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Submission + - A Tale of Two MySQL Bugs

Archie Cobbs writes: Last May I encountered a relatively obscure performance bug present in both MySQL 5.5.x and MariaDB 5.5.x (not surprising since they share the same codebase). This turned out to be a great opportunity to see whether Oracle or the MariaDB project is more responsive to bug reports. On May 31 Oracle got their bug report; within 24 hours they had confirmed the bug — pretty impressive. But since then, it's been radio silence for 3 months and counting. On July 25, MariaDB got their own copy. Within a week, a MariaDB developer had analyzed the bug and committed a patch. The resulting fix will be included in the next release, MariaDB 5.5.33.

Submission + - Keeping Data Secret, Even From Apps That Use It (slashdot.org)

Nerval's Lobster writes: Datacenters wanting to emulate Google by encrypting their data beyond the ability of the NSA to crack it may get some help from a new encryption technique that allows data to be stored, transported and even used by applications without giving away any secrets. In a paper to be presented at a major European security conference this week, researchers from Denmark and the U.K. collaborated on a practical way to implement a long-discussed encryption concept called Multi-Party Computation (MPC). The idea behind MPC is to allow two parties who have to collaborate on an analysis or computation to do so without revealing their own data to the other party. Though the concept was introduced in 1982, ways to accomplish it with more than two parties, or with standardized protocols and procedures, has not become practical in commercial environments. The Danish/British team revamped an MPC protocol nicknamed SPDZ (pronounced “speeds”), which uses secret, securely generated keys to distribute a second set of keys that can be used for MPC encryptions. The big breakthrough, according to Smart, was to streamline SPDZ by reducing the number of times global MAC keys had to be calculated in order to create pairs of public and private keys for other uses. By cutting down on repetitive tasks, the whole process becomes much faster; because the new technique keeps global MAC keys secret, it should also make the faster process more secure.
Earth

Submission + - The Moons local gravity mapped (bbc.co.uk)

Dupple writes: "If you look at how highly cratered the Moon is — the Earth used to look like that; parts of Mars still do look like that," explained Prof Maria Zuber, Grail's principal investigator from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US.

"This period of time when all these impacts where occurring — this was the time when the first microbes were developing.

"We had some idea from the chemistry [of ancient rocks] that Earth was a violent place early on, but now we now know it was an extremely difficult place energetically as well, and it shows just how tenacious life had to be to hang on," she told BBC News.

Prof Zuber was speaking in San Francisco at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting, the world's largest annual gathering for Earth and planetary scientists..

Moon

Submission + - Battered Crust Reveals Moon's Violent Past

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "AFP reports that new images from a pair of spacecraft that are orbiting the Moon and measuring its gravitational field point to a violent past in which it was battered by comets and asteroids during its first billion years. "It was known that planets were battered by impacts, but nobody had envisioned that the (Moon's) crust was so beaten up," says Maria Zuber, the MIT scientist leading the mission. "This is a really big surprise, and is going to cause a lot of people to think about what this means for planetary evolution." As the pair of spacecraft named Ebb and Flow flew over areas of greater and lesser gravity, caused both by visible features such as mountains and craters and by masses hidden beneath the lunar surface, they moved slightly toward and away from each other. An instrument aboard each spacecraft measured the changes in their relative velocity very precisely, and scientists translated this information into a high-resolution map of the Moon's gravitational field. Unlike the Earth's crust, which is repeatedly recycled through the process of plate tectonics, the Moon's hard crust dates back billions of years, offering clues to the formation of the solar system, including Earth. Around 98 percent of the crust is deeply fragmented, porous material, the result, scientists say, of very early, massive impacts. Scientists say the beating was far more extensive than previously thought. "This is interesting for the Moon," says Zuber. "But what it also means is that every other planet was being bombarded like this.""
NASA

Submission + - Seth Shostak From SETI: We WILL Find Aliens In Space (singularityhub.com)

kkleiner writes: "Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute, has been patiently waiting by his computer for over two decades now, anticipating the day when some sign of Extraterrestrial Intelligence pops up on his radar screen. It’s been a fairly quiet job so far, but Shostak visited Singularity University on Monday with an optimistic perspective about SETI’s prospects for the near future. With at least 10^22 stars in a universe that has been around for 14+ billion years, the odds are surely in favor for life sprouting up somewhere else besides this pale blue dot we call home."
Biotech

Submission + - Titanium foam for better bones (garethwmmedia.com)

dubme writes: Using titanium implants to strengthen defective bones is all well and good — the trouble is they're rather too good at their job, taking on more than their fair share of the load, according to researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany. After a while, the surrounding bone tissue diminishes, and the implant can become loose.

The Fraunhofer researchers have used home insulation foam as a mold and some clever solutions to create a titanium foam — which is as strong as bones, but not too strong, meaning implants should last longer.

Australia

AU R18+ Rating Plans Put On Hold Due To "Interest Groups" 139

Dexter Herbivore writes "Australian gamers are yet again left disappointed by their government's response to a lack of an R18+ rating for games. Gamespot reports that Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor has blamed 'interest groups' for swamping the public consultation with pro-R18+ submissions. From the article: 'A strong response from gamer groups in the Australian Federal Government's R18+ public consultation has led Censorship Ministers to claim that more views from the community are needed before a decision into the introduction of an R18+ classification for video games can be reached.'" Reader UgLyPuNk adds that support for the new rating is coming from unexpected places.

