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Open Source

+ - 174 MakerBot Going Closed Source?->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A year after a windfall $10 million in venture capital, and after a community stir over one man's attempt to Kickstarter a project to manufacture the open source Replicator with a lower price tag, it appears that MakerBot Industries is going closed source on their new model 3d printer, the Replicator 2. Josef Prusa, core developer of the widely known RepRap printer (the basis for previous MakerBot models) has confirmed the sad news, with a stunned tweet, and is organizing an "Occupy Thingiverse", to protest the apparent theft of others' work."
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Mars

+ - 166 Curiosity Rover Targets Unusual Rock->

Submitted by
DevotedSkeptic
DevotedSkeptic writes "Curiosity is about 8 feet (2.5 meters) from the rock. It lies about halfway from Curiosity's landing site, Bradbury Landing, to a location called Glenelg. In coming days, the team plans to touch the rock with a spectrometer to determine its elemental composition and use an arm-mounted camera to take close-up photographs.

Both the arm-mounted Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer and the mast-mounted, laser-zapping Chemistry and Camera Instrument will be used for identifying elements in the rock. This will allow cross-checking of the two instruments.

Both the arm-mounted Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer and the mast-mounted, laser-zapping Chemistry and Camera Instrument will be used for identifying elements in the rock. This will allow cross-checking of the two instruments.

The rock has been named "Jake Matijevic." Jacob Matijevic (mah-TEE-uh-vik) was the surface operations systems chief engineer for Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) and the project's Curiosity rover. He passed away Aug. 20, at age 64. Matijevic also was a leading engineer for all of the previous NASA Mars rovers: Sojourner, Spirit and Opportunity."

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Hardware

+ - 147 Researchers create silicon-based quantum bit->

Submitted by
angry tapir
angry tapir writes "Researchers at the University of New South Wales in Australia have created the world’s first working quantum bit based on a single atom in silicon. The research team was able to both read and write information using the spin, or magnetic orientation, of an electron bound to a single phosphorous atom embedded in a silicon chip. In February, UNSW researchers revealed they had successfully created a single-atom transistor using a single phosphorous atom in a silicon crystal."
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Education

+ - 143 Art School's Expensive Art History Textbook Contains No Actual Art->

Submitted by Dr Herbert West
Dr Herbert West (1357769) writes "An art history book minus the art! Students at Ontario College of Art and Design were forced to buy a $180 textbook filled with blank squares. Instead of images of paintings and sculpture throughout history (that presumably would fall under fair-use) the textbook for ”Global Visual and Material Culture: Prehistory to 1800“ features placeholders with a link to an online image.

A letter from the school’s dean stated that had they decided to clear all the images for copyright to print, the book would have cost a whopping $800.

The screengrabs are pretty hilarious, or depressing, depending on your point of view."

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Book Reviews

+ - 141 Wonferful Life with the Elements book review

Submitted by MassDosage
MassDosage (1967508) writes "Wonderful Life with the Elements Book Review By Mass Dosage

I’ve always found Chemistry interesting, particularly in high school when I had the good fortune of having a Chemistry teacher who was not only really good looking, but a great teacher too. I studied it for a year at University and then moved on and haven’t really given the periodic table and its elements much thought since. This changed when the Wonderful Life with the Elements was delivered to me two weeks ago. It’s one of those books that aims to make science fun and, unlike many other attempts which turn out to be pretty lame, this actually succeeds in presenting the periodic table in a fresh, original and interesting manner.

Wonderful Life with the Elements is the brainchild of a Japanese artist, Bunpei Yorifuji, who has published a few other books in Japan and created some adverts for the Tokyo metro (which you can find by doing an image search for his name and “Do it at home”). His animation style for these adverts features simple, clean cartoon characters drawn in yellow, black and white. In a Wonderful Life with the Elements he has taken this technique and applied it to the periodic table by drawing each element as a cartoon character where every detail has some scientific significance. Elements that were discovered a long time ago have beards while more recent discoveries have dummies (pacifiers for those in America) in their mouths. Heavy elements are fat. Elements with lots of industrial uses wear suits while those that are man-made look like robots. He also adds amusing little touches to each element and it is obvious he took a lot of time and care in doing this and researching and then presenting the details about each of them. It really feels like the elements have individual personalities which is quite an achievement for what is often presented as rather boring and dry subject matter.

