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Submission + - Superior Yuytu rover can go conquer Mars (yournewsticker.com)

pesttest writes: Chief designer of the first in the history of space exploration rover Chinese Yuytu Yan Jia (Jia Yang) shared with the publication of his vision Xinhua further development of the national space program. Scientist expressed hope that soon modified version of his brainchild to conquer Mars. “I very much hope that the Chinese will explore....

Submission + - Slashdot's new interface could kill what keeps Slashdot relevant (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Technology Lab / Information Technology
Slashdot’s new interface could kill what keeps Slashdot relevant
Flashy revamp seeks to draw new faces to the community—at the cost of the old.

by Lee Hutchinson — Feb 12 2014, 6:55pm E

        Web Culture

131

In the modern responsive Web Three Point Oh Internet, Slashdot stands like a thing frozen in time—it's a coelacanth stuck incongruously in an aquarium full of more colorful fish. The technology news aggregator site has been around since 1997, making it positively ancient as websites are reckoned. More importantly, Slashdot's long focus on open source technology news and topics has caused it to accrete a user base that tends to be extremely technical, extremely skilled, and extremely opinionated.

That user base is itself the main reason why Slashdot continues to thrive, even as its throwback interface makes it look to untrained eyes like a dated relic. Though the site is frequently a source of deep and rich commentary on topics, the barrier for new users to engage in the site's discussions is relatively high—certainly higher than, say, reddit (or even Ars). This doesn't cause much concern to the average Slashdot user, but tech job listing site Dice.com (which bought Slashdot in September 2012, along with Sourceforge and a number of other digital properties) appears to have decided it's time to drag Slashdot's interface into the 21st century in order to make things comfortable for everyone—old and new users alike.

Submission + - Edward Snowden's not the story. The fate of the internet is (guardiannews.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The press has lost the plot over the Snowden revelations. The fact is that the net is finished as a global network and that US firms' cloud services cannot be trusted. The obvious explanations are: incorrigible ignorance; the imperative to personalise stories; or gullibility in swallowing US government spin, which brands Snowden as a spy rather than a whistleblower.

Submission + - Patent Trolls Attack Public Transportation 1

cpitman writes: Alleged PAE ArrivalStar is going after financially vulnerable public transportation with claims that they are infringing patents on using GPS tracking to tell riders when the next train or bus is arriving. ArrivalStar claims to have actually developed and licensed the technology, but the American Public Transportation Association says that "They don’t develop anything. They don’t produce anything. Their reason for being appears to be simply to file claims against people who go out and create things."

Is this part of a wider awakening of the public to patent abuses?

Submission + - OSX Recovery feature exploit ideas? 2

oldunixgeek writes: I was aghast to discover recently while trying to buy a used Macbook Pro
that there is no easy way to wipe the system clean to the metal and reinstall
it from original media.

Apparently, the only supported way to reinstall the OS on a Mac since
Mountain Lion is through the recovery partition which can be accessed
by pressing command-r while booting. Once booted to the recovery utility,
one can restore from a backup or reinstall the OS over the internet.

How on earth could this be secure? If it is not, I'd like to hear people's ideas
on the easiest way to accomplish the following:

Sell someone a used Mac. They reinstall the OS using command-r after
they've bought it. Software installed by the previous owner on
the recovery partition reinstalls OS-X but also installs trojans, keyloggers, what
have you.

Despite the buyer's best efforts to get a clean install, they start day one with a
compromised machine.

Not that I want to do this myself, I just think it should be brought to the attention
of Apple and any IT departments considering allowing their employees to use
Macs in their work.

Submission + - Ancient DNA Found Hidden Below Sea Floor (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: In the middle of the South Atlantic, there's a patch of sea almost devoid of life. There are no birds, few fish, not even much plankton. But researchers report that they've found buried treasure under the empty waters: ancient DNA hidden in the muck of the sea floor, which lies 5000 meters below the waves. The DNA, from tiny, one-celled sea creatures that lived up to 32,500 years ago, is the first to be recovered from the abyssal plains, the deep-sea bottoms that cover huge stretches of Earth. The researchers say that the ability to retrieve such old DNA from such large stretches of the planet's surface could help reveal everything from ancient climate to the evolutionary ecology of the seas.
 

Submission + - Microsoft's "New Coke" Moment

theodp writes: Remember New Coke? Twenty-eight years ago, Coca-Cola replaced the secret formula of its flagship brand, only to announce the return of the "classic" formula just 79 days later. Had it launched in 2013, Coke's Jay Moye suspects a social media backlash would have prompted it to reverse itself even sooner. In a timely follow-up, ZDNet's Steven Vaughan-Nichols points out that Microsoft is facing its own New Coke moment with Windows 8. 'Does Ballmer have the guts to admit he made a mistake and give users what they clearly want?' Vaughan-Nichols asks. 'While it's too late for Windows 8, Blue might give us back our Start button and an Aero-like interface. We don't know.'

Submission + - Grocery delivery is greener than driving to the store (washington.edu)

vinces99 writes: Those trips to the store can take a chunk out of your day and put more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. But now University of Washington engineers have found that using a grocery delivery service can cut carbon dioxide emissions by at least half when compared with individual household trips to the store. Trucks filled to capacity that deliver to customers clustered in neighborhoods produced the most savings in carbon dioxide emissions, but there are even benefits with delivery to rural areas.

Submission + - Climate Denier Faults US Temperature Records (wattsupwiththat.com)

Greg Hullender writes: "Former weatherman Anthony Watt, who runs the major climate-change-denial website "Watt's Up With That," today posted a press release announcing he and associates have found a major problem in the NOAA temperature records over the 1979 to 2009 period. He claims that 70% of NOAA thermometers are poorly placed, causing them to report higher temperatures than they ought to, and, further, that NOAA's attempts to correct for this have actually increased the error. Watt argues that this data series has been important to so many analyses that this discovery invalidates most of the climate science done in recent years.
Previous work by Richard Muller (http://berkeleyearth.org/pdf/station-quality-may-20.pdf) showed no significant difference in mean temperatures at urban vs. rural stations, but Watt uses a new methodology for separating "good" from "bad" stations and claims a factor-of-two difference in the change over time."

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