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Power

Training Under Way For New Nuclear Plant Operators In S. Carolina 74

Posted by timothy
from the we-figure-cut-the-red-fire-first dept.
"Start thinking about getting your tinfoil hat radiation hardened," writes an anonymous reader, and excerpts thus from ABC News: "Southern Co. in Georgia and SCANA Corp. in South Carolina are the first to prepare new workers to run a recently approved reactor design never before built in the United States. Training like it will be repeated over the decades-long lifetime of those plants and at other new ones that may share the technology in years to come. Both power companies are building pairs of Westinghouse Electric Corp. AP1000 reactors at Plant Vogtle near Augusta and SCANA Corp.'s Summer Nuclear Station northwest of Columbia, S.C. While the nuclear industry had earlier proposed a larger building campaign, low natural gas prices coupled with uncertainty after last year's disaster at a Japanese nuclear plant have scaled back those ambitions." Getting a new nuclear plant approved is a long haul.
AI

VPN Providers Say China Blocks Encryption Using Machine Learning Algorithms 111

Posted by timothy
from the man-vs-state-with-a-cast-of-millions dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The internet control in China seems to have been tightened recently, according to the Guardian. Several VPN providers claimed that the censorship system can 'learn, discover and block' encrypted VPN protocols. Using machine learning algorithms in protocol classification is not exactly a new topic in the field. And given the fact that even the founding father of the 'Great Firewall,' Fan Bingxing himself, has also written a paper about utilizing machine learning algorithm in encrypted traffic analysis, it would be not surprising at all if they are now starting to identify suspicious encrypted traffic using numerically efficient classifiers. So the arm race between anti-censorship and surveillance technology goes on."
United States

Using Technology To Make Guns Safer 1013

Posted by timothy
from the cars-should-also-have-brakes-and-turn-signals dept.
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Farhad Manjoo writes that there are a number of technologies that gunmakers could add to their products that might prevent hundreds or thousands of deaths per year. One area of active research is known as the 'smart gun' — a trigger-identification system that prevents a gun from being fired by anyone other than its authorized user. Researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology created a working prototype of a gun that determines whether or not to fire based on a user's 'grip pattern.' Gunmakers have been slow to add other safety technologies as well, including indicators that show whether a gun is loaded, and 'magazine safeties' that prevent weapons from being fired when their ammunition magazine is removed (PDF). That could save 400 lives a year. So why aren't gunmakers making safer guns? Because guns are exempt from most of the consumer safety laws that have improved the rest of American life. The Consumer Product Safety Commission, charged with looking over thousands of different kinds of products, is explicitly prohibited from regulating firearms. In 2005, Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which immunizes gun makers against lawsuits resulting from 'misuse' of the products. If they can't be sued and can't be regulated, gunmakers have no incentive to make smarter guns." Note that gun safety features (not universally loved) like loaded-chamber indicators, grip safeties, and magazine disconnects are constantly evolving and have been available in some form and in various combinations for many decades, so gun makers seem to have some incentive to produce and improve them, and that the PLCAA does not prevent consumer safety lawsuits, but does shield gun makers from suits based on criminal conduct by gun buyers (though imperfectly).
Censorship

UK Government Changes Tack and Demands Default Porn Block 163

Posted by timothy
from the but-predictably-so dept.
judgecorp writes "British Prime Minister David Cameron is set to reverse a policy announced last week, and demand that ISPs filter adult content by default. This system would require users to actively opt out of a filter designed to block adult content and material about self-harm. Last week, after consultation with parents, the Department for Education had said that an opt-in system would be sufficient and no default porn block would be required, but the Daily Mail has announced triumphantly that Cameron will be presenting the policy in the paper. MP Claire Perry, who has argued for the block, will be in charge — and freedom of speech campaigners have branded the sudden change of mind as 'chaotic.'"
Hardware Hacking