This book isn’t merely a collection of cartoon drawings — information is also included covering when and how the elements were discovered, what they are (or were) used for and other interesting or amusing pieces of trivia. There are also the more traditional facts like atomic number, symbol, position in the periodic table, melting and boiling points and density. Some elements get more detail than others depending on how well known and/or useful they are. My only real criticism of the book is that the elements in period 7 only get small drawings and a cursory description each. I’m not sure why they were singled out for this treatment. Did the author get bored towards the end? Was there lack of budget? Did he run out of time? Does he have a personal grudge against period 7? Considering that this period includes rather famous elements such as Uranium and Plutonium and that they get the same low level of detail as relative unknowns like Ununseptium and Darmstadtium this feels like a rather odd omission.

The main stars of the Wonderful Life with the Elements are the elements themselves but the introductory and closing chapters are worth reading too. The book starts off with an overview of the elements and which ones are found most commonly on our planet and in our living rooms before moving on to the periodic table itself and an explanation of what the various details on the cartoon drawings of the elements mean. The closing sections describe which elements are an important part of a human diet and what the effects of eating too little or too much of each of them are before wrapping up with a warning about the possibility of us running out of certain elements and what the negative impact of this could be. This is all written in an informal, humorous style that makes all these facts appear really interesting and, dare I say it, fun to read.

Wonderful Life with the Elements is a very enjoyable book and the author has done a great job of injecting some colour and personality into what many people would view as a rather dull topic. If I had had a book like this in high-school I think I would have found Chemistry interesting, even without the attractive teacher. It is worth pointing out that is isn’t a replacement for a Chemistry text book — it only touches the surface of the large body of theory that underpins the elements and the periodic table. However I would still wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone with even just a casual interest in the subject. The original presentation of this material and the amusing personal touches are fantastic and turn this book into a fun, easy read which isn’t something one can say about most books that deal with Chemistry.

Full disclosure: I was given a copy of this book free of charge by the publisher for review purposes. They placed no restrictions on what I could say and left me to be as critical as I wanted so the above review is my own honest opinion."
Security

+ - 144 Apple's Secret Plan to Join iPhones with Airport Security

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Currently — as most of us know — TSA agents briefly examine government ID and boarding passes as each passenger presents their documents at a checkpoint at the end of a security line but Thom Patterson writes at CNN that under a 2008 Apple patent application that was approved in July and filed under the working title "iTravel," a traveler's phone would automatically send electronic identification to a TSA agent as soon as the traveler got in line and as each traveler waits in line, TSA agents would examine the electronic ID at an electronic viewing station. Next, at the X-ray stations, a traveler's phone would confirm to security agents that the traveler's ID had already been checked. Apple's patent calls for the placement of special kiosks (PDF) around the airport which will automatically exchange data with your phone via a close range wireless technology called near field communication (NFC). Throughout the process, the phone photo could be displayed on a screen for comparison with the traveler. Facial recognition software could be included in the process. Several experts say a key question that must be answered is: How would you prove that the phone is yours? To get around this problem, future phones or electronic ID may require some form of biometric security function including photo, fingerprint and photo retinal scan comparisons. Of course, there is still a ways to go. If consumers, airlines, airports and the TSA don't embrace the NFC kiosks, experts say it's unlikely Apple's vision would become reality. "First you would have to sell industry on Apple's idea. Then you'd have to sell it to travel consumers," says Neil Hughes of Apple Insider. "It's a chicken-and-egg problem.""
Security

+ - 209 Mikko's Malware Odyssey->

Submitted by
CowboyRobot
CowboyRobot writes "Security expert Mikko Hypponen talks about his experience at F-Secure, including adventures such as flying to Lahore to interview the creators of "Brain", one of the early computer viruses that was spread manually on floppy disks. But while the early virus creators were just trying to have fun and learn, modern malware makers are motivated only by money. "But there's a misconception that they all necessarily make a lot of money. There's a hierarchy of workers, with some just making a few hundred dollars to $1,000 doing the dirty work of the more experienced online criminals who make the real money.""
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Mars

+ - 221 Richard Branson "determined to start a population on Mars" 1

Submitted by
RocketAcademy
RocketAcademy writes "British billionaire Richard Branson, whose Virgin Galactic company is backing the development of SpaceShip Two, has told CBS News he is "determined to start a population on Mars."

