mask.of.sanity writes "Lights, sounds and magnetic fields can be used to activate malware on phones, new research has found. The lab-style attacks defined in a paper (PDF) used pre-defined signals hidden in songs and TV programmes as a trigger to activate embedded malware. Malware once activated would carry out programmed attacks either by itself or as part of a wider botnet of mobile devices."
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J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot of Star Trek was wildly successful. It raked in hundreds of millions at the box office, and revitalized the Star Trek franchise, which had languished for 7 years without a new film and 4 years without a TV presence (after 18 consecutive years of new shows). It also did something no Trek movie had done before; it made Star Trek ‘cool’ in the public consciousness. Combined, those factors ensured Abrams would get another turn at the helm of a Trek movie, and sooner rather than later. With today's release of Star Trek: Into Darkness, that trend is very likely to continue. It's a movie with all the same strengths and weaknesses of its predecessor, and if it worked before, it'll work again. Read on for our review.
New submitter hguorbray writes "One of my favorite Sci-Fi authors of all time, Gene Wolfe, will be honored with the Damon Night Grand Master award at the Nebula Awards weekend in San Jose this weekend. This Thursday night he will be doing a reading and Q&A along with Connie Willis (author of the Doomsday Book, Blackout/All Clear, etc.) at the San Jose Hilton. There will be a mass book signing event Friday including these authors and many others presented by San Francisco's Borderlands Books." Here are this year's Nebula Award nominees. The awards will be presented at a ceremony starting 7pm ET on Saturday.
Today Microsoft made an addition to its Bing translation service: the Klingon language. You can now easily read up on proper grooming habits for your Targ, learn how to perform routine maintenance on your painstiks, and brush up on your Shakespeare. You can also brush up on your tlhIngan Hol by reading your favorite websites through a translation filter. The timing is no coincidence; Star Trek: Into Darkness is coming out on Friday. Qapla'
The first trailer has been released for the movie adaptation of Orson Scott Card's sci-fi classic Ender's Game. It gives us a good look at Harrison Ford as Colonel Graff, Ben Kingsley as Mazer Rackham, and Hugo's Asa Butterfield as Ender. It also demonstrates just how much money they put into the special effects for this movie.
An anonymous reader writes "Modern warfare these days is all about a 'networked environment.' But what happens when such things that make a modern military work breakdown? How would America's armed forces fight if their computers crashed, could not communicate, or were hit with massive viruses? What then? 'There's wisdom in science fiction. The conceit behind the reboot of the sci-fi epic Battlestar Galactica was that networking military forces exposes them to disaster unless commanders and weapons designers think ahead to the repercussions should an enemy exploit or break the network. The mechanical Cylons, arch foes of humanity, are able to crush the humans' battle fleet and bombard their home worlds with nukes by insinuating viruses into networked computers. They sever contact between capital ships and their fighter forces, and they shut down the fleet's and planets' defenses. Having lost the habit of fighting without networked systems, human crews make easy pickings for Cylon predators.'"
Avantare writes "The first sci-fi novel I read was A Wrinkle in Time; the next was Dune. Why don't more people read these extraordinarily imaginative books? Delegate Ray Canterbury, who represents Greenbrier County in southern WV, wants to help with that. Canterbury introduced House Bill 2983, which reads, 'To stimulate interest in math and science among students in the public schools of this state, the State Board of Education shall prescribe minimum standards by which samples of grade-appropriate science fiction literature are integrated into the curriculum of existing reading, literature or other required courses for middle school and high school students.' For decades, walking around with a paperback sci-fi novel in your back pocket at school was the quickest way to find yourself permanently excluded from the cool-kid clique. But what if it wasn't just the geeks who read Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke? What if science fiction was mandatory reading for all students?"
I've been really, really excited about digital video distribution lately: first Netflix greenlights jms's return to science fiction TV, and then Amazon announces their new pilots. Perhaps the decade long dearth of any good television is nearing its end! So, with that in mind, I finished up editing Slashdot for the day and sat down to watch some of these new pilots. Only to discover that Amazon has taken away my ability to watch entirely in the name of Digital Restrictions Management.
new submitter heybiff writes "It is the time of year where students are scrambling for extra credit assignments to boost grades. As a middle school science teacher, I want to accommodate them, while still keeping science involved; and book reports are a popular activity in my school. Unfortunately, I have only been able to come up with a short list of science related books that a 11-14 year old would or could read in their free time: Ender's Game, Hitchhiker's Guide. What books would you recommend as a good read for an extra credit book report, that would still involve a strong science twist or inspire a student's interest in science? The book must be in print, science related, fiction or non-fiction, and not be overtly objectionable or outright banned. I look forward to the submissions." "Outright banned" actually seems a rich vein on which to draw; note that not even Ender's Game is safe.
New submitter JonOomph writes "Director Alex Cox, the creator of Repo Man and Sid and Nancy, is making plans via Kickstarter for his next film, Bill, the Galactic Hero, a feature-length science fiction comedy set in the far reaches of our galaxy. He is challenging the norm by shooting the film on 35mm monochrome (black and white) film, possibly the last film to ever attempt this, and possibly the first feature film to be edited with popular open source video editor OpenShot." If you don't like spoilers, I suggest reading this short but fascinating piece on Repo Man (one of my all-time favorite movies) only after watching it.
Zaiff Urgulbunger writes "According to the BBC, 'Cult classic sci-fi series Blake's 7 is to be remade for the Syfy network, it has been announced. FremantleMedia International said 13 hour-long episodes will be written by Heroes writer Joe Pokaski.' Here's hoping the special effects budget will be higher than for the original series! Also, I'm hoping that the Liberator is of similar design and includes Zen — the ships computer."
