bs0d3 writes "Voyager 1 is expected to reach interstellar space soon. It will be the first made made object to cross the heliosphere, which is the final stop in our solar system. Voyager 1, famously contained a gold phonographic record. The record was filled with iconic sights, images, and sounds from earth, and the prevailing message, "we come in peace". The disc was [composed] by a man named Carl Sagan, and it contained many pieces of art, songs, and images, that are all copy-written. According to NASA, 'Most of the material they used was copyrighted by the creators/owners and Sagan had to get copyright releases in order to assemble the original record. Subsequently, Warner Multimedia was able to obtain copyright releases for the 1992 version of "Murmurs of Earth" .. Unfortunately, the book and CDROM are no longer being published and are hard to find as a set.'"
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
Hugh Pickens writes "The LA Times reports that the Food and Drug Administration has approved the first over-the-counter HIV test kit, allowing people to test themselves in private at home and get preliminary results in less than 30 minutes. The test, which works by detecting antibodies in a swab from the gums, should not be considered final — in trials, the test failed to detect HIV in 1 in every 12 patients known to be infected, and returned false positives in 1 in 5,000 cases. The new at-home test, called OraQuick, will be sold in supermarkets and pharmacies and manufacturer, OraSure, has not said how much the test will cost, only that it will be more than the $18 cost for the professional kit. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that of the 1.2 million people in the U.S. with HIV, 1 in 5 is not aware of the infection and that a disproportionate number of the 50,000 new cases of HIV each year is linked to people who have not been tested. Chip Lewis, a spokesman for Whitman-Walker Health, which provides AIDS care in Washington, says at-home testing could reach some people who didn't want to go to a clinic but removing medical professionals from the process could cause problems. 'It's not like a home pregnancy test,' says Lewis. 'You need really a lot of information about how to read the test, how to use the test properly.'" Back in May, we reported that a panel of FDA experts recommended approval of an over-the-counter HIV test.
MarkWhittington writes "The probable discovery of the Higgs Boson particle is greeted as bittersweet news in Texas. Had the Superconducting Super Collider, at one time under construction in Waxahachie, Texas, not been cancelled by Congress in 1993 the Higgs Boson might have been confirmed a decade ago, some believe, and in America."
Stirling Newberry writes "Icelandic MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir details more of the evidence for what she calls a 'judicial vendetta' against WikiLeaks and its volunteers, including attempts to gain access to her Twitter account. Her efforts to block the National Defense Authorization Act were discussed here previously. The story was taken up last year by Glenn Greenwald and Wired. As a result, the International Parliamentarian Union adopted a resolution on her case. What's new? She asserts that there is a grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks and related organizations, and is calling on Sweden to provide assurances that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange not be re-extradited to the U.S. She says, 'There is no doubt that the U.S. wants to get even with WikiLeaks.'"
theodp writes "In the provocatively titled Microsoft's Downfall: Inside the Executive E-mails and Cannibalistic Culture That Felled a Tech Giant, Vanity Fair offers a teaser for a story that will appear in its August issue on Microsoft's Lost Decade, which promises an unprecedented view of life inside Microsoft during the reign of Steve Ballmer. 'Every current and former Microsoft employee I interviewed — every one — cited stack ranking as the most destructive process inside of Microsoft, something that drove out untold numbers of employees,' contributing editor Karl Eichenwald writes. 'If you were on a team of 10 people, you walked in the first day knowing that, no matter how good everyone was, 2 people were going to get a great review, 7 were going to get mediocre reviews, and 1 was going to get a terrible review,' says a former software developer. 'It leads to employees focusing on competing with each other rather than competing with other companies.' Also discussed is the company's loyalty to Windows and Office, which induced a myopia that repeatedly kept Microsoft from jumping on emerging technologies like e-readers and other technology that was effective for consumers. Having seen an advance copy of the full piece, GeekWire offers its take on what it calls an 'epic, accurate and not entirely fair' tale."
New submitter codysleiman points out a review of Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) at The Verge. They say the look and feel of Google's mobile operating system has improved in a few different ways. Aesthetically, it isn't trying quite so hard as it did in Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich, making the UI less of a distraction. While performance benchmarks aren't much different, Jelly Bean forces 60fps throughout and lets the GPU, CPU and display run independently, so it at least feels smoother and more responsive. Another big area of improvement is notifications: "You can tap a share button on photos, calendar appointments give you a snooze or email attendees option, missed calls provide direct call-back buttons. ... Google has introduced APIs for actions on notifications and I hope that app developers take advantage of them, because it would be nice to have more actions on a variety of different apps." The new on-screen keyboard also got some much-needed updates, and Google Now looks promising.
solardiz writes "A new community-enhanced version of John the Ripper adds support for GPUs via CUDA and OpenCL, currently focusing on slow-to-compute hashes and ciphers such as Fedora's and Ubuntu's sha512crypt, OpenBSD's bcrypt, encrypted RAR archives, WiFi WPA-PSK. A 5x speedup over AMD FX-8120 CPU per-chip is achieved for sha512crypt on NVIDIA GTX 570, whereas bcrypt barely reaches the CPU's speed on an AMD Radeon HD 7970 (a high-end GPU). This result reaffirms that bcrypt is a better current choice than sha512crypt (let alone sha256crypt) for operating systems, applications, and websites to move to, unless they already use one of these 'slow' hashes and until a newer/future password hashing method such as one based on the sequential memory-hard functions concept is ready to move to. The same John the Ripper release also happens to add support for cracking of many additional and diverse hash types ranging from IBM RACF's as used on mainframes to Russian GOST and to Drupal 7's as used on popular websites — just to give a few examples — as well as support for Mac OS X keychains, KeePass and Password Safe databases, Office 2007/2010 and ODF documents, Firefox/Thunderbird/SeaMonkey master passwords, more RAR archive kinds, WPA-PSK, VNC and SIP authentication, and it makes greater use of AMD Bulldozer's XOP extensions."
