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Submission + - Skype vulnerability allowing hijacking of any account ( 1

another random user writes: Skype vulnerability allowing hijacking of any account if you know just the email address.

All you need to do is register a new account using that email address, and even though that address is already used (and the registration process does tell you this) you can still complete the new account process and then sign in using that account.

Apologies in advance for the following reddit link, but it may be easier for some to read than the original Russian page.

Info about this on reddit, original post in Russian


Submission + - Did Jury Foreman Hogan Influence The Apple vs Samsung Verdict? (

sfcrazy writes: Samsung is clearly accusing Hogan in its recent filing of influencing the jury in favor of Apple. Samsung said in its filing: "Mr. Hogan's own statements to the media suffice if such a showing is required. Once inside the jury room, Mr. Hogan acted as a “de facto technical expert” who touted his high-tech experience to bring the divided jury together. Contrary to this Court's instructions, he told other jurors incorrectly that an accused device infringes a utility patent unless it is “entirely different”; that a prior art reference could not be invalidating unless that reference was “interchangeable”; and that invalidating prior art must be currently in use. He thus failed “to listen to the evidence, not to consider extrinsic facts, [and] to follow the judge’s instructions.”

Comment Beware overly optimistic forecasts (Score 2) 467

The headline is based on the latest IEA (International Energy Agency) forecast called the "2012 World Energy Outlook"

Follow the link to a graph of what is being forecast and to the report in question:

Look at the graph: conventional oil and natgas are in decline.
Note the super optimistic growth assumptions for unconventional gas and oil.
What is the methodology behind this extrapolation? That's the question people should be asking themselves.

Natgas price is at historic lows. Low prices mean small profits mean decreasing investment.
These days the unconventional gas industry is facing something of a bust:

How well does that fit with the optimistic growth scenario?

Also, the IEA does not exactly have a sterling reputation for balanced impartial forecasts:

Just because something is a headline, doesn't mean it's true. Time will tell, of course.

Data Storage

Submission + - Harvard Stores 70 Billion Books in DNA Bio-Library (

An anonymous reader writes: A team from Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering has developed a way to store 70 billion books in a space the size of your thumbnail. Using next-generation sequencing technology, the team managed to encode the library in DNA, shattering the record for amount of data stored in DNA by a factor of 1,000. While the scale is roughly what a 5 1/4-inch floppy disk once held, the density of the bits is off the charts – an impressive: 5.5 petabits, or 1 million gigabits, per cubic millimeter. In theory, four grams of DNA could store all of the digital data humankind creates in one year.

Submission + - Arctic Sea Ice to reach record low this August (

vikingpower writes: "Although it is known that the arctic sea ice melts away, partially, each summer, it will probably hit an all-time low before the end of this month. The previous records, from 2007 and 2005, occurred in september of those years. Data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center show that the melting rate accelerated this august, whereas normally it slows down during this month. The graphs under the link tell an impressive story of diminishing surfaces. Ted Scambos, one of NSIDC's main researchers, clearly attributes this all-time low to human-induced climate change ( The interview is in Dutch, alas ), which is remarkable, coming from a US government-funded institute."

Submission + - SPAM: Lenovo ultrabook

terrence0326 writes: "Have you ever heard about ultrabook? Ultrabooks are more and more popular now with Intel's hard work on it. An ultrabook can be use as laptop as you are working and can also be use as tablet when you want to enjoy yourself. Our blog takes the job to describe lenovo ultrabook systemly."
Link to Original Source

Submission + - Breakthrough in drawing complex Venn diagrams (

00_NOP writes: Venn diagrams are all the rage in this election year, but drawing comprehensible diagrams for anything more than 3 sets has proved to be very difficult. Until the breakthough just announced by Khalegh Mamakani and Frank Ruskey of the University of Victoria in Canada, nobody had managed to draw a simple (no more than two lines crossing), symmetric Venn diagram for more than 7 sets (only primes will work). Now they have pushed that on to 11. And it's pretty too.

Submission + - Arctic megastorm is so powerful it's turning the ice cap into "slush" (

elbow_spur writes: "A massive storm has been lashing the Arctic, and its fury is so great that it's actually breaking up the remaining ice at the pole and whipping it into a substance that one scientist called "slushy." Over at the awesome DotEarth blog, Andrew Revkin has been keeping tabs on the storm, which is incredibly unusual for this time of year. Summers in the Arctic are generally quite mild, but this season has been an especially stormy one.

