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+ - 181 Alice Is Killing Trolls But Patent Lawyers Will Strike Back

Submitted by snydeq
snydeq (1272828) writes "The wheels of justice spin slowly, but they seem finally to be running software patents out of town, writes Simon Phipps in his analysis of how Alice Corp. v CLS Bank is becoming a landmark decision for patent cases in the U.S. 'In case after case, the Court of Appeals is using Alice to resolve patent appeals. In each case so far, the Court of Appeals has found the software patents in question to be invalid. ... As PatentlyO points out, the Alice effect is even reaching to lower courts, saving the Court of Appeals from having to strike down patent findings on appeal.' Although the patent industry broadly speaking sees the Alice verdict as a death knell for patents, some expect Alice to turn software patents into 'draftsmen's art because as you and I have seen over the years, every time there's a court ruling it just means that you have to word the patent claims differently.'"

+ - 152 Scary Video Highlights Danger of Damaged Lithium Ion Batteries->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "As part of its work testing electronic components, the Japanese National Institute for Technology and Evaluation (NITE) tested batteries about the size of those used in cellphones. They were struck with a hammer then left on a work bench, unconnected from any apparatus. Later — the period of time is unclear from the edited footage — one of the batteries ruptures with a bang, flying across the laboratory. A second clip shows a similar battery erupting in a shower of sparks."
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+ - 102 Dropbox And Google Want To Make Open Source Security Tools Easy To Use

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Dropbox, Google, and the Open Technology Fund today announced a new organization focused on making open source security tools easier to use. Called Simply Secure, the initiative brings together security researchers with experts in user interaction and design to boost adoption rates for consumer-facing security solutions. The companies point out that various security options already do exist, and are technically effective. Features like two-factor authentication remain useless, however, because users don’t adopt them due to inconvenience or technical difficulty."

+ - 157 A Beginner's Guide to Programming with Swift->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "Earlier this year, Apple executives unveiled Swift, which is meant to eventually replace Objective-C as the programming language of choice for Macs and iOS devices. Now that iOS 8's out, a lot of developers who build apps for Apple's platforms will likely give Swift a more intensive look. While Apple boasts that Swift makes programming easy, it'll take some time to learn how the language works. A new walkthrough by developer David Bolton shows how to build a very simple app in Swift, complete with project files (hosted on SourceForge) so you can follow along. A key takeaway: while some Swift features do make programming easier, there's definitely a learning curve here."
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+ - 168 Natural Born Killers: Chimpanzees and Murder Explored

Submitted by Rambo Tribble
Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "Our fellow members of the family Hominidae, chimpanzees, have long been known to engage in murder far more frequently than most of our primate cousins. The reasons for this have been much debated, with many seeking to point blame for the phenomenon on humans, for a variety of reasons. New research suggests that the proclivity for this intra-species killing is innate [Nature abstract]. Quoting one researcher, "It's a natural behaviour — it's not something that we've induced by disturbance or intervention." The BBC also reports on the findings and the controversy."

+ - 102 DOJ Proposal Would Let FBI Hack Into Computers Overseas With Little Oversight->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Ahmed Ghappour, over at JustSecurity, alerts us to a rather frightening proposal from the Justice Department that would enable law enforcement to hack into the computers of people who are trying to be anonymous online. At issue is that current rules basically would extend the powers granted for terrorism investigations to everyday criminal investigations, concerning specifically the DOJ/FBI's ability to hack into computers. In the past, judges could issue warrants for such computer hacking if the target was known to be located in the same district. But the proposed change would wipe out that limitation, and basically give the DOJ/FBI the power to get approval for hacking into a much broader range of computers. Without the geographical limitation, there's concern about just how broadly this new power would be (ab)used:

The DOJ proposal will result in significant departures from the FBI’s customary practice abroad: overseas cyber operations will be unilateral and invasive; they will not be limited to matters of national security; nor will they be executed with the consent of the host country, or any meaningful coordination with the Department of State or other relevant agency.

Under the DOJ’s proposal, unilateral state action will be the rule, not the exception, in the event an anonymous target “prove[s] to be outside the United States.” The reason is simple: without knowing the target location before the fact, there is no way to provide notice (or obtain consent from) a host country until after its sovereignty has been encroached.

