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Submission + - 737 'Tailstrike' Caused by Typo on an iPad (

An anonymous reader writes: In August of last year, a Boeing 737 operated by Qantas experience a tailstrike while taking off — the thrust wasn't great enough for the tail to clear the runway, so it clipped the ground with its tail. The investigation into the incident (PDF) has finally been completed, and it found the cause of the accident: the co-pilot accidentally entered the wrong plane weight data into the iPad used to make calculations about the takeoff thrust. "First, when working out the plane's takeoff weight on a notepad, the captain forgot to carry the "1," resulting in an erroneous weight of 66,400kg rather than 76,400kg. Second, the co-pilot made a "transposition error" when carrying out the same calculation on the Qantas on-board performance tool (OPT)—an iPad app for calculating takeoff speed, amongst other things. "Transposition error" is an investigatory euphemism for "he accidentally hit 6 on the keyboard rather than 7." This caused the problem: "For a weight of 76,400kg and temperature of 35C, the engine thrust should've been set at 93.1 percent with a takeoff speed of 157 knots; instead, due to the errors, the thrust was set to 88.4 percent and takeoff speed was 146 knots."

Submission + - World's First "Porous Liquid" Could Be Used For CO2 Sequestration (

Zothecula writes: The Italians have a colorful expression – to make a hole in water – to describe an effort with no hope of succeeding. Researchers at Queen's University Belfast (QUB), however, have seemingly managed the impossible, creating a class of liquids that feature permanent holes at the molecular level. The properties of the new materials are still largely unknown, but what has been gleaned so far suggests they could be used for more convenient carbon capturing or as a molecular sieve to quickly separate different gases.

Submission + - Quantum entanglement survives, even across an event horizon

StartsWithABang writes: One of the more puzzling phenomena in our quantum Universe is that of entanglement: two particles remain in mutually indeterminate states until one is measured, and then the other — even if it's across the Universe — is immediately known. In theory, this should be true even if one member of the pair falls into a black hole, although it's impossible to measure that. However, we can (and have) measured that for the laboratory analogue of black holes, known as "dumb holes," and the entanglement survives!

Submission + - A Second Snowden Has Leaked a Mother Lode of Drone Docs (

An anonymous reader writes: Itâ(TM)s been just over two years since Edward Snowden leaked a massive trove of NSA documents, and more than five since Chelsea Manning gave WikiLeaks a megacache of military and diplomatic secrets. Now there appears to be a new source on that scale of classified leaksâ"this time with a focus on drones.

Submission + - FCC's WiFi Rule-Making: Making it Fair for both Open Source and Proprietary (

Bruce Perens writes: FCC wants to be sure that WiFi drivers don't cause interference with airport weather radars, but their proposal, to lock down WiFi firmware, won't fly. Many commenters in the proceeding have made it clear that Open Source firmware for WiFi devices must remain legal. While an "alternative" proposal to FCC that would require that all WiFi routers be Open Source is getting most of the publicity today, I have proposed another alternative that would be fair for both Open Source and proprietary software. It requires approval of the source code of a WiFi driver by a person with a technical license from FCC, the GROL+Radar, if that driver is to be mass-distributed in binary form for use by RF-naïve users by either the manufacturer or Open Source. The license assures that the responsible person actually understands how to protect radar systems in a WiFi driver. It's pretty easy for someone competent in radio engineering to pass the license test, and many thousands of people hold the license today. Vendors and Open Source are treated the same. It doesn't place restrictions on testing and development, or conversion of WiFi equipment to other radio services. And it includes an explanation of the problem, for those of you who don't know what the uproar is about.

Submission + - Vigilante Malware Protects Routers Against Other Security Threats

Mickeycaskill writes: Researchers at Symantec have documented a piece of malware that infects routers and other connected devices, but instead of harming them, improves their security. Affected routers connect to a peer-to-peer network with other compromised devices, to distribute threat updates..

‘Linux.Wifatch’ makes no attempt to conceal itself and even left messages for users, urging them to change their passwords and update their firmware. Symantec estimates ‘tens of thousands’ of devices are affected and warns that despite Wifatch’s seemingly philanthropic intentions, it should be treated with caution.

“It should be made clear that Linux.Wifatch is a piece of code that infects a device without user consent and in that regard is the same as any other piece of malware,” said Symantec. “It should also be pointed out that Wifatch contains a number of general-purpose back doors that can be used by the author to carry out potentially malicious actions."

There is one simple solution to rid yourself of the malware though: reset your device

Submission + - Flux: A New Approach to System Intuition (

An anonymous reader writes: On the Traffic and Chaos Teams at Netflix, our mission requires that we have a holistic understanding of our complex microservice architecture. At any given time, we may be called upon to move the request traffic of many millions of customers from one side of the planet to the other.

More frequently, we want to understand in real time what effect a variable is having on a subset of request traffic during a Chaos Experiment. We require a tool that can give us this holistic understanding of traffic as it flows through our complex, distributed system.

