Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Submission + - ESR On Why The FCC Shouldn't Lock Down Device Firmware (ibiblio.org)

An anonymous reader writes: We've discussed some proposed FCC rules that could restrict modification of wireless routers in such a way that open source firmware would become banned. Eric S. Raymond has published the comment he sent to the FCC. He argues, "The present state of router and wireless-access-point firmware is nothing short of a disaster with grave national-security implications. ... The effect of locking down router and WiFi firmware as these rules contemplate would be to lock irreparably in place the bugs and security vulnerabilities we now have. To those like myself who know or can guess the true extent of those vulnerabilities, this is a terrifying possibility. I believe there is only one way to avoid a debacle: mandated device upgradeability and mandated open-source licensing for device firmware so that the security and reliability problems can be swarmed over by all the volunteer hands we can recruit. This is an approach proven to work by the Internet ubiquity and high reliability of the Linux operating system."

Submission + - What's Killing Mars? (theatlantic.com)

schwit1 writes: The question of whether there is life on Mars is woven into a much larger thatch of mysteries. Among them: What happened to the ancient ocean that once covered a quarter of the planet's surface? And, relatedly, what made Mars's magnetosphere fade away? Why did a planet that may have looked something like Earth turn into a dry red husk?

I blame Halliburton.

Submission + - A remarkable number of people think 'The Martian' is based on a true story (examiner.com)

MarkWhittington writes: “The Martian” is a smash hit movie that made $100 million worldwide during its first weekend. The science and engineering depicted was, with certain notable exceptions, near perfect. The cinematography and special effects were so well done that one could almost imagine that Ridley Scott sent Matt Damon and a film crew to Mars to shoot the movie. In fact, perhaps the film was a little too good. Buzzfeed took a stroll through social media and discovered that many people think that “The Martian” is based on a true story.

Submission + - Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales Ridicules Government Plans To Ban Encryption 1

Mickeycaskill writes: Jimmy Wales has said government leaders are "too late" to ban encryption which authorities say is thwarting attempts to protect the public from terrorism and other threats.

The Wikipedia founder said any attempt would be "a moronic, very stupid thing to do" and predicted all major web traffic would be encrypted soon.
Wikipedia itself has moved towards SSL encryption so all of its users' browsing habits cannot be spied on by intelligence agencies or governments.

Indeed, he said the efforts by the likes of the NSA and GCHQ to spy on individuals have actually made it harder to implement mass-surveillance programs because of the public backlash against Edward Snowden's revelations and increased awareness of privacy.

Wales also reiterated that his site would never co-operate with the Chinese government on the censorship of Wikipedia.

"We’ve taken a strong stand that access to knowledge is a principle human right," he said.

Submission + - Wind power now cheapest energy in UK and Germany, no subsidies needed. (bloomberg.com)

Socguy writes: Bloomburg reports wind has now crossed the threshold to become the cheapest source of energy in both the UK and Germany. Notable because this is the first time it has occurred in a G7 country. In the US, wind and Solar have started biting into the capacity factor of fossil fuel driven plants as generators opt to idle plants more often in favor of nearly free renewable energy. This is leading to changes in the lifetime profitability of those plants.

Submission + - Porsche chooses Apple over Google because Google wants too much data (theverge.com)

countach44 writes: As reported in number 5 of this list from Motor Trend, Porsche went with Apple over Google for the infotainment system in its new 911. Apparently, Android Auto wants vehicle data (throttle position, speed, coolant temp, etc...) whereas Apple Play only needs to know if the car is in motion. Speculation is around what Google, as a company building its own car, wants that data for.

Comment Firearms must be inconvenient. (Score 1) 42

Firearms must be inconvenient to keep them out of the hands of those that shouldn't have them.

Few people needs pistols and revolvers. They are usually only needed for law enforcement.

Hunting weapons rarely need more than a few rounds. You are a bad hunter if you can't bring down your prey on the first shot, additional shots shall be enough to finish the prey in case something went wrong with the first shot. If you need more than 4 shots for a single prey you should sell your gun and take up some other hobby. And reloading should be cartridge by cartridge. No extra magazines or fast-loaders.

When guns aren't in use they shall be unloaded and locked up.

Add a minimum weight of 5kg on a gun - law enforcement and military excepted - and you will ensure that people won't carry them around for fun.

Penalties shall also be stiff - in the event that a firearm is involved in a crime it should be penalized very hard. Start at 20 years. That would make criminals think about the consequences before.

Submission + - 2015 Physics Nobel Awarded for Neutrino 'Flip' Discovery

Dave Knott writes: The 2015 Nobel Prize in physics has been won by Takaaki Kajita (of the University of Tokyo in Japan) and Arthur McDonald (of Queens University in Canada), for discovering how neutrinos switch between different "flavours".
In the late 1990s, physicists were faced with a mystery: all their Earth-based detectors were picking out far fewer neutrinos than theoretical models predicted — based on how many should be produced by distant nuclear reactions, from our own Sun to far-flung supernovas. In 1998, Prof Kajita's team reported that neutrinos they had caught, bouncing out of collisions in the Earth's atmosphere, had switched identity: they were a different "flavour" from what those collisions must have released. Then in 2001, the group led by Prof McDonald announced that the neutrinos they were detecting in Ontario, which started out in the Sun, had also "flipped" from their expected identity. This discovery of the particle's wobbly identity had crucial implications. It explained why neutrino detections had not matched the predicted quantities — and it meant that the baffling particles must have a mass. This contradicted the Standard Model of particle physics and changed calculations about the nature of the Universe, including its eternal expansion.

Submission + - EFF joins Nameless Coalition and demands Facebook kills its real names policy (betanews.com)

Mark Wilson writes: Facebook has come in for heavy criticism for its real names (or 'authentic identities' as they are known to the social network) policy. Over the last year, all manner of rights groups and advocates have tried to convince Facebook to allow users to drop their real name in favor of a pseudonym if they want.

Now the Electronic Frontier Foundation is part of the 74-member strong Nameless Coalition and has written to Facebook demanding a rethink on the ground of safety, privacy, and equality. This is far from being the first time Facebook has been called on to allow the use of 'fake names', and the latest letter is signed by LGBT groups, freedom advocates, privacy supporters, and feminist organizations.

Submission + - DNA vaccine sterilizes mice, could lead to one-shot birth control for cats, dogs (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Animal birth control could soon be just a shot away: A new injection makes male and female mice infertile by tricking their muscles into producing hormone-blocking antibodies. If the approach works in dogs and cats, researchers say, it could be used to neuter and spay pets and to control reproduction in feral animal populations. A similar approach could one day spur the development of long-term birth control options for humans.

Submission + - Advertising Malware Affects Non-Jailbroken iOS Devices

An anonymous reader writes: YiSpecter is infecting iOS devices belonging to Chinese and Taiwanese users, and is the first piece of malware that successfully targets both jailbroken and non-jailbroken devices, Palo Alto Networks researchers warn. What's more, the techniques it uses for hiding are making it difficult to squash the infection. YiSpecter’s malicious apps were signed with three iOS enterprise certificates issued by Apple so that they can be installed as enterprise apps on non-jailbroken iOS devices via in-house distribution. Through this kind of distribution, an iOS app can bypass Apple’s strict code review procedures and can invoke iOS private APIs to perform sensitive operations.

A freelance is one who gets paid by the word -- per piece or perhaps. -- Robert Benchley