Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - Pay What You Want for the Learn to Code Bundle, includes AngularJS, Python, HTML5, Ruby, and more. ×

New Spectroscope Perfect For Asteroid Mining, Planetary Research (vanderbilt.edu) 56

Science_afficionado writes: Scientists at Fisk and Vanderbilt Universities are developing a new generation of gamma-ray spectroscope that is light weight, compact and don't require much power but have the capability for detecting veins of gold, platinum, rare earths and other valuable materials hidden within asteroids, comets, moons and other airless objects floating about the solar system. "A gamma-ray spectroscope records the intensity and wavelengths of the gamma rays coming from a surface. This spectrum can be analyzed to determine the concentration of a number of important, rock-forming elements ... The key to the new instrument is a recently discovered material, europium-doped strontium iodide (SrI2). This is a transparent crystal that can act as an extremely efficient gamma-ray detector. It registers the passage of gamma rays by giving off flashes of light that can be detected and recorded."

Blackberry Offers 'Lawful Device Interception Capabilities' (itnews.com.au) 137

An anonymous reader writes: Apple and Google have been vocal in their opposition to any kind of government regulation of cell phone encryption. BlackBerry, however, is taking a different stance, saying it specifically supports "lawful interception capabilities" for government surveillance. BlackBerry COO Marty Beard as much at a recent IT summit. He declined to explain how the interception works, but he denied the phones would contain "backdoors" and said governments would have no direct access to BlackBerry servers. The company may see this as a way to differentiate themselves from the competition.
The Military

Satellite Wars (ft.com) 98

schwit1 writes: Sixty years after the space race began, an orbital arms race is again in development. Military officials from the U.S., Europe and Asia confirm in private what the Kettering Group and other amateur stargazers have been watching publicly. Almost every country with strategically important satellite constellations and its own launch facilities is considering how to defend — and weaponize — their extraterrestrial assets. "I don't think there is a single G7 nation that isn't now looking at space security as one of its highest military priorities and areas of strategic concern," says one senior European intelligence official.

The U.S. is spending billions improving its defenses — primarily by building more capacity into its constellations and improving its tracking abilities. A $900m contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin in 2014 to develop a radar system capable of tracking objects as small as baseballs in space in real time. But there are also hints that the U.S. may be looking to equip its satellites with active defenses and countermeasures of their own, such as jamming devices and the ability to evade interceptions. A purely offensive anti-satellite program is in fast development as well. High-energy weapons and maneuverable orbiters such as space planes all open the possibility of the U.S. being able to rapidly weaponize the domain beyond the atmosphere, should it feel the need to do so.


You Can Look Forward To 8 More Years of Leap Second Problems (cio.com) 143

itwbennett writes: As previously discussed here, the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) met "for nearly the entire month of November, and one of the hot-button issues [was] what to do about the leap second." But, as they did at the 2012 conference, the WRC voted to postpone the decision — not just until the next WRC in 2019, but until the one after, in 2023, while the International Telecommunication Union conducts further studies into the impact of tinkering with the definition of Coordinated Universal Time.

FDA Signs Off On Genetically Modified Salmon Without Labeling (consumerist.com) 513

kheldan writes: Today, in a historic decision, the FDA approved the marketing of genetically-engineered salmon for sale to the general public, without any sort of labeling to indicate to consumers they've been genetically altered. According to the article: "Though the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) gives the FDA the authority to require mandatory labeling of foods if there is a material difference between a GE product and its conventional counterpart, the agency says it is not requiring labeling of these GE fish 'Because the data and information evaluated show that AquAdvantage Salmon is not materially different from other Atlantic salmon.' In this case, the GE salmon use an rDNA construct composed of the growth hormone gene from Chinook salmon under the control of a promoter from another type of fish called an 'ocean pout.' According to the FDA, this tweak to the DNA allows the salmon to grow to market size faster than non-GE farm-raised salmon."

Manhattan DA Pressures Google and Apple To Kill Zero Knowledge Encryption (thestack.com) 291

An anonymous reader writes: In a speech to the 6th Annual Financial Crimes and Cybersecurity Symposium, New York County District Attorney for Manhattan Cyrus Vance Jr. has appealed to the tech community — specifically citing Google and Apple — to "do the right thing" and end zero-knowledge encryption in mobile operating systems. Vance Jr. praised FBI director James Comey for his 'outspoken' and 'fearless' advocacy against zero knowledge encryption, and uses the recent attacks on Paris as further justification for returning encryption keys to the cloud, so that communications providers can once again comply with court orders.
United Kingdom

UK PM Wants To Speed Up Controversial Internet Bill After Paris Attacks (thestack.com) 167

An anonymous reader writes: Less than three days after the attacks in Paris, UK prime minister David Cameron has suggested that the process of review for the controversial Draft Investigatory Powers Bill should be accelerated. The controversial proposal, which would require British ISPs to retain a subset of a user's internet history for a year and in effect outlaw zero-knowledge encryption in the UK, was intended for parliamentary review and ratification by the end of 2016, but at the weekend ex-terrorist watchdog Lord Carlile was in the vanguard of demands to speed the bill into law by the end of this year, implicitly criticizing ex-NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for having 'shown terrorists ways to hide their electronic footprints'.

Grow Your Daily Protein At Home With an Edible Insect Desktop Hive 381

HughPickens.com writes: Fast Coexist reports on the Edible Insect Desktop Hive, a kitchen gadget designed to raise mealworms (beetle larva), a food that has the protein content of beef without the environmental footprint. The hive can grow between 200 and 500 grams of mealworms a week, enough to replace traditional meat in four or five dishes. The hive comes with a starter kit of "microlivestock," and controls the climate inside so the bugs have the right amount of fresh air and the right temperature to thrive. If you push a button, the mealworms pop out in a harvest drawer that chills them. You're supposed to pop them in the freezer, then fry them up or mix them into soup, smoothies, or bug-filled burgers. "Insects give us the opportunity to grow on small spaces, with few resources," says designer Katharina Unger, founder of Livin Farms, the company making the new home farming gadget. "A pig cannot easily be raised on your balcony, insects can. With their benefits, insects are one part of the solution to make currently inefficient industrial-scale production of meat obsolete."