Makerbot Cracks Down On 3D-Printable Gun Parts 528

Posted by samzenpus
from the right-to-print-arms dept.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes in with a story at Forbes about Makerbot deleting gun component blueprints on Thingiverse. "In the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings, the 3D-printing firm Makerbot has deleted a collection of blueprints for gun components from Thingiverse, its popular user-generated content website that hosts 3D-printable files. Though Thingiverse has long banned designs for weapons and their components in its terms of service, it rarely enforced the rule until the last few days, when the company's lawyer sent notices to users that their software models for gun parts were being purged from the site. Gun control advocates were especially concerned about the appearance of lower receivers for semi-automatic weapons that have appeared on Thingiverse. The lower receiver is the the 'body' of a gun, and its most regulated component. So 3D-printing that piece at home and attaching other parts ordered by mail might allow a lethal weapon to be obtained without any legal barriers or identification. Makerbot's move to delete those files may have been inspired in part by a group calling itself Defense Distributed, which announced its intention to create an entirely 3D-printable gun in August and planned to potentially upload it to Thingiverse. Defense Distributed says it's not deterred by Makerbot's move and will host the plans on its own site."
Government

Obama Releases National Strategy For Information Sharing 83

Posted by samzenpus
from the learning-to-share dept.
wiredmikey writes "President Obama on Wednesday released a national strategy designed to balance the sharing of information with those who need it to keep the country safe, while protecting the same data from those who would use it to cause harm. 'The National Strategy for Information Sharing and Safeguarding' outlines how the government will attempt to responsibly share and protect data that enhances national security and protects the American people. The national strategy will define how the federal government and its assorted departments and agencies share their data. Agencies can also share services and work towards data and network interoperability to be more efficient, the President said. The President aimed to address concerns over Privacy by noting, 'This strategy makes it clear that the individual privacy, civil rights and civil liberties of United States persons must be — and will be — protected.' The full document is available here in PDF format from the White House website."
Privacy

European Data Retention Rule Could Violate Fundamental EU Law 61

Posted by samzenpus
from the listen-to-the-law dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with a story about the Constitutional Court of Austria objecting to the EU's data retention law. "The European Union's data retention law could breach fundamental E.U. law because its requirements result in an invasion of citizens' privacy, according to the Constitutional Court of Austria, which has asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to determine the directive's validity. The primary problem with the data retention law is that it almost exclusively affects people in whom government or law enforcement have no prior interest. But authorities use the data for investigations and are informed about people's personal lives, the court said, and there is a risk that the data can be abused. 'We doubt that the E.U. Data Retention Directive is really compatible with the rights that are guaranteed by the E.U. Charter of Fundamental Rights,' Gerhart Holzinger, president of the Constitutional Court of Austria said in a statement."
Toys

Drone Made of Lego Takes Flight 83

Posted by samzenpus
from the toys-from-toys dept.
TVmisGuided writes "People have made UAVs out of wood, aluminum, even 3D-printed plastic. But now comes the tale of C#/C++ developer Ed Scott who, after damaging his Gaui 330x, got the idea of designing and building a Lego quadcopter. And it worked! 'Most people go to their favorite hobby store to get parts for their UAV, I go to my kid's playroom.'"
Math

TI-84+C-Silver Edition: That C Stands For Color 198

Posted by samzenpus
from the graphing-cool dept.
skade88 writes "Do you remember those large TI-8X line of calculators with a BW display from when you were growing up and learning all about math? Yeah well, you can still get them because TI has yet to update or change their line of TI-8X calculators from their 96x64 display, processors designed in the 1980s with just a few kilobytes of user accessible memory. They still cost in the $100.00 to $150.00 range. That is all about to change now that the TI-8X line of calculators is 22 years old. Their new TI-84+C-Silver edition will come with a 320x240 16-bit color display, 3.5MB of flash ROM, and 21KB of RAM. Ars has a good preview of the device along with speculation on why it took so so so very long for TI to finally bring calculators up to a level of technology that could have been delivered a decade ago."Last month some photos and a few details of the new TI-84+C were leaked.
Games

