines of code, Godot is one of the most complex Open Source game engines at the moment, and one of the largest commitments to open source software in recent years. It allows developers to make games under Linux (and other unix variants), Windows and OSX." The source is available via Github, and, according to Phoronix, it's about as featureful as the Unity engine.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Glenn Greenwald reports at his new independent news site 'The Intercept' that according to a former drone operator for the military's Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the NSA often identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies. In one tactic, the NSA 'geolocates' the SIM card or handset of a suspected terrorist's mobile phone, enabling the CIA and U.S. military to conduct night raids and drone strikes to kill or capture the individual in possession of the device. The technology has been responsible for taking out terrorists and networks of people facilitating improvised explosive device attacks against US forces in Afghanistan. But he also states that innocent people have 'absolutely' been killed as a result of the NSA's increasing reliance on the surveillance tactic. One problem is that targets are increasingly aware of the NSA's reliance on geolocating, and have moved to thwart the tactic. Some have as many as 16 different SIM cards associated with their identity within the High Value Target system while other top Taliban leaders, knowing of the NSA's targeting method, have purposely and randomly distributed SIM cards among their units in order to elude their trackers. As a result, even when the agency correctly identifies and targets a SIM card belonging to a terror suspect, the phone may actually be carried by someone else, who is then killed in a strike. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which uses a conservative methodology to track drone strikes, estimates that at least 2,400 people in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia have been killed by unmanned aerial assaults under the Obama administration. Greenwald's source says he has come to believe that the drone program amounts to little more than death by unreliable metadata. 'People get hung up that there's a targeted list of people. It's really like we're targeting a cell phone. We're not going after people – we're going after their phones, in the hopes that the person on the other end of that missile is the bad guy.' Whether or not Obama is fully aware of the errors built into the program of targeted assassination, he and his top advisers have repeatedly made clear that the president himself directly oversees the drone operation and takes full responsibility for it."
sciencehabit writes "By land or by sea? That's the question scientists have been pondering for decades when it comes to the bottle gourd, a plant with a hard-skinned fruit that's used by cultures all over the world to make lightweight containers and other tools. Archaeologists know that people were using domesticated bottle gourds in the Americas as early as 10,000 years ago. But how did the plant make the jump from its original home in Africa to the New World with an ocean in the way? A new study overturns previous evidence pointing to a human-assisted land migration and concludes that the bottle gourd floated across the Atlantic Ocean to the Americas on its own."
An anonymous reader writes "Verizon has discontinued its Home Monitoring and Control solution, a $10/month service for do-it-yourselfers that enables remote monitoring and control of security, lighting, thermostats and more. The author notes Verizon 'was attempting to become the first successful provider of a DIY security/automation system that had a monthly fee separate from a professionally monitored security system. ... Providers could (and do) charge premiums of $10 or more for automation and self-monitored security as an attachment to professional monitoring, but not as a standalone service.'"
thomst writes "Kim Zetter of Wired's Threat Level reports that Kaspersky Labs discovered a Spanish-language spyware application that 'uses techniques and code that surpass any nation-state spyware previously spotted in the wild.' The malware, dubbed 'The Mask' by Kaspersky's researchers, targeted government agencies, diplomatic offices, embassies, companies in the oil, gas and energy industries, research organizations, and activists. It had been loose on the Internet since at least 2007 before being shut down last month. It infected its targets via a malicious website that contained exploits — among which were the Adobe Flash player vulnerability CVE-2012-0773, affecting both Windows and Linux machines. Users were directed to the site via spearphishing emails."
cold fjord writes "The Verge reports, "NASA is now working with private companies to take the first steps in exploring the moon for valuable resources like helium 3 and rare earth metals. Initial proposals are due tomorrow for the Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown program (CATALYST). One or more private companies will win a contract to build prospecting robots, the first step toward mining the moon. Final proposals are due on March 17th, 2014. NASA has not said when it will announce the winner."
