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+ - One week of OpenSSL cleanup ->

Submitted by CrAlt
CrAlt (3208) writes "After the news of heartbleed broke early last week, the OpenBSD team dove in and started axing it up into shape. Leading this effort are Ted Unangst (tedu@) and Miod Vallat (miod@), who are head-to-head on a pure commit count basis with both having around 50 commits in this part of the tree in the week since Ted's first commit in this area. They are followed closely by Joel Sing (jsing@) who is systematically going through every nook and cranny and applying some basic KNF. Next in line are Theo de Raadt (deraadt@) and Bob Beck (beck@) who've been both doing a lot of cleanup, ripping out weird layers of abstraction for standard system or library calls.

Then Jonathan Grey (jsg@) and Reyk Flöter (reyk@) come next, followed by a group of late starters. Also, an honorable mention for Christian Weisgerber (naddy@), who has been fixing issues in ports related to this work.

All combined, there've been over 250 commits cleaning up OpenSSL. In one week. Some of these are simple or small changes, while other commits carry more weight. Of course, occasionally mistakes get made but these are also quickly fixed again, but the general direction is clear: move the tree forward towards a better, more readable, less buggy crypto library.

Check them out at http://anoncvs.estpak.ee/cgi-b..."

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+ - MIT Designs Tsunami Proof Floating Nuclear Reactor->

Submitted by Amtrak
Amtrak (2430376) writes "MIT has created designs for a nuclear plant that would avoid the downfall of the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The new design calls for the nuclear plant to be placed on a floating platform modeled after the platforms used for offshore oil drilling.

A floating platform several miles offshore, moored in about 100 meters of water, would be unaffected by the motions of a tsunami; earthquakes would have no direct effect at all. Meanwhile, the biggest issue that faces most nuclear plants under emergency conditions — overheating and potential meltdown, as happened at Fukushima, Chernobyl, and Three Mile Island — would be virtually impossible at sea."

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+ - Big win for Open Government and Transparency in Mississippi->

Submitted by Chris Elkins
Chris Elkins (3620071) writes "Text messages are now officially considered public records. An investigative reporter fought for access to what he believed were public records. He took his fight to the state and won. Mississippi open government and transparency advocates view this unanimous commission opinion as precedent-setting for all government bodies and public officials in the state."
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+ - Americans are scared about the future of drones, robots, and wearables->

Submitted by colinneagle
colinneagle (2544914) writes "Findings from a recent Pew study on Americans' opinions on future technology and science: 65% think it would be a change for the worse if lifelike robots become the primary caregivers for the elderly and people in poor health. 63% think it would be a change for the worse if personal and commercial drones are given permission to fly through most U.S. airspace. 53% of Americans think it would be a change for the worse if most people wear implants or other devices that constantly show them information about the world around them.

The drone concern is to be expected, from both a privacy and a safety perspective. Last year, a small Colorado town tried to issue permits for residents to shoot down airborne drones, and came pretty close to making it legal. And just last week, a drone fell out of the air at a triathlon in Australia; an ambulance crew had to pick pieces of the drone's propeller out of her head. Compare this problem with Amazon’s vision of constant drone deliveries and you have a recipe for a country full of concerned parents.

The wearable concern is just another sign of privacy concerns going mainstream. Google Glass has seen some serious backlash lately, with even physical violence and theft against those who wear them in public. The study just illustrates how widespread this contempt goes.

One issue I was surprised not to see was concern over the impact of robots and drones on jobs for humans. A 2013 Oxford study estimated that as many as 47% of human jobs in the U.S. can be automated, taken over by robots or drones that don’t require a wage (let alone a minimum wage) and can work round-the-clock."