Steam For Linux Is Now an Open Beta 353

Posted by samzenpus
from the start-playing dept.
New submitter jotaass writes "In news that is guaranteed to make the Linux gaming community (in particular, but not exclusively) excited, Valve has just announced that the Steam for Linux client Beta is now open to the public. A .deb package is available here. Interesting as well, they are using an empty GitHub repository solely as an issue tracker, open for anyone to submit, edit and track bugs, with no actual code in the repo."
Science

Researchers Create Ultrastretchable Wires Using Liquid Metal 94

Posted by samzenpus
from the keep-it-stretching dept.
hypnosec writes "By using liquid metal researchers have created wires that can stretch up to eight times their original length while retaining their conduction properties. Scientists over at North Carolina State University made the stretchable wires by filling in a tube made out of an extremely elastic polymer with gallium and an indium liquid metal alloy."
Technology

3D Printer Round-Up: Cube 3D, Up! Mini, and Solidoodle 91

Posted by samzenpus
from the bang-for-your-buck dept.
MojoKid writes "3D printing is a fascinating new technology and an exploding new market. The process involved is pretty basic actually. Heat up some plastic, and sort of like that Play-Doh Fun Factory you were so fond of as a kid, you extrude the melted plastic out to create objects. It all started back in 2007 when the first RepRap machine was built. The idea behind RepRap was to design a machine that could build complex parts in three dimensions using extruded molten plastic and that machine could also "self-replicate" or build a copy of itself. Since then, 3D printers of all types have emerged from the community and this round-up of machines covers a few of the more prominent names in 3D printing systems. The Cube 3D, the Up! Mini and the Solidoodle 2 can all get you into 3D printing at retail consumer price points with precision down to 100 microns. The technology has very much come of age and it's going to be interesting to see where these machines can take us."
Space

Ask Slashdot: How Would You Build a Microsatellite? 117

Posted by samzenpus
from the your-own-personal-satellite dept.
Dishwasha writes "A fellow co-worker of mine turned me on to CubeSat; apparently there are commercial space companies that will launch CubeSat systems from their payload for a modest fee. Is anybody in the /. community involved in amateur microsatellite systems? How would I go about getting involved at an amateur level? Are there any amateur user groups and meetups I can join? I have limited background in all the prerequisites but am eager to learn even if it takes a lifetime. Any links to design and engineering of satellites would be appreciated."
Electronic Frontier Foundation

The Mark Cuban Chair To Eliminate Stupid Patents 121

Posted by Soulskill
from the he-should-literally-hit-patent-trolls-with-a-chair dept.
l2718 writes "The Electronic Frontier Foundation announced today a large donation by Mark Cuban and Markus 'Notch' Persson to the EFF Patent Project. Notably, part of Cuban's donation is for the creation of the 'Mark Cuban Chair to Eliminate Stupid Patents' (the first holder is current staff attorney Julie Samuels). Time will tell if the new title will help her advocacy work. Cuban said, 'The current state of patents and patent litigation in this country is shameful," said Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks. "Silly patent lawsuits force prices to go up while competition and innovation suffer. That's bad for consumers and bad for business. It's time to fix our broken system, and EFF can help.' Notch added, 'New games and other technological tools come from improving on old things and making them better – an iterative process that the current patent environment could shut down entirely. '"
Government

FTC Strengthens Children's Privacy Protections Online 45

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-think-of-the-children-without-parental-consent dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The U.S. Federal Trade Commission today updated the privacy standards that protect children's privacy online. The new rules say companies must gain parental consent before collecting a kid's geolocation data, photos, and videos. It also broadened existing language to include third parties and companies that collect data on users across multiple websites. 'While the new rule strengthens such safeguards, it could also disrupt online advertising. Web sites and online advertising networks often use persistent identification systems — like a customer code number in a cookie in a person's browser — to collect information about a user's online activities and tailor ads for that person. But the new rule expands the definition of personal information to include persistent IDs — such as a customer code number, the unique serial number on a mobile phone, or the I.P. address of a browser — if they are used to show a child behavior-based ads.'"

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