Branson isn't the only billionaire interested in the Red Planet. Elon Musk, founder of Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), wants to put humans on Mars in the next 12 to 15 years.."
Science

+ - 248 Material breaks record for turning heat into electricity->

Submitted by
ananyo
ananyo writes "A new material has broken the record for converting heat into electricity. The material had a conversion efficiency of about 15% — double that of one of the most well-known thermoelectrics: lead telluride.
For decades, physicists have toyed with ways to convert heat into electricity directly. Materials known as thermoelectrics use temperature differences to drive electrons from one end to another. The displaced electrons create a voltage that can in turn be used to power other things, much like a battery. Such materials have found niche applications: the Curiosity rover trundling about on the surface of Mars, for example, uses thermoelectrics to turn heat from its plutonium power source into electricity. That doesn't mean that the material is ready to be used on the next Mars rover, however: NASA has been looking at similar materials for future space missions, but the agency is not yet convinced that they are ready for primetime."

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Android

+ - 179 Android Hacked via NFC on the Samsung Galaxy S 3

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Security researchers participating in the Mobile Pwn2Own contest at the EuSecWest Conference in Amsterdam today demonstrated how to hack Android through a Near Field Communication (NFC) vulnerability. The 0day exploit was developed by four MWR Labs employees (two in South Africa and two in the UK) for a Samsung Galaxy S 3 phone running Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich). Two separate security holes were leveraged to completely takeover the device, and download all the data from it."
The Almighty Buck

+ - 148 Never mind BitCoin, meet the Bristol Pound->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Had enough of Bitcoin stories on Slashdot? BBC News is reporting the release of a new currency in the British city of Bristol today.
Full details can be found on the bristolpound.org website, and people seem genuinely excited to get a piece of the action.
Finally, worth noting from their website is that "This is not a tax dodge. For tax purposes all Bristol Pound transactions are treated as if they were made in sterling.""

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Google

+ - 190 Motorola Seeks Ban On Macs, iPads, And iPhones->

Submitted by bonch
bonch (38532) writes "Google-owned Motorola is asking the International Trade Commission to ban every Apple device that uses iMessage, based on a patent issues in 2006 for "a system for providing continuity between messaging clients". Motorola also claims that banning Macs and iPhones won't have an impact on U.S. consumers. The ITC has yet to make a decision."
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+ - 143 Catchy Names Get Kids to Eat Veggies

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes ""How do you get kids to eat their carrots in the cafeteria? Don't call them carrots — call them "X-ray Vision Carrots." New research out of Cornell University finds that catchy names can prompt kids to eat more veggies.

The first part of the study involved 147 students, ages 8 to 11 years old, from five different schools. For three days in a row, carrots were added to the schools' lunch menu, but on the second day, the carrots were served as either "X-ray Vision Carrots" or "Food of the Day."

The different names did not change the amount of carrots the students put on their plates. But the kids ate 66 percent of the "X-ray vision carrots," compared with 32 percent of "Food of the Day" carrots and 35 percent of unnamed carrots, according to a statement from Cornell.""
The Military

+ - 195 DARPA combines human brains and 120-megapixel cameras-> 1

Submitted by
MrSeb
MrSeb writes "After more than four years of research, DARPA has created a system that successfully combines soldiers, EEG brainwave scanners, 120-megapixel cameras, and multiple computers running cognitive visual processing algorithms into a cybernetic hivemind. Called the Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System (CT2WS), it will be used in a combat setting to significantly improve the US Army’s threat detection capabilities. There are two discrete parts to the system: The 120-megapixel camera, which is tripod-mounted and looks over the battlefield; and the computer system, where a soldier sits in front of a computer monitor with an EEG strapped to his head, looking at images captured by the camera, wedding out false threats. In testing, the 120-megapixel camera, combined with the computer vision algorithms, generated 810 false alarms per hour; with a human operator strapped into the EEG, that drops down to just five false alarms per hour. The human brain is surprisingly fast, too: According to DARPA, CT2WS displays 10 images per second to the human operator — and yet that doesn’t seem to affect accuracy. Moving forward, DARPA's ultimate goal is to create binoculars or head-up displays (HUD) with threat detection technology built in. It’s very tiring for a soldier to be constantly on the lookout for threats — but such a system could monitor the surroundings, and then flash up images of potential threats for the soldier to act upon, significantly lowering his workload. With a large enough sensor and the right lenses, such a system could allow the soldier to see for miles in every direction."
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Games