Submission + - How Boing Boing Handled an FBI Subpoena Over Its Tor Exit Node (

An anonymous reader writes: Cory Doctorow has posted an account of what happened when tech culture blog Boing Boing got a federal subpoena over the Tor exit node the site had been running for years. They received the subpoena in June, and the FBI demanded all logs relating to the exit node: specifically, "subscriber records" and "user information" for everybody associated with the exit node's IP address. They were also asked to testify before a federal grand jury. While they were nervous at first, the story has a happy ending. Their lawyer sent a note back to the FBI agent in charge, explaining that the IP address in question was an exit node. The agent actually looked into Tor, realized no logs were available, and cancelled the request. Doctorow considers this encouraging for anyone who's thinking about opening a new exit node" "I'm not saying that everyone who gets a federal subpoena for running a Tor exit node will have this outcome, but the only Tor legal stories that rise to the public's attention are the horrific ones. Here's a counterexample: Fed asks us for our records, we say we don't have any, fed goes away."

Submission + - Behold the whalecopter: Drones give whales a breathalyzer test (

sciencehabit writes: Whales, like many cetaceans, are prone to respiratory tract infections, which can jeopardize already endangered populations. Assessing whales’ health, however, isn’t easy: Scientists hoping to measure bacteria and fungi in a whale’s “breath”—the moist air it shoots from its blowhole—need to get close enough to take a sample. Enter the whalecopter, a small, remote-controlled drone developed by researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The drone—a six-propeller hexacopter—can both collect breath samples and take high-resolution photos of the whales from the air to assess general health and conditions such as fat level and skin lesions. In a test at the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary last month, the whalecopter first hovered about 40 meters above 36 whales to take full-body photographs of the animals—and then zoomed in to just a few meters above sea level to fly through the whales’ spouts and collect breath samples.

Submission + - Is IBM becoming a Cloud Computing Patent Troll?

dkatana writes: In an interesting article for InformationWeek Charles Babcock writes that IBM has been hoarding patents on every aspect of Cloud Computing, effectively putting innovation at risk.

" For those who conceive of the cloud as an environment based on public standards with many shared elements, the grant of these patents isn't entirely reassuring." Babcock says, and he adds: "Whatever the intent, these patents illustrate how the cloud, even though it's conceived of as a shared environment following public standards, may be subject to some of the same intellectual property disputes and patent trolling as earlier, more directly proprietary environments."

Could IBM be the first, and biggest, cloud computing patent troll?

Submission + - Buzz Aldrin publishes moon expenses form

An anonymous reader writes: Proving once again that the government has a form for everything, Buzz Aldrin has unveiled his Apollo 11 documentation on social media over the past few days, including a travel voucher detailing his expenses on his trip to the moon. The papers listed him as having been on a "work trip" from his home in Houston, Texas that had taken him to the moon and then back again with a total expenses claim of just $33.31. The report notes : "Government meals and quarters [were] furnished for all of the above dates.”

Submission + - Privacy alert: your laptop or phone battery could track you online (

Mark Wilson writes: Is the battery in your smartphone being used to track your online activities? It might seem unlikely, but it's not quite as farfetched as you might first think. This is not a case of malware or hacking, but a built-in component of the HTML5 specification.

Originally designed to help reduce power consumption, the Battery Status API makes it possible for websites and apps to monitor the battery level of laptops, tablets, and phones. A paper published by a team of security researchers suggests that this represents a huge privacy risk. Using little more than the amount of power remaining in your battery, it is possible for people to be identified and tracked online.

As reported by The Guardian, a paper entitled The Leaking Battery by Belgian and French privacy and security experts say that the API can be used in device fingerprinting.

Submission + - Ebola vaccine works, offering 100% protection in African trial (

sciencehabit writes: A highly unusual clinical trial in Guinea has shown for the first time that an Ebola vaccine protects people from the deadly virus. The study, published online today by The Lancet, shows that the injection offered contacts of Ebola cases 100% protection starting 10 days after they received a single shot of the vaccine, which is produced by Merck. Scientists say the vaccine could help to finally bring an end to the epidemic in West Africa, now more than 18 months old.

"This will go down in history as one of those hallmark public health efforts," says Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy in Twin Cities, Minnesota, who wasn't involved in the study. "We will teach about this in public health schools."

Submission + - $340 Audiophile Ethernet Cable Tested (

An anonymous reader writes: Ars Technica has done a series of articles that attempt to verify whether there's any difference between a $340 "audiophile" Ethernet cable and a $2.50 generic one. In addition to doing a quick teardown, they took the cables to Las Vegas and asked a bunch of test subjects to evaluate the cables in a blind test. Surprise, surprise: they couldn't. They weren't even asked to say which one was better, just whether they could tell a difference. But for the sake of completeness, they also passed the cables through a battery of electrical tests. The expensive cable met specs — barely, in some cases — while the cheap one didn't. It passed data, but with a ton of noise. "And listeners still failed to hear any difference."

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.