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+ - Supermassive Black Hole Discovered Inside Tiny Dwarf Galaxy->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Astronomers using data from the Hubble Space Telescope say they've discovered a ginormous black hole within one of the tiniest galaxies known to exist.

The supermassive black hole is about five times more massive than the one at the center of the Milky Way, but the dwarf galaxy in which it was found--known to astronomers as M60-UCD1--is about 500 times smaller than our own galaxy, according to NASA.

"It is the smallest and lightest object that we know of that has a supermassive black hole," Dr. Anil C. Seth, a University of Utah astronomer and the lead author of a new paper about the discovery, said in a written statement. "It's also one of the most black hole-dominated galaxies known."

The discovery suggests that supermassive black holes may be twice as numerous in the nearby universe as previously thought, Nature reported."

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+ - Apple Locks iPhone 6/6+ NFC to Apple Pay Only->

Submitted by Ronin Developer
Ronin Developer (67677) writes "From the article:
"At last week's Apple event, the company announced Apple Pay — a new mobile payments service that utilises NFC technology in conjunction with its Touch ID fingerprint scanner for secure payments that can be made from the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus or Apple Watch.

Apple also announced a number of retailers that would accept Apple Pay for mobile payments at launch.

However, Cult of Mac reports that NFC will be locked to the Apple Pay platform, meaning the technology will not be available for other uses.

An Apple spokesperson confirmed the lock down of the technology, saying developers would be restricted from utilising its NFC chip functionality for at least a year. Apple declined to comment on whether NFC capability would remain off limits beyond that period."

So, it would appear, for at least a year, that Apple doesn't want competing mobile payment options to be available on the newly released iPhone 6 and 6+. While it's understandable that they want to promote their payment scheme and achieve a critical mass for Apple Pay, it's a strategy that may very well backfire as other other mobile payment vendors gain strength on competing platforms. Subway already has penned a deal with Softcard to accept their mobile payment exclusively. Will other retailers take a similar tact and lock out Apple users who can't use their newly minted iPhone 6's for mobile payments everywhere because of this decision?"

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+ - ISIS bans Math, Social Studies, Physics for children->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "In swaths of Syria now controlled by ISIS, children can no longer study math or social studies. Sports are out of the question. And students will be banned from learning about elections and democracy.

Instead, they'll be subjected to the teachings of the radical Islamist group. And any teacher who dares to break the rules "will be punished."
ISIS revealed its new educational demands in fliers posted on billboards and on street poles. The Sunni militant group has captured a slew of Syrian and Iraqi cities in recent months as it tries to establish a caliphate, or Islamic state, spanning Sunni parts of both countries.

Books cannot include any reference to evolution. And teachers must say that the laws of physics and chemistry "are due to Allah's rules and laws.""

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+ - Boeing, Space X to get NASA contracts->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Boeing and SpaceX will be awarded NASA contracts to transport astronauts to and from the international space station, CNN has learned.
The space agency will hold a news conference at Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 4 p.m. ET to discuss "the return of human spaceflight launches to the United States," according to a brief statement on its website.

Since the shuttle program was retired, NASA crewmembers have been hitching rides on Russian Soyuz spacecraft, at a cost of $70 million per seat, according to a NASA spokeswoman. The agency typically purchases six seats per year."

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+ - German judge lifts temporary ban on Uber ride-sharing->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "FRANKFURT, Sept 16 (Reuters) — A Frankfurt judge granted a reprieve to Uber, the online transportation service, setting aside a temporary injunction issued two weeks ago against the Silicon Valley company from operating a novel car-sharing service across Germany.

Frankfurt Regional Court Judge Frowin Kurth said on Tuesday that the issues in the case brought against Uber by German taxi operator group Taxi Deutschland deserved a fuller airing in court, but lacked the urgency for a temporary injunction.

"There could still be grounds for an injunction" against Uber, Kurth said in deciding on the company's appeal of the court's original decision. "But during our deliberations it became clear there were no grounds for an immediate injunction."

