Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Deal of the Day - 6 month subscription of Pandora One at 46% off. ×

Submission + - Bruce Schneier: China and Russia Almost Definitely Have the Snowden Docs (wired.com)

cold fjord writes: Writing at Wired, Bruce Schneier states that he believes that China and Russia actually do have the Snowden documents, but that the path by which they got them may be different than what has been reported: "... The vulnerability is not Snowden; it’s everyone who has access to the files. I’ve handled some of the Snowden documents myself, and even though I’m a paranoid cryptographer, I know how difficult it is to maintain perfect security. It’s been open season on the computers of the journalists Snowden shared documents with since this story broke in July 2013. And while they have been taking extraordinary pains to secure those computers, it’s almost certainly not enough to keep out the world’s intelligence services. .... Which brings me to the second potential source of these documents to foreign intelligence agencies: the US and UK governments themselves. I believe that both China and Russia had access to all the files that Snowden took well before Snowden took them because they’ve penetrated the NSA networks where those files reside. After all, the NSA has been a prime target for decades."

Submission + - Assange's Stay In Embassy Has Cost British Taxpayers $17 Million

HughPickens.com writes: Harriet Alexander reports in The Telegraph that Julian Assange's three-year stay in the Ecuadorian embassy has cost British taxpayers more than $17 million for around the clock. police surveillance at the embassy. The Metropolitan Police refused to discuss how many policemen were deployed to the embassy, but they did confirm the cost. The Met said the figure included $10.3m of what they termed "opportunity costs" – police officer pay costs that would be incurred in normal duties – and $4.3m of additional costs such as police overtime. A further $1.7m was put down to "indirect costs" such as administration. Assange challenged his extradition order to Sweden through the courts, but when his appeals failed he absconded and sought refuge inside the embassy of Ecuador – a country whose president has spoken publicly of his support for the 43-year-old computer hacker. Ecuador granted him asylum in August 2012, but as soon as he sets foot outside the building Britain will deport him to Sweden. He has been indoors ever since.

The Swedish director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, has grown impatient. In March she said that she would consent, reluctantly, to interview Assange inside the embassy – because the statute of limitations for some of the alleged crimes runs out in August. "Now that time is of the essence, I have viewed it therefore necessary to accept such deficiencies to the investigation and likewise take the risk that the interview does not move the case forward, particularly as there are no other measures on offer without Assange being present in Sweden."

Comment Java is the new COBOL (Score 0) 382

The most boring and brain-sapping 'Enterprise' technology out there. Honestly - who goes home and thinks 'Aah - a couple of nice quiet hours programming in my favourite language on my favourite projects'. Even the outsource Indians at work seen tired of Java. Or life. Can't tell.

Comment Re:How... (Score 1) 131

Spot on. Everyone with a degree or a diploma wants a better life, and there is simply not enough money going around to provide that. Helping the populace develop some basic coding skills is useless - what do they do with these skills ? It does not mean that lots of people become coders capable of working on enterprise level software ? And if they have half a brain they will know that IT is not going to be the field of their dreams. The competition with India and China is economic - they can survive on a lot less money and in the USA you can't. So yes, this is a drive towards the bottom. As salaries and living standards in China and India adjust upwards, it will be easier for the West to compete - but our salaries and living standards would need to go down substantially. And there will be no money for the welfare state to support us if we are ill or out of work. There are plenty of other nations like Vietnam standing by to provide coders when the Chinese or Indian ones get too expensive. What I find most appalling is that when I started out in IT , it was a middle class White Collar job. We were well paid professionals with some respect in the market and aspirations. Now the best we can come up with as a replacement job is fixing toilets or cutting hair.

Submission + - Could an Apple Watch Have Saved Dave Goldberg's Life?

theodp writes: One of the use cases pitched by Apple for the new Apple Watch was vacation training on hotel gym treadmills, so one wonders if Tim Cook and Apple might not be a little worried by the remote possibility that SurveyMonkey CEO Dave Goldberg may have been distracted by an Apple Watch when he died while vacationing in Mexico with his wife, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. A day before her husband's fatal hotel gym treadmill accident, Bloomberg reported that Sandberg was an early adopter of the Apple Watch, and Goldberg himself had presented the results of a SurveyMonkey Apple Watch poll on CNBC a week before his death, which showed that messaging and tracking one's exercise and movement would be big draws for consumers. One also wonders if Apple Watch training apps — e.g., a heart monitor or I've-fallen-and-I-can't-get-up messaging app — could possibly have saved Goldberg, or prevent others from suffering a similar fate.

