An anonymous reader writes "Kirobo, a talking humanoid robot, has been launched into space and is headed to the International Space Station. From the article: 'Japan has launched the world's first talking humanoid robot "astronaut" toward the International Space Station. Kirobo — derived from the Japanese words for "hope" and "robot" — was among five tons of supplies and machinery on a rocket launched Sunday from Tanegashima in southwestern Japan, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, said. The childlike robot was designed to be a companion for astronaut Koichi Wakata and will communicate with another robot on Earth, according to developers. Wakata is expected to arrive at the space station in November.'"
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Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "There's an interesting read at National Geographic by Kenneth Brower that probes the case of Tilikum, the homicidal killer whale, who killed his first trainer, 20-year-old Keltie Byrne in 1991. Then in July 6, 1999, a 27-year-old man who stayed after the park closed and evaded security to enter the orca tank was found dead and nude, draped over Tilikum's back with his genitals bitten off. Tilikum's most recent victim was Dawn Brancheau, the SeaWorld trainer he crushed, dismembered, and partially swallowed in 2010. 'Almost all students of orca believe that they are deranged by captivity, some more than others. Tilikum's record puts him at one end of a continuum. There have been dozens of attacks on trainers by an assortment of orcas in the marine parks around the world. [The movie] "Blackfish" shows video from several of these episodes at SeaWorld,' writes Brower. 'What is remarkable about Orcinus orca in marine parks is not these rare episodes. What is remarkable is their monumental forbearance.' For its part SeaWorld is attempting to cast the filmmakers as the true villains, characterizing them as anti-captivity zealots. The company says '"Blackfish" is inaccurate and misleading and, regrettably, exploits a tragedy that remains a source of deep pain for Dawn Brancheau's family, friends and colleagues.'"
NobleSavage writes "We all knew it was just a matter of time. With the rush to put more and more appliances on-line Japanese toilet-maker Satis, one of Japan's largest commode companies, has finally networked the toilet. Just as you would have predicted, the information security company Trustwave Holdings has published an advisory regarding Satis-brand toilets. According to Trustwave, every Satis toilet has the same hard-coded Bluetooth PIN, which means any person using the 'My Satis' [Android] application can control any Satis toilet."
SmartAboutThings writes "After discounting the Surface RT tablet worldwide by 30 percent, Microsoft is now cutting the price of its Surface Pro tablet by one hundred dollars. Steve Ballmer himself has recently declared that he was unhappy with the number of tablets Microsoft has managed to sell. The price cut offer is valid between August 4th and August 29th. It might continue or stop, according to the supply. The price cut is applicable to Surface Pro 64 GB & 128 GB models."
theodp writes "Programmer Sergey Aleynikov holds the dubious distinction of being the only Goldman Sachs employee since the 2008 financial meltdown to have actually served time in prison. After leaving Goldman, Sergey was accused of stealing computer code from his former employer and sentenced to eight years in federal prison. Exactly what he'd done neither the FBI nor the jury seemed to understand, so Moneyball author and financial journalist Michael Lewis decided to give Sergey a second trial, assembling a jury made up of programmers and people familiar with high-frequency trading, and asking them to level a judgment. Their verdict? Not guilty. 'I think it's quite possible that Goldman itself didn't know what he had taken, the value of it, the purpose of it, or anything else,' Lewis concludes. 'There was such turnover at Goldman, and the system was such a hairball, that I think people knew pieces but they didn't know the whole. Serge might have been as close as there was to an expert on the how the whole system worked. I think the valuable thing that Serge took when he walked out the door was himself.' Aleynikov was released on appeal in 2011, but subsequently re-arrested on state charges the following year, so he's still not out of the woods yet."
Dave Knott writes "After months of speculation since Matt Smith announced that he was exiting the long-running British SF show Doctor Who, the BBC has announced the latest actor who will be taking on the titular role. In a live television announcement, with several previous stars on hand, it was revealed that Peter Capaldi will be portraying the newest incarnation of The Doctor. Capaldi is 55 years old, ending a recent trend towards younger Doctors, and had been flagged by bookmakers as the odd-on favourite in recent days, to the extent that they had suspended betting on the issue. He is best known for his role as the foul-mouthed government bureaucrat Malcolm Tucker on the The Thick Of It and has in fact showed up on Doctor Who previously as a guest star. But now Capaldi is set to take his place in the iconic lead role. To help celebrate the 50th anniversary, and the naming of the next Dr. Who, an ice cream shop put up a 35ft straw Dalek sculpture."
