An anonymous reader writes "After news broke on Thursday that a new Java 0-day vulnerability had been discovered, and was already being included in multiple popular exploit kits, two new important tidbits have come in on Friday. Firstly, this whole fiasco could have been avoided if Oracle had properly patched a previous vulnerability. Furthermore, not only is the vulnerability being exploited in the wild, but it is being used to push ransomware." Meanwhile, writes reader Beeftopia, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is getting in on the action, and "has warned users to disable or uninstall Java software on their computers, amid continuing fears and an escalation in warnings from security experts that hundreds of millions of business and consumer users are vulnerable to a serious flaw."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
BuzzSkyline writes "A new design for bicycle cranks violates basic principles of physics, but that's not stopping the inventor of Z-Torque cranks from trying to raise thousands in start-up capital through crowd funding." The picture looks intriguing for a fleeting moment before it looks silly. Covered in similar style at a site I'm glad to discover exists, the Bicycle Museum of Bad Ideas.
Coldeagle writes "It looks as if CNET's parent company, CBS, has laid down the law: 'Just one day after CNet named the Dish "Hopper," a new TV recording system that's drawing rave reviews in the tech press, to an awards shortlist, the site's parent company stepped in and nixed the accolade. Because of a legal battle between CBS and Dish over the Hopper's ad-skipping technology, CBS laid down a ban: CNet won't be allowed to even review Dish products, much less give them awards.' Got to love modern day freedom of the press!"
An anonymous reader writes "With the 'six-strikes' anti-piracy plan set to begin in the U.S. soon, TorrentFreak has gotten its hands on a document showing how Verizon in particular will be dealing with copyright-infringing users. For your first and second strike, Verizon will email you and leave you a voicemail informing you that your account is involved in copyright infringement. For your third and fourth strikes, the ISP will automatically redirect your browser to a page that requires you to acknowledge receiving the alerts. They'll also play a video about the dangers of infringement. For your fifth and sixth strikes, they give you three options: massively throttle your connection for a few days, wait two weeks and then throttle your connection, or file an appeal with an arbitration service for $35. TorrentFreak points out that the MPAA and RIAA can obtain the connection information of repeat infringers, with which they can then take legal action."
An anonymous reader writes "A new technique allows allows 'thermocrystals' to be created that can manipulate heat (a vibration of the atomic lattice of a material). Predicted manipulations include the ability to selectively transmit, reflect or concentrate heat much like light waves can be manipulated by lenses and mirrors. 'Heat differs from sound, he explains, in the frequency of its vibrations: Sound waves consist of lower frequencies (up to the kilohertz range, or thousands of vibrations per second), while heat arises from higher frequencies (in the terahertz range, or trillions of vibrations per second).' Applications range from better thermoelectric devices to switchable heat insulating/transmitting materials (abstract). Perhaps this will result in better cooling/heating mechanisms or more efficient engines."
Nerval's Lobster writes "The U.S. Department of Science has presented a difficult challenge to vendors: deliver a supercomputer with roughly 10 to 30 petaflops of performance, yet filled with energy-efficient multi-core architecture. The draft copy (.DOC) of the DOE's requirements provide for two systems: 'Trinity,' which will offer computing resources to the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), during the 2016-2020 timeframe; and NERSC-8, the replacement for the current NERSC-6 'Hopper' supercomputer first deployed in 2010 for the DOE facilities. Hopper debuted at number five in the list of Top500 supercomputers, and can crunch numbers at the petaflop level. The DOE wants a machine with performance at between 10 to 30 times Hopper's capabilities, with the ability to support one compute job that could take up over half of the available compute resources at any one time."
snydeq writes "Tech giants Apple, Google, and Microsoft were no-shows at CES this week in Las Vegas, which worked out just fine for Chinese vendors looking to establish a name for themselves with U.S. consumers. 'Telecom suppliers Huawei and ZTE, in particular, have set their sights on breaking into the U.S. market for smartphones and tablets. ... Whether these Chinese imports can take on the likes of Apple and Samsung remains to be seen, but as Wired quotes Jeff Lotman, the CEO of Global Icons, an agency that helps companies build and license their brands: "The thing that's amazing is these are huge companies, and they have a lot of power, but in the United States nobody has heard of them and they're having trouble gaining traction, but it's not impossible. Samsung was once known for making crappy, low-end phones and cheap TVs. Now they're seen as a top TV and smartphone brand."'"
