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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

The Military

Nukes Are "The Only Peacekeeping Weapons the World Has Ever Known," Says Waltz 707

Posted by Soulskill
from the especially-when-we-drop-them-on-people dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Famed academic Kenneth Waltz for years has argued that more nukes around the world create peace. Why? Because the more nukes are around, the more people are afraid to start a war with a nuclear-armed state. Peace seems assured with a gun to the world's head. In a recent interview, he argues that Iran gaining nuclear weapons would be a good thing. He points out that 'President Obama and a number of others have advocated the abolition of nuclear weapons and many have accepted this as both a desirable and a realistic goal. Even entertaining the goal and contemplating the end seems rather strange. On one hand the world has known war since time immemorial, right through August 1945. Since then, there have been no wars among the major states of the world. War has been relegated to peripheral states (and, of course, wars within them). Nuclear weapons are the only peacekeeping weapons that the world has ever known. It would be strange for me to advocate for their abolition, as they have made wars all but impossible.'"
Government

US Election Year, Still No Voting Reform 302

Posted by Soulskill
from the we'll-procrastinate-in-a-little-while dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A year ago, we discussed this on Slashdot: E-Voting Reform In an Out Year?. The point was that due to the hoard of problems with electronic (and mechanical) voting, it is best to approach reform in an out year, when it is not on everyone's mind yet too late to do anything about it. Well, we failed, didn't we? Another election year is upon us, and our vote is less secure, less reliable, and less meaningful than ever. To reference the last article, we still have no open source voting, no end-to-end auditable voting systems and no open source governance. So don't complain if this election is stolen. You forgot to fix the system."
Firefox

Telefonica Shows Prototype Firefox OS Phone 91

Posted by Soulskill
from the how-much-memory-does-it-have dept.
judgecorp writes "Telefonica has added some detail to the Firefox OS picture, following the announcement of phones by two manufacturers earlier this week. The Qualcomm-built handset shown by Telefonica in London ran the HTML5 OS and showed multitasking as well as a range of HTML5 applications. Firefox-maker Mozilla receives a lot of funding from Google, but Telefonica sees Firefox OS as a way to achieve independence from Google. It will be more open than Android, and will run on lower-specification hardware, according to the company's director of products." A common reaction to Firefox OS over the past few days has been to say that it's doomed from the start. But Mozilla's stated goals are to 'promote openness, innovation, and opportunity on the Web for users and developers,' rather than to compete with Android and iOS. What do you think they need to do in order to achieve that in a meaningful way?
Ubuntu

Ubuntu Can't Trust FSF's Secure Boot Solution 377

Posted by Soulskill
from the dem's-fightin'-woids dept.
sfcrazy writes "The Free Software Foundation recently published a whitepaper criticizing Ubuntu's move to drop Grub 2 in order to support Microsoft's UEFI Secure Boot. The FSF also recommended that Ubuntu should reconsider their decision. Ubuntu's charismatic chief, Mark Shuttleworth, has responded to the situation during an interview, and explained the reason they won't change their stand on dropping Grub 2 from Ubuntu. Shuttleworth said, 'The SFLC advice to us was that the FSF could require key disclosure if some OEM screwed up. As nice as it is that someone at the FSF says they would not, we have to plan for a world where leaders change and institutional priorities change. The FSF wrote a licence that would give them the rights to take specific actions, and it's hard for them to argue they never would!'"
Technology

Ask Dr. Ramsey Faragher About Navigation/Positioning Technology 104

Posted by samzenpus
from the where-in-the-world dept.
Dr. Ramsey Faragher graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2004 with a first-class degree in Experimental and Theoretical Physics. He then completed a PhD in 2007 at Cambridge in Opportunistic Radio Positioning under the direction of Dr. Peter Duffett-Smith, a world expert in this field. He is now a Principal Scientist at the BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre specializing in positioning, navigation, sensor fusion and remote sensing technologies in the land, air, sea and space domains. We recently covered his NAVSOP project, an advanced positioning system that exploits existing transmissions such as Wi-Fi, TV, radio and mobile phone signals, to calculate the user’s location to within a few meters. Dr. Faragher has graciously agreed to answer any questions you may have about NAVSOP, the future of GPS, or what a theoretical physicist puts on his business card. Ask as many questions as you like, but please confine your questions to one per post.
Businesses

