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Submission + - A Laser Message from Space (nasa.gov)

dsinc writes: Anyone who remembers dialup internet can sympathize with the plight of NASA mission controllers. Waiting for images to arrive from deep space, slowly downloading line by line, can be a little like the World Wide Web of the 1990s. Patience is required.

A laser on the International Space Station (ISS) could change all that. On June 5th, 2014, the ISS passed over the Table Mountain Observatory in Wrightwood, California, and beamed an HD video to researchers waiting below. Unlike normal data transmissions, which are encoded in radio waves, this one came to Earth on a beam of light.

Submission + - 5D 'Superman memory' crystal could lead to unlimited lifetime data storage (southampton.ac.uk)

dsinc writes: Using nanostructured glass, scientists at the University of Southampton have, for the first time, experimentally demonstrated the recording and retrieval processes of five dimensional digital data by femtosecond laser writing. The storage allows unprecedented parameters including 360 TB/disc data capacity, thermal stability up to 1000C and practically unlimited lifetime.

Coined as the ‘Superman’ memory crystal’, as the glass memory has been compared to the “memory crystals” used in the Superman films, the data is recorded via self-assembled nanostructures created in fused quartz, which is able to store vast quantities of data for over a million years. The information encoding is realised in five dimensions: the size and orientation in addition to the three dimensional position of these nanostructures.

A 300 kb digital copy of a text file was successfully recorded in 5D using ultrafast laser, producing extremely short and intense pulses of light. The file is written in three layers of nanostructured dots separated by five micrometres (one millionth of a metre).

Professor Peter Kazansky, the ORC’s group supervisor, adds: “It is thrilling to think that we have created the first document which will likely survive the human race. This technology can secure the last evidence of civilisation: all we’ve learnt will not be forgotten.”

Submission + - TSA eliminates all invasive X-ray machines

dsinc writes: The Transportation Security Administration announced it has finished removing from all airports the X-ray technology that produced graphic and controversial images of passengers passing through security screening checkpoints.
The machines, which the TSA first deployed in 2008, provoked public outrage as the technology, better able than traditional X-rays to detect hidden contraband, also created images that appeared as if they were "virtual nudes." Critics called this an invasion of privacy and questioned whether the scanning devices truly lacked the ability to save the images, as the TSA claimed.

Submission + - Intel Core i Haswell Microprocessors May Require New Power Supply Units for PCs (xbitlabs.com)

dsinc writes: Intel Corp.’s Haswell microprocessors due in early June are expected to bring a number of innovations designed to improve performance and cut power consumption, however, in many cases not all users will be able to enjoy all of them. As it appears, end-users will either have disable low-power states of Haswell or get a new power-supply units compatible with the new Intel chip.

As it appears, Haswell's C6/C7 states require a minimum load of 0.05A on the 12V2 rail, and many desktop power supply units (PSUs) just cannot provide that low current. Meanwhile, numerous older PSUs, which comply with ATX12V v2.3 design guidelines only called for a minimum load of 0.5A on the CPU power rail, hence a less sophisticated internal feedback loop/protection could be used. As a result, unless C6/C7 power states are disabled in the BIOS, PCs with older/cheap PSUs may become unstable when processors enter these states.

Submission + - Microsoft wants you to pay $100 a year for Office (cnn.com)

dsinc writes: Starting on Tuesday, Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) will be offering Office as a subscription service for consumers. For $100 a year, "Office 365 Home Premium" customers can put Office on up to five computers (including Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) Macintoshes and Windows 8 tablets) and store up to 27 gigabytes of data on Microsoft's SkyDrive cloud storage service. The subscription includes frequent software updates and allows users to automatically load their customized Microsoft Office settings on each different device.

Submission + - Mathematical breakthrough sets out rules for more effective teleportation (cam.ac.uk)

dsinc writes: Once considered impossible, in 1993 a team of scientists calculated that teleportation could work in principle using quantum laws. Quantum teleportation harnesses the âentanglementâ(TM) law to transmit particle-sized bites of information across potentially vast distances in an instant.

