Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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Submission + - Deadbeat Facebook Friends and using ALL-CAPS lowers your Credit Worthiness (

McGruber writes: CNN has the news ( that some financial lending companies claim that Facebook social connections can be a good indicator of a person's creditworthiness. One company determines if you are friends with someone who was late paying back a loan; if so, that is bad news for you. It is even worse news if the delinquent friend is someone you frequently interact with.

Another company gathers information from the manner in which a customer fills out the online loan application. The chances of getting a loan improve if you spend time reading information about the loan on their website. Conversely, if you fill out the application typing in all-caps (or with no caps), you are knocked down a couple pegs in that company's eyes.

A third lender requires that small business borrowers grant them access to the borrowers' PayPal, eBay and other online payment accounts (what could possibly go wrong with that?), thereby disclosing real-time sales and delivery information. This lender claims it can determine a business' creditworthiness and put money into its account in just seven minutes.

Submission + - Investigational Malaria Vaccine Found Safe and Protective

jones_supa writes: An investigational malaria vaccine has been found to be safe and to offer protection against infection in healthy adults, according to the results of an early-stage clinical trial published in the journal Science. The PfSPZ Vaccine is composed of live but weakened sporozoites of the species Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly of the malaria-causing parasites. After giving the vaccine, participants were exposed to five mosquito bites carrying the same strain. Only 3 of the 15 participants who received higher dosages of the vaccine became infected, compared to 16 of 17 participants in the lower dosage group who became infected. Among the 12 participants who received no vaccine, 11 participants became infected. In this trial it was shown in principle that sporozoites can be developed into a malaria vaccine that confers high levels of protection and is made using the good manufacturing practices that are required for vaccine licensure.

Submission + - Malaria vaccine is first to provide 100% protection in early trial (

ananyo writes: A malaria vaccine has become the first to provide 100% protection against the disease, confounding critics and far surpassing any other experimental malaria vaccine tested. It will now be tested further in clinical trials in Africa. No effective malaria vaccine is available at present. The World Health Organization has set a target to develop a malaria vaccine with 80% efficacy by 2025, but until now, no vaccine has come close to that level of efficacy.
In the phase I safety trial, reported in Science, the six subjects given five doses intravenously were 100% protected from later challenge by bites of infectious mosquitoes, whereas five of six unvaccinated controls developed malaria — as did three of nine people given only four doses of the vaccine.
"The trial results constitute the most important advance in malaria vaccine development since the first demonstration of protection with radiation attenuated sporozoite immunization by mosquito bite in the 70s," says Stefan Kappe, a malaria researcher at the Seattle Biomedical Research Institute in Washington.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Viable Alternative to Lavabit 1

rizole writes: As we learnt earlier today, Lavabit, an encrypted email provider, was shut down by it's owner. Pointing a finger that the US Government he writes:

I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.

What alternative email provider would you recommend Edward Snowden now gets an account with?

Submission + - Acer Pulls Back From Windows to Focus on Android and Chromebook 1

SmartAboutThings writes: More bad news for Microsoft – Acer is apparently rethinking their Windows strategy, planning to offer less Microsoft products and focus more on products delivered by Redmond’s rival Google – Chromebooks and Android devices. This comes after Acer’s second-quarter earnings call where the Taiwanese company has posted a surprise second-quarter loss, having unexpected lower sales and rising expenses. Acer's change of plans comes after not so long ago, Asus' CEO has announced that the company will no longer make Windows RT products until Microsoft proves there's real demand.

Submission + - Super-slippery SLIPS coating now transparent and more durable (

cylonlover writes: Joanna Aizenberg, Ph.D. and her team at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have improved upon the Slippery Liquid-Infused Porous Surfaces (SLIPS) technology they developed back in 2012. The ultra smooth surface, which the team claims is the slipperiest known synthetic surface, has now been made transparent and more durable, giving it the potential to make the issues glass has with sticky liquids, frost and ice formation, and bacterial biofilms a thing of the past.

Submission + - Google puts ads on Google Maps (

sfcrazy writes: While the online publications are struggling to find revenue models, Google continues to expand its ad network to other service. Google is now integrating display ads with Google Maps. With this move Google is now enabling businesses to reach out to customers in a more targeted manner.

At the same time in return of telling Google where they are users continue to get top tier services for free. (before oversensitive pseudo-privacy advocates jump at Google, you should know that every GPS and mobile device tracks your location. Google or Apple, Nokia/Microsoft maps also know where you are).

