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Medicine

A Box of Forgotten Smallpox Vials Was Just Found In an FDA Closet 118

Posted by Soulskill
from the thanks-for-making-me-feel-safe dept.
Jason Koebler writes: The last remaining strains of smallpox are kept in highly protected government laboratories in Russia and at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. And, apparently, in a dusty cardboard box in an old storage room in Maryland. The CDC said today that government workers had found six freeze-dried vials of the Variola virus, which causes smallpox, in a storage room at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland last week. Each test tube had a label on it that said "variola," which was a tip-off, but the agency did genetic testing to confirm that the viruses were, in fact, smallpox.
Earth

Study: Whales Are Ecosystem "Engineers" 64

Posted by samzenpus
from the starting-from-the-top dept.
An anonymous reader writes Researchers had previously thought that, being excessively uncommon and migrant, whales didn't have much of an effect on the more extensive marine environment. However, a new study distributed in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment gives whales a role as "engineers" of the oceans. In the study, scientists from the University of Vermont suggest that the 13 types of extraordinary whale have an essential and positive impact on the capacity of seas, on carbon storage, and on the state of fisheries around the globe. "The decline in great whale numbers, estimated to be at least 66% and perhaps as high as 90%, has likely altered the structure and function of the oceans, but recovery is possible and in many cases is already underway," researchers wrote in an article announcing their investigation.
Earth

Solar-Powered Electrochemical Cell Used To Produce Formic Acid From CO2 133

Posted by samzenpus
from the give-me-your-carbon dept.
Zothecula writes Rising atmospheric CO2 levels can generally be tackled in three ways: developing alternative energy sources with lower emissions; carbon capture and storage (CCS); and capturing carbon and repurposing it. Researchers at Princeton University are claiming to have developed a technique that ticks two of these three boxes by using solar power to convert CO2 into formic acid. With power from a commercially available solar panel provided by utility company Public Service Electric and Gas (PSE&G), researchers in the laboratory of Princeton professor of chemistry Andrew Bocarsly, working with researchers at New Jersey-based start-up Liquid Light Inc., converted CO2 and water to formic acid (HCOOH) in an electrochemical cell.
Data Storage

Samsung Release First SSD With 3D NAND 85

Posted by timothy
from the turning-up-the-volume dept.
Vigile (99919) writes "As SSD controllers continue to evolve, so does the world of flash memory. With the release of the Samsung 850 Pro SSD announced today, Samsung is the first company to introduce 3D NAND technology to the consumer. By using 30nm process technology that might seem dated in some applications, Samsung has been reliably able to stack lithography and essentially "tunnel holes" in the silicon while coating the inside with the material necessary to hold a charge. The VNAND being used with the Samsung 850 Pro is now 32 layers deep, and though it lowers the total capacity per die, it allows Samsung to lower manufacturer costs with more usable die per wafer. This results in more sustainable and reliable performance as well as a longer life span, allowing Samsung to offer a 10 year warranty on the new drives. PC Perspective has a full review with performance results and usage over time that shows Samsung's innovation is leading the pack."
Cellphones

Ars Takes an Early Look At the Privacy-Centric Blackphone 67

Posted by timothy
from the all-voice-calls-should-be-encrypted dept.
Ars Technica has spent some time with pre-production (but very nearly final) samples of the Blackphone, from Geeksphone and Silent Circle. They give it generally high marks; the hardware is mostly solid but not cutting edge, but the software it comes with distinguishes it from run-of-the-mill Android phones. Though it's based on Android, the PrivOS system in these phone offers fine grained permissions, and other software included with the phone makes it more secure both if someone has physical access to the phone (by encrypting files, among other things) and if communications between this phone and another are being eavesdropped on. A small taste: At first start up, Blackphone’s configuration wizard walks through getting the phone configured and secured. After picking a language and setting a password or PIN to unlock the phone itself, the wizard presents the option of encrypting the phone’s stored data with another password. If you decline to encrypt the phone’s mini-SD storage during setup, you’ll get the opportunity later (and in the release candidate version of the PrivOS we used, the phone continued to remind me about that opportunity each time I logged into it until I did). PrivOS’ main innovation is its Security Center, an interface that allows the user to explicitly control just what bits of hardware functionality and data each application on the phone has access to. It even provides control over the system-level applications—you can, if you wish for some reason, turn off the Camera app’s access to the camera hardware and turn off the Browser app’s access to networks.
Android