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+ - Vascular Self-Healing System Allows Composite Materials to Repair Multiple Times->

Submitted by Zothecula
Zothecula (1870348) writes "We've seen numerous examples of self-healing polymers that allow materials to repair themselves after being damaged. One of the more common approaches involves the use of embedded microcapsules that release a healing agent when damaged. Researchers have expanded on this idea to develop a new technique that brings self-healing capabilities to fiber-reinforced composite materials, like those used in airplanes and automobiles."
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+ - Children can swipe a screen but can't use toy building blocks->

Submitted by SpankiMonki
SpankiMonki (3493987) writes "Children are arriving at nursery school able to "swipe a screen" but lack the manipulative skills to play with building blocks, teachers have warned.

They fear that children are being given tablets to use "as a replacement for contact time with the parent" and say such habits are hindering progress at school.

Addressing the Association of Teachers and Lecturers conference in Manchester on Tuesday, Colin Kinney said excessive use of technology damages concentration and causes behavioural problems such as irritability and a lack of control.

Kinney, a teacher from Northern Ireland, also noted "I've spoken to a number of nursery teachers who have concerns over the increasing numbers of young pupils who can swipe a screen but have little or no manipulative skills to play with building blocks – or pupils who can't socialise with other pupils, but whose parents talk proudly of their ability to use a tablet or smartphone."
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According to research by U.K. telecoms regulator Ofcom, tablet usage among children is on the rise, with growing numbers of younger kids turning to tablets to watch videos, play games and access the Internet. Use of tablets has tripled among 5-15s since 2012, rising from 14% to 42% over that period, while 28% of infants aged 3-4 now use a tablet computer at home. "

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+ - Please Put OpenSSL Out of Its Misery->

Submitted by CowboyRobot
CowboyRobot (671517) writes "Writing for the ACM, Poul-Henning Kamp claims that "OpenSSL must die, for it will never get any better." The reasons being that OpenSSL has become a dumping ground of un-organized contributions. "We need a well-designed API, as simple as possible to make it hard for people to use it incorrectly. And we need multiple independent quality implementations of that API, so that if one turns out to be crap, people can switch to a better one in a matter of hours.""
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+ - The lack of US cybersecurity across the electric grid->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Meghan McGuinness of the Bipartisan Policy Center writes about the Electric Grid Cybersecurity Initiative, a collaborative effort between the center’s Energy and Homeland Security Projects. She points out that over half the attacks on US critical infrastructure sectors last year were on the energy sector. Cyber attacks could come from a variety of sources, and 'a large-scale cyber attack or combined cyber and physical attack could lead to enormous costs, potentially triggering sustained power outages over large portions of the electric grid and prolonged disruptions in communications, food and water supplies, and health care delivery.' ECGI is recommending the creation of a new, industry-supported model that would create incentives for the continual improvement and adaptation needed to respond effectively to rapidly evolving cyber threats. The vulnerability of the grid has been much discussed this last week; McGuinness's recommendations are a good place to start."
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+ - U.S. Biomedical Research 'Unsustainable,' Prominent Researchers Warn->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "The U.S. biomedical science system "is on an unsustainable path" and needs major reform, four prominent researchers say. Researchers should "confront the dangers at hand,” the authors write, and “rethink” how academic research is funded, staffed, and organized. Among other issues, the team suggests that the system may be producing too many new researchers and forcing them to compete for a stagnating pool of funding."
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+ - Climate scientist: Why nuclear power may be the only way to avoid geoengineering->

Submitted by Lasrick
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Tom Wigley is one of the world's top climate scientists, and in this interview he explains his outspoken support for both nuclear energy and research into climate engineering. Wigley was one of the first scientists to break the taboo on public discussion of climate engineering as a possible response to global warming; in a 2006 paper in the journal Science, he proposed a combined geoengineering-mitigation strategy that would address the problem of increasing ocean acidity, as well as the problem of climate change. In this interview, he argues that hat renewable energy alone will not be sufficient to address the climate challenge, because it cannot be scaled up quickly and cheaply enough, and that opposition to nuclear power 'threatens humanity’s ability to avoid dangerous climate change.'"
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+ - US Government confiscates passport of citizen while overseas, doesn't say why-> 1

Submitted by Faizdog
Faizdog (243703) writes "The US State Department has confiscated the passport of a US citizen who is overseas. Due to that, he is in a precarious situation regarding his legal status.