An anonymous reader writes "A recent analysis of 200 colleges and universities published in the Teachers College Record found 43 percent of all letter grades awarded in 2008 were A's, compared to 16 percent in 1960. And Harvard's student paper recently reported the median grade awarded to undergraduates at the elite school is now an A-. A statistician at Duke tried to make a difference and stirred up a hornet's nest in the process."
joe5 writes "Tesla Motors tries to keep product details quiet for the most part, but in a recent Q & A session in Norway (Teslas sell extremely well there) Tesla CEO Elon Musk and the company's CTO JB Straubel discussed some interesting nuggets about the Model S, the upcoming Model X SUV, and the company's planned Model E sedan."
snydeq writes "Programming boot camps are on the rise, but can a crash course in coding truly pay off for students and employers alike? InfoWorld's Dan Tynan discusses the relative (and perceived) value of code academies with founders, alumni, recruiters, and hiring managers. Early impressions and experiences are mixed, but the hacker school trend seems certain to stick. 'Many businesses that are looking at a shortfall of more than a million programmers by the year 2020 are more than willing to give inexperienced grads a chance, even if some are destined to fail. The zero-to-hero success stories may be relatively rare, but they happen often enough to ensure that the boom in quick-and-dirty coding schools is only likely to accelerate.'"
coondoggie writes "The scientists at DARPA say the current methods of searching the Internet for all manner of information just won't cut it in the future. Today the agency announced a program that would aim to totally revamp Internet search and 'revolutionize the discovery, organization and presentation of search results.' Specifically, the goal of DARPA's Memex program is to develop software that will enable domain-specific indexing of public web content and domain-specific search capabilities. According to the agency the technologies developed in the program will also provide the mechanisms for content discovery, information extraction, information retrieval, user collaboration, and other areas needed to address distributed aggregation, analysis, and presentation of web content."
jones_supa writes "At FOSDEM 2014 some recent developments of GNU Hurd were discussed (PDF slides). In the name of freedom, GNU Hurd has now the ability to run device drivers from user-space via the project's DDE layer. Among the mentioned use-cases for the GNU Hurd DDE are allowing VPN traffic to just one application, mounting one's own files, redirecting a user's audio, and more flexible hardware support. You can also run Linux kernel drivers in Hurd's user-space. Hurd developers also have working IDE support, X.Org / graphics support, an AHCI driver for Serial ATA, and a Xen PV DomU. Besides the 64-bit support not being in a usable state, USB and sound support is still missing. As some other good news for GNU Hurd, around 79% of the Debian archive is now building for GNU Hurd, including the Xfce desktop (GNOME and KDE soon) and Firefox web browser."
Nerval's Lobster writes "As Web applications grow in number and capability, storing large amounts of images can quickly become a problem. If you're a Web developer and need to store your client images, do you just keep them on the same server hosting your Website? What if you have several gigabytes worth of images that need to be processed in some way? Today, many developers are looking for an easy but cost-effective solution whereby images can be stored in the cloud and even processed automatically, thus taking a huge load off one's own servers, freeing up resources to focus on building applications. With that in mind, developer and editor Jeff Cogswell looks at a couple different cloud-based services for image storage and processing. At first glance, these services seem similar—but they're actually very different. He examines Cloudinary and Blitline, and encourages developers to take a look at ImageResizer, an open-source package that does a lot of what proprietary services do (you just need to install the software on your own servers). 'If you're not a programmer but a web designer or blogger, Blitline won't be of much use for you,' he writes. 'If you are a developer, both Cloudinary and Blitline work well.' What do you think?"
itwbennett writes "In a review of NSA surveillance last month, President Obama called for a new approach on telephony metadata that will 'establish a mechanism that preserves the capabilities we need without the government holding this bulk metadata.' Obama said that a third party holding all the data in a single, consolidated database would be essentially doing what is a government function, and may not increase public confidence that its privacy is being protected. Now, an RFI (request for information) has been posted to get information on U.S. industry's commercially available capabilities, so that the government can investigate alternative approaches."