Google I/O 2014 Begins [updated] 49

Posted by samzenpus
from the hot-off-the-presses dept.
Google I/O, the company's annual developer tracking^wdevelopers conference, has opened today in San Francisco. This year the company has reduced the number of conference sessions to 80, but also promised a broader approach than in previous years -- in other words, there may be a shift in focus a bit from Google's best known platforms (Chrome/Chrome OS and Android). Given its wide-ranging acquisitions and projects (like the recent purchase of Nest, which itself promptly bought Dropcam, the ever smarter fleet of self-driving cars, the growing number of Glass devices in the wild, and the announcement of a 3D scanning high end tablet quite unlike the Nexus line of tablets and phones), there's no shortage of edges to focus on. Judging from the booths set up in advance of the opening (like one with a sign announcing "The Physical Web," expect some of the stuff that gets lumped into "the Internet of Things." Watch this space -- updates will appear below -- for notes from the opening keynote, or follow along yourself with the live stream, and add your own commentary in the comments. In the days to come, watch for some video highlights of projects on display at I/O, too. Update: 06/25 17:41 GMT by T : Updates rolling in below on Android, wearables, Android in cars, Chromecast, smart watches, etc.Keep checking back! (Every few minutes, I get another chunk in there.)
Microsoft

Microsoft's Cloud Storage Service OneDrive Now Offers 15GB For Free 99

Posted by samzenpus
from the bigger-is-better dept.
DroidJason1 writes Microsoft revealed today that they will be offering 15GB of free OneDrive storage, up from 7GB. Office 365 users will now get 1TB of storage, up from 20GB. This announcement comes after Amazon revealed unlimited photo storage for those who buy the new Fire phone. Dropbox, a competitor to OneDrive, currently has 2GB for free but offers more space if you refer people to the service. Google Drive offers 15GB of free storage, while Amazon Cloud Drive offers 5GB.
Earth

The EPA Carbon Plan: Coal Loses, But Who Wins? 268

Posted by Soulskill
from the probably-the-mets dept.
Lasrick writes: Mark Cooper with one of the best explanations of some of the most pressing details on the new EPA rule change: 'The claims and counterclaims about EPA's proposed carbon pollution standards have filled the air: It will boost nuclear. It will expand renewables. It promotes energy efficiency. It will kill coal. It changes everything. It accomplishes almost nothing.' Cooper notes that although it's clear that coal is the big loser in the rule change, the rule itself doesn't really pick winners in terms of offering sweet deals for any particular technology; however, it seems that nuclear is also a loser in this formulation, because 'Assuming that states generally adhere to the prime directive of public utility resource acquisition—choosing the lowest-cost approach—the proposed rule will not alter the dismal prospects of nuclear power...' Nuclear power does seem to be struggling with economic burdens and a reluctance from taxpayers to pay continuing subsides in areas such as storage and cleanup. It seems that nuclear is another loser in the new EPA rule change.
Data Storage

Kingston and PNY Caught Bait-and-Switching Cheaper Components After Good Reviews 289

Posted by timothy
from the genuine-panaphonics dept.
An anonymous reader writes Over the past few months, we've seen a disturbing trend from first Kingston, and now PNY. Manufacturers are launching SSDs with one hardware specification, and then quietly changing the hardware configuration after reviews have gone out. The impacts have been somewhat different, but in both cases, unhappy customers are loudly complaining that they've been cheated, tricked into paying for a drive they otherwise wouldn't have purchased.
Data Storage

Endurance Experiment Writes One Petabyte To Six Consumer SSDs 164

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the ditch-your-hard-drive dept.
crookedvulture (1866146) writes "Last year, we kicked off an SSD endurance experiment to see how much data could be written to six consumer drives. One petabyte later, half of them are still going. Their performance hasn't really suffered, either. The casualties slowed down a little toward the very end, and they died in different ways. The Intel 335 Series and Kingston HyperX 3K provided plenty of warning of their imminent demise, though both still ended up completely unresponsive at the very end. The Samsung 840 Series, which uses more fragile TLC NAND, perished unexpectedly. It also suffered a rash of cell failures and multiple bouts of uncorrectable errors during its life. While the sample size is far too small to draw any definitive conclusions, all six SSDs exceeded their rated lifespans by hundreds of terabytes. The fact that all of them wrote over 700TB is a testament to the endurance of modern SSDs."
Data Storage

