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IT Execs On Their Dream Dinner Guests 83

StewBeans writes: In this lighthearted article for the holiday, IT executives were asked, if they could invite any technologist living or deceased to their Thanksgiving dinner, who would they invite and why? One CTO said that he'd invite the CTO of Amazon, Werner Vogels, so he could hear his thoughts on the future of cloud computing. Another would invite Ratan Tata, who he calls the "Bill Gates of India." Other responses range from early visionaries like Grace Hopper and Vint Cerf to the mysterious inventors/designers of the Roland TR-808.

Axel Springer Goes After iOS 9 Ad Blockers In New Legal Battlle ( 222

An anonymous reader writes: Germany's Axel Springer, owner of newspapers like Bild and Die Welt, is pursuing legal action against the developers of Blockr, an ad blocker for iOS 9. Techcrunch reports: "In October, Axel Springer forced visitors to Bild to turn off their ad blockers or pay a monthly fee to continue using the site. Earlier this month, the publisher reported the success of this measure, saying that the proportion of readers using ad blockers dropped from 23% to the single digits when faced with the choice to turn off the software or pay. 'The results are beyond our expectations,' said Springer chief exec Mathias Döpfner at the time. 'Over two-thirds of the users concerned switched off their adblocker.' He also noted that the website received an additional 3 million visits from users who could now see the ads in the first two weeks of the experiment going live."

Canada Reinstates Mandatory Census, To Delight of Social Scientists ( 284

Eloking writes with news that the government of Liberal Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be reinstating the mandatory long-form census that the outgoing government had ended. Science reports: "The new Canadian government today announced it would restore the country's mandatory long-form census. 'Our plan for open and fair government starts today with restoring the long-form census,' said Navdeep Bains, minister of innovation, science and economic development, speaking in Ottawa alongside Jean-Yves Duclos, minister of families, children and social development. 'We're focused on good evidence-based policies.' Bains said that Statistics Canada would be able to meet the 2 May deadline to roll out the 2016 census, which is conducted every 5 years, and that there would be no additional costs to making it mandatory. He confirmed that residents who fail to fill out the census could face criminal prosecution, an issue that contributed to the decision by the Harper government to make the 2011 census voluntary."

Maybe You Don't Need 8 Hours of Sleep After All ( 315

schwit1 writes: You've heard of the Paleo diet, but the next big thing in health may well be the Paleo sleep schedule. A UCLA researcher studied three hunter-gatherer and hunter-farmer groups -- the Hadza in Tanzania, San in Namibia, and Tsimane in Bolivia, "who live roughly the same lifestyle humans did in the Paleolithic," as NPR reports -- and determined our ancient ancestors may not have slept nearly as much we thought, and may have actually slept less than modern Westerners. "People like to complain that modern life is ruining sleep, but they're just saying: Kids today!" Jerome Siegel tells the Atlantic . "It's a perennial complaint but you need data to know if it's true." Siegel found that members of the three aforementioned groups sleep between 5.7 hours and 7.1 hours per night. That's less than is recommended for our health, yet the groups seemed very healthy indeed. (And if you're feeling insomniac, some earlier Slashdot stories about sleep are also pretty thought-provoking.)

EU Probes TVs Over Energy Test Scores 93

joesreviewss writes: The European Commission says it will follow up on evidence that Samsung and another TV-maker use software that alters their screens' power use during tests. The BBC reports: "One study indicates that some Samsung TVs nearly halve their power consumption when a standardised test is carried out. Another accuses a different unnamed manufacturer of adjusting the brightness of its sets when they "recognise" the test film involved. Samsung has denied any wrongdoing. It acknowledged that it used software that altered its televisions' performance during tests, but said this was the effect of a general energy efficiency feature that came into effect during normal use and had nothing to do with the testing process."

