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Programming

Lennart Poettering Announces the First Systemd Conference 281 281

jones_supa writes: Lennart Poettering, the creator of the controversial init system and service manager for Linux-based operating systems has announced the first systemd conference. The systemd.conf will take place November 5-7, in Berlin, Germany. systemd developers and hackers, DevOps professionals, and Linux distribution packagers will be able to attend various workshops, as well as to collaborate with their fellow developers and plan the future of the project. Attendees will also be able to participate in an extended hackfest event, as well as numerous presentations held by important names in the systemd project, including Poettering himself.
Biotech

Checking Mammoth DNA Against Elephants Hints At How They Got Hairy 22 22

An anonymous reader writes: A new study on mammoth DNA comparing the hairy animals to their cousins, the Asian and African elephants, has isolated what genes separate it from its warm-weather cousins. The study found that genes controlling skin and hair development, fat metabolism, insulin signaling, and skull shape, differed from today's contemporary elephant species. "They have this weird hump on their back, which is thought to be something like a camel hump — sort of a fat deposit that stored water and energy for the cold, dark winters," says Vincent Lynch, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago.
Bitcoin

Greek Financial Crisis Is an Opportunity For Bitcoin 359 359

An anonymous reader writes: Greece's economy has been in trouble for several years, now, and a major vote next weekend will shake it up even further. The country can't pay its debts, and the upcoming referendum will decide whether they face increased austerity measures or start the process of exiting the Euro. One side effect of the crisis is that alternative currencies like Bitcoin suddenly look much more attractive as the "normal" currencies become unstable. "Tony Gallippi, the co-founder of bitcoin payment processor Bitpay, tweeted on Sunday night that he expected the price of bitcoin to rise to between $610 and $1,250 if Greece exits the Euro. The currency is currently worth $250. Part of the reason why the crisis is so tempting for proponents of the cryptocurrency is the echoes of a previous crisis in the Eurozone: the banking collapse in Cyprus in 2013, which saw that nation also impose capital controls to prevent massive outflows of currency from the panicking country. That collapse came at the same time as the first major boom in the price of bitcoin, which began the year at less than $20 and peaked at ten times that by early April – before it all came crashing down."
Power

Samsung Nanotech Breakthrough Nearly Doubles Li-Ion Battery Capacity 132 132

The Korea Times reports that Samsung researchers have published in Nature Communications the results of research (here's the abstract) that could lead to vastly greater storage capacity for lithium-ion batteries. The researchers, by growing graphene on silicon anodes, were able to preserve the shape of the anodes, an outcome which has formerly eluded battery designers: silicon tends to deform over numerous charging cycles. From the linked abstract: Here we report direct graphene growth over silicon nanoparticles without silicon carbide formation. The graphene layers anchored onto the silicon surface accommodate the volume expansion of silicon via a sliding process between adjacent graphene layers. When paired with a commercial lithium cobalt oxide cathode, the silicon carbide-free graphene coating allows the full cell to reach volumetric energy densities of 972 and 700Whl1 at first and 200th cycle, respectively, 1.8 and 1.5 times higher than those of current commercial lithium-ion batteries. Also at ZDNet.
Robotics

Florida Hospital Shows Normal Internet Lag Time Won't Affect Remote Robotic Surgeries 125 125

Lucas123 writes: Remote robotic surgery performed hundreds or even thousands of miles away from the physician at the controls is possible and safe, according to the Florida Hospital that recently tested Internet lag times for the technology. Roger Smith, CTO at the Florida Hospital Nicholson Center in Celebration, Fla., said the hospital tested the lag time to a partner facility in Ft. Worth, Texas and found it ranged from 30 to 150 milliseconds, which surgeons could not detect as they moved remote robotic laparoscopic instruments. The tests, performed using a surgical simulator called a Mimic, will now be performed as if operating remotely in Denver and then Loma Linda, Calif. The Mimic Simulator system enables virtual procedures performed by a da Vinci robotic surgical system, the most common equipment in use today; it's used for hundreds of thousands of surgeries every year around the world. With a da Vinci system, surgeons today can perform operations yards away from a patient, even in separate but adjoining rooms to the OR. By stretching that distance to tens, hundreds or thousands of miles, the technology could enable patients to receive operations from top surgeons that would otherwise not be possible, including wounded soldiers near a battlefield. The Mimic Simulator was able to first artificially dial up lag times, starting with 200 milliseconds all the way up to 600 milliseconds.
Space

Planetary Society Wants To Launch a Crowd-Funded Solar Sail 52 52

jan_jes writes to note that The Planetary Society is attempting to crowdfund its own version of the light-powered space-craft popularized by Carl Sagan as a "solar sailer." (YouTube video, with the Society's CEO Bill Nye.) The current model is a CubeSat no bigger than a breadbox with four sails. If the team manages to raise enough money, LightSail will be sent to orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket in 2016. LightSail will be released into an orbit with an altitude of 720 kilometers (450 miles), high enough to escape most of the planet's atmospheric drag. Their crowdfunding goal has been far surpassed (more than $476,000 at this writing), but more can't hurt; maybe NASA could use some of the surplus.
Space

