Swiss Researchers Describe a Faster, More Secure Tor 61 61

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and University College London published a paper this week describing a faster and more secure version of Tor called HORNET. On one hand, the new onion routing network can purportedly achieve speeds of up to 93 gigabits per second and "be scaled to support large numbers of users with minimal overhead". On the other hand, researchers cannot claim to be immune to "confirmation attacks" known to be implemented on Tor, but they point out that, given how HORNET works, perpetrators of such attacks would have to control significantly more ISPs across multiple geopolitical boundaries and probably sacrifice the secrecy of their operations in order to successfully deploy such attacks on HORNET.

LHC Discovers Pentaquark Particles 95 95

mrspoonsi sends news that researchers running experiments at the Large Hadron Collider have published findings confirming the existence of pentaquark particles, first predicted in the 1960s by Murray Gell Mann and George Zweig. The particles consist of five quarks bound together. Further research will examine exactly how this binding works. Previous experiments had measured only the so-called mass distribution where a statistical peak may appear against the background "noise" - the possible signature of a novel particle. But the collider enabled researchers to look at the data from additional perspectives, namely the four angles defined by the different directions of travel taken by particles within LHCb. "We are transforming this problem from a one-dimensional to a five dimensional one... we are able to describe everything that happens in the decay," said Dr. Koppenburg, who first saw a signal begin to emerge in 2012. "There is no way that what we see could be due to something else other than the addition of a new particle that was not observed before."

EPFL's CleanSpace One Satellite Will "Eat" Space Junk 53 53

Zothecula writes: Working with Geneva's University of Applied Science and Signal Processing 5 Laboratory, Swiss research institute EPFL has announced details of a plan to capture its tiny SwissCube satellites by using a new spacecraft outfitted with a conical net. Called "CleanSpace One" the team hopes that their "Pac-Man" solution will capture the old satellite. Gizmag reports: "...SwissCube's spinning action will make it more difficult to image, as its surfaces will alternately be brilliantly sunlit or hidden in shadow. That's why CleanSpace One's computer vision system will be running algorithms that account for variables such as the angle of the sun, the dimensions of the target, the speed at which that target is moving, and the rate at which CleanSpace One itself is spinning. High dynamic range cameras will also allow it to simultaneously expose for both bright and dark surfaces."

Switzerland Begins Trials of Expensive Postal Drones 55 55

An anonymous reader writes: Swiss Post has beat Amazon, Alibaba and other researchers into drone-based delivery by launching practical drops using a Matternet four-rotored drone this month. However the company says that five years of testing and negotiation with regulators lie ahead before it will be able to offer a commercial drone-based delivery service. Like Google's Project Wing, the Matternet drone in question is mooted as a potential lifeline in post-disaster situations, but from a business point of view the release notes its potential for 'express delivery of goods' — a further indicator that the future of postal drone delivery may be an exclusive and expensive one.

Hackers Exploit MacKeeper Flaw To Spread OS X Malware 63 63

An anonymous reader writes: Controversial OS X 'clean-up utility' MacKeeper is being exploited by cybercriminals to diffuse Mac malware OSX/Agent-ANTU, according to the BAE cyber security unit. A single line of JavaScript on a malicious web-page is enough to hand over control of the user's system via MacKeeper. Lead security researcher Sergei Shevchenko said 'attackers might simply be 'spraying' their targets with the phishing emails hoping that some of them will have MacKeeper installed, thus allowing the malware to be delivered to their computers and executed,' The malware enables remote control over commands, uploads and downloads, and the setting of execution permissions, as well as granting access to details of VPN connections, user names, and lists of processes and statuses.

NOAA: Global Warming 'Pause' Never Happened 639 639

Taco Cowboy writes: The whole global warming debate is as confusing as ever. Researchers from the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have published a new study in Science saying there was no "pause" in global warming. Dr. Thomas Karl points out that the warming rate over the past 15 years is "virtually identical" to warming over the last century, and updated observations show temperatures did not plateau.

"The idea of a global warming 'hiatus' arose from questions over why the trend of warming temperatures appeared to be stalling recently compared to the later part of the 20th century. ... The new analysis corrects for ocean observations made using different methods as well as including new data on surface temperatures."

"According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global average temperatures have increased by around 0.05C per decade in the period between 1998 and 2012. This compares with an average of 0.12 per decade between 1951 and 2012. The new analysis suggests a figure of 0.116 per decade for 2000-2014, compared with 0.113 for 1950-1999."

LHC Restarts High-Energy Quest For Exotic Physics 85 85

astroengine writes: It's official: After a long 27 month hiatus for upgrades and a 2 month restart, the world's largest particle accelerator is back in the particle collision business. As of 10:40 a.m. CET (5:40 a.m. ET), the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) was running at record-breaking energies and collecting science data. Physicists now expect the particle collider to run non-stop for the next 3 years. We are in a new era of high-energy particle physics where, for the first time, we don't exactly know what we'll find. "With the LHC back in the collision-production mode, we celebrate the end of two months of beam commissioning," said CERN Director of Accelerators and Technology Frédérick Bordry in a press release. "It is a great accomplishment and a rewarding moment for all of the teams involved in the work performed during the long shutdown of the LHC, in the powering tests and in the beam commissioning process. All these people have dedicated so much of their time to making this happen."

