Submission + - Fossils of Cambrian predator preserved with brain impressions

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers on Wednesday described fossilized remains unearthed in China showing in fine detail the brain structures of a bizarre group of sea creatures that were the top predators more than half a billion years ago. The 520-million-year-old creature, one of the first predators of its day, sported compound eyes, body armor and two spiky claws for grabbing prey. "The animals of the Cambrian are noted for being a collection of oddballs that are sometimes difficult to match up with anything currently living on Earth. But even among these oddities, Anomalocarids stand out (as their name implies). The creatures propelled themselves with a series of oar-like paddles arranged on their flanks, spotted prey with enormous compound eyes, and shoveled them into a disk-like mouth with large arms that resided at the very front of their bodies—although some of them ended up as filter feeders."

Submission + - In Search Of Greener Fracking For Natural Gas ( 1

benonemusic writes: Though fracking fluids are 90 percent water, and 9.5 percent "proppant," which typically includes treated sand, chemicals that make up the remaining 0.5 percent can add up considering the tens of millions of gallons of water used in fracking. Representatives from the natural gas industry, chemical companies and nonprofit organizations came together at a conference to discuss ways to reduce the number of chemicals used in fracking and develop environmentally safer alternatives.

Submission + - Congress "Defends" State Rights by Passing Law Prohibiting Local ISP Competition

An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to approve a proposal that would essentially allow states to prohibit local municipalities from setting up their own ISPs to introduce competition in local markets. The bill seems to be a pre-emptive strike against FCC claims that it plans to limit the ability of individual states from stifling local competition. The proposal was inserted into a general appropriations bill (appropriations bill = government funding bill) by Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and passed 223-200. Blackburn, of course, has received thousands of dollars in "donations" from large, well-known ISPs and from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. The bill has to pass in the Senate in order to become law.

Submission + - FreeBSD 9.3 Released

k4w0ru writes: The FreeBSD Release Engineering Team is pleased to announce the availability of FreeBSD 9.3-RELEASE. This is the fourth release of the stable/9 branch, which improves on the stability of FreeBSD 9.2-RELEASE and introduces some new features.

  Some of the highlights: ZFS bookmarks, OpenSSL 0.9.8za, OpenSSH 6.6p1, SNI, BIND 9.9.5. For a complete list of new features and known problems, please see the online release notes and errata list, available at:

Submission + - Sexual harassment is common in scientific fieldwork (

sciencehabit writes: Universities and other workplaces have codes of conduct guarding against sexual harassment. But what about the more casual venue of scientific fieldwork—which is also a workplace? A new survey finds that sexual harassment and assaults occur frequently in the field, with little consequence for the perpetrators or explicit prohibitions against such conduct. The study reveals that the primary targets were young women who were harassed, assaulted, and even raped by men who were usually senior to them in rank, although men also reported harassment.

Submission + - best clock in world. What if the lights go off? (

tebjmd writes: At the foot of the mountains abutting Boulder, Colorado, in the labs of the National Institute of Science and Technology, there sits the most precise clock in the world.

It's so precise that, because it outstrips other atomic clocks, its creators weren't able to measure its precision until recently, when they built a second version of it. Now, with the two available to compare with one another, they've come up with a number for the clocks' precision, which clock physicists call the clocks' stability.

"Clock stability is a term we use in the field that basically refers to—if you look at the ticking rate of the clock, how much does that ticking rate change over time?" Andrew Ludlow, a NIST Boulder physicist who works on improving the lab's atomic clocks, tells Popular Science. "Ideally, you want every tick to be exactly the same as the other."

The NIST Boulder clocks have an instability of one part in 10-18. That's about 100 times more stable than the best cesium atomic clocks that international governments use to define the perfect second. And it's about 10 billion times more stable than quartz wristwatches.

"These clocks can very carefully measure gravitational field," Ludlow says.

The NIST Boulder clocks are made with technology a generation beyond that used in cesium atomic clocks. They happen to use atoms of ytterbium, a rare Earth element, but other next-generation clocks around the world use other elements, such as strontium and mercury.