Dreaming of Digital Glory At Hacker Hostels 71

Posted by Soulskill
from the tell-me-about-your-new-social-network dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The NY Times has a story about a small chain of managed residences that has sprung up in the Bay Area to provide a cheap place where programmers, designers, and scientists can live and work. These 'hacker hostels' are a place for aspiring entrepreneurs to gather, share, and refine ideas. 'Hackers ... have long crammed into odd or tiny spaces and worked together to solve problems. In the 1960s, researchers at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory slept in the attic and, while waiting for their turn on the shared mainframe computer, sweated in the basement sauna. When told about the hacker hostels, Ethan Mollick, an assistant professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania who studies entrepreneurship, said they reminded him of his days in the last decade studying at M.I.T., where graduate students would have bunk beds inside their small offices.'"
Patents

Apple-Motorola Judge Questions Need For Software Patents 372

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-boys-go-on-home-now dept.
imamac sends this quote from a Reuters report: "The U.S. judge who tossed out one of the biggest court cases in Apple's smartphone technology battle is questioning whether patents should cover software or most other industries at all. ... Posner said some industries, like pharmaceuticals, had a better claim to intellectual property protection because of the enormous investment it takes to create a successful drug. Advances in software and other industries cost much less, he said, and the companies benefit tremendously from being first in the market with gadgets — a benefit they would still get if there were no software patents. 'It's not clear that we really need patents in most industries,' he said. Also, devices like smartphones have thousands of component features, and they all receive legal protection. 'You just have this proliferation of patents,' Posner said. 'It's a problem.' ... The Apple/Motorola case did not land in front of Posner by accident. He volunteered to oversee it."
Cellphones

Amazon Reportedly Plans Smartphone 78

Posted by Soulskill
from the remember-when-companies-just-did-one-thing dept.
AlistairCharlton writes "Online retailer Amazon is developing its own smartphone to take on the Apple iPhone and handsets that run the Google Android operating system, according to media reports 'Foxconn International Holdings Ltd. (2038), the Chinese mobile- phone maker, is working with Amazon on the device, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. Amazon is seeking to complement the smartphone strategy by acquiring patents that cover wireless technology and would help it defend against allegations of infringement, other people with knowledge of the matter said.'"
Microsoft

Former Microsoft Exec: Microsoft Has "Become the Thing They Despised" 488

Posted by samzenpus
from the your-own-worst-enemy dept.
zacharye writes "Microsoft has a long and storied history of leadership in the tech industry, and the company has driven innovation for decades. In recent years, however, Microsoft has fallen behind the times in several key industries; the company's mobile position has deteriorated and left it with a low single-digit market share, and Microsoft won't launch Windows RT, its response to Apple's three-year-old iPad, until later this year. In a recent piece titled 'Microsoft’s Lost Decade,' Vanity Fair contributor Kurt Eichenwald analyzes the company’s 'astonishingly foolish management decisions' and picks apart moves made during the Steve Ballmer era."
Piracy

BitTorrent Usage Increases In Europe, Following the Pirate Bay Blockade 272

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-didn't-want-to-until-you-told-me-I-couldn't dept.
MrSeb writes "In a twist that will surprise no one except the RIAA, MPAA, BREIN, and other anti-piracy lobbies, the amount of BitTorrent traffic has stayed the same or increased in Europe following the blockade of The Pirate Bay in the UK, Netherlands, and other countries. This news comes from XS4All, one of the largest European ISPs, which has published a graph of the network traffic associated with the BitTorrent protocol — and sure enough, since the Dutch Pirate Bay blockade began in February 2012, traffic has stayed the same or increased slightly. There are probably a few reasons for this: a) The European blockades created a lot of publicity (and no publicity is bad publicity); b) TPB isn't the only torrent site out there, and many of its torrents are available elsewhere; and c) Internet denizens are a lot more savvy (proxies, VPNs, etc.) than the MPAA and co give them credit for."
Software

