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Space

+ - 115 Astronomers Search for Dyson Spheres of Alien Civilizations

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Ross Anderson writes that Freeman Dyson predicted in 1960 that every civilization in the Universe eventually runs out of energy on its home planet, a major hurdle in a civilization's evolution, and that all those who leap over it do so in precisely the same way: they build a massive collector of starlight, a shell of solar panels to surround their home star. Last month astronomers began a two-year search for Dyson Spheres, a search that will span the Milky Way, along with millions of other galaxies funded by a sizable grant from the Templeton Foundation, a philanthropic organization that funds research on the "big questions" that face humanity, questions relating to "human purpose and ultimate reality." Compared with SETI, a search for Dyson Spheres assumes that the larger the civilization, the more energy it uses and the more heat it reradiates so if Dyson Spheres exist, they promise to give off a very particular kind of heat signature, a signature that we should be able to see through our infrared telescopes. "A Dyson Sphere would appear very bright in the mid-infrared," says project leader Jason Wright. "Just like your body, which is invisible in the dark, but shines brightly in mid-infrared goggles." A civilization that built a Dyson Sphere would have to go to great lengths to avoid detection by building massive radiators that give off heat so cool that it would be undetectable, a solution that would involve building a sphere that was a hundred times larger than necessary. "If a civilization wants to hide, it's certainly possible to hide," says Wright, "but it requires massive amounts of deliberate engineering across an entire civilization.""
Biotech

+ - 152 Lab-made eggs produce healthy mice->

Submitted by
ananyo
ananyo writes "Japanese researchers have coaxed mouse stem cells into becoming viable eggs that produce healthy offspring. Last year, the same team successfully used mouse stem cells to make functional sperm (other groups have produced sperm cells in vitro).
The researchers used a cocktail of growth factors to transform stem cells into egg precursors. When they added these egg precursor cells to embryonic ovary tissue that did not contain sex cells, the mixture spontaneously formed ovary-like structures, which they then grafted onto natural ovaries in female mice. After four weeks, the stem-cell-derived cells had matured into oocytes. The team removed the oocytes from the ovaries, fertilized them and transplanted the embryos into foster mothers. The offspring that were produced grew up to be fertile themselves."

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+ - 110 Too old to retrain? 1

Submitted by Talcyon
Talcyon (150838) writes "I'm a 40 year old dev, and it's become apparent that my .NET skillset is woefully out of date after 5 years of doing various bits of support. I tried the "Management" thing last year but that was a failure as I'm just not a people person, and a full-on development project this year has turned into a disaster area. I'm mainly a VB.NET person with skills from the .NET 2.0 era. Is that it? Do I give up a career in technology now? Or turn around and bury myself in a support role, sorting out issues with other peoples/companies software?
I've been lurking around Slashdot for many years now, and this question occasionally comes up, but it pays to get the opinions of others...
Do I retrain and get back up to speed or am I too old?"

+ - 111 Impressions: Mists of Pandaria is more than just pandas-> 2

Submitted by
SternisheFan
SternisheFan writes "From the moment Blizzard announced World of Warcraft's fourth expansion, Mists of Pandaria, the company has faced allegations from long-time WoW fans that it was selling out to the youth demographic, aping children's flicks like Kung-Fu Panda in an effort to draw in youngsters. But barely three hours after I started playing the expansion, I had already seen my character pass out drunk—twice—and be accused of complicity in a genocide. So it seems obvious pretty quickly that these worries were unwarranted, and that Blizzard may have even gone out of its way to allay such fears. The latest adventure in the online world of Azeroth is not without cutesy appeal, but it's also rife with the high fantasy melodrama and challenging dungeons that have kept World of Warcraft compelling over the years. If Blizzard aimed to court the youth demographic, then it has done a masterful job of incorporating that audience into its overall vision. Into the Mists Blizzard is still second to none when it comes to world building, and Pandaria's use of vibrant colors and enormous scale often results in incredible scenes that are a joy to look at. This is a particularly impressive feat considering the World of Warcraft framework that the expansion is built on is now eight years old. I remain astounded that Blizzard has managed to keep this game visually appealing so long after its shelf life should have expired. It seems ridiculous that World of Warcraft's visual appeal could be compared in thesame breath to Guild Wars 2, a game that came out in August."
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Censorship

+ - 151 Google Says It Won't 'Manually' Review YouTube Vids for Infringement-> 1

Submitted by thomst
thomst (1640045) writes "David Kravets of Wired's Threat Level blog reports that Google has clarified its change in policy on automatic takedowns of YouTube videos for copyright infringement. On Wednesday, Thabet Alfishawi, rights management product manager for YouTube, said in a blog post that Google had "improved the algorithms that identify potentially invalid claims. We stop these claims from automatically affecting user videos and place them in a queue to be manually reviewed.” In its clarification, Google now says that videos flagged by its Content ID algorithm will be placed in a queue for "content owners" to review, if they decide to do so. In other words, the "manual review" is entirely optional, and the review, if any, will be done by the "content owner", rather than by Google itself — all of which begs the classic question, "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?""
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Space