These next-generation clocks could be used to measure some pretty cool effects in fundamental physics. For example, Einstein's theory of relativity has been devilishly difficult to prove experimentally. A NASA satellite measured the warping of space and time around Earth just in 2011. Next-generation atomic clocks, however, could measure the effects of relativity right here on Earth.

The theory of relativity predicts that in a strong gravitational field, time should slow. Clocks such as NIST Boulder's should be able to detect that slowing and whether that slowing is different on different places on Earth. "These clocks can very carefully measure gravitational field," Ludlow says. "It allows you to map out the gravitational field in an area."

Ludlow's clocks are too large and fragile to move anywhere for experiments, however, so they're not often put to work to actually measure anything. The U.S. government has given NIST money to work on making more robust, portable atomic clocks for experiments, Ludlow says. More portable atomic clocks could also go into space, to perform physics experiments there.

The NIST clocks are optical lattice clocks, which means they have an intense laser field that holds about 10,000 ytterbium atoms in place. Another laser excites the atoms, the movement of which is how the clock measures time. Exciting the atoms with a laser makes them vibrate at higher frequencies than atoms in cesium atomic clocks do. So optical lattice clocks tick faster and are able to tick off more precise units of time. Having so many atoms in the clock helps average out the uncertainties from any one atom.

So the NIST ytterbium optical lattice clocks are the most precise in the world, a record Ludlow and his colleagues published today, in a paper in the journal Science. What about accuracy, or the clocks' measure of time against the true time? To measure a clock's accuracy, scientists try to measure all of the things in the world that could alter the clock's atoms, such as changing temperatures or the laser lattice's effects on atoms.

The last time Ludlow and his team did this for the ytterbium clock was in 2009, when they found it was as accurate as a cesium atomic clock. They are now working on measuring accuracy again. As for the most accurate atomic clock in the world, it's also located in NIST Boulder and is called an aluminum quantum logic ion clock.

Submission + - Why the FCC Will Ignore Your Net Neutrality Comment and Listen to ISPs Instead

Jason Koebler writes: Time and time again, federal agencies like the FCC ignore what the public says it wants and sides with the parties actually being regulated—the ISPs, in this case. Research and past example prove that there's not much that can be considered democratic about the public comment period or its aftermath.
"Typically, there are a score or so of lengthy comments that include extensive data, analysis, and arguments. Courts require agencies to respond to comments of that type, and they sometimes persuade an agency to take an action that differs from its proposal," Richard Pierce, a George Washington University regulatory law professor said. "Those comments invariably come from companies with hundreds of millions or billions of dollars at stake or the lawyers and trade associations that represent them. Those are the only comments that have any chance of persuading an agency."

Submission + - Canadian ISP on Disclosing Subscriber Info: Come Back with a Warrant (

An anonymous reader writes: Canadian ISP Rogers has updated its privacy policy to reflect last month's Supreme Court of Canada Spencer decision. That decision ruled that there was a reasonable expectation of privacy in subscriber information. Canada's largest cable ISP will now require a warrant for law enforcement access to basic subscriber information, a policy that effectively kills the Canadian government's efforts to expand the disclosures through voluntary means.

Submission + - Apple Aagrees To $450 Million Ebook Antitrust Settlement (

An anonymous reader writes: Last year, a U.S. District Judge ruled that Apple conspired with publishers to control ebook prices in violation of antitrust laws. Apple launched an appeal which has yet to conclude, but they've now agreed to a settlement. If the appeal verdict goes against Apple, they will be on the hook for $450 million, most of which will go to consumers. If they win the appeal, they'll still have to pay $70 million. $450 million is much more than the other publishers had to pay, but much less than the expected penalty from a damages trial set for August (and still only about one percent of Apple's annual profit).

Submission + - Mysterious hole spotted at the 'end of the world' (

DavidMZ writes: The Siberian time published a story about a large crater of unknown that appeared in the Yamai peninsula in northern Siberia.
Russian government has dispatched a group of scientists to investigate the origin of the crater. Although early explanations included meteorites and UFOs, Anna Kurchatova from Siberia’s Sub-Arctic Scientific Research Centre believes that the crater was a result of an explosion when a mixture of water, salt and natural gas exploded underground. The Yamai peninsula is known to hold Russia's biggest natural gas reserve.

