The Military

Military Drone Lost Over Lake Ontario 258

First time accepted submitter slipped_bit writes "An MQ-9 Reaper drone has gone down over Lake Ontario during a practice mission. The flight, being operated by the New York Air National Guard's 174th Attack Wing in Syracuse, NY, was going well for about three hours before contact with the aircraft was lost. A search was started but had to be postponed due to weather."

Amazon Jumps Into Desktop Virtualization With "WorkSpaces" 92

mattydread23 writes "Amazon is getting into the desktop virtualization space. This is potentially huge news for providers like Citrix, but as writer Nancy Gohring points out, the company is starting small. Very small: 'The administrator console only allows managers to provision five WorkSpaces at a time. It's possible that will change when the service becomes generally available. For now, Amazon is accepting sign ups for a limited preview of the service. '"

AMD Continues To Pressure NVIDIA With Lower Cost Radeon R9 270 and BF4 Bundle 142

MojoKid writes "The seemingly never-ending onslaught of new graphics cards as of late continues today with the official release of the AMD Radeon R9 270. This mainstream graphics card actually leverages the same GPU that powered last-year's Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition. AMD, however, has tweaked the clocks and through software and board level revisions updated the card to allow for more flexible use of its display outputs (using Eyefinity no longer requires the use of a DisplayPort). Versus the 1GHz (GPU) and 4.8Gbps (memory) of the Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition, the Radeon R9 270 offers slightly lower compute performance (2.37 TFLOPS vs. 2.56 TFLOPS), but much more memory bandwidth--179.2GB/s vs. 153.6GB/s to be exact. AMD and its add in board partners are launching the Radeon R9 270 today, with prices starting at $179. The Radeon R9 270's starting price is somewhat aggressive and once again puts pressure on NVIDIA. GeForce GTX 660 cards, which typically performed lower than the Radeon R9 270 are priced right around the $190 mark. Along with this card, AMD is also announcing an update to its game bundle, and beginning November 13 Radeon R9 270 – R9 290X cards will include a free copy of Battlefield 4. NVIDIA, on the other hand, is offering Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Assassins Creed – Black Flag, plus $50 off a SHIELD portable gaming device with GTX 660 and 760 cards."

Stanford's MetaPhone Project: Crowdsourcing Metadata To Challenge the NSA 96

An anonymous reader writes "'When the first NSA surveillance story broke in June,' writes Dennis Fisher at Threatpost, 'most people likely had never heard the word metadata before. Even some security and privacy experts weren't sure what the term encompassed.' The NSA and its supporters have, of course, emphasized that phone records collection is 'not surveillance.' Researchers at Stanford are now crowdsourcing data to incontrovertibly establish just how much the NSA knows. 'Phone metadata is inherently revealing,' says a study author. 'We want to rigorously prove it—for the public, for Congress, and for the courts.' If you have an Android phone and a Facebook account, you can grab the MetaPhone app on Google Play."

We're Safe From the Latest SARS-Like Disease...For the Moment 106

KentuckyFC writes "Back in 2002, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome or SARS killed about 10 per cent of the 8,000 people it infected in southern China and Hong Kong. The severity of the disease and its high death rate triggered panic in many countries where health agencies worked feverishly to prevent its further spread, largely successfully. Then in September 2012, a virologist working in Saudi Arabia noticed a similar virus in a patient suffering from acute pneumonia and renal failure. Since then, so-called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MERS has also begun to spread. The World Health Organization says it knows of 63 deaths from only 149 cases, a death rate that seems to dwarf that of SARS. So how worried should we be? Now epidemiologists who have modeled how the disease spreads have some reassuring news. They say MERS is unlikely to cause a global pandemic. But with Saudi Arabia expecting the imminent arrival of millions of pilgrims for the 2013 Hajj, there are still good reasons to be concerned."

Viruses Boost Performance of Lithium-Air Battery Used In Electric Cars 66

rtoz writes "MIT researchers have found that adding genetically modified viruses to the production of nanowires will boost the performance of lithium-air battery used in electric cars. The key to their work was to increase the surface area of the wire, thus increasing the area where electrochemical activity takes place during charging or discharging of the battery (abstract). The increase in surface area produced by their method can provide a big advantage in lithium-air batteries' rate of charging and discharging. Unlike conventional fabrication methods, which involve energy-intensive high temperatures and hazardous chemicals, this process can be carried out at room temperature using a water-based process."