The lawsuit, which pits taxi operators against the fast-growing U.S. start-up recently valued at around $18 billion, has underscored Germany's mounting unease over the impact of digital technology on established businesses and institutions.

Taxi Deutschland had sought the injunction as part of a civil lawsuit to bar the company's ride-sharing service, citing what it saw as unfair competition by Uber against the professional taxi drivers whom it represents.

The original injunction barred Uber from using its Uberpop mobile phone app to connect ride-sharing drivers to potential passengers, ruling that Uber's network of volunteer drivers lacked the commercial licences to charge passengers for rides.

Each infraction of the court's injunction carried fines of up to 250,000 euros ($323,775). Uber quickly appealed the ruling, leading to Tuesday's hearing."

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+ - NASA to announce private space shuttle deal->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "NASA will make a "major announcement" later Tuesday about its plans to partner with the private sector to transport astronauts to the international space station.
The space agency said it will hold a news conference at Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 4 p.m. ET to discuss "the return of human spaceflight launches to the United States," according to a brief statement on its website.

The agency is expected to award a contract to one or more private aerospace companies to shuttle astronauts back and forth to the space station.

The contract to be announced Tuesday will be difficult to compare with the current arrangement, since it will involve "additional capabilities," such as development and certification programs, as well as shuttle services, the spokeswoman said.

The leading contender is Boeing (BA), according to the Wall Street Journal. Other bidders include SpaceX, which is backed by Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk, and Sierra Nevada Corp."

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+ - Uber CEO: We'll run your errands->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Uber takes on delivery services

The future of Uber is about pharmacies and rickshaws.
So says CEO Travis Kalanick, who is bullish the company is worth more than its $18 billion valuation. Currently, Uber is quadrupling each year, he said.

One of several avenues for expansion is in a category of delivery that's about running errands.
"In Los Angeles, we're doing something called Uber Fresh, which is you push a button and you get a lunch in five minutes," Kalanick told CNN's Fareed Zakaria. "In DC, we're doing Uber Corner Store. So imagine all the things you get at a corner store. ...

"FedEx isn't going to your nearest pharmacy and delivering something to you in five minutes," he continued.
Another is in emerging markets, where the company may focus on rickshaws, rather than high-end black cars, Kalanick said. Uber operates in more than 200 cities, including Cali, Colombia; Jakarta, Indonesia; Lima, Peru; and New Delhi, India."

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+ - Golfer wins space trip after bagging hole-in-one-> 1

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "After a hole-in-one at the KLM Open in Amsterdam, golfer Andy Sullivan has won a prize that is truly out of this world.

The Englishman, who found the cup with his tee shot on the 15th hole, bagged himself a flight into space courtesy of a Dutch aerospace company.

XCOR Aerospace pledged a 62-minute space flight to any player who could card a hole-in-one at the 15th at the Kennemer Golf and Country Club."

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+ - Microsoft Paid NFL $400 Million To Use Surface, But Announcers Call Them IPad->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Prior to the season, Microsoft and the NFL struck a 5-year, $400 million deal with one of the major components being that the Microsoft Surface would become "the official tablet of the NFL" with coaches and players using the Surface on the sidelines during games.

But Microsoft and the league ran into a problem during week one of the season when at least two television announcers mistakenly referred to the tablets as iPads giving a huge rival some unexpected exposure.

The biggest blunder for the league came during the nationally televised Monday Night Football game when ESPN's Trent Dilfer joked about how long it took Cardinals assistant head coach Tom Moore to "learn how to use the iPad to scroll through the pictures."

In a separate incident, Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints was spotted by Fox commentator John Lynch using a Surface on the sideline. Lynch remarked that Brees was "not watching movies on his iPad.""

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+ - Rosetta hunts for comet touch down site for Philae lander->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "It's millions of miles away, looks like a giant potato and space engineers have to land a probe the size of a washing machine on to its surface. And the probe can't be steered once it's been released from companion craft Rosetta.