AMD Radeon R9 Nano: 6 Inches Of High-Priced, High-Performance Graphics 26

Vigile writes: Back when AMD announced it would be producing an even smaller graphics card than the Fury X, but based on the same full-sized Fiji GPU, many people wondered just how they would be able to pull it off. Using 4096 stream processors, a 4096-bit memory bus with 4GB of HBM (high bandwidth memory) and a clock speed rated "up to" 1000 MHz, the new AMD Radeon R9 Nano looked to be an impressive card. Today, PC Perspective has a review of the R9 Nano and though there are some quirks, including pronounced coil whine and a hefty $650 price tag, it offers nearly the same performance as the non-X Radeon R9 Fury card at 100 watts lower TDP! It is able to do that by dynamically adjusting the clock speed from ~830 MHz to 1000 MHz depending on the workload, always maintaining a peak power draw of just 175 watts. All of this is packed into a 6 inch PCB — smaller than any other enthusiast class GPU to date, making it a perfect pairing for SFF cases that demand smaller components. The R9 Nano is expensive though with the same asking price as AMD's own R9 Fury X and the GeForce GTX 980 Ti. Readers have also submitted links to reviews at Hot Hardware and Tom's Hardware.

Chinese Scientists Discover Structural Basis of Pre-mRNA Splicing 48

hackingbear writes: On August 21st, the research team led by Prof. Yigong Shi from School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University in China published two side-by-side research articles in Science, reporting the long-sought-after structure of a yeast spliceosome at 3.6 angstrom resolution determined by single particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), and the molecular mechanism of pre-messenger RNA splicing. Until now, decades of genetic and biochemical experiments have identified almost all proteins in spliceosome and uncovered some functions. Yet, the structure remained a mystery for a long time. The works, primarily performed by Dr. Chuangye Yan, and Ph.D students Jing Hang and Ruixue Wan under Prof. Yigong Shi's supervision, settled this Holy Grail question and established the structural basis for the related area. This work was supported by funds from the Ministry of Science and Technology and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

Linux Servers' Entropy Pool Too Shallow, Compromising Security 111

The BBC reports that Black Hat presenters Bruce Potter and Sasha Woods described at this year's Black Hat Briefings a security flaw in Linux servers: too few events are feeding the entropy pool from which random numbers are drawn, which leaves the systems "more susceptible to well-known attacks." Unfortunately, [Potter] said, the entropy of the data streams on Linux servers was often very low because the machines were not generating enough raw information for them. Also, he said, server security software did little to check whether a data stream had high or low entropy. These pools often ran dry leaving encryption systems struggling to get good seeds for their random number generators, said Mr Potter. This might meant they were easier to guess and more susceptible to a brute force attack because seeds for new numbers were generated far less regularly than was recommended. Update: 08/10 01:05 GMT by T : Please note that Sasha Woods' name was mis-reported as Sasha Moore; that's now been changed in the text above.

Scientists Identify Sixth Taste: Fat 90

New submitter shuheng writes with news that a study out of Purdue claims to have identified the sixth distinct taste known to humans: fat. The scientists say it should be called oleogustus which means "fatty taste" in Latin (abstract). Professor Richard Mattes said, Most of the fat we eat is in the form of triglycerides, which are molecules comprised of three fatty acids. Triglycerides often impart appealing textures to foods like creaminess. However, triglycerides are not a taste stimulus. Fatty acids that are cleaved off the triglyceride in the food or during chewing in the mouth stimulate the sensation of fat. The taste component of fat is often described as bitter or sour because it is unpleasant, but new evidence reveals fatty acids evoke a unique sensation satisfying another element of the criteria for what constitutes a basic taste, just like sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami.

