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Medicine

The Science of Thanks Giving 55

Posted by samzenpus
from the thank-you-science dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "This is Americans' big week to give thanks. Now Russell McLendon writes that giving thanks can do wonders for the human brain according to researchers at UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center where scientists have developed an easy way for people to do just that and, at the same time, contribute to a national research project and maybe also improve their lives. The project is part of a $5.6 million, three-year national effort called 'Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude,' funded by the John Templeton Foundation. The center has gone live with Thnx4.org, an interactive, shareable gratitude journal and has invited people in the campus community to take part in the Cal Gratitude Challenge by keeping a two-week online 'gratitude journal' and, if they choose, sharing their posts with others. Early research into the power of gratitude journals ended up proving that students who wrote down everything they were grateful for strengthened their overall resilience and became less vulnerable to everyday stresses and complaints like rashes and headaches, says Emiliana Simon-Thomas. 'Thnx4.org wanted to make this spiral notebook very accessible, and to make the research a little more specific than it has been historically,' says Simon-Thomas. Online, anyone can take part — and potentially reap the benefits. The Cal Gratitude Challenge opened November 1 and will remain open throughout November but the project has a three-year grant and participants will be able to maintain their journals for the duration and first results from the data are expected in January. 'We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts and benefits we've received,' writes Robert Emmons as part of the project. 'This doesn't mean that life is perfect; it doesn't ignore complaints, burdens, and hassles. But when we look at life as a whole, gratitude encourages us to identify some amount of goodness in our life.'"
Privacy

UK To Use "Risk-Profiling Software" To Screen All Airline Passengers and Cargo 222

Posted by samzenpus
from the listen-to-the-computer dept.
dryriver writes "The BBC reports: 'The UK branch of an American company — SAS Software — has developed a hi-tech software program it believes can help detect and prevent potentially dangerous passengers and cargo entering the UK using the technique known as 'risk profiling.' So, what exactly is risk profiling and can it really reduce the risk of international terrorism? Risk profiling is a controversial topic. It means identifying a person or group of people who are more likely to act in a certain way than the rest of the population, based on an analysis of their background and past behavior — which of course requires the collection of certain data on people's background and behavior to begin with. When it comes to airline security, some believe this makes perfect sense. Others, though, say this smacks of prejudice and would inevitably lead to unacceptable racial or religious profiling — singling out someone because, say, they happen to be Muslim, or born in Yemen. The company making the Risk-Profiling Software in question, of course, strongly denies that the software would single people out using factors like race, religion or country of origin. It says that the program works by feeding in data about passengers or cargo, including the Advanced Passenger Information (API) that airlines heading to Britain are obliged to send to the UK Border Agency (UKBA) at 'wheels up' — the exact moment the aircraft lifts off from the airport of departure. Additional information could include a combination of factors, like whether the passenger paid for their ticket in cash, or if they have ever been on a watch list or have recently spent time in a country with a known security problem. The data is then analyzed to produce a schematic read-out for immigration officials that shows the risk profile for every single passenger on an incoming flight, seat by seat, high risk to low risk.'"
Hardware Hacking

Entries Open For First Ever 24-Hour Raspberry Pi Hackathon 74

Posted by samzenpus
from the hack-away dept.
concertina226 writes "Called the Raspberry Pi 'hack day', the competition will pit 100 entrants against one another in a number of categories using only the board, Internet access, soldering irons and as much coding as they think appropriate. Participants will have 24-hours to complete projects, at the end of which winners will be awarded from a variety of prizes including camcorders, Android tablets and the geek must-have, the Hubsan H107 Quadcopter."
Chrome

