An anonymous reader writes "A few months after releasing support for viewing models in .STL format, GitHub just added support for viewing changes to .STL formatted 3D models directly in the browser. 'How does this work? We take both versions of the model, and using binary space partitioning, we compute the added, removed, and unchanged parts. This is done using csgtool, a C library paired with a Ruby gem via FFI. These pieces are cached and displayed by the 3D viewer we already have, though we color them differently and play with their transparency to help illustrate the changes.'"
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New submitter soulflyz writes "Security researchers found some security issues in WeChat, a popular instant messaging application developed by the Chinese company Tencet. By exploiting these vulnerabilities, any other application installed on the user's phone can force WeChat to send the user's password hash (in plain MD5 format) to an external web server, controlled by the attacker. Android versions of WeChat up to 4.5.1 are confirmed to be vulnerable, but similar issues could interest also other versions of the application. According to recent statistics, WeChat should have about 300 million registered users."
Damek writes "The OpenZFS project launched today, the truly open source successor to the ZFS project. ZFS is an advanced filesystem in active development for over a decade. Recent development has continued in the open, and OpenZFS is the new formal name for this community of developers, users, and companies improving, using, and building on ZFS. Founded by members of the Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, and illumos communities, including Matt Ahrens, one of the two original authors of ZFS, the OpenZFS community brings together over a hundred software developers from these platforms."
New submitter sandbagger writes "Stephen Harper and the Canadian government have made headlines several times for stifling opinions that dissent with their own. This also applies to respected, peer-reviewed science. Canadian scientists have chafed at being gagged and having evidence take a back seat when forming policy, so they're grabbing their slide rules and marching in protest. 'Hundreds of participants gathered in 17 cities for rallies on Monday. In Toronto some donned lab coats while in Vancouver protesters were seen wearing gags adorned with the Conservative Party logo – a reference to the alleged muzzling of federal scientists by political overseers. ... Dr. Gibbs and colleagues said they hoped the rallies would alert the public to scientists’ concerns that the federal government has shifted funding markedly toward commercially driven research at the expense of public-interest science. ... Dr. Gibbs said her group would consult with the Canadian research community and look to other countries in trying to craft recommended policies for science in government. In recent years explicit scientific integrity rules have been adopted by many U.S. federal departments and agencies, after accusations of censorship and politicization of science during the administration of former president George W. Bush. 'Canadian scientists are where American scientists were maybe a decade ago,' said Michael Halpern, a Washington, D.C.-based program manager with the Union of Concerned Scientists. 'They're trying to figure out how to protect themselves from a government that’s increasingly focused on message control over a more open discussion of the facts.'"
vinces99 writes "As NOAA announces a new record for the extent of sea ice in Antarctica, a new modeling study to be published in the Journal of Climate shows that stronger polar winds lead to an increase in Antarctic sea ice, even when Earth's overall climate is getting warmer. The study (abstract) by Jinlun Zhang, a University of Washington oceanographer, shows that stronger westerly winds swirling around the South Pole can explain 80 percent of the increase in Antarctic sea ice volume during the past three decades. The polar vortex that swirls around the South Pole is not just stronger than it was when satellite records began in the 1970s, it also shoves the sea ice together to cause ridging. Stronger winds also drive ice faster, which leads to still more deformation and ridging. This creates thicker, longer-lasting ice, while exposing surrounding water and thin ice to the blistering cold winds that cause more ice growth. A computer simulation that includes detailed interactions between wind and sea shows that thick ice — more than 6 feet deep — increased by about 1 percent per year from 1979 to 2010, while the amount of thin ice stayed fairly constant. The end result is a thicker, slightly larger ice pack that lasts longer into the summer."