+ - 163 Humble Bundle 6 Released->

Submitted by
gentryx
gentryx writes "The next incarnation of the indie games Humble Bundle has been released. Games included are
  • Rochard, a sci-fi platformer
  • Shatter, a reloaded breakout clone
  • Space Pirates and Zombies, 2d, top-down spaceship arcade action
  • Torchlight, an RPG in a fantasy setting
  • Vessel, a puzzle/platform hybrid
  • Dustforce, another take on wiping the dust of the platformer genre
"

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Hardware

+ - 248 Raspberry Pi Clocks 1GHz with Official 'Turbo Mode' Patch->

Submitted by hypnosec
hypnosec (2231454) writes "The Raspberry Pi, which was recently used to build a cluster, has officially been given a 'Turbo Mode' by The Raspberry Pi Foundation thus enabling overclocking that will bump up the frequency of on-board processor to as high as 1GHz as long as the temperature stays below 85C. The patch would dynamically up the voltage and frequency of the core till the thermals hold. According to the Foundation, users have the option of choosing one of five peak frequencies; the highest being 1GHz. Users may go one step at a time and achieve higher frequencies as long as the board doesn’t start behaving abnormally."
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Google

+ - 179 Major Backlash Looms for Apple's New Maps App

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Michael DeGusta writes that Apple’s new Maps app is the very first item on their list of major new features in iOS 6, but for many iPhone and iPad users around the world Apple's new maps are going to be a major disappointment as the Transit function will be lost in 51 countries with 4.4 billion people, the Traffic function will be lost in 24 countries with 2.3 billion people, and the Street View function will be lost in 41 countries with 2.5 billion people. "In total, 63 countries with a combined population of 4.5 billion people will be without one or more of these features they previously had in iOS," writes DeGusta. "Apple is risking upsetting 65% of the world’s population, seemingly without much greater purpose than speeding the removal of their rival Google from iOS. Few consumers care about such battles though, nor should they have to." The biggest losers will be Brazil, India, Taiwan, and Thailand (population: 1.5 billion) which overnight will go from being countries with every maps feature (transit, traffic, and street view) to countries with none of those features, nor any of the new features, flyover and turn-by-turn directions. Apple’s maps are clearly behind in some key areas, but they will presumably continue to improve over time. Google has committed to making their maps available everywhere, so it seems likely Google will release their own iOS maps app soon, as they did with YouTube, which has similarly been removed from iOS 6."
Android

+ - 153 Android could save Nokia, but not its boss-> 3

Submitted by
Barence
Barence writes "Nokia chief executive has only a few months left to prove he can turn around the ailing smartphone maker, according to analysts. Investors and analysts say the chief executive has until early 2013 to prove he made the right choice by partnering with Microsoft Windows or his future at the loss-making company will be called into question. Indeed, many believe the company's best hope of survival is to jump to Android — a u-turn that would almost certainly finish the Nokia career of former Microsoft man Elop.

Experts say said Nokia should focus on rolling out smartphones running on Google's Android software for millions of consumers in emerging markets who often still prefer Nokia's brand. That would, however, mean the end of Elop. "He's totally a Microsoft guy, so it is natural that he would have to step down then," said Juha Varis, who holds Nokia shares as part of the Danske Invest Finnish Equity Fund."

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+ - 205 Roundup tolerant GM maize linked to tumor development->

Submitted by spirito
spirito (1552779) writes "The first animal feeding trial studying the lifetime effects of exposure to Roundup tolerant GM maize, and Roundup, the world's best-selling weedkiller, shows that levels currently considered safe can cause tumors and multiple organ damage and lead to premature death in laboratory rats, according to research published online today by the scientific journal Food and Chemical Toxicology."
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Space

+ - 184 Largest Moon Rock Ever Auctioned Expected To Sell For $380,000->

Submitted by amkkhan
amkkhan (2542482) writes "One lucky space-lover with some extra cash could become the proud new owner of the largest moon rock ever to be auctioned, according to the auction house Heritage Auctions. The moon rock, known as Dar al Gani 1058, is part of a lunar meteorite that was found on Earth in 1988 and is expected to fetch as much as $380,000 at auction."
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Electronic Frontier Foundation

+ - 167 TSA Spending $245 Million on "Second Generation" Nude-O-Scope Body Scanners->

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber (1417641) writes "Continuing its standard practice of wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars (http://news.slashdot.org/story/12/05/09/2014206/congress-the-tsa-is-wasting-hundreds-of-millions-in-taxpayer-dollars), the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has awarded an indefinite delivery / indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract, worth up to $245 Million, (http://www.gsnmagazine.com/node/27302?c=airport_aviation_security) to American Science and Engineering Inc. (http://www.as-e.com/) to deliver an unspecified number of “second generation” Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) screening systems for use at U.S. airports.

