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Submission + - DroneOS: DreamHammer's Plan Control The Country's Growing Robot Army (

nonprofiteer writes: The Pentagon is increasingly transforming the military into an unmanned force, taking soldiers out of harm's way and replacing them with drones and robots. In 2011, it spent $6 billion on unmanned systems. The problem is that the unmanned systems don't work well together thanks to contractors building proprietary control systems (to lock government into exclusive relationships and to make extra money). A company called DreamHammer plans to have a solution to this — a universal remote control that could integrate all robots and drones into one control system. It would save money and allow anyone to build apps for drones. "DreamHammer CTO Chris Diebner compares it with a smartphone OS—on which drones and features for those drones can be run like apps. Of course, Ballista is doing something on a much larger scale. It means that it takes fewer people to fly more drones and that new features can be rolled out without the need to develop and build a new version of a Predator, for example."

Is this in the Terminator prequel?

Submission + - NIH Study Finds That Coffee Drinkers Have Lower Risk of Death 2

parallel_prankster writes: Older adults who drank coffee — caffeinated or decaffeinated — had a lower risk of death overall than others who did not drink coffee, according to a study by researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, and AARP. Coffee drinkers were less likely to die from heart disease, respiratory disease, stroke, injuries and accidents, diabetes, and infections, although the association was not seen for cancer. These results from a large study of older adults were observed after adjustment for the effects of other risk factors on mortality, such as smoking and alcohol consumption. They also found that the association between coffee and reduction in risk of death increased with the amount of coffee consumed. Relative to men and women who did not drink coffee, those who consumed three or more cups of coffee per day had approximately a 10 percent lower risk of death. Researchers caution, however, that they can't be sure whether these associations mean that drinking coffee actually makes people live longer. The full paper is available only for subscribers at the New England Journal of Medicine webpage .

Submission + - Iran threatens legal action against Google for not labeling Persian Gulf (

PantherSE writes: From the article:
Iran has threatened legal action against Google for not labeling the Persian Gulf on its maps.
"Toying with modern technologies in political issues is among the new measures by the enemies against Iran, (and) in this regard, Google has been treated as a plaything," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Thursday, according to state-run Press TV.
He added that "omitting the name Persian Gulf is (like) playing with the feelings and realities of the Iranian nation."


Submission + - DARPA seeks Holy Grail: Quantum-based data security system (

coondoggie writes: "Information security systems based on quantum computing techniques are one of the holy grails of the industry but the scientists at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency want to change that with a program that could develop such a system in 3 years. The main goal of the new program, called Quiness is to demonstrate that quantum communications can generate secure keys at sustainable rates of 1-10 Gbps at distances of 1,000-10,000 km."
Your Rights Online

Submission + - Federal Court Rejects NDAA - Issues Injunction ( 1

Arker writes: A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction late Wednesday to block provisions of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act that would allow the military to indefinitely detain anyone it accuses of knowingly or unknowingly supporting terrorism.

The Obama administration had argued, inter alia, that the plaintiffs, including whistleblower and transparency advocate Daniel Ellsberg and Icelandic Member of Parliament Birgitta Jonsdottir lacked standing, but Judge Katherine Forrest didnt buy it.

Given recent statements from the administration, it seems safe to say this will be the start of a long court battle.


Submission + - History's first prank call is almost as old as the telephone (

netbuzz writes: "You could picture the event as a 19th Century Bart Simpson making history’s first documented prank phone call to Mo’s Funeral Home. The documentation comes via Google Books from the February 1884 edition of The Electrical World – only eight years after Bell’s famous summoning of Watson — and the one-paragraph story is headlined: “A grave joke on undertakers.” The little-publicized gem was unearthed by Portland State University professor Paul Collins, who is also known at The Literary Detective."
Data Storage

Submission + - RunCore Introduces Self-Destructable SSD (

jones_supa writes: RunCore announces the global launch of its InVincible solid state drive, designed for mission-critical fields such as aerospace or military. The device improves upon a normal SSD by having two strategies for the drive to quickly render itself blank. First method goes through the disk, overwriting all data with garbage. Second one is less discreet and lets the smoke out of the circuitry by driving overcurrent to the NAND chips. Both ways can be ignited with a single push of a button, allowing James Bond -style rapid response to the situation on the field.