Europe's Top Court To Decide If Uber Is Tech Firm Or Taxi Company 193

An anonymous reader writes: A Spanish judge has requested that the European Court of Justice determine whether or not Uber is a generic "digital service," as it claims, or a "mere transport activity." If the court rules that Uber is a transportation firm the company may have to follow the same licensing and safety rules as taxis and other hired vehicles. "Today's news means that the European Court of Justice will now determine if the national rules currently being applied to digital services like Uber are legal and appropriate under European law," said Mark MacGann, Uber's Head of Public Policy for EMEA, on a conference call with journalists.
The Military

Army Exoskeleton Prototype Helps Soldiers Learn To Shoot 86

An anonymous reader writes: Infantrymen live by their shooting skills, but becoming an expert marksman can take a long time. U.S. Army researchers are working on a way to improve these skills with the help of the MAXFAS, an arm exoskeleton that uses arm braces to correct involuntary arm shakes. Designed At the U.S. Army Research Laboratory by Dan Baechle, the MAXFAS has been shown to improve aim even after users have taken it off. "Soldiers need to be able to aim and shoot accurately and quickly in the chaos of the battlefield," Baechle said. "Training with MAXFAS could improve Soldiers' accuracy, and reduce current time and ammunition requirements in basic training."

US Airlines Say Smaller Carry-Ons Are Not In the Cards 273

New submitter callgen writes: Airlines for America, a trade group for U.S. carriers, has rejected proposed international standards for carry-on bags. Last week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced an initiative to "optimize" airlines' accommodation of carry-on bags by suggesting a new standard luggage size. It suggested a standard of 55cm x 35cm x 19cm, 58% of the size that Southwest allows. Most standard carry-ons are larger than IATA's recommendations, meaning travelers would have to purchase new luggage if the smaller size was adopted.
The Military

US Military To Recruit Civilian Cybersecurity Experts 67

An anonymous reader writes The U.S. Army is to create a new cybersecurity division, Cyber Branch 17, and is also considering launching a cyber career track for civilians, according to an announcement made this week by Lt. Gen. Edward C. Cardon. Cardon, who currently heads the U.S. Army's cyber command, ARCYBER, spoke to the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on Tuesday about the growing threats and capabilities used in cyber warfare. He argued that creating a cyber career management field for civilians would result in an easier recruitment process, as opposed to recruiting internally and trying to retain the talent, he said. Cardon maintains that recruiting and retaining talent in the field is often challenging, given internal employment constraints surrounding compensation and slow hiring processes.

Google To Offer Ad-Free YouTube - At a Price 358

First time accepted submitter totalcaos writes YouTube announced today its plans for an ad-free, subscription-based service by way of an email sent out to YouTube Partners. The email details the forthcoming option, which will offer consumers the choice to pay for an "ads-free" version of YouTube for a monthly fee. The additional monetization option requires partners to agree to updated terms on YouTube's Creator Studio Dashboard, which notes that the changes will go into effect on June 15, 2015. We talked about the possibility of an ad-free model back in October.

FreeBSD-Current Random Number Generator Broken 105

First time accepted submitter bobo the hobo writesThe FreeBSD random number has been discovered to be generating possibly predictable SSH keys and SSL certificates for months. Time to regenerate your keys and certs if using FreeBSD-Current. A message to the freebsd-current mailing list reads in part: "If you are running a current kernel r273872 or later, please upgrade your kernel to r278907 or later immediately and regenerate keys. I discovered an issue where the new framework code was not calling randomdev_init_reader, which means that read_random(9) was not returning good random data. read_random(9) is used by arc4random(9) which is the primary method that arc4random(3) is seeded from."

MPAA Considers Major Changes After Sony Hack 65

Earthquake Retrofit shares this story about changes that may be coming to the MPAA prompted by the Sony hack. "Fissures revealed by the hacking at Sony Pictures Entertainment have raised the prospect of profound change at one of Hollywood's oldest institutions: the Motion Picture Association of America. In a behind-the-scenes drama, the Sony Pictures chairman, Michael Lynton, last month told industry colleagues of a plan to withdraw from the movie trade organization, according to people who have been briefed on the discussions. He cited the organization’s slow response and lack of public support in the aftermath of the attack on Sony and its film The Interview, as well as longstanding concerns about the cost and efficacy of the group. Reversing course in mid-January, as the Oscar nominations were being announced, Mr. Lynton stayed in. But he and other studio executives are now discussing proposals that could alter the structure, mandate and governance of a 93-year-old organization that has been the policy front for Hollywood’s major film studios."