LHC Season 2 Is About To Start Testing the Frontiers of Physics 61 61

An anonymous reader writes: The final preparations for the second run of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are in place. This week, it is expected to start taking new data with collisions at the record-breaking energy of 13 teraelectronvolts (TeV). There are a lot of expectations about this new LHC season. In one of CERN's articles, physicists tell of their hopes for new discoveries during the LHC's second run. "They speak of dark matter,supersymmetry, the Higgs boson, antimatter, current theory in particle physics and its limits as well as new theoretical models that could extend it."

Protons Collide At 13 TeV For the First Time At the LHC 52 52

An anonymous reader writes to let everyone know the LHC has now smashed protons together at 13 TeV, the highest energy level yet achieved. They've posted the first images captured from the collisions, and explained the testing process as well. Jorg Wenninger of the LHC Operations team says, "When we start to bring the beams into collision at a new energy, they often miss each other. The beams are tiny – only about 20 microns in diameter at 6.5 TeV; more than 10 times smaller than at 450 GeV. So we have to scan around – adjusting the orbit of each beam until collision rates provided by the experiments tell us that they are colliding properly." Spokesperson Tiziano Camporesi adds, "The collisions at 13 TeV will allow us to further test all improvements that have been made to the trigger and reconstruction systems, and check the synchronisation of all the components of our detector."

Tracking the Weather On an Exoplanet 43 43

schwit1 writes: Scientists have begun gathering increasingly detailed information about the atmosphere and weather on the exoplanet HD189733B, 63 light years away with an orbit that produces a transit every 2.2 days. The temperature appears to rise with increasing altitude, reaching 3,000 degrees at the top of the atmosphere. There are also strong winds blowing from the cold to the hot side of the planet.

Rebuilding the PDP-8 With a Raspberry Pi 92 92

braindrainbahrain writes: Hacker Oscarv wanted a PDP-8 mini computer. But buying a real PDP-8 was horribly expensive and out of the question. So Oscarv did the next best thing: he used a Raspberry Pi as the computing engine and interfaced it to a replica PDP-8 front panel, complete with boatloads of fully functional switches and LEDs.

Short Circuit In LHC Could Delay Restart By Weeks 57 57

hypnosec writes: On March 21 CERN detected an intermittent short circuit to ground in one of the LHC's magnet circuits. Repairs could delay the restart by anywhere between a few days and several weeks. CERN revealed that the short circuit affected one of LHC's powerful electromagnets, thereby delaying preparations in sector 4-5 of the machine. They confirmed that seven of the machine's eight sectors have been successfully commissioned to 6.5 TeV per beam, but they won't be circulating a beam in the LHC this week. Though the short circuit issue is well understood, resolving it will take time, since it's in a cold section of the machine and repairs may therefore require warming and re-cooling.

Hacking Weight Loss: What I Learned Losing 30 Pounds 496 496

reifman writes The CDC reports that 69% of adult Americans are overweight or obese. Techies like us are at increased risk because of our sedentary lifestyles. Perhaps you even scoffed at Neilsen's recent finding that some Americans spend only 11 hours daily of screen time. Over the last nine months, I've lost 30 pounds and learned a lot about hacking weight loss and I did it without fad diets, step trackers, running or going paleo. No such discussion is complete without a link to the Hacker Diet.

Photo First: Light Captured As Both Particle and Wave 136 136

mpicpp sends word that scientists have succeeded in capturing the first-ever snapshot of the dual behavior of light. "It's one of those enduring Zen koans of science that we've all grown up with: Light behaves as both a particle and a wave—at the same time. Einstein taught us that, so we're all generally on board, but to actually understand what it means would require several Ph.D.s and a thorough understanding of quantum physics. What's more, scientists have never been able to devise an experiment that documents light behaving as both a wave and a particle simultaneously. Until now. That's the contention of a team of Swiss and American researchers, who say they've succeeded in capturing the first-ever snapshot of light's dual behavior. Using an advanced electron microscope – one of only two on the planet – at the EPFL labs in Switzerland, the team has generated a kind of quantum photograph of light behaving as both a particle and a wave. The experiment involves firing laser light at a microscopic metallic nanowire, causing light to travel — as a wave — back and forth along the wire. When waves traveling in opposite directions meet, they form a "standing wave" that emits light itself — as particles. By shooting a stream of electrons close to the nanowire, the researchers were able to capture an image that simultaneously demonstrates both the wave-nature and particle-nature of light. 'This experiment demonstrates that, for the first time ever, we can film quantum mechanics — and its paradoxical nature — directly,' says lead researcher Fabrizio Carbone of EPFL, on the lab's project page. The study is to be officially published this week in the journal Nature Communications."
Data Storage

Storing Data In Synthetic Fossils 36 36

Bismillah tips news of research from ETH Zurich which brings the possibility of extremely long-term data storage. The scientists encoded data in DNA, a young but established technique that has a major problem: accuracy. "[E]ven a short period of time presents a problem in terms of the margin of error, as mistakes occur in the writing and reading of the DNA. Over the longer term, DNA can change significantly as it reacts chemically with the environment, thus presenting an obstacle to long-term storage." To get around this issue, they encapsulated the DNA within tiny silica spheres, a process roughly comparable to the fossilization of bones (abstract). The researchers say data can be preserved this way for over a million years.