Entanglement involves a pair of quantum particles such as electrons or protons that are intrinsically bound together, retaining synchronisation between the two that holds whether the particles are next to each other or on opposing sides of a galaxy. Through this connection, quantum bits of information â" qubits â" can be relayed using only traditional forms of classical communication.

Previous teleportation protocols have fallen into one of two camps, those that could only send scrambled information requiring correction by the receiver or, more recently, âoeport-basedâ teleportation that doesnâ(TM)t require a correction, but needs an impractical amount of entanglement â" as each object sent would destroy the entangled state.

Now, physicists from Cambridge, University College London, and the University of Gdansk have developed a protocol to provide an optimal solution in which the entangled state is ârecycledâ(TM), so that the gateway between particles holds for the teleportation of multiple objects.

Submission + - Air Force sends mystery mini-shuttle back to space (ap.org)

dsinc writes: The Air Force launched the unmanned spacecraft Tuesday hidden on top of an Atlas V rocket.

It's the second flight for this original X-37B spaceplane. It circled the planet for seven months in 2010. A second X-37B spacecraft spent more than a year in orbit.

These high-tech mystery machines — 29 feet long — are about one-quarter the size of NASA's old space shuttles and can land automatically on a runway. The two previous touchdowns occurred in Southern California; this one might end on NASA's three-mile-long runway once reserved for the space agency's shuttles.

The military isn't saying much if anything about this new secret mission. In fact, launch commentary ended 17 minutes into the flight.

But one scientific observer, Harvard University's Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, speculates the spaceplane is carrying sensors designed for spying and likely is serving as a testbed for future satellites.

Submission + - ITU Approves Deep Packet Inspection, Ignores Huge Privacy Implications (techdirt.com)

dsinc writes: Techdirt has run a number of articles about the ITU's World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT) currently taking place in Dubai. One of the concerns is that decisions taken there may make the Internet less a medium that can be used to enhance personal freedom than a tool for state surveillance and oppression.
The new Y.2770 standard is entitled "Requirements for deep packet inspection in Next Generation Networks", and seeks to define an international standard for deep packet inspection (DPI). As the Center for Democracy & Technology points out, it is thoroughgoing in its desire to specify technologies that can be used to spy on people.

One of the big issues surrounding WCIT and the ITU has been the lack of transparency — or even understanding what real transparency might be. So it will comes as no surprise that the new DPI standard was negotiated behind closed doors, with no drafts being made available.

Submission + - NASA: Curiosity has found plastic on Mars (nasaupdatecenter.us) 2

dsinc writes: Last week Curiosity was able to use its SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) device to confirm the discovery. A robotic arm with a complex system of Spectral Analysis devices was able to vaporize and identify gasses from the sample, concluding that it is in fact plastic. How plastic formed or ended up on the Martian surface is quite an exciting mystery that sparks many questions. The type of plastic sampled as we know so far can only be formed using petrochemicals, meaning not only that there could possibly be a source of oil on the Red Planet, but that somehow it got turned into plastic. Even more interesting is that oil or petrochemicals used to create this type of plastic are only known to come from ancient fossilized organic materials, such as zooplankton and algae, which geochemical processes convert into oil pointing to the earthshaking evidence that there was once life on mars.

"Right now we have multiple working hypotheses, and each hypothesis makes certain predictions about things like what the spherules are made of and how they are distributed," said Curiosity's principal investigator, Steve Squyres, of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. "Our job as we explore Matijevic Hill in the months ahead will be to make the observations that will let us test all the hypotheses carefully, and find the one that best fits the observations."

Submission + - How infidelity helps nieces and nephews (esciencenews.com)

dsinc writes: A University of Utah study produced new mathematical support for a theory that explains why men in some cultures often feed and care for their sisters' children: where extramarital sex is common and accepted, a man's genes are more likely to be passed on by their sister's kids than by their wife's kids. The theory previously was believed valid only if a man was likely to be the biological father of less than one in four of his wife's children — a number that anthropologists found improbably low.

