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Science

Study: Chimpanzees Have Evolved To Kill Each Other 203

Posted by samzenpus
from the battle-of-the-apes dept.
sciencehabit writes A major new study of warfare in chimpanzees finds that lethal aggression can be evolutionarily beneficial in that species, rewarding the winners with food, mates, and the opportunity to pass along their genes. The findings run contrary to recent claims that chimps fight only if they are stressed by the impact of nearby human activity—and could help explain the origins of human conflict as well.
Privacy

Apple's "Warrant Canary" Has Died 224

Posted by samzenpus
from the get-out-of-the-mine dept.
HughPickens.com writes When Apple published its first Transparency Report on government activity in late 2013, the document contained an important footnote that stated: "Apple has never received an order under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. We would expect to challenge such an order if served on us." Now Jeff John Roberts writes at Gigaom that Apple's warrant canary has disappeared. A review of the company's last two Transparency Reports, covering the second half of 2013 and the first six months of 2014, shows that the "canary" language is no longer there suggesting that Apple is now part of FISA or PRISM proceedings.

Warrant canaries are a tool used by companies and publishers to signify to their users that, so far, they have not been subject to a given type of law enforcement request such as a secret subpoena. If the canary disappears, then it is likely the situation has changed — and the company has been subject to such request. This may also give some insight into Apple's recent decision to rework its latest encryption in a way that makes it almost impossible for the company to turn over data from most iPhones or iPads to police.
Networking

Once Vehicles Are Connected To the Internet of Things, Who Guards Your Privacy? 128

Posted by timothy
from the I-hope-it's-rob-ford dept.
Lucas123 (935744) writes Carmakers already remotely collect data from their vehicles, unbeknownst to most drivers, but once connected via in-car routers or mobile devices to the Internet, and to roadway infrastructure and other vehicles around them, that information would be accessible by the government or other undesired entities. Location data, which is routinely collected by GPS providers and makers of telematics systems, is among the most sensitive pieces of information that can be collected, according to Nate Cardozo, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "Not having knowledge that a third party is collecting that data on us and with whom they are sharing that data with is extremely troubling," Cardozo said. in-vehicle diagnostics data could also be used by government agencies to track driver behavior. Nightmare scenarios could include traffic violations being issued without law enforcement officers on the scene or federal agencies having the ability to track your every move in a car. That there could be useful data in all that personally identifiable bits made me think of Peter Wayner's "Translucent Databases."
Windows

What To Expect With Windows 9 535

Posted by Soulskill
from the solid-color-rectangles dept.
snydeq writes: Two weeks before the its official unveiling, this article provides a roundup of what to expect and the open questions around Windows 9, given Build 9834 leaks and confirmations springing up all over the Web. The desktop's Start Menu, Metro apps running in resizable windows on the desktop, virtual desktops, Notification Center, and Storage Sense, are among the presumed features in store for Windows 9. Chief among the open questions are the fates of Internet Explorer, Cortana, and the Metro Start Screen. Changes to Windows 9 will provide an inkling of where Nadella will lead Microsoft in the years ahead. What's your litmus test on Windows 9?
Cellphones

Apple Edits iPhone 6's Protruding Camera Out of Official Photos 422

Posted by Soulskill
from the truthiness-in-advertising dept.
Sockatume writes: If you've been browsing Apple's site leading up to the iPhone 6 launch, you might've noticed something a little odd. Apple has edited the handset's protruding camera out of every single side-on view of the phone. (The camera is, necessarily, retained for images showing the back of the device.) The absence is particularly conspicuous given the number of side views Apple uses to emphasize the device's thinness.

Comment: Self-healing drivers (Score 2) 93

by peppepz (#47917329) Attached to: New Release of MINIX 3 For x86 and ARM Is NetBSD Compatible
Don't present userspace drivers as a panacea for all kinds of driver troubles: when a driver fails, it can make the hardware it drives hang your machine solid from the hardware's side, or make said hardware DMA all over your RAM with complete disregard any CPU-imposed protection; there's no safe recovery from such a situation, and in this case applications had better be stopped even if they appear to be still running.
Music

Apple Outrages Users By Automatically Installing U2's Album On Their Devices 609

Posted by samzenpus
from the do-not-want dept.
Zanadou writes "Apple may have succeeded at breaking two records at once with the free release of U2's latest album, titled Songs of Innocence, via iTunes. But now, it looks like it's also on track to become one of the worst music publicity stunts of all time. Users who have opted to download new purchases to their iPhones automatically have found the new U2 album sitting on their phones. But even if iTunes users hadn't chosen automatic downloads, Songs of Innocence will still be displayed as an "iTunes in the Cloud" purchase. That means it will still be shown as part of your music library, even if you delete all the tracks. The only way to make the U2 album go away is to go to your Mac or PC and hide all of your "iTunes in the Cloud" purchases, or to use iTunes to manually hide each track from your purchased items list. Other reactions include rapper Tyler, The Creator saying that having the new U2 album automatically downloaded on his iPhone was like waking up with an STD. Update: 09/16 15:06 GMT by T : Note: Apple has released a fix.

Comment: Re: Would be nice to see Scala replace Java (Score 1) 94

by peppepz (#47844581) Attached to: Scala Designer Martin Odersky On Next Steps
Please read the post I was replying to, it was claiming that checking for object value equality using == sometimes works. That's what doesn't work, and rightfully so. Sorry if it wasn't clear, but unfortunately I'm using the mobile site and I can't find the "quote parent" option.

