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Microsoft's Security Products Will Block Adware By Default Starting On July 1 176

Posted by timothy
from the why-not-sooner dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft [Thursday] announced a change to how it handles adware, a form of malware that pushes unwanted advertisements to the user. As of July 1, the company's security products will immediately stop any adware they detect and notify the user, who can then restore the program if they wish. Currently, when any of Microsoft's security products (including Microsoft Security Essentials and Microsoft Forefront) detects a program as adware, it will alert the user and offer them a recommended action. If the user doesn't do anything, the security product will let the program continue to run until the user makes a decision." If adware is malware, why wait until July?

Member of President Obama's NSA Panel Recommends Increased Data Collection 349

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-so-fast dept.
cold fjord writes "National Journal reports, 'Michael Morell, the former acting director of the CIA and a member of President Obama's task force on surveillance, said ... that a controversial telephone data-collection program conducted by the National Security Agency should be expanded to include emails. He also said the program, far from being unnecessary, could prevent the next 9/11. Morell, seeking to correct any misperception that the presidential panel had called for a radical curtailment of NSA programs, said he is in favor of restarting a program that the NSA discontinued in 2011 that involved the collection of "meta-data" for internet communications. ... "I would argue actually that the email data is probably more valuable than the telephony data," ... Morell also said that while he agreed with the report's conclusion that the telephone data program, conducted under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, made "only a modest contribution to the nation's security" so far, it should be continued under the new safeguards recommended by the panel. "I would argue that what effectiveness we have seen to date is totally irrelevant to how effective it might be in the future," he said. "This program, 215, has the ability to stop the next 9/11 and if you added emails in there it would make it even more effective. Had it been in place in 2000 and 2001, I think that probably 9/11 would not have happened."' — More at Politico and National Review. Some members of Congress have a different view. Even Russian President Putin has weighed in with both a zing and a defense."

+ - A Biometric Test-Drive: The Corvette Stingray Tests A Body's Response

Submitted by cartechboy
cartechboy (2660665) writes "In the standard test-drive, you test the car. How does it feel, work, etc. But what if a test-drive is more about testing your body's response to the experience of driving the car? Chevrolet got the idea to invite people to a track, strap a bunch of sensors to their bodies to record biometric data (and video) as they handed them the keys to the new Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. The remote system and some doctors recorded interesting changes in each driver's vitals from heart rate to respiration to brain activity as they drove. (hint: heart rate up) Its interesting stuff, and oddly, each driver seems to get calmer as the drive goes on. As we've seen in other circumstances, biometrics or not, that doesn't always happen."

+ - Using Computer Simulation: In Search of the Perfect Curve Ball 1

Submitted by Esther Schindler
Esther Schindler (16185) writes "We tend to think of computer simulation being used for scientific and industrial purposes. What if the technology could be used to, say, improve the performance of a Major League Baseball pitcher?

Over lunch, several Convergent Science employees – who happen to include fans of the St Louis Cardinals, the National League entry in this year’s World Series – came up with the idea of using the software to simulate Wainwright’s curve ball, says Rob Kaczmarek, the company’s director of sales and marketing. “Of course, [the Cardinals fans] went on and on about how Wainwright was going to demolish [the Red Sox] with his curveball. The seeds of simulating just what’s happening in that curveball were planted that day,” he says.

The simulation starts by subdividing the 90 feet of air from the pitcher’s mound to the plate into tiny cells, then simulates the ball cutting through these cells, and calculates the effect of each cell on the ball’s motion. "Wainwright, his pitching coach, or any other pitcher could use this tool – theoretically, at least – to analyze his motion and figure out the ideal release point (to the extent, of course, that any human can repeat a motion and release to the point of perfection every time)," writes Ron Miller.

Miller explains what that one company is doing, and briefly compares it to other options (in baseball and other sports) for analyzing performance in the effort to be just that little bit better. (He does not, however, delve into the topic of whether there ought to be a limit on such efforts; Malcolm Gladwell discussed that elsewhere in MAN AND SUPERMAN: In athletic competitions, what qualifies as a sporting chance?.)"

