Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

+ - Man sentenced for webcam sex with a "teen" computer avatar->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A man in Australia is believed to be the first to have been convicted as the result of an undercover sting in which charity workers posed online as a 10-year-old Filipina, using a computer avatar to produce an image of the fictional girl.

Details of other 1000 men who contacted the fictional child were sent to police around the world.

For now, the avatar was animated and the chat conducted by an undercover human operative. How long will it be till we have fully automatic computer programs fishing for sex offenders online?"

Link to Original Source

+ - Magnetic Field Flip Earlier Than Thought->

Submitted by eedwardsjr
eedwardsjr (1327857) writes "From Metro UK:

Berkeley scientists say that the Earth’s magnetic field can weaken and dip within just 100 years, before flipping so that compasses point south – an event they admit could wreck the entire world’s power grid and expose the world to deadly cosmic rays.

Earth’s magnetic field is weakening 10 times faster than normal at present, leading geophysicists to predict a flip within a few thousand years – but Discovery news says that could understimate [sic] the speed of the change."

Link to Original Source

+ - High-altitude drones are the future of Internet broadband->

Submitted by mwagner
mwagner (413143) writes "Skynet is coming. But not like in the movie: The future of communications is high-altitude solar-powered drones, flying 13 miles above the ground, running microwave wireless equipment, delivering broadband to the whole planet. This technology will replace satellites, fiber, and copper, and fundamentally change the broadband industry. Call it Skynet, after the antagonist in the Terminator movies. It's coming in about 20 years — the same amount of time between Arthur C. Clarke's predicting the geosynchronous satellite and their reality as a commercial business. "Several important technology milestones need to be reached along the way. The drones that will make up Skynet have a lot more in common with satellites than the flippy-flappy helicopter drone thingies that the popular press is fixated on right now. They’re really effing BIG, for one thing. And, like satellites, they go up, and stay up, pretty much indefinitely. For that to happen, we need two things: lighter, higher-capacity wireless gear; and reliable, hyper-efficient solar tech.""
Link to Original Source

+ - Aging and Orphan Open Source Projects

Submitted by osage
osage (3886749) writes "Several colleagues and I have worked on an open source project for over 20 years under a corporate aegis. Though nothing like Apache, we have a sizable user community and the software is considered one of the de facto standards for what it does. The problem is that we have never been able to attract new, younger programmers, and members of the original set have been forced to find jobs elsewhere or are close to retirement. The corporation has no interest in supporting the software. Thus, in the near future, the project will lose its web site host and be devoid of its developers and maintainers. Our initial attempts to find someone to adopt the software haven't worked. We are looking for suggestions as to what course to pursue. We can't be the only open source project in this position."

+ - Better free disk space monitoring?

Submitted by relliker
relliker (197112) writes "In the olden days, when monitoring a file system of a few 100 MB, we would be alerted when it topped 90% or more, with 95% a lot of times considered quite critical. Today, however, with a lot of file systems in the Terabyte range, a 90-95% full file system can still have a considerable amount of free space but we still mostly get bugged by the same alerts as in the days of yore when there really isn't a cause for immediate concern. Apart from increasing thresholds and/or starting to monitor actual free space left instead of a percentage, should it be time for monitoring systems to become a bit more intelligent by taking space usage trends and heuristics into account too and only warn about critical usage when projected thresholds are exceeded? I’d like my system to warn me with something like, “Hey!, you’ll be running out of space in a couple of months if you go on like this!” Or is this already the norm and I’m still living in a digital cave?"
Government

Safercar.gov Overwhelmed By Recall For Deadly Airbags 12

Posted by timothy
from the give-it-to-the-healthcare.gov-folks dept.
darylb writes "The NHTSA's safercar.gov website appears to be suffering under the load of recent vehicle recalls, including the latest recall of some 4.7 million vehicles using airbags made by Takata. Searching recalls by VIN is non-responsive at present. Searching by year, make, and model hangs after selecting the year. What can sites serving an important public function do to ensure they stay running during periods of unexpected load?" More on the airbag recall from The New York Times and the Detroit Free Press.

+ - How To The Solve NFC Mobile Payments Chaos

Submitted by dkatana
dkatana (2761029) writes "Apple has apparently solved much of the problems related to provide a working solution for contactless mobile payments . Android OEMs such as Samsung are left with the dilemma of being left behind.

Now, what is next for Android? Handset manufacturers can’t let Apple have this huge advantage, and their previous experiences with the operators have been frustrating, to say the least. OEMs such as Samsung, Sony and HTC are focusing on providing real solutions to their users, and need to get a mobile payments solution for them similar to Apple Pay."