Comment: Re: Would be nice to see Scala replace Java (Score 1) 94

by peppepz (#47842223) Attached to: Scala Designer Martin Odersky On Next Steps
No, it never works. Ever. For any kind of object. Comparing references instead of values is logically wrong, it does not make sense, and it "works" with compiler-generated structures in the same way as comparing C strings with == instead of strcmp() may happen to "work", or comparing C arrays using > may happen to "work". The difference between a value and a reference is a very basic concept of programming, and in the case of Java it's explained very early in learning courses. If anything, languages that allow complexity-hiding features such as the overloading of == are much better puzzler-generators than the simple, elegant, plain Java. Which didn't even have autoboxing originally.

Comment: Re:Would be nice to see Scala replace Java (Score 5, Informative) 94

by peppepz (#47841807) Attached to: Scala Designer Martin Odersky On Next Steps

Every time I teach a beginner's course, I am reminded of just how ugly Java really is. Here's a simple example:

- Comparing two "int" variables, you use == - Comparing two Integer variables, you probably want .equals()

Comparing *any* object, you want to use equals(), there's no "probably".

- But it is possible to have two different Integer objects with the same value - this is when you wand ==

No, you don't. Comparing two Integer objects, as any other object, with ==, will compare the two references to the object in order to determine if they point to the same object. The object contents won't be looked at. This is simple to learn and teach, and elegant as a design. I find no ugliness whatsoever in this.

- But Java wants to save memory, so in fact == and equals yield the same result for values from -128 to +127

Although you didn't mention it, you are thinking about autoboxing. Java makes efficient use of memory and, by using == to test object identity instead of equals() you can detect this optimization. This can't influence any working code (because comparing the results of .equals() and == makes no logical sense) and certainly isn't confusing.

A more advanced example are the generics that disappear when the code is compiled. I understand the arguments for doing it this way, but I disagree with them - if you have generics, you ought to be able to query the types at run-time. There are lots and lots of highly questionable design decisions - basically, 20 years of backwards compatibility.

It's past time to clean house. Building a new language on top of the established JVM technology seems like a very good idea indeed. Perhaps Scala can fulfill this role...

Scala has type erasure, too, and IIRC it was designed by one of the guys who are responsible for the design of type erasure in Java.

Cellphones

Is the App Store Broken? 258

Posted by Soulskill
from the honeymoon-is-over dept.
A recent post by Instapaper's Marco Arment suggests that design flaws in Apple's App Store are harming the app ecosystem, and users are suffering because of it. "The dominance and prominence of 'top lists' stratifies the top 0.02% so far above everyone else that the entire ecosystem is encouraged to design for a theoretical top-list placement that, by definition, won’t happen to 99.98% of them." Arment notes that many good app developers are finding continued development to be unsustainable, while scammy apps are encouraged to flood the market.

"As the economics get tighter, it becomes much harder to support the lavish treatment that developers have given apps in the past, such as full-time staffs, offices, pixel-perfect custom designs of every screen, frequent free updates, and completely different iPhone and iPad interfaces. Many will give up and leave for stable, better-paying jobs. (Many already have.)" Brent Simmons points out the indie developers have largely given up the dream of being able to support themselves through iOS development. Yoni Heisler argues that their plight is simply a consequence of ever-increasing competition within the industry, though he acknowledges that more app curation would be a good thing. What strategies could Apple (and the operators of other mobile application stories) do to keep app quality high?
The Military

Hackers Plundered Israeli Defense Firms That Built 'Iron Dome' Missile Defense 184

Posted by Soulskill
from the intercepting-missiles-is-easier-than-learning-not-to-click-on-attachments dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Brian Krebs reports on information from Columbia, Md.-based threat intelligence firm Cyber Engineering Services Inc. that attackers thought to be operating out of China hacked into the corporate networks of three top Israeli defense technology companies. The attackers were seeking technical documents related to Iron Dome, Israel's air defense system. "IAI was initially breached on April 16, 2012 by a series of specially crafted email phishing attacks. ... Once inside the IAI’s network, [the attackers] spent the next four months in 2012 using their access to install various tools and trojan horse programs on systems throughout company’s network and expanding their access to sensitive files, CyberESI said. The actors compromised privileged credentials, dumped password hashes, and gathered system, file, and network information for several systems. The actors also successfully used tools to dump Active Directory data from domain controllers on at least two different domains on the IAI’s network. All told, CyberESI was able to identify and acquire more than 700 files — totaling 762 MB total size — that were exfiltrated from IAI’s network during the compromise. The security firm said most of the data acquired was intellectual property and likely represented only a small portion of the entire data loss by IAI." Most of the stolen material pertained to Arrow III missiles, UAVs, and ballistic rockets.
Medicine

Metamason: Revolutionizing CPAP Masks With 3D Scanning and 3D Printing 59

Posted by samzenpus
from the breathing-easy dept.
First time accepted submitter Leslie Oliver Karpas writes As millions of Americans with Obstructive Sleep Apnea struggle to get a good night's sleep, one company has harnessed 3D technology to revolutionize CPAP therapy. As 3ders.org reported today, "Metamason is working on custom CPAP masks for sleep apnea patients via 3D scanning, smart geometry, and 3D printing." "We're at the crossroads of 3D technology and personalized medicine," says Metamason's founder and CEO. "There are many medical products that would be infinitely more comfortable and effective with a customized fit. CPAP therapy is the perfect example—it's a very effective treatment with a 50% quit rate, because mass-produced masks are uncomfortable and don't fit properly." CPAP is a respiratory device worn during sleep to treat OSA, which affects 1 in 4 men and 1 in 9 women in the US alone. Metamason's "ScanFitPrint" process for creating their custom Respere masks translates a 3D scan of the patient's face into a 3D printed custom mask that is a perfect individual fit. To print the masks in soft, biocompatible silicone, Metamason invented a proprietary 3D printing process called Investment Molding, which creates wholly integrated products that were previously considered "unmoldable."

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