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+ - This 1981 BYTE magazine cover explains why we're so bad at tech predictions->

Submitted by harrymcc
harrymcc (1641347) writes "If you remember the golden age of BYTE magazine, you remember Robert Tinney's wonderful cover paintings. BYTE's April 1981 cover featured an amazing Tinney image of a smartwatch with a tiny text-oriented interface, QWERTY keyboard, and floppy drive. It's hilarious--but 33 years later, it's also a smart visual explanation of why the future of technology so often bears so little resemblance to anyone's predictions. I wrote about this over at TIME.com."
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+ - Heartbleed: Revenue Canada breached, 900 SINs leaked 1

Submitted by Walking The Walk
Walking The Walk (1003312) writes "The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) released a statement yesterday explaining that they had been notified of a breach of their system. The CRA attempted to avoid being compromised by halting online tax returns, taking down Netfile and other related websites affected by Heartbleed. The statement indicates that affected individuals and businesses will receive notification by registered mail, "to ensure that our communications are secure and cannot be exploited by fraudsters through phishing schemes.""

+ - Study Shows American Policy Exclusively Reflects Desires of the Rich->

Submitted by CamelTrader
CamelTrader (311519) writes "A forthcoming paper by Princeton's Martin Gilens and Northwestern's Benjamin Page analyzes policy over the past 20+ years and conclude that policy makers respond exclusively to the needs of people in the 90th wealth percentile. A summary at the Washington Post by Larry Bartels: http://www.washingtonpost.com/..."
Link to Original Source

+ - With Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft finally delivers->

Submitted by Velcroman1
Velcroman1 (1667895) writes "Wow. Who knew one-tenth of a number could make such a difference? Windows Phone 8.1, the next version of Microsoft’s smartphone operating system, is now out for early download, and the first reviews are in. And reviewers are really impressed. The upgrade brings a long list of small tweaks, many of which may sound insignificant. But all together they’ve made Windows Phone an OS that worked better in your life than past versions, whihc meant a lot of big and small sacrifices. For the first time, Microsoft may have finally caught up to its rivals. You heard it here first: Windows Phone is finally a good alternative to your iPhone, Galaxy, or Nexus."
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+ - Mathematicians Use Mossberg 500 Pump-Action Shotgun to Calculate Pi->

Submitted by KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "Imagine the following scenario. The end of civilisation has occurred, zombies have taken over the Earth and all access to modern technology has ended. The few survivors suddenly need to know the value of pi and, being a mathematician, they turn to you. What do you do? According to a couple of Canadian mathematicians, the answer is to repeatedly fire a Mossberg 500 pump action shotgun at a square aluminium target about 20 metres away. Then imagine that the square is inscribed with an arc drawn between opposite corners that maps out a quarter circle. If the sides of the square are equal to 1, then the area of the quarter circle is pi/4. Next, count the number of pellet holes that fall inside the area of the quarter circle as well as the total number of holes. The ratio between these is an estimate of the ratio between the area of the quarter circle and the area of a square, or in other words pi/4. So multiplying this number by 4 will give you an estimate of pi. That's a process known as a Monte Carlo approximation and it is complicated by factors such as the distribution of the pellets not being random. But the mathematicians show how to handle these too. The result? According to this method, pi is 3.13, which is just 0.33 per cent off the true value. Handy if you find yourself in a post-apocalyptic world."
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Comment: "From the Reuters article" - What Reuters article? (Score 1) 202

by Walking The Walk (#46536749) Attached to: Earth Barely Dodged Solar Blast In 2012
The summary says "From the Reuters article", but none of the links point to a story by Reuters. The links go to Nature, Wikipedia and UC Berkeley. The Berkeley article one doesn't mention Reuters; the Nature paper is paywalled, I can't check it's sources without forking over $32, but I would doubt it would rely on a news report as a source.

Comment: Use long exposures then (Score 2) 149

I guess it's back to old school photograhpy then. 100 years ago, photographs of landmarks didn't have people in then unless they were willing to stand perfectly still for 20 minutes or more. So just get a tripod, set up at your chosen landmark, and open the shutter. None of the people moving around will show up in your picture, and if you want to be in your own photo, just walk in front of the camera and strike a pose that you can hold for a half hour or so.

Comment: Protection against seizure by TSA / police? (Score 2) 197

While I agree with others worried that a kill switch could be abused (by carriers / government / MPAA / RIAA / etc), I'm now wondering if it would be a handy way to counter (un)lawful search and seizure of a device by various authorities? Say you're transiting through the US and a TSA agent decides they want to confiscate (and presumably search) your smartphone. If the kill switch is easy to activate (maybe a number you call and enter a code, or via your laptop or friend's smartphone), you could wipe your device before they get the contents.