Submission + - Intel: second quarter higher than estimates (

An anonymous reader writes: The year 2013 was marked by a decline in sales for Intel. However, most 2014 begins. After a first quarter increase, the trend continues in the next quarter. Intel has, indeed, to present its latest report consists of a turnover of 13.8 billion dollars. Up 8% year on year, it is also higher than estimates.

The situation of the PC market has set Intel difficulty. Over the year 2013, the turnover of the component manufacturer, 52.7 billion dollars fell and layoffs were planned. However, the beginning of 2014 was better with a first quarter consists of a turnover of 12.764 billion dollars, slightly up about 1.5%. If the areas of mobile and PC were down, those software, connected objects and data centers grew.

Submission + - Giant crater appears at Siberia's 'world's end' (

stkpogo writes: "The giant hole appeared close to a forest some 30 kilometres from Yamal's biggest gas field Bovanenkovo. Experts are confident that a scientific explanation will be found for it and that it is not — as one web claim suggested — evidence 'of the arrival of a UFO craft' to the planet.

A report and footage highlighted by Zvezda TV says the dark colour of the crater indicates 'some temperature processes', without explaining more what they may mean. Others say that the darkening around the inner rim indicates its formation was accompanied by severe burning scorching the edges.

Some observers believe water or dry soil is seen falling into the cavity."

Submission + - Open Hardware and Digital Communications conference on free video, if you help (

Bruce Perens writes: The TAPR Digital Communications Conference has been covered twice here and is a great meeting on leading-edge wireless technology, mostly done as Open Hardware and Open Source software. Free videos of the September 2014 presentations will be made available if you help via Kickstarter. For an idea of what's in them, see the Dayton Hamvention interviews covering Whitebox, our Open Hardware handheld software-defined radio transceiver, and Michael Ossman's HackRF, a programmable Open Hardware transceiver for wireless security exploration and other wireless research. Last year's TAPR DCC presentations are at the Ham Radio Now channel on Youtube.

Submission + - Two big dark matter experiments gain U.S. support

Graculus writes: The Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced on Friday that they will try to fund two major experiments to detect particles of the mysterious dark matter whose gravity binds the galaxies instead of just one. The decision allays fears that the funding agencies could afford only one experiment to continue the search for so-called weakly interacting massive particles, or WIMPs.

Submission + - 97% of U.S. Banks Allow Clickjacking Fraud. 44% Don't Even Use SSL. 2

An anonymous reader writes: According to a financial industry software vendor, over 97% of U.S. Banks and Credit Unions Allow Clickjacking Fraud, and 44% Don't Even Use SSL. The report continues to break down the SSL usage and suggests that only 33.1% of institutions actually implement SSL correctly given a portion of the websites that do utilize HTTPS also allow a unsecured HTTP response.

Submission + - Networked Gadgets Waste 400 Terawatt-Hours of Energy Every Year

necro81 writes: IEEE Spectrum reports: "Your Xbox wastes a lot of energy—energy that could power the entire United Kingdom. Well, it's not just your Xbox, but your Xbox and my printer and your friend's television and 14 billion other networked electronic devices around the world....

"The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released a new report on just how much power all those networked devices use...[t]he results are amazing: network-enabled devices in homes and offices around the world consumed 616 terawatt-hours in 2013, and 65 percent of that (400 TWh) could have been saved simply by using technology that exists today."

It's a problem of design: even though it's technologically straightforward to design products for better energy consumption, with little incremental cost, there's no incentive for a designer to do so. It's not their electricity going to waste, after all.

Submission + - The Improbable Story of the 184 MPH Jet Train (

MatthewVD writes: Almost half a century ago, New York Central Railroad engineer Don Wetzel and his team bolted two J47-19 jet engines, throttled up the engines and tore down a length of track from Butler, Indiana to Stryker, Ohio at almost 184 mph. Today, the M-497 still holds the record for America's fastest train. This is the story of how it happened.

