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+ - Senator Al Franken accuses AT+T of 'skirting' net neutrality rules->

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber (1417641) writes "In a letter to the U.S. Federal Communication Commission and the Department of Justice, Senator Al Franken warned that letting AT&T acquire Direct TV could turn AT&T into a gatekeeper to the mobile Internet. Franken also complained that AT&T took inappropriate steps to block Internet applications like Google Voice and Skype: "AT&T has a history of skirting the spirit, and perhaps the letter" of the government's rules on net neutrality, Franken wrote."
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+ - Thousands of leaked KGB files are now open to the public->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "Over 20 years after being smuggled out of Russia, a trove of KGB documents are being opened up to the public for the first time. The leaked documents include thousands of files and represent what the FBI is said to view as "the most complete and extensive intelligence ever received from any source." The documents include KGB information on secret Russian weapons caches, Russian spies, and KGB information on the activities of Pope John Paul II. Known as the Mitrokhin Archive, the files are all available as of today at Churchill College's Archives Centre."
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+ - SpaceX Falcon 9R vertical take-off and landing test flight->

Submitted by schwit1
schwit1 (797399) writes "The competition heats up: SpaceX today released a new video of the most recent Falcon 9R vertical take-off and landing test flight.

Video below the fold. The flight was to test the deployment and use of fins for controlling the stage during its return to Earth. Watch them unfold and adjust themselves beginning at about 1:15 into the video. In the second half you can see them near the top of the stage.

Yet another video from SpaceX of the world’s most blase cows.

You can imagine new cows to the herd, reacting to the launch as the conditioned cows just yawn, just another 100 foot tall rocket launching and landing nearby. Nothing to see here."

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Android

Malware Posing As Official Google Play Store Evades Most Security Checks 100

Posted by timothy
from the ok-ok-using-ios-doesn't-count dept.
DavidGilbert99 (2607235) writes Mobile malware on Android is nothing new, but now security company FireEye has discovered in the Google Play store a sophisticated piece of malware which is posing as....the official Google Play store. Using the same icon but a different name, the malware is not being detected by the vast majority of security vendors, is difficult to uninstall and steals your messages, security certificates and banking details.

Comment: Re:Related to #2 (Score 1) 686

by dpilot (#47221841) Attached to: Aliens and the Fermi Paradox

I don't know that we are in the stix - we might be in an ideal spot, or at least the ideal distance from the galactic core. There might be a "galactic Goldilocks zone." Too far in and there stellar life is too interesting, in terms of supernovas, gamma-ray bursts, etc. Too far out and stellar life may be too boring, as in not enough generations to create enough of the heavier elements.

As for FTL, I seriously don't expect Star Trek or Star Wars. I expect robot probes, and the question becomes whether they're AIs, uploads, mixes, hybrids, or whatever. Once you're talking robot probes time, as we see it, drops out of the equation.

Any you're right, in that there is no need for intelligent life to exist. It's just that the galaxy is a more interesting place if it does. As I said, if it doesn't then maybe the Earth really IS the center of the universe, at least in the philosophical sense. Once you've accepted that you can easily plummet down your navel into the Dark Ages, again. That is, from a species perspective, or you could embrace your status as Progenitors and grow into the role.

Comment: Prime Directive (Score 4, Insightful) 686

by dpilot (#47218417) Attached to: Aliens and the Fermi Paradox

First off, forget Hitler's Munich Olympics broadcast, that's way to new. The most interesting thing about Earth is roughly half a billion years old, and that's its "unnatural" atmosphere. Our atmosphere shouts, "Life!" like nothing else. The stuff in our air just doesn't cohabit from ordinary chemical processes - it has to be maintained. Not as old, but still older than Hitler's broadcast is the sustained presence of pollutants in the atmosphere. This might suggest, "intelligent, if immature/foolhardy life."

We can almost see this kind of stuff with Kepler, though to get to this level of detail we use several instruments in parallel - Kepler is the first-weeder. We're nowhere near having interstellar technology, so any race that does will likely have commensurate technologies in other areas as well. Most notably, if you're going to travel far, you want to know which direction to go, and as much about your destination as you can. They would have tools that make Kepler look like a child's toy. They would know how interesting Earth is. Where that ranks us with respect to other planets in another question, but I'll bet it's not as bleak a prospect as some say.

Personally I think the presence of us on Earth has to do with it's "sufficiently interesting history", including the collision that formed the moon, several asteroid/comet strikes like the dinosaur killer, etc. Not to mention plate tectonics, the magnetic field that keeps the solar wind from blowing our atmosphere away, etc. Like I said, I think Earth would be on the short-list.

By the same token, I also think they would observe. Our society and existence are fragile enough, one big kick could easily topple the whole mess. Imagine a preemptive strike by one power to prevent another power from getting "the advantages of alien technology," etc. We're also pretty darned "memetically susceptible," and even allowing an alien idea to reach us might upset the apple cart.

Or as an alternative, perhaps the Catholic Church was right, and Galileo (and Copernicus) were wrong. If not the physical center of the universe, if we're all there is, perhaps the Earth is the philosophical center of the universe.

So:
1 - We're all there is, perhaps to become the Progenitors, perhaps not.
2 - There is other life, hasn't gotten here yet, may not bother, may not be able.
3 - There is other life, observing us, careful to remain unknown - the Prime Directive.
4 - There is other life, getting ready to invade/destroy us.
5 - There is other life, in contact only with the Illuminati and Club of Rome.

Personally I'd prefer option 3. Option 2 is equally likely. Option 1 is rather sad. Options 4 and 5 are IMHO silly.

