Submission + - Einstein letter calling Bible "pretty childish" to be auctioned on eBay->

cheesecake23 writes: In an admirably concise piece in The Atlantic, Rebecca J. Rosen summarizes Einstein's subtle views on religion and profound respect for the inexplicable, along with the news that a letter handwritten by the legendary scientist that describes the Bible as a 'collection of honorable, but still primitive legends' and 'pretty childish' will be auctioned off on eBay over the next two weeks. Bidding will begin at $3 million.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - The tech behind Felix Baumgartner's stratospheric skydive->

MrSeb writes: "Felix Baumgartner has successfully completed his stratospheric skydive from 128,000 feet (39km), breaking a record that was set 52 years ago by Air Force Captain Joe Kittinger — that much we know. From the balloon, to the capsule, to the gear that Baumgartner wore during his 730 mph (1174 kph) free fall, the technology behind the scenes is impressive, and in some cases bleeding edge. ExtremeTech takes a deep dive into the tech that kept Baumgartner alive during the three-hour ascent and (much shorter) descent — and the tech that allowed us to watch every moment of the Red Bull Stratos mission live, as captured by no less than 15 digital cameras and numerous other scientific instruments."
Link to Original Source

Submission + - A Supercomputer on the Moon to Direct Deep Space Traffic 1 1

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "NASA currently controls its deep space missions through a network of 13 giant antennas in California, Spain and Australia known as the Deep Space Network (DSN) but the network is obsolete and just not up to the job of transmitting the growing workload of extra-terrestrial data from deep space missions. That's why Ouliang Chang has proposed building a massive supercomputer in a deep dark crater on the side of the moon facing away from Earth and all of its electromagnetic chatter. Nuclear-powered, it would accept signals from space, store them, process them if needed and then relay the data back to Earth as time and bandwidth allows. The supercomputer would run in frigid regions near one of the moon’s poles where cold temperatures would make cooling the supercomputer easier, and would communicate with spaceships and earth using a system of inflatable, steerable antennas that would hang suspended over moon craters, giving the Deep Space Network a second focal point away from earth. As well as boosting humanity's space-borne communication abilities, Chang's presentation at a space conference (PDF) in Pasadena, California also suggests that the moon-based dishes could work in unison with those on Earth to perform very-long-baseline interferometry, which allows multiple telescopes to be combined to emulate one huge telescope. Best of all the project has the potential to excite the imagination of future spacegoers and get men back on the moon."

Submission + - Best Linux game for young kids 2 2

pseudorand writes: I have a 3 year old that I've so far kept away from TV and computers. I met a gamer who has a 1 year old that plays xbox (probably better than I do). I believe kids should experience the real world first, but computers will obviously be a basic job still for the foreseeable future and I'm afraid I'm letting my kid fall behind.

I'd like to responsibly introduce my son to computers so he can start developing hard-eye coordination, typing skills and learning UI concepts. What's the best (Linux, of course) game to get a kid started with? Shoot-em-up's are obviously out, but I'm more concerned with something that will help him understand how to interact with a mouse, keyboard and screen and hold his attention rather than something 'educational' because there's plenty of (probably more effective) ways to teach math, reading, etc. that don't involve a computer.

So far I've tried Tux Racer, which held his attention for 10 minutes or so. He doesn't quite get pressing multiple keys simultaneously yet.

Submission + - Complex Logic Circuit Made from Bacterial Genes->

another random user writes: Just as electronic circuits are made from resistors, capacitors and transistors, biological circuits can be made from genes and regulatory proteins. Engineer Tae Seok Moon’s dream is to design modular “genetic parts” that can be used to build logic controllers inside microbes that will program them to make fuel, clean up pollutants, or kill infectious bacteria or cancerous cells.

