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Submission World's First Light-based Memory Chip to store data permanently ->

rtoz writes: The world’s first entirely light-based memory chip to store data permanently has been developed by material scientists at Oxford University.
The device makes use of materials used in CDs and DVDs, and it could help dramatically improve the speed of modern computing.
Today’s computers are held back by the relatively slow transmission of electronic data between the processor and the memory. There’s no point using faster processors if the limiting factor is the shuttling of information to-and-from the memory. The researchers think using light can significantly speed this up.

Simply bridging the processor-memory gap with photons isn’t efficient, though, because of the need to convert them back into electronic signals at each end. Instead, memory and processing capabilities would need be light-based too. Researchers have tried to create this kind of photonic memory before, but the results have always been volatile, requiring power in order to store data. For many applications — such as computer disk drives — it’s essential to be able to store data indefinitely, with or without power.
Now, an international team of researchers including researchers from Oxford University has produced the world’s first all-photonic nonvolatile memory chip. The new device uses the phase-change material Ge2Sb2Te5 (GST) — the same as that used in rewritable CDs and DVDs — to store data.

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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.

Submission Google sells gmail spam as a service (gSaaS) to advertisers->

An anonymous reader writes: Google's new advertising product, called Customer Match, lets advertisers upload their customer and promotional email address lists into AdWords. The new targeting capability extends beyond search to include both YouTube Trueview ads and the newly launched native ads in Gmail.

Customer Match marks the first time Google has allowed advertisers to target ads against customer-owned data in Adwords. Google matches the email addresses against those of signed-in users on Google. Individual addresses are hashed and are supposedly anonymized. Advertisers will be able to set bids and create ads specifically geared to audiences built from their email lists.

This new functionality seems to make de-anonymization of google's supposedly proprietary customer data just a hop, skip and jump away. If you can specify the list of addresses that get served an ad, and the criteria like what search terms will trigger that ad, you can detect if and when your target searches for specific terms. For example, create an email list that contains your target and 100 invalid email addresses that no one uses (just in case google gets wise to single-entry email lists). Then apply that list to searches for the word "herpes" — set the bid crazy high, like $100 and you are guaranteed to find out if your target searches for herpes which would be a strong indicator that they have herpes. Repeat as necessary for as many keywords and as many email addresses that you wish to monitor.

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Submission OpenIndiana Hipster 2015.10: Keeping An Open-Source Solaris Going->

An anonymous reader writes: It's been five years since Oracle killed off OpenSolaris while the community of developers are letting it live on with the new OpenIndiana "Hipster" 15.10 release. OpenIndiana 15.10 improves its Python-based text installer as it looks to drop its GUI installer, switches out the Oracle JDK/JRE for OpenJDK, and updates its vast package set. However, there are still a number of outdated packages on the system like Firefox 24 and X.Org Server 1.14 while the default office suite is a broken OpenOffice build, due to various obstacles in maintaining open-source software support for Solaris while being challenged by limited contributors. Download links are available via the OpenIndiana.org release notes. There's also a page for getting involved if wishing to improve the state of open-source Solaris.
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Comment Re:Cuba (Score 5, Insightful) 96

You jest, but that's actually not a bad idea. Picking a country that you have absolutely no connection with and that has a less than friendly relationship with your own government is probably the best you can do in the current mass-surveillance climate - provided that you don't do anything that violates the local laws of your hosting country in a major way. Sure, they might well be monitoring your data, but they almost certainly won't care about it, and if your own country's law enforcement/copyright cartel/whatever comes knocking for any reason they'll almost certainly get nowhere.

Submission Chrome AdBlock joining Acceptable Ads Program (And Sold to Anonymous Company)->

basscomm writes: Hot on the heels of the formation of the independent board to oversee "acceptable ads", users of the popular Chrome ad blocking extension, AdBlock, got notice that AdBlock is participating by the program, and that acceptable ads are being turned on by default.

At the bottom of the announcement, buried in the fine print is word that AdBlock has been sold, but nobody will say to whom.

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Submission What's the best country for secure online hosting?