Researcher Claims To Have Chrome Zero-Day, Google Says "Prove It" 106

Posted by samzenpus
from the secret-security dept.
chicksdaddy writes "Google's been known to pay $60,000 for information on remotely exploitable vulnerabilities in its Chrome web browser. So, when a researcher says that he has one, but isn't interested in selling it, eyebrows get raised. And that's just what's happening this week, with Google saying it will wait and see what Georgian researcher Ucha Gobejishvili has up his sleeve in a presentation on Saturday at the Malcon conference in New Delhi. Gobejishvili has claimed that he will demonstrate a remotely exploitable hole in the Chrome web browser at Malcon. He described the security hole in Chrome as a 'critical vulnerability' in a Chrome DLL. 'It has silent and automatically (sp) download function and it works on all Windows systems,' he told Security Ledger. However, more than a few questions hang over Gobejishvili's talk. The researcher said he discovered the hole in July, but hasn't bothered to contact Google. He will demonstrate the exploit at MalCon, and have a 'general discussion' about it, but won't release source code for it. 'I know this is a very dangerous issue that's why I am not publishing more details about this vulnerability,' he wrote. Google said that, with no information on the hole, it can only wait to hear the researcher's Malcon presentation before it can assess the threat to Chrome users."
The Military

Why Iron Dome Might Only Work For Israel 377

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-for-everyone dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Many this week have declared Israel's American financed Iron Dome rocket defense system a success. Some have even gone so far to declare it a vindication of Ronald Reagan's 1980's Star Wars missile defense system. Pundits have even gone so far to assume the system could be sold to other nations. However, the Iron Dome may not be the game changer many are making it out to be. Taking out unsophisticated rockets is quite different than advanced missiles: '...the technical and strategic challenges of shooting down ballistic missiles differ considerably from those of shooting down unguided rockets. BMD shares with rocket defense some common technological ground; both require fast reaction time and impressive sensor capabilities, and the Iron Dome project has benefited from technical work on missile defense. However, ballistic missiles in flight behave differently from unguided, sub-atmospheric rockets.'"
Science

Ask Slashdot: Geekiest Way To Cook a Turkey? 447

Posted by samzenpus
from the robot-chef dept.
First time accepted submitter almostadnsguy writes "There seem to be a lot of ways to cook a turkey the geekiest ones are probably out of the realm of possibility for normal geeks. However, Within the limits of normal society (or outside if you wish) what is the geekiest way to do it? Do you use a special brine, cook it in an inventive way, or raise genetically modified turkeys with extra legs?"
Supercomputing

Supercomputers' Growing Resilience Problems 112

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-thousand-potential-cuts dept.
angry tapir writes "As supercomputers grow more powerful, they'll also grow more vulnerable to failure, thanks to the increased amount of built-in componentry. Today's high-performance computing (HPC) systems can have 100,000 nodes or more — with each node built from multiple components of memory, processors, buses and other circuitry. Statistically speaking, all these components will fail at some point, and they halt operations when they do so, said David Fiala, a Ph.D student at the North Carolina State University, during a talk at SC12. Today's techniques for dealing with system failure may not scale very well, Fiala said."
Math

Statistics Key To Success In Run-and-Gun Basketball 97

Posted by Soulskill
from the math-always-wins dept.
theodp writes "Two decades before Moneyball hit the Big Screen, Coach David Arseneault of tiny Grinnell College came up with a unique style of run-and-gun basketball that he called The System, the principles of which were subjected to statistical analysis in Keys to Success in a Run-and-Gun Basketball System, a paper for the 2011 Joint Statistical Meetings. Well, as they say, sometimes The System works. On Tuesday, biochem major Jack Taylor, just three games into his career as a Grinnell College basketball player, made national news when he poured in 138 points — yes, 138 points — in a 179-104 victory over Faith Baptist Bible College. Even LeBron and Kobe were impressed. The old NCAA Division III record of 89 was set last year by Taylor's Grinnell teammate, Griffin Lentsch. Taylor's feat also bested what was deemed to be the unbeatable overall NCAA scoring record of 113 points, set by NCAA Division II performer Clarence 'Bevo' Francis of Rio Grande in 1954."
KDE

KDE 4.10 Beta1 Released 73

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
sfcrazy writes "The KDE team has released the first beta for its renewed Workspaces, Applications, and Development Platform. 'With API, dependency and feature freezes in place, the KDE team's focus is now on fixing bugs and further polishing new and old functionality.' QtQuick in Plasma Workspaces has received a lot of work: 'Plasma Quick, KDE's extensions on top of QtQuick allow deeper integration with the system and more powerful apps and Plasma components. Plasma Containments can now be written in QtQuick. Various Plasma widgets have been rewritten in QtQuick, notably the system tray, pager, notifications, lock & logout, weather and weather station, comic strip and calculator plasmoids. Many performance, quality and usability improvements make Plasma Desktop and Netbook workspaces easier to use.' Here's the Feature Plan for 4.10."
Security