The State Dept. has given no explanation for their actions.

Federal law requires that US citizens be granted a hearing before their passports are revoked. According to the man’s attorneys: “Having a passport is part of a citizen’s right to international travel, because without a passport you’re not able to move about or return to the US they can revoke it if they believe it has been obtained fraudulently. But here, there isn’t any allegation of wrongdoing.”

How does one answer the question “papers please?” when they government has taken your papers?"

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+ - The FAA Thinks It Can Regulate Paper Planes and Baseballs ->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "Ever throw a baseball? Or a paper plane? Watch out—the Federal Aviation Administration thinks that anything that flies through the air might be aircraft that it can regulate.

That’s a bit hyperbolic, but not by much. Last month, a federal judge ruled that the Federal Aviation Administration didn’t correctly regulate drones, so anyone could fly them legally. In that case, the judge decided two things: The FAA never made drone regulations and standard aircraft regulations the FAA has do not apply to drones because they aren’t “aircraft” in the traditional sense (at least as far as the FAA has traditionally defined them). In their original argument, the FAA said that it has the right to regular anything that flies through the air—and, in an appeal to that decision, they’ve decided to double down on the whole thing.

We’ve covered that case plenty, so if you need anything more than a quick primer, you can check out the specifics here. Basically what happened was, a couple years ago, a drone pilot named Raphael Pirker flew his 5 pound, styrofoam drone around the University of Virginia, and got paid to do it. That angered the FAA, who has been trying to keep commercial drone flights grounded. But, because they never actually made regulations, they went after Pirker for the “reckless operation of an aircraft,” which turned out to be a really bad idea, because the FAA has always specifically referenced “model aircraft” when it wants to talk about RC aircraft or drones. Furthermore, the statute they tried to get Pirker on references things like pilots walking around the cabin and flight attendants being distracting—clearly not something you can do on a foam drone."

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+ - Carpenter who cut off his fingers makes 'Robohand' with 3-D printer->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes ""I was in a position to see exactly what happens in the human hand. I got the basics of what it's all about and thought yeah, I'll make my own."
Richard van As is recalling the moment in May 2011 when he sat in a Johannesburg hospital waiting to hear if his fingers could be stitched back on. Just an hour earlier, he had been in his carpentry workshop sawing wood when the saw slipped and ripped diagonally through the four fingers on his right hand. "It all happened too quickly to know what actually happened," he remembers.

Rather than fear the outcome, or dwell on the repercussions of losing his fingers, he was already thinking of ways to fix the problem, like a true carpenter.

After days of scouring the Internet he couldn't find anywhere to buy a functional prosthetic finger and he was astonished at the cost of prosthetic hands and limbs which began in the tens of thousands of dollars. But his online surfing paid off as it brought him to an amateur video posted by a mechanical effects artist in Washington State, by the name of Ivan Owen."

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+ - Are You Apocalypse Useful?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Young people, when choosing a profession, are often told to "do what you love." That's why we have experts in such abstruse fields as medieval gymel. If there's a worldwide catastrophe in which civilization is interrupted, how useful would that profession be? In a post-apocalypse world, medical doctors would be useful, as would most scientists and engineers. Bad news for Slashdotters is that decades without computers would render computer science and related professions useless. What do you consider to be the most useful and mostly useless post-apocalypse professions? Should everyone be required to study a few apocalypse-appropriate subjects?"

+ - What's needed for the 60TB hard drive 1

Submitted by Lucas123
Lucas123 (935744) writes "Within the next 6 years, Seagate expects to produce a 60TB hard disk drive using HAMR technology. But WD and Seagate are currently on separate paths toward expanding capacity. Seagate with Singled Magnetic Recording (SMR) and WD with helium-filled drives. Computerworld has published a series of slides explaining what has been used up until this point and what will be needed to reach the 60TB end goal."

You can tell how far we have to go, when FORTRAN is the language of supercomputers. -- Steven Feiner

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