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Space

EPFL's CleanSpace One Satellite Will "Eat" Space Junk 53

Zothecula writes: Working with Geneva's University of Applied Science and Signal Processing 5 Laboratory, Swiss research institute EPFL has announced details of a plan to capture its tiny SwissCube satellites by using a new spacecraft outfitted with a conical net. Called "CleanSpace One" the team hopes that their "Pac-Man" solution will capture the old satellite. Gizmag reports: "...SwissCube's spinning action will make it more difficult to image, as its surfaces will alternately be brilliantly sunlit or hidden in shadow. That's why CleanSpace One's computer vision system will be running algorithms that account for variables such as the angle of the sun, the dimensions of the target, the speed at which that target is moving, and the rate at which CleanSpace One itself is spinning. High dynamic range cameras will also allow it to simultaneously expose for both bright and dark surfaces."
Networking

Microwave Comms Betwen Population Centers Could Be Key To Easing Internet Bottlenecks 221

itwbennett writes: Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Duke University recently looked at the main causes of Internet latency and what it would take to achieve speed-of-light performance. The first part of the paper, titled Towards a Speed of Light Internet, is devoted to finding out where the slowdowns are coming from. They found that the bulk of the delay comes from the latency of the underlying infrastructure, which works in a multiplicative way by affecting each step in the request. The second part of the paper proposes what turns out to be a relatively cheap and potentially doable solution to bring Internet speeds close to the speed of light for the vast majority of us. The authors propose creating a network that would connect major population centers using microwave networks.
Medicine

Feds Say It's Time To Cut Back On Fluoride In Drinking Water 314

An anonymous reader writes: Federal health officials Monday changed the recommended amount of fluoride in drinking water for the first time since 1962, cutting by almost half the maximum amount of fluoride that should be added to drinking supplies. The Department of Health and Human Services recommended 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water instead of the long-standing range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams. The change is recommended because now Americans have access to more sources of fluoride, such as toothpaste and mouth rinses, than they did when fluoridation was first introduced in the United States,' Dr. Boris Lushniak, the deputy surgeon general, told reporters during a conference call.
Electronic Frontier Foundation

ESA Rebukes EFF's Request To Exempt Abandoned Games From Some DMCA Rules 153

eldavojohn writes It's 2015 and the EFF is still submitting requests to alter or exempt certain applications of the draconian DMCA. One such request concerns abandoned games that utilized or required online servers for matchmaking or play (PDF warning) and the attempts taken to archive those games. A given example is Madden '09, which had its servers shut down a mere one and a half years after release. Another is Gamespy and the EA & Nintendo titles that were not migrated to other servers. I'm sure everyone can come up with a once cherished game that required online play that is now abandoned and lost to the ages. While the EFF is asking for exemptions for museums and archivists, the ESA appears to take the stance that it's hacking and all hacking is bad. In prior comments (PDF warning), the ESA has called reverse engineering a proprietary game protocol "a classic wolf in sheep's clothing" as if allowing this evil hacking will loose Sodom & Gomorrah upon the industry. Fellow gamers, these years now that feel like the golden age of online gaming will be the dark ages of games as historians of the future try to recreate what online play was like now for many titles.
Robotics

Festo Reveals New Robotic Ants and Butterflies 19

mikejuk writes "Every year around this time of year Festo builds some amazing robot or other — last year it was a kangaroo. What could it possibly do to top previous amazing devices? What about some even more amazing robotic insects. BionicANT is designed not only look good but to demonstrate swarm intelligence. The robot not only looks like an ant, but it works like one. The design makes use of piezo bending transducers rather than servos to move. As well as being able to move its six legs, it also has a piezo-activated pair of pincers. The second insect robot is a butterfly — eMotion. For flying machines these are incredibly lightweight at 32 grams. The bodies are laser sintered and the wings use carbon fiber rods. Two miniature servo motors are attached to the body and each wing. The electronics has a microcontroller, an inertial sensor consisting of gyro, accelerometer and compass and two radio modules. Flying time is around 3 or 4 minutes."
Encryption

Generate Memorizable Passphrases That Even the NSA Can't Guess 267

HughPickens.com writes Micah Lee writes at The Intercept that coming up with a good passphrase by just thinking of one is incredibly hard, and if your adversary really is capable of one trillion guesses per second, you'll probably do a bad job of it. It turns out humans are a species of patterns, and they are incapable of doing anything in a truly random fashion. But there is a method for generating passphrases that are both impossible for even the most powerful attackers to guess, yet very possible for humans to memorize. First, grab a copy of the Diceware word list, which contains 7,776 English words — 37 pages for those of you printing at home. You'll notice that next to each word is a five-digit number, with each digit being between 1 and 6. Now grab some six-sided dice (yes, actual real physical dice), and roll them several times, writing down the numbers that you get. You'll need a total of five dice rolls to come up with each word in your passphrase. Using Diceware, you end up with passphrases that look like "cap liz donna demon self", "bang vivo thread duct knob train", and "brig alert rope welsh foss rang orb". If you want a stronger passphrase you can use more words; if a weaker passphrase is ok for your purpose you can use less words. If you choose two words for your passphrase, there are 60,466,176 different potential passphrases. A five-word passphrase would be cracked in just under six months and a six-word passphrase would take 3,505 years, on average, at a trillion guesses a second.

