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Privacy

DuckDuckGo Sees Massive Growth In Post-Snowden World 112

DuckDuckGo, the privacy-oriented search engine, has been around for over six years. But when Edward Snowden revealed the extent of NSA surveillance in 2013, DuckDuckGo started a period of strong growth that hasn't slowed yet. The search engine has seen a 600% increase in traffic over the past two years, and they're now serving 3 billion searches a year. This shouldn't be a surprise — last month, a Pew survey found that 40% of American adults didn't want their search engine to retain information about them. But members of the general public are notoriously slow to change their privacy-related behavior. DuckDuckGo's growing popularity has led them to double their employee count since early 2014, now totaling 28 people. Their success is beginning to fuel speculation about an acquisition, with Apple's name being tossed around as a potential buyer.

Submission + - IBM develops silicon photonics chip to boost data transfer beyond 100Gb/s->

An anonymous reader writes: IBM has announced a new photonics technology which will allow silicon chips to use light as an alternative to wired electrical signals to transport data more rapidly over long distances. Scientists have developed and trialed the new fully integrated wavelength multiplexed silicon photonics chip which Big Blue claims will allow the creation of 100Gb/s optical transceivers. The firm hopes that these speeds will enable data centers to reach greater data and bandwidth rates for the growing demand from the cloud computing and Big Data industries.Silicon photonics works by deploying minuscule optical units to transfer light pulses to send large volumes of data at very high speeds between server computer chips, data centers, supercomputers. The optical technology aims to tackle the limitations on transporting data such as congestion and expensive interconnects.
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Submission + - FCC Chairman: a Former Cable Lobbyist Who Helped Kill the Comcast Merger->

An anonymous reader writes: After Friday's news that the Comcast/TWC merger is dead, the Washington Post points out an interesting fact: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, who was instrumental in throwing up roadblocks the for the deal, used to be a lobbyist for the cable and wireless industry. "Those who predicted Wheeler would favor industry interests 'misunderstood him from the beginning — the notion that because he had represented various industries, he was suddenly in their pocket never made any sense,' said one industry lawyer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he represents clients before the FCC." The "revolving door" between government an industry is often blamed for many of the problems regulating corporations. We were worried about it ourselves when Wheeler was nominated for his job. I guess this goes to show that it depends more on the person than on their previous job.
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Submission + - Liquid mercury found under Mexican pyramid->

An anonymous reader writes: An archaeologist has discovered liquid mercury at the end of a tunnel beneath a Mexican pyramid, a finding that could suggest the existence of a kingâ(TM)s tomb or a ritual chamber far below one of the most ancient cities of the Americas.

Mexican researcher Sergio GÃmez announced on Friday that he had discovered âoelarge quantitiesâ of liquid mercury in a chamber below the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent, the third largest pyramid of Teotihuacan, the ruined city in central Mexico.

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Submission + - Which smartphone is stable these days?

janimal writes: It used to be true that the iPhone was the smartphone that "just works". Ever since the 4S days, this has been true less and less with each generation. My wife's iPhone 6 needs to be restarted several times per week for things like internet search or making calls to work. An older 5S I'm using also doesn't consistently stream to Apple TV, doesn't display song names correctly on Apple TV and third party peripherals (like a Mercedes Benz). In short, the mainstay of Apple that is quality is fast receding. In your opinion, which smartphone brand these days is taking up the slack and delivering a fully featured smartphone that "just works"?

Submission + - Vizio, Destroyer of Patent Trolls->

An anonymous reader writes: We read about a lot of patent troll cases. Some are successful and some are not, but many such cases are decided before ever going to court. It's how the patent troll operates — they know exactly how high the litigation costs are, so even without a legal leg to stand on, they can ask for settlements that make better financial sense for the target to accept, rather than dumping just as much money into attorney's fees for an uncertain outcome. Fortunately, some companies fight back. TV-maker Vizio is one of these, and they've successfully defended against 16 different patent trolls, some with multiple claims. In addition, they're going on the offensive, trying to wrest legal fees from the plaintiffs for their spurious claims. "For the first time, it stands a real chance, in a case where it spent more than $1 million to win. Two recent Supreme Court decisions make it easier for victorious defendants to collect fees in patent cases. The TV maker is up against a storied patent plaintiffs' firm, Chicago-based Niro, Haller & Niro, that has fought for Oplus tooth and nail. ... For Vizio, the company feels that it's on the verge of getting vindication for a long-standing policy of not backing down to patent trolls."
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Submission + - Giant Survival Ball Will Help Explorer Survive a Year on an Iceberg

HughPickens.com writes: Ben Yeager writes in Outside Magazine that Italian explorer Alex Bellini plans to travel to Greenland’s west coast, pick an iceberg, and live on it for a year as it melts out in the Atlantic. But it is a precarious idea. Bellini will be completely isolated, and his adopted dwelling is liable to roll or fall apart at any moment, thrusting him into the icy sea or crushing him under hundreds of tons of ice. His solution: an indestructible survival capsule built by an aeronautics company that specializes in tsunami-proof escape pods. " I knew since the beginning I needed to minimize the risk. An iceberg can flip over, and those events can be catastrophic.” Bellini plans to use a lightweight, indestructible floating capsules, or “personal safety systems" made from aircraft-grade aluminum in what’s called a continuous monocoque structure, an interlocking frame of aluminum spars that evenly distribute force, underneath a brightly painted and highly visible aluminum shell. The inner frame can be stationary or mounted on roller balls so it rotates, allowing the passengers to remain upright at all times.

