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Submission + - How many fundamental constants does it take to describe our Universe?

StartsWithABang writes: Our Universe is the way it is for two reasons: the initial conditions that it started off with, and the fundamental particles, interactions and laws that govern it. When it comes to the physical properties of everything that exists, we can ask ourselves how many fundamental, dimensionless constants or parameters it takes to give us a complete description of everything we observe. Surprisingly, the answer is 26 (not 42), and there are a few things that remain unexplained, even with all of them.

Submission + - HP Security Research (ZDI) claims $125K Microsoft bug bounty

xeno writes: Articles at ZDNet and Threatpost describe HP's Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) team winning Microsoft's $100K Mitigation Bypass Bounty for compromises of the Isolated Heap and MemoryProtection functions in the most recent IE. Their findings included how to do an "oracle" compromise of MemProtect to make it provide details on how to completely bypass ASLR, which has broader implications. HP also provided solution guidance to MS and received another $25k through the BlueHat Bonus for Defense. HPSR posted a video announcement, and researchers Brian Gorenc, AbdulAziz Hariri and Simon Zuckerbraun are donating the entire $125k proceeds evenly to STEM education programs at Texas A&M, Concordia, and Khan Academy.

Submission + - Sony plan to pull out of MPAA revealed (

Earthquake Retrofit writes: The New York Times is reporting: "... Sony Pictures chairman Michael Lynton last month told industry colleagues of a plan to withdraw from the movie trade organization, according to people who have been briefed on the discussions. He cited the organization's slow response and lack of public support in the aftermath of the attack on Sony and its film “The Interview,” as well as longstanding concerns about the cost and efficacy of the group."

Submission + - DARPA issues $2mil Cyber Grand Challenge

Papa Fett writes: DARPA announced the Cyber Grand Challenge (CGC)--the first-ever tournament for fully automatic network defense systems. International teams will compete to build systems that reason about software flaws, formulate patches and deploy them on a network in real time. Teams would be scored against each other based on how capably their systems can protect hosts, scan the network for vulnerabilities, and maintain the correct function of software. The winning team would receive a cash prize of $2 million, with second place earning $1 million and third place taking home $750,000. If DARPA is as successful as they were with their Grand Challenge of self driving cars, according to The Register, "it's Brown trousers time for some in antivirus industry."

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: What's the best way to work on projects while travelling?

An anonymous reader writes: I really want to go travel the world with the money I've saved up at my day job, but I also want to grow as a developer in the process. This is a long-term engagement: 2-3 years or more depending on whether my software is successful. I'll probably be hopping from hostel to hostel at first, with a few weeks at each. How do I find a good work environment in these conditions? Do hostels generally have quiet areas where work could be done? Is it OK to get out your laptop and spend the day in a cafe in Europe, assuming you keep buying drinks? What about hackerspaces — are those common on the other side of the globe? (Apartments are an option for later on, but I'm concerned about losing the social atmosphere that's built in with the hostel lifestyle.)

I've never done anything like this before, but I'm really excited about the idea! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Submission + - World Bank Invests in Modular Infrastructure to Boost Wireless in Africa, Asia (

1sockchuck writes: A unit of the World Bank is backing a provider of factory-built data centers in hopes of accelerating wireless access in parts of Asia and Africa. The $24 million investment will support the deployment of pre-fabricated modular IT enclosures from Flexenclosure, as well as power systems for wireless towers that use a combination of solar and wind power and batteries. The Swedish company's system includes software that can manage multiple sources to optimize the power supply, or even extend it to support local water pumps and schools.

Submission + - Transform any Unity project into a relativistic playground with OpenRelativity (

schirra writes: The MIT Game Lab has just released the graphics/physics engine from its popular game "A Slower Speed of Light" as an open-source project, allowing anyone to play around with the effects of special relativity using Unity3D. While the hope is that game developers and educators will use OpenRelativity to develop new kinds of relativistic games and simulations, that shouldn't stop those with a casual interest from playing around with these wicked cool effects. For the physics inclined, these effects include Lorentz contraction, time dilation, Doppler shift, and the searchlight effect--though a PhD in theoretical physics isn't required to enjoy or use the project.

