sciencehabit writes "The next time you hear extended applause for a performance you didn't think was that great, don't feel like a snob. A new study reveals that audience response has more to do with the people in the seats than those up on stage. Applause, it turns out, is a bit like peer pressure. In a study of college students, individuals were more likely to start clapping if a larger percentage of the audience had already started. If 50% of the audience was clapping, for example, individuals were 10 times more likely to start clapping than if 5% of the audience was clapping. People stop clapping for the same reason. Even more surprising, the applause for a bad presentation could be just as long as applause for a good one. Random interactions in the audience can result in very different lengths of applause regardless of the quality of the talk."
An anonymous reader writes "The LA Times mentions that after visiting well known sites such as ADP, Verizon Wireless, Scottrade, Geico, Equifax, PayPal and Allstate, sensitive data remains in the browser disk cache despite those sites using SSL. This included full credit reports, prescription history, payroll statements, partial SSNs, credit card statements, and canceled checks. Web servers are supposed to send a Cache-Control: no-store header to prevent this, but many of the sites are sending non-standard headers recognized only by Internet Explorer, and others are sending no cache headers at all. While browsers were once cautious about writing content received over SSL to the disk cache, today, most do so by default unless the server specifies otherwise."
judgecorp writes "In a move reminiscent of the 1960s Cold War days, Presidents Obama and Putin have set up a hotline between their respective cyber-security authorities, to defuse any possible crises and prevent them from escalating into an online equivalent of the Cuban Missile Crisis. 'We recognise that threats to or in the use of ICTs include political-military and criminal threats, as well as threats of a terrorist nature, and are some of the most serious national and international security challenges we face in the 21st Century,' a joint statement from the presidents read."
itwbennett writes "Speaking at a cloud panel discussion hosted by Reuters on Wednesday, Terry Wise, head of global partner ecosystem for Amazon Web Services, explained how the company handles government requests for data stored on Amazon's cloud: 'If a U.S. entity is serving us with a legally binding subpoena, we contact our customer and work with that customer to fight the subpoena.' But Wise's best advice to customers is to encrypt their data: 'If the data is encrypted, all we'd be handing over would be the cypher text,' he said."
sfcrazy writes "A top Monsanto executive has won the prestigious World Food Prize. Secretary of State John Kerry announced the award where Robert T. Fraley, the executive vice president and CTO of Monsanto, won the prize along with two other scientists from Belgium and the US. The award was given for devising a method to insert genes from another organism into plant sell, which could produce new genetic lines with highly favorable traits."
Trailrunner7 writes "After years of saying that the company didn't need a bug bounty program, Microsoft is starting one. The company today will announce the start of a new program that will pay security researchers up to $100,000 for serious vulnerabilities and as much as $50,000 for new defensive techniques that help protect against those flaws. Microsoft security officials say that the program has been a long time in development, and the factor that made this the right time to launch is the recent rise of vulnerability brokers. Up until quite recently, most of the researchers who found bugs in Microsoft products reported them directly to the company. That's no longer the case. The system that Microsoft is kicking off on June 26 will pay researchers $100,000 for a new exploit technique that is capable of bypassing the latest existing mitigations in the newest version of Windows."
Bob the Super Hamste writes "The St. Paul Pioneer press is reporting that Comcast is planning on expanding its network of public WiFi hot spots in the Twin Cities area by using home internet connections and user's WiFi routers. Customers will be upgraded to new wireless routers that will have 2 wireless networks, one for the home users and one for the general public. Subscribers to Comcast's Xfinity service and customers that participate in the public WiFi program will be allowed free access to the public WiFi offered by this service. Non Comcast customers get 2 free sessions a month each lasting 1 hour with additional sessions costing money. The article mentions that a similar service already exists and is provided by the Spain-based company Fon."
sciencehabit writes "In a few years, an iPhone app may give you a 3D layout of a room as soon as you step into it. Researchers have developed an algorithm that spits out the shape and contours of complex structures (including Switzerland's Lausanne Cathedral) using data compiled from four randomly placed microphones. The technology, which relies on the same sort of echolocation bats and dolphins use to navigate, could be used to develop more realistic echoes in video games and virtual reality simulations and to eliminate the echo from phone calls."
kkleiner writes "A self-described think tank of engineers and inventors called Two Bit Circus have completed a successful crowdfunding campaign to launch a high tech reinvention of carnivals from yesteryear. The campaign raised over $100k to launch the STEAM Carnival (as in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) to take place in Los Angeles and San Francisco next year. Showcasing robots, fire, and lasers, the goal of the carnival is to inspire young people into science and technology through these entertaining and educational events."
