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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).

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+ - Where does our galaxy's gravity come from?

Submitted by StartsWithABang
StartsWithABang (3485481) writes "By now, you’ve probably had a lot of opportunities to think about what holds our Universe together: the incredible force of gravitation. Although it’s the weakest known force in the Universe, there seems to be no limit to how much mass you can collect in one place. And so on the largest scales — like solar systems, stars and galaxies — it seems to be the only force that matters. Yet the matter that we see and know of can simply not account for the gravitational force that we see, from its effects on the galaxy to the formation of rocky planets with heavy elements like our own. What’s going on, then? The overwhelming majority of our galaxy's gravity must be coming from a type of dark matter that isn't made of any of the particles we know of."
Security

Obama Proposes 30-Day Deadline For Disclosing Security Breaches 125

Posted by Soulskill
from the assuming-you-discover-it-within-30-days dept.
Following the string of massive data breaches at major corporations, President Obama has called for legislation that would standardize how these incidents are disclosed to the public. "The Personal Data Notification and Protection Act would demand a single, national standard requiring companies to inform their customers within 30 days of discovering their data has been hacked. In a speech Monday at the Federal Trade Commission, Mr. Obama said that the current patchwork of state laws does not protect Americans and is a burden for companies that do business across the country. The president also proposed the Student Data Privacy Act, which would prohibit technology firms from profiting from information collected in schools as teachers adopt tablets, online services and Internet-connected software. And he will announce voluntary agreements by companies to safeguard home energy data and to provide easy access to credit scores as an “early warning system” for identity theft.

+ - US army could waive combat training for hackers

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "New U.S. Army cyber warriors could be spared the rigors of combat training to help the Pentagon attract badly needed recruits from the ponytail wearing Google generation, a top American general has suggested. Lt Gen Brown, commander of the US Army Combined Arms Centre at Fort Leavenworth, said: 'We need to give serious consideration to how the US Army could combine the technical expertise of the "Google" generation with its more traditional military skills. In order to gain an intellectual advantage over adversaries in cyberspace, we will need to tap into a talent pool that may not fit the stereotypical soldier profile. Our goal is to recruit the best talent possible.'""

+ - Pope Francis to Issue Encyclical on Global Warming 1

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "The Guardian reports that following a visit in March to Tacloban, the Philippine city devastated in 2012 by typhoon Haiyan, Pope Francis plans to publish a rare encyclical on climate change and human ecology urging all Catholics to take action on moral and scientific grounds. "A papal encyclical is rare," says Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, chancellor of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences who revealed the pope's plans when he delivered Cafod’s annual Pope Paul VI lecture. "It is among the highest levels of a pope’s authority. It will be 50 to 60 pages long; it’s a big deal." The encyclical will be sent to the world’s 5,000 Catholic bishops and 400,000 priests, who will distribute it to parishioners. Within Catholicism in recent times, an encyclical is generally used for significant issues, and is second in importance only to the highest ranking document now issued by popes, an Apostolic Constitution. “Just as humanity confronted revolutionary change in the 19th century at the time of industrialization, today we have changed the natural environment so much," says Sorondo. "If current trends continue, the century will witness unprecedented climate change and destruction of the ecosystem with tragic consequences.”

Francis’s environmental radicalism is likely to attract resistance from Vatican conservatives and in rightwing church circles, particularly in the US – where Catholic climate sceptics also include John Boehner, Republican leader of the House of Representatives and Rick Santorum, the former Republican presidential candidate. “There will always be 5-10% of people who will take offence. They are very vocal and have political clout," says Dan Misleh, director of the Catholic climate covenant. "This encyclical will threaten some people and bring joy to others. The arguments are around economics and science rather than morality." Francis will also be opposed by the powerful US evangelical movement, says Calvin Beisner, spokesman for the conservative Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, which has declared the US environmental movement to be “un-biblical” and a false religion. “The pope should back off,” says Beisner. “The Catholic church is correct on the ethical principles but has been misled on the science. It follows that the policies the Vatican is promoting are incorrect. Our position reflects the views of millions of evangelical Christians in the US.”"