Building an 'Invisibility Cloak' With Electromagnetic Fields 71

Nerval's Lobster writes "University of Toronto researchers have demonstrated an invisibility cloak that hides objects within an electromagnetic field, rather than swaddling it in meta-materials as other approaches require. Instead of covering an object completely in an opaque cloak that then mimics the appearance of empty air, the technique developed by university engineering Prof. George Eleftheriades and Ph.D. candidate Michael Selvanayagam makes objects invisible using the ability of electromagnetic fields to redirect or scatter waves of energy. The approach is similar to that of 'stealth' aircraft whose skin is made of material that absorbs the energy from radar systems and deflects the rest away from the radar detectors that sent them. Rather than scattering radio waves passively due to the shape of its exterior, however, the Toronto pair's 'cloak' deflects energy using an electromagnetic field projected by antennas that surround the object being hidden. Most of the proposals in a long list of 'invisibility cloaks' announced during the past few years actually conceal objects by covering them with an opaque blanket, which becomes 'invisible' by displaying an image of what the space it occupies would look like if neither the cloak nor the object it concealed were present. An invisibility cloak concealing an adolescent wizard hiding in a corner, for example, would display an image of the walls behind it in an effort to fool observers into thinking there was no young wizard present to block their view of the empty corner. 'We've taken an electrical engineering approach, but that's what we are excited about,' Eleftheriades said in a public announcement of the paper's publication. (The full text is available as a free PDF here.)"

Nearly 1 In 4 Adults Surf the Web While Driving 365

cartechboy writes "A new survey out this week says that the number of motorists who surf the Web has nearly doubled over the past four years. In 2009, 13 percent of motorists admitted that they'd accessed the Internet while driving. In 2013, that figure had jumped to 24 percent. Smartphones are the primary culprit, making the unsafe task even easier. Other distracted driving behavior is on the rise, too, and younger drivers are the biggest issue — 76 percent of motorists 18 to 29 said that they talked on a hand-held cell phone while driving. 70 percent said they were texting. Keep in mind we have states legislating smartphone use task by task, which clearly doesn't help."

HTTP 2.0 May Be SSL-Only 320

An anonymous reader writes "In an email to the HTTP working group, Mark Nottingham laid out the three top proposals about how HTTP 2.0 will handle encryption. The frontrunner right now is this: 'HTTP/2 to only be used with https:// URIs on the "open" Internet. http:// URIs would continue to use HTTP/1.' This isn't set in stone yet, but Nottingham said they will 'discuss formalising this with suitable requirements to encourage interoperability.' There appears to be support from browser vendors; he says they have been 'among those most strongly advocating more use of encryption.' The big goal here is to increase the use of encryption on the open web. One big point in favor of this plan is that if it doesn't work well (i.e., if adoption is poor), then they can add support for opportunistic encryption later. Going from opportunistic to mandatory encryption would be a much harder task. Nottingham adds, 'To be clear — we will still define how to use HTTP/2.0 with http:// URIs, because in some use cases, an implementer may make an informed choice to use the protocol without encryption. However, for the common case — browsing the open Web — you'll need to use https:// URIs and if you want to use the newest version of HTTP.'"
The Internet

Legislation Would Prohibit ISPs From Throttling Online Video Services 222

Dega704 sends this story from Ars: "A Senate bill called the 'Consumer Choice in Online Video Act' (PDF) takes aim at many of the tactics Internet service providers can use to overcharge customers and degrade the quality of rival online video services. Submitted yesterday by U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), the 63-page bill provides a comprehensive look at the potential ways in which ISPs can limit consumer choice, and it boots the Federal Communications Commission's power to prevent bad outcomes. 'It shall be unlawful for a designated Internet service provider to engage in unfair methods of competition or unfair or deceptive acts or practices, the purpose or effect of which are to hinder significantly or to prevent an online video distributor from providing video programming to a consumer,' the bill states. A little more specifically, it would be illegal to 'block, degrade, or otherwise impair any content provided by an online video distributor' or 'provide benefits in the transmission of the video content of any company affiliated with the Internet service provider through specialized services or other means.' Those provisions overlap a bit with the FCC's authority under its own net neutrality law, the Open Internet Order, which already prevents the blockage of websites and services. However, Verizon is in court attempting to kill that law, and there is a real possibility that it could be limited in some way. The Consumer Choice in Online Video Act could provide a hedge against that possible outcome."

