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+ - The Dawn of Trustworthy Computing

Submitted by (3830033) writes "Nick Szabo writes that when we use web services, we are relying on an architecture based on full trust in an unknown "root" administrator, who can control everything that happens on the server. They can read, alter, delete, or block any data on that computer at will. Even data sent encrypted over a network is eventually unencrypted and ends up on a computer controlled in this total way. With current web services we are fully trusting, in other words we are fully vulnerable to, the computer, or more specifically the people who have access to that computer, both insiders and hackers, to faithfully execute our orders, secure our payments, and so on. Compare this architecture to traditional commercial protocols, such as ticket-selling at a movie theater, that distribute a transaction so that no employee can steal money or resources undetected. There is no "root administrator" at a movie theater who can pocket your cash undetected. On the Internet, instead of securely and reliably handing over cash and getting our goods or services, or at least a ticket, we have to fill out forms and make ourselves vulnerable to identity theft in order to participate in e-commerce.

Recently a developing technology, often called "the block chain", is starting to change this. A block chain computer is a virtual computer, a computer in the cloud, shared across many traditional computers and protected by cryptography and consensus technology. A block-chain computer, in sharp contrast to a web server, is shared across many such traditional computers controlled by dozens to thousands of people. By its very design each computer checks each other's work, and thus a block chain computer reliably and securely executes our instructions up to the security limits of block chain technology, which is known formally as anonymous and probabilistic Byzantine consensus (sometimes also called Nakamoto consensus). Instead of the cashier and ticket-ripper of the movie theater, the block chain consists of thousands of computers that can process digital tickets, money, and many other fiduciary objects in digital form. "I think we see every week now somewhere between one and three entrepreneurs come in with blockchain ideas," says Chris Dixon. "There's definitely some momentum behind it.""

+ - Adobe Flash Update Installs McAfee Security Scan Plus Crapware

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "If you get an update notification for Adobe Flash you will also be installing McAfee Security Scan Plus. This mornings update did open an Adobe webpage but did not give the option of unticking a box to prevent installation of McAfee crapware like previous updates have had. To uninstall — Start, McAfee Security Scan Plus, Uninstall, restart, cross your fingers nothing gets borked."

+ - 5,200 Days Aboard ISS and the Surprising Reason the Mission is Still Worthwhile

Submitted by (3830033) writes "Spaceflight has faded from American consciousness even as our performance in space has reached a new level of accomplishment. In the past decade, America has become a truly, permanently spacefaring nation. All day, every day, half a dozen men and women, including two Americans, are living and working in orbit, and have been since November 2000. Charles Fishman has a long, detailed article about life aboard the ISS in The Atlantic that is well worth the read where you are sure to learn something you didn't already know about earth's permanent outpost in space. Some excerpts:

The International Space Station is a vast outpost, its scale inspiring awe even in the astronauts who have constructed it. From the edge of one solar panel to the edge of the opposite one, the station stretches the length of a football field, including the end zones. The station weighs nearly 1 million pounds, and its solar arrays cover more than an acre. It’s as big inside as a six-bedroom house, more than 10 times the size of a space shuttle’s interior. Astronauts regularly volunteer how spacious it feels. It’s so big that during the early years of three-person crews, the astronauts would often go whole workdays without bumping into one another, except at mealtimes.

On the station, the ordinary becomes peculiar. The exercise bike for the American astronauts has no handlebars. It also has no seat. With no gravity, it’s just as easy to pedal furiously, feet strapped in, without either. You can watch a movie while you pedal by floating a laptop anywhere you want. But station residents have to be careful about staying in one place too long. Without gravity to help circulate air, the carbon dioxide you exhale has a tendency to form an invisible cloud around your head. You can end up with what astronauts call a carbon-dioxide headache.

Even by the low estimates, it costs $350,000 an hour to keep the station flying, which makes astronauts’ time an exceptionally expensive resource—and explains their relentless scheduling: Today’s astronauts typically start work by 7:30 in the morning, Greenwich Mean Time, and stop at 7 o’clock in the evening. They are supposed to have the weekends off, but Saturday is devoted to cleaning the station—vital, but no more fun in orbit than housecleaning down here—and some work inevitably sneaks into Sunday.

Life in space is so complicated that a lot of logistics have to be off-loaded to the ground if astronauts are to actually do anything substantive. Just building the schedule for the astronauts in orbit on the U.S. side of the station requires a full-time team of 50 staffers.

