Submission + - NSA Director Keith Alexander Is Reportedly Stepping Down (vice.com)

Daniel_Stuckey writes: Keith Alexander will step down by April or May of next year. What's more, the agency’s deputy director Chris Inglis also plans to retire by the end of next year, anonymous US officials told Reuters today.

Though the news comes in the midst of a global public backlash over the NSA's widespread surveillance programs, it's worth pointing out that Alexander had revealed his plans to retire before Edward Snowden leaked details of PRISM in June. Officials didn’t give a reason for his departure.

Submission + - Most parents allow unsupervised internet access to children at age 8 (networkworld.com) 1

colinneagle writes: The timing for this study is interesting, given the arrests of two teenagers believed to have bullied a 12-year-old classmate until she committed suicide, but Microsoft found that 94% of parents said they allow their kids unsupervised access to at least one device or online service like email or social networks. The average age at which most children are allowed access to at least one online service, such as email or social media, was 8 years old, while 40% allow children under the age of 7 to access a computer unsupervised.

Submission + - Oakland is building a Big Data center for police surveillance

rjmarvin writes: $7 million in federal grant money originally tasked with terrorism prevention is now being used to fund construction of a new data center http://sdt.bz/64221 in Oakland to electronically gather and analyze data around the clock from a variety of sensors and databases, displaying selected info on a bank of giant monitors. The center will mine massive data streams, helping the police department tap into 911 calls, port and traffic cameras, license plate readers, gunshot sensors, social media posts and commuters’ electronic toll payments. It takes the buzzwords "Big Data" and "surveillance state" to a whole new level.

Submission + - How to Attend Next Week's Robotics Show Robotically (linuxgizmos.com)

__aajbyc7391 writes: Suitable Technologies is offering $50 rentals of its Beam mobile telepresence robot, allowing 50 robotics enthusiasts to remotely attend the RoboBusiness conference in Santa Clara, Calif. on Oct. 23-25. The Ubuntu- and ROS-based Beam will be available to the first 50 applicants, letting them explore the show at up to 1.5 meters/sec and interact with others via video conferencing. The bots will be allowed everywhere on the show floor as well as in conference rooms, and the show will be open late to accommodate remote users from distant time zones. The Beam is a good choice for remotely exploring conferences, saving users the cost and time of traveling to an event, says Suitable Tech; for example, RoboBusiness registration costs $1,595, not including hotel and travel. A list of the conference's keynotes, which include one by Christ Urmson, director of Google's Self-Driving Cars project, is available here.

Submission + - Hadoop 2.0 is here, and it comes bearing YARN

rjmarvin writes: At Big Data TechCon in San Francisco today http://sdt.bz/64220, the Apache Software Foundation unveiled Hadoop 2.0, delving into new YARN cluster resource manager and other new features. While the official press release http://sdt.bz/64218 also went up today, Apache went into detail for conference attendees about the upgraded Hadoop File System (HDFS) and a number of other next-generation Hadoop projects in the works at Hortonworks and inside the Apache Incubator. One of these is Apache Tez, a framework for near-real-time data processing in Hadoop.

Submission + - Hundreds Gather in NYC for Anti-NSA Guerilla Video Premier

skaterperson writes: Nearly three hundred people gathered around 9PM, stopping traffic and packing a street corner to watch a crowdfunded video on the NSA spying programs, projected high on the side of a building from a bike-mounted projector & sound system. Now the video's live and we can all watch it. One impression was just impossible to avoid: tons of people care about this issue, perhaps more than any issue in the Internet freedom space. The mission is to reach reach them all and build a movement, and no doubt they can take apart the NSA’s mass spying operation piece by piece.

Submission + - NASAs Curiosity Confirms Origins of Martian Meteorites (spaceindustrynews.com)

littlesparkvt writes: Earth’s most eminent emissary to Mars has just proven that those rare Martian visitors that sometimes drop in on Earth — a.k.a. Martian meteorites — really are from the Red Planet. A key new measurement of Mars’ atmosphere by NASA’s Curiosity rover provides the most definitive evidence yet of the origins of Mars meteorites while at the same time providing a way to rule out Martian origins of other meteorites.

Submission + - Square Debuts New Email Payment System that Is Account-Free

cagraham writes: Mobile payment company Square — best known for their smartphone credit-card swipers — has launched a new payment service called Square Cash. The service doesn't require users to sign up or make an account. Instead, they just email the person they'd like to transfer money to (with the amount as the subject), and CC "cash@square.com". Square asks the sending for their debit card info, and then sends a link to the recipient, who can transfer the money into any account they want within 1-2 business days.

Submission + - Gamers solve decade old HIV puzzle in ten days (zmescience.com) 2

twocows writes: From the article: "Scientists from Washington University have been struggling for the past decade to decipher the complex structure of a enzyme that exhibits AIDS-like behavior, and which might hold a critical role in building a cure for the disease. Gamers playing spatial game Foldit have managed to collectively determine the enzyme’s structure in ten days."