That's the task facing scientists from the European Space Agency's comet chasing mission who are close to deciding where to set down on the rocky object that is hurtling towards the Sun.

Rosetta is orbiting Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko but it is so far away from Earth that the Philae lander has to be programmed to land on its own.

ESA says the choice of landing sites will be narrowed down from five to two on Monday — a primary target and a backup — before a final decision is made in October.

"It has presented a challenge as to where we can land on the comet because there are certain regions you just can't reach. The neck is quite difficult to get to — it's difficult to get a trajectory that will end up on that point without clipping one of the lobes.""

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+ - Alibaba Seeks $21.1 Billion in U.S. IPO->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is seeking to raise as much as $21.1 billion in its initial public offering, in what could be the largest sale of new stock in the U.S. ever.

The Chinese company and shareholders including Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO:US) plan to sell 320.1 million American depositary shares for $60 to $66 apiece, according to a regulatory filing today (BABA:US). At the high end of that range, the offering would surpass Visa Inc.’s $19.7 billion IPO in March 2008 and give the company a market value of $162.7 billion.

Alibaba’s executives are now able to meet fund managers to build demand for the IPO and they plan to begin the roadshow in New York next week, people with knowledge of the matter have said. The Hangzhou-based company has garnered years of attention for its scale — with 279 million active buyers in the year through June — and its exposure to a growing Internet consumer base in China."

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+ - Snowden leak exposes US plan to spy on foreign businesses for profit->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The document, published first by The Intercept on Friday this week, outlines tactics the American intelligence community may implement in the future in the event of certain scenarios, including one in which “the United States’ technological and innovative edge slips” in the year 2025.

In the event that the US may lose that advantage, the Quadrennial Intelligence Community Review’s final report reads in part, then “a multi-pronged, systematic effort to gather open source and proprietary information through overt means, clandestine penetration (through physical and cyber means) and counterintelligence” could be undertaken by American agencies.

The document, classified as “secret” and supplied along with a trove of other files provided by Snowden,“is a fascinating window into the mindset of America’s spies as they identify future threats to the US and lay out the actions the US intelligence community should take in response,” wrote Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept editor who wrote about the 32-page report this week.

Indeed, David Shredd, then the deputy director of national intelligence, opens the report by describing it as the results of a 10-month study conducted among experts from agencies, academia, think tanks and industry tasked with assessing the implications of the year 2025 for the American intelligence community, or IC.

“If one does not consider the long-range future, one will never cease to be surprised,” Shredd wrote. “QICR 2009 developed alternative future scenarios based on Global Trends 2025 to explore concepts and capabilities the IC may need to fulfill critical missions in support of US national security.”

The contents of the report, Shredd added, “does not purport that any one future will materialize, but rather outlines a range of plausible futures so that the IC can best posture itself to meet the range of challenges it may face.” Speaking to The Intercept, a spokesperson for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said the report “is not intended to be, and is not, a reflection of current policy or operations.”

Jeffrey Anchukaitis, the DNI spokesperson, told Greenwald that “the United States — unlike our adversaries—does not steal proprietary corporate information to further private American companies’ bottom lines,” and that “the Intelligence Community regularly engages in analytic exercises to identify potential future global environments, and how the IC could help the United States Government respond.”

Nevertheless, the report contains potential plans of action that run counter to previous public admissions made by IC leaders.

“What we do not do, as we have said many times, is use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of — or give intelligence we collect to—US companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line,” Greenwald quoted Director of National Intelligence James Clapper as saying previously.

“But asecret 2009 report issued by Clapper’s own officeexplicitly contemplates doing exactly that,” the journalist wrote this week.