Comment: Bad math (Score 2) 235

6,000,000 cubic kilometers of molten material - enough to cover the continental U.S. at a one mile depth.

I don't think the submitter understands math. One mile is about 1.6 km, so 6,000,000 km^3 of lava would cover an area of 3,750,000 km^2. Yet when I check Wikipedia (and Princeton, and the other top 5 Google results), they all say the Contiguous United States has an area of just over 8,000,000 km^2. That's an awfully big mistake. I hope the actual Stanford paper is of better quality than the Slashdot summary.

+ - Snowden Document: CSEC spying on Canadians

Submitted by Walking The Walk
Walking The Walk (1003312) writes "It seems the NSA isn't the only agency doing illegal domestic spying. According to a Snowden document obtained by the CBC, Canada's Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) has apparently been tracking domestic travellers, starting from when they first use free wifi at an airport, and continuing for days after they left the terminal. From the article:

The document indicates the passenger tracking operation was a trial run of a powerful new software program CSEC was developing with help from its U.S. counterpart, the National Security Agency. In the document, CSEC called the new technologies "game-changing," and said they could be used for tracking "any target that makes occasional forays into other cities/regions."

The CBC notes early in the article that the spy agency:

is supposed to be collecting primarily foreign intelligence by intercepting overseas phone and internet traffic, and is prohibited by law from targeting Canadians or anyone in Canada without a judicial warrant.

Predictably, CSEC's chief is quoted saying that they aren't allowed to spy on Canadians, so therefore they don't. As observed by experts consulted for the story, that claim is equivalent to saying that they collect the data but we're to trust that they don't look at it."

+ - Engineers Invent Acoustic Equivalent of One-Way Glass

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Up until now, acoustic waves traveling between two points in space always exhibited a basic symmetry summed up with the phrase, “if you can hear, you can also be heard.” Not anymore as Tia Ghose reports at Live Science that a team at UT Austin has created a “nonreciprocal acoustic circulator," the first step that could lead to the sound equivalent of a one-way mirror.” All waves — whether visible light, sound, radio or otherwise — have a physical property known as time reversal symmetry so a wave sent one way can always be sent back. For radio waves, researchers figured out how to break this rule using magnetic materials that set electrons spinning in one direction. The resulting radio waves detect the difference in the material in one direction versus the other, preventing reverse transmission. To accomplish the feat with sound waves, the team created a cavity loaded with tiny CPU fans that spin the air with a specific velocity. The air is spinning in one direction, so the flow of air "feels" different to the wave in one direction versus the other, preventing backward transmission. As a result, sound waves can go in, but they can't go the other way. The result is one-directional sound. With such a device, people can hear someone talking, but they themselves cannot be heard.The findings will likely lead to many useful applications, says Sebastien Guenneau "I would be surprised if sound industries do not pick up this idea. This could have great applications in sound insulation of motorways, music studios, submarines and airplanes.""

+ - Analyst Calls Russian Teen Author of Target Malware->

Submitted by Nerval's Lobster
Nerval's Lobster (2598977) writes "A digital-activity data analytics firm called IntelCrawler, Inc. claims to have identified the author of the BlackPOS malware used in attacks against Target and Neiman Marcus, and spotted similar attacks that are still in progress against six other retailers. Andrey Komarov, CEO of the Los Angeles-based IntelCrawler, told Reuters Jan. 17 that his company had spotted the six ongoing attacks while analyzing Web traffic in search of the specific entry points and origin of the malware infection behind the Target data breach, which allowed hackers to steak magnetic card-strip data on 40 million debit- and credit cards and demographic data on 70 million additional customers. According to Komarov, BlackPOS was developed by a 17-year-old Russian who goes by the username Ree4 and lives in St. Petersburg. Ree4 probably did not participate in the attack on Target, but did sell the malware to the actual attackers, according to Komarov, who refused to identify the source of his information other than to say he had been monitoring forums on which he said Ree4 sells malware. In a series of chat clips Komarov said are exchanges between buyer and seller, Ree4 tells a potential customer that the price for the software is US$2,000 and that the malware grabs credit-card numbers from system memory as they’re scanned, dumps them into a file called time.txt that is sent back to the controller. Ree4 also said the app works only on standalone point-of-sale terminals with a separate monitor that also runs Windows, but not on Verifone systems, which can be attached to PCs but secure credit-card data before it can be scraped by BlackPOS."
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Comment: No video for mobile users? (Score 1) 43

I'm on m.slashdot.org with my iPad, and there's no video. Not even a placeholder for a video (if they were using Flash or Silverlight.) So I also checked the CES Unveiled link in the summary, but it just goes to the schedule, no details. Not impressed guys...

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