Submission + - Wi-Fi Takes a Dive (bbc.co.uk)

Rambo Tribble writes: Researchers at the University of Buffalo are working to develop an underwater wi-fi standard. It's not your father's, (or your), wi-fi; it is network communication based on sound waves. While acoustic underwater communication already exists, there has been no standardization so that networks run by different entities cannot communicate with each other. The BBC has more at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24550015

Submission + - UK PM David Cameron Wants Guardian Newspaper "Investigated" Over Snowden Stories (theguardian.com)

dryriver writes: The Guardian reports: British Prime Minister David Cameron has encouraged a Commons select committee to investigate whether the Guardian has broken the law or damaged national security by publishing secrets leaked by the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. He made his proposal in response to a question from former defence secretary Liam Fox, saying the Guardian had been guilty of double standards for exposing the scandal of phone hacking by newspapers and yet had gone on to publish secrets from the NSA taken by Snowden. Speaking at prime minister's questions on Wednesday, Cameron said: 'The plain fact is that what has happened has damaged national security and in many ways the Guardian themselves admitted that when they agreed, when asked politely by my national security adviser and cabinet secretary to destroy the files they had, they went ahead and destroyed those files. 'So they know that what they're dealing with is dangerous for national security. I think it's up to select committees in this house if they want to examine this issue and make further recommendations.' There are as many as four committees that might take up David Cameron's suggestion, including the culture select committee, the home affairs select committee, the defence select committee and the intelligence and security select committee.

Submission + - Fleet of eBee Drones Capture the Immensity of the Matterhorn (gizmag.com)

Zothecula writes: Explorers have mapped the surface of the iconic Matterhorn painstakingly by foot, by satellite, and now by drone, thanks to a partnership between drone maker senseFly and nonprofit Drone Adventures. Launching a small squadron of eBee minidrones off the summit and sides of the famous Alps mountaintop, the mission tested the navigational abilities of the system and created a staggering data-rich 3D model.

Submission + - Report: Indonesia Now Top IP Source for Security Attacks

curtwoodward writes: China has long been the top source of IP addresses used in security attacks, as monitored by Internet traffic firm Akamai's "State of the Internet" report. But earlier this year, malicious hackers found a new favorite country: Indonesia. Attacks originating from Indonesian IP addresses topped the list in the second quarter, representing 38 percent of all global attacks seen by Akamai, which handles about a third of Web traffic. Akamai also says that reports of DDoS attacks on its customers are growing very quickly, with a more than 50 percent rise in one quarter. The question now is whether that jump in DDoS activity is tied to periodic global unrest, or is the beginning of a new trend.

Submission + - Uneven Enforcement Suspected at Nuclear Plants (go.com)

mdsolar writes: The number of safety violations at U.S. nuclear power plants varies dramatically from region to region, pointing to inconsistent enforcement in an industry now operating mostly beyond its original 40-year licenses, according to a congressional study awaiting release.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission figures cited in the Government Accountability Office report show that while the West has the fewest reactors, it had the most lower-level violations from 2000 to 2012 — more than 2½ times the Southeast's rate per reactor.

The Southeast, with the most reactors of the NRC's four regions, had the fewest such violations, according to the report, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.

The striking variations do not appear to reflect real differences in reactor performance. Instead, the report says, the differences suggest that regulators interpret rules and guidelines differently among regions, perhaps because lower-level violations get limited review.

Submission + - Secret free game reward for Kickstarter backers gets out of hand (indiestatik.com)

rkww writes: Following a wildly successful Kickstarter launch, London-based independent developer Nichol Hunt faced a problem — he had promised a free copy of his new game to each of his backers — and there were more than 700 of them. The bigger problem ? Apple will only issue fifty promo codes, and Apple Store gift cards have to be issued in the redeeming country. His solution ? Offer the game for free, in secret, for two days. You can predict what happened next...

Submission + - Scientists Say Oreo Cookies As Addictive as Cocaine 1

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: VOA News reports that lab rats formed an equally strong association between the pleasurable effects of eating Oreos and a specific environment as they did between cocaine or morphine and a specific environment. They also found that eating cookies activated more neurons in the brain’s “pleasure center” than exposure to drugs of abuse. “Our research supports the theory that high-fat/ high-sugar foods stimulate the brain in the same way that drugs do,” says Professor Joseph Schroeder. “It may explain why some people can’t resist these foods despite the fact that they know they are bad for them.” To test the cookie’s addictiveness, researchers placed rats in a maze. On one side of the maze, they would give hungry rats Oreos, and on the other side, rice cakes. They would then give the rats the option of spending time on either side of the maze. Those results were compared to rats who were placed in a maze that offered an injection of cocaine or morphine versus an injection of saline solution. The research showed the rats conditioned with Oreos spent as much time on the Oreo side of the maze as the rats conditioned with cocaine or morphine. While it may not be scientifically relevant, Jamie Honohan says it was surprising to watch the rats eat the famous cookie. “They would break it open and eat the middle first."

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