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Space

+ - 186 Astronomers find planet barely larger than Earth's Moon

Submitted by
The Bad Astronomer
The Bad Astronomer writes "A team of astronomers have announced the discovery of the smallest exoplanet orbiting a Sun-like star yet found: Kepler-37b, which has a diameter of only 3865 kilometers — smaller than Mercury, and only a little bigger than our own Moon. It was found using the transit method; as it orbits its star, it periodically blocks a bit of the starlight, revealing its presence. Interestingly, the planet has been known for some time, but only new advances in asteroseismology (studying oscillations in the star itself) have allowed the star's size to be accurately found, which in turn yielded a far better determination of the planet's diminutive size. Also, the asteroseismology research was not funded by NASA, but instead crowd funded by a non-profit, which raised money by letting people adopt Kepler target stars."
Facebook

+ - 144 iOS Developer Site at Core of Facebook, Apple Watering Hole Attack->

Submitted by msm1267
msm1267 (2804139) writes "The missing link connecting the attacks against Apple, Facebook and possibly Twitter is a popular iOS mobile developers’ forum called iphonedevsdk which was discovered hosting malware in an apparent watering hole attack that has likely snared victims at hundreds of organizations beyond the big three. It's not clear whether the site remains infected, but researcher Eric Romang dug into the situation and determined that the site was hosting malicious javascript that was redirecting visitors to another site, min.liveanalytics. That site had been hosting malware as of Jan. 15."
Link to Original Source
Earth

+ - 120 How to Safeguard Loose Nukes->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "The Bulletin has an interesting article about the likelihood of terrorists obtaining nuclear material. "Since 1993, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has logged roughly 2,000 cases of illicit or unauthorized trafficking of nuclear and radioactive material. Thirty illicit radioactive trafficking incidents were reported in the former Soviet region alone from 2009 to 2011. As Obama said in December, "Make no mistake, if [terrorists] get [nuclear material], they will use it."""
Link to Original Source

+ - 146 CryptoCat creator "I am under surveillance, my computer has been backdoored "->

Submitted by Syobon
Syobon (1853468) writes "Addendum (added Feb. 10, 1:50PM EST): I’ve decided that the way I’m going to deal with this is by doing disk forensics on my computer and moving on, continuing my life as normal. I am not going to slip into total paranoia because of this incident. I have a history of attempted entrapments, of border interrogations and of surveillance, and with this incident, here’s what I’ll say:
If any agency is continuing to monitor me because of Cryptocat, you are invited to meet me under honest pretenses and have a cup of coffee with me. Just don’t lure me in with lies and don’t backdoor my computers. Be honest with me and I will have no problem discussing my work with you. I am not a criminal, I am an upstanding citizen. If you want answers, then contact me and be honest about it. You have nothing to fear from me.
In order not to cause unnecessary drama, to protect my privacy and to lessen my stress levels, I’m removing this blog post until further notice and investigation. This attracted way more attention that I wanted it to. I just wanted to protect myself, not cause a media uproar. Thank you everyone for your support. This is already a stressful situation and the huge level of attention to this blog post is just making everything more stressful to deal with."

Link to Original Source

+ - 100 Crowdfunding service SliceBiz wins Apps4Africa cash prize->

Submitted by
Big Hairy Ian
Big Hairy Ian writes "A Ghanaian start-up planning to popularise crowdfunding in Africa has been selected as one of the winners of this year's Apps4Africa competition.

SliceBiz plans to develop a service that will deliver 30-second pitches recorded by entrepreneurs to potential backers over the phone.

It says investors will then be able to transfer cash into the projects they like via their mobiles.

The Apps4Africa scheme is funded by the US State Department and the World Bank,

It gives awards of $10,000 (£6,500) to three selected projects with the possibility of top-up funds if the winners meet set targets."

Link to Original Source

+ - 241 AutoDesk Accuses Non-profit User Forums of Trademark Infringement->

Submitted by SrLnclt
SrLnclt (870345) writes "AutoDesk has begun contacting owners of websites with Revit in their TLD name, and accusing them of trademark infringement. For those unfamiliar with this software package, Revit is a 3D modeling tool designed to model buildings and their MEP and Structural systems, which is currently owned by AutoDesk. It is widely used by architects and engineers for this purpose, and has supplanted AutoCAD in the building design fields for many users. One such domain revitforum.org is an independent non-profit, user to user support forum. Typically users on this site are already familiar with Revit, have purchased licenses, and are looking for help, tips, or tricks in using the software. One of AutoDesk's lawyers has contacted [PDF, Registration Required] the site owner, who has responded [PDF, Registration Required] and plans on fighting this issue. Additionally, they are currently looking for legal help from anyone with a legal background willing to donate some time."
Link to Original Source
Microsoft

+ - 159 Oracle, Microsoft, BSA, Scott McNeally, and others all gang up against Google-> 1

Submitted by
walterbyrd
walterbyrd writes "Yesterday there were numerous amicus briefs filed all on the same day and all in support of Oracle against Google in Oracle's appeal at the Federal Circuit. None of the briefs are posted publicly yet, but they should be available soon.

Microsoft has filed one, together with EMC Corporation, and NetApp, Inc. Scott McNealy has filed one with Brian Sutphin. Can McNealy be a witness for Oracle at trial, which he was [PDF], and also file an amicus brief? Well, he has. The Picture Archive Council of America, Inc. has filed one with the Graphic Artists Guild. Also there's one from the BSA. And finally Eugene Spafford, Zhi Ding, and Lee A. Hollaar have filed an amicus in support of Oracle. Hollaar seems to file a lot of amicus briefs.

So why do these entities and individuals care about this Java API case, do you suppose?

Brian Sutphin was the VP at Sun Microsystem who in 2003 signed the deal with SCO Group's (then Caldera) then-CEO Darl McBride just days after Caldera filed its suit against IBM. I know. It kind of makes your skin crawl, doesn't it? He also testified at trial for Oracle. Both he and McNealy told the court with straight faces that Jonathan Schwartz's corporate blog was personal, not a company blog.
All filed on the same day. Less than a week after Oracle filed its appeal brief. Before Google even files its responding brief. Does it feel a little bit coordinated to you?

The company Oracle keeps these days takes one's breath away. Who would ever have predicted an Oracle-Microsoft buddy system?"

Link to Original Source
Science

+ - 114 Scientists Selectively Shut Off Mice's Ability to Sense Cold->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "How many times have you been shivering on a winter day, and wished that you were capable of simply not feeling the cold? Well, that’s just what scientists at the University of Southern California have done to a group of lab mice – they disabled the animals’ ability to sense cold, while leaving their ability to sense heat and touch intact. It is hoped that the research could lead to more effective pain medications for humans."
Link to Original Source
Cellphones

+ - 152 Tizen not as Open Source, drops EFL to merge with Bada 1

Submitted by DustyMutant
DustyMutant (2603063) writes "Due to lack of a public roadmap and basic schedule it was uncertain for fans of Tizen whether Bada featurephone operating system takes center stage for Samsung's Tizen as the popular rumors say. With the final 2.0 release important milestone of the merge has been finalized. Bada's "Open Services Platform" frameworks (APIs and implementation) have been merged into Tizen, thus forming a hybrid of HTML5 runtime environment and Bada advanced featurephone application layer, all siting on top of Linux Kernel and system libraries. What worries is that it happened silently without prior discussion or at least announcement what may be unexpected because Tizen is promoted as a project under umbrella and maintenance of the Linux Foundation, employer of Linus Torvalds.

Visiting Tizen 2 and Bada 2 platform web documentation is enough to notice that Tizen 2 native developer experience evolved into what was known as the Bada advanced featurephone OS. For a quick comparison, a simple screenshot has been published.

Moreover Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL) developers have been advertising strong Samsung's support for years. Now this support has been basically dropped in the middle of the changes that form Tizen 2.0.

Is there a chance for Tizen to become a real Linux operating system we all know, capable of running existing free software, not just HTML pages and Bada apps? There is IF the community takes over areas where Linux Foundation is passive. While there is no official support for these third-party frameworks, according to the explanation on the Tizen SDK page:

Tizen applications for mobile devices can be developed without relying on an official Tizen IDE as long as the application complies with Tizen packaging rules.

Still, is this declaration enough to gain trust in the community? Just before the release, Carsten Haitzler aka rasterman, Samsung's Principal Engineer working on Tizen and EFL guru in one person, showed some signs of irritation (an excerpt from an Tizen IRC log, original typos corrected):

tizen is not meego or maemo, it is not related
i've been working on this os now for like over 4 years
i have spent years saying "release ports to existing products"
no action, years saying what you say, i don't bother anymore
what will happen — will happen
i have no chance to change it because at least [in] samsung all decisions are top-down
ie. some executive with zero connection/knowledge of OSS is going to decide all the technical details
as i mentioned tizen is SLP [Samsung Linux Platform], SLP is a continuation of Limo
Limo is something that existed alongside and/or before maemo did
it has been in competition internally, no ball was picked up, it's a separate ball
it was renamed to tizen and put under a [Linux Foundation] banner and Intel then joined in
Intel has pushed for things to be much more open and to use OBS [Open Build System] and much infra that was used before for meego
[..]
tizen uses enlightenment and efl, thus why its then "zero porting" :)
that doesn't mean you will be able to use efl in apps you port/write
i do this for my own amusement, YOU may be stuck with a phone that is locked down and that doesn't allow installation of native apps at all

Shortly after that rasterman shared his look at the openess of the Linux Foundation-backed project in more depth to fight some misinformation:

Tizen, and what is in it (technically), is controlled by/decided on by the TSG [Technical Steering Group]. The TSG is a committee of executives (Samsung and Intel — you can read up on it — Imad and JD). They decide what will happen, and that's how it works. It's a top-down thing with VP's in charge. How and what they decide is up to them entirely. I have no idea what they will decide, when or where. Well officially I don't. What I may, or may not know is simply rumour and not for me to disclose, as decisions are made by the executives in charge (as above) as they see fit (which is not here in public, like on these mailing lists, IRC etc.). This (Tizen) is not like open source projects (let's say like E/EFL, Qt, GTK+, Xorg, Linux Kernel etc.), where I, or any developer, is free to talk about plans for the future and work being done, (or for that matter even knows or can find out). I understand that you are coming from that perspective, and thus logically asking those questions here, expecting answers like you would with pretty much any OSS project, but Tizen is not like that.

On the day of the release once the secret has been disclosed, rasterman concluded the reason for frustration on the Tizen IRC channel to the fellow engineers:

jooncheol Open Services Platform !!!
jooncheol bada !!
jooncheol hmm
jooncheol bada ...
jooncheol omg
Stskeeps looks like a good compromise, EFL on the inside, OSP on outside
raster hehe
* Stskeeps envisions raster being taken away in a white straightjacket to the funnyfarm
raster they did that years ago
raster i then escaped
raster and wrote a wm
raster and trust me
raster its not efl on the inside
raster efl is nothing mroe than a glorified wrapper around windows and then a simple surface compositor
Stskeeps sorry to hear that
raster everything else above that is not efl
raster so u may want to reserve judgment until u've seen it all

In addition to governance and technical aspects it becomes clear that Tizen's licensing model looks complicated at the moment. Tizen is presented as an open source and standards-based operating system with popular media praising its openness when compared to Android. However Tizen's SDK contains a mix of open and closed components released together under a non-open-source Samsung's licence.

What's typical in open projects driven by corporations, a number of components internally developed by Samsung such as calendar, task manager or music player are however released under the Flora License which is most likely incompatible with requirements of the Open Source Initiative. Next releases will hopefully resolve the issues to avoid irrelevance."

Android

+ - 263 Why doesn't Android support Linux filesystems for removable storage? 1

Submitted by Pale Dot
Pale Dot (2813911) writes "After weeks of struggle I finally figured out a way for the apps on my rooted Android tablet to recognize an SD card I had formatted as Ext4 but with the default journaling option turned off. The problem at first was getting the SD card to mount at all (technically this was the "external" SD card as the tablet also has a built-in "internal" SD card). Apparently, the Android automount facility, the evil-sounding vold daemon, does not support any filesystem besides Microsoft's VFAT. From various online sources, I learned that the CyanogenMod Linux 3.x kernel itself does support mounting Ext4, at least via the terminal "mount -t ext4" command.

A second problem soon cropped up. Apps, such as VLC and the AardDict offline dictionary, that rely on some sort of automagic scanning of the device storage space would not index the media and database files I copied to the SD card. It turns out that the simple solution, or the "hack" as it stands, is to mount the SD card under the directory created for the internal VFAT-formatted SD card, i.e. as "/storage/sdcard0/extsd" rather than the more direct "/storage/sdcard1". This works probably because subdirectories inherit the file permissions of the parent.

As part of my Google (re)search into the problem, I came upon this Google+ post by an Android developer curiously named Dianne Hackborn about the design decision not to support anything besides the Redmond-certified filesystem: "The external storage when on a SD card is FAT. Period. You are just going to cause yourself a mess if you try to do otherwise. The basic semantics of how external storage is used relies on it being fat — no permissions, case insensitive, etc."

So, is Google right about not supporting Ext2/3/4 for removable flash media, even if the base system itself often uses one of these Linux-native filesystems? Supposed issues about the frequent media access needed by a journalised filesystem don't apply to Ext2, which has no journal, or Ext4, which has an "-O ^has_journal" (no journal) formatting option. Perplexing still is that my tablet is advertised as having support for yet another Microsoft-patented invention, the ExFat filesystem. Unfortunately, there's still no way for a non-rooted Android tablet or smartphone to mount an SD card formatted as Ext2 or Ext4."
Google

+ - 139 Google Glass Opened Up To "Creative Individuals"->

Submitted by
DavidGilbert99
DavidGilbert99 writes "Google has opened up pre-orders for its much south-after Google Glass headset to "creative individuals" calling on them to tell the company why they deserve one by saying what they would use it for. Accompanying the announcement is a new video of the interface, being shown off in a variety of settings such ranging from hot-air ballooning to downhill skiing and everything in between..."
Link to Original Source
IOS

+ - 97 Real Racing 3 was built with Apple's *next* iPhone in mind->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Real Racing 3's international release is just days away, and in the run up, Firemonkey's development director sat down to explain just what it takesto make such a graphically intensive game for mobile. Each car takes a month to make and render, but the team are still planning to add more in DLC, as well as more real world tracks to race on. He also takes the time to discuss futureproofing and how they build the game to support Apple's next, unreleased iPhone and iPad. "It'll also be ready for new hardware that we anticipate being released in the future," he says."
Link to Original Source
Google

+ - 162 Google Reports Account Hijacking Down 99.7%->

Submitted by
CowboyRobot
CowboyRobot writes "Google's security team reported that the number of compromised Gmail accounts dropped 99.7% since 2011. Their solution is to conduct a risk analysis of more than 120 variables every single time a user checks email to make sure the sign-in is genuine. Any flags then prompt the user with a security question."
Link to Original Source
Hardware Hacking

+ - 246 The Patents That Threaten 3-D Printing->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "We've watched patents slow down the smartphone and tablet markets. We've seen patent claims thrown against Linux, Android, and countless other software projects. Now, as 3-D printing becomes more capable and more affordable, it seems a number of patents threaten to do the same to the hobbyist and tinkerer crowd. Wired has highlighted some of the most dangerous ones, including: a patent on soluble print materials that support a structure while it's being printed; a ridiculously broad patent on distributed rapid prototyping, which could affect "every 3-D printing service that has launched in the past few years"; and an 18-year-old patent on 3-D printing using a powder and a binding material, held by MIT."
Link to Original Source
Math

+ - 98 Hands on with TI's Color-Screen TI-84 Plus->

Submitted by
KermMartian
KermMartian writes "The TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition isn't the first color-screen graphing calculator, or even TI's first color calculator, but it's a refresh of a 17-year-old line that many have mocked as antiquated and overpriced. From an advanced review model, the math features look familiar, solid, and augmented with some new goodies, while programming looks about on par with its siblings. The requisite teardown uncovers the new battery, Flash, ASIC/CPU, and LCD used in the device. Although there are some qualms about its speed and very gentle hardware upgrades beyond the screen, it looks to be an indication that TI will continue this inveterate line for years to come."
Link to Original Source
Network

+ - 244 You Can Navigate Between Any Two Websites In 19 Clicks or Fewer->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A study done by a Hungarian physicist found that of the billions of websites and over a trillion objects on the web, any given two are separated by no more than 19 clicks. 'Distributed across the entire web, though, are a minority of pages—search engines, indexes and aggregators—that are very highly connected and can be used to move from area of the web to another. These nodes serve as the "Kevin Bacons" of the web, allowing users to navigate from most areas to most others in less than 19 clicks. Barabási credits this “small world” of the web to human nature—the fact that we tend to group into communities, whether in real life or the virtual world. The pages of the web aren’t linked randomly, he says: They’re organized in an interconnected hierarchy of organizational themes, including region, country and subject area. Interestingly, this means that no matter how large the web grows, the same interconnectedness will rule.'"
Link to Original Source

+ - 136 NASA researching LENR (aka cold fusion) and they are not alone.->

Submitted by Moabz
Moabz (1480009) writes "There have been quite a few news reports about LENR lately. Unlike the drama about the Rossi e-cat, there seems to be a revival in legitimate scientific research into this area. University of Missouri is running a 5.5 million USD research project, and scientists at other institutes like Purdue, NASA, MIT, SRI, NRL are all looking into it.

A couple of days ago the Nuclear Energy Institute was talking about it on their facebook page and the American Nuclear Society posted a similar story on their "nuclear cafe". The University of Missouri will host a cold fusion conference in July this year and the topic will also be discussed in a talk at the upcoming "Nuclear & Emerging Technologies for Space (NETS-2013) organized by the ANS starting coming Monday."

Link to Original Source
Communications

+ - 208 Drones still face major communications challenges getting onto US airspace->

Submitted by
coondoggie
coondoggie writes "Communications and effective system control are still big challenges unmanned aircraft developers are facing if they want unfettered access to US airspace. Those were just a couple of the conclusions described in a recent Government Accountability Office report on the status of unmanned aircraft and the national airspace. The bottom line for now seems to be that while research and development efforts are under way to mitigate obstacles to safe and routine integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace, these efforts cannot be completed and validated without safety, reliability, and performance standards, which have not yet been developed because of data limitations"
Link to Original Source
Censorship

+ - 123 Swedish Pirate Party Threatened To Stop Hosting The Pirate Bay->

Submitted by BetterThanCaesar
BetterThanCaesar (625636) writes "The Swedish Pirate Party and their ISP Serious Tubes have received a letter from "The Rights Alliance" (formerly Antipiratbyrån, The Swedish Anti-Piracy Bureau), demanding they cease supplying Internet access to The Pirate Bay. Referring to the final sentence on the four Pirate Bay profiles, they threaten with legal action if access is not removed by February 26. On her blog, party leader Anna Troberg calls the letter "extortion", pointing out that (translated from Swedish) "[i]t is not illegal to provide The Pirate Bay with Internet access. There is no list of illegal sites that ISPs cannot provide access to.""
Link to Original Source

+ - 270 Supreme Court Approves Search Warrants Issued by Dogs->

Submitted by
Entropy98
Entropy98 writes "Today the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that "a court can presume" an alert by a drug-sniffing dog provides probable cause for a search.

The Supreme Court has not yet issued a ruling in Florida v. Jardines, the other drug dog case it heard last October. Jardines raises the question of whether police need a warrant to use a drug-sniffing dog at the doorstep of a home.

The police can now search anyone anywhere as long as their dog "alerts". Soon coming to your front door as well."

Link to Original Source

A morsel of genuine history is a thing so rare as to be always valuable. -- Thomas Jefferson

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