+ - Even the Author of the Patriot Act Is Trying to Stop the NSA->

Submitted by Daniel_Stuckey
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner will introduce an anti-NSA bill tomorrow in the House, and if it makes its winding way to becoming law, it will be a big step towards curtailing the NSA's bulk metadata collection. Wisconsin Rep. Sensenbrenner, along with 60 co-sponsors, aims to amend one section of the Patriot Act, Section 215, in a bill known as the United and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet Collection, and Online Monitoring Act—also known by its less-clunky acronym version, the USA Freedom Act."
Link to Original Source

+ - Progvember: National Code Writing Month

Submitted by rjmarvin
rjmarvin (3001897) writes "Inspired by National Novel Writing Month, a U.K. programmer started Progvember, a monthly challenge to create any kind of computer program an app, website, utility, framework, programming language or operating system, within a month. From Nov. 1 to 30, users from around the world who have already signed up for over 50 projects, will code with a common goal and challenge each other to better the software development community."

+ - How Kentucky Built The Country's Best Obamacare Website

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Dylan Scott writes at TPM that Kentucky, with its deeply conservative congressional delegation, might seem like an unlikely place for Obamacare to find success but the state's online health insurance web sites has become one of the best marketplaces since its launch and shown that the marketplace concept can work in practice. Kentucky routinely ranks toward the bottom in overall health, and better health coverage is one step toward reversing that norm. Whatever the federal website seems to have failed to do to ensure its success on the Oct. 1 launch, Kentucky did. It started with the commitment to build the state's own website rather than default to the federal version. On July 17, 2012, a few weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act, Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear created the exchange via executive order, over the objections of a Republican-controlled state legislature, which sought other means — including an effort to prevent the exchange from finding office space — to block the site's creation. The recipe for success in Kentucky was: A pared-down website engineered to perform the basic functions well and a concerted effort to test it as frequently as possible to work out glitches before the Oct. 1 launch. Testing was undertaken throughout every step of the process, says Carrie Banahan, kynect's executive director, and it was crucial because it allowed state officials to identify problems early in the process. She laid out the timeline like this: From January 2013 to March, they developed the system; from April to June, they built it; from July to September, they tested it. From a design standpoint, Kentucky made the conscious choice to stick to the basics, rather than seeking to blow users away with a state-of-the-art consumer interface. It “doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that other states tried to incorporate,” like interactive features, says Jennifer Tolbert. “It’s very straightforward in allowing consumers to browse plans without first creating an account.” A big part of that was knowing their demographics: A simpler site would make it easer to access for people without broadband Internet access, and the content was written at a sixth-grade reading level so it would be as easy to understand as possible. "What we've found in Kentucky when we started talking with people was that there was a huge amount of misinformation and misunderstanding. People were very confused," says Beshear . "What I've been telling them is: Look, you don't have to like the president, and you don't have to like me. It's not about the president and it's not about me. It's about you, it's about your family, it's about your children.""

+ - Is Europa Too Prickly to Land On?->

Submitted by astroengine
astroengine (1577233) writes "A deadly bed of icy javelins — known as penitentes — could be awaiting any spacecraft that tries to land on some parts of the ice-covered world Europa, say researchers who have carefully modeled the ice processes at work on parts of the Jovian moon to detect features beyond the current low resolution images. If the prediction of long vertical blades of ice is correct, it will not only help engineers design a lander to tame or avoid the sabers, but also help explain a couple of nagging mysteries about the strange moon. "This is a game changer," said planetary scientist Don Blankenship of the University of Texas in Austin. Blankenship has been involved in NASA's planning process for sending a reconnaissance spacecraft and eventually a lander to Europa."
Link to Original Source

+ - Science Has Lost its Way

Submitted by Hugh Pickens DOT Com
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Michael Hiltzik writes in the LA Times that you'd think the one place you can depend on for verifiable facts is science but a few years ago, scientists at Amgen set out to double-check the results of 53 landmark papers in their fields of cancer research and blood biology and found only six could be proved valid. "The thing that should scare people is that so many of these important published studies turn out to be wrong when they're investigated further," says Michael Eisen who adds that the drive to land a paper in a top journal encourages researchers to hype their results, especially in the life sciences. Peer review, in which a paper is checked out by eminent scientists before publication, isn't a safeguard because the unpaid reviewers seldom have the time or inclination to examine a study enough to unearth errors or flaws. "The journals want the papers that make the sexiest claims," Eisen says. "And scientists believe that the way you succeed is having splashy papers in Science or Nature — it's not bad for them if a paper turns out to be wrong, if it's gotten a lot of attention." That's why the National Institutes of Health has launched a project to remake its researchers' approach to publication. Its new PubMed Commons system allows qualified scientists to post ongoing comments about published papers. The goal is to wean scientists from the idea that a cursory, one-time peer review is enough to validate a research study, and substitute a process of continuing scrutiny, so that poor research can be identified quickly and good research can be picked out of the crowd and find a wider audience. "The demand for sexy results, combined with indifferent follow-up, means that billions of dollars in worldwide resources devoted to finding and developing remedies for the diseases that afflict us all is being thrown down a rathole," says Hiltzik. "NIH and the rest of the scientific community are just now waking up to the realization that science has lost its way, and it may take years to get back on the right path.""