Koreantoast writes "As part of a broader, chilling Chinese crackdown on Internet dissent, Chinese blogger Charles Xue appeared on Chinese state television in handcuffs on Sunday, denouncing his blog and praising government censorship. He 'confessed' to becoming drunk on the accumulated power of his Weibo blog, which peaked at 12 million followers, and confessed to recklessly spreading unverified rumors and slander, disrupting social harmony and becoming a vent of negative emotion on mainstream society. He also praised new government legislation cracking down on Internet freedom, stating how dangerous the Internet would be if left uncontrolled by the government. Xue was arrested on prostitution solicitation charges though his television confession did not discuss that. His arrest was also suspiciously around the same time as a broader government sweep that picked up other Chinese Internet activists."
New submitter urdak writes "At CloudOpen in New Orleans, KVM veterans Avi Kivity and Dor Laor revealed their latest venture, a new open-source (BSD license) operating system named OSv. OSv can run existing Linux programs and runtime environments such as a JVM, but unlike Linux, OSv was designed from the ground up to run efficiently on virtual machines. For example, OSv avoids the traditional (but slow) userspace-kernel isolation, as on the cloud VMs normally run a single application. OSv is also much smaller than Linux, and breaks away from tradition by being written in C++11 (the language choice is explained in in this post)."
An anonymous reader writes "Mozilla today officially launched Firefox 24 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Improvements include a new option to mass close tabs 'to the right,' as well as WebRTC support and NFC sharing on Android. Firefox 24 has now been released over on Firefox.com and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. As always, the Android version is trickling out slowly on Google Play. Compared to Firefox 23, this isn’t a big release for the desktop. Mac users will notice a new scrollbar style on OS X 10.7 and users of the browsers social features will appreciate the ability to tear-off chat windows by just dragging (full release notes: desktop, mobile)."
New submitter Reverand Dave writes "The U.S. government – particularly the National Security Agency – is often regarded as having advanced offensive cybersecurity capabilities. But that doesn't mean that they're above bringing in a little outside help when it's needed. A newly public contract shows that the NSA last year bought a subscription to the zero-day service sold by French security firm VUPEN. The contract, made public through a Freedom of Information Act request by MuckRock, an open government project that publishes a variety of such documents, shows that the NSA bought VUPEN's services on Sept. 14, 2012. The NSA contract is for a one-year subscription to the company's 'binary analysis and exploits service.'"
An anonymous reader writes "When Blizzard built Diablo III, one of the controversial features was the inclusion of an auction house for players to buy and sell gear. On one hand, it created a safe environment for trading, which had been rife with scams in Diablo II. On the other hand, gathering loot was one of the main points of the game, and the auction house trivialized that. According to an announcement on Battle.net, both the Real Money auction house and the Gold auction house will be removed from the game as part of Blizzard's revamp of the loot system in Diablo III. The target date is well ahead of us: March 18, 2014. Blizzard said, 'We feel that this move along with the Loot 2.0 system being developed concurrently with Reaper of Souls will result in a much more rewarding game experience for our players.' Unexpected news, to be sure."
KentuckyFC writes "The banking system is closely regulated and monitored by central banks and other government agencies. But it has become common practice for banks to get around this by doing business in ways that don't show up on conventional balance sheets. This so-called shadow banking system is thought to be huge, but nobody knows exactly how big. Now three econophysicists have discovered that the size distribution of the world's largest financial firms significantly differs from the size distribution of smaller ones or indeed non-financial firms. And they hypothesize that the difference is the result of the hidden transactions that make up the shadow banking system. By this new measure, the shadow banking system has grown dramatically since the financial crisis and was worth over $100 trillion in 2012, significantly more than had been thought and more even than the GDP of the entire planet. Nothing to worry about, then."
cartechboy writes "GM may sell the Chevy Volt, but it's not a sexy electric car like Tesla Model S. It's a plug-in hybrid with muddled marketing (whose owners love it even though they burn gasoline sometimes). Product exec Doug Parks says GM is developing an electric car that does 200 miles on one charge, with a price around $30,000. But he wouldn't say when, falling back on the old excuse: 'Electric car batteries are really, really expensive!' Tesla's still the only maker to offer an electric car with more than 200 miles of range, so it will be interesting to see whether GM can really build a true Tesla rival. If so, the marketing must be better than the Volt's. Otherwise, it won't matter how good the car is."