Uber Will Add Panic Button and Location/Journey Sharing In India 91

mpicpp sends word about new Uber safety measures coming soon to India. "Late last year, Uber announced plans for tighter safety measures in India following the rape of a passenger using its service in December. Now it has confirmed that two major features — an in-app panic button and journey/location sharing — will roll out to users in India on February 11

The company went public with the launch date after Times Of India reported that the Mumbai transportation department was considering a ban on its service over its apparent approach to safety. Authorities are reportedly "not happy with Uber representatives' responses during various meetings held to consider measures for passengers' safety."

Uber cleared the air on its plans to settle "some misconceptions" around its safety policy — which already includes more stringent background checks and a dedicated emergency response team. That will be boosted when the in-app panic button, which alerts local police when triggered, and a 'safety net' feature, which goes beyond Uber's existing 'share my ETA' feature to let customers share details of their location and trip with up to five other people, go live in India next week."

South Korean Activist To Drop "The Interview" In North Korea Using Balloons Screenshot-sm 146

Siddharth Srinivas writes Park Sang Hak, a North Korean democracy activist, said he will start dropping 100,000 DVDs and USBs with Sony's The Interview by balloon in North Korea as early as late January. He's partnering with the U.S.-based non-profit Human Rights Foundation, which is financing the making of the DVDs and USB memory sticks of the movie with Korean subtitles.

Material Possiblities: A Flying Drone Built From Fungus 52

Nerval's Lobster writes What if you could construct an unmanned aerial vehicle out of biological material, specifically a lightweight-but-strong one known as mycelium? The vegetative part of a fungus, mycelium is already under consideration as a building material; other materials would include cellulose sheets, layered together into "leather," as well as starches worked into a "bioplastic." While a mushroom-made drone is probably years away from takeoff, a proposal for the device caught some attention at this year's International Genetically Engineered Machine competition. Designed by a team of students from Brown, Spelman, and Stanford Universities in conjunction with researchers from NASA, such a drone would (theoretically) offer a cheap and lightweight way to get a camera and other tools airborne. 'If we want to fly it over wildfires to see where it's spreading, or if there's a nuclear meltdown and we want to fly in to see what's going on with the radioactivity, we can send in the drone and it can send back data without returning,' Ian Hull, a Stanford sophomore involved in the project, told Fast Company.

Twitter Use By Romney and Obama In 2012 Highlight the Speed of Social Media 47 writes On 30 August 2012, Hollywood star Clint Eastwood took the stage to lambast President Obama. What ensued was an odd, 11-minute monologue where Eastwood conversed with an empty chair upon which an imaginary Barack Obama sat. The evening of Eastwood's speech the official campaign Twitter account @MittRomney did not mention the actor, while the Obama campaign deftly tweeted out from @BarackObama a picture of the president sitting in his chair with the words "This Seat's Taken". The picture was retweeted 59,663 times, favorited 23,887 times, and, as importantly, was featured in news articles across the country. According to Daniel Kress both campaigns sought to influence journalists in direct and indirect ways, and planned their strategic communication efforts around political events such as debates well in advance. Despite these similarities, staffers say that Obama's campaign had much greater ability to respond in real time to unfolding commentary around political events (PDF) given an organizational structure that provided digital staffers with a high degree of autonomy.

Romney's social media team did well when it practiced its strategy carefully before big events like the debates. But Obama's social media team was often quicker to respond to things and more creative. According to Kress, at extraordinary moments campaigns can exercise what Isaac Reed calls "performative power," influence over other actors' definitions of the situation and their consequent actions through well-timed, resonant, and rhetorically effective communicative action and interaction. During the Romney campaign as many as 22 staffers screened posts for Romney's social media accounts before they could go out. As Romney's digital director Zac Moffatt told Kreiss, the campaign had "the best tweets ever written by 17 people. ... It was the best they all could agree on every single time."