But in the new study, University of Utah anthropology Professor Alan Rogers shows mathematically that if certain assumptions in the theory are made less stringent and more realistic, that ratio changes from one in four to one in two, so the theory works more easily.

In other words, a man's genes are more likely to be passed by his sisters' children if fewer than half of his wife's kids are biologically his — rather than the old requirement that he had to sire fewer than a quarter of his wife's kids, according to the study published online Nov. 28 in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Submission + - Saudi Arabia implements electronic tracking system for women (rawstory.com)

dsinc writes: Denied the right to travel without consent from their male guardians and banned from driving, women in Saudi Arabia are now monitored by an electronic system that tracks any cross-border movements.

Since last week, Saudi women’s male guardians began receiving text messages on their phones informing them when women under their custody leave the country, even if they are travelling together.

“The authorities are using technology to monitor women,” said columnist Badriya al-Bishr, who criticised the “state of slavery under which women are held” in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

Women are not allowed to leave the kingdom without permission from their male guardian, who must give his consent by signing what is known as the “yellow sheet” at the airport or border.

Submission + - Anti-virus pioneer John McAfee wanted for murder (usatoday.com)

dsinc writes: John McAfee, the eccentric 67-year-old founder of the antivirus software company McAfee Inc., is wanted for murder in Belize, police said Monday.
McAfee is the prime suspect in the murder of an American expatriate, Gregory Faull, who was shot and killed Saturday night at his home on the island of Ambergris Caye.

The tech gadget site Gizmodo published an official police statement issued Monday that said the body of the well-liked 52-year-old builder from Florida was found Sunday in a pool of blood from an apparent gunshot wound to the head.

Submission + - When A Mouse Requires An Internet Connection, You're Doing 'Cloud' Wrong (overclock.net)

dsinc writes: In a situation eerily similar to "always-on" DRM schemes, Razer mouse and keyboard purchasers are finding their high-end peripherals bricked by software that requires an internet connection to function.

So, why would a mouse need an internet connection to be usable? Well, it's supposed to be a feature, but it's behaving more like a bug. A forum member at Overclock.net explains the problem with his new ~$80 mouse:

This really took me by surprise. Just bought a new Naga 2012 mouse, installed the software and get greeted by a login screen right after. No option to bypass it to use the software to configure the mouse, set the options, sensitivity, shortcuts, macros etc.

So I go ahead and create an account and try to log in. Nothing. Try several more times, and still nothing. Try to make new accounts with different email addresses and it still wont work.

Finally call Razer who tells me the activation server is down, and I wont be able to use the mouse until it goes back up and will only be able to use it as a standard plug and play mouse til then. I ask about a workaround to use the mouse offline and they say there is none. Supposedly once the mouse is activated on the computer offline mode will work, but it needs to upload my profile and activate my account first and since their server is down its not going to happen. I ask for a supervisor to confirm this is the case and ask again for a workaround to use it offline. He said sorry theres nothing they can do, tells me the call center is closing and hangs up on me.

Submission + - Apple may ditch Intel chips in Macs, says Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)

dsinc writes: According to Bloomberg Apple is considering a move away from Intel chips for its cherished Mac line. The move would be the third major CPU shift for the brand which has previously relied on Motorola 68000 and Power PC chips. The move away from Intel could also mean a move away from x86 as Apple has been heavily invested in its own ARM-based chip designs in recent years. Bloomberg's sources suggest that Cupertino is actively working on a version of its tweaked ARM architecture that would run inside Mac PC, in particular its laptop products could stand to benefit from its battery sipping design.

The change will not happen immediately. In fact, the sources said such a move was years away, potentially not happening till 2017. But, as the gulf between "mobile" and "desktop" products begins to shrink and the boundaries blend, it would only seem to make sense that Apple would look to leverage its high-profile purchase of P.A. Semi to good use and inch ever closer to being a completely self-reliant corporate entity. We don't think it's any secret that Apple would, if it could, design and manufacture every component itself.

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.