Telescopic Contact Lenses Unveiled 21 21

sarahnaomi writes Unveiled at this week's AAAS meeting/conference in San Jose, the telescopic contact lenses are the creation of optics engineers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, with a bit of help from designs developed at DARPA. The technology involves a bit more than just the contacts. The system is based on the interaction between a pair of normal-looking eyeglasses and the lenses, which are embedded with what are really just a pair of supertiny aluminum telescopes. The contacts are still only about 1.5 millimeters thick, and feature 1 mm-wide channels or pores that allow the required breathability-maintaining airflow. This last part proved to be one of the biggest challenges, requiring years of experimentation.

Security-Focused BlackPhone Was Vulnerable To Simple Text Message Bug 46 46

mask.of.sanity sends this report from El Reg: The maker of BlackPhone – a mobile marketed as offering unusually high levels of security – has patched a critical vulnerability that allows hackers to run malicious code on the handsets. Attackers need little more than a phone number to send a message that can compromise the devices via the Silent Text application.

The impact of the flaw is troubling because BlackPhone attracts what hackers see as high-value victims: those willing to invest AU$765 (£415, $630) in a phone that claims to put security above form and features may well have valuable calls and texts to hide from eavesdroppers.

Davos 2015: Less Innovation, More Regulation, More Unrest. Run Away! 339 339

Freshly Exhumed writes: Growing income inequality was one of the top four issues at the 2015 World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, ranking alongside European adoption of quantitative easing and geopolitical concerns. Felix Salmon, senior editor at Fusion, said there was a consensus that global inequality is getting worse, fueling overriding pessimism at the gathering. The result, he said, could be that the next big revolution will be in regulation rather than innovation. With growing inequality and the civil unrest from Ferguson and the Occupy protests fresh in people's mind, the world's super rich are already preparing for the consequences. At a packed session, former hedge fund director Robert Johnson revealed that worried hedge fund managers were already planning their escapes. "I know hedge fund managers all over the world who are buying airstrips and farms in places like New Zealand because they think they need a getaway," he said. Looking at studies like NASA's HANDY and by KPMG, the UK Government Office of Science, and others, Dr Nafeez Ahmed, executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development, warns that the convergence of food, water and energy crises could create a "perfect storm" within about fifteen years.
The Internet

Who's Responsible When Your Semi-Autonomous Shopping Bot Purchases Drugs Online? 182 182

Nerval's Lobster writes Who's responsible when a bot breaks the law? A collective of Swiss artists faced that very question when they coded the Random Darknet Shopper, an online shopping bot, to purchase random items from a marketplace located on the Deep Web, an area of the World Wide Web not indexed by search engines. While many of the 16,000 items for sale on this marketplace are legal, quite a few are not; and when the bot used its $100-per-week-in-Bitcoin to purchase a handful of illegal pills and a fake Hungarian passport, the artists found themselves in one of those conundrums unique to the 21st century: Is one liable when a bunch of semi-autonomous code goes off and does something bad? In a short piece in The Guardian, the artists seemed prepared to face the legal consequences of their software's actions, but nothing had happened yet—even though the gallery displaying the items is reportedly next door to a police station. In addition to the drugs and passport, the bot ordered a box set of The Lord of the Rings, a Louis Vuitton handbag, a couple of cartons of Chesterfield Blue cigarettes, sneakers, knockoff jeans, and much more.

If the Programmer Won't Go To Silicon Valley, Should SV Go To the Programmer? 294 294

theodp writes: "If 95% of great programmers aren't in the U.S.," Matt Mullenweg advises in How Paul Graham Is Wrong (a rejoinder to Graham's Let the Other 95% of Great Programmers In), "and an even higher percentage not in the Bay Area, set up your company to take advantage of that fact as a strength, not a weakness. Use WordPress and P2, use Slack, use G+ Hangouts, use Skype, use any of the amazing technology that allows us to collaborate as effectively online as previous generations of company did offline. Let people live someplace remarkable instead of paying $2,800 a month for a mediocre one bedroom rental in San Francisco. Or don't, and let companies like Automattic and Github hire the best and brightest and let them live and work wherever they like." Microsoft and Google — which hawk the very tools to facilitate remote work that Mullenweg cites — have shuttered remote offices filled with top talent even as they cry the talent sky is falling. So, is "being stubborn on keeping a company culture that requires people to be physically co-located," as Mullenweg puts it, a big part of tech's 'talent shortage' problem?" Chris Pepper also recently posted another reasoned rebuttal to Graham's post.