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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

+ - 109 Hostess to Close, No More Twinkies

Submitted by RenderSeven
RenderSeven (938535) writes "In a press release issued today, baker Hostess Brands asked a bankruptcy court for permission to close all of its plants and sell off their assets, immediately laying off 18,500 workers. Citing high labor and rising health care costs, increasing competition and growing consumer awareness of healthy foods, Hostess says it can no longer operate without union concessions. A crippling strike has already shut down operations at all facilities, and while the Teamsters Union has ratified a new contract to keep Hostess in business, the Bakers Union has refused saying they would rather see the company closed than accept pension cuts. The Teamsters union is urging the bakers union to hold a secret ballot on whether to continue striking; citing its financial experts who had access to the company's books, the Teamsters say that Hostess' warning of liquidation is "not an empty threat or a negotiating tactic" but a certain outcome if workers keep striking. If your late-night programming is fueled by Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Zingers, better stock up now."
Science

+ - 153 Dutch Artist 3D Prints CT Scan of His Own Skeleton->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "In what could be described as the ultimate memento mori – a genre of art that reminds us of our own mortality – Dutch sculpture Caspar Berger has reproduced an exact copy of his own skeleton. He underwent a CT scan, which provided detailed anatomical data, which was then output on a 3D printer."
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+ - 126 What if the famous MIT balloon hack happened today?->

Submitted by
netbuzz
netbuzz writes "When the Harvard and Yale football teams kick off at noontime tomorrow in Cambridge, it will have been 30 years since The Game was interrupted – to the astonishment of onlookers — by an inflating weather balloon that an MIT fraternity had planted under the field. The balloon popped, sending a plume of smoke across the gridiron, and triggering a wave of national media coverage that saw the pranksters holding their own news conference. Now imagine such a stunt happening tomorrow and what the reaction might be here in 2012? Here’s one vision of what might transpire."
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Security

+ - 117 Will it Take a 'Cyber Pearl Harbor' to Break Congressional Deadlock?

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "For years lawmakers had heard warnings about holes in corporate and government systems that imperil US economic and national security. Now Ward Carroll writes that in the face of what most experts label as a potential “Cyber Pearl Harbor” threat, Republicans have stalled the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 with a Senate vote of 51–47 against the legislation drawing a quick response from the staff of Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta: “The U.S. defense strategy calls for greater investments in cybersecurity measures, and we will continue to explore ways to defend the nation against cyber threats,” says DoD spokesman George Little. “If the Congress neglects to address this security problem urgently, the consequences could be devastating.” Many Senate Republicans took their cues from the US Chamber of Commerce and businesses that framed the debate not as a matter of national security, but rather as a battle between free enterprise and an overreaching government wanting to leave companies to determine whether it would be more cost effective – absent liability laws around cyber attacks — to invest in the hardware, software, and manpower required to effectively prevent cyber attack or to simply weather attacks and fix what breaks afterwards. “Until someone can argue both the national security and the economic parts of it, you’re going to have these dividing forces,” says Melissa Hathaway, a White House cyber official in the Bush and Obama administrations. “Most likely, big industry is going to win because at the end of the day our economy is still in trouble.”"
The Courts

+ - 159 Parents not liable for their son's illegal music sharing, German court rules->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The ruling of the Federal Court of Justice reversed a ruling of the higher regional court of Cologne, which found the parents were liable for the illegal filesharing because they failed to fulfill their parental supervision. That court said the parents could have installed a firewall on their son's computer as well as a security program that would have made it possible to only allow the child to install software with the consent of his parents.

Besides that, the parents could have checked their son's PC once a month, and then the parents would have spotted the Bearshare icon on the computers' desktop, according to the Cologne court. "The Federal Court overturned the decision of the Appeal Court and dismissed it," the court said."

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Science

+ - 210 Exploring Einstein's brain->

Submitted by scibri
scibri (2544842) writes "Photographs of Einstein's brain taken shortly after his death, but never before analysed in detail, have now revealed that it had several unusual features, providing tantalizing clues about the neural basis of his extraordinary mental abilities.

The most striking observation was “the complexity and pattern of convolutions on certain parts of Einstein's cerebral cortex”, especially in the prefrontal cortex, and also parietal lobes and visual cortex.

The prefrontal cortex is important for the kind of abstract thinking that Einstein would have needed for his famous thought experiments on the nature of space and time, such as imagining riding alongside a beam of light. The unusually complex pattern of convolutions there probably gave the region a larger-than-normal surface area, which may have contributed to his remarkable abilities."