Without advanced knowledge of the host country, law enforcement will not be able to adequately avail itself to protocols currently in place to facilitate foreign relations. For example, the FBI will not be able to coordinate with the Department of State before launching a Network Investigative Technique. This puts the U.S. in a position where a law enforcement entity encroaches on the territorial sovereignty of foreign states without coordination with the agency in charge of its foreign relations.


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+ - 176 Satanists dramatize distribution of religious materials at schools

Submitted by tylikcat
tylikcat (1578365) writes "In response to a ruling allowing Christian groups to distribute bibles and other Christian oriented materials in schools, the Satanic Temple has decided to distributed their own The Satanic Children's Big Book of Activities. Let the games begin!

To be fair, the Satanic Temple is is forthright in stating that they would not have sought the right to distibute such materials on their own, but point out that most children will already be aware of Christianity, but this might be the first time they encounter to the practice of Satanism."

+ - 102 NASA Wants to 3D Print Tools, Radiation Shields & Habitats on Mars Within 10->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "On September 20th, NASA and Made In Space will be sending the first zero-gravity 3D printer up to the International Space Station. While most people see this as a tremendous accomplishment, NASA's Niki Werkheiser says that it is only the beginning. When asked where she sees the technology of 3D printing in its relation to space travel in the next 10 years, she stated, "On Mars building everything from hand tools to radiation shielding habitats – and maybe even the engines you need to travel throughout the cosmos!""
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+ - 198 Mozilla Labs Closed And Nobody Noticed->

Submitted by mikejuk
mikejuk (1801200) writes "When Google Labs closed there was an outcry. How could an organization just pull the rug from under so many projects?
At least Google announced what it was doing. Mozilla, it seems since there is no official record, just quietly tiptoes away — leaving the lights on since the Mozilla Labs Website is still accessible. It is accessible but when you start to explore the website you notice it is moribund with the last blog post being December 2013 with the penultimate one being September 2013.
The fact that it is gone is confirmed by recent blog posts and by the redeployment of the people who used to run it. The projects that survived have been moved to their own websites. It isn't clear what has happened to the Hatchery -the incubator that invited new ideas from all and sundry.
One of the big advantages of open source is the ease with which a project can be started. One of the big disadvantages of open source is the ease with which projects can be allowed to die — often without any clear cut time of death. It seems Mozilla applies this to groups and initiatives as much as projects. This isn't good."

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+ - 132 Long-Lasting, Water-Based Nuclear Battery Developed->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "Researchers working at the University of Missouri (MU) claim to have produced a prototype of a nuclear-powered, water-based battery that is said to be both longer-lasting and more efficient than current battery technologies and may eventually be used as a dependable power supply in vehicles, spacecraft, and other applications where longevity, reliability, and efficiency are paramount."
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+ - 107 Latest Logitech Harmony Remotes Can Now Control Smart Home Devices Too->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "In an ongoing effort to put every device in your house under the control of a Harmony Remote, Logitech is also now claiming they're ready to take over other devices in addition to those that reside in your living room. The company stepped into the home control market, releasing two high-end home remotes and the Logitech Harmony Home Hub, which manages the traffic between the remotes and your home's door locks, garage door opener, thermostat, lights and window shades, among other devices. Interestingly, the most important part of the Logitech Harmony Home series is also one of the cheapest. The Logitech Harmony Home Hub, which will set you back $99.99, use a variety of connectivity options (including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth) to send commands from your wireless remote to your thermostat and other devices. It's compatible with home automation tools from industry brands, including August, Honeywell, Kwikset, Schlage, and Sylvania (to name just a few). For controlling those devices, you have three options: an app for your smartphone, the Logitech Harmony Home Control ($149.99), or the Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home ($349.99)."
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+ - 157 US Military Unaware of Chinese Attacks Against Transport Contractors->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "The Senate Armed Service Committee released on Wednesday an unclassified version of a report (PDF) commissioned last year to investigate cyberattacks against contractors for the U.S. Transportation Command (TRANSCOM). The report alleges that the Chinese military successfully stole emails, documents, login credentials and more from contractors, but few of those incidents were ever reported to TRANSCOM. During a one-year period starting in June 2012, TRANSCOM contractors endured more than 50 intrusions, 20 of which were successful in planting malware. TRANSCOM learned of only two of the incidents. The FBI, however, was aware of 10 of the attacks."
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+ - 126 NASA's Dawn spacecraft Delayed 1 month due to radiation