As previously reported on slashdot (http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/06/20/2243228/the-ineffectiveness-of-tsa-body-scanners---now-with-surveillance-camera-footage), Jonathan Corbett proved that TSA's current nude-o-scopes are incapable of actually detecting hidden objects."

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China

+ - 146 Inside Look at Eastern European Vs. East Asian Hackers->

Submitted by wiredmikey
wiredmikey (1824622) writes "Much of the talk about cybercrime remains focused on East Asia. But according to a new report, it is hackers in Eastern Europe that have actually emerged as more sophisticated.

In a report entitled 'Peter the Great vs. Sun Tzu', Tom Kellermann, vice president of cyber security at Trend Micro, compared hackers from the two regions. His conclusion — the Eastern Europeans are far more insidious and strategic.

While East Asian groups tend to work for other organizations interested in their skills, hackers from Eastern Europe generally operate in small, independent units, and are focused on profit. Their infrastructure tends to be developed by them specifically for their own use in attacks.

"They (Eastern European groups] tend to want to be in control of their entire infrastructure and will routinely set up their own servers for use in attacks, develop their own DNS servers to route traffic and create sophisticated traffic directional systems used in their attacks," according to the report. "If they do go outside, they will carefully select bulletproof hosters to support their infrastructure. It is their hallmark to maintain control of the whole stack similar to the business models pioneered by Apple."

"In general, the East Asian hackers are not at the same skill level of maturity as their East European counterparts," Kellermann concluded. Comparing the two to real-world military tactics, Kellermann added that East European hackers act like snipers when they launch campaigns, whereas the East Asian hackers tend to colonize entire ecosystems via the “thousand grains of sand approach”."

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Censorship

+ - 145 French weekly fuels Mohammad row with nude cartoons-> 1

Submitted by PolygamousRanchKid
PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) writes "A French magazine ridiculed the Prophet Mohammad on Wednesday by portraying him naked in cartoons, threatening to fuel the anger of Muslims around the world who are already incensed by a film depicting him as a womanizing buffoon. The French government, which had urged the magazine not to print the images, said it was temporarily shutting down premises including embassies and schools in 20 countries on Friday, when protests sometimes break out after Muslim prayers.

"We have the impression that it's officially allowed for Charlie Hebdo to attack the Catholic far-right but we cannot poke fun at fundamental Islamists," Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier, who drew the front-page cartoon, said. "It shows the climate — everyone is driven by fear, and that is exactly what this small handful of extremists who do not represent anyone want — to make everyone afraid, to shut us all in a cave," he told Reuters."

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Medicine

+ - 161 Is the Can Worse Than the Soda? ->

Submitted by
DevotedSkeptic
DevotedSkeptic writes "Since the 1960s, manufacturers have widely used the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) in plastics and food packaging. Only recently, though, have scientists begun thoroughly looking into how the compound might affect human health—and what they’ve found has been a cause for concern.

Starting in 2006, a series of studies, mostly in mice, indicated that the chemical might act as an endocrine disruptor (by mimicking the hormone estrogen), cause problems during development and potentially affect the reproductive system, reducing fertility. After a 2010 Food and Drug Administration report warned that the compound could pose an especially hazardous risk for fetuses, infants and young children, BPA-free water bottles and food containers started flying off the shelves. In July, the FDA banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups, but the chemical is still present in aluminum cans, containers of baby formula and other packaging materials.

Now comes another piece of data on a potential risk from BPA but in an area of health in which it has largely been overlooked: obesity. A study by researchers from New York University, published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, looked at a sample of nearly 3,000 children and teens across the country and found a “significant” link between the amount of BPA in their urine and the prevalence of obesity."

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EU

+ - 184 Most powerful laser to be built in Romania as part of a larger EU funded project->

Submitted by cripkd
cripkd (709136) writes "The 3rd pillar from the ELI program has been given the go ahead yesterday.
"In Romania, Magurele, the ELI pillar will focus on laser-based nuclear physics. For this purpose, an intense gamma-ray source is forseen by coupling a high-energy particle accelerator to a high-power laser."
Specs and details about why this is not your regular key-chain laser here."

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