Submission + - FBI concerned about criminals using driverless cars (

gurps_npc writes: As per the Guardian, The FBI is concerned about dirverless cars. It discussed such issues as letting criminals shoot while the car drives (silly in my opinion, apparently they haven't heard of "partners" or considered requiring such cars have a police controlled "slow down" command), the use of such vehicles as guided bullet, (safeties again should stop this), and loading it with explosives and using it as a guided missile. This last concern is the only one that I considered a real issue, but even that is not significantly more dangerous than loading up a regular van full of explosives with a timer, then setting the timer to explode before you leave the vehicle next to a school, etc.

Submission + - Young women with sexy social media photos seen as incompetent: study (

Diggester writes: Revealing and seductive profile pictures on social networking websites like Facebook are rather common these days. While plenty of men might be charmed by the act (typical), women perceive such female peers to be a lot less competent and much less socially attractive. A research in Oregon State University meant to study the effects of media on the image of a girl’s body suggests that sharing all such pictures online has more adverse effects for the female user rather than being a positive move. As a result, the paramount pressure on young women to look ‘sexy’ could be devastating.

Submission + - Manuel Noriega sues Activision over Call of Duty

mrspoonsi writes: Manuel Noriega, the former dictator of Panama, is suing Call of Duty's video games publisher.

The ex-military ruler is seeking lost profits and damages after a character based on him featured in Activision's 2012 title Black Ops II. The 80-year-old is currently serving a jail sentence in Panama for crimes committed during his time in power, including the murder of critics. One lawyer said this was the latest in a growing trend of such lawsuits. "In the US, individuals have what's called the right to publicity, which gives them control over how their person is depicted in commerce including video games," explained Jas Purewal, an interactive entertainment lawyer. "There's also been a very well-known action by a whole series of college athletes against Electronic Arts, and the American band No Doubt took action against Activision over this issue among other cases. "It all focuses upon the American legal ability for an individual to be only depicted with their permission, which in practice means payment of a fee. "But Noriega isn't a US citizen or even a resident. This means that his legal claim becomes questionable, because it's unclear on what legal basis he can actually bring a case against Activision."

Submission + - SpaceX Booster return partially successful (

An anonymous reader writes: The commercial spaceflight company SpaceX returned part of its Falcon 9 rocket back to Earth after a successful satellite launch Monday (July 14) in a reusability test that did not go entirely as planned after the booster splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean.

"Rocket booster reentry, landing burn & leg deploy were good, but lost hull integrity right after splashdown (aka kaboom)," SpaceX's billionaire founder and CEO Elon Musk wrote in a Twitter post. "Detailed review of rocket telemetry needed to tell if [it was] due to initial splashdown or subsequent tip over and body slam."

Submission + - Amazon is testing a $10 a month ebook service called Kindle Unlimited (

Nate the greatest writes: Details are still scarce but it looks like Amazon is going to be launching a competitor to Scribd and Oyster. Earlier today new pages leaked on the Amazon website which mentioned Kindle Unlimited, a new subscription ebook service. The pages were quickly removed, but not before we got some screenshots. If the screenshots are to be believed KU is going to offer a catalog of over 600,000 titles for $9.99 a month. The news hasn't been confirmed by Amazon but those pages were seen by any number of authors and bloggers, including indie authors who confirmed that the new service is mentioned in their sales reports.

Submission + - Ask Dr. Andy Chun About Artificial Intelligence

samzenpus writes: Dr. Andy Chun is the CIO for City University of Hong Kong, and is instrumental in transforming the University to be one of the most technology-progressive in this region. He serves as an advisor on many government boards including the Digital 21 Strategy Advisory Committee, an advisory group on information technology matters in Hong Kong. His research work on the use of Artificial Intelligence has been honored with numerous awards, and his AI system keeps the subway in Hong Kong running and repaired with an amazing 99.9% uptime. Dr. Chun has agreed to give us some of his time in order to answer your questions. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.