Submitted by ordirules
ordirules (2874769) writes "NASA's Dawn spacecraft has been delayed 1 month due to a suspected radiation blast, causing the spacecraft to enter into safe mode and disable its ion engine. From JPL:
"Although they have not yet specifically pinpointed the cause of this issue, it could also be explained by a high-energy particle corrupting the software running in the main computer. Ultimately the team reset the computer, which restored the pointing performance to normal. "
One of the goals of this mission was to test their ion engine. With technology containing less and less moving parts, it is clear that space travel relies heavily on the ability of software to recover from a malfunction."

+ - 204 FCC May Raise Broadband Speed Requirements for Subsidies to ISPs 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "On Wednesday at a hearing in front of the US House Committee on Small Business, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler stated that for ISPs to be eligible for government broadband subsidies, they would have to deliver speeds of at least 10 Mbps. Said Wheeler: "What we are saying is we can't make the mistake of spending the people's money, which is what Universal Service is, to continue to subsidize something that's subpar." He further indicated that he would remedy the situation by the end of 2014. The broadband subsidies are collected through bill surcharges paid for by phone customers."

+ - 135 Future Crime Hot Spots Predicted Using Mobile Phone Data

Submitted by KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "A growing number of police forces around the world are using data on past crimes to predict the likelihood of crimes in the future. These predictions can be made more accurate by combining crime data with local demographic data about the local population. However, this data is time consuming and expensive to collect and so only updated rarely. Now a team of data experts have shown how combing crime data with data collected from mobile phones can make the prediction of future crimes even more accurate. The team used an anonymised dataset of O2 mobile phone users in the London metropolitan area during December 2012 and January 2013. They then used a small portion of the data to train a machine learning algorithm to find correlations between this and local crime statistics in the same period. Finally, they used the trained algorithm to predict future crime rates in the same areas. Without the mobile phone data, the predictions have an accuracy of 62 per cent. But the phone data increases this accuracy significantly to almost 70 per cent. What's more, the data is cheap to collect and can be gathered in more or less real time. Whether the general population would want their data used in this way is less clear but either way, Minority Report-style policing is looking less far-fetched than when the film appeared in 2002."

+ - 132 NASA Inspector General lobs big rocks at agency's asteroid hunting program->

Submitted by coondoggie
coondoggie (973519) writes "Lack of money, management structure and staff are hampering NASA’s ability to effectively identify and track comets, meteorites and asteroids that might threaten Earth. The space agency’s Inspector General, Paul Martin, issued a scathing report this week that said while NASA’s Near Earth Object program has done substantial work in identifying the sometimes massive rocks hurtling around the planet it is substantially behind in its goal of cataloging 90% of those 140 meters in diameter by 2020, among other issues."
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+ - 167 Ask Slashdot: How hard is it to pick-up astronomy and physics as an adult? 1

Submitted by samalex01
samalex01 (1290786) writes "I'm 38, married, two young kids, and I have a nice job in the IT industry, but since I was a kid I've had this deep love and passion for astronomy and astrophysics. This love and passion though never evolved into any formal education or anything beyond just a distant fascination as I got out of high school, into college, and started going through life on more of an IT career path.

So my question, now that I'm 38 is there any hope that I could start learning more about astronomy or physics to make it more than just a hobby? I don't expect to be a Carl Sagan or Neil deGrasse Tyson, but I'd love to have enough knowledge in these subjects to research and experiment to the point where I could possibly start contributing back to the field. MIT Open Courseware has some online courses for free that cover these topics, but given I can only spend maybe 10 hours a week on this would it be a pointless venture? Not to mention my mind isn't as sharp now as it was 20 years ago when I graduated high school.

Thanks for any advice or suggestions."

"Be *excellent* to each other." -- Bill, or Ted, in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure