+ - 242 Alibaba Face Off With Chinese Regulator Over Fake Products->

Submitted by hackingbear
hackingbear (988354) writes "China's State Administration of Industry and Commerce on Wednesday issued a scathing report against one of the country's biggest stars, accusing e-commerce giant Alibaba of failing to do enough to prevent fake goods from being sold on its websites. SAIC said Alibaba allowed "illegal advertising" that misled consumers with false claims about low prices and other details. It claims some Alibaba employees took bribes and the company failed to deal effectively with fraud. Alibaba fired back with charges of bias and misconduct by accusing the SAIC official in charge of Internet monitoring, Liu Hongliang, of unspecified "procedural misconduct" and warned it will file a formal complaint. Such public defiance is almost unheard of in China. Apparently, Alibaba has long attained the too big to fail status."
Link to Original Source

+ - 102 Microsoft to Invest in Rogue Android Startup Cyanogen

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that Microsoft plans to be a minority investor in a roughly $70 million round of equity financing for mobile startup Cyanogen Inc.. Neither company is commenting on the plan but last week during a talk in San Francisco, Cyanogen's CEO said the company's goal was to "take Android away from Google." According to Bloomberg: "The talks illustrate how Microsoft is trying to get its applications and services on rival operating systems, which has been a tenet of Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella. Microsoft has in the past complained that Google Inc., which manages Android, has blocked its programs from the operating system.""

+ - 102 A "comet storm" is in our future, and it isn't pretty

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "Out beyond the orbit of Neptune, hundreds of thousands of large, icy bodies stably orbit our Sun, held very tenuously by our Solar System's gravity at such great distances. For the most part, these objects leave us alone, but every once in a while, a star passes close enough to our Solar System to perturb them, sending a great number into the inner Solar System and causing a (potentially life-threatening) comet storm. There's a candidate for a huge one a few hundred thousand years from now, and a certain one coming in about 1.4 million years. Comet defense, anyone?"

+ - 183 FSF endorsed Libreboot X200 laptop comes with Intel's AMT removed

Submitted by gnujoshua
gnujoshua (540710) writes "The Free Software Foundation has announced its endorsement of the Libreboot X200, a refurbished Lenovo ThinkPad X200 sold by Gluglug. The laptop ships with 100% free software and firmware, including the FSF's endorsed Trisquel GNU/Linux and Libreboot. One of the biggest challenges overcome in achieving FSF's Respects Your Freedom certification was the complete removal of Intel's ME and AMT firmware. The AMT is a controversial proprietary backdoor technology that allows remote access to a machine even when it is powered off. Quoting from the press release:

"The ME and its extension, AMT, are serious security issues on modern Intel hardware and one of the main obstacles preventing most Intel based systems from being liberated by users. On most systems, it is extremely difficult to remove, and nearly impossible to replace. Libreboot X200 is the first system where it has actually been removed, permanently," said Gluglug Founder and CEO, Francis Rowe.

"

+ - 199 Spire Plans to Use Tiny Satellites for More Accurate Weather Forecasts->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "Weather forecasting is a notoriously inexact science. According to San Francisco-based tech startup Spire, this is partially because there are currently less than 20 satellites responsible for gathering all of the world's weather data – what's more, some of the older ones are using outdated technology. Spire's solution? Establish a linked network of over 100 shoebox-sized CubeSats, that will use GPS technology to gather 100 times the amount of weather data than is currently possible. The first 20 of those satellites are scheduled to launch later this year."
Link to Original Source

+ - 102 Wi-Fi Issues Continue for OS X Users Despite Updates->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Although Apple has never officially acknowledged issues surrounding Yosemite and Wi-Fi connectivity, the company is clearly aware of the problem: Leading off the improvements offered in the update 10.10.2 update released Tuesday was 'resolves an issue that might cause Wi-Fi to disconnect,' according to the release notes. Despite this, Apple's support forum was filled with tales of frustrated users. And Mac owners aren’t the only Apple users experiencing wireless connection failures after updating their OS. Wi-Fi connectivity issues have also dogged iOS 8 since Apple released the mobile OS on Sept. 17."
Link to Original Source

+ - 105 WordPress, PHP Apps, Subject to Ghost glibc Attacks->

Submitted by msm1267
msm1267 (2804139) writes "Less than 48 hours after the disclosure of the Ghost vulnerability in the GNU C library (glibc), researchers have uncovered that PHP applications, including the WordPress content management system, could be another weak spot and eventually in the crosshairs of attackers.

Ghost is a vulnerability in glibc that attackers can use against only a handful of applications right now to remotely run executable code and gain control of a Linux server. The vulnerability is a heap-based buffer overflow and affects all Linux systems, according to experts, and has been present in the glibc code since 2000.

“An example of where this could be a big issue is within WordPress itself: it uses a function named wp_http_validate_url() to validate every pingback’s post URL,” wrote Sucuri research Marc-Alexandre Montpas in an advisory published Wednesday. “And it does so by using gethostbyname(). So an attacker could leverage this vector to insert a malicious URL that would trigger a buffer overflow bug, server-side, potentially allowing him to gain privileges on the server.”"

Link to Original Source

+ - 167 'Anonymized' credit card data not so anonymous, study shows->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Scientists showed they can identify you with more than 90 percent accuracy by looking at just four purchases, three if the price is included — and this is after companies "anonymized" the transaction records, saying they wiped away names and other personal details. The study out of MIT, published Thursday in the journal Science, examined three months of credit card records for 1.1 million people.

"We are showing that the privacy we are told that we have isn't real," study co-author Alex "Sandy" Pentland of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in an email."

Link to Original Source

+ - 174 FDA wants to release millions of genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida->

Submitted by MikeChino
MikeChino (1640221) writes "In an attempt to curb outbreaks of two devastating tropical diseases in the Florida Keys, the FDA is proposing the release of millions of genetically modified mosquitoes into the area. Scientists have bred male mosquitoes with virus gene fragments, so when they mate with the females that bite and spread illness, their offspring will die. This can reduce the mosquito population dramatically, halting the spread of diseases like dengue fever."
Link to Original Source

+ - 172 Whales amplify sound with their skull bones->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "The loud, moaning calls of large, baleen whales—such as fin, right, gray, and blue whales—can travel hundreds of kilometers through the sea as the cetaceans reach out to contact others of their kind. Yet scientists have not fully understood how sounds reach the baleen whales’ ear bones. Now, researchers report today in PLOS ONE that they’ve solved the mystery by means of a 3D computer model of a fin whale’s skull. By simulating sound waves traveling through the computerized skull, the scientists discovered that the whales use an unusual mechanism for hearing: bone conduction. The fin whale’s skull bones (and likely those of other baleen whales) vibrate and amplify the low-frequency sounds, directing them to the ear bones. The discovery may help lawmakers set limits on the amount of noise humans can make in the deep sea."
Link to Original Source

+ - 222 US Air Force Selects Boeing 747-8 To Replace Air Force One->

Submitted by Tyketto
Tyketto (97265) writes "Following up on a previous story about its replacement, the US Air Force has selected the Boeing 747-8 to replace the aging Presidential fleet of two VC-25s, which are converted B747-200s. With the only other suitable aircraft being the Airbus A380, the USAF cited Boeing's 50-year history of building presidential aircraft as their reason to skip competition and opt directly for the aircraft, which due to dwindling sales and prospects, may be the last 747s to be produced."
Link to Original Source

+ - 181 FCC Approved Change in the definition of Broadband->

Submitted by halfEvilTech
halfEvilTech (1171369) writes "As part of its 2015 Broadband Progress Report, the Federal Communications Commission has voted to change the definition of broadband by raising the minimum download speeds needed from 4Mbps to 25Mbps, and the minimum upload speed from 1Mbps to 3Mbps, which effectively triples the number of US households without broadband access. Currently, 6.3 percent of US households don’t have access to broadband under the previous 4Mpbs/1Mbps threshold, while another 13.1 percent don't have access to broadband under the new 25Mbps downstream threshold."
Link to Original Source

+ - 185 This Man Is the Dark Net's Drug Counselor->

Submitted by sarahnaomi
sarahnaomi (3948215) writes "Brands and retailers adorn their businesses with illuminating information, also known as marketing, but the trustworthiness of their claims can fluctuate considerably. Examples can be found all too often in the drug trade, where the relation between fantastical promises, commercial transparency and actual effect can be especially disadvantageously skewed by dealers.

Ironically, the impersonal trade on the deep web black market could remedy this. And that’s not just due to the eBay-style rating systems that let buyers know which power sellers they can expect safe deliveries from. It’s also due to dedicated volunteers, like DoctorX, the deep web doctor you can trust."

Link to Original Source

+ - 177 Mozilla dusts off old servers, lights up Tor relays->

Submitted by TechCurmudgeon
TechCurmudgeon (3904121) writes "According to The Register:

Mozilla has given the Tor network a capacity kick with the launch of 14 relays that will help distribute user traffic. Engineers working under the Foundation's Polaris Project inked in November pulled Mozilla's spare and decommissioned hardware out of the cupboard for dedicated use in the Tor network. It included a pair of Juniper EX4200 switches and three HP SL170zG6 (48GB ram, 2*Xeon L5640, 2*1Gbps NIC) servers, along with a dedicated existing IP transit provider (2 X 10Gbps). French Mozilla engineer Arzhel Younsi (@xionoxfr) said its network was designed to fall no lower than half of its network capacity in the event of maintenance or failure.

The Polaris initiative was a effort of Mozilla, the Tor Project and the Centre for Democracy and Technology to help build more privacy controls into technology."

Link to Original Source

+ - 132 The January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics is a free PDF download->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "If you wanted to pinpoint the beginning of the PC era, you could do worse than to declare that it began when the January 1975 issue of Popular Electronics magazine came out. It cover-featured the MITS Altair 8800, the first successful PC, and inspired Paul Allen and Bill Gates to found "Micro-Soft." I wrote about the issue, which is now available for free in PDF form (along with every other issue of Popular Electronics)."
Link to Original Source

+ - 185 LibreOffice gets a streamlined makeover, native alternatives for major Microsoft->

Submitted by TechCurmudgeon
TechCurmudgeon (3904121) writes "From PCWorld:
The Document foundation announced availability of the latest version of LibreOffice on Thursday, which it says is the most beautiful version of the open source productivity suite yet. LibreOffice 4.4 also fixes some compatibility issues with files that are saved in Microsoft's OOXML formats. LibreOffice 4.4 has got a lot of UX and design love," Jan "Kendy" Holesovsky, who leads the design team for Libreoffice, said in a statement.

LibreOffice 4.4 is currently available for Windows: https://www.libreoffice.org/do..."

Link to Original Source

+ - 175 Former NATO nuclear bunker now an 'airless' unmanned data center->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A German company has converted a 1960s nuclear bunker 100 miles from network hub Frankfurt into a state-of-the-art underground data center with very few operators and very little oxygen. IT Vision Technology (ITVT) CEO Jochen Klipfel says: "We developed a solution that reduces the oxygen content in the air, so that even matches go outIt took us two years". ITVT have the European Air Force among its customers, so security is an even higher priority than in the average DC build; the refurbished bunker has walls 11 feet thick and the central complex is buried twenty feet under the earth."
Link to Original Source

+ - 237 New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance on Biofuels

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "The NYT reports on a new study from a prominent environmental think tank that concludes that turning plant matter into liquid fuel or electricity is so inefficient that the approach is unlikely ever to supply a substantial fraction of global energy demand and that continuing to pursue this strategy is likely to use up vast tracts of fertile land that could be devoted to helping feed the world’s growing population. “I would say that many of the claims for biofuels have been dramatically exaggerated,” says Andrew Steer, president of the World Resources Institute, a global research organization based in Washington that is publishing the report. “There are other, more effective routes to get to a low-carbon world.” The report follows several years of rising concern among scientists about biofuel policies in the United States and Europe, and is the strongest call yet by the World Resources Institute, known for nonpartisan analysis of environmental issues, to urge governments to reconsider those policies.

Timothy D. Searchinger says that recent science has challenged some of the assumptions underpinning many of the pro-biofuel policies that have often failed to consider the opportunity cost of using land to produce plants for biofuel. According to Searchinger if forests or grasses were grown instead of biofuels, that would pull carbon dioxide out of the air, storing it in tree trunks and soils and offsetting emissions more effectively than biofuels would do. What is more, as costs for wind and solar power have plummeted over the past decade, and the new report points out that for a given amount of land, solar panels are at least 50 times more efficient than biofuels at capturing the energy of sunlight in a useful form. “It’s true that our first-generation biofuels have not lived up to their promise,” says Jason Hill said. “We’ve found they do not offer the environmental benefits they were purported to have, and they have a substantial negative impact on the food system.”"