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Submission + - Canonical Patches Two Kernel Vulnerabilities in Ubuntu 14.04

jones_supa writes: Canonical has announced that a new kernel update is now live in the default software repositories of Ubuntu 14.04 operating system. According to the security notice, two Linux kernel vulnerabilities have been fixed. The first security flaw was discovered in the SCTP (Stream Control Transmission Protocol) implementation, which conducted a wrong sequence of protocol-initialization steps. The second kernel vulnerability was discovered by Dmitry Vyukov in Linux kernel's keyring handler, which tried to garbage collect incompletely instantiated keys. The both vulnerabilities allow a local attacker to crash the system by causing a denial of service (DoS). To fix the issues mentioned above, Canonical urges all users of Ubuntu 14.04 to update their kernel packages on all platforms.

Submission + - Zuckerberg to Give Away 99% of His Facebook Stock (bloomberg.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: The Facebook stock currently held by Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan is worth roughly $45 billion. Today, the couple posted a letter addressed to their newborn daughter outlining plans to give away 99% of that stock so their daughter can "live in a better world." They say, "Our initial areas of focus will be personalized learning, curing disease, connecting people and building strong communities." The letter also includes a long list of problems that need to be solved and situations that need to be improved: human health, learning, clean energy, equality, unhealthy childhoods, and more. They go out of their way to mention that many of these will not be solved quickly, and will need investments on a 100-year scale to be worthwhile. They're making internet access another major issue: "The internet is so important that for every 10 people who gain internet access, about one person is lifted out of poverty and about one new job is created."

Submission + - Why some people think total nonsense is really deep (washingtonpost.com)

Earthquake Retrofit writes: Wapo has a story about Gordon Pennycook, a doctorate student at the University of Waterloo who studies why some people are more easily duped than others.

"Wholeness quiets infinite phenomena" was one of many randomly generated sentences Pennycook, along with a team of researchers at the University of Waterloo, used in a new four-part study put together to gauge how receptive people are to nonsense.

Those more receptive to bull**** are less reflective, lower in cognitive ability (i.e., verbal and fluid intelligence, numeracy), are more prone to ontological confusions [beliefs in things for which there is no empirical evidence (i.e. that prayers have the ability to heal)] and conspiratorial ideation, are more likely to hold religious and paranormal beliefs, and are more likely to endorse complementary and alternative medicine.

Submission + - IRS: We Used Stingray Devices To Track 37 Phones (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: In October, we discussed the troubling revelation that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service had its own stingray devices, which are commonly used by law enforcement to intercept phone signals and track criminal suspects. The IRS has now addressed these allegations (PDF), confirming that they do indeed have one of the devices, and are trying to get a second. The agency said it tracked 37 phones across 11 different grand jury investigations, and the devices were also used in four non-IRS investigations. They say, "IRS use of cell-site simulation technology is limited to the federal law enforcement arm of the IRS, our Criminal Investigation division. Only trained law enforcement agents have used cell-site simulation technology, carrying out criminal investigations in accordance with all appropriate federal and state judicial procedures."

Submission + - SSDs approaching price parity with HDDs (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: Hard disk drive per gigabyte pricing has remained relatively stagnant over the past three years, and prices are expected to be completely flat over at least the next two, allowing SSDs to significantly close the cost gap, according to a new report. The report, from DRAMeXchange, stated that this marks the fourth straight quarter that the SSD price decline has exceeded 10%. Over the past three years, SSDs have dropped from 31 to 13 cents per gig annually. In contrast, from 2012 to 2015, per gigabyte pricing for HDDs dropped just one cent per year from 9 cents in 2012 to 6 cents this year. However, through 2017, the per-gigabyte price of HDDs is expected to remain flat: 6 cents per gigabyte. Consumer SSDs were on average were selling for 99 cents a gigabyte in 2012. From 2013 to 2015, the price dropped from 68 cents to 39 cents per gig, meaning the average 1TB SSD sells for about $390 today. Next year, SSD prices will decline to 24 cents per gig and in 2017, they're expected to drop to 17 cents per gig. That means a 1TB SSD on average would retail for $170, though online prices are often much lower than average vendor retail prices.

DRAMeXchange also stated that SSDs are expected to be in 31% of new consumer laptops next year, and by 2017 they'll be in 41%.

Submission + - Inside the world of Lyft spam on Facebook (hopesandfears.com)

An anonymous reader writes: More often than not, these “energetic” people helping others to find Lyft don’t really exist. No friends, no public information, merely just a profile photo and possibly a cover image. Who are these pictures of? Who are making these fake accounts? And is it legal?

Submission + - Researchers Find New Phase of Carbon, Make Diamond at Room Temperature (ncsu.edu)

home-electro.com writes: Researchers from North Carolina State University have discovered a new phase of solid carbon, called Q-carbon, which is distinct from the known phases of graphite and diamond. They have also developed a technique for using Q-carbon to make diamond-related structures at room temperature and at ambient atmospheric pressure in air.

Submission + - Xbox Kinect Technology Helps Create Higher-Quality X-Rays (thestack.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A team of researchers at Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, has adapted a gaming system to help radiographers improve the quality of X-rays. The technology, originally developed for Microsoft Kinect, has been amended to provide a useful tool for measuring the thickness of body parts and monitor movement and positioning in the X-ray field of vision before imaging. The goal of the technology is to aid in the production of high-quality X-rays at low radiation, without the need to repeat the image. Although the technology is expected to benefit all patients, the researchers believe it could be particularly practical for use in children – who are much more sensitive to radiation and vary in body size, from premature babies through to teens.

