fabrica64 writes: Brazilian government starts today blocking mobile phones not sold in Brazil, i.e. not having paid sales taxes here. The blocking is based on IMEI and if you come to Brazil for the world cup in june and think of buying a Brazilian SIM card to call locally at lower rates then it won't work because your mobile's IMEI will be blacklisted as not sold in Brazil. This is not a joke, its true!
mpicpp writes: New Android apps and updates were blocked from appearing in Google's Play Store on Monday, after a hacker attacked Google's app publishing system.
Ibrahim Balic, a Turkish hacker, claimed responsibility for the attack. He said the developer console crashed when he tried to test a vulnerability he discovered. Balic wrote an app to exploit the flaw, which he expected to fail. But he said he didn't expect it to knock everyone offline as well.
theodp writes: Not to be a buzzkill, but as you're celebrating Saint Patrick's Day and March Madness, keep in mind that this time of year has traditionally been very good to those awaiting organ transplants, including the late Steve Jobs, as Walter Isaacson explained in Jobs: "By late February 2009 Jobs had secured a place on the Tennessee list (as well as the one in California), and the nervous waiting began. He was declining rapidly by the first week in March, and the waiting time was projected to be twenty-one days. 'It was dreadful,' Powell recalled. 'It didn’t look like we would make it in time.' Every day became more excruciating. He moved up to third on the list by mid-March, then second, and finally first. But then days went by. The awful reality was that upcoming events like St. Patrick’s Day and March Madness (Memphis was in the 2009 tournament and was a regional site) offered a greater likelihood of getting a donor because the drinking causes a spike in car accidents. Indeed, on the weekend of March 21, 2009, a young man in his mid-twenties was killed in a car crash, and his organs were made available."
An anonymous reader writes: The Examiner reports, "The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) confirmed March 16 the arrest of a group of Russians in the Zaporizhzhia (Zaporozhye) region of Ukraine. The men were armed with firearms, explosives and unspecified 'special technical means'. This follows the March 14 arrest... of several Russians dressed black uniforms with no insignia, armed with AKS-74 assault rifles and in possession of numerous ID cards under various names. One of which was an ID card of Military Intelligence Directorate of the Russian armed forces; commonly known as 'Spetsnaz'.... Spetsnaz commandos operating in eastern Ukraine would have the missions encompassing general ground reconnaissance of Ukrainian army units... missions they may perform preparatory to a Russian invasion would be planting explosives at key communications choke points to hinder movement of Ukrainian forces; seizing control of roads, rail heads, bridges and ports for use by arriving Russian combat troops; and possibly capturing or assassinating Ukrainian generals or politicians in key positions... Spetsnaz also infiltrate themselves into local populations... Once in place they begin ‘stirring the pot’ of ethnic and political strife with the goal of creating violent clashes usually involving firearms and destabilizing local authority." — More at Forbes, The Daily Beast and The New Republic.
SternisheFan writes: For further proof the robot apocalypse is nigh, CTV News reports...
The Cubestormer 3 took 18 months to build but only needed 3.253 seconds to solve the puzzle, breaking the existing record.
Unveiled at the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham, U.K., the Cubestormer 3 is constructed from the modular children's building-block toy but uses a Samsung Galaxy SIV smartphone with a special ARM chip addition as its brain. It analyzes the muddled up Rubik's Cube and powers each of the robot's four ‘hands', which spin the cube until all sides are in order.
Created by ARM engineer David Gilday and Securi-Plex security systems engineer Mike Dobson, Cubestormer 3's new record shaves just over two seconds off the existing record, set by Cubestormer 2, which the pair also built.
"We knew Cubestormer 3 had the potential to beat the existing record but with the robot performing physical operations quicker than the human eye can see there's always an element of risk," said Gilday. "In the end, the hours we spent perfecting the robot and ensuring its motor and intelligence functions were properly synchronized paid off. Our big challenge now is working out if it's possible to make it go even faster."
Part of a proposal to revise the country's Telecommunications Interception Act, the law would expand an existing law, section 3LA of the Crimes Act 1914, which already allows Australian authorities to gain access to physically seized computers and hard drives by way of forcing suspects to disclose their decryption passwords.