He has written for many different comic book titles including Superman and The Amazing Spider-Man, and wrote the screenplay for the Academy Award-nominated movie Changeling, but J. Michael Straczynski (jms) is probably best known as being the creator, writer, and producer of Babylon 5. Recently, jms has teamed up with the Wachowskis and Netflix to create a new original sci-fi series, Sense8, coming out in late 2014. Straczynski has agreed to take a few minutes from writing sci-fi epics in order to answer any questions you may have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.
The_Other_Kelly writes "News that will shock and sadden the many fans of Iain (M.) Banks. He is suffering from gall bladder cancer, and things do not look good: 'The bottom line, now, I'm afraid, is that as a late stage gall bladder cancer patient, I'm expected to live for "several months" and it's extremely unlikely I'll live beyond a year.' His books, both normal and science fiction, are world view warping Excessions, and my heart goes out to him and his. I am shocked and saddened. Thank you, Iain."
Via Engadget, comes a press release that might bring joy to fans of science fiction dismayed by years without any new scifi shows: "Continuing its quest to sate subscribers' appetites with a flow of original content, Netflix has announced a new original series, Sense8. Due in late 2014, it's being developed by the Wachowskis of The Matrix, V for Vendetta, Cloud Atlas and Speed Race fame, as well as J. Michael Straczynski, creator of Babylon 5. Details are thin, but the press release promises a gripping global tale of minds linked and souls hunted with a ten episode run for its first season." Hopefully it'll end up available on DVD eventually, for us poor GNU/Linux users who are not worthy enough for Netflix (or: to any Netflix engineers reading, make it work).
An anonymous reader writes According to the AP, the IRS is being "scolded for spending $60,000 dollars on an elaborate parody video that played at a 2010 conference. 'The video features an elaborate set depicting the control room, or bridge, of the spaceship featured in the hit TV show. IRS workers portray the characters, including one who plays Mr. Spock, complete with fake hair and pointed ears. The production value is high even though the acting is what one might expect from a bunch of tax collectors. In the video, the spaceship is approaching the planet 'Notax,' where alien identity theft appears to be a problem.' You can find the hilarious and/or nausea-inducing video on YouTube."
mikejuk writes "Today's Google Doodle celebrates the fact that today would have been Douglas Adam's 61st birthday. For any fans of Adam's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy this isn't to be missed. The interactive doodle takes us aboard the Heart of Gold spaceship where the towel — the essential travel item for any intergalactic voyager sits on the console besides the, also very necessary cup of tea, which is also a reference to a Dirk Gently novel, The Long Dark Teatime of the Soul. There are lots more tributes hidden including Marvin — the real one not the one in the film, a Babel Fish and more. Have fun exploring but make sure you click on the search symbol to find out more about Douglas Adams and his work."
An anonymous reader writes "A controversy has been brewing in the comic community for the past month. Orson Scott Card, author of Ender's Game and its many sequels, was tapped to write a story for the new Adventures of Superman comic. The controversy arose because Card has become an outspoken opponent of gay marriage, going so far as to say giving it legal recognition could mark 'the end of democracy in America,' and suggesting 'traditional' married people will eventually have to overthrow the government. Many fans of the series objected, and some retailers decided they wouldn't stock the issue Card's story appears in. Now, the illustrator for Card's story, Chris Sprouse, has walked away from the project, saying he wasn't comfortable with the media surrounding the story. Because of that, Card's story is being replaced in the Adventures of Superman anthology. 'The news has inspired speculation about whether or not this could mean that DC will quietly kill off the controversial Card story entirely, with some suggesting that the story remaining un-illustrated gives the publisher an "out" to avoid any potential breach-of-contract legal response.' Personally, I'm not sure what to think about this. I enjoyed Ender's Game as a kid, and it tarnishes the experience a little to know that its authors can say such hateful things. On the other hand, Card seems to have kept his personal views out of his fiction, and it's unlikely DC would let him put those views into a Superman comic even if he wanted to. It's a free country; people are free to believe stupid things. On the third hand, he is actively advocating his views outside his fiction, and what better way is there for readers to fight back than organizing a boycott and voting with their wallets? What do you think, Slashdot?"
An anonymous reader writes "Indie Kickstarter-funded short HENRi stars a sci-fi legend in a role very much like HAL-9000 — with a twist. Wired writes: 'If it sounds a little bit like 2001: The Later Years, then here's the real twist: HENRi, the ship/body, is voiced [by] Dr. Dave Bowman himself, Keir Dullea.' In a making-of video for the film, Dullea says, 'I guess you could say the character of HENRi was a sane version of HAL.' The film itself utilizes a mixture of the old and the new — combining live-action sequences with puppetry, quarter-scale miniatures, and modern CGI. The official trailer has just been released."
New submitter jollyrgr3 writes "If William Shatner gets his wish, one of Pluto's two new moons will be named Vulcan. The two small moons were discovered recently, and the SETI Institute launched an online poll to let people choose names. Captain Kirk himself suggested the names Vulcan and Romulus. Vulcan was accepted as a candidate, and Shatner exhorted his Twitter followers to vote. Vulcan ended up winning by a landslide, taking 174,000 of the 450,000 total responses. The next highest was Cerberus at just shy of 100,000. The names still have to be approved by the International Astronomical Union, as they have the final say. Leonard Nimoy approves."