MTorrice writes "A surprising suite of microbial species colonizes plastic waste floating in the ocean, according to a new study. The bacteria appeared to burrow pits into the plastic. One possible explanation is that bacteria eat into the polymers, weakening the pieces enough to cause them to break down more quickly and eventually sink to the sea floor. While the microbes could speed the plastic's decay, they might also cause their own ecological problems, the researchers say."
Rick Zeman writes "Showing once again that once a privacy door is opened every law enforcement agency will run through it, The Washington Post details how state drivers license photo databases are being mined by various LEOs in their states--and out. From the article: '[L]aw enforcement use of such facial searches is blurring the traditional boundaries between criminal and non-criminal databases, putting images of people never arrested in what amount to perpetual digital lineups. The most advanced systems allow police to run searches from laptop computers in their patrol cars and offer access to the FBI and other federal authorities. Such open access has caused a backlash in some of the few states where there has been a public debate. As the databases grow larger and increasingly connected across jurisdictional boundaries, critics warn that authorities are developing what amounts to a national identification system — based on the distinct geography of each human face.'"
benrothke writes "It's said that truth is stranger than fiction, as fiction has to make sense. Had The Chinese Information War: Espionage, Cyberwar, Communications Control and Related Threats to United States Interests been written as a spy thriller, it would have been a fascinating novel of international intrigue. But the book is far from a novel. It's a dense, well-researched overview of China's cold-war like cyberwar tactics against the US to regain its past historical glory and world dominance." Read below for the rest of Ben's review.
Brandon Butler writes "Red Hat made its first $1 billion commercializing Linux. Now, it hopes to make even more doing the same for OpenStack. Red Hat executives say OpenStack – the open source cloud computing platform – is just like Linux. The code just needs to be massaged into a commercially-hardened package before enterprises will really use it. But just because Red Hat successfully commercialized Linux does not guarantee its OpenStack effort will go as well. Proponents say businesses will trust Red Hat as an OpenStack distribution company because of its work in the Linux world. But others say building a private cloud takes a lot more than just throwing some code on top of a RHEL OS."
Zothecula writes "Applied DNA Sciences (ADNAS) has developed a new approach to solve crimes using DNA tagging. The difference is that instead of tagging the objects being stolen, the company's system tags the perpetrator with DNA. While this has been tried before by applying the DNA to a fleeing criminal with a gun, ADNAS has adopted a more subtle approach."
The Superman reboot Man of Steel broke the record for the biggest June opening weekend ever with a whopping $125.1 million. Reviews have been mixed so far, ranging from: "DC and Warner Brothers have opted to produce a movie that foregoes a character-driven story. Instead, we're left with a trite blockbuster that holds beautiful special effects, an inspiring music score, a story that panders to the movie-goer who refrains from looking deep into the story, and neglects to define Superman as character, leaving him only as a hollow symbol and stock character, which ultimately leaves the movie about the events that transpire rather than the characters involved in them," to " What this version of the iconic DC Comics superhero does is emote convincingly. Thanks to director Zack Snyder and a serious-minded script by David S. Goyer (who shares story credit with his The Dark Knight collaborator, Christopher Nolan), Man of Steel gives the last son of Krypton an action-packed origin story with a minimum of camp and an intense emotional authenticity. Not bad for somebody who spends half the movie wearing blue tights." Personally, I found it to be the best 2-hour action sequence with 30 minutes of stock romance involving Superman that I am likely to see this summer. What did you think?