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Windows

+ - 114 Lenovo UEFI Code Allows Booting in Windows, RHEL only->

Submitted by hypnosec
hypnosec (2231454) writes "Lenovo’s UEFI implementation is only allowing Windows or Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) to boot by explicitly checking for these two operating systems while refusing to boot all other UEFI-installed systems, it has been revealed. Matthew Garrett, in a blog post, disclosed his findings stating that when an operating system with UEFI support such a Fedora Linux is installed, the ThinkCentre M92p desktop from Lenovo checks for presence of firmware descriptive strings — "Windows Boot Manager" and "Red Hat Enterprise Linux". According to Garrett, if the system that is being loaded doesn’t match either of the above mentioned descriptive strings, the UEFI neither shows the operating system in the boot menu nor would it let the system boot."
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Music

+ - 149 Brain scans of rappers and jazz musicians shed light on creativity->

Submitted by
ananyo
ananyo writes "Rappers making up rhymes on the fly while in a brain scanner have provided an insight into the creative process.
Freestyle rapping — in which a performer improvises a song by stringing together unrehearsed lyrics — is a highly prized skill in hip hop. But instead of watching a performance in a club, Siyuan Liu and Allen Braun, neuroscientists at the US National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders in Bethesda, Maryland, and their colleagues had 12 rappers freestyle in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine.
The artists also recited a set of memorized lyrics chosen by the researchers. By comparing the brain scans from rappers taken during freestyling to those taken during the rote recitation, they were able to see which areas of the brain are used during improvisation.
The rappers showed lower activity in part of their frontal lobes called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex during improvisation, and increased activity in another area, called the medial prefrontal cortex. The areas that were found to be ‘deactivated’ are associated with regulating other brain functions. The results echo an earlier study of jazz musicians.
The findings also suggest an explanation for why new music might seem to the artist to be created of its own accord. With less involvement by the lateral prefrontal regions of the brain, the performance could seem to its creator to have “occurred outside of conscious awareness”, the authors write in the paper."

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+ - 186 German police stop man with mobile office in car->

Submitted by PolygamousRanchKid
PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes "Forget texting while driving. German police say they nabbed a driver who had wired his Ford station wagon with an entire mobile office.Saarland state police said Friday the 35-year-old man was pulled over for doing 130 kph (80 mph) in a 100 kph zone while passing a truck Monday.

Built on a wooden frame on his passenger seat they found a laptop on a docking station tilted for easy driver access, a printer, router, wireless internet stick, WLAN antenna, and an inverter to power it all.

Since there was no evidence he used the office while moving, he got away with a €120 ($153) speeding ticket and a possible fine for having unsecured items in his car."

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Linux

+ - 177 Lenovo Thinkcentre M92p only like Winows and RHEL->

Submitted by
Nagilum23
Nagilum23 writes "It looks like Lenovo only knows of Windows8 and RHEL when it comes to Secure Boot. While investigating UEFI boot issues Matthew Garrett found that the Thinkcentre M92p BIOS actually checks the descriptive string:
"there is a function that compares the descriptive string against "Windows Boot Manager" and appears to return an error if it doesn't match. What's stranger is that it also checks for "Red Hat Enterprise Linux" and lets that one work as well."
Phoronix is also running the story: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTIyOTg ."

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Movies

+ - 232 Netflix can now run on Linux->

Submitted by
ndogg
ndogg writes "Netflix has been released on Linux...sort of. The folks at iheartubuntu have figured out a way to get Netflix to run on the Windows version of Firefox using Wine (with a number of custom patches) and Silverlight. They plan on releasing packages for it all soon. Currently, it seems they have only had success with 32 bit while compiling for 64 bit is tricky."
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Bitcoin

+ - 111 WordPress starts accepting Bitcoin 1

Submitted by Sabbetus
Sabbetus (2457652) writes "WordPress made a bold announcement saying that they now accept bitcoins as payment for WordPress upgrades. Why are they doing this? Quote from the announcement: 'PayPal alone blocks access from over 60 countries, and many credit card companies have similar restrictions. Some are blocked for political reasons, some because of higher fraud rates, and some for other financial reasons. Whatever the reason, we don’t think an individual blogger from Haiti, Ethiopia, or Kenya should have diminished access to the blogosphere because of payment issues they can’t control. Our goal is to enable people, not block them. Bitcoin is a digital currency that enables instant payments over the internet. Unlike credit cards and PayPal, Bitcoin has no central authority and no way to lock entire countries out of the network. Merchants who accept Bitcoin payments can do business with anyone.'"