1.21 PetaFLOPS (RPeak) Supercomputer Created With EC2 54

An anonymous reader writes "In honor of Doc Brown, Great Scott! Ars has an interesting article about a 1.21 PetaFLOPS (RPeak) supercomputer created on Amazon EC2 Spot Instances. From HPC software company Cycle Computing's blog, it ran Professor Mark Thompson's research to find new, more efficient materials for solar cells. As Professor Thompson puts it: 'If the 20th century was the century of silicon materials, the 21st will be all organic. The question is how to find the right material without spending the entire 21st century looking for it.' El Reg points out this 'virty super's low cost.' Will cloud democratize access to HPC for research?"
United Kingdom

Britain's Conservatives Scrub Speeches from the Internet 234

An anonymous reader writes news of an attempt to erase a bit of history. From the article: "The Conservative Party have attempted to delete all their speeches and press releases online from the past 10 years, including one in which David Cameron promises to use the Internet to make politicians 'more accountable'. The Tory party have deleted the backlog of speeches from the main website and the Internet Archive — which aims to make a permanent record of websites and their content — between 2000 and May 2010."

Red Hat Releases Ceylon Language 1.0.0 159

First time accepted submitter Gavin King writes with news that the Ceylon language hit 1.0 "Ceylon 1.0 is a modern, modular, statically typed programming language for the Java and JavaScript virtual machines. The language features, an emphasis upon readability and a strong bias toward omission or elimination of potentially-harmful constructs; an extremely powerful type system combining subtype and parametric polymorphism with declaration-site variance, including first-class union and intersection types, and using principal types for local type inference and flow-dependent typing; a unique treatment of function and tuple types, enabling powerful abstractions; first-class constructs for defining modules and dependencies between modules; a very flexible syntax including comprehensions and support for expressing tree-like structures; and fully-reified generic types, on both the JVM and JavaScript virtual machines, and a unique typesafe metamodel. More information may be found in the feature list and quick introduction." If you think Ceylon is cool, you might find Ur/Web interesting too.

A Makerbot In Every Classroom 152

Daniel_Stuckey writes "At the start of this year, President Obama nicely summed up the grandiose promise of 3D printing — or rather, the hype surrounding it. In his State of the Union address the president suggested the fledgling technology could save manufacturing by ushering in a second industrial revolution. That shout-out inspired a spate of buzzkill blog posts pointing out — rightly enough — that despite its potential, 3D printing is still in its infancy. It's not the panacea for the struggling economy we want it to be, at least not yet. Apparently the naysayers weren't enough to kill the 3D-printing dream, because, with support from the federal government, MakerBot announced its initiative to put a 3D printer in every school in America. The tech startup and the administration are betting big that teaching kids 3D printing is teaching them the skills they'll need as tomorrow's engineers, designers, and inventors." Caveat: Makerbot no longer produces open hardware, and they are pushing proprietary Autodesk software and educational materials as part of the free 3D printer. Makerbot also launched a call for open models of math manipulatives on Thingiverse (you might remember them from elementary school) so that teachers have something useful to print immediately.

Demo of Prototype Virtual Retinal Head Mounted Display 93

muterobert writes with an article about a new head mounted virtual retinal display (technology last covered ages ago). The folks over at Road to VR took a look at an engineering prototype; from the article: "The Avegant HMD uses a virtual retinal projection display consisting of a single LED light source and an array of micro-mirrors. This differs from normal screens in that with a VRD there is no actual screen to look at. Instead, a virtual image (in the optical sense) is drawn directly onto your retina. . ... 'At one point I was looking at a sea turtle in shallow coral waters. Sunlight was beaming down from the surface and illuminating the turtle's shell in a spectacular way — it was one of the most vivid and natural things I've ever seen on any display. The scene before me looked incredibly real, even though the field of view is not at immersive levels.'"
Your Rights Online

WikiLeaks Releases the Secret Draft Text of the TPP IP Rights Chapter 212

sproketboy writes "WikiLeaks releases the secret negotiated draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter." The Syndney Morning Herald took a look at the leaked documents, from their article: "An expert in intellectual property law, Matthew Rimmer, said the draft was 'very prescriptive' and strongly reflected U.S. trade objectives and multinational corporate interests 'with little focus on the rights and interests of consumers, let alone broader community interests.'"