An anonymous reader writes "One week ahead of the GNOME 3.10 release, all of the basic Wayland support for GNOME has been merged. With today's GNOME Shell 3.9.92 release the Wayland branch was merged and there was also an updated Mutter Wayland release, besides earlier GNOME 3.9.x packages fostering the Wayland support. Fedora 20 is expected to ship with GNOME on Wayland as a technology preview. Additional details about the current GNOME Wayland support are available from the GNOME Wiki."
jfruh writes "Imagine that you're a lawyer who also runs a popular sexual fetish podcast. Or that you're a blogger on political issues and you want to determine for yourself who you're going to get into political arguments with. Or you're a transgender woman who isn't out to your real-life associates but you want to explore your gender identity online. Or that you're a female gamer who wants to play World of Warcraft without being hit on or harassed. All of these people have perfectly good reasons for wanting to use a pseudonym online. And yet more and more websites are making it difficult or impossible to do so, often for perfectly legitimate reasons of improving civility and stopping anonymous abuse. How can pseudonymity — one of the key foundations of early internet communities — be saved?"
An anonymous reader writes "'The smaller an animal is, and the faster its metabolic rate, the slower time passes for it, scientists found. This means that across a wide range of species, time perception is directly related to size, with animals smaller than us seeing the world in slow motion.' No wonder it took so long to grow up!" Here's the original paper.
itwbennett writes with a link to a story you'll need to mentally upgrade from "expected to" to "just happened" about IBM's $1 billion dollar investment in Linux officially announced Tuesday morning at LinuxCon (the WSJ broke the story yesterday), by IBM VP Brad McCredie. IBM, says the linked article, will use all that money "to promote Linux development as it tries to adapt Power mainframes and servers to handle cloud and big data applications in distributed computing environments. The investment will fund Linux application development programs for IBM's Power servers and also be used to expand a cloud service where developers can write and test applications for Power servers before deployment. It will also facilitate software development around IBM's new Power8 chips, which will go into servers next year." It's not the only time that IBM has recently tossed around the B-word, and as Nick Kolakowski notes at Slash BI, it's also not the first time IBM has put that much money into Linux.
moon_unit2 writes "MIT Technology Review has a story about BMW's new collaborative final-assembly-line robots. The move could be significant in the ongoing automation of work, as robots have previously been incapable of doing such jobs, and too dangerous to work in close proximity to humans. Robots like the ones at BMW's South Carolina plant will also cooperate with human workers, by handing them a wrench when they need it. Perhaps the next big shift in labor could be robot-human collaboration."
hypnosec writes "Linus Torvalds has released Linux 3.12-rc1, marking the first major development in over two weeks for the forthcoming successor of the Linux 3.11 kernel. Announcing the closure of the 3.12 merge window, Torvalds said in the release announcement that the window was fairly normal. Dissecting the updates, he noted that 73 percent of them are related to drivers, 12 percent related to architecture updates, and 6 percent related to file systems. ... Torvalds liked the 'scalability improvements that got merged this time around.' Torvalds also mentioned the tty layer locking getting resolved, and work on dentry refcount scalability."
Nate the greatest writes "Rumors are circulating that Barnes & Noble is going to release their new hardware soon. Two different sources inside B&N have confirmed that a launch is imminent, with one saying B&N will launch both a tablet and an ereader. The other says that a new tablet is coming. I tend to think that the first source is probably right because product pages for several accessories leaked in early August. The pages referenced 2 different new models. Also, B&N recently announced plans to continue to develop both new ereaders and tablets, though they've changed their minds so much that I don't know if that announcement is worth anything."
