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+ - The Apache Software Foundation's newest Top-Level Project: Apache Flink->

An anonymous reader writes: "Flink is an open-source Big Data system that fuses processing and analysis of both batch and streaming data. The data-processing engine, which offers APIs in Java and Scala as well as specialized APIs for graph processing, is presented as an alternative to Hadoop’s MapReduce component with its own runtime. Yet the system still provides access to Hadoop’s distributed file system and YARN resource manager.

The open-source community around Flink has steadily grown since the project’s inception at the Technical University of Berlin in 2009. Now at version 0.7.0, Flink lists more than 70 contributors and sponsors, including representatives from Hortonworks, Spotify and Data Artisans (a German startup devoted primarily to the development of Flink)."

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+ - Beware the machines: Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk warn about the rise of AI->

blusquid writes: Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have signed an open letter warning that more precautions need to be taken around the further development of artificial intelligence. The letter discusses the possible benefits of AI to civilization like the eradication of disease and poverty, but warns that it could take off on its own and humans couldn't compete.
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+ - Intuit charges more for previously offered features; users are livid

An anonymous reader writes: For years, the Deluxe edition of TurboTax was enough for self-employed and investors to do their taxes. With this year's edition, Intuit removed Schedules C, D, and E, covering self-employment, investment income and asset depreciation. The company is getting murdered on Amazon for it, with 900 users giving the software a 1 star rating for charging $40 for features that used to be included with the Deluxe software.

+ - Silicon Valley's Quest to Extend Life 'Well Beyond 120'

HughPickens.com writes: The Guardian has an interesting article on the current quest sweeping Silicon Valley to disrupt death and the $1m prize challenging scientists to “hack the code of life” and push human lifespan past its apparent maximum of about 120 years. Hedge Fund Manager Joon Yun's Palo Alto Longevity Prize, which 15 scientific teams have so far entered, will be awarded in the first instance for restoring vitality and extending lifespan in mice by 50%:

Billionaires and companies are bullish about what they can achieve. In September 2013 Google announced the creation of Calico, short for the California Life Company. Its mission is to reverse engineer the biology that controls lifespan and “devise interventions that enable people to lead longer and healthier lives”. Though much mystery surrounds the new biotech company, it seems to be looking in part to develop age-defying drugs. In April 2014 it recruited Cynthia Kenyon, a scientist acclaimed for work that included genetically engineering roundworms to live up to six times longer than normal, and who has spoken of dreaming of applying her discoveries to people. “Calico has the money to do almost anything it wants,” says Tom Johnson, an earlier pioneer of the field now at the University of Colorado who was the first to find a genetic effect on longevity in a worm.

Why might tech zillionaires choose to fund life extension research? Three reasons reckons Patrick McCray, a historian of modern technology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. First, if you had that much money wouldn’t you want to live longer to enjoy it? Then there is money to be made in them there hills. But last, and what he thinks is the heart of the matter, is ideology. If your business and social world is oriented around the premise of “disruptive technologies”, what could be more disruptive than slowing down or “defeating” ageing? “Coupled to this is the idea that if you have made your billions in an industrial sector that is based on precise careful control of 0s and 1s, why not imagine you could extend this to the control of atoms and molecules?,” he says.

+ - Climate Change Will Fuel the World's Longest-Burning Fires

merbs writes: Peat is the stuff of bogs and wetlands; it gives rise to our swamp things and our Scotch. But peat burns, and to ugly effect. It doesn’t burst into flames so much as smolder—instead of towering fires, it produces thick walls of foggy smoke. These fires are already the largest in the world in terms of carbon output, and, in a category they share with coal blazes, they are the longest-lasting. 'Smoldering fires' can go on for years.

Now, new research published in Nature Geoscience indicates that in the age of climate change, vast swaths of the world’s peatlands are poised for ignition.
Idle

+ - Man sues to have 'Google' declared a generic word->

vu1986 writes: ""Arizona man David Elliott wants a court to declare that “google” is a word that means “search on the internet” and to cancel Google’s trademarks for the term.

Elliott filed the complaint after Google won a ruling this month that forced him to hand over more than 750 website names such as “googlegaycruises.com” and “googledonaldtrump.com.” He claims he needs the names to start a business based on “commerce.. charity, and more.”""