Submission + - US Govt. admits most piracy estimates are bogus (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: We've all seen the studies trumpeting massive losses to the US economy from piracy. One famous figure, used literally for decades by rightsholders and the government, said that 750,000 jobs and up to $250 billion a year could be lost in the US economy thanks to IP infringement. A couple years ago, we thoroughly debunked that figure. For years, Business Software Alliance reports on software piracy assumed that each illicit copy was a lost sale. And the MPAA's own commissioned study on movie piracy turned out to overstate collegiate downloading by a factor of three.

Submission + - US Justice investigates IT hiring practices (wsj.com)

Zecheus writes: The Wall Street Journal (no paywall on this story) reports that the Justice Department is 'stepping up' an investigation of hiring practices of US technology firms, such as Google, Intel, IBM, and Apple. From the article: "The inquiry is focused on whether companies, particularly in the technology sector, have agreed not to recruit each others' employees in ways that violate antitrust law. Specifically, the probe is looking into whether the companies' hiring practices are costing skilled computer engineers and other workers opportunities to change jobs for higher pay or better benefits."
AMD

Submission + - AMD and NVIDIA fight over physics (atomicmpc.com.au)

TheFrunj writes: Following up on comments made by AMD rep Richard Huddy about games developers only using PhysX for additional funds, AtomicMPC has contacted both manufacturers for a comment on the issue of GPU physics: 'with each manufacturer represented by high-level staff members, we sat down and posed a question to Ashu and Nadeem; has NVIDIA been paying content developers to include PhysX?' The answer is a very mixed bag, but AMD's open-source and infrequently used Bullet faces bitter competition against PhysX in what seems to be an ever-growing marketplace.
Linux

Submission + - New DoD memo on Open Source Software (dwheeler.com)

dwheeler writes: The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has just released "Clarifying Guidance Regarding Open Source Software (OSS)", a new official memo about OSS. This memo is important for anyone who works with the DoD (including contractors) on software and systems that include software, and may influence many other organizations as well. The DoD had released a memo back in 2003, but "misconceptions and misinterpretations... have hampered effective DoD use and development of OSS". The new memo tries to counter those misconceptions and misinterpretations, and is very positive about OSS. In particular, it lists a number of potential advantages of OSS, and recommends that in certain cases the DoD release software as OSS.
The Internet

LHC Flips On Tomorrow 526

BTJunkie writes "The Large Hadron Collider, the worlds most expensive science experiment, is set to be turned on tomorrow. We've discussed this multiple times already. A small group of people believe our world will be sucked into extinction (some have even sent death threats). The majority of us, however, won't be losing any sleep tonight." Reader WillRobinson notes that CERN researchers declared the final synchronization test a success and says, "The first attempt to circulate a beam in the LHC will be made this Wednesday, Sept. 10 at the injection energy of 450 GeV (0.45 TeV). The start up time will be between (9:00 to 18:00 Zurich Time) (2:00 to 10:00 CDT) with live webcasts provided at webcast.cern.ch."
Earth

Environmental Cost of Hybrids' Battery Recycling? 520

LostMyBeaver writes "I have been considering the purchase of an electric or hybrid vehicle for some time. The biggest problem I have currently is that both technologies make use of rechargable batteries. The same tree-huggers telling me gasoline is bad are telling me that batteries are bad too. I'm only partially knowledgable in this area, but it appears the battery technologies are generally based at least on lithium ion, nickel metal hydride, lead acid and nickel-cadmium. I was hoping someone on Slashdot would be knowledgable enough to explain the environmental cost of recycling these batteries. If I understand correctly, after these chemicals are 'spent' so the cells no longer maintain a charge, they are not useful for producing new batteries. I can only imagine that the most common method of recycling the cells is to store the toxic chemicals of the batteries in barrels and refilling the cells with new chemicals. This sounds like an environmental disaster to me. Is there someone here that can help me sleep better at night by explaining what really happens?"
Power

IT Vs. the Permanent Energy Crisis 285

snydeq writes "Organizations looking to remain profitable in the face of escalating energy costs may lean even harder on IT to achieve energy efficiencies in the years to come, InfoWorld reports. But instead of limiting IT's efficiency role to the datacenter, companies will tap IT's vast knowledge of company networks, equipment, and work processes to uncover efficiencies across the organization, in some cases tipping facilities management into IT. 'There is a lot IT can do to fix its own 2 percent [of the company's carbon emissions] and make it more efficient, but the big opportunity for IT is to take a leadership role in tackling that other 98 percent across the business,' says one analyst. And by taking charge of the organization's energy strategy now, IT will be in prime position to alter its relationship with management and reap benefits in the boardroom in the years ahead, analysts contend."
Google

Gmail Reveals the Names of All Users 438

ihatespam writes "Have you ever wanted to know the name of admin@gmail.com? Now you can. Through a bug in Google calendars the names of all registered Gmail accounts are now readily available. All you need to find out the names of any gmail address is a Google calendar account yourself. Depending on your view this ranges from a harmless "feature" to a rather serious privacy violation. According to some reports, spammers are already exploiting this "feature"/bug to send personalized spam messages."

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