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+ - North Korean Defector Spills Details On The Country's Elite Hacking Force->

Submitted by mattydread23
mattydread23 (2793761) writes "Business Insider interviewed Jang Se-yul, a North Korean defector who trained in the country's Mirim University alongside some of the hackers who make up its elite Bureau 121 hacking squad. He explains how they train: "They take six 90-minute classes every day, learning different coding languages and operating systems, from C to Linux. Jang says a lot of time was spent dissecting Microsoft programs, like the Windows operating system, and how to attack the overall computer IT systems of enemy countries like the US or South Korea." He also explains that these hackers are among the elite in North Korea, and even though they have unfiltered information about the outside world that their countrymen lack, most of them would never dream of leaving."
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+ - 300 Million Year Old Fossil Fish Likely Had Color Vision ->

Submitted by westlake
westlake (615356) writes "Nature is reporting the discovery of mineralized rods and cones in a 300 million year old fossil fish found in Kansas. The soft tissues of the eye and brain decay rapidly after death, within 64 days and 11 days, respectively, and are almost never preserved in the fossil record — making this is the first discovery of fossil rods and cones in general and the first evidence for color vision in a fossilized vertebrate eye."
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+ - Did North Korea Really Attack Sony? 1

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Many security experts remain skeptical of North Korea's incolvment in the recent Sony hacks. Schneier writes: "Clues in the hackers' attack code seem to point in all directions at once. The FBI points to reused code from previous attacks associated with North Korea, as well as similarities in the networks used to launch the attacks. Korean language in the code also suggests a Korean origin, though not necessarily a North Korean one, since North Koreans use a unique dialect. However you read it, this sort of evidence is circumstantial at best. It's easy to fake, and it's even easier to interpret it incorrectly. In general, it's a situation that rapidly devolves into storytelling, where analysts pick bits and pieces of the "evidence" to suit the narrative they already have worked out in their heads.""

+ - Sony to release The Interview online today; Apple won't play ball->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The BBC writes (http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30599836):
"Sony Pictures is to distribute its film The Interview online, after a cyber-attack and a row over its release. The film will be offered on a dedicated website — seetheinterview.com — as well as via Google and Microsoft services."

Notably absent among the services to provide The Interview is Apple. The New York Times reports (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/24/business/media/sonys-the-interview-will-come-to-some-theaters-after-all.html):
"According to people briefed on the matter, Sony had in recent days asked the White House for help in lining up a single technology partner — Apple, which operates iTunes — but the tech company was not interested, at least not on a speedy time table. An Apple spokesman declined to comment. ""

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+ - Something is Happening at thepiratebay.se->

Submitted by Zanadou
Zanadou (1043400) writes "On December 9 The Pirate Bay was raided but despite the rise of various TPB clones and rumors of reincarnations, thepiratebay.se domain remained inaccessible, until today. This morning the Pirate Bay’s nameservers were updated to ones controlled by their domain name registrar binero.se .

A few minutes later came another big change when The Pirate Bay’s main domain started pointing to a new IP-address (178.175.135.122) that is connected to a server hosted in Moldova.

So far there is not much to see, just a background video of a waving pirate flag (taken from Isohunt.to) and a counter displaying the time elapsed since the December 9 raid. However, the "AES string" looks 'promising.'"

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+ - TSA has record-breaking haul in 2014: Guns, cannons, and swords

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The TSA has gathered an impressive pile of confiscated weapons this year. In early November the agency had already discovered 1,855 firearms at checkpoints. In addition to guns, they've also collected machetes, hatchets, swords, giant scissors, brass knuckles, cannonballs, bear repellant and, this past October, an unloaded cannon. “Maybe someone has a lucky inert grenade they brought back from some war, or a nice cane was given to them and they forgot that the thing is actually a sword,” said Jeff Price, author of Practical Aviation Security, “It’s the people that are carrying stuff like chainsaws that make me wonder.”"

+ - Hot Springs at Yellowstone changed their color due to tourist activity

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers say that the different colors of the hot springs in Yellowstone National Park are caused by human contamination. From the article: "Researchers at Montana State University and Brandenburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany have created a simple mathematical model based on optical measurements that explains the stunning colors of Yellowstone National Park's hot springs and can visually recreate how they appeared years ago, before decades of tourists contaminated the pools with make-a-wish coins and other detritus. f Yellowstone National Park is a geothermal wonderland, Grand Prismatic Spring and its neighbors are the ebullient envoys, steaming in front of the camera and gracing the Internet with their ethereal beauty. While the basic physical phenomena that render these colorful delights have long been scientifically understood—they arise because of a complicated interplay of underwater vents and lawns of bacteria—no mathematical model existed that showed empirically how the physical and chemical variables of a pool relate to their optical factors and coalesce in the unique, stunning fashion that they do.""