Submission + - FWD.us to Laid-Off Southern California Edison Workers: Boo-Hoo 1

theodp writes: Speaking at a National Journal LIVE event that was sponsored by Mark Zuckerberg's FWD.us and Laurene Powell Jobs' Emerson Collective, FWD.us "Major Contributor" Lars Dalgaard was asked about the fate of 500 laid-off Southern California Edison IT workers, whose forced training of their H-1B worker replacements from offshore outsourcing companies sparked a bipartisan Senate investigation. "If you want the job, make yourself able to get the job," quipped an unsympathetic Dalgaard (YouTube). "Nobody's going to hold you up and carry you around...If you're not going to work hard enough to be qualified to get the job...well then, you don't deserve the job." "That might be harsh," remarked interviewer Niharika Acharya. Turning to co-interviewee Pierre-Jean Cobut, FWD.us's poster child for increasing the H-1B visa cap, Acharya asked, "Do you agree with him?" "Actually, I do," replied PJ, drawing laughs from the crowd. In August, Zuck's close friend and college roommate Joe Green, then President of FWD.us, drew fire after arguing that Executive Action by President Obama on tech immigration was needed lest his billionaire bosses have to hire 'just sort of OK' U.S. workers.

Submission + - Want 30 Job Offers a Month? It's Not as Great as You Think

An anonymous reader writes: Software engineers suffer from a problem that most other industries wish they had: too much demand. There's a great story at the Atlantic entitled Imagine Getting 30 Job Offers a Month (It Isn't as Awesome as You Might Think). This is a problem that many engineers deal with: place your resume on a job board and proceed to be spammed multiple times per day for jobs in places that you would never go to (URGENT REQUIREMENT IN DETROIT!!!!!, etc). Google "recruiter spam" and there are many tales of engineers being overwhelmed by this. One engineer, fed up by a lack of a recruiting spam blackhole, set up NoRecruitingSpam.com with directions on how to stop this modern tech scourge. How many of you slashdotters have been the victim of recruiting spam?

Submission + - New Test Suggests NASAs EM Drive Works (io9.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Last year, NASAâ(TM)s advanced propulsion research wing made headlines by announcing the successful test of a physics-defying electromagnetic drive, or EM drive. Now, this futuristic engine, which could in theory propel objects to near-relativistic speeds, has been shown to work inside a space-like vacuum.

NASA Eagleworks made the announcement quite unassumingly via NASASpaceFlight.com. Thereâ(TM)s also a major discussion going on about the engine and the physics that drives it at the siteâ(TM)s forum.

Submission + - Giant Survival Ball Will Help Explorer Survive a Year on an Iceberg

HughPickens.com writes: Ben Yeager writes in Outside Magazine that Italian explorer Alex Bellini plans to travel to Greenland’s west coast, pick an iceberg, and live on it for a year as it melts out in the Atlantic. But it is a precarious idea. Bellini will be completely isolated, and his adopted dwelling is liable to roll or fall apart at any moment, thrusting him into the icy sea or crushing him under hundreds of tons of ice. His solution: an indestructible survival capsule built by an aeronautics company that specializes in tsunami-proof escape pods. " I knew since the beginning I needed to minimize the risk. An iceberg can flip over, and those events can be catastrophic.” Bellini plans to use a lightweight, indestructible floating capsules, or “personal safety systems" made from aircraft-grade aluminum in what’s called a continuous monocoque structure, an interlocking frame of aluminum spars that evenly distribute force, underneath a brightly painted and highly visible aluminum shell. The inner frame can be stationary or mounted on roller balls so it rotates, allowing the passengers to remain upright at all times.