Submission + - Memory Wars May Herald In Mobile Devices With Terabytes of Capacity (

Lucas123 writes: With 3D NAND flash going into high production and one startup demonstrating a resistive NAND (RRAM) flash array, it may not be long before mobile devices have hundreds of gigabytes of capacity, even a terabyte with performance only limited by the bus. Samsung announced it is now mass producing three-dimensional (3D) Vertical NAND (V-NAND) chips, and start-up Crossbar said it has created a prototype of its RRAM chip. Both technologies offer many times what current NAND flash chips offer today in capacity and performance. Which technology will prevail is still up in the air, but experts believe it will be years before RRAM can challenge NAND, but it's almost inevitable that it will overtake it as even 3D NAND heads for an inevitable dead end. Others believe 3D NAND, currently at 24 layers, could reach more than 100, giving it a lifespan of five or more years.

Submission + - Malaria Vaccine nearing reality (

colin_faber writes: Right on the heals of Bill Gates business week article discussing the importance of disease prevention and cure over technological deployment is news from CNN that U.S. researchers may have a viable vaccine for Malaria. If true this could change the lives of up to 3.3 billion people living in Malaria danger zones and allow us to do away with this disease; which kills hundreds of thousands of people.

Submission + - Help Desk Security Threats

An anonymous reader writes: Help desks are most commonly asked to assist users in addressing common IT problems including password resets and application and connectivity issues. Often the performance of help desk employees is measured by how quickly they can serve callers and resolve the issue. Unfortunately, in many cases, security does not play a major role in the process and as a result, help desks have become an unintended entry point for hackers and malicious insiders attempting to gain access to sensitive enterprise resources.

Submission + - ISPs Monitoring Your Internet Habits ( 1

Tokolosh writes: Are ISPs actively monitoring your web browsing? A man in Anderson, SC, was arrested and and has pleaded guilty to child pornography charges, after his internet provider reported him to authorities. What are the Safe Harbor implications for the provider? What other internet activity is being watched? Are all ISPs doing this?

Mandatory statement despising child pornography here.

Submission + - QANTAS wants to Monitor Frequent Flyers's home internet (

An anonymous reader writes: Australian Airline QANTAS wants to monitor recording Frequent Flyer's home internet searching and surfing. QANTAS will pass the data to US marketing partner FreeCause who are not subject to Australian privacy laws. Meanwhile the Australian Attorney-General's Department has been secretly drafting new data retention laws to log Australians' web surfing. The government claims it needs these to fight crime, yet is ignoring corruption by its own public service.

Submission + - MakerBot demos 3D object scanner that fits on your desk (

iComp writes: "MakerBot, producer of the Replicator line of desktop 3D printers, took to the stage at the SXSW Interactive conference in Austin, Texas on Friday to demo a prototype of its first desktop 3D scanner.

While 3D printing may be no big deal these days – numerous affordable models are available and enthusiasts are using them to print everything from bikinis to working firearms – the difficulty of creating high-quality 3D models of objects to print remains a barrier to wide adoption, something that MakerBot hopes to change.

"The MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner is an innovative new way to take a physical object, scan it, and create a digital file – without any design, CAD software or 3D modeling experience at all – and then print the item again and again," MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis said in a statement.

The Digitizer works by placing an object on a spinning platform, scanning it using a combination of lasers and cameras, and then saving the collected data into a file format that's usable by 3D printing systems."


Submission + - Firefox Not Coming to iOS Confirms Sullivan (

hypnosec writes: Jay Sullivan, Mozilla’s VP of Product, has revealed that the non-for-profit organization is not going to build an iOS version of its Firefox web browser as long as Apple doesn’t mend its unfriendly ways towards third party browsers. Speaking at SXSW in a mobile browser wars panel Sullivan said that Mozilla is neither building nor planning to build a Firefox version for Apple’s iOS. Mozilla pulled Firefox Home from the App Store back in September 2012 following Apple’s not so accommodating attitude.

Submission + - SpaceX's Musk Gives Minute-by-Minute of Saving Dragon Spacecraft (

MatthewVD writes: "SpaceX CEO Elon Musk replayed the minute-by-minute maneuvers controllers took to save the tumbling Dragon capsule for a crowd at the South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin on Saturday.
“We had this spacecraft just going through free drift in space, like just tumbling,” Musk said.
So SpaceX borrowed a U.S. Air Force antenna array, hastily rewrote code and made the risky call to unfurl the solar panels before they froze. It wasn't quite Apollo 13, but it was terrifying nonetheless."

The gent who wakes up and finds himself a success hasn't been asleep.