The proposal would give intelligence agencies even more elbow room, by allowing them to also "issue 'intelligibility assistance notices' requiring a person to provide information or assistance to place previously lawfully accessed communications into an intelligible form," as IT News reported today.
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft today revealed three major announcements regarding its OneNote offering: a free version of OneNote for Mac, a freemium version of OneNote for Windows, and a new cloud API for first- and third-party apps to communicate directly with OneNote. With the launch of OneNote for Mac, Microsoft says OneNote is now available “on all the platforms you care about” and “they’re always in sync.” That includes the PC, Mac, Windows tablets, Windows Phone, iPad, iPhone, Android, and the Web. As for the free version for Windows, it has no ads nor any limit for how long you can use it for: this is not just a trial. Everything you create in the free PC and Mac clients is synced to OneDrive, so you can access them from your phone and tablet as well.
sciencehabit writes: For millions of years, nine species of large, flightless birds known as moas (Dinornithiformes) thrived in New Zealand. Then, about 600 years ago, they abruptly went extinct. Their die-off coincided with the arrival of the first humans on the islands in the late 13th century, and scientists have long wondered what role hunting by Homo sapiens played in the moas’ decline. Did we alone drive the giant birds over the brink, or were they already on their way out thanks to disease and volcanic eruptions? Now, a new genetic study of moa fossils points to humankind as the sole perpetrator of the birds’ extinction. The study adds to an ongoing debate about whether past peoples lived and hunted animals in a sustainable manner or were largely to blame for the extermination of numerous species.
sciencehabit writes: The cancer gene BRCA1, which keeps tumors in the breast and ovaries at bay by producing proteins that repair damaged DNA, may also regulate brain size. Mice carrying a mutated copy of the gene have 10-fold fewer neurons and other brain abnormalities, a new study suggests. Such dramatic effects on brain size and function are unlikely in human carriers of BRCA1 mutations, the authors of the study note, but they propose the findings could shed light on the gene's role in brain evolution.
KentuckyFC writes: Imaging is undergoing a quiet revolution at the moment thanks to various new techniques for extracting data from images. Now physicists have worked out how to create an image of an object hidden behind a translucent material using little more than an ordinary smartphone and some clever data processing. The team placed objects behind materials that scatter light such as onion skin, frosted glass and chicken breast tissue. They photographed them using a Nokia Lumina 1020 smartphone, with a 41 megapixel sensor. To the naked eye, the resulting images look like random speckle. But by treating the data from each pixel separately and looking for correlations between pixels, the team was able to produce images of the hidden objects. They even photographed light scattered off a white wall and recovered an image of the reflected scene--a technique that effectively looks round corners. The new technique has applications in areas such as surveillance and medical imaging.
sciencehabit writes: In 2005 astronomers discovered Pluto's biggest neighborhood rival: Eris, which they claimed definitely surpassed Pluto in size. Now, as astronomers report an analysis of methane gas in Pluto's atmosphere suggests that Pluto is about 2368 kilometers across, in which case it's larger than Eris and thus the champ of the Edgeworth-Kuiper belt, which boasts more than a thousand known objects revolving around the sun beyond Neptune's orbit.
ConfusedVorlon writes: Backers were promised 'You will receive a digital version of the movie within a few days of the movie’s theatrical debut'.
Warner Bros are providing a non-downloadable ultra-violet coupon (although Veronica Mars is available for download through other stores).
The download is already available on the Pirate Bay. The download is even available on commercial stores. The users have already passed over their $35+ But rather than meet the demand for a DRM-free download, Warner Bros would prefer to return the original pledge to backers who complain (no doubt pissing them off even more).
What does this tell us about how movie studios view the world? There can't be a better indication of willingness to pay than 'they have already paid' — are these the pirates WB fears?