Despite Project's Demise, Amazon Web Services Continues To Use TrueCrypt 75

Posted by timothy
from the turning-a-ship-takes-a-while dept.
An anonymous reader writes with an article at InfoWorld that points out that TrueCrypt may have melted down as a project, but hasn't disappeared altogether: Importing and exporting data from Amazon Simple Storage Service still requires TrueCrypt, two weeks after the encryption software was discontinued ... Amazon.com did not immediately respond to an inquiry seeking information on whether it plans to support other data encryption technologies for the AWS import/export feature aside from TrueCrypt in the future. Infrastructure can be complex to upgrade; how long is reasonable?
Bug

One Developer's Experience With Real Life Bitrot Under HFS+ 396

Posted by timothy
from the so-really-it's-both-plus-and-minus dept.
New submitter jackjeff (955699) writes with an excerpt from developer Aymeric Barthe about data loss suffered under Apple's venerable HFS+ filesystem. HFS+ lost a total of 28 files over the course of 6 years. Most of the corrupted files are completely unreadable. The JPEGs typically decode partially, up to the point of failure. The raw .CR2 files usually turn out to be totally unreadable: either completely black or having a large color overlay on significant portions of the photo. Most of these shots are not so important, but a handful of them are. One of the CR2 files in particular, is a very good picture of my son when he was a baby. I printed and framed that photo, so I am glad that I did not lose the original. (Barthe acknowledges that data loss and corruption certainly aren't limited to HFS+; "bitrot is actually a problem shared by most popular filesystems. Including NTFS and ext4." I wish I'd lost only 28 files over the years.)
Hardware

Samsung Debuts Thin Galaxy Tab S With Super AMOLED 2560X1600 Display 176

Posted by samzenpus
from the brand-new dept.
MojoKid (1002251) writes Samsung unveiled its latest flagship tablet, the Galaxy Tab S, at an event in New York City tonight, and the new device is thin, lightweight, and sports a killer Super AMOLED display. Samsung boasts that the Galaxy Tab S's 2560x1600 display has 73% better color reproduction than conventional LCD displays and can match colors up to 94% of "nature's true palette" with deeper blacks and a 100,000:1 contrast ratio. The 10.5-inch device weighs just 467g and measures a mere 6.6mm in thickness (and there's an 8.4-inch version, too). Under the hood, the Galaxy Tab S features Android KitKat 4.4, 3GB of RAM, 16GB or 32GB of storage with a microSD slot that supports up to 128GB. The front camera is 2.1MP and the rear 8MP camera has an LED flash. No word on the exact processor on board just yet, other than it's a quad-core SoC. It's likely a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 though an Exynos variant or perhaps even Tegra 4 wouldn't be beyond the realm of possibility.
Education

Ask Slashdot: PC-Based Oscilloscopes On a Microbudget? 172

Posted by timothy
from the not-yet-part-of-every-smartphone dept.
New submitter fffdddooo (3692429) writes I know it's something that people used to ask every few years, but answers get old so quickly. I'm an electronics teacher, and I'm wondering if it's possible to find some oscilloscope (and why not spectrum analyser?) for recommending to my students, to be able to work at home. I'm thinking of something near $50-$70. Two or three years ago, I'm sure the answer was No, but nowadays? The same reader points out two options spotted on Amazon: one that's "very cheap but Khz" (it's also a kit that requires assembly), and another that aims to be capable of 20MHz, 2-channel operation. What's out there, he'd like to know, that's not junk?
Security

IPMI Protocol Vulnerabilities Have Long Shelf Life 62

Posted by samzenpus
from the protect-ya-neck dept.
msm1267 (2804139) writes "If enterprises are indeed moving services off premises and into the cloud, there are four letters those companies' IT organizations should be aware of: IPMI. Short for Intelligent Platform Management Interface, these tiny computers live as an embedded Linux system attached to the motherboards of big servers from vendors such as IBM, Dell and HP. IPMI is used by a Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) to manage Out-of-Band communication, essentially giving admins remote control over servers and devices, including memory, networking capabilities and storage. This is particularly useful for hosting providers and cloud services providers who must manage gear and data in varied locations.