After you've generated your passphrase, the next step is to commit it to memory.You should write your new passphrase down on a piece of paper and carry it with you for as long as you need. Each time you need to type it, try typing it from memory first, but look at the paper if you need to. Assuming you type it a couple times a day, it shouldn't take more than two or three days before you no longer need the paper, at which point you should destroy it. "Simple, random passphrases, in other words, are just as good at protecting the next whistleblowing spy as they are at securing your laptop," concludes Lee. "It's a shame that we live in a world where ordinary citizens need that level of protection, but as long as we do, the Diceware system makes it possible to get CIA-level protection without going through black ops training."
Science

Researchers Nearly Double the Size of Worker Ants 99

sciencehabit writes: Researchers have nearly doubled the size of a handful of Florida ants by chemically modifying their DNA, rather than by changing its encoded information. The work may help explain how the insects—despite their high degree of genetic similarity—grow into the different varieties of workers needed in a colony.
Biotech

Xeroxed Gene May Have Paved the Way For Large Human Brain 93

sciencehabit writes Last week, researchers expanded the size of the mouse brain by giving rodents a piece of human DNA. Now another team has topped that feat, pinpointing a human gene that not only grows the mouse brain but also gives it the distinctive folds found in primate brains. The work suggests that scientists are finally beginning to unravel some of the evolutionary steps that boosted the cognitive powers of our species. "This study represents a major milestone in our understanding of the developmental emergence of human uniqueness," says Victor Borrell Franco, a neurobiologist at the Institute of Neurosciences in Alicante, Spain, who was not involved with the work.
Biotech

Human DNA Enlarges Mouse Brains 193

sciencehabit writes Researchers have increased the size of mouse brains by giving the rodents a piece of human DNA that controls gene activity. The work provides some of the strongest genetic evidence yet for how the human intellect surpassed those of all other apes. The human gene causes cells that are destined to become nerve cells to divide more frequently, thereby providing a larger of pool of cells that become part of the cortex. As a result, the embryos carrying human HARE5 have brains that are 12% larger than the brains of mice carrying the chimp version of the enhancer. The team is currently testing these mice to see if the bigger brains made them any smarter.

Comment Re:Aspergers, LOL (Score 2) 289

Those are Massholes. Different paradigm entirely.

A Masshole's antisocial behavior is triggered by specific conditions—driving, queues, and Yankees fans (to name a few). When not in a Massholic situation, they're generally very kind and courteous individuals.

Definition of Masshole, focusing particularly on the driving aspect.

Security

Bots Scanning GitHub To Steal Amazon EC2 Keys 119

New submitter juniq writes: As one developer found out, posting your Amazon keys to GitHub on accident can be a costly mistake if they are not revoked immediately.

"When I woke up the next morning, I had four emails from Amazon AWS and a missed phone call from Amazon AWS. Something about 140 servers running on my AWS account. What? How? I only had S3 keys on my GitHub and they where gone within 5 minutes! Turns out through the S3 API you can actually spin up EC2 instances, and my key had been spotted by a bot that continually searches GitHub for API keys. Amazon AWS customer support informed me this happens a lot recently; hackers have created an algorithm that searches GitHub 24 hours per day for API keys. Once it finds one it spins up max instances of EC2 servers to farm itself bitcoins."
Displays

The Case For Flipping Your Monitor From Landscape to Portrait 567

Molly McHugh writes The vast majority of computer-related tasks see no benefit from a screen that is longer than it is tall. Sure, video playback and gaming are some key exceptions, but if you watch Netflix on your TV instead of your computer monitor and you're not into PC gaming, that long, wide display is doing nothing but hampering your experience. Let's flip it. No, seriously. Let's flip it sideways.
Open Source

Ask Slashdot: Non-Coders, Why Aren't You Contributing To Open Source? 488

Jason Baker writes: Most everyone is using an open source tool somewhere in their workflow, but relatively few are contributing back their time to sustaining the projects they use. But these days, there are plenty of ways to contribute to an open source project without submitting code. Projects like OpenHatch will even help you match your skill set to a project in need. So what's holding you back? Time? Lack of interest? Difficulty getting started?
Star Wars Prequels

First Star War Episode 7 Trailer Released 390

Midnight Thunder writes: The first trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens has been released. (YouTube link.) This is the first real opportunity to get a feeling for whether childhood dreams will be crushed or Disney, with the help of JJ Abrams, will be able to breath new life into the story without making it feel like a merchandising excuse.
Classic Games (Games)

Landfill Copies of Atari's 'E.T.' End Up On eBay 107

Nerval's Lobster writes "In the early 1980s, Atari made what seemed like a slam-dunk bet: a game based on E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, one of the most beloved (and highest-grossing) films of all time. The company was so sure it had a hit in the making, in fact, that it manufactured millions of E.T. game cartridges, which flooded store shelves just in time for holiday shopping in December 1982. The game sold well at the outset, but it didn't sell well enough: By early 1983, Atari still had 3.5 million unsold cartridges on its hands. Embarrassed by the failure, Atari dumped those cartridges into a city landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico. In 2003, Canadian entertainment company Fuel Industries received permission from Alamogordo's town counsel to excavate the landfill for the long-lost cartridges. Now some of those cartridges have surfaced on eBay, selling for $50 and up; if you ever wanted to own a little slice of video-game history, now's your chance." (You might recall the news from earlier this year that some copies of E.T. had been found.)

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