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Submission + - Shifting Power on the Internet->

jacook writes: Why has the Internet's hierarchy and models of organization failed us? Privacy overruns, corporate walls and mass surveillance are not the future of our Internet. Can a 'distributed and decentralized' Internet, made of self-hosted servers and applications coupled with properly-implemented encryption, turn the tables on the NSA/GCHQ/etc?
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Submission + - Researchers dare AI experts to crack new GOTCHA password scheme->

alphadogg writes: If you can’t tell the difference between an inkblot that looks more like "body builder lady with mustache and goofy in the center" than "large steroid insect with big eyes," then you can't crack passwords protected via a new scheme created by computer scientists that they've dubbed GOTCHA. GOTCHA, a snappy acronym for the decidedly less snappy Generating panOptic Turing Tests to Tell Computers and Humans Apart, is aimed at stymying hackers from using computers to figure out passwords, which are all too often easy to guess. GOTCHA, like its ubiquitous cousin CAPTCHA, relies on visual cues that typically only a human can appreciate. The researchers don’t think that computers can solve the puzzles and have issued a challenge to fellow security researchers to use artificial intelligence to try to do so. You can find the GOTCHA Challenge here. http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~jblocki/GOTCHA-Challenge.html
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Submission + - Facebook Open-Sources Its Presto SQL Query Engine->

Nerval's Lobster writes: Facebook stores its warehouse data in a set of enormous Hadoop/HDFS-based clusters. That helps the social network wrestle with the enormous amounts of user information it needs to store and analyze every day; but at a certain point (namely, once the warehouse grew to petabyte scale), its network administrators decided they needed something other than Hadoop MapReduce and Hive to process that data in a fully optimized way. Enter Presto, Facebook’s very own distributed SQL query engine designed with a focus on speed. The platform supports standard ANSI SQL, which means it’s capable of everything from complex queries and aggregations to joins and window functions. Presto also boasts scalability and flexibility; for example, with the addition of key plugins, it can handle Facebook data not stored in HDFS clusters, such as HBase and custom systems. It doesn’t rely on MapReduce for processing, which allows it to process queries at speed. Facebook engineers began developing Presto near the end of 2012 and rolled it out to the entire company the following spring; employees currently use it to process roughly 30,000 queries (totaling around one petabyte of data) per day. And now that the platform’s stable enough, Facebook is open-sourcing it via Github and a dedicated Website. Now all you need is an enormous amount of data that threatens to overwhelm your current setup.
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Submission + - 'War Room' notes describe IT chaos at Healthcare.gov->

dcblogs writes: U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has released 175 pages of "War Room" notes — a collection of notes by federal officials dealing with the problems at Healthcare.gov. They start Oct. 1, the launch day. The War Room notes catalog IT problems — dashboards weren't showing data, servers didn't have the right production data, third party systems weren't connecting to verify data, a key contractor had trouble logging on, and there wasn't enough server capacity to handle the traffic, or enough people on the help desks to answer calls. To top it off, some personnel needed for the effort were furloughed because of the shutdown. Volunteers were needed to work weekends, but there were bureaucratic complications. According to one note: "Donna's comp time approver is furloughed."
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Cloud

Submission + - New Google Gmail Motion Interpretation->

PB8 writes: "You were wondering what teh Google would offer for a suitable First of April technological innovation? Gmail Motion will utilize your webcam, read your body language and gestures interpreting them as Gmail commands through Google's spatial software. American Sign Language (ASL) is but one dialect Motion will understand. Apparently even sports referee gestures will be handled. Be sure to check out the product manager's video introducing it. This innovation will also available for Google Docs. Microsoft's Bing and MSN are again caught flatfooted against the jaugernaut of Google."
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Image

Sharks Seen Swimming Down Australian Streets 210

As if the flood waters weren't bad enough for the people of Queensland, it now appears that there are sharks swimming in the streets. Two bull sharks were spotted swimming past a McDonald’s in the city of Goodna, Butcher Steve Bateman saw another making its way past his shop on Williams street. Ipswich councillor for the Goodna region Paul Tully said: "It would have swam several kilometres in from the river, across Evan Marginson Park and the motorway. It’s definitely a first for Goodna, to have a shark in the main street."
Space

