An anonymous reader writes "MIT announced that despite a long history of running an open network (so that any student can run a server on any port, without any questions asked), it will now end this policy due to recent denial-of-service attacks and gunman hoax. From a letter sent by Executive Vice President and Treasurer Israel Ruiz: 'I am deeply and personally committed to safeguarding our community, protecting our campus and securing our systems. Together with our colleagues dedicated to campus safety and security, with the support of senior academic leadership and in collaboration with the campus community, we are deploying all necessary resources to this effort. It will require the dedication of all of us to promote safety awareness, complete necessary emergency training, and adhere to reinforced cyber security guidelines. IS&T staff members are working with information technology (IT) leadership and partners across campus in making the changes described above. We continue to explore all opportunities to further strengthen our preparedness, and will communicate additional information as these plans evolve.'"
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
An anonymous reader writes "Google on Wednesday made a huge announcement to fork WebKit and build a new rendering engine called Blink. Opera, which only recently decided to replace its own Presto rendering engine for WebKit, has confirmed with TNW that it will be following suit. 'When we announced the move away from Presto, we announced that we are going with the Chromium package, and the forking and name change have little practical influence on the Opera browsers. So yes, your understanding is correct,' an Opera spokesperson told TNW. This will affect both desktop and mobile versions of Opera the spokesperson further confirmed."
coondoggie writes "New federal restrictions now preclude four U.S. agencies from buying information-technology (IT) systems from manufacturers 'owned, directed or subsidized by the People's Republic of China' due to national-security concerns. But is this a smart tactic? It's clear that some in the U.S. government, including the House Intelligence Committee — which issued a scathing report last fall that called Huawei and ZTE a threat to national security — and the Treasury Department's Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. are also working in other ways behind the scenes to keep technology made by China-based manufacturers out of U.S. commercial networks as well."
littlekorea writes "Mining companies are developing new systems for automating blasting of iron ore using the same open source physics engines adapted for games such as Grand Theft Auto IV and Red Dead Redemption. The same engine that determines 3D collision detection and soft body/rigid body dynamics in gaming will be applied to building 3D blast movement models — which will predict where blasted materials will land and distinguish between ore and waste. Predictive blast fragmentation models used in the past have typically been either numerical or empirical, [mining engineer Alan Cocker] said. Numerical models such as discrete element method, he noted, are onerous to configure and demanding of resources — both computing and human — and are generally not appropriate for operational use at mines. 'The problem with empirical models, by contrast, is that they tend to operate at a scale too coarse to give results useful for optimizations,' he added, noting typical Kuz-Ram-based fragmentation models (PDF) (widely used to estimate fragmentation from blasting) assume homogeneous geology (the same type of materials) throughout a blast."
An anonymous reader writes "A bill amendment proposed Tuesday could allow employers to ask for a worker's Facebook or other social media password during company investigations. The provision was proposed for a bill that safeguards social network passwords of workers and job applicants. The measure bars employers from asking for social media credentials during job interviews. The amendment says that an employer conducting an investigation may require or demand access to a personal account if an employee or prospective employee has allegations of work-place misconduct or giving away an employer's proprietary information. The amendment would require an investigation to ensure compliance with applicable laws or regulatory requirements."
Carewolf writes "In a blog post titled Blink: A rendering engine for the Chromium project, Google has announced that Chromium (the open source backend for Chrome) will be switching to Blink, a new WebKit-based web rendering engine. Quoting: 'Chromium uses a different multi-process architecture than other WebKit-based browsers, and supporting multiple architectures over the years has led to increasing complexity for both the WebKit and Chromium projects. This has slowed down the collective pace of innovation... This was not an easy decision. We know that the introduction of a new rendering engine can have significant implications for the web. Nevertheless, we believe that having multiple rendering engines—similar to having multiple browsers—will spur innovation and over time improve the health of the entire open web ecosystem. ... In the short term, Blink will bring little change for web developers. The bulk of the initial work will focus on internal architectural improvements and a simplification of the codebase. For example, we anticipate that we’ll be able to remove 7 build systems and delete more than 7,000 files—comprising more than 4.5 million lines—right off the bat. Over the long term a healthier codebase leads to more stability and fewer bugs.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft on Wednesday released SkyDrive 3.0 for iOS out of the blue. Last time the app was in the news, Apple was stopping Microsoft from pushing out an update in the App Store because the company doesn't pay a 30 percent cut of the subscription revenue it generates. Now we've learned how Microsoft managed to update its iOS app today. 'We worked with Apple to create a solution that benefited our mutual customers,' a Microsoft spokesperson told TNW. 'The SkyDrive app for iOS is slightly different than other SkyDrive apps in that people interested in buying additional storage will do so via the web versus in the app.' Does this set a precedent for an iOS version of Microsoft Office?"
crookedvulture writes "Seagate announced its third-generation hybrid drives last month, revealing a full family of notebook and desktop drives that combine mechanical platters with solid-state storage. These so-called SSHDs are Seagate's first to be capable of caching write requests in addition to reads, and the mobile variants are already selling online. Unfortunately, a closer look at the Laptop Thin SSHD reveals some problems with Seagate's new design. While the integrated flash cache reduces OS and application load times by 30-45%, overall performance appears to be held back by its 5,400-RPM mechanical component. Seagate's last-gen Momentus XT hybrid spins its platters at 7,200-RPM, and it's faster than the new SSHD in a wide range of tests. The upcoming desktop SSHDs will also have 7,200-RPM spindle speeds, so they may prove more appealing than the mobile models."
astroengine writes "A $2 billion particle detector attached to the International Space Station has detected the potential signature of dark matter annihilation in the Cosmos, scientists have announced today. The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) was attached to the space station in May 2011 by space shuttle Endeavour — the second-to last shuttle mission to the orbital outpost. Since then, the AMS has been detecting electrons and positrons (the electron's anti-particle) originating from deep space and assessing their energies. By doing a tally of electrons and positrons, physicists hope the AMS will help to answer one of the most enduring mysteries in science: Does dark matter exist? And today, it looks like the answer is a cautious, yet exciting, affirmative."
