An anonymous reader writes "Dutch hosting provider Antagonist announced their in-house developed technology that automatically detects and fixes vulnerabilities in their customers' websites. The service is aimed at popular software such as WordPress, Drupal and Joomla. 'As soon as a vulnerability is detected, we inform the customer. We also explain how the customer can resolve the issue. In case the customer does not respond to our first notice within the next two weeks, we automatically patch the vulnerability.' Antagonist plans to license the technology to other hosting providers as well."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
An anonymous reader writes "A petition has recently been started to get the developer of the popular Android 'MIUI' ROM, Chinese based Xiaomi, to comply with the GPL. While Android itself is licensed under the Apache 2.0 License, and therefore does not actually require derivative works to be FOSS, the Linux kernel itself is GPL-licensed and needs to remain open. Unless Xiaomi intends to develop a replacement for the Linux kernel, they need to make their modifications public."
An article at Ars examines three members of the U.S. House of Representatives who are seeking chairmanship of its Committee on Space, Science, and Technology. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said in an interview, "My analysis is that in the global warming debate, we won. There were a lot of scientists who were just going along with the flow on the idea that mankind was causing a change in the world's climate. I think that after 10 years of debate, we can show that that there are hundreds if not thousands of scientists who have come over to being skeptics, and I don't know anyone [who was a skeptic] who became a believer in global warming." James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) has a similar record of opposing climate change, as does Lamar Smith (R-TX). Relatedly, Phil Plait, a.k.a. The Bad Astronomer, has posted an article highlighting how U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate's Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, has declined to answer a question about how old the Earth is, calling it "one of the great mysteries."
An anonymous reader writes "It looks like the next generation of 'Battle Bots' is here: 'Syfy has greenlit and shot the first season of a new show where eight-foot-tall state-of-the-art humanoid robots will rock 'em and sock 'em in a boxing cage until one is defeated. The future-shock new series is called Robot Combat League and the project has been kept under wraps until today. The action resembles a real-life version of last year's hit movie Real Steel, with large menacing robots pounding away at each other in a satisfying shower of sparks and gushing hydraulic fluid.' Pictures are included with the story."
ananyo writes "Quantum-encryption systems that encode signals into a series of single photons have so far been unable to piggyback on existing telecommunications lines because they don't stand out from the millions of others in an optical fiber. But now, physicists using a technique for detecting dim light signals have transmitted a quantum key along 90 kilometers of noisy optical fiber. The feat could see quantum cryptography finally enter the mainstream. The researchers developed a detector that picks out photons only if they strike it at a precise instant, calculated on the basis of when the encoded photons were sent. The team's 'self-differentiating' detector activates for 100 picoseconds, every nanosecond. The weak charge triggered by a photon strike in this short interval would not normally stand out, but the detector measures the difference between the signal recorded during one operational cycle and the signal from the preceding cycle — when no matching photon was likely to be detected. This cancels out the background hum. Using this device, the team has transmitted a quantum key along a 90-kilometer fiber, which also carried noisy data at 1 billion bits per second in both directions — a rate typical of a telecommunications fiber."
An anonymous reader writes "The Tolkien Estate has filed an $80 million copyright infringement lawsuit in U.S. District Court over the use of Lord of the Rings slot machines. The complaint hinges on a contract between the estate and Warner Bros. which allows the creation of LotR merchandise but not LotR 'intangibles,' like the experience of playing a slot machine game. According to the estate (PDF), 'Not only does the production of gambling games patently exceed the scope of defendants' rights, but this infringing conduct has outraged Tolkien's devoted fan base, causing irreparable harm to Tolkien's legacy and reputation and the valuable goodwill generated by his works.'"
An anonymous reader writes "The Register is reporting on how debate over diversity has managed to get a Ruby conference in the UK cancelled, as the speakers were 100% white male. The person running the conference, Chuck Hardy, said he 'was not prepared to put [himself] in the position of legal liability and cost ramifications if a sponsor were to pull out under social media strain.' He added, 'The ramifications of comments such as race and gender can have financial and legal consequences for the conference organizer. Raise these issues but allow the conference organizers the chance to highlight and act on these industry level issues. Accusation and slander is not a solution.' Should conferences embrace diversity from the start, or should they go forward even if the speakers are all of the same denomination? How far do we have to go to ensure we are diverse?"