Aeronautical engineer Julian Sharpe, founder of Survival Capsule, got the idea for his capsules after the 2004 Indonesian tsunami. He believes fewer people would have died had some sort of escape pod existed. Sharpe hopes the products will be universal—in schools, retirement homes, and private residences, anywhere there is severe weather. The product appeals to Bellini because it’s strong enough to survive a storm at sea or getting crushed between two icebergs. Bellini will spend almost all of his time in the capsule with the hatch closed, which will pose major challenges because he'll have to stay active without venturing out onto a slippery, unstable iceberg. If it flips, he’ll have no time to react. “Any step away from [the iceberg] will be in unknown territory,” says Bellini. “You want to stretch your body. But then you risk your life.”

Submission + - Tiredness enhances the brain's creativity

monkeyzoo writes: Research has found that people perform better on creative tasks when they are a bit tired than when they are fully awake. One study published in Thinking and Reason divided people into two groups (night owls and morning people) according to their answers to a questionnaire and then asked them to solve two types of problems: "analytical" math-based problems and "insight" problems that require creative thinking. Both groups of subjects did consistently better on the insight problems during their sleepier time of day. The explanation offered is that creative problem solving requires seeing things from a new point of view, and during your most productive hours of the day, your ability to focus and block out distracting thoughts is higher. When you are a bit groggy, the brain is more prone to random, passing thoughts, and these can lead to a breakthrough in solving a challenging problem.

Submission + - Tesla to announce home battery-based energy storage (latimes.com)

Okian Warrior writes: Billionaire Elon Musk will announce next week that Tesla will begin offering battery-based energy storage for residential and commercial customers.

The batteries power up overnight when energy companies typically charge less for electricity, then are used during the day to power a home.

In a pilot project, Tesla has already begun offering home batteries to SolarCity (SCTY) customers, a solar power company for which Musk serves as chairman. Currently 330 U.S. households are running on Tesla's batteries in California.

The batteries start at about $13,000, though California's Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PCG) offers customers a 50% rebate. The batteries are three-feet high by 2.5-feet wide, and need to be installed at least a foot and a half off the ground. They can be controlled with a Web app and a smartphone app.

Submission + - Can High Intelligence Be A Burden Rather Than A Boon?

HughPickens.com writes: David Robson has an interesting article at BBC on the relationship between high intelligence and happiness. "We tend to think of geniuses as being plagued by existential angst, frustration, and loneliness," writes Robson. Think of Virginia Woolf, Alan Turing, or Lisa Simpson – lone stars, isolated even as they burn their brightest." As Ernest Hemingway wrote: “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” The first steps to studying the question were taken in 1926 when psychologist Lewis Terman decided to identify and study a group of gifted children. Terman selected 1,500 pupils with an IQ of 140 or more – 80 of whom had IQs above 170. Together, they became known as the “Termites”, and the highs and lows of their lives are still being studied to this day.

As you might expect, many of the Termites did achieve wealth and fame – most notably Jess Oppenheimer, the writer of the classic 1950s sitcom I Love Lucy. Indeed, by the time his series aired on CBS, the Termites’ average salary was twice that of the average white-collar job. But not all the group met Terman’s expectations – there were many who pursued more “humble” professions such as police officers, seafarers, and typists. For this reason, Terman concluded that “intellect and achievement are far from perfectly correlated”. Nor did their smarts endow personal happiness. Over the course of their lives, levels of divorce, alcoholism and suicide were about the same as the national average.

According to Robson, one possibility is that knowledge of your talents becomes something of a ball and chain. During the 1990s, the surviving Termites were asked to look back at the events in their 80-year lifespan. Rather than basking in their successes, many reported that they had been plagued by the sense that they had somehow failed to live up to their youthful expectations (PDF).

Submission + - Rocket Lab Unveils "Electric" Rocket Engine 1

Adrian Harvey writes: The New Zealand based commercial space company Rocket Lab has unveiled their new rocket engine which the media is describing as battery-powered. It still uses rocket fuel, of course, but has an entirely new propulsion cycle which uses electric motors to drive its turbopumps.

To add to the interest over the design, it uses 3D printing for all its primary components. First launch is expected this year, with commercial operations commencing in 2016.

Submission + - The origin of the first light in the Universe

StartsWithABang writes: Before there were planets, galaxies, or even stars in the Universe, there really was light. We see that light, left over today, in the form of the Cosmic Microwave Background, or the remnant glow from the Big Bang. But these photons outnumber the matter in our Universe by more than a-billion-to-one, and are the most numerous thing around. So where did they first come from? Science has the answer.

All power corrupts, but we need electricity.