+ - Carly Fiorina considering run for US President (Seriously!)->

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber (1417641) writes "Fired HP CEO (http://it.slashdot.org/story/05/02/09/1352218/hp-ceo-carly-fiorina-to-step-down) and failed Republican Senate candidate ((http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2010/11/fiorina-concedes-defeat-in-senate-race-.html) Carly Fiorina "is actively exploring a 2016 presidential run. Fiorina has been talking privately with potential donors, recruiting campaign staffers, courting grass-roots activists in early caucus and primary states and planning trips to Iowa and New Hampshire starting next week." (http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/carly-fiorina-actively-explores-2016-presidential-run-but-faces-gop-critics/2014/11/25/b317b1a2-74b3-11e4-bd1b-03009bd3e984_story.html)"
Link to Original Source

+ - Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I live in a relatively large college town that's within easy driving distance of several major metropolitan centers. In many ways, the infrastructure around here is top-notch. The major exception is the electrical grid. Lightning storm? Power outage. Heavy winds? Power outage. Lots of rain? Power outage. Some areas around town are immune to this — like around the hospital, for obvious reasons. But others seem to lose power at the drop of hat. Why is this? If it were a tiny village or in the middle of nowhere, it would make sense to me. What problems do the utility companies face that they can't keep service steady? Do you face similar problems where you live? I'm not sure if it's just an investment issue or a technological one. It hasn't gotten better in the decade I've lived here, and I can imagine it will only get worse as the infrastructure ages."
Link to Original Source

+ - Visual Studio 2015 supports CLANG and Android (with emulator included)->

Submitted by Billly Gates
Billly Gates (198444) writes "What would be unthinkable a decade ago is Visual Studio supporting W3C HTML and CSS and now apps on other platforms. Visual Studio 2015 preview is available for download which includes support for LLVM/Clang, Android development, and even Linux development with Mono using Xamarin. A little more detail is here. A tester also found support for Java, ANT, SQL LITE, and WebSocket4web. We see IE improving in terms of more standards and Visual Studio Online even supports IOS and MacOSX development. Is this a new Microsoft emerging? In any case it is nice to have an alternative to Google tools for Android development."
Link to Original Source
AT&T

AT&T Stops Using 'Super Cookies' To Track Cellphone Data 60

Posted by timothy
from the turns-out-people-hate-that dept.
jriding (1076733) writes AT&T Mobility, the nation's second-largest cellular provider, says it's no longer attaching hidden Internet tracking codes to data transmitted from its users' smartphones. The practice made it nearly impossible to shield its subscribers' identities online. Would be nice to hear something similar from Verizon.
Build

Real Steampunk Computer Brought Back To Life 81

Posted by timothy
from the malware-free dept.
New submitter engineerguy writes We discovered a 100 year old 19th century computer that does Fourier analysis with just gears spring and levers. It was locked in a glass case at the University of Illinois Department of Mathematics. We rebuilt a small part of the machine and then for two years thoroughly photographed and filmed every part part of the machine and its operation. The results of this labor of love are in the video series (short documentary), which is 22 minutes long and contains stunning footage of the machine in action — including detailed descriptions of how it operates. The photos are collected in a free book (PDF). The computer was designed by Albert Michelson, who was famous for the Michelson-Morley experiment; he was also the first American to win a Nobel Prize in physics.

+ - Potential 2 million user botnet->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "There is currently a debate going on regarding the videogame Arma2 (plus DayZ Standalone) and their anti cheat service called Battle-Eye (Run by Bastian Suter) Currently only in Arma2, but being prototyped for DayZ-SA is a new kind of anticheat.

A first of its kind from what I can tell, which involves a service running at kernel level access in order to hinder game hacking. What concerns me about this is the fact that over 2million players will be giving 1 person (who has already been shown to have shady practices of stealing source code files (URL will be included below)) the "keys" to their systems.

On top of this Bastian himself has been hacked once (at least) in order to verify just how shady his practices were. Unfortunately to find out he is breaking his Terms of Service, other people had to break his Terms of Service first in order to verify it. Making this somewhat of a legal nightmare.

Can we really trust a very seemingly shady character who has already been hacked, to protect a developer which also (coincidence?) has been hacked this year and had their source code for DayZ-SA stolen.

If this anticheat goes live in its current form, and the BEDaisy.sys driver is implemented onto DayZ-SA we are quite literally looking at the most effective anticheat system to date, but also something just as invasive as the NSA. Plus one man holds all the keys, what if he gets hacked again, or worse decides to sell the keys to the kingdom?

We could be looking at an entire videogame population being turned into one of the largest botnets in history, all under the pretense of "securing the game against cheaters".

(BTW, the majority of the outcry for hacks in the game are related to bad coding practices done by the developers in the first place. I am not trying to be unsympathetic to legitimate players concerns over hacking, but is a rootkit really the right answer to cheating in a videogame? Especially on such a large scale.

Additional details relevant to the scenario:

- Bastian Suter has been alledgedly claimed to have created and sold hacks prior to developing his anticheat. As can be found referenced on the UnknownCheats forum.