SmartAboutThings writes "Windows XP is going to officially die and stop receiving support from Microsoft in April, 2014. After that very moment, it is said to become a gold mine for hackers all over the world who will exploit 'zero-day' vulnerabilities. The municipality of the German city of Munich wants to stop that from happening [and] has decided to distribute free CDs with Ubuntu 12.04 to users of the almost extinct XP. Munich, through its Gasteig Library, will prepare around 2000 CDs with Ubuntu 12.04 to offer to city residents affected by Windows XP's end of support. Previously, it was believed that Munich city's authorities were going to offer Lubuntu 12.04, which would have required lower system requirements with the same support period."
New submitter kintamanimatt writes with news that someone other than newegg is fighting back against patent trolls, despite the business case for settling. This time, however, one of the founders of the Doubleclick ad network has decided to use his personal money to not only fight a patent troll attacking his new startup, but to strike back at them under the RICO act. "'There's a lot of outrageous stories, but everyone's so damn afraid of coming forward — It's like going against the Mafia,' he [Kevin O'Connor] said. But the idea that trolls may retaliate against those who speak out is overblown, he thinks. 'If they want to try to teach me a lesson, go for it. This will be my retirement. I'll fight them.' The patent troll's attorney also made the claim that calling someone a 'patent troll' was actually a 'hate crime' under 'Ninth Circuit precedent' and threatened to file criminal charges — unless they settled the civil case immediately, apologized, and gave financial compensation to the troll. The offer was 'good until close of business that day.'"
Nerval's Lobster writes "Damage from an explosion and fire in SK Hynix's Wuxi, China DRAM fabrication plant will drive up global memory prices for PCs, servers, and other devices, according to new reports. Most of the damage from the Sept. 4 fire was to the air-purification systems and roof of the plant, according to announcements from parent company SK Hynix, which predicted the fab would be back to full production in less than a month. The Wuxi plant makes approximately 10 percent of the world's supply of DRAM chips; its primary customers include Apple, Samsung, Lenovo, Dell and Sony. SK Hynix is the world's second-largest manufacturer of memory chips, with a market share of 30 percent, lagging behind Samsung Electronics with 32.7 percent. In an update published Friday, market-research firm DRAMeXchange reported that damage from the fire, smoke and power outages left at least half the plant inoperable or at reduced capacity. The plant is designed to isolate damage in case of disaster so that at least one of its two parallel production facilities can remain online. The facility itself restarted production Sept. 7, according to a statement from the company."
Trailrunner7 writes "A group of cryptographers in the UK has published a letter that calls on authorities in that country and the United States to conduct an investigation to determine which security products, protocols and standards have been deliberately weakened by the countries' intelligence services. The letter, signed by a number of researchers from the University of Bristol and other universities, said that the NSA and British GCHQ 'have been acting against the interests of the public that they are meant to serve.' The appeal comes a couple of weeks after leaked documents from the NSA and its UK counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, showed that the two agencies have been collaborating on projects that give them the ability to subvert encryption protocols and also have been working with unnamed security vendors to insert backdoors into hardware and software products."
Beardydog writes "SkyOS, the commercial, alternative OS created almost entirely by Robert Szeleney, became free (as in beer) sometime last month. Alternative OS enthusiasts can be forgiven for missing it, as the website has been largely derelict, and the forums overrun with spam, since the project was halted in 2009. It's not clear from the announcement whether the ISO available is the traditional build, or the version rebuilt around Linux. The post announcing the free version provides a license name ('public') and registration code that must be entered during setup. While it isn't quite the open-sourcing that most followers hoped for, it's heartening to know SkyOS won't be completely lost in the mists of time." For a blast from the past, check out our old stories about SkyOS.
Bismillah writes "Biometrics is hot stuff, not just for Apple but cleaning companies like the UK division of Denmark's IIS which tidies the London Underground railway network. However, the cleaners aren't happy about having to clock in and out with biometric fingerprint sensors, and are taking industrial action to stop the practice."