nk497 writes "The FBI is set to pull the plug on DNSChanger servers on Monday, leaving as many as 300,000 PCs with the wrong DNS settings, unable to easily connect to websites — although that's a big improvement from the 4m computers that would have been cut off had the authorities pulled the plug when arresting the alleged cybercriminals last year. The date has been pushed back once already to allow people more time to sort out their infected PCs, but experts say it's better to cut off infected machines than leave them be. 'Cutting them off would force them to get ahold of tech support and reveal to them that they've been running a vulnerable machine that's been compromised,' said F-Secure's Sean Sullivan. 'They never learn to patch up the machine, so it's vulnerable to other threats as well. The longer these things sit there, the more time there is for something else to infect.'"
July is always one of the hottest months in the U.S., but this year the heat got an early start. Sustained hot weather has slammed huge parts of the country, and led to some serious consequences. All those AC units employed to bring some relief to homes have contributed to the extended post-storm power outage in the eastern part of the country; five days in, the count is still over a million customers in the dark. (I'm writing from Austin; this year Texas's famously warm weather is a little less impressive by comparison to the midwest, the Carolinas, and many other places; temperatures are expected to remain under 100 until Saturday.) If you're in one of the severely affected areas, how has it affected you? More importantly, what strategies have you used to beat the heat in the absence of (or simply unreliable) electricity? Details help. In particular, how are you keeping the human and animal members of your household safe from overheating? Read on below for an extended set of questions on dealing with the ongoing heat wave of 2012's early summer, and respond to any of them that make sense in your situation. Note, answers are of course encouraged from people who aren't in the worst-hit areas, too! Though you're free to respond however you'd like, it would be useful if you start with your location right at the top of (or in the title of) your comment, so others can scan them easily.
cylonlover writes "Valve has gained a reputation over the years not just for consistently putting out great games, but also for the slick trailers and promo videos that go along with them. But now the developer is turning the tables and handing over its own video-making tools to fans free of charge. With the Source Filmmaker, gamers will be able to direct, animate, and record their own videos as if they were shooting on location inside a video game."
another random user sends this quote from the BBC: "HTC is claiming victory in a patent dispute with Apple after a ruling by the High Court in London. The judge ruled that HTC had not infringed four technologies that Apple had claimed as its own. He said Apple's slide-to-unlock feature was an 'obvious' development in the light of a similar function on an earlier Swedish handset. Lawyers fighting other lawsuits against Apple are likely to pay close attention to the decision regarding its slide-to-unlock patent."
New submitter jetcityorange tipped us to a nasty security flaw in Cyberoam packet inspection devices. The devices are used by employers and despotic governments alike to intercept communications; in the case of employers probably for relatively mundane purposes (no torrenting at work). However, the CA key used to issue fake certificates so that the device can intercept SSL traffic is the same on every device, allowing every Cyberoam device to intercept traffic that passed through any other one. But that's not all: "It is therefore possible to intercept traffic from any victim of a Cyberoam device with any other Cyberoam device - or, indeed, to extract the key from the device and import it into other DPI devices, and use those for interception. Perhaps ones from more competent vendors."
New submitter WickedLilMonkies writes "In a stretch of the meaning of 'free speech' that defies the most liberal interpretation, Verizon defends throttling your data speed." In its continuing case to strike down the FCC net neutrality regulations, Verizon is arguing that Congress has not authorized the FCC to implement such regulations, and therefore the FCC is overstepping its regulatory bounds, but (from the article): "Verizon believes that even if Congress had authorized network neutrality regulations, those regulations would be unconstitutional under the First Amendment. 'Broadband networks are the modern-day microphone by which their owners [e.g. Verizon] engage in First Amendment speech,' Verizon writes." They are also arguing that "... the rules violate the Fifth Amendment's protections for private property rights. Verizon argues that the rules amount to 'government compulsion to turn over [network owners'] private property for use by others without compensation.'"
nmpost writes with news of another step toward practical quantum computers. From the article: "Scientists have successfully overcome one of the obstacles in quantum computation by storing data on quantum bits (qubits) for about two seconds at room temperature. Many of the current systems utilize extremely complex and costly equipments to trap an individual electron or atom in a vacuum at absolute zero temperature. However, a team of researchers from Harvard University have solved the problem of working at normal temperature by using diamonds, which are atomically pure materials on Earth."
Nushio writes "Continuing with the Liberated Pixel Cup coverage: The Art Competition recently finished, and the code portion of the Liberated Pixel Cup has begun. There are some pretty awesome tilesets and assets available for game makers to use, and still plenty of time to make Free Software Games." Entries are due by July 31st. Any Slashdot readers planning on giving it a shot?