+ - 158 How Robots Saved an Artist's Sanity->

Submitted by lebijoutier
lebijoutier (2709461) writes "from the slate article "...Tresset, for one, discovered a novel way to stay mentally healthy with the help of drugs and still pursue what was once his life’s work: He created robots that can draw portraits. Far from a mere novelty, his research is telling us more about both the creative process in humans and how we relate emotionally to machines..." "...Most of us still don’t have robots in the home, but for decades now, we’ve been waiting for machines to do our bidding. Tresset believes that it might be a good idea to imbue all personal robots with some sort of artistic skill to encourage an emotional bond—it might allow for more trust, perhaps, though you can also see how overly identifying with a machine might create some existential questions..."
In the article there is also a fascinating video of 5 of his robots sketching a single human subject...

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2012/11/tresset_robot_artist_artist_engineers_robots_to_make_art_and_save_his_own.single.html"

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Science

+ - 146 Super Material Can Stop Speeding Bullet->

Submitted by davidshenba
davidshenba (2536122) writes "Researchers at a Rice University lab are researching technology that that could potentially stop a 9-millimeter bullet and seal the entryway behind it. When penetrated by a tiny projectile at a high velocity, the material melted into a liquid that stopped the fast-moving object and actually sealed the hole it made. During their research, they found an excellent model material called a polystyrene-polydimethylsiloxane diblock-copolymer. Using two different methods, the team was eventually able to cross-section the structure to determine the depth of the bullets, and according to their study, the layers showed the ability to deform without breaking."
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Ubuntu

+ - 151 Netflix Now Runs On Linux->

Submitted by sfcrazy
sfcrazy (1542989) writes "Erich Hoover has just won a months-old IHeartUbuntu contest to find a way to get Netflix running on Linux. The instructions are verified for 32-bit Ubuntu and available here. 32-bit users will be installing git, pulling WINE, downloading patches, installing WINE patches, and downloading Silverlight 4 and Firefox for Windows."
Link to Original Source
Science

+ - 102 Albert Einstein's brain shows remarkable, uncommon features->

Submitted by ACXNew
ACXNew (2639799) writes "Portions of Albert Einstein’s brain have been found to be unlike those of most people and could be related to his extraordinary cognitive abilities, according to a new study led by Florida State University evolutionary anthropologist Dean Falk.
The researchers compared Einstein’s brain to 85 “normal” human brains..."

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NASA

+ - 234 NASA: mission accomplished, Kepler – now look harder still->

Submitted by cylonlover
cylonlover (1921924) writes "It's been more than three and a half years since the Kepler Space Telescope began its mission as humanity's watcher for Earth-like planets outside of the Solar System. In that time, Kepler has done exactly what was asked of it: provide the data to help identify more than 2,300 exoplanet candidates in other star systems. And so NASA has announced the "successful completion" of Kepler's prime mission. There's one nagging detail, though: we are yet to find a truly Earth-like planet. It's time to alter the parameters of the search, which is why NASA has announced Kepler will now begin an extended mission that could last as long as four years."
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Bitcoin

+ - 182 WordPress to accept bitcoins->

Submitted by
angry tapir
angry tapir writes "WordPress has said it will accept payment in bitcoins, opening up the blogging platform to payments from users in countries not supported by PayPal or credit card companies. WordPress is free, open-source software, but the company Automattic offers paid-for features such as blog designs, custom domains, hosting partnerships and anti-spam measures."
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Privacy

+ - 155 Privacy Violation in Chase Bank's iOS app-> 2

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The Chase Bank iOS application does not uninstall cleanly and shows your sensitive account alerts to subsequent installations of the app. Alerts for previous accounts include the last four of account numbers, account and transaction balances, and date and place identifier information. This has been reproduced using the latest iOS and app as well as previous versions over the last 5 month period. Despite numerous phone calls, emails, and twitter conversations, it appears that Chase is not taking this seriously.

Until they do, be very careful loaning or selling any iOS device to which you have previously setup the Chase Mobile Banking application.

TLDR; The Chase Bank iOS application does not uninstall cleanly and shows your sensitive account alerts to subsequent installations of the app."

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