Physicists Plan to Build a Bigger LHC 263

ananyo writes "When Europe's Large Hadron Collider (LHC) started up in 2008, particle physicists would not have dreamt of asking for something bigger until they got their US$5-billion machine to work. But with the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson, the LHC has fulfilled its original promise — and physicists are beginning to get excited about designing a machine that might one day succeed it: the Very Large Hadron Collider. The giant machine would dwarf all of its predecessors (see 'Lord of the rings'). It would collide protons at energies around 100 TeV, compared with the planned 14TeV of the LHC at CERN, Europe's particle-physics lab near Geneva in Switzerland. And it would require a tunnel 80-100 kilometres around, compared with the LHC's 27-km circumference. For the past decade or so, there has been little research money available worldwide to develop the concept. But this summer, at the Snowmass meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota — where hundreds of particle physicists assembled to dream up machines for their field's long-term future — the VLHC concept stood out as a favorite."

Pentagon Readies Contingency Plans Due To BlackBerry's Uncertain Future 44

cold fjord writes "Nextgov reports, 'The Defense Department, owner of 470,000 BlackBerrys, is distancing itself from the struggling vendor while moving ahead with construction of a department wide app store and a system for securing all mobile devices, including the latest iPhones, iPads, and Samsung smartphones and tablets. Just two months ago, when BlackBerry announced the company would radically curtail commercial sales, Pentagon officials said their business partnership remained unaffected. ... A 2012 strategy to transition personnel from PCs to smartphones and tablets did not favor any one device maker ... "This multi-vendor, device-agnostic approach minimizes the impact of [a] single vendor to our current operations," Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Damien Pickart said. Implementation of the strategy centers on a "mobile device management" system to track handhelds that touch military networks so that they do not compromise military information or corrupt Defense systems.'"

How Blockbuster Could Have Owned Netflix 385

schnell writes "Your age probably determines whether you think of Blockbuster Video as a fond memory or a dinosaur predestined for extinction. While the last Blockbuster rental at the last remaining Blockbuster video store took place last week, Variety retells a now-classic story of how Blockbuster could have bought Netflix for a song, but didn't because it failed to take the new DVD-by-mail and video streaming markets seriously. Who is next to join Blockbuster, Polaroid, Borders and Best Buy on the ash heap of superseded retail business models?"

The Second Operating System Hiding In Every Mobile Phone 352

Jah-Wren Ryel writes "Every smartphone or other device with mobile communications capability (e.g. 3G or LTE) actually runs not one, but two operating systems. Aside from the operating system that we as end-users see (Android, iOS, PalmOS), it also runs a small operating system that manages everything related to radio. So, we have a complete operating system, running on an ARM processor, without any exploit mitigation (or only very little of it), which automatically trusts every instruction, piece of code, or data it receives from the base station you're connected to. What could possibly go wrong?"

Facebook Patented Making NSA Data Handoffs Easier 137

theodp writes "In June, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg blasted 'outrageous press reports' about the PRISM surveillance program, denying that Facebook was ever 'part of any program to give the U.S. or any other government direct access to our servers.' What Zuckerberg didn't mention, and what the press overlooked, is that the USPTO granted Facebook a patent in May for its Automated Writ Response System. Like the NSA-enabling systems described by the NY Times on the same day Zuckerberg cried foul, the patent covers technical methods to more efficiently share the personal data of users with law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in response to lawful government requests via APIs and secured portals installed at company-controlled locations. 'While handing over data in response to a legitimate FISA request is a legal requirement,' the Times noted, 'making it easier for the government to get the information is not, which is why Twitter could decline to do so.'"