+ - Texas Instruments builds an alternative energy for the Internet of Things->

Submitted by dcblogs
dcblogs (1096431) writes "Texas Instruments says it has developed electronics capable of taking small amounts of power generated by harvested sources and turning them into a useful power source. TI has built an efficient "ultra-low powered" DC-to-DC switching converter that can boost 300 to 400 millivolts power to 3 to 5 volts. To power wearables, the company says it has demonstrated drawing energy from the human body by using harvesters the size of wristwatch straps. It has worked with vibration collectors, for instance, about the same size as a key. It is offering this technology as a means to power sensors in Internet of Things applications, as well as to augment battery power supplies in wearables."
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+ - Amazon "Suppresses" book with too many hyphens

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Author Graeme Reynolds found his novel withdrawn from Amazon because of excessive use of hyphens. He received an email from Amazon about his werewolf novel, High Moor 2: Moonstruck, because a reader had complained that there were too many hyphens. “When they ran an automated spell check against the manuscript they found that over 100 words in the 90,000-word novel contained that dreaded little line,” he says. “This, apparently ‘significantly impacts the readability of your book’ and, as a result, ‘We have suppressed the book because of the combined impact to customers.’”"

+ - Tor Warns of Possible Disruption of Network Through Server Seizures->

Submitted by itwbennett
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Without naming the group responsible, the Tor project warned that it could face attempts to incapacitate its network in the next few days through the seizure of specialized servers called directory authorities. These servers guide Tor users on the list of distributed relays on the network that bounce communications around. 'We are taking steps now to ensure the safety of our users, and our system is already built to be redundant so that users maintain anonymity even if the network is attacked. Tor remains safe to use,' wrote 'arma' in a post Friday on the Tor project blog. The 'arma' developer handle is generally associated with project leader Roger Dingledine. There were no reports of a seizure by late Sunday. The project promised to update the blog and its Twitter account with new information."
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+ - How a Massachusetts man invented the global ice market

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A guy from Boston walks into a bar and offers to sell the owner a chunk of ice. To modern ears, that sounds like the opening line of a joke. But 200 years ago, it would have sounded like science fiction—especially if it was summer, when no one in the bar had seen frozen water in months. In fact, it’s history. The ice guy was sent by a 20-something by the name of Frederic Tudor, born in 1783 and known by the mid-19th century as the “Ice King of the World.” What he had done was figure out a way to harvest ice from local ponds, and keep it frozen long enough to ship halfway around the world.

Today, the New England ice trade, which Tudor started in Boston’s backyard in 1806, sounds cartoonishly old-fashioned. The work of ice-harvesting, which involved cutting massive chunks out of frozen bodies of water, packing them in sawdust for storage and transport, and selling them near and far, seems as archaic as the job of town crier. But scholars in recent years have suggested that we’re missing something. In fact, they say, the ice trade was a catalyst for a transformation in daily life so powerful that the mark it left can still be seen on our cultural habits even today. Tudor’s big idea ended up altering the course of history, making it possible not only to serve barflies cool mint juleps in the dead of summer, but to dramatically extend the shelf life and reach of food. Suddenly people could eat perishable fruits, vegetables, and meat produced far from their homes. Ice built a new kind of infrastructure that would ultimately become the cold, shiny basis for the entire modern food industry."

+ - Israeli cave offers clues about when humans mastered fire->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Mastering fire was one of the most important developments in human prehistory. But it’s also one of the hardest to pin down, with different lines of evidence pointing to different timelines. A new study of artifacts from a cave in Israel suggests that our ancestors began regularly using fire about 350,000 years ago—far enough back to have shaped our culture and behavior but too recent to explain our big brains or our expansion into cold climates."
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+ - 3D map of DNA reveals hidden loops that allow genes to work together->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Every genome is a miracle of packaging. Somehow a human cell crams two meters of DNA into its tiny nucleus, and yet this tangled mess can carry out the complex task of building and maintaining our bodies. Now, the most detailed look yet at this genomic jumble reveals loops of DNA that bring distant parts of chromosomes together, allowing them to act in concert. The work could help researchers pin down the genetic causes of diseases and help clarify how the genome functions."
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+ - New compilation of banned Chinese search-terms reveals curiosities->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Canada’s Citizen Lab has compiled data from various research projects around the world in an attempt to create a manageable Github repository of government-banned Chinese keywords in internet search terms and which may appear in Chinese websites. Until now the study of such terms has proved problematic due to disparate research methods and publishing formats. A publicly available online spreadsheet which CCL have provided to demonstrate the project gives an interesting insight into the reactive and eccentric nature of the Great Blacklist of China, as far as outside research can deduce. Aside from the inevitable column listings of dissidents and references to government officials and the events in Tiananmen Square in 1989, search terms as basic as 'system' and 'human body' appear to be blocked."
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