+ - 217 Boeing proposes using gas clouds to bring down orbital debris-> 1

Submitted by cylonlover
cylonlover (1921924) writes "Boeing has filed a patent for a method of disposing of dead satellites and other debris orbiting the earth by hitting them with a puff of gas. The method, which is still at the conceptual stage, is designed to slow down satellites, forcing them to re-enter the atmosphere without sending up more space junk that itself will need disposing of. The idea is to send a small satellite into orbit containing a gas generator. This generator can be a tank of cryogenic gas, such as xenon or krypton, or a device designed to vaporize a heavy metal or some relatively heavy elements like fluorine, chlorine, bromine, or iodine. This gas would be released as a cloud in the same orbit as the debris, but traveling in the opposite direction."
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Apple

+ - 101 How Steve Jobs' legacy has changed->

Submitted by
SternisheFan
SternisheFan writes "(CNN) -When Apple co-founder Steve Jobs succumbed to cancer in his California home a year ago today, the world rushed to eulogize him in glowing terms: Genius. Visionary. A modern-day Thomas Edison.
    But in the 12 months since, as high-profile books have probed Jobs' life and career, that reputation has evolved somewhat. Nobody has questioned Jobs' seismic impact on computing and our communication culture. But as writers have documented Jobs' often callous, controlling personality, a fuller portrait of the mercurial Apple CEO has emerged. "Everyone knows that Steve had his 'rough' side. That's partially because he really did have a rough side and partially because the rough Steve was a better news story than the human Steve," said Ken Segall, author of "Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple's Success."
    Nineteen days after Jobs' death, Walter Isaacson's much-awaited biography of the Apple leader hit stores and immediately became the top-selling book in the country. In "Steve Jobs," Isaacson crafted a compelling narrative of how Jobs' co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak, got pushed out of the struggling company a decade later and then returned in the late 1990s to begin one of the most triumphant second acts in the annals of American business. But he also spent many pages chronicling the arrogant, cruel behavior of a complicated figure who could inspire people one minute and demean them the next. According to the book, Jobs would often berate employees whose work he didn't like. He was notoriously difficult to please and viewed people and products in black and white terms. They were either brilliant or "sh-t."
    "Among Apple employees, I'd say his reputation hasn't changed one bit. If anything, it's probably grown because they've realized how central his contributions were," Lashinsky said. "History tends to forgive people's foibles and recognize their accomplishments. When Jobs died, he was compared to Edison and Henry Ford and to Disney. I don't know what his place will be in history 30, 40, 50 years from now. And one year is certainly not enough time (to judge).""

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Google

+ - 121 Google Gives Up Fair-Use Defense, Settles Book-Scanning Lawsuit With Publishers->

Submitted by thomst
thomst (1640045) writes "David Kravets of Wired's Threat Level blog reports that McGraw-Hill, Pearson Education, Penguin Group, John Wiley & Sons and Simon & Shuster have struck a deal to end those companies' lawsuit against Google for copyright infringement for its Google Books search service. Kravets reports that Andi Sporkin, a spokesperson for the publishers has said they've "agreed to disagree" on Google's assertion that its scanning of books in university libraries (and making up to 20% of the scanned content available in search results) was protected by the fair use defense against copyright infringement. The terms of the deal are secret, but the result is that the companies in question have dropped their lawsuit against Google. However, the Authors Guild lawsuit against Google on the same grounds is still stuck in the appeals process, after U.S. District Judge Denny Chin rejected a proposed settlement of the suit in 2011, on the grounds that its treatment of so-called "orphaned works" amounted to making new copyright law — a power he insisted only Congress could exercise."
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+ - 149 Electric cars could be a threat to the environment-> 3

Submitted by another random user
another random user (2645241) writes "Electric cars might pollute much more than petrol or diesel-powered cars, according to new research. The Norwegian University of Science and Technology study found greenhouse gas emissions rose dramatically if coal was used to produce the electricity. Electric car factories also emitted more toxic waste than conventional car factories, their report in the Journal of Industrial Energy said.

"The global warming potential from electric vehicle production is about twice that of conventional vehicles."

In addition, producing batteries and electric motors requires a lot of toxic minerals such as nickel, copper and aluminium. Hence, the acidification impact is much greater than that of conventional car production.

In regions where fossil fuels are the main sources of power, electric cars offer no benefits and may even cause more harm, the report said.

"It is counterproductive to promote electric vehicles in regions where electricity is primarily produced from lignite, coal or even heavy oil combustion.""