Aeronautical engineer Julian Sharpe, founder of Survival Capsule, got the idea for his capsules after the 2004 Indonesian tsunami. He believes fewer people would have died had some sort of escape pod existed. Sharpe hopes the products will be universal—in schools, retirement homes, and private residences, anywhere there is severe weather. The product appeals to Bellini because it’s strong enough to survive a storm at sea or getting crushed between two icebergs. Bellini will spend almost all of his time in the capsule with the hatch closed, which will pose major challenges because he'll have to stay active without venturing out onto a slippery, unstable iceberg. If it flips, he’ll have no time to react. “Any step away from [the iceberg] will be in unknown territory,” says Bellini. “You want to stretch your body. But then you risk your life.”

Submission + - The Robots That Will Put Coders Out of Work

snydeq writes: Researchers warn that a glut of code is coming that will depress wages and turn coders into Uber drivers, InfoWorld reports. 'The researchers — Boston University's Seth Benzell, Laurence Kotlikoff, and Guillermo LaGarda, and Columbia University's Jeffrey Sachs — aren't predicting some silly, Terminator-like robot apocalypse. What they are saying is that our economy is entering a new type of boom-and-bust cycle that accelerates the production of new products and new code so rapidly that supply outstrips demand. The solution to that shortage will be to figure out how not to need those hard-to-find human experts. In fact, it's already happening in some areas.'

Submission + - New study shows three abrupt pulses of CO2 during last deglaciation->

vinces99 writes: A new study shows that the increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide that contributed to the end of the last ice age more than 10,000 years ago did not occur gradually but rather was characterized by three abrupt pulses. Scientists are not sure what caused these abrupt increases, during which carbon dioxide levels rose about 10 to 15 parts per million – or about 5 percent per episode – during a span of one to two centuries. It likely was a combination of factors, they say, including ocean circulation, changing wind patterns and terrestrial processes. The finding, published Oct. 30 in the journal Nature, casts new light on the mechanisms that take the Earth in and out of ice ages.

“We used to think that naturally occurring changes in carbon dioxide took place relatively slowly over the 10,000 years it took to move out of the last ice age,” said lead author Shaun Marcott, who did the work as a postdoctoral researcher at Oregon State University and is now at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “This abrupt, centennial-scale variability of CO2 appears to be a fundamental part of the global carbon cycle.”

Previous research has hinted at the possibility that spikes in atmospheric carbon dioxide may have accelerated the last deglaciation, but that hypothesis had not been resolved, the researchers say. The key to the new finding is the analysis of an ice core from the West Antarctic that provided the scientists with an unprecedented glimpse into the past.

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Submission + - Intel processors fails at math. Again.

rastos1 writes: In a recent blog, software developer Bruce Dawson pointed out some issues with the way the FSIN instruction is described in the “Intel® 64 and IA-32 Architectures Software Developer’s Manual.”, noting that the result of FSIN can be very inaccurate in some cases, if compared to the exact mathematical value of the sine function.

Bruce Dawson says: I was shocked when I discovered this. Both the fsin instruction and Intel’s documentation are hugely inaccurate, and the inaccurate documentation has led to poor decisions being made. ... Intel has known for years that these instructions are not as accurate as promised. They are now making updates to their documentation. Updating the instruction is not a realistic option.

Intel processors had a problem with math in past

Submission + - NVIDIA Presents Plans To Support Mir & Wayland On Linux->

An anonymous reader writes: AMD presented plans to unify their open-source and Catalyst Linux drivers at the open source XDC2014 conference in France, while NVIDIA's rebuttal presentation focused on the company's plans to support Mir and Wayland on Linux — the next-generation display stacks for Linux that are competing to succeed the X.Org Server. NVIDIA is partially refactoring their Linux graphics driver to support EGL outside of X11, propose new EGL extensions for better driver interoperability with Wayland/Mir, and to support the KMS APIs by their driver. NVIDIA's binary driver will support the KMS APIs/ioctls but will be using their own implementation of kernel mode-setting. The EGL improvements are said to land in their closed-source driver this autumn while the other changes probably won't be seen until next year.
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Submission + - Belkin Firmware update leaving customers without Internet ->

An anonymous reader writes: ISPs around the country are being kept busy this morning answering calls from frustrated customers with Belkin routers. It seems that a 10/7 software/firmware update has left many of the Belkin devices with no access to the customer's broadband connection. Trending on twitter now. Should be big news soon.
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Submission + - Breakthrough in LED Construction Increases Efficiency by 57 Percent->

Zothecula writes: With LEDs being the preferred long-lasting, low-energy method for replacing less efficient forms of lighting, their uptake has dramatically increased over the past few years. However, despite their luminous outputs having increased steadily over that time, they still fall behind more conventional forms of lighting in terms of brightness. Researchers at Princeton University claim to have come up with a way to change all that by using nanotechnology to increase the output of organic LEDs by 57 percent.
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"Ahead warp factor 1" - Captain Kirk

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