Of course, that assumes people will be willing to eat them. Unger thinks bugs just need a little rebranding to succeed, and points out that other foods have overcome bad reputations in the past. "Even the potato, that is now a staple food, was once considered ugly and was given to pigs," says Unger adding that sushi, raw fish, and tofu were once considered obscure products. "Food is about perception and cultural associations. Within only a short time and the right measures, it can be rebranded. . . . Growing insects in our hive at home is our first measure to make insects a healthy and sustainable food for everyone."
The Military

DARPA Is About To Start Testing an Autonomous, Submarine-Hunting Drone (vice.com) 84

merbs writes: Early next year, DARPA will begin testing a 132-foot unmanned submarine-hunting ocean drone in San Diego. Slapped with the cumbersome title of Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV), it's designed to do exactly that: track stealth submarines from the surface, quietly and autonomously. "The 132-foot-long, 140-ton ACTUV is being built by Leidos at the Vigor Shipyard [formerly Oregon Iron Works] in Clackamas, Ore. The vessel is about 90 percent complete. The hardware of the systems is complete, with software being engineered presently." Using one of these drones would cost "about $15,000 to $20,000 per day, compared with a destroyer that costs about $700,000 per day to operate."

Cloud Growth Spurs Data Center Land Grab In Northern Virginia (datacenterfrontier.com) 20

1sockchuck writes: Data center developers are buying up land in northern Virginia, preparing for explosive growth of cloud computing infrastructure. Digital Realty just bought land in Ashburn, Virginia to support 2 million square feet of data center space, while DuPont Fabros, RagingWire and Sabey have also locked up land parcels for future growth. Why is Ashburn so hot? Cloud builders crave proximity to an Internet exchange operated by Equinix, which itself just bought land for another 1 million square feet of colocation space. That's one of the reasons why Amazon Web Services operates more than 20 data centers in northern Virginia. "Data center demand is stronger today than it's ever been," said Bill Stein, the CEO of Digital Realty.

Latest EMET Bypass Targets WoW64 Windows Subsystem (threatpost.com) 125

msm1267 writes: Backwards compatibility, a necessary evil for Microsoft and its need to support so many legacy applications on Windows, may be its undoing as researchers have found a way to exploit this layer in the operating system to bypass existing mitigations against memory-based exploits. Specifically in this case, researchers slid past Microsoft's Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit, or EMET, a suite of more than a dozen freely available mitigations against memory attacks. The soft spot, the researchers said, is the Windows on Windows, or WoW64, Windows subsystem that allows 32-bit software to run on 64-bit Windows machines. The researchers said 80 percent of browsers in their sample size were 32-bit processes executing on a 64-bit host running WOW64, meaning they're all vulnerable to this attack.

FireEye: Many Companies Still Running XcodeGhost-Infected Apple Apps (csoonline.com) 23

itwbennett writes: In September, more than 4,000 applications were found to have been modified with a counterfeit version of Xcode, dubbed XcodeGhost. On Tuesday, FireEye said in a blog post that it has detected 210 enterprises that are still using infected apps, showing that the XcodeGhost malware 'is a persistent security risk.' In addition, whomever created XcodeGhost has also developed a new version that can target iOS 9, called XcodeGhost S, FireEye wrote.

Red Hat and Microsoft Partner On Azure (redhat.com) 130

An anonymous reader writes: Satya Nadella has made some interesting reforms to Microsoft. Today, Red Hat and Microsoft announced that they will partner to deliver Red Hat's product suite in Azure. Red Hat will also support .NET core in RHEL. Additionally, Red Hat's CloudForms product will now work with Hyper-V/Azure, RHEV, VMware, and AWS. Microsoft has certainly come a long way from the Halloween Memos. Here are Red Hat's blog post and Microsoft's blog post about the announcement

Self-Driving Delivery Robots To Hit Sidewalks of London In 2016 (thestack.com) 98

An anonymous reader writes: Estonian start-up Starship Technologies is taking a different approach to automated delivery with a ground-based self-driving robot. Headquartered in London and launched by two ex-Skype founders, the robotics company has unveiled its suburban pavement-strolling bot which can travel at a speedy 4mph. Starship claims that the 40-pound machine could deliver packages in 5 to 30 minutes from local retailers and restaurants. The company argues that a grounded approach to automated delivery will remove some of the safety concerns linked to flying drone systems, as the robot is much less likely to cause harm.

$70k Salaries Didn't 'Backfire'; Gravity Payments' Profits Have Doubled (inc.com) 500

AmiMoJo writes: In April, Dan Price, CEO of the credit card payment processor Gravity Payments, announced that he will eventually raise minimum pay for all employees to at least $70,000 a year. The move sparked not just a firestorm of media attention, but also a lawsuit from Price's brother and co-founder Lucas, claiming that the pay raise violated his rights as a minority shareholder. But six months later, the financial results are starting to come in: Price told Inc. Magazine that revenue is now growing at double the rate before the raises began and profits have also doubled since then. On top of that, while it lost a few customers in the kerfuffle, the company's customer retention rate rose from 91 to 95 percent, and only two employees quit. Two weeks after he made the initial announcement, the company was flooded with 4,500 resumes and new customer inquiries jumped from 30 a month to 2,000 a month.

Do not underestimate the value of print statements for debugging.