Ask Slashdot: Should Hosting Companies Have Change Freezes? 138

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-about-change-burns dept.
AngryDad writes "Today I received a baffling email from my hosting provider that said, 'We have a company-wide patching freeze and we will not be releasing patches to our customers who utilize the patching portal for the months of November and December.' This means that myself and all other customers of theirs who run Windows servers will have to live with several critical holes for at least two months. Is this common practice with mid-tier hosting providers? If so, may I ask Eastern-EU folks to please refrain from hacking my servers during the holiday season?"
Microsoft

Microsoft Reportedly Working On Xbox TV Device 104

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-don't-call-it-the-metrobox dept.
SternisheFan writes with news of rumors over Microsoft's plans for its next-gen Xbox console. According to The Verge, the company is working on a cheap, Xbox-based set-top box for some time in 2013. "The device will run on the core components of Windows 8 and support casual gaming titles rather than full Xbox games typically found on a dedicated console. Although hardware specifications aren't fully locked down, we understand Microsoft will use a chipset to enable an "always on" device that boots quickly and resumes to provide near-instant access to TV and entertainment services. Microsoft's Xbox set-top box work is said to be part of a broader effort to ensure its core architecture for the next-generation Xbox is scalable enough to be put together to run on a number of devices. We understand that the company could opt to combine its core system for the next Xbox with a phone stack to deliver a phone capable of running a full version of Microsoft's Xbox Live services."
Crime

High-Voltage Fences For Zapping Would-Be Copper Thieves 363

Posted by Soulskill
from the Cu-on-the-other-side dept.
coondoggie writes "It may be a gimmick or the ultimate answer, but a California city this week okay-ed a draft ordinance that would let businesses install 7,000-volt electric fences to protect sites from rampant copper thieves. As reported by the Sacramento CBS station, the reaction from one business owner to the ordinance says it all: 'It'll be a little fun to watch one of these guys get electrocuted holding my fence trying to rob me.'"
Facebook

Outrage In India Over Arrests For Facebook Posts 90

Posted by Soulskill
from the freedom-of-poke dept.
concealment sends in an AP report about an uproar in India over citizens arrested for their Facebook remarks. Quoting: "As India's financial capital shut down for the weekend funeral of a powerful politician linked to waves of mob violence, a woman posted on Facebook that the closures in Mumbai were 'due to fear, not due to respect.' A friend of hers hit the 'like' button. For that, both women were arrested. Analysts and the media are slamming the Maharashtra state government for what they said was a flagrant misuse of the law and an attempt to curb freedom of expression. The arrests were seen as a move by police to prevent any outbreak of violence by supporters of Bal Thackeray, a powerful Hindu fundamentalist politician who died Saturday."
Censorship

Google Warns Against UN Net Conference 79

Posted by Soulskill
from the deciding-how-you-view-cat-pictures dept.
another random user writes "Google has warned that a forthcoming U.N.-organized conference threatens the 'free and open internet.' Government representatives are set to agree a new information and communications treaty in December. It has been claimed some countries will try to wrest oversight of the net's technical specifications and domain name system from U.S. bodies to an international organization. However, the U.N. has said there would be consensus before any change was agreed." Google is using its Take Action page to encourage people to speak out on this issue.
Earth

Thousands of Natural Gas Leaks Found In Boston 179

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-could-possibly-go-wrong dept.
poofmeisterp writes "Due to old cast iron underground pipelines, natural gas leaks run amok in Boston, MA. '"While our study was not intended to assess explosion risks, we came across six locations in Boston where gas concentrations exceeded the threshold above which explosions can occur," Nathan Phillips, associate professor at BU, said in a statement.' With 'a device to measure methane' in a vehicle equipped with GPS, Duke and Boston University researchers created a nice little map showing the methane levels in parts per million at different points in the city. 'Repairing these leaks will improve air quality, increase consumer health and safety, and save money,' study researcher Robert B. Jackson, of Duke, said in a statement. 'We just have to put the right financial incentives into place.' It looks like money is an issue. Imagine that."

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