India's Mars Mission Back On Track After Brief Hiccup 73

New submitter rahultyagi writes "After running into some problems in its fourth orbit-raising maneuver two days ago, Mangalyaan (India's Mars Orbiter Mission) seems to be back on track now. A supplementary burn lasting ~304 seconds was completed today, raising the apogee of MOM to 118,642 km — the intended apogee after the original maneuver. After the glitch two days ago, ISRO again seems to be on track to become the first entity to have a successful Mars mission on its first attempt. Though, of course, there are quite a few things that might still go wrong before this can be called a successful mission. Let's all hope that a year from now, we are all celebrating the entry of another nation into the small club capable of successful interplanetary missions."

Puzzled Scientists Say Strange Things Are Happening On the Sun 342

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Robert Lee Hotz reports in the WSJ that current solar activity is stranger than it has been in a century or more. The sun is producing barely half the number of sunspots as expected, and its magnetic poles are oddly out of sync. Based on historical records, astronomers say the sun this fall ought to be nearing the explosive climax of its approximate 11-year cycle of activity—the so-called solar maximum. But this peak is 'a total punk,' says Jonathan Cirtain. 'I would say it is the weakest in 200 years,' adds David Hathaway, head of the solar physics group at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. Researchers are puzzled. They can't tell if the lull is temporary or the onset of a decades-long decline, which might ease global warming a bit by altering the sun's brightness or the wavelengths of its light. To complicate the riddle, the sun also is undergoing one of its oddest magnetic reversals on record, with the sun's magnetic poles out of sync for the past year so the sun technically has two South Poles. Several solar scientists speculate that the sun may be returning to a more relaxed state after an era of unusually high activity that started in the 1940s (PDF). 'More than half of solar physicists would say we are returning to a norm,' says Mark Miesch. 'We might be in for a longer state of suppressed activity.' If so, the decline in magnetic activity could ease global warming, the scientists say. But such a subtle change in the sun—lowering its luminosity by about 0.1%—wouldn't be enough to outweigh the build-up of greenhouse gases and soot that most researchers consider the main cause of rising world temperatures over the past century or so. 'Given our current understanding of how the sun varies and how climate responds, were the sun to enter a new Maunder Minimum, it would not mean a new Little Ice Age,' says Judith Lean. 'It would simply slow down the current warming by a modest amount.'"
The Internet

The Operations of a Cyber Arms Dealer 18

An anonymous reader writes "FireEye researchers have linked eleven distinct APT cyber espionage campaigns previously believed to be unrelated (PDF), leading them to believe that there is a shared operation that supplies and maintains malware tools and weapons used in them. The eleven campaigns they tied together were detected between July 2011 and September 2013, but it's possible and very likely that some of them were active even before then. Despite using varying techniques, tactics, and procedures, the campaigns all leveraged a common development infrastructure, and shared — in various combinations — the same malware tools, the same elements of code, binaries with the same timestamps, and signed binaries with the same digital certificates."

Microsoft Warns Customers Away From RC4 and SHA-1 92

Trailrunner7 writes "The RC4 and SHA-1 algorithms have taken a lot of hits in recent years, with new attacks popping up on a regular basis. Many security experts and cryptographers have been recommending that vendors begin phasing the two out, and Microsoft on Tuesday said it is now recommending to developers that they deprecate RC4 and stop using the SHA-1 hash algorithm. RC4 is among the older stream cipher suites in use today, and there have been a number of practical attacks against it, including plaintext-recovery attacks. The improvements in computing power have made many of these attacks more feasible for attackers, and so Microsoft is telling developers to drop RC4 from their applications. The company also said that as of January 2016 it will no longer will validate any code signing or root certificate that uses SHA-1."

CyanogenMod Windows-Based Installer Released, With Supporting Android App 74

Zanadou writes "CyanogenMod today released for general availability a friendly[er]-to-use Windows-based installer that will automagically (no need to first root and/or unlock the bootloader) step users though downloading, flashing and setting up an appropriate CyanogenMod version on supported Android phones. Along with this, a 'companion app' that apparently helps set up the installer is now available the Play Store, along with a newly-refreshed download page. Still no image for 'hammerhead' (Nexus 5), though."

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