+ - New Permission System Potentially Makes Android Much Less Secure 1

Submitted by capedgirardeau
capedgirardeau (531367) writes "An update to the Google Play store now groups app permissions into collections of related permissions making them much less fine grained and potentially misleading for users. For example the SMS permissions group would allow an app access to both reading and sending SMS messages. The problem is that once an app has access to the group of permissions, it can make use of any of the allowed actions at anytime without ever informing the user. As Google explains: "It’s a good idea to review permissions groups before downloading an app. Once you’ve allowed an app to access a permissions group, the app may use any of the individual permissions that are part of that group. You won’t need to manually approve individual permissions updates that belong to a permissions group you’ve already accepted.""

Comment: Re:Democrats voted (Score 1) 932

by dpilot (#47214677) Attached to: House Majority Leader Defeated In Primary

In Vermont we have a variation. You pick up a Republican ballot or a Democratic ballot. It was upheld in court, that you were a Republican or Democrat - even for that one day. This is of course for the purposes of primaries.

The limitation is that once you've picked up the Republican ballot, none of the Democrat choices are available for you consideration, and vice-versa. In other words, you can't cast your primary vote to choose a particular Republican House candidate, and a particular Democrat Senate candidate. Once you've chosen Democrat or Republican, that's it - for that one day.

Doesn't stop voting-to-spoil, but it makes you throw away all of your own party choices when you do so. Is it any more broken than the rest of our balloting scheme? Trigger the IRV vs Condorcet vs whatever voting scheme debates...

+ - The Emerging Revolution In The Science Of Deflector Shields

Submitted by KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "One curious feature on the Moon's surface are “lunar swirls”, wisp-like regions that are whiter than surrounding areas and that, until recently, astronomers could not explain. But one team of physicists recently showed that these areas are protected by weak magnetic fields that deflect high energy particles from the Sun and so prevent the darkening effect this radiation has. The problem they had to solve was how a weak field could offer so much protection, when numerous studies of long duration spaceflight have shown that only very powerful fields can act like radiation shields. The team now says that these previous studies have failed to take into account an important factor: the low density plasma that exists in space. It turns out that this plasma is swept up by a weak magnetic field moving through space, creating a layer of higher density plasma. That's important because the separation of charge within this layer creates an electric field. And it is this field that deflects the high energy particles from the Sun. That explains the lunar swirls but it also suggests that the same effect could be exploited to protect astronauts on long duration missions to the moon, to nearby asteroids and beyond. This team has now produced the first study of such a shield and how it might work. Their shield would use superconducting coils to create a relatively weak field only when it is needed, during solar storms, for example. And it would create a plasma by pumping xenon into the vacuum around the vehicle, where it would be ionised by UV light. The entire device would weigh around 1.5 tonnes and use about 20 KW of power. That's probably more than mission planners could currently accommodate but it is significantly less than the science fiction-type power requirements of previous designs. And who knows what other tricks of plasma physics engineers might be able to exploit to refine this design. All of a sudden, long duration space flight looks a little more feasible."

+ - Fuel Cells From Nanomaterials made from Human Urine->

Submitted by turning in circles
turning in circles (2882659) writes "Carbon based fuel cells require carbon doped with other elements, normally platinum, for oxygen reduction reactions. Urine contains carbon with an exciting splash of nitrogen, sulfur, potassium, silicon, and so on, and you don't have to manufacture it, the stuff just comes out by itself. In an article published this week in an open journal, researchers from Korea this week reported a new nanomaterial for fuel cells, which they dub "Urine Carbon." Upon drying, and then heating at 1000C, and rinsing of salts, the resulting Urine Carbon porous nanostructures outperformed Carbon/platinum in electrodes. Now this is Gee Whiz science for you."
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+ - Why David Deutsch's New Theory of Reality is Deeper Than Quantum Mechanics

Submitted by KentuckyFC
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "In 1948, the Bell Labs mathematician and engineer Claude Shannon published The Mathematical Theory of Communication (pdf). In it, he laid out the basic process of communication and formally introduced ideas such as information, the role of transmitters and receivers as well as the idea of a channel and its capacity to carry information. This theory now forms the basis of all digital communication so it's no exaggeration to say that it has been hugely influential. By contrast, no equivalent theory exists for quantum information, despite decades of work by quantum theorists. That could all change now thanks to the work of David Deutsch, a theoretical physicist, who has developed a theory that links classical and quantum information using a deeper theoretical framework. Deutsch's new approach is called constructor theory and it turns the conventional approach to physics on its head. Physicists currently ply their trade by explaining the world in terms of initial conditions and laws of motion. This leads to a distinction between what happens and what does not happen. By contrast, Deutsch’s new fundamental principle is that all laws of physics are expressible entirely in terms of the physical transformations that are possible and those that are impossible. In other words, the laws of physics do not tell you what is possible and impossible, they are the result of what is possible and impossible. So reasoning about the physical transformations that are possible and impossible leads to the laws of physics. He uses this approach to develop a number of principles that all physical laws must follow, both those that are known and those that are unknown. Consequently, constructor theory must be deeper than all known physical theories such as quantum mechanics and relativity. He draws an analogy between this and conservation laws which are deeper than all other physical laws which must follow them. It's too early to say what impact Deutsch's new approach will have. But he has a spectacular record in physics having been a pioneer of quantum computation in the 1980s and one of the chief exponents of the multiverse, both of which have become mainstream ideas."

Gosh that takes me back... or is it forward? That's the trouble with time travel, you never can tell." -- Doctor Who, "Androids of Tara"

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