Submission + - Scientists Link Autism with Lack of Gut Bacteria

parallel_prankster writes: Scientists at University College Cork (UCC) have found that mice who were raised without bacteria in their gut showed autistic patterns of behavior. Scientists argue that their findings demonstrate the crucial role stomach bacteria plays in the development of normal social behaviour. Professor Ted Dinan, psychiatry professor and a principal investigator in the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC), said the core of their paper argued that animals need a normal range of bacteria in their gut in order for normal social development. Dinan said, “In our studies involving mice, we found animals raised in a germ-free environment (without microbiota in their gut) spent more time interacting with objects than other animals and so have distinctively autistic patterns of behavior.”
He said that the serotonin system, which helps regulate mood, does not develop properly if there is not enough bacteria in the gut. Mice in the study who did not have enough bacteria were less interested in new social situations than mice with a normal level of bacteria.
The scientists said that the bacteria deficient mice behavior resembles social cognition deficits of patients. Children with autism also show repetitive behaviors and scientists pointed out that gut problems are common among those with autism. Scientists weaned bacteria and then added it and this reversed the mice’s social avoidance and repetitive behaviors, but had no impact on social cognition impairments.

Submission + - License Plate Scanners Logging Our Every Move (

TheNextCorner writes: "With virtually no public debate, police agencies have begun storing information from the surveillance cameras, building databases that document the travels of millions of vehicles.

It has now become clear that this technology, if we do not limit its use, will represent a significant step toward the creation of a surveillance society in the United States."


Submission + - AT&T hackers warned of vulnerability, now prov (

hessian writes: "A few years ago, a smart young hacker saw a blatant hole in AT&T security and so whipped up a quick script to mine the website for information.

However, this guy was a grey hat or white hat hacker, meaning that he did not have criminal intent of the for-profit variety. Instead, he was just curious to see if it could be done. He sent the data to the corporation and, when they ignored him, published the hack.

They came down on him like a ton of bricks. Today, a similar hack may have leaked confidential customer information from AT&T. They were warned by a hacker but because of the source, ignored it, and now their customers are the ones to pay for AT&T's hacker-phobia."

Submission + - CarrierIQ sues TrevE for copyright infringement (

realized writes: As earlier reported on Slashdot, CarrierIQ installs software on cellphones to track user activity. The company earlier denied that they had a “root kit” installed but won’t go into details as to what they track. CarrierIQ is now suing the man responsible for shedding light on CarrierIQ for “copyright infringement” for copying the company’s training manuals and posting it on his own website. Luckily, EFF has decided to help out the XDA Developer, TrevE. You can see the letter here (

Submission + - 8 Things You Didn't Know about Facebook and Zynga (

bizwriter writes: An amended S-1 filing for Zynga’s eventual IPO offers details of its relationship to Facebook. There’s plenty of interesting stuff there in the open, but some partially redacted sections hint at why Zynga is so dependent on Facebook as a channel to get to its market — and why Facebook doesn’t deploy its own games.

Submission + - Bitcoin Trademarking Lawyer Now Sending Bogus DMCA (

An anonymous reader writes: A couple weeks ago, Slashdot wrote about a lawyer named Michael Pascazi who was trying to trademark Bitcoin. Techdirt picked up on the story, via Slashdot, and wrote a post about it, which included Pascazi's evidence of the trademark. Pascazi has now sent Techdirt a bogus DMCA takedown request over the post, claiming that the header and footer in his stationary, which appears via an embed on the story violates his "copyright." He appears to be claiming that simply posting any version of his stationary is a copyright violation. It's not clear if the content in question is even copyrightable, and if it is how Techdirt's use isn't fair use.

Submission + - Reddit Co-Founder accused of Hacking MIT Computers (

An anonymous reader writes: New York Times has reported that Reddit co founder Aaron Swartz has been indicted for stealing more than 4 million documents from the highly prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) .

Submission + - NoScript awarded Security Innovation Grant (

An anonymous reader writes: NoScript Awarded with the DRG Security Innovation Grant of 2011. The value of the award if U$ 10,000 and will be used to improve the tool and look with more confidence at the goal of releasing a NoScript Anywhere beta build for Android and desktop Firefox by September. What would you do with $10,000 to raise the bar on Security?

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