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Government

+ - 121 Got questions for FDA on medical device security? Send 'em in!-> 1

Submitted by
chicksdaddy
chicksdaddy writes "I will be moderating a federal panel that will brief the NIST ISPAB (Information Security and Privacy Advisory Board) on the recently published GAO report on medical device security.
Do you have a burning question about the security of medical devices (including implantable medical devices)? If so, please send them along or post as comments. Thanks!"

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Advertising

+ - 115 US Television Network CW Embeds Smartphone in Magazine Ads->

Submitted by Revotron
Revotron (1115029) writes "Readers of Entertainment Weekly might be shocked to find their magazine is a good bit heavier than normal this week. US-based broadcaster CW placed an ad in Entertainment Weekly which uses a fully-functional 3G Android smartphone, a T-Mobile SIM card, and a specialized app to display short video advertisements along with the CW Twitter feed. Writers at Mashable were willing to geek out with a Swiss Army knife and a video camera to give us all the gory details as they tore it down piece-by-piece to discover the inner workings of CW's new ad."
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Google

+ - 227 FTC Releases Google Privacy Audit, Blacks Out The Details->

Submitted by
chicksdaddy
chicksdaddy writes "Google could tell you about its privacy practices except, well....they're private. That's the conclusion privacy advocates are drawing after the Federal Trade Commission took a black marker to an independent audit of the company's privacy practices before releasing it to the group EPIC in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Security Ledger is reporting that the FTC released a copy of a Price Waterhouse Coopers audit of Google that was mandated as part of a settlement with the FTC over complaints following a 2010 complaint by EPIC over privacy violations in Google Buzz, a now-defunct social networking experiment. However, the agency acceded to Google requests to redact descriptions of the search giant’s internal procedures and the design of its privacy program."

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+ - 100 ADTRAN releases technology allowing 100 Mbps LANs over legacy phone wiring->

Submitted by
patrick_price
patrick_price writes "Today, ADTRAN announced the release of a new technology called ActivReach—now available on its new NetVanta 1535P gigabit Ethernet switch—capable of delivering 100 Mbps (symmetric) Ethernet data connectivity and PoE over long distances (up to 1200 ft.) of existing 4-pair, 2-pair, or 1-pair of CAT5, CAT3, or legacy analog phone wiring. ActivReach allows for the delivery of VoIP or data connectivity no matter what type of existing cabling infrastructure is already in place. Furthermore, because the NetVanta 1535P supports both standard 10/100/1000Base-T and ActivReach, business can build networks using legacy-wiring today and upgrade to gigabit connectivity later once new cabling infrastructure is installed without replacing the switch."
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Network

+ - 167 Pisces vs Tor: Improved onion routing using Facebook & social media validati->

Submitted by
ericjones12398
ericjones12398 writes "Imagine a future where Facebook could actually help you become more anonymous online. Where the more people you connect with online, the safer you are. Where your vast social network acts as a cushion between you and malicious users. If the team behind Pisces has its way, this unlikely scenario could actually become a reality."
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China

+ - 187 Will Your Next iPhone Be Built By Robots->

Submitted by
itwbennett
itwbennett writes "Foxconn has ambitious plans to deploy a million-robot army on its assembly lines. But while robots already perform some basic tasks, when it comes to the more delicate assembly work, humans still have the edge. George Zhang, senior principal scientist with ABB, a major vendor of industrial robots, thinks Foxconn will eventually replace human workers for much of its electronic assembly, but probably not in time for the iPhone 6. For now, humans are still a cheaper and more practical choice."
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Windows

+ - 140 FedEx CIO Sees Analytics, Sensors, Windows 8 as the Future->

Submitted by
Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster writes "According to FedEx CIO Rob Carter, that need to analyze events in real time has resulted in an effort to “radically” decompose monolithic applications into sets of core granular services, which the company will then mash into any number of analytics applications. The ultimate goal: a matrix of IT services that functions with the speed and flexibility of a brain, freeing FedEx from a system dependent on files strewn across any number of databases kept on disk storage systems too slow to support advanced, real-time analytic applications.

Much of FedEx’s data comes from sensors, including a new SensaWare service that involves placing active sensors inside boxes containing high-value merchandise. Rather than wait to be scanned, these sensors actively send out telemetry data covering everything from the package’s traveling speed to whether any light has penetrated its packaging (the latter would suggest some sort of issue has occurred).

Longer term, Carter expects to make all that data more readily available via application programming interfaces (APIs) that would allow customers to apply their own analytics applications against the data. Within FedEx, the company’s applications are all connected to a common message bus that allows applications to publish and subscribe to any source of relevant data.

Those capabilities will prove critical as modern enterprise applications evolve to broker data between services. In fact, it’s a core capability embedded in Windows 8. “This is one reason we’re actually excited about a new Windows platform in a very long time,” Carter said. Because the operating system now manages the brokering between sources of data, the complexity of building composite applications that access multiple data should be significantly reduced."

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