Almost anyone you talk with about the value of the Space Station eventually starts talking about Mars. When they do, it’s clear that we don’t yet have a very grown-up space program. The folks we send to space still don’t have any real autonomy, because no one was imagining having to “practice” autonomy when the station was designed and built. On a trip to Mars, the distances are so great that a single voice or email exchange would involve a 30-minute round-trip. That one change, among the thousand others that going to Mars would require, would alter the whole dynamic of life in space. The astronauts would have to handle things themselves.

That could be the real value of the Space Station—to shift NASA’s human exploration program from entirely Earth-controlled to more astronaut-directed, more autonomous. This is not a high priority now; it would be inconvenient, inefficient. But the station’s value could be magnified greatly were NASA to develop a real ethic, and a real plan, for letting the people on the mission assume more responsibility for shaping and controlling it. If we have any greater ambitions for human exploration in space, that’s as important as the technical challenges. Problems of fitness and food supply are solvable. The real question is what autonomy for space travelers would look like—and how Houston can best support it. Autonomy will not only shape the psychology and planning of the mission; it will shape the design of the spacecraft itself.


+ - The Slow Death of 'Do Not Track'->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "FOUR years ago, the Federal Trade Commission announced, with fanfare, a plan to let American consumers decide whether to let companies track their online browsing and buying habits. The plan would let users opt out of the collection of data about their habits through a setting in their web browsers, without having to decide on a site-by-site basis.

The idea, known as “Do Not Track,” and modeled on the popular “Do Not Call” rule that protects consumers from unwanted telemarketing calls, is simple. But the details are anything but.

Although many digital advertising companies agreed to the idea in principle, the debate over the definition, scope and application of “Do Not Track” has been raging for several years.

Now, finally, an industry working group is expected to propose detailed rules governing how the privacy switch should work. The group includes experts but is dominated by Internet giants like Adobe, Apple, Facebook, Google and Yahoo. It is poised to recommend a carve-out that would effectively free them from honoring “Do Not Track” requests.

If regulators go along, the rules would allow the largest Internet giants to continue scooping up data about users on their own sites and on other sites that include their plug-ins, such as Facebook’s “Like” button or an embedded YouTube video. This giant loophole would make “Do Not Track” meaningless.

How did we get into this mess? For starters, the Federal Trade Commission doesn’t seem to fully understand the nature of the Internet."

Link to Original Source

+ - Google Crapifies Search

Submitted by Presto Vivace
Presto Vivace (882157) writes "Google Further Crapifies Search, Exploiting Both Users and Advertisers

So Google is indeed being optimized..for its own advertising. The message to all but the very biggest vendors is that you must pay to show up. No more getting in the back door by being picked up by an price listing service that gets on Google’s first page, or by matching the search terms well.

But as a user, it looks like Google is cooking its own goose. These crappy results makes me much more inclined to go to Amazon and look at Amazon merchants, and compare price at 3 or 4 Apple vendors I know are reliable with returns in case I get a bum machine. The fact that I’m not getting remotely usable results from Google searches and that means I’ll skip them.

How long will it take for advertisers to realize that they are effectively being scammed by Google, that they are often paying for bad clickthroughs because Google is putting them on search results where they don’t belong but the retailer has written successful clickbait ads so they get bad visits? My impression is that Google Adsense reporting is opaque enough that they might not recognized Google’s culpability (indeed, I can see Google optimizing its algos to keep the bad clickthroughs at the highest level that an advertiser would tolerate).


+ - Newest Stealth Fighter's Ground Attack Sensors are 10 Years Behind Older Jets->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "America’s $400 billion, top-of-the-line aircraft can’t see the battlefield all that well. Which means it’s actually worse than its predecessors at fighting today’s wars.

The problem stems from the fact that the technology found on one of the stealth fighter’s primary air-to-ground sensors—its nose-mounted Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS)—is more than a decade old and hopelessly obsolete. The EOTS, which is similar in concept to a large high-resolution infrared and television camera, is used to visually identify and monitor ground targets. The system can also mark targets for laser-guided bombs.

Older jets currently in service with the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps can carry the latest generation of sensor pods, which are far more advanced than the EOTS sensor carried by the F-35.

The end result is that when the F-35 finally becomes operational after its myriad technical problems, cost overruns, and massive delays, in some ways it will be less capable than current fighters in the Pentagon’s inventory."