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: After a parting of ways with the New York Times after calling 50 out of 50 states right in the 2012 elections, Nate Silver has relaunched FiveThirtyEight as a website dedicated to data journalism under the auspices of ESPN. Silver has expanded his staff from two full-time journalists to 20 and instead of focusing on politics exclusively FiveThirtyEight's coverage will span five major subject areas — politics, economics, science, life and sports. According to Silver, his team has a broad set of skills and experience in methods that fall under the rubric of data journalism including statistical analysis, data visualization, computer programming and data-literate reporting. "One of our roles will be to critique incautious uses of statistics when they arise elsewhere in news coverage. At other times, we’ll explore ways that consumers can use data to their advantage and level the playing field against corporations and governments." The site has launched with a variety of stories including "Many Signs Pointed to Crimea Independence Vote — But Polls Didn’t," "Building a Bracket Is Hard This Year, But We’ll Help You Play the Odds," "Toilet Seat Covers: To Use or Not to Use," and "Three Rules to Make Sure Economic Data Aren’t Bunk".
The story that caught my eye was "This Winter Wasn’t the Coldest, But It Was One of the Most Miserable" with some good data visulatization that showed that although average temperature may not have set records in the Northeast Corridor this winter, the intensity of the cold when it did hit was impressive. According to Matt Lanza although most statistics cite the winter of 1978-79 as the coldest in U.S. history, the winter of 2013-14 brought a rare combination of miseries that many of us hadn’t seen in years, and some had never seen. It was colder than usual, it was extremely cold more often than usual, and it snowed more than usual in more places than usual. Traditionally, big snow winters occur in a couple regions. The East Coast might have great snows, while the Midwest is quiet. Snowfall this winter didn’t discriminate; it blanketed just about everybody (outside the dry West and icier Mid-South). Look how many cities had not just a little more, but way more, than their normal snowfall.
The most obvious items that spring to your mind, I expect, are from Lazarus Long, such as this one:
Heinlein’s recurring character, Lazarus Long, certainly offers plenty of management advice. In Long’s first appearance in Methusaleh’s Children, in which another character asks what Long expects a meeting resolution to be, he says, “A committee is the only known form of life with a hundred bellies and no brain.” That’s an oft-quoted quip, but too often it leaves off the next line: “But presently somebody with a mind of his own will bulldoze them into accepting his plan. I don’t know what it will be.” It was an important thing for me to learn: The plan that is adopted often is not “the best” but the brain-child of the most persistent communicator.
...but it turns out to be a minor example. See if you agree with these, and what you'd add to the list.
jones_supa writes: In a new blog post, the Ubuntu main man Mark Shuttleworth calls an end for proprietary firmwares such as ACPI. His reasoning is that running any firmware code on your phone, tablet, PC, TV, wifi router, washing machine, server, or the server running the cloud your SAAS app is running on, is a threat vector against you, and NSA's best friend. 'Arguing for ACPI on your next-generation device is arguing for a trojan horse of monumental proportions to be installed in your living room and in your data centre. I've been to Troy, there is not much left.' As better solutions, Shuttleworth suggests delivering your innovative code directly to the upstream kernel, or using declarative firmware that describes hardware linkages and dependencies but doesn’t include executable code.
DavidGilbert99 writes: What has been described as "the most valuable tweet in history" saw an anonymous benefactor donate 40 million dogecoin ($11,000) to the Doge4Water campaign — which is raising money for drought-stricken Kenya — via the @tipdoge account on Twitter. Going by the name Hood, the anonymous donor said the dogecoin community had "pure intentions" and he wanted to give them a hand.
An anonymous reader writes: My colleague at IEEE Spectrum, Eliza Strickland, looked at the home transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) movement. People looking to boost creativity, or cure depression, are attaching electrodes to their heads using either DIT equipment or rigs from vendors like Foc.us. Advocates believe experimenting with the tech is safe, but a neuroscientist worries about removing the tech from lab safeguards...
astroengine writes: For the first time, scientists have found direct evidence of the expansion of the universe, a previously theoretical event that took place a fraction of a second after the Big Bang explosion nearly 14 billion years ago. The clue is encoded in the primordial cosmic microwave background radiation that continues to spread through space to this day. Scientists found and measured a key polarization, or orientation, of the microwaves caused by gravitational waves, which are miniature ripples in the fabric of space. Gravitational waves, proposed by Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity nearly 100 years ago but never before proven, are believed to have originated in the Big Bang explosion and then been amplified by the universe’s inflation. “Detecting this signal is one of the most important goals in cosmology today,” lead researcher John Kovac, with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said in a statement.
chicksdaddy writes: The Security Ledger has picked up on an opinion piece by noted cyber terrorism and Stuxnet expert Ralph Langner (@langnergroup) who argues in a blog post that critical infrastructure owners should consider implementing what he calls "analog hard stops" to cyber attacks.