An anonymous reader writes: I've recently discovered that my hosting company is sending all login credentials unencrypted, prompting me to change providers. Additionally, I'm finally being forced to put some of my personal media library (songs, photos, etc.) on-line for ready access (though for my personal consumption only) from multiple devices and locations... But I simply can't bring myself to trust any cloud-service provider.

So while it's been partially asked before
(http://ask.slashdot.org/story/11/04/10/1554241/ask-slashdot-what-country-has-the-best-email-privacy-laws), it hasn't yet been answered:

Which country has the best on-line personal privacy laws that would made it patently illegal for any actor, state, or otherwise, to access my information? And does anyone have a recommendation on which provider(s) are the best hosts for (legal) on-line storage there?

Submission Study Finds Poor People More Likely to Die in Car Crashes

HughPickens.com writes: Emily Badger and Christopher Ingraham report at the Washington Post that new research finds that improvements in road safety since the 1990s haven't been evenly shared with fatality rates actually increasing for people 25 and older with less than a high school diploma. In 1995, death rates — adjusted for age, sex and race — were about 2.5 times higher for people at the bottom of the education spectrum than those at the top. By 2010, death rates for the least educated were about 4.3 times higher than for the most educated. According to Badger and Ingraham, the underlying issue is not that a college degree makes you a better driver. Rather, the least-educated tend to own cars that are older and have lower crash-test ratings and those with less education are likely to earn less and to have the money for fancy safety features such as side airbags, automatic warnings and rear cameras. Poor people are also more likely to live in areas where infrastructure is crumbling and have less political clout to get anything done about dangerous road conditions.

The role of behavioral differences is murkier. Some studies show lower seat-belt use among the less-educated, but seat-belt use has also increased faster among that group over time, meaning socioeconomic differences there are narrowing. Badger and Ingraham conclude that "as we increasingly fantasize about new technologies that will save us from our own driving errors — cars that will brake for us, or spot cyclists we can't see, or even take over all the navigation — we should anticipate that, at first, those benefits may mostly go to the rich."

Submission Scientists Invent a New Steel as Strong as Titanium-> 1

schwit1 writes: South Korean researchers have solved a longstanding problem that stopped them from creating ultra-strong, lightweight aluminum-steel alloys.

Today a team of material scientists at Pohang University of Science and Technology in South Korea announced what they're calling one of the biggest steel breakthroughs of the last few decades: an altogether new type of flexible, ultra-strong, lightweight steel. This new metal has a strength-to-weight ratio that matches even our best titanium alloys, but at one tenth the cost, and can be created on a small scale with machinery already used to make automotive-grade steel. The study appears in Nature.

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Submission Why It Was Easier to Be Skinny in the 1980s 2

schwit1 writes: A new study finds that people today who eat and exercise the same amount as people 20 years ago are still fatter.

A study published recently in the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice found that it's harder for adults today to maintain the same weight as those 20 to 30 years ago did, even at the same levels of food intake and exercise. The authors examined the dietary data of 36,400 Americans between 1971 and 2008 and the physical activity data of 14,419 people between 1988 and 2006. They grouped the data sets together by the amount of food and activity, age, and BMI.

They found a very surprising correlation: A given person, in 2006, eating the same amount of calories, taking in the same quantities of macronutrients like protein and fat, and exercising the same amount as a person of the same age did in 1988 would have a BMI that was about 2.3 points higher. In other words, people today are about 10 percent heavier than people were in the 1980s, even if they follow the exact same diet and exercise plans.

Submission Vostochny launch building built to the wrong size->

schwit1 writes: The Russians have just discovered that their Soyuz 2 rocket does not fit in the building just finished at their new spaceport at Vostochny.

The cutting-edge facility was meant be ready for launches of Soyuz-2 rockets in December, but an unidentified space agency told the TASS news agency late Thursday that the rocket would not fit inside the assembly building where its parts are stacked and tested before launch. The building "has been designed for a different modification of the Soyuz rocket," the source said, according to news website Medusa, which picked up the story from TASS.