Nate the greatest writes "Microsoft has already sunk $600 million into Nook Media, the ebook division spun off from Barnes & Noble in 2012, but I guess that's not enough for the Redmond tech giant: news broke today that they have a third ebook effort in the works. A new job listing discovered by the Chinese tech blog LiveSino has revealed that Microsoft is hiring an ebook developer to work on 'a groundbreaking interactive reading app on Windows, which incorporates books, magazines, and comics.' The position was posted by the Xbox Music, Video, and Reading unit, which had already released two apps for Windows 8 (video, music) and is clearly going for a trifecta. This new app shows all the signs of being completely unrelated to the Office Reader app, which leaked last year. That app reportedly focused more on PDFs, textbooks, and office docs, while the 'Xbox Reading' app mentions magazines and digital comics."
DavidGilbert99 writes "James Dyson only releases products he is 100% happy with, which is why, despite nearly a decade of research in the area, his company has yet to release a robotic vacuum cleaner. To help drive research forward, he will invest £5 million in a joint research lab at Imperial College London which will focus on 'vision systems,' which Dyson hopes will help create the next generation of 'intelligent domestic robots.'" Last week Dyson proposed that the UK government offer monetary incentives to students with an interest and aptitude in science.
An anonymous reader writes "Hackers have penetrated the computer networks of the country's top medical device makers, The Chronicle has learned. The attacks struck Medtronic, the world's largest medical device maker, Boston Scientific and St. Jude Medical sometime during the first half of 2013 and might have lasted as long as several months, according to a source close to the companies."
jfruh writes "Chinese electronics manufacturing giant Foxconn is building factories in Indonesia, and upon hearing the news you might be tempted to think the company is simply moving into labor markets where it can find cheaper employees. But in fact, the Indonesian factories will specifically produce smartphones and computers for Indonesians; the country has almost as many people as the United States, but smartphone penetration there remains low."
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Duncan Geere reports at The Verge that Russian resort as Sochi, on the eastern shore of the Black Sea, is humid and subtropical with temperatures averaging about 52 degrees Fahrenheit (12 C) in the winter, and 75 degrees (24 C) in the summer. "There is almost no snow here — at the moment it's raining," says Olga Mironova, a local resident. It's estimated that the cost of staging the Olympics in Sochi has been greater than the previous three Winter Games combined — ballooning to a whopping $51 billion including the cost of implementing an extensive system of safeguards to ensure there'll be sufficient snow in Sochi for the games including the cost of implementing one of the largest snowmaking systems in Europe. The system includes two huge water reservoirs that feed 400 snow cannons installed along the slopes that can generate snow in temperatures of up to 60 degrees fahrenheit (16 C). If that snow isn't enough, then the authorities will fall back on 710,000 cubic meters of snow collected during the winters of previous years leading up to the games. To keep it from melting in the region's hot summers, 10 separate stockpiles have been kept packed tight under insulating covers high up in the mountains, safe from the sun's rays. Down in Sochi itself the other half of the games will be held in five indoor arenas that will host figure skating, speed skating, hockey, and curling, and an additional outdoor area will host the opening and closing ceremonies. In each of these indoor arenas, underfloor cooling systems are installed so that the ice stays frozen above it using propylene glycol, which doesn't freeze until temperatures reach 8.6 F (-13 C). Climatologists predict that even under a best-case scenario, almost half the venues that have hosted the Winter Olympics over the last century would be unable to do so by 2080 without resorting to extensive and expensive artificial snowmaking techniques.""
An anonymous reader writes "Wine on Android is happening slowly but surely ... Wine is now in a state to be able to run your favorite Windows (x86) game on your Android-powered ARM device, assuming the game is Windows Solitaire. Wine has been making progress on Android to allow simple applications to run on Wine, but they have run into some challenges, as noted in the annual talk at FOSDEM."
sfcrazy writes "A German court has dismissed a 'reselling' case in favor of Valve Software, the maker of Steam OS. German consumer group Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (vzbv) had filed a complaint against Valve as Valve's EULA (End User License Agreement) prohibits users from re-selling their games. What it means is that German users can't resell their Steam Games."
An anonymous reader writes "SecureMac.com has discovered a new trojan horse for Mac OS X called OSX/CoinThief.A, which spies on web traffic to steal Bitcoins. This malware has been found in the wild, along with numerous reports of stolen coins. The malware, which comes disguised as an app to send and receive payments on Bitcoin Stealth Addresses, instead covertly monitors all web traffic in order to steal login info for Bitcoin wallets."