Interviews: Ask James Gosling About Java and Ocean Exploring Robots 87

Posted by samzenpus
from the ask-away dept.
James Gosling is probably best known for creating the Java programming language while working at Sun Microsystems. Currently, he is the chief software architect at Liquid Robotics. Among other projects, Liquid Robotics makes the Wave Glider, an autonomous, environmentally powered marine robot. James has agreed to take a little time from the oceangoing robots and answer any questions you have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.

+ - Network engineering Q&A site launched

Submitted by Hamburg
Hamburg (2890317) writes "Stack Exchange launched a new site for network engineers. It's in question and answer style, content is tagged for filtering and subscribing to topics. A voting system supports quality of posts, leading to so called reputation scores which determine moderation capabilities of the users. It's now 18 days in beta, at this early stage users decide which way it will go, from quality and kind of contributions up to the future design of the site. People there discuss mainly professional subjects such as the best dual-provider design for the enterprise, when to choose fiber instead of copper cabling, and efficient ways for troubleshooting switching loops."

+ - Additive manufacturing method builds objects with 3D curves instead of 2D layers->

Submitted by Sabine Hauert
Sabine Hauert (2925227) writes "Mataerial is a new 3D printing method that uses extrusion technology and a two-component thermosetting polymer to build up objects on any working surface that the polymer can adhere to, including floors, walls and ceilings, without the need for additional support structures. While other 3D printing methods build up objects by successive 2D layering, this process truly builds up objects in all three dimensions: a script takes 3D models designed by the user in CAD software, converts them into 3D curves and then these 3D curves are converted into paths that are fed in the robotic arm. By combining these 3D curves, a variety of shapes can be achieved that would be impossible with other 3D printing methods."
Link to Original Source

+ - Human stem cell cloning paper contains reused images.

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A very recent paper in the prestigious biology journal Cell — "Human Embryonic Stem Cells Derived by Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer" (openly accessible) — reports the novel creation of human embryonic stem cells from somatic nuclei. It has received massive media coverage and is surely pencilled in as a strong candidate for scientific publication of the year. It does however have several examples of image reuse that have been pointed out by a submission on PubPeer. In the paper, it is recorded that the journal Cell accepted this paper just 4 days after submission. Perhaps, under the circumstances, the pre-publication peer review had to be a little hasty? At least at Pubpeer, while conducting post publication review, we can take as long as necessary to make up for that lost time. (Hat tip and kudos to Peer 1)."

+ - How do we move from using contract developers to hiring some in house?

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "I run a small software consulting company who outsources most of it's work to contractors. I market myself as being able to handle any technical project but only really take the fun ones, then shop it around to developers who are interested.

I write excellent product specs, provide bug tracking & source control and in general am a programming project manager with empathy for developers. I don't ask them to work weekends and I provide detailed, reproducible bug reports and I pay on time. The only 'rule' (if you can call it that) is: I do not pay for bugs. Developers can make more work for themselves by causing bugs and with the specifications I write there is no excuse for not testing their code.

Developers are always fine with it until we get toward the end of a project and the customer is complaining about bugs. Then all of a sudden I am asking my contractors to work for 'free' and they can make more money elsewhere. Ugh.

Every project ends up being a pissing match, so, I think the solution is to finally hire someone fulltime and pay for everything (bugs or not) and just keep them busy. But how can I make that transition? The guy I'd need to hire would have to know a LOT of languages and be proficient in all of them and I can't afford to pay someone $100K/year right now.


"Regardless of the legal speed limit, your Buick must be operated at speeds faster than 85 MPH (140kph)." -- 1987 Buick Grand National owners manual.