The circuit Moon eventually built consisted of four sensors for four different molecules that fed into three two-input AND gates. If all four molecules were present, all three AND gates turned on and the last one produced a reporter protein that fluoresced red, so that the operation of the circuit could be easily monitored.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Everyday Cryptography

benrothke writes: "Untitled documentol{margin:0;padding:0}.c5{max-width:468pt;background-color:#ffffff;padding:72pt 72pt 72pt 72pt}.c0{text-align:justify;direction:ltr}.c2{color:#1155cc;text-decoration:underline}.c3{color:inherit;text-decoration:inherit}.c4{font-style:italic}.c1{font-size:12pt}.title{padding-top:24pt;line-height:1.15;text-align:left;color:#000000;font-size:36pt;font-family:"Arial";font-weight:bold;padding-bottom:6pt}.subtitle{padding-top:18pt;line-height:1.15;text-align:left;color:#666666;font-style:italic;font-size:24pt;font-family:"Georgia";padding-bottom:4pt}li{color:#000000;font-size:11pt;font-family:"Arial"}p{color:#000000;font-size:11pt;margin:0;font-family:"Arial"}h1{padding-top:24pt;line-height:1.15;text-align:left;color:#000000;font-size:18pt;font-family:"Arial";font-weight:bold;padding-bottom:6pt}h2{padding-top:18pt;line-height:1.15;text-align:left;color:#000000;font-size:14pt;font-family:"Arial";font-weight:bold;padding-bottom:4pt}h3{padding-top:14pt;line-height:1.15;text-align:left;color:#666666;font-size:12pt;font-family:"Arial";font-weight:bold;padding-bottom:4pt}h4{padding-top:12pt;line-height:1.15;text-align:left;color:#666666;font-style:italic;font-size:11pt;font-family:"Arial";padding-bottom:2pt}h5{padding-top:11pt;line-height:1.15;text-align:left;color:#666666;font-size:10pt;font-family:"Arial";font-weight:bold;padding-bottom:2pt}h6{padding-top:10pt;line-height:1.15;text-align:left;color:#666666;font-style:italic;font-size:10pt;font-family:"Arial";padding-bottom:2pt}

When Bruce Schneier first published Applied Cryptographyin 1994, it was a watershed event, given that is was one of the first comprehensive texts on the topic that existed outside of the military.

In the nearly 20 years since the book came out, a lot has changed in the world of encryption and cryptography. A number of books have been written to fill that gap and Everyday Cryptography: Fundamental Principles and Applicationsis one of them that have recently been published.

While the title Everyday Cryptographymay give the impression that this is an introductory text; that is not the case. Author Keith Martin is the director of the information security group at Royal Holloway, a division of the University of London, and the book is meant for information security professionals in addition to being used as a main reference for a principles of cryptography course. The book is also a great reference for those studying for the CISSP exam.

While the book notes that almost no prior knowledge of mathematics is required since the book deliberately avoids the details of the mathematical techniques underpinning cryptographic mechanisms. That might be a bit of a misnomer as the book does get into the mathematics of cryptography. While the mathematics in the book is not overwhelming, they are certainly not underwhelming. For those that want a deeper look, the book includes an appendix for many of the mathematical concepts detailed in the book.

Two benefits of the book are that it stresses practical aspects of cryptography and real-world scenarios. The mathematics detailed avoids number throaty with a focus on practicability. It also shows how cryptography is used as the underlying technology behind information security, rather than simply focusing on the abstracts of the potential of cryptography.

With that, the books 13 (made up of 4 parts) chapters provide a comprehensive overview of the theory and practice around all as aspects of contemporary cryptography. Each of the chapters end with a summary, detailed lists of items for further reading, and sets of penetration questions that challenge the reader. Readers are advised to spend time on these questions as it is often easy for the reader to feel that they understand the material. The questions can quickly humble the reader and show them that it may not be the case.

Part 1 is titled Setting the Sceneand provides a comprehensive introduction to the fundamental of cryptography. Chapter 1 (freely available here) details the basic principles about cryptography and provides a high-level introduction.