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Software

+ - Augmented reality: Window to what is lost!->

hypnosec writes: Imagine a 65 million year old dinosaur coming to life. You might ask if I am kidding. A Canadian museum has come up with an app that uses augmented reality to bring back these extinct species of animals to life. Through the app, ROM Ultimate Dinosaurs, Canada based Royal Ontario Museum is giving a virtual view of dinosaur. Visitors can point their smartphones at select markers spread across the museum and they can see the dinosaur come to life in flesh and bones. Visitors can also use iPads that point towards skeletons and are mounted across the museum. Augmented reality is coming of age and is exceedingly being utilized in museums, exhibitions and art galleries across the globe to deliver different experiences to their visitors.
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+ - Australian consumer group wants geo-IP blocking banned->

daria42 writes: Live outside the US? Then you're probably used to being blocked from watching Hulu, frustrated by not being able to buy the eBooks you want from Amazon and most of all, annoyed about paying significantly higher prices than Americans for exactly the same software, games and content online, all based on your IP address. This week Australian consumer group Choice called for an Australian ban on geo-IP-blocking, saying it created significant barriers to the free flow of goods and services. Maybe other countries' consumer groups should follow suit, in the quest for a fair go?
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+ - Thailand begins One Tablet Per Child->

societyofrobots writes: Thailand has now put the first 50,000 of a planned 800,000 tablets into the hands of elementary students. Each tablet costs only $80/unit, runs Android ICS, and was manufactured in China. Opponents claim it to be a very expensive populist policy to 'buy votes', while proponents argue it could bypass the root causes of poor education in the country: outdated books and unskilled teachers. Is this the future of education in developing nations?
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Government

+ - UK's ICO Struggling Against Anonymous Splinter Group ->

judgecorp writes: "A rogue splinter group from Anonymous is repeatedly knocking offline the web site of Britain's Information Commissionor's Office (ICO). The ICO is the watchdog for corporate data breaches, and the so-called ATeam said it is attacking it over its weakness in dealing with privacy breaches by media organisation News Corporation. The same rogue group also attacked the web site of Home Secretary Theresa May. Other hackers have poured scorn on the Ateam, and it defends itself by saying that "Anonymous is falling apart", riven by internal division."
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Security

+ - Fearmongering About Cyberwar And Cybersecurity Is Working: American Public Very,->

TheGift73 writes: "Well, it looks like all the fearmongering about hackers shutting down electrical grids and making planes fall from the sky is working. No matter that there's no evidence of any actual risk, or that the only real issue is if anyone is stupid enough to actually connect such critical infrastructure to the internet (the proper response to which is: take it off the internet), fear is spreading. Of course, this is mostly due to the work of a neat combination of ex-politicians/now lobbyists working for defense contractors who stand to make a ton of money from the panic — enabled by politicians who seem to have no shame in telling scary bedtime stories that have no basis in reality.

But it's all working. And, by working, I mean scaring the public unnecessarily. As reported by Wired, a new survey from Unisys finds that Americans are more worried about cybersecurity threats than terrorism, and they seem pretty worried about those threats. When asked about which security issues were the highest priority, survey respondents noted:"

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Windows

+ - Avira Update kills millions of computors->

An anonymous reader writes: A problematic update from Avira is bringing computers to a halt across the world. All users of
Avira Antivirus Premium 2012 and Business customers that use the 32-bit version of Avira's software

According to the German report on heise.de over 70 million downloads has already been made.The update causes Avira to block critical system services like iexplorer.exe, regedit.exe and may more.

The update has been stopped, so a representative said from Avira, and they are working on a solution.

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Science

+ - Fungi Discovered In The Amazon Will Eat Your Plastic

DaneM writes: Recently, a group of student researchers from Yale University brought home a previously-undiscovered fungus that has a voracious appetite for polyurethane. For those not aware, polyurethane comprises many garden hoses, truck seats, shoes, and other durable plastic items--and will be around for your great-grandchildren to watch decompose if you throw it in the dump today. Depending on further study, this new organism may prove to be a solution to a significant part of our slow-decomposing waste problem.
Microsoft

+ - Xbox will get Skype app->

blusquid writes: The firm which bought Skype for more than $8m has accidentally made the announcement by way of a job listing.

The software development engineer position is within a new Xbox Skype team suggesting development will be underway soon.

The job listing said: "We’re building the next generations of our products and technology right here in London and Skype is looking to hire a Software Development Engineer to contribute to the development of our experiences on Xbox."
"You will be designing and developing next generation scalable services for millions of end users." it added.

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