Submission + - Time Warner Turns Down Takeover Bid From Rupert Murdoch

Dave Knott writes: The media giant 21st Century Fox, the empire run by Rupert Murdoch, made an $80 billion takeover bid in recent weeks for Time Warner Inc. but was rebuffed. Time Warner on Wednesday confirmed that it had rejected a cash and stock offer from 21st Century Fox, saying that it was not in the company’s best interests. Time Warner’s board discussed the proposal at length and early this month it sent a terse letter rejecting the offer, saying the company was better off remaining independent. A Time Warner statement pointed to its own strategic plan, what it said was “uncertainty” over the value of 21st Century Fox stock and regulatory risks as among the reasons for its rebuff. The company said that 21st Century Fox had offered a premium of roughly 22 percent to Time Warner’s closing price on Tuesday. Shares of Time Warner were up about 20 percent in premarket trading on Wednesday morning. The combined company would have total revenue of $65 billion.

Submission + - ChickTech Brings Hundreds of Young Women to Open Source (

ectoman writes: is running an interview with Jennifer Davidson of ChickTech, a non-profit organization whose mission is to create communities of support for women and girls pursuing (or interested in pursuing) careers in tech. "In the United States, many girls are brought up to believe that 'girls can't do math' and that science and other "geeky" topics are for boys," Davidson said. "We break down that idea." Portland, OR-based ChickTech is quickly expanding throughout the United States—to cities like Corvallis and San Francisco—thanks to the "ChickTech: High School" initiative, which gathers hundreds of young women for two-day workshops featuring open source technologies. "We fill a university engineering department with 100 high school girls—more girls than many engineering departments have ever seen," Davidson said. "The participants can look around the building and see that girls from all backgrounds are just as excited about tech as they are."

Submission + - LibreSSL PRNG Vulnerability Patched (

msm1267 writes: The OpenBSD project late last night rushed out a patch for a vulnerability in the LibreSSL pseudo random number generator (PRNG).

The flaw was disclosed two days ago by the founder of secure backup company Opsmate, Andrew Ayer, who said the vulnerability was a “catastrophic failure of the PRNG.”

OpenBSD founder Theo de Raadt and developer Bob Beck, however, countered saying that the issue is “overblown” because Ayer’s test program is unrealistic. Ayer’s test program, when linked to LibreSSL and made two different calls to the PRNG, returned the exact same data both times.

“It is actually only a problem with the author’s contrived test program,” Beck said. “While it’s a real issue, it’s actually a fairly minor one, because real applications don’t work the way the author describes, both because the PID (process identification number) issue would be very difficult to have become a real issue in real software, and nobody writes real software with OpenSSL the way the author has set this test up in the article.”

Submission + - US Marines Demonstrate Ultra Heavy-lift Amphibious Connector Prototype (

Zothecula writes: In a recent demonstration carried out during RIMPAC 2014, the US Marines displayed and tested a fully-functional, half-scale prototype of its new amphibious transport vehicle. In its proposed full-size version the Ultra Heavy-Lift Amphibious Connecter (UHAC) concept is designed to power across the water with a payload of nearly 200 tons (180 tonnes) at up to 20 knots (23 mph/37 km/h) and be capable of driving up on to the shore and over the top of obstructions up to 10 ft (3 m) high.

Submission + - Nearly 25 years ago, IBM helped save Macintosh (

dcblogs writes: Apple and IBM, which just announced partnership to bring iOS and cloud services to enterprises, have helped each other before. IBM played a key role in turning the Macintosh into a successful hardware platform at a point when it — and the company itself — were struggling. Nearly 25 years ago, IBM was a part of an alliance that gave Apple access to PowerPC chips for Macintosh systems that were competitive, if not better performing in some benchmarks, than the processors Intel was producing at the time for Windows PCs. In 1991, Apple was looking for a RISC-based processor to replace the Motorola 68K it had been using in its Macintosh line. "The PCs of the era were definitely outperforming the Macintoshes that were based on the 68K," he said. "Apple was definitely behind the power, performance curve," said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64. The PowerPC processor that emerged from that earlier pairing changed that. PowerPC processors were used in Macintoshes for more than a decade, until 2006, when Apple switched to Intel chips.

Submission + - US House Passes Pemanent Ban On Internet Taxes

jfruh writes: In 1998, the US Congress passed a law that temporarily banned all taxes imposed by federal, state, and local governments on Internet access and Internet-only services, a ban that has been faithfully renewed every year since. Now the US House has passed a permanent version of the ban, which also applies to several states that had passed Internet taxes before 1998 and were grandfathered in under the temporary law. The Senate must pass the bill as well by November 1 or the temporary ban will lapse.