- Bastian Suter has reportedly been using his authority as an anticheat to steal source code files, not directly related to the hacks he is protecting users from. Same forum as above for references.

- This appears to be a classic case of someone turning traitor for the sole purpose of financial or power gains.

-S"

Link to Original Source

+ - Dealing with VOIP Fraud/Phising Scams 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I run the IT department for a medium-sized online retailer, and we own a set of marketing toll-free numbers that route to our VOIP system for sales. Yesterday we began receiving dozens and now hundreds of calls from non-customers claiming that we're calling out from our system and offering them $1 million in prizes and asking for their checking account details (a classic phishing scheme).

After verifying that our own system wasn't compromised, we realized that someone was spoofing the Caller ID of our company on a local phone number, and then they were forwarding call-backs to their number to one of our 1-800 numbers.

We contacted the registered provider of the scammer's phone number, Level3, but they haven't been able to resolve the issue yet and have left the number active (apparently one of their sub-carriers owns it). At this point, the malicious party is auto-dialing half of the phone book in the DC metro area and it's causing harm to our business reputation.

Disabling our inbound 800 number isn't really possible due to the legitimate marketing traffic. Does Slashdot have any suggestions?"
Japan

Japanese Maglev Train Hits 500kph 419

Posted by timothy
from the for-amtrak-that-takes-negligence dept.
An anonymous reader writes Japan has now put 100 passengers on a Maglev train doing over 500kph. That's well over twice as fast as the fastest U.S. train can manage, and that only manages 240kph on small sections of its route. The Japanese Shinkansen is now running over 7 times times as fast as the average U.S. express passenger train. 500kph is moving towards the average speed of an airliner. Add the convenience of no boarding issues, and city-centre to city-centre travel, and the case for trains as mass-transport begins to look stronger.

+ - What if Congress Votes a Pipeline and Nobody Comes?

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Tim Mullaney reports at CNBC that as Congress rushes to approve the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline, it is questionable whether or not the controversial pipeline will make as much of a difference as proponents expect. The so-called "heavy oil" extracted from sand in Alberta, which the proposed pipeline would carry to Nebraska, en route to refineries on the Gulf Coast, will cost between $85 and $110 to produce, depending on which drilling technology is used, according to a report in July by the Canadian Energy Research Institute, a nonprofit whose work is often cited by Keystone proponents. But crude oil futures now hover near four-year lows as sustained concerns over a glut in world markets continued to weigh heavily on prices and oil ministers from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait resisted calls to lower production to prevent further price declines. CERI' s analysis squares with the views of other experts, who have pointed to low prices as a sign that economic facts, at least for now, don't match political rhetoric coming from Washington, where Keystone has been a goal for both Republicans and for Senate Democrats from oil-producing states. "Anything not under construction [is] at risk of being delayed or canceled altogether," says Dinara Millington

The situation is broadly similar to that faced by an earlier proposal to build a natural-gas pipeline from Alaska to the Midwest says energy economist Chris Lafakis. After being approved by then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in 2007, the pipeline was never built, because newly discovered supplies of gas in the Lower 48 states pushed gas prices down by about two-thirds. "If oil were to stay as cheap as it is right now," says Lafakis, "you might very well get that Palin pipeline scenario.""
Math

Mathematical Proof That the Universe Could Come From Nothing 429

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-are-a-long-term-fluctuation dept.
TaleSlinger writes: One of the great theories of modern cosmology is that the universe began in a "Big Bang", but the mathematical mechanism by which this occurred has been lacking. Cosmologists at the Wuhan Institute have published a proof that the Big Bang could indeed have occurred spontaneously because of quantum fluctuations. "The new proof is based on a special set of solutions to a mathematical entity known as the Wheeler-DeWitt equation. In the first half of the 20th century, cosmologists struggled to combine the two pillars of modern physics— quantum mechanics and general relativity—in a way that reasonably described the universe. As far as they could tell, these theories were entirely at odds with each other.

At the heart of their thinking is Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. This allows a small empty space to come into existence probabilistically due to fluctuations in what physicists call the metastable false vacuum. When this happens, there are two possibilities. If this bubble of space does not expand rapidly, it disappears again almost instantly. But if the bubble can expand to a large enough size, then a universe is created in a way that is irreversible. The question is: does the Wheeler-DeWitt equation allow this? "We prove that once a small true vacuum bubble is created, it has the chance to expand exponentially," say the researchers.

"It's when they say 2 + 2 = 5 that I begin to argue." -- Eric Pepke

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