+ - Isaac Asimov: How Do People Get New Ideas? 1

Submitted by HughPickens.com
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Arthur Obermayer, a friend of the Isaac Asimov, writes that he recently rediscovered an unpublished essay by Asimov written in 1959 while cleaning out some old files that is "as broadly relevant today as when he wrote it. It describes not only the creative process and the nature of creative people but also the kind of environment that promotes creativity." Some excerpts from Asimov's essay which is well worth reading in its entirety:

Presumably, the process of creativity, whatever it is, is essentially the same in all its branches and varieties, so that the evolution of a new art form, a new gadget, a new scientific principle, all involve common factors. It is only afterward that a new idea seems reasonable. What is needed is not only people with a good background in a particular field, but also people capable of making a connection between item 1 and item 2 which might not ordinarily seem connected. To begin with, it usually seems unreasonable. It seems the height of unreason to suppose the earth was round instead of flat, or that it moved instead of the sun, or that objects required a force to stop them when in motion, instead of a force to keep them moving, and so on.

A person willing to fly in the face of reason, authority, and common sense must be a person of considerable self-assurance. Since he occurs only rarely, he must seem eccentric (in at least that respect) to the rest of us. A person eccentric in one respect is often eccentric in others. Probably more inhibiting than anything else is a feeling of responsibility. The great ideas of the ages have come from people who weren’t paid to have great ideas, but were paid to be teachers or patent clerks or petty officials, or were not paid at all. The great ideas came as side issues.

My feeling is that as far as creativity is concerned, isolation is required. The creative person is, in any case, continually working at it. His mind is shuffling his information at all times, even when he is not conscious of it. The presence of others can only inhibit this process, since creation is embarrassing. For every new good idea you have, there are a hundred, ten thousand foolish ones, which you naturally do not care to display."
Android

Delivering Malicious Android Apps Hidden In Image Files 50

Posted by timothy
from the best-case-never-touch-a-phone dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers have found a way to deliver a malicious app to Android users by hiding it into what seems to be an encrypted image file, which is then delivered via a legitimate, seemingly innocuous wrapper app. Fortinet malware researcher Axelle Apvrille and reverse engineer Ange Albertini created a custom tool they dubbed AngeCryption, which allows them to encrypt the payload Android application package (APK) and make it look like an image (PNG, JPG) file . They also had to create another APK that carries the "booby-trapped" image file and which can decrypt it to unveil the malicious APK file and install it. A malicious app thusly encrypted is nearly invisible to reverse engineers, and possibly even to AV solutions and Google's Android Bouncer." (Here's the original paper, from researchers Axelle Apvrille and Ange Albertini.)

+ - Google Beefs Up 2-Step Verification With Physical USB Security Key In Chrom 2

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Google today announced it is beefing up its two-step verification feature with Security Key, a physical USB second factor that only works after verifying the login site is truly a Google website. The feature is available in Chrome: Instead of typing in a code, you can simply insert Security Key into your computer’s USB port and tap it when prompted by Google’s browser. “When you sign into your Google Account using Chrome and Security Key, you can be sure that the cryptographic signature cannot be phished,” Google promises. While Security Key works with Google Accounts at no charge, you’ll need to go out and buy a compatible USB device directly from a Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) participating vendor."

+ - Government Vehicle Recall Site Overwhelmed ->

Submitted by darylb
darylb (10898) writes "The NHTSA's safercar.gov website appears to be suffering under the load of recent vehicle recalls, including the latest recall of some 4.7 million vehicles using airbags made by Takata. Searching recalls by VIN is non-responsive at present. Searching by year, make, and model hangs after selecting the year.

What can sites serving an important public function do to ensure they stay running during periods of unexpected load?"

Link to Original Source
Privacy

Speed Cameras In Chicago Earn $50M Less Than Expected 157

Posted by timothy
from the short-term-memory dept.
countach44 writes that (in the words of the below-linked article) "Chicagoans are costing the city tens of millions of dollars — through good behavior." The City of Chicago recently installed speed cameras near parks and schools as part of the "Children's Safety Zone Program," claiming a desire to decrease traffic-related incidents in those area. The city originally budgeted (with the help of the company providing the system) to have $90M worth of income from the cameras — of which only $40M is now expected. Furthermore, the city has not presented data on whether or not those areas have become safer.

+ - The Cold War turns hot in World of Tanks->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "The Cold War may be over, but the conflict between Russia and the West still rumbles on in World of Tanks, the military multiplayer shooter. This weekend sees the very best teams from all the server regions around the globe facing off in Pozna, Poland, to settle which territory really is best in a game long dominated by Russian and Eastern European players. A new interview with the event's commentators reveals which are the teams to watch in this rapidly growing game."
Link to Original Source
Space

Mars Orbiter Beams Back Images of Comet's Surprisingly Tiny Nucleus 24

Posted by timothy
from the knowledge-through-correction dept.
astroengine writes The High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on board NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has become the first instrument orbiting Mars to beam back images of comet Siding Spring's nucleus and coma. And by default, it has also become the first ever mission to photograph a long-period comet's pristine nucleus on its first foray into the inner solar system. Interestingly, through analysis of these first HiRISE observations, astronomers have determined that the icy nucleus at the comet's core is much smaller than originally thought. "Telescopic observers had modeled the size of the nucleus as about half a mile, or one kilometer, wide," writes a NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory news release. "However, the best HiRISE images show only two to three pixels across the brightest feature, probably the nucleus, suggesting a size less than half that estimate."

"In order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -- Carl Sagan, Cosmos

Working...