This is the second of our two-part interview (part one ran yesterday) with Conjurer and Investigator (his words) James Randi, whose organization, the James Randi Education Foundation, has a long-standing offer: prove you have paranormal abilities and they'll give you $1 Million. They say they've recently made this award easier than ever to win. Note that, lower bar or no, Randi claims the last time a conjurer's illusion fooled him was many years ago, when he was very young. It was one done by the famous Chan Canasta -- and Randi claims that in the end he figured it out, anyway. So forget the $1 Million, relax, and enjoy James Randi. He's a great raconteur, so we can all be jealous of interviewer Rob Rozeboom (samzenpus) for having made this great video even as we enjoy watching it.
Last week we announced that co-founder and CEO of Intellectual Ventures, Nathan Myhrvold, had agreed to do a live Q&A. Earlier today we posted a few of his answers, but now's your chance to hear it directly from him. Mr. Myhrvold will be answering your questions below until 12:30 PDT. Please keep it to one question per post so everyone gets a chance. Update: 04/03 19:41 GMT by S : 12:30pm PDT has come and gone, and Mr. Myhrvold has to move on. Thanks for the answers! Here's a link to his user page if you'd just like to read his responses.
An anonymous reader sends news that Disney is closing LucasArts. The game studio has been around since 1982, and brought us classics such as Labyrinth, The Secret of Monkey Island, X-Wing, TIE Fighter, and Star Wars: Battlefront. They also published Star Wars: Galaxies, Knights of the Old Republic, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. The company held a meeting today informing employees of the layoffs. "In some ways, the news is not a surprise. LucasArts had seemed directionless in recent years. The company's core business of games based on the Star Wars license have been largely disappointing in both quality and sales. While the company had some success with games like Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and the Battlefront series, both of those franchises seemed to have died on the vine. The cancellation of Star Wars Battlefront III was particularly ugly, which led to nasty public fingerpointing between LucasArts and developer Free Radical. ... LucasArt's other big franchise, Indiana Jones, has failed to make much of a dent in games in recent years, with the exception of Traveller's Tales LEGO Indiana Jones series that, once again, was not developed by LucasArts. Meanwhile, series like Uncharted and Tomb Raider, which are both heavily influenced by the Indiana Jones films, have thrived." If only they hadn't abandoned the X-Wing series of games. I would have bought a new one of those in a heartbeat. Update: 04/04 18:09 GMT by T : Dice.com's news service (Dice.com is the corporate parent of Slashdot) mentions one small silver lining for those employees who stuck it out to the end: the best kind of parting gift. "Soon after the acquisition, a number of people departed LucasArts, deciding the time was right to head out in search of a new job. Many others remained, encouraged to hang on as long as they could by talk of generous severance packages. Sources among those laid off say the packages were, indeed, generous."
An anonymous reader writes with this bit from The Next Web: "Mozilla and Samsung on Wednesday announced a new partnership to build a 'next generation' web browser engine called Servo. The ultimate goal is to bring the technology to Android and ARM, though the two companies have not shared a timeframe for a possible launch. With the help of Samsung, Mozilla is bringing both the Rust programming language as well as Servo to Android and ARM. Samsung's contribution so far has been an ARM backend to Rust as well as the build infrastructure necessary to cross-compile to Android. In fact, the code is available now on GitHub, as is the source for Rust and Servo." For those unfamiliar, Rust is Mozilla's new safe systems programming language (kind of like BitC), and Servo is their general project to write a brand new engine using Rust. Rust has an interesting memory model that eliminates much difficulty in reasoning about threaded programs. If you know what you're doing, they claim you can cross compile the code for Android, but no functionality guarantees have been made.
Last week you had a chance to ask co-founder and CEO of Intellectual Ventures, Nathan Myhrvold, questions before his live Q&A. Below you'll find his answers to a few of the highest rated. Make sure you come back today from 12-12:30pm PDT (3-3:30pm ET, 19:00-19:30 GMT) to ask him whatever you like in real time. We'll have a new story for your questions at that time.
Nerval's Lobster writes "After defeating a shareholder insurrection that largely stemmed from how it handled the Autonomy acquisition, Hewlett-Packard is trying to resuscitate the fortunes of that troubled analytics-software unit. In an interview, Robert Youngjohns, General Manager of the Autonomy division for HP, conceded that the controversy surrounding the acquisition and its aftermath has proven a significant distraction for the company. ... HP's ambitious turnaround plan involves focusing Autonomy technology, which can help find the right data in huge datasets, on areas such as Web content management and information governance. But it's a big question whether HP can overcome all the negative publicity swirling around Autonomy, widely seen as a poor acquisition: Back in November 2012, HP accused Autonomy's management team of using 'accounting improprieties, misrepresentations and disclosure failures to inflate the underlying financial metrics of the company.' It alerted the SEC's Enforcement Division and the United Kingdom's Serious Fraud Office (Autonomy is based in the U.K.), and announced it would take an $8.8 billion write-down on Autonomy's value. That sort of thing could make Autonomy a tough sell to companies still trying to figure out if they even need so-called 'Big Data' tools."