Chapter 2 provides a good overview of the history of cryptography. It details a number of obsolete, yet historically relevant ciphers, such as the Vigenère cipher from the 1500's, to the Playfair cipher from the mid-1800's and others. Martin provides a good overview of the cryptanalysis of the Vigenère cipher and lessons learned from it.

Chapters 4-9 comprise part 2, and provide a thorough overview of the various forms of encryption (symmetric and asymmetric) and digital signatures. This section gets into some of the deeper mathematics of cryptography. While the author states that almost no prior knowledge of mathematics is needed; those without a background will surely be confused by some of the material.

Chapter 7 closes with a good overview of the relationship between digital signatures and handwritten signatures. The author notes the importance of resisting any temptation to consider digital signatures as a direct electronic equivalentof handwritten signatures. He then provides a detailed outline of the environmental, security, practical and flexibility differences between them.

Key management is one of the most important aspects of cryptography and often the most difficult to execute on. Part of the difficulty around key management is at the user level, with key updates, passphrase management and more. Ultimately, effective key management is essential to the underlying security of the cryptosystem. The 2 chapters in part 3 provide a thorough synopsis of the fundamentals of key management.

Part 4 closes the book with two chapters on practical cryptographic applications. Chapter 12 details how cryptography can be used on the internet, secure payment cards, video broadcasting and more.

The book concludes with an appendix on the mathematics of cryptography, which takes a look at the basic mathematical concepts the underlie some of the material in the book.

This book is not for the fainthearted and is not an introductory text on the topic. It is meant for the advanced reader or someone taking a college level course. For such a reader serious about a significant overview of the essentials on the topic, Everyday Cryptography: Fundamental Principles and Applicationsis an excellent reference.

Ben Rothkeis the author of Computer Security: 20 Things Every Employee Should Know."

Submission + - As Gas Prices Soar So Does City Biking

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Jason Dearen writes that as California’s gas prices hit record highs, the millions of dollars spent in recent years on commuter bike lanes and public transportation projects in Los Angeles, San Francisco and other major cities are being seen in a new light by many drivers with San Francisco seeing a 71-percent increase in cyclists in the past five years and Los Angeles reporting a 32 percent increase from 2009-2011. Both findings gibe with the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey, which found a 63 percent increase in bicycle commuters from 2000 to 2010 in the nation's 70 largest cities. "In some ways it's a perfect storm of events that is starting to take place," says Claire Bowin, head of policy planning for Los Angeles' planning department. Getting people out of cars "is a very daunting task, but on other hand we have largely benefited from a growing community here that is demanding these things. We're not just sitting here in our ivory tower saying people should bike." Los Angles is building almost 1,600 miles of bike infrastructure over the next five years (PDF) and Los Angeles County's Metrolink, which features open train cars for bike riders is seeing record ridership. Changing attitudes about cars caused by climate change is helping these efforts as people in their twenties and thirties have adopted biking in larger numbers than previous generations (PDF). "I think all these factors are coming together at this moment in time to create a renaissance in bicycling as a mode of transportation.," according to Susan Handy. "Whether it will be a passing fad or a lasting trend, time will tell, but I'm betting on the latter.""
The Military

Submission + - US Navy Cruiser and Submarine Collide->

An anonymous reader writes: Despite billions of dollars in advanced electronics, radars,and sonar it seems the Navy needs to install backup cameras on their boats. "The Pentagon said late Saturday that it is investigating why a Navy submarine collided with an Aegis cruiser during routine operations at an undisclosed location."
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Blackhole's 'point of no return' found-> 1 1

dsinc writes: Using a continent-spanning telescope, an international team of astronomers has peered to the edge of a black hole at the center of a distant galaxy. For the first time, they have measured the black hole’s “point of no return” — the closest distance that matter can approach before being irretrievably pulled into the black hole.