“The IC would need the ability to access proprietary sources of information in permissive environments such as foreign universities, industry trade shows and government conferences,” part of the report reads. “This could include cooperating US students, professors and researchers reporting bits of non-public information that by themselves are not sensitive, but in aggregate could help the IC make inferences about breakthrough technological innovations. The key challenge would be working closely with the academic and scientific communities (which would include non-US persons), gaining trust and monitoring potential 'threats' while continuing to advance US scientific progress.”

According to the document, human spies and cyber operations alike have been considered as possible tools to implement if spying on foreign targets — and not just students and innovators, but entire research and development operations, as well—is needed to be done in 11 years’ time.

“In denied or more restrictive environments such as state-supported R&D centers, the IC would continue to apply human intelligence (HUMINT) tradecraft and employ HUMINT-enabled close access collection. This would include recruitment of sources and assets, and provision of appropriate technical means to acquire and exfiltrate sensitive information,” reads one part of the document.

Elsewhere, the document’s authors detail one end goal: “Technology acquisition by all means.”

“Exfiltrating intelligence from non-permissive environments will be crucial. A critical enabler would be covert communications with a negligible forward footprint. US intelligence officers and sensitive sources will need to move data in an unattributable and undetected way, sometimes from within commercial entities possessing great technical prowess and robust cyber and electronic security protective procedures. Although the likely advent of transnational, high-bandwidth wireless communications services will offer an environment with ‘lots to hide behind,’ it will also contain many highly competent, and potentially antagonistic, actors.”

An illustrate example included in part of the report provides exactly how such a hypothetical situation may play out: “The IC makes separate clandestine approaches to India and Russia to break up the partnership. It conducts cyber operations against research facilities in the two countries, as well as the intellectual ‘supply chain’ supporting these facilities. Finally, it assesses whether and how its findings would be useful to US industry.”

“Using covert cyber operations to pilfer ‘proprietary information’ and then determining how it ‘would be useful to US industry’ is precisely what the US government has been vehemently insisting it does not do,” Greenwald wrote, “even though for years it has officially prepared to do precisely that.”"

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+ - Obamacare site hacked but nothing taken, HHS says->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Hackers silently infected a Healthcare.gov computer server this summer. But the malware didn't manage to steal anyone's data, federal officials say.

On Thursday, the Health and Human Services Department, which manages the Obamacare website, explained what happened. And officials stressed that personal information was never at risk.

"Our review indicates that the server did not contain consumer personal information; data was not transmitted outside the agency, and the website was not specifically targeted," HHS spokesman Kevin Griffis said.

But it was a close call, showing just how vulnerable computer systems can be.
It all happened because of a series of mistakes.

A computer server that routinely tests portions of the website wasn't properly set up. It was never supposed to be connected to the Internet — but someone had accidentally connected it anyway.

That left it open to attack, and on July 8, malware slipped past the Obamacare security system, officials said."

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+ - Home Depot investigating 'massive' hack->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "Home Depot is investigating a hack that possibly exposed its customer payment information.

The company on Tuesday confirmed it has partnered with banks and law enforcement to look into "some unusual activity" relating to customers.

ndependent cybersecurity journalist Brian Krebs was the first to report this, saying "a massive new batch of stolen credit and debit cards" went for sale Tuesday in the black market online.

Krebs said hackers were possibly in Home Depot's computer systems from May until now. If that's true, this might be even larger than the three-week long Target (TGT) breach that affected 40 million debit and credit cards late last year, he noted."

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+ - Comcast allegedly trying to block CenturyLink from entering its territory->

Submitted by mpicpp
mpicpp (3454017) writes "CenturyLink has accused Comcast of trying to prevent competition in cities and towns by making it difficult for the company to obtain reasonable franchise agreements from local authorities.

CenturyLink made the claim yesterday in a filing that asks the Federal Communications Commission to block Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable (TWC) or impose conditions that prevent Comcast from using its market power to harm competitors.

Comcast has a different view on the matter, saying that CenturyLink shouldn’t be able to enter Comcast cities unless CenturyLink promises to build out its network to all residents. Without such conditions, poor people might not be offered service, Comcast argues."

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