A historical graph of the sea ice area is here:

A comprehensive discussion of the arctic melt this summer is found here:"

Comment Re:The equation itself? (Score 1) 271

Here is a calculation to illustrate the main idea

Define the function f(x) = (x+2)/(x+1)
a function of this type is called a fractional linear transformation

and iterate using f(x)
x1=f(x0) = 3/2=1.5
x2=f(x1)= 7/5=1.4
x3=f(x2) = 17/12 ~ 1.4167
x4=f(x3)=41/29 ~ 1.4138
x5=f(x4)=99/70 ~ 1.4143
x6=f(x5) =239/169 ~ 1.4142

These fractions approximate, indeed converge to the square root of 2

It turns out that in this particular case these fractions are the best possible approximations for sqrt(2)

We know that 1.4142 are the 1st 6 digits of sqrt(2)

sqrt(2) ~ 1+f1 where
1/f1 = 2+f2 where
1/f2 = 2+f3 where

actually f1=f2=f3=.... ad infinitum

This means that
sqrt(2) = 1+ 1/(2+1/(2+1/(2+...))))
The last expression is called a continued fraction

the numbers in it are obtained by subtracting away the whole part taking the reciprocal, subtracting away the whole part, etc

The amazing thing is that for square roots this process isn't random but repeats cyclically. For sqrt(2) the cycle is particularly simple
we start with 1 and after that all the #s we get are 2

The numbers
1+1/(2+1/2) = 7/5
1+1/(2+1/(2+1/2)) = 17/12
are the fractions that result from truncating the continued fractions
These fractions are the best possible approximations for sqrt(2) ("best possible" has a precise meaning that we don't need to get into here)

Now here is the punchline.

Notice how we get the same fractions by iterating f(x) and by doing the continued fraction expansion

This doesn't happen for all square roots.
More interestingly, there can be an infinite overlap in the two sequences of approximations
O'Dorney figured out when this happens

See page 13


Survey Shows That Fox News Makes You Less Informed 1352

A survey of American voters by World Public Opinion shows that Fox News viewers are significantly more misinformed than consumers of news from other sources. One of the most interesting questions was about President Obama's birthplace. 63 percent of Fox viewers believe Obama was not born in the US (or that it is unclear). In 2003 a similar study about the Iraq war showed that Fox viewers were once again less knowledgeable on the subject than average. Let the flame war begin!

Submission + - ULF Satellite Data Predicted Haiti Quake (

eldavojohn writes: In the month leading up to the M7.0 earthquake in Haiti, the French Space Agency satellite DEMETER noticed some unusual ultra low frequencies (ULF) radio waves coming from the area. The satellite was launched in 2004 to study these frequencies and now a paper is up for review on the Haiti quake. One of the researchers claims, "The results of this paper clearly indicate that ULF electromagnetic waves can be very useful in revealing possible precursor seismic phenomena." There's probably more than a few areas they could keep their eye on.

Submission + - Silicon Valley wages fell 10% last year (

dcblogs writes: The 2008-09 recession reduced wages in Silicon Valley last year by about 10%. But even with that drop in pay, tech employees in the valley remain, by far, the best paid in the U.S. The average salary of a Silicon Valley tech worker was $132,500 in 2009, down about $15,000 from 2008, according to TechAmerica's annual Cybercities report, which examines employment and wage trends in 60 tech centers in the U.S. The impact of the recession on wages varied by region; nationally, tech wages for all workers fell an average 0.8% last year. Tampa-St. Petersburg tech workers, for example, saw the largest percentage gain, with pay up 5.8%, an increase of $3,922 to salaries that now average $71,143.

Submission + - States fund majority of human embryonic stem cell

An anonymous reader writes: States, not the federal government, now fund the majority of human embryonic stem cell research conducted in the United States, according to a recent study in the journal Nature Biotechnology. In addition, states varied substantially in the extent to which they prioritized human embryonic stem cell research, and much of the research performed in the states could likely have been funded by the National Institutes of Health under federal guidelines established by President Bush in 2001.

Submission + - Beating censorship by routing around DNS (

jfruhlinger writes: Last month, the US gov't shut down a number of sites it claimed were infringing copyright. They did it by ordering VeriSign to change the sites' authoritative domain name servers. This revealed that DNS is subject to government interference — and now a number of projects have emerged to bypass DNS entirely.

"Consider a spherical bear, in simple harmonic motion..." -- Professor in the UCB physics department