Link to Original Source

+ - New Paper Claims Neutrino Is Likely A Faster-Than-Light Particle 1

Submitted by (3830033) writes " reports that in a new paper accepted by the journal Astroparticle Physics, Robert Ehrlich, a recently retired physicist from George Mason University, claims that the neutrino is very likely a tachyon or faster-than-light particle. Ehrlich's new claim of faster-than-light neutrinos is based on a much more sensitive method than measuring their speed, namely by finding their mass. The result relies on tachyons having an imaginary mass, or a negative mass squared. Imaginary mass particles have the weird property that they speed up as they lose energy – the value of their imaginary mass being defined by the rate at which this occurs. According to Ehrlich, the magnitude of the neutrino's imaginary mass is 0.33 electronvolts, or 2/3 of a millionth that of an electron. He deduces this value by showing that six different observations from cosmic rays, cosmology, and particle physics all yield this same value within their margin of error. One check on Ehrlich's claim could come from the experiment known as KATRIN, which should start taking data in 2015. In this experiment the mass of the neutrino could be revealed by looking at the shape of the spectrum in the beta decay of tritium, the heaviest isotope of hydrogen.p

But be careful. There have been many such claims, the last being in 2011 when the "OPERA" experiment measured the speed of neutrinos and claimed they travelled a tiny amount faster than light. When their speed was measured again the original result was found to be in error – the result of a loose cable no less. "Before you try designing a "tachyon telephone" to send messages back in time to your earlier self it might be prudent to see if Ehrlich's claim is corroborated by others.""

+ - Complex life may be possible in only 10% of all galaxies->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "The universe may be a lonelier place than previously thought. Of the estimated 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe, only one in 10 can support complex life like that on Earth, a pair of astrophysicists argues. Everywhere else, stellar explosions known as gamma ray bursts would regularly wipe out any life forms more elaborate than microbes. The detonations also kept the universe lifeless for billions of years after the big bang, the researchers say."
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+ - NSA CTO Patrick Dowd Moonlighting for Private Security Firm->

Submitted by un1nsp1red
un1nsp1red (2503532) writes "Current NSA CTO Patrick Dowd has taken a part-time position with former-NSA director Keith Alexander's security firm IronNet Cybersecurity — while retaining his position as chief technology officer for the NSA. The Guardian states that "Patrick Dowd continues to work as a senior NSA official while also working part time for Alexander’s IronNet Cybersecurity, a firm reported to charge up to $1m a month for advising banks on protecting their data from hackers. It is exceedingly rare for a US official to be allowed to work for a private, for-profit company in a field intimately related to his or her public function." Some may give Alexander a pass on the possible conflict of interests as he's now retired, but what about a current NSA official moonlighting for a private security firm?"
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+ - ISPs Violating Net Neutrality to block encryption->

Submitted by Dupple
Dupple (1016592) writes "One of the most frequent refrains from the big broadband players and their friends who are fighting against net neutrality rules is that there's no evidence that ISPs have been abusing a lack of net neutrality rules in the past, so why would they start now? That does ignore multiple instances of violations in the past, but in combing through the comments submitted to the FCC concerning net neutrality, we came across one very interesting one that actually makes some rather stunning revelations about the ways in which ISPs are currently violating net neutrality/open internet principles in a way designed to block encryption and thus make everyone a lot less secure"
Link to Original Source

+ - The 9to5Mac Story: A Profile Of Seth Weintraub->

Submitted by redletterdave
redletterdave (2493036) writes "Though its competitors are more experienced and better funded, 9to5Mac has established itself as the go-to website for Apple news. It's regularly cited by the most influential news outlets in the world, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. But 9to5Mac can also ruffle the feathers of its competition — namely, other Apple blogs. 'It is pretty cut throat behind the scenes, and you can imagine how rough it is,' says Seth Weintraub, 9to5Mac's founder, and publisher."
Link to Original Source

+ - Finns go crazy get refurbished iPhone 4 - yes '4'->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Finnish retailer got pile of refurbished iPhone 4 models and decided to put them on sale for €99.90. When the stores were opened, a chaos broke as people tried to get into the store to buy one. Meanwhile, the rest of the world was queuing for iPhone 6..."
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Don't sweat it -- it's only ones and zeros. -- P. Skelly