Shape of the Universe Determined To Be Really, Really Flat 235 235

StartsWithABang writes: You might imagine all sorts of possibilities for how the Universe could have been shaped: positively curved like a higher-dimensional sphere, negatively curved like a higher-dimensional saddle, folded back on itself like a donut/torus, or spatially flat on the largest scales, like a giant Cartesian grid. Yet only one of these possibilities matches up with our observations, something we can probe simply by using our knowledge of how light travels in both flat and curved space, and measuring the CMB, the source of the most distant light in the Universe. The result? A Universe that's so incredibly flat, it's indistinguishable from perfection. Which means it's probably even flatter than Kansas.
United States

Hillary Clinton Declares 2016 Democratic Presidential Bid 676 676

An anonymous reader writes In a move that surprised no one, Hillary Clinton has officially announced she is entering the 2016 race for the White House. According to the Times: "Ending two years of speculation and coy denials, Hillary Rodham Clinton announced on Sunday that she would seek the presidency for a second time, immediately establishing herself as the likely 2016 Democratic nominee. 'I'm running for president,' she said with a smile near the end of a two-minute video released just after 3 p.m. 'Everyday Americans need a champion. And I want to be that champion,' Mrs. Clinton said. 'So I'm hitting the road to earn your vote — because it's your time. And I hope you'll join me on this journey.'"
Security

LG Split Screen Software Compromises System Security 187 187

jones_supa writes: The Korean electronics company LG ships a split screen tool with their ultra wide displays. It allows users to slice the Windows desktop into multiple segments. However, installing the software seriously compromises security of the particular workstation. The developers required administrator access for the software, but apparently they hacked their way out. The installer silently disables User Account Control, and enables a policy to start all applications as Administrator. In the article there is also a video presentation of the setup procedure. It is safe to say that no one should be running this software in its current form.
Crime

The Courage of Bystanders Who Press "Record" 489 489

HughPickens.com writes Robinson Meyer writes in The Atlantic that in the past year, after the killings of Michael Brown and Tamir Rice, many police departments and police reformists have agreed on the necessity of police-worn body cameras. But the most powerful cameras aren't those on officer's bodies but those wielded by bystanders. We don't yet know who shot videos of officer Michael T. Slager shooting Walter Scott eight times as he runs away but "unknown cameramen and women lived out high democratic ideals: They watched a cop kill someone, shoot recklessly at someone running away, and they kept the camera trained on the cop," writes Robinson. "They were there, on an ordinary, hazy Saturday morning, and they chose to be courageous. They bore witness, at unknown risk to themselves."

"We have been talking about police brutality for years. And now, because of videos, we are seeing just how systemic and widespread it is," tweeted Deray McKesson, an activist in Ferguson, after the videos emerged Tuesday night. "The videos over the past seven months have empowered us to ask deeper questions, to push more forcefully in confronting the system." The process of ascertaining the truth of the world has to start somewhere. A video is one more assertion made about what is real concludes Robinson. "Today, through some unknown hero's stubborn internal choice to witness instead of flee, to press record and to watch something terrible unfold, we have one more such assertion of reality."
Advertising

Consumer Groups Bemoan Google's "Deceptive" Ads for Kids In FTC Complaint 92 92

Mark Wilson writes A number of consumer groups have filed a complaint with the FTC suggesting that Google is targeting children with 'unfair and deceptive' ads in YouTube Kids for Android and iOS. A letter signed by Children Now, Consumer Watchdog, Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, and others says that ads are displayed in a way that would not be permitted on broadcast or cable television. The letter makes three main complaints about the app. The first suggests that Google mixes programming and ads, while another says that the relationship between Google and the manufacturers of advertised products is not clear. The groups ask for the FTC to take action to stop the advertisements. Also covered by The Verge and VentureBeat; here's the complaint letter.
Nintendo

Nintendo To Announce Virtual Boy 2 68 68

SlappingOysters writes Nintendo has officially unveiled the development of its next home console, codenamed the NX. This article at finder puts forward the case that Nintendo will be stepping back into the virtual realty game with a follow-up to its ill-fated 1995 peripheral, the Virtual Boy. It would be going head-to-head with the Vive, Project Morpheus and the much-rumoured, not yet announced, Microsoft VR unit.
Privacy

Uber Sued Over Driver Data Breach, Adding To Legal Woes 32 32

wabrandsma writes with news about the latest trouble facing Uber. "Uber Technologies Inc has been hit with a proposed class action lawsuit over a recently disclosed data breach involving the personal information of about 50,000 drivers, the latest in a series of legal woes to hit the Internet car service. The suit, filed Thursday in federal court in San Francisco by Sasha Antman, an Uber driver in Portland, Oregon, says the company did not do enough to prevent the 2014 breach and waited too long — about five months — to disclose it. Antman says Uber violated a California law requiring companies to safeguard employee's personal information."

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