Submission + - NSF Antes Up $200K for Spin-off of Microsoft-Funded 'Code Trip' TV Show

theodp writes: The Microsoft-sponsored PBS 'reality' show Code Trip, in which Roadtrip Nation and Microsoft YouthSpark partnered to send three students across the U.S. on a "transformative journey into computer science" is getting a spin-off. According to the National Science Foundation Award Abstract for a Computer Science Roadtrip (CS Roadtrip), $199,866.00 in funding has been awarded for a pilot project that began in October "to design and develop pilot materials for a Computer Science Roadtrip (CS Roadtrip)." From the abstract: "Through this pilot project, Roadtrip Nation will lay the groundwork and provide proof-of-concept for a CS Roadtrip, leveraging a combination of multimedia deliverables, an evidence-based educational curriculum, and dynamic engagement strategies that will provide critical connections between students' natural interests, positive role models who align with those interests, and corresponding CS educational and career pathways. To that end, the CS Roadtrip Pilot will develop up to four student-facing videos that feature the stories of diverse computing professionals, appropriate for on-air, online, and classroom purposes, along with the appropriate Learning Guides." The NSF study's Principal Investigator is Roadtrip Nation co-founder Mike Marriner, who explained his company's relationship with Microsoft in a July 30th press release, "Roadtrip Nation is proud to partner with Microsoft's YouthSpark initiative not only to inform others of the many career routes one can take with a computer science background, but also to engage in the much-needed conversation of diversifying the tech field with more pluralistic perspectives."

Submission + - Companies want to insert ads into Unicode

AmiMoJo writes: Food company Nestle has started a petition to get a KitKat emoji into the Unicode standard. They aren't alone, Taco Bell wants a taco emoji added, and Durex suggested adding a condom. While the latter two are at least generic, KitKat is a trademark of Nestle and the "break" image a key part of their marketing. Next year Unicode will include a faceplam emoji (U+1F926) for occasions such as this.

Submission + - Intel's Pentium Skylake + H110 Chipset Can Make For A Cheap Linux Desktop (phoronix.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Outside of the limelight of Intel's Core "Skylake" processors is the cheapest model, a $60 Intel Pentium G4400 dual-core processor that runs at 3.3Gz and has built-in HD Graphics 510. Ubuntu Linux results for this CPU show the cut-down Skylake graphics are the worst aspect of this budget processor while the CPU performance is okay if speed isn't a big factor and your workloads don't mind the lack of AVX support. To pair with the cheap Skylake Pentium processors are more Intel H110-powered motherboards appearing, with some also retailing for under $60 while being basic yet functional as a severely cutdown version of the Intel Z170 chipset. If pursuing this route for a budget Linux PC, it's possible to build a socketed Skylake system for less than $200.

Comment Re:Another vote for build (Score 1) 323

It's true that companies with good support can make it very easy. Other companies can make it a nightmare.

Personally, I've never had a problem dealing with support when it came to individual components. If it doesn't work on arrival, retailers like Newegg will usually let you RMA it with no questions asked. Some manufacturers have great warranties, as well. Just recently I had a Sapphire graphics card that had a fan go out a year and a half after I bought it. They gave me no grief sending it in for a replacement.

Regardless of whether you pick pre-built or build your own, it's going to be a crapshoot in terms of how good support will be, unless you do a ton of research ahead of time. The nice part of building your own is that you generally have a lot more leeway in terms of what you can do without voiding your warranty. Your motherboard manufacturer isn't going to care that you put Linux on there, but the pre-built companies may take exception to blowing away whatever OS it comes with.

Comment Another vote for build (Score 1) 323

You're generally saving yourself trouble in the long run by building it yourself. As other have said, buying a pre-built system means you're going to have to worry about bloatware, firmware issues, and dealing with support if something goes wrong.

While it's true that you can find gaming systems for cheaper than you can build something yourself, it's almost impossible to beat the value of building it yourself. You can pick which components to spend big on, and which to scale back on. Pre-built systems will often have odd scaling issues between different parts.

For example, moving from a "medium" system to a "high-end" system may involve upgrading the video card and the CPU for $500. While it can be true that adding those two components individually does indeed add up to $500, you may get 90% of the performance increase from the video card. By building yourself, you can find the price/performance/features sweet spot for each individual component.

Good luck with your build!

Feed Google News Sci Tech: Bill Gates Expected to Create Billion-Dollar Fund for Clean Energy - New York Times (google.com)

New York Times

Bill Gates Expected to Create Billion-Dollar Fund for Clean Energy
New York Times
WASHINGTON — Bill Gates will announce the creation of a multibillion-dollar clean energy fund on Monday at the opening of a Paris summit meeting intended to forge a global accord to cut planet-warming emissions, according to people with knowledge of...
UPDATE 1-Microsoft's Gates to start multi-billion-dollar clean tech initiativeReuters
Bill Gates to Launch Multibillion-Dollar Clean Energy InitiativeNBCNews.com
Bill Gates said to launch multi-billion dollar clean energy tech initiative on ... Neowin
Engadget-Tech Times-Washington Examiner
all 47 news articles

Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. -- Lazarus Long