Submission + - The Amazing Disappearing "Earth-Like" Exoplanet->

AbsoluteXyro writes: You may recall the story of Gliese 581g, the first exoplanet discovered to be the right size and the right distance from it's sun to potentially be habitable. As reported by Wired, it is now being contested that astronomers Steve Vogt and Paul Butler, discoverers of the supposed Earth-Like world, were dead wrong about its very existence. Philip Gregory, astro-statistics expert at the University of British Columbia has re-analyzed the Vogt and Butler's data using Bayesian analysis and has found a 99.9978% probability that the planet is not there at all.
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Patents

Submission + - Conservatives plan to ramp up IP Enforcement->

An anonymous reader writes: "Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), who has already introduced a bill to gut the FCC's net neutrality rules, this morning issued a tech policy call to arms for her fellow conservatives." This new policy would include "strict deterrents to [copyright] infringement". Blackburn is quoted saying, "Culturally, we all differentiate between material and intellectual property rights; for the Creative Economy to thrive, we need to dissolve the barrier and ensure intellectual property rights are as strictly enforced as material rights."
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Earth

Submission + - Superstorm is Latest Threat to California

Hugh Pickens writes: "In December, an atmospheric river threw a series of wet storms at California, breaking rainfall records in many areas across the state but now the Sacramento Bee reports that scientists say that "superstorms" have hit California at least six times in the past 2 millenia and that the state got a relatively tame taste of the phenomenon in December. "This storm, with essentially the same probability as a major earthquake, is potentially four to five times more damaging," says Lucy Jones, USGS chief scientist on the study. "That's not something that is in the public consciousness." A two-year study by the US Geological Survey builds on a new understanding of so-called atmospheric rivers, a focusing of high-powered winds that drag a fire hose of tropical moisture across the Pacific Ocean, pointed directly at California for days on end and potentially causing $1 trillion in damages statewide — five times worse than a massive earthquake, which likely would affect only one region. "For a lot of people in California, we don't think of ourselves as being this flood-prone," says urban planner Laurie Johnson. "It's just too difficult to comprehend.""

Submission + - Interview with the KDE on Windows release manager->

paugq writes: "Last week KDE 4.5.4 was released for Windows as a late Christmas present from the KDE on Windows team. Almost at the same time BehindKDE, the site for interviews with KDE contributors, has started a new series of interviews with the "Platforms" theme. In the first interview, Pau Garcia i Quiles talks with Patrick Spendrin, the current release manager of KDE on Windows and asks about the current status of the project, challenges and difficulties. In future interviews, Mac, Solaris, BSD (it's not dead, after all!), Haiku, OS/2 and more."
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Robotics

Submission + - NAO Humanoid Robot available to developers->

Utanapisti writes: The Linux powered humanoid robot from Aldebaran Robotics is now available to developers.
This 25 degree of freedom buddy loves C++ and Python and is the standard platform of the RoboCup sice 2007.
They divided the price by three to allow personal developers to bring him to live and increase the number of his behaviors.

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Microsoft

Submission + - Ballmer at CES, 10 Reasons Why He Needs to Go->

N!NJA writes: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took the stage at the Consumer Electronics Show last week amid anticipation from both critics and supporters. The critics were hoping he would go on-stage and deliver the same old, boring discourse on why Microsoft is tops in software. The supporters were hoping that Ballmer would talk about the impact Windows 8 will have, why Windows-based tablets are the future, and how Microsoft will spend the next year overcoming pressures from Google and Apple. Unfortunately for those supporters, Ballmer did little of the sort. Instead, he and his colleagues spent time talking about Xbox, one of Microsoft's strongest achievers in the past year; Windows Phone 7 and how the company will improve the OS in the coming year; and Windows 7. He also mentioned that the next version of Windows will support ARM Holdings architecture. But that was about it.
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