Noted researchers Dan Farmer, creator of the SATAN vulnerability scanner, and HD Moore, creator of Metasploit, have been collaborating on research into the vulnerabilities present in IPMI and BMCs and the picture keeps getting uglier. Last July, Farmer and Moore published some research on the issue based upon work Farmer was doing under a DARPA Cyber Fast Track Grant that uncovered a host of vulnerabilities, and Internet-wide scans for the IPMI protocol conducted by Moore. Farmer released a paper called 'Sold Down the River,' in which he chastises big hardware vendors for ignoring security vulnerabilities and poor configurations that are trivial to find and exploit."
Google

Google Unveils Project Tango 3D Tablet DevKit Powered By NVIDIA's Tegra K1 54

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-it-out dept.
MojoKid (1002251) writes 'Google's Project Tango tablet is a 3D mapping and spatially-aware device that, with number of cameras and sensors on it, can detect its surroundings and your movements in three dimensions. As such, you can utilize the device to develop applications and uses that integrate the physical world around you in a virtual representation on screen. From augmented reality, to gaming and terrain mapping, the things you could conceivably do with a device like this are rather fascinating. Until today, we haven't gotten a lot of detail regarding exactly what makes Project Tango tick but the folks at NVIDIA have helped, along with Google, to let the cat out of the proverbial bag. It appears that the just announced Project Tango development kit is based on a 7-inch Android tablet with 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage and it's powered by NVIDIA's new Tegra K1 integrated processor and SoC (System On a Chip). Interestingly, previous versions of Project Tango have been torn down, revealing a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 under the hood. However, it appears Google needed a bit more juice and is also going with NVIDIA's new low power mobile beast. Word is Google's Project Tango Developer's Kit will be available "later this year" and will cost exactly $1024. Wouldn't you know it, that price fits neatly into a 1KB memory space. Think they meant to do that?'
Data Storage

Crucial Launches MX100 SSD At Well Under 50 Cents Per GiB 107

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the cheaper-better-faster dept.
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Crucial has been on a tear as of late. In the last few weeks alone, the company has released a couple of new series of solid state drives, one targeting the enthusiast segment (the M550) and the other targeting data centers (the M500DC). Today, Crucial is at it again with the launch of the brand new MX100 series. The Crucial MX100 series of solid state drives is somewhat similar to the M550 in that they both use the same Marvell controller. The MX100, however, is outfitted with more affordable 16nm NAND flash, and as such, the drives are priced aggressively at about .43 per GiB. However, these MX100 series of drives are still rated for 550MB/s sequential reads with 500MB/s (512GB), 330MB/s (256GB), or 150MB/s (128GB) and random read and write IOPS of 90K – 80K and 85K – 40K, respectively. The drives carry a 3-year warranty and are rated for 72TB total bytes written (TBW), which equates to 40GB written per day for 5 years. Performance-wise, these new lower cost SSDs, are on par with some of the fastest SSDs currently on the market but starting at $79.99 for the 128GB drive, they're relatively rather cheap."
Businesses

Amazon Wants To Run Your High-Performance Databases 142

Posted by samzenpus
from the let-us-do-that dept.
jfruh (300774) writes "Amazon is pushing hard to be as ubiquitous in the world of cloud computing as it is in bookselling. The company's latest pitch is that even your highest-performing databases will run more efficiently on Amazon Web Services cloud servers than on your own hardware. Farming out your most important and potentially sensitive computing work to one of the most opaque tech companies out there: what could possibly go wrong?"
Media

The Energy Saved By Ditching DVDs Could Power 200,000 Homes 339

Posted by timothy
from the only-109-more-isolated-numbers-until-the-singularity dept.
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "The environmental benefits of streaming a movie (or downloading it) rather than purchasing a DVD are staggering, according to a new U.S. government study by researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. If all DVDs purchased in 2011 were streamed instead, the energy savings would have been enough to meet the electricity demands of roughly 200,000 households. It would have cut roughly 2 billion kilograms of carbon emissions. According to the study, published in Environmental Research Letters, even when you take into account cloud storage, data servers, the streaming device, streaming uses much less energy than purchasing a DVD. If, like me, you're thinking, 'who buys DVDs anymore, anyways?', the answer is 'a lot of people.'" The linked paper is all there, too — not just an abstract and a paywall.
Media

Virtual DVDs, Revisited 147

Posted by Soulskill
from the still-waiting-on-virtual-laserdiscs dept.
Bennett Haselton writes: "In March I asked why Netflix doesn't offer their rental DVD service in 'virtual DVD' form -- where you can 'check out' a fixed number of 'virtual DVDs' per month, just as you would with their physical DVDs by mail, but by accessing the 'virtual DVDs' in streaming format so that you could watch them on a phone or a tablet or a laptop without a DVD drive. My argument was that this is an interesting, non-trivial question, because it seems Netflix and (by proxy) the studios are leaving cash on the table by not offering this as an option to DVD-challenged users. I thought some commenters' responses raised questions that were worth delving into further." Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.

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