Crowd Sourced Malware Reverse Engineering Platform Launched 19

Posted by samzenpus
from the work-together dept.
wiredmikey writes "Security startup CrowdStrike has launched CrowdRE, a free platform that allows security researchers and analysts to collaborate on malware reverse engineering. CrowdRE is adapting the collaborative model common in the developer world to make it possible to reverse engineer malicious code more quickly and efficiently. Collaborative reverse engineering can take two approaches, where all the analysts are working at the same time and sharing all the information instantly, or in a distributed manner, where different people work on different sections and share the results. This means multiple people can work on different parts simultaneously and the results can be combined to gain a full picture of the malware. Google is planning to add CrowdRE integration to BinNavi, a graph-based reverse engineering tool for malware analysis, and the plan is to integrate with other similar tools. Linux and Mac OS support is expected soon, as well."
Open Source

Ask Slashdot: How To Get Old Commercial Software To Be Open-Sourced? 234

Posted by samzenpus
from the set-it-free dept.
First time accepted submitter Optic7 writes "Many gamers have probably dreamed about the idea of an old favorite game or other no longer supported or developed commercial software being converted to an open-source license so that it could be updated to add new features, support new hardware, other operating systems, etc. However, this type of change of license seems exceedingly rare, unless the copyright holder itself decides on its own that it would be beneficial. The only examples I could think of or was able to find in a brief internet search were Blender (3D animation software that had its source code bought from creditors after a crowd-funding campaign) and Warzone 2100 (Game that had its source code released after a successful petition). With those two examples of different strategies in mind, have any of you ever participated in any efforts of this kind, and what did you learn from it that may be useful to someone else attempting the same thing? Even if you have not participated, do you have any suggestions or ideas that may be useful to such an effort?"
Medicine

Implants May Improve Therapy For Neurological Disorders 36

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-chipped-brain-is-a-happy-brain dept.
ericjones12398 writes "Breakthrough new research out of Massachusetts General Hospital shows that the use of magnetic field stimulation from microscopic devices implanted into the brain may be able to boost brain activity and alleviate symptoms of several devastating neurodegenerative conditions. Researchers leveraged the use of magnetic stimulation, which has been used for years to diagnose and treat neurological disorders. However, transcranial magnetic stimulation often generates fields by hand-held coils outside the skull, which ends up activating undesired parts of the brain, and makes delivery specificity to certain parts of the brain difficult."
The Internet

Ron Paul's New Primary Goal Is "Internet Freedom" 948

Posted by samzenpus
from the open-the-tubes dept.
Charliemopps writes "Ron and Rand Paul are shifting the central focus of their family's libertarian crusade to a new cause: Internet Freedom. From the article: 'Kentucky senator Rand and his father Ron Paul, who has not yet formally conceded the Republican presidential nomination, will throw their weight behind a new online manifesto set to be released today by the Paul-founded Campaign for Liberty. The new push, Paul aides say, will in some ways displace what has been their movement's long-running top priority, shutting down the Federal Reserve Bank. The move is an attempt to stake a libertarian claim to a central public issue of the next decade, and to move from the esoteric terrain of high finance to the everyday world of cable modems and Facebook.' This seems like welcome news to me. Let's see if they can get more traction here than they did with the Fed."
Science

Dark Matter Filament Finally Found 190

Posted by samzenpus
from the there-it-is dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Everyone is talking about the recent Higgs boson announcement by the scientists at CERN, but another significant scientific discovery was revealed this week as well. In a study published online in the journal Nature on Wednesday, scientists show that they have successfully found the first dark matter filament."

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