Submission + - Selectively re-using bad passwords is not a bad idea, researchers say

An anonymous reader writes: For all the repeated advice to use different, complex password for each online account, users are still opting for easy-to-guess, short ones and use them repeatedly across many websites and online services. Unfortunately, it seems that security professionals must make peace with the situation, or find another way to make users listen and do as they are counselled. But is the experts' advice sound? A trio of researchers from Microsoft Researcher and Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada are of a different mind, and are challenging that long-held belief that every account needs a strong password.

Submission + - Japanese Porn Fans Targeted in Banking Malware Campaign (

DavidGilbert99 writes: At least four of Japan's most popular websites have been compromised and are serving visitors malware which can infect their Windows computers and once they log onto banking websites can steal login credentials and exfiltrate them to the criminals behind the Aitabook campaign

Submission + - Higgs boson: easy! Now, the underlying reason fr it.

brindafella writes: Physicists at the CERN's Large Hadron Colider (LHC) ATLAS experiment have been looking through the data, and have found enough of the extremely rare "W boson" (proton-proton) collisons that they can now declare their results; They have found why/how the Higgs does its job of imparting mass to other particles. This article tells how it works.

"Only about one in 100 trillion proton-proton collisions would produce one of these events," said Marc-André Pleier, a physicist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory who played a leadership role in the analysis of this result for the ATLAS collaboration. "You need to observe many [collisions] to see if the production rate is above or on par with predictions," Pleier said. "We looked through billions of proton-proton collisions produced at the LHC for a signature of these events—decay products that allow us to infer like Sherlock Holmes what happened in the event."

The analysis efforts started two years ago and were carried out in particular by groups from Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of Michigan, and Technische Universität Dresden, Germany.

Submission + - SRI/Cambridge open source DARPA CHERI secure processor (

An anonymous reader writes: Robert Watson at Cambridge (author of Capsicum) has written a blog post on SRI/Cambridge's recent open sourcing of the hardware and software for the DARPA-sponsored CHERI processor — including laser cutting directions for an FPGA-based tablet! Described in their paper The CHERI Capability Model: Reducing Risk in an age of RISC, CHERI is a 64-bit RISC processor able to boot and run FreeBSD and open-source applications, but has a Clang/LLVM-managed fine-grained, capability-based memory protection model within each UNIX process. Drawing on ideas from Capsicum, they also support fine-grained in-process sandboxing using capabilities. The conference talk was presented on a CHERI tablet running CheriBSD, with a video of the talk by student Jonathan Woodruff, and his slides, online. Although based on the 64-bit MIPS ISA, the authors suggest that it would also be useable with other RISC ISAs such as RISC-V and ARMv8. The paper compares the approach with several other research approaches and Intel's forthcoming Memory Protection eXtensions (MPX) with favorable performance and stronger protection properties.

Submission + - 100+ DDoS Events Over 100GB/sec Reported This Year

An anonymous reader writes: Arbor Networks released global DDoS attack data derived from its ATLAS threat monitoring infrastructure. The data shows an unparalleled number of volumetric attacks in the first half of 2014 with over 100 attacks larger than 100GB/sec reported. Even organizations with significant amounts of Internet connectivity can now see that capacity exhausted relatively easily by the attacks that are going on out there.

Submission + - KDE Releases Plasma 5 (

KDE Community writes: KDE proudly announces the immediate availability of Plasma 5.0, providing a visually updated core desktop experience that is easy to use and familiar to the user. Plasma 5.0 introduces a new major version of KDE's workspace offering. The new Breeze artwork concept introduces cleaner visuals and improved readability. Central work-flows have been streamlined, while well-known overarching interaction patterns are left intact. Plasma 5.0 improves support for high-DPI displays and ships a converged shell, able to switch between user experiences for different target devices. Changes under the hood include the migration to a new, fully hardware-accelerated graphics stack centered around an OpenGL(ES) scenegraph. Plasma is built using Qt 5 and Frameworks 5.

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