Langner is one of the world's foremost experts on the security of critical infrastructure, and a noted expert on cyber weapons and the Stuxnet Worm. He said the wholesale migration from legacy, analog control systems to modern, digital systems is hard-coding "the potential for a disaster into our future."
Langner cautions against the wholesale embrace of digital systems by stating the obvious: that “every digital system has a vulnerability,” and that it’s nearly impossible to rule out the possibility that potentially harmful vulnerabilities won’t be discovered during the design and testing phase of a digital ICS product.
"The question of whether to go digital or stay analog should not presuppose an answer, but rather a rigorous assessment as to the full set of options and the associated risks to the process being controlled as well as to society at large," Langner writes.
For example, many nuclear power plants still rely on what is considered “outdated” analog reactor protection systems. While that is a concern (maintaining those systems and finding engineers to operate them is increasingly difficult), the analog protection systems have one big advantage over their digital successors: they are immune against cyber attacks.
Rather than bowing to the inevitability of the digital revolution, the U.S. Government (and others) could offer support for (or at least openness to) analog components as a backstop to advanced cyber attacks could create the financial incentive for aging systems to be maintained and the engineering talent to run them to be nurtured, Langner suggests.
schwit1 writes: The government's own figures from 99 federal agencies covering six years show that halfway through its second term, the administration has made few meaningful improvements in the way it releases records. In category after category — except for reducing numbers of old requests and a slight increase in how often it waived copying fees — the government's efforts to be more open about its activities last year were their worst since President Barack Obama took office.
Velcroman1 writes: Close your eyes. You see that shimmering, veiny darkness that most people see, right? Not me. I see the moon. It’s the closest otherworldly body to us, making it the least challenging to explore of all the planets, moons and asteroids in our solar system. It's an opportunity for humans to establish a permanent presence off Earth — a moon base for scientists or a colony for all of humanity. It could facilitate planet-wide cooperation among Earth’s nations in the pursuit of an answer to life’s biggest question: “Why are we here?” Why go back to the moon? I say, all of the above.
An anonymous reader writes: A scientist named Stuart K. Williams is leading a team responsible for an extremely ambitious project; to print the human heart. Williams, who is the Scientific Director of the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute at the University of Louisville, believes that within a decade, perhaps sooner, 3D printed human hearts will be available for transplant.
“For bioprinting it is the end of the beginning as bioprinted structures are now under intense study by biologists. Dare I say the heart is one of the easiest to bioprint? It’s just a pump with tubes you need to connect,” said Williams.
Williams’ team includes 20 top scientists working with him on this project, and they have been making tremendous progress already. In fact, the 3D bioprinter which will one day be responsible for the first printed human heart, is already under construction. Once the printer is completed, the team can start testing out various tissue samples.
dangle writes: The Exposition Park museum in LA is working to rebuild the Endeavor launch stack, a display that will take thousands of pieces to complete due to parts that are scattered at NASA facilities, museums and other places across the U.S. Most are one of a kind and impossible to replicate. Dennis Jenkins, who spent his entire 30-plus year career sending the shuttles into space, is playing a key role in locating essential parts using his own and his colleagues' institutional memory. Employed by NASA contractor Martin Marietta, he helped write the software used in loading and controlling the liquid oxygen needed to launch the 2,250-ton shuttle assembly into low Earth orbit. Now, with the program part of a bygone era of exploration, the 57-year-old works for the California Science Center, helping officials figure out how to rebuild Endeavour.
judgecorp writes: An €2.9 million European Commission funded project aims to make data centres more efficient, and one of its ideas is to use second hand car batteries to power data centres. The GreenDataNet consortium includes Nissan, which predicts a glut of still-usable second hand car batteries in around 15 years, when the cars start to wear out. Gathered into large units, these could store enough power to help with the big problem of the electricity grid — the mismatch between local renewable generation cycles and the peaks of demand for power.