MrSeb writes "In a year or two, augmented reality (AR) headsets such as Google Glass may double up as a virtual dieting pill. New research from the University of Tokyo shows that a very simple AR trick can reduce the amount that you eat by 10% — and yes, the same trick, used in the inverse, can be used to increase food consumption by 15%, too. The AR trick is very simple: By donning the glasses, the University of Tokyo's special software 'seamlessly' scales up the size of your food. You pick up an Oreo cookie, and then the software automatically scales it up to 1.5 times its natural size. Using a deformation algorithm, the person's hand is manipulated so that the giant Oreo appears (somewhat) natural. In testing, this simple trick was enough to reduce the amount of food eaten by 10%. The inverse is also true: shrinking the Oreo down to two-thirds its natural size increased food consumption by 15%. This new research dovetails neatly with an area of nutritional science that has received a lot of attention in the United States of Obesity recently: That the size of the serving/plate/cup/receptacle directly affects your intake. The fact is, there's a lot more to dieting than simply reducing your calorific intake and exercising regularly. Your state of mind as you sit down to eat, and your perception of what you're eating, are just as important — which is exciting news, because both of those factors can be hacked."
Presto Vivace writes "Under the right conditions, online activism can be very effective. U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy has already abandoned his warrantless e-mail surveillance bill we discussed this morning. 'The Vermont Democrat said today on Twitter that he would "not support such an exception" for warrantless access. ... A vote on the proposal in the Senate Judiciary committee, which Leahy chairs, is scheduled for next Thursday. The amendments were due to be glued onto a substitute (PDF) to H.R. 2471, which the House of Representatives already has approved. Leahy's about-face comes in response to a deluge of criticism today, including the ACLU saying that warrants should be required, and the conservative group FreedomWorks launching a petition to Congress -- with over 2,300 messages sent so far -- titled: "Tell Congress: Stay Out of My Email!""
Mephistophocles writes "Ever since the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense, hackers have been working overtime to strike a blow against the Israeli government's computer systems, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said Sunday. No fewer than 44 million attacks have been recorded since the operation began five days ago — with nearly all of them failing, thanks to the recent strengthening of computer defense systems in Israel. Speaking at a special press conference at the Government Computing Center in Jerusalem about the cyber war against Israel that has accompanied Hamas's rocket attacks, Steinitz said that hackers 'are trying to disable the symbols of Israeli sovereignty, to enter web sites and install anti-Israel content, thus compromising information and data and damaging the government's ability to serve the public.' Most of the attacks, he said, were against government sites, like the Prime Minister's Office site, and security-related sites, such as that of the Home Front Command, the body charged with informing Israelis on how to protect themselves in the event of an attack. Out of those 44 million-plus attacks on government and defense related sites, said Steinitz, only one succeeded – partially. One site, which he did not name, was 'wobbly for a few minutes,' but quickly recovered. Even though the government has been successful in warding off hack attacks, Steinitz said that government sites were fully backed up and mirrored, meaning that they could be replaced by a duplicate site instantly if the original site were compromised."
concealment sends this quote from MIT's Technology Review: "AT&T screwed up in 2010, serving up the e-mail addresses of over 110,000 of its iPad 3G customers online for anyone to find. But Andrew Auernheimer, an online activist who pointed out AT&T's blunder to Gawker Media, which went on to publicize the breach of private information, is the one in federal court this week. Groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation worry that should that charge succeed it will become easy to criminalize many online activities, including work by well-intentioned activists looking for leaks of private information or other online security holes. [Auernheimer's] case hasn't received much attention so far, but should he be found guilty this week it will likely become well known, fast."
Imagine that you are at 33 Flatbush Ave. in the Brooklyn borough of what David Letterman calls "the world's greatest city." You go to the 7th floor. Congratulations. You have found New York City's community biolab, Genspace. It's a well-equipped facility without a single mad scientist in sight. Indeed, everyone here seems as happy as the people you see in a makerspace -- which should not be surprising, since Genspace is essentially a makerspace for biologists. It is confined to non-hazardous experiments, but there is plenty going on, including ongoing projects and courses with titles like DIY Neuroscience: Controlling Behavior from the Inside. You can keep up with Genspace by following their blog. And of course, if you're in the neighborhood you should stop in. It's a welcoming environment, dedicated to the idea that science is for everyone, not just a chosen few.
An anonymous reader writes "As expected, Mozilla on Tuesday officially launched Firefox 17 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. The biggest addition in this release is click-to-play plugins, announced back in October. In short, the addition means Mozilla will now prompt Firefox users on Windows with old versions of Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, and Microsoft Silverlight (more will be added eventually)." The release notes are available, as is a list of changes for devs. Firefox for Android got a new release as well (notes).
elashish14 writes "David Kappos, head of the USPTO, today provided a strong defense of the patent system, particularly in the mobile industry. In his address, he implored critics, 'Give the [America Invents Act] a chance to work.' He then went on to proclaim the 'absolutely breakneck pace' of innovation in the smartphone industry and that the U.S. patent system is 'the envy of the world,' though he was likely only referring to the envy of the world's lawyers. Perhaps the most laughable quote from his address: 'The explosion of litigation we are seeing is a reflection of how the patent system wires us for innovation.'"