This video shows a computer case that's "pretty expensive," says Timothy Lord. "It's over $300. On the other hand, it is beautiful." The manufacturer, Taiwan-based IN WIN, has put a $399 MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) tag on their top-of-the-line "limited edition" computer cases. Wow. Most of us probably won't buy one of these, considering that low-cost mid-tower cases can be had for $30, and the entire computer used to edit this video cost $399 (with the addition of some RAM and a better video card). But there is a market for Lamborghinis, and there is a market for computer cases that cost as much as a complete low-end computer. And CES (annoying sounds if you click the link) is a great place to look at them even if you don't really need a computer case that costs more than a minimum wage worker's entire weekly paycheck.
SchrodingerZ writes "A new video was released yesterday by NASA from the GRAIL mission probes, which ended their mission last month as they impacted the lunar surface. 'Dramatic' footage was captured by the probe Ebb on December 14th. The video was taken from the 'MoonKAM (Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle school Students) cameras. It shows the view of Ebb flying at an altitude of 6 miles (10 km) above the Moon's northern hemisphere in the vicinity of Jackson crater (22.4N 163.1W).' Two videos were released, one from the fore and one from the aft of the probe, showing a forwards and backwards time lapse containing 931 and 1,489 pictures each of the lunar terrain. The footage was part of the probes' final systems check before they shut down and were sent into a controlled impact to a predetermined location."
hypnosec writes "Following news that a Java 0-day has been rolled into exploit kits, without any patch to fix the vulnerability, Mozilla and Apple have blocked the latest versions of Java on Firefox and Mac OS X respectively. Mozilla has taken steps to protect its user base from the yet-unpatched vulnerability. Mozilla has added to its Firefox add-on block-list: Java 7 Update 10, Java 7 Update 9, Java 6 Update 38 and Java 6 Update 37. Similar steps have also been taken by Apple; it has updated its anti-malware system to only allow version 126.96.36.199 or higher, thereby automatically blocking the vulnerable version, 188.8.131.52." Here are some ways to disable Java, if you're not sure how.
astroengine writes "Russian drilling operations at Lake Vostok, Antarctica, have succeeded in collecting a long-sought core sample of water frozen into the borehole from the glacier-covered, 20 million-year-old lake they cracked into last year. 'The first core of transparent lake ice, two meters long, was obtained on Jan. 10, at a depth of 3,406 meters (11,174.5 feet). Inside it was a vertical channel filled with white bubble-rich ice,' stated the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, part of the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring."
An anonymous reader writes "Is your work space drab? Do you want art to reflect your geekiness? Then you might like an art movement that has been gaining popularity over the past few decades. This is movement is 'Geek Art' where artists take inspiration from all things tech and geek. The art works range from 'Hello, world!' in 23 programming languages to collages of Old Atari games to more contemporary pieces like modern apps as Famicon software. It's sites like Redbubble and Society 6 which have enabled the independent artist to get their work out there while sites such as 20x200 take a more curated approach. 8bit retro is the new Mona Lisa!"
nossim writes "When it comes to developers' productivity, numerous controversial studies stress the differences between individuals. As a freelance web developer, I've worked for a lot of companies, and I noticed how some companies foster good practices which improve individual productivity and some others are a nightmare in that regard. In your experience, what are the worst practices or problems that impede developers' productivity at an individual or organizational level?"
redletterdave writes "Only a small number of U.S. cities can boast fiber optic connections, but in China, it's either fiber or bust. China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has now ordered all newly built residences to install fiber optic connections in any city or county 'where a public fiber optic telecom network is available.' The new standards will take effect starting on April 1, 2013, and residents will be able to choose their own ISP with equal connections to services. The Chinese government reportedly hopes to have 40 million families connected to fiber networks by 2015."
ananyo writes "The ribosome, the molecular machine that translates our genetic code to build the body's proteins, is a mechanical marvel. Now, chemists have invented a nanomachine that can achieve a similar feat. The artificial system is not about to displace nature's ribosome, a complex of proteins and RNA. It is much simpler, and only about about one-tenth of the size — and, it is achingly slow, destroys the code it reads and can produce only very short chunks of protein, known as peptides. It does, however, show that some of the tactics of biology's molecular machines can be adopted to make useful chemicals. The device relies on a rotaxane — a large molecular ring threaded onto another molecule that acts as an axle (abstract). The axle is lined with three amino acids, and a chain of three more amino acids hangs from the outer edge of the ring. Heating the device prompts the ring to move along the axle, adding amino acids one-by-one to the chain attached to the ring."