An anonymous reader writes "Almost a third of all mobile malware is made by 10 Russian organizations, according to Lookout Mobile Security. It made that claim after looking at its detections for this year, and after an investigation that uncovered the malware HQs' operations, which saw thousands of affiliates working alongside the factories to dupe users into downloading rogue apps. Those apps are fairly crude, sending SMS messages to premium rate numbers in the background, whilst users think they have downloaded a legitimate application. Lookout isn't revealing the names of the malware factories, however, nor is it divulging how far law enforcement are involved in cracking down on the Russian organizations. It is presenting its full findings at the DEF CON 21 conference."
Shipud writes "In response to aphid attacks, some plants produce chemicals that repel the aphids and attract wasps, the aphids' natural enemies. Researchers at the University of Aberdeen have shown that plants attacked by aphids can communicate that information to neighboring plants via existing networks of fungi in the soil. Thus fungal symbiosis with plants is shown to be taken one step further: not only do they provide nutrients to plants, they also function as communication hardware."
An anonymous reader writes "Case-Western researchers, led by Saptarsi Haldar MD., have made a fundamental discovery that could prevent heart failure after reviewing the "chemical recipe" for a cancer-treating molecule made open source by Jay Bradner MD. (whose TED Talk articulates the open source approach to drug discovery) This cross-discipline discovery, which was published in the August 2013 issue of CELL, is a fundamental breakthrough in heart failure research, and highlights the value of an open source approach outside of software development."
hypnosec writes "Winners of the Pwnie Awards 2013 were announced at a special event during the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. The highlight of the awards were Edward Snowden, Hakin9 and Barnaby Jack. Barnaby Jack was given posthumous Pwnie award for 'lifetime achievement' while Edward Snowden and the NSA were jointly given the award of 'Epic 0wnage'. Hakin9 on the other hand was awarded 'Most Epic FAIL'. Best Privilege Escalation Bug award went to David Wang aka planetbeing and the Evad3rs team."
pcritter writes "With the Australian Federal Election looming, Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Australia's biggest newspapers, is looking to unseat the incumbent Labor government over its centerpiece National Broadband Network policy. The media mogul sees the NBN as a threat to his media empire and has ordered newspapers to attack the project at every opportunity. The NBN seeks to bring 100Mbps Fibre-To-The-Premises internet to 93% of the country with wireless and satellite for the remainder. It currently reaches 4% of the population and is slated to complete in 2021. The conservative opposition has promised to dramatically scale back the project."
onehitwonder writes "A recent article in The Wall Street Journal's CIO Journal argues in favor of the benefits of cyber liability insurance — policies designed to help companies cover costs they incur in the aftermath of data breaches (whether for investigation, remediation, customer notification, regulatory fines or legal settlements). Two Deloitte consultants interviewed for the article argue that cyber insurance can help companies offset the increasingly staggering costs of a data breach. (Several of the biggest data breaches in recent history, including Heartland and TJX, have cost those companies hundreds of millions of dollars. A Mizuho Investors Securities analyst estimated the total cost of the 2011 Sony data breaches at $1.25 billion.) The question is: will insurance providers really come through when companies begin filing claims on their cyber liability policies, or will they find ways out? A 2011 article from Computerworld notes that even though a growing number of companies have been purchasing cyber insurance, it's hard to find examples where one of those policies has actually covered the costs of a data breach. Moreover, the Computerworld article points out that many cyber insurance policies cover only the cost of re-creating whatever data may have been lost during the breach — not notification costs, legal costs or other related expenses."
An anonymous reader writes "The New York Times announced this morning that it has sold the Boston Globe newspaper and related assets, including the Boston.com website and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette daily paper, to John Henry, the principal owner of the Boston Red Sox. The price was $70 million in cash, a small fraction of the $1.1 billion the Times paid to acquire the Globe in 1993, and does not include assumption of the Globe's pension liabilities, estimated at $110 million, which will remain with the Times. Since then the paper's weekday circulation has fallen from 507,000 to 246,000 (including digital), mirroring the declining fortunes of many other daily newspapers across the country. Henry, who also owns the Liverpool FC and various other sports- and media- related properties, made his fortune in the investment industry; however, his hedge fund company recently closed after several years of poor performance."