The rocket had just been delivered to Vostochny for assembly, so this report, though unconfirmed at this time, fits well with current events.
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Comment Re:Against the law (Score 4, Insightful) 190

Unjust or not, the issue then becomes one of whether or not it acceptable to try and change a law by wilfully violating it - as Uber et al are doing in some of the locales they are operating in - with the implication of whether that slipperly slope is *really* one that you want to go down, and especially so when it's a corporation making that decision just because it's inconvenient to their business model/profit margin. In some cases, sure, mass civil disobedience is necessary to bring about change, in others a lone individual might do as a trigger (Rosa Parks, for instance), but generally those are for far more egregious or morally corrupt laws than the kind of bureaucratic red tape and entrenched industry regulation that Uber is opposing.

Yes, much of that legislation is unjust, anti-competetive and so on, just as Uber is claiming, and some of it is also there in order to at least try and establish a minimum standard of safety and service. The correct process for Uber and the like to take is to challenge the unjust, anti-competetive laws first, potentially citing public demand for their services, *then* start operations if (and only if) they can successfully establish a framework that enables them to operate legally and in compliance with the safety and service legislation. Starting operations regardless and dealing with the legal fallout might be acceptable to them, possibly even considered as an acceptable risk within their business model, but it also smacks of "we're above the law" arrogance, which will lose them some of the public support they might have had if they were purely fighting it through the courts and better discriminating between the two sets of rules. Factor in the stories of how Uber treats its drivers when things go wrong, drivers having their cars taken of the road, and even the issue of their status as contractor or employee, and it's easy to see how people who might otherwise be supportive of Uber are not.

Comment Re:Brave polling, but in real life? (Score 1) 145

True enough, but it possibly depends on how people are interpreting the poll. I genuinely have no idea what most of my passwords are because they are strings of random gibberish in a password manager, with unique passwords (or pre-shared keys and passphrases where applicable) for every site/system. The only passwords/phrases I actually memorise are those that I need to log on in the first place and to access the password manager which are a tiny fraction of the total, so if I don't have access to the password DB and the USB stick with the key on it with me, then I couldn't provide someone with most of my passwords, even if I wanted to. Taking that scenario to its logical conclusion though the more likely outcome would probably be either the "Cold, Dead Fingers" (albeit maybe not literally) or "Warrant" option, depending on who was doing the asking and how "persuasive" they were.

Submission Inside The Spaceflight Of 'The Martian'->

benonemusic writes: Science writer Michael Greshko partnered with a team of scientists and engineers to explore the spacecraft and mission plans in 'The Martian' novel and movie, down to the rescue plan itself. Incorporating the help of Andy Weir, the novel's author, he comes up with a calendar of events for The Martian, explores the hazards of going back to save Mark Watney, and how a real world interplanetary spacecraft would pull off a rescue maneuver.
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Submission The Decline of 'Big Soda': Is Drinking Soda the New Smoking?

HughPickens.com writes: Margot Sanger-Katz reports in the NYT that soda consumption is experiencing a serious and sustained decline as sales of full-calorie soda in the United States have plummeted by more than 25 percent over the past twenty years. Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they are actively trying to avoid the drinks that have been a mainstay of American culture but bottled water is now on track to overtake soda as the largest beverage category in two years. The changing patterns of soda drinking appear to come thanks, in part, to a loud campaign to eradicate sodas. School cafeterias and vending machines no longer contain regular sodas. Many workplaces and government offices have similarly prohibited their sale.

For many public health advocates, soda has become the new tobacco — a toxic product to be banned, taxed and stigmatized. “There will always be soda, but I think the era of it being acceptable for kids to drink soda all day long is passing, slowly,” says Marion Nestle. “In some socioeconomic groups, it’s over.” Soda represents nearly 25% of the U.S. beverage market and its massive scale have guaranteed profit margins for decades. Historically, beverage preferences are set in adolescence, the first time that most people begin choosing and buying a favorite brand. But the declines in soda drinking appear to be sharpest among young Americans. "Kids these days are growing up with all of these other options, and there are some parents who say, ‘I really want my kids to drink juice or a bottled water,’ ” says Gary A. Hemphill. “If kids grow up without carbonated soft drinks, the likelihood that they are going to grow up and, when they are 35, start drinking is very low.”

We want to create puppets that pull their own strings. - Ann Marion