According to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, a black hole’s mass and spin determine how close material can orbit before becoming unstable and falling in toward the event horizon. The team was able to measure this innermost stable orbit and found that it’s only 5.5 times the size of the black hole’s event horizon. This size suggests that the accretion disk is spinning in the same direction as the black hole.
The observations were made by linking together radio telescopes in Hawaii, Arizona, and California to create a virtual telescope called the Event Horizon Telescope, or EHT. The EHT is capable of seeing details 2,000 times finer than the Hubble Space Telescope.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Semantic v. SfY->

dgharmon writes: A brief recap: In March, I wrote about a lawsuit that posed a threat to my daughter’s voice. Maya, who is four years old and unable to speak, uses an app called Speak for Yourself (SfY) to communicate, and the creators of SfY were being sued for patent infringement by Prentke Romich Company (PRC) and Semantic Compaction Systems (Semantic), two much larger companies that make designated communication devices (not iPad apps)

"In connection with the settlement, Semantic has agreed to grant a non-exclusive license as to two of Semantic’s patents, i.e., U.S. Patent Nos. 5,748,177 and 5,920,303"

"A dynamic keyboard includes a plurality of keys, each with an associated symbol, which are dynamically redefinable to provide access to higher level keyboards", U.S. Patent No. 5,748,177

"An apparatus, comprising: integrated input and display device for displaying a plurality of keys of a displayed keyboard", U.S. Patent No 5,920,303

Link to Original Source
Wireless Networking

Submission + - Flip this app: Secondary mobile app market quietly taking off ->

alphadogg writes: The practice of flipping is probably most familiar to the general public from reality TV shows like "Flip This House" on A&E. The idea is to buy a house for a lowish price, fix it up a bit, and then sell it on to a buyer, hopefully at a profit. Now, the secondary market for Android and iOS apps is beginning to see the same pattern. App creators without the time or inclination to service or monetize their apps can simply sell them off for a flat, up-front sum of money. Buyers can then either tweak them as they like or not, and either attempt to monetize them themselves or re-sell the apps to still another party. "Probably 80% of people who want to get involved in mobile either don't know how to code an app or don't know an app developer," says the founder of one app trading site. "So there's this massive demand, but kind of a little bit of a barrier to entry."
Link to Original Source

Submission + - US film producer Harvey Weinstein attacks 'free internet'->

another random user writes: Harvey Weinstein has criticised media giants Apple and Google for making content available under the guise of "free internet".

"It's a nonsensical idea," he told an audience at the London Film Festival, likening the notion to helping oneself to "free shirts" in a clothing store.

Video-sharing sites like YouTube, he continued, were doing a "massive disservice" to the film industry.

He went on to praise France for passing the world's "toughest" anti-piracy law.

In 2009, France adopted a so-called "three-strikes law" that means persistent pirates can be thrown offline. The legislation, Weinstein claimed, had "disincentivised" people to "steal" content and had resulted in a "robust" local industry.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - The Real Truth: Islam's Role in Internet Censorship in the Middle East->

An anonymous reader writes: Internet censorship is common in conservative majority-Muslim countries, but it may have more to do with politics and technology than with religion. I.e., Iran is not so different from Cuba and China.
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The Matrix

Submission + - Is the Universe a Simulation?-> 2 2

olsmeister writes: Ever wonder if the universe is really a simulation? Well, physicists do too. Recently, a group of physicists have devised a way that could conceivably prove one way or the other whether that is the case. There is a paper describing their work on arXiv. Some other physicists propose that the universe is actually a giant hologram with all the action actually occurring on a two-dimensional boundary region.
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Bill Nye 'the Science Guy' Urges Letters to Obama to Restore NASA Budget Cuts->

MarkWhittington writes: "Bill Nye, once known as "The Science Guy" for his 1990s PBS educational television show, has cut a YouTube video in his current capacity of CEO of the Planetary Society urging people to write to President Obama to restore cuts to planetary science. The budget cuts were enacted by the president last February, causing consternation in the scientific community."
Link to Original Source