Submission + - BitTorrent Piracy Boosts Music Sales, Study Finds (

TheGift73 writes: "A new academic paper by a researcher from the North Carolina State University has examined the link between BitTorrent downloads and music album sales. Contrary to what’s often claimed by the major record labels, the paper concludes that there is absolutely no evidence that unauthorized downloads negatively impact sales. Instead, the research finds that more piracy directly leads to more album sales.

For more than a decade researchers have been looking into the effects of music piracy on the revenues of the record industry, with mixed results.

None of these researchers, however, used a large sample of accurate download statistics from a BitTorrent tracker to examine this topic. This missing element motivated economist Robert Hammond, Assistant Professor at North Carolina State University, to conduct his own research."


Submission + - Most CCTV Systems Easily Access (

An anonymous reader writes: The use of CCTV cameras for physical surveillance of all kinds of environments has become so pervasive that most of us don't give the devices a second thought anymore. But, those individuals and organizations who actually use and control them should be aware that most of them come with default settings that make them vulnerable to outside attacks. According to Gotham Digital Science researcher Justin Cacak, standalone CCTV video surveillance systems by MicroDigital, HIVISION, CTRing, and many other rebranded devices are not only shipped with remote access enabled by default, but also with preconfigured default accounts and passwords that are banal and easy to guess.

Submission + - Who is still using IE6? The UK government (

strawberryshakes writes: "The death knell for IE6 was sounded a couple of years ago, but seems like some people just can't let go. Many UK government departments are still using IE6, which is so old — 11 years old to be exact — it can't cope with social media — which the government is trying to get its staff to use more to engage with citizens"

Submission + - Paralyzed woman uses mind-controlled robot arm (

MrSeb writes: "Using BrainGate, the world’s most advanced brain-computer interface, a woman with quadriplegia has used a mind-controlled robot arm to serve herself coffee — an act she hasn’t been able to perform for 15 years. BrainGate, which is being developed by a team of American neuroscientists from Brown and Stanford universities, and is currently undergoing clinical trial, requires a computer chip to be implanted in the motor cortex of the patient, which it then transmits to a computer for processing. Like all brain-computer interfaces, the user must train the software — but once this is done, you simply think of a movement, and the software moves the robot accordingly. Moving forward, the researchers would like to miniaturize the system and make it wireless — at the moment, BrainGate users have a box attached to their head, and they're tethered to a computer — which is OK for robot arm use at home, but obviously doesn't grant much mobility. The work was partly funded by DARPA, with the hope of creating more advanced prosthetics for wounded war veterans."

Submission + - Inside the 2012 Loebner Prize (

An anonymous reader writes: Not a single judge was fooled by the chatbots in the 2012 Loebner Prize, which was won by the bot Chip Vivant. According to a journalist who was a human decoy in this year's Turing Test, interactions with the humans was a tad robotic while the bots went off on crazy tangents talking about being a cat and offering condolences for the death of a pet dragon.

Submission + - US judge blocks indefinite detention of Americans (

rastos1 writes: A US federal judge has temporarily blocked a section of the controversial National Defense Authorization Act that allows for the indefinite military detention of US citizens. In a 68-page ruling, US District Judge Katherine Forrest agreed on Wednesday that the statute failed to “pass constitutional muster” because its language could be interpreted quite broadly and eventually be used to suppress political dissent.

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Is outsourcing development a good idea?

penmanglewood writes: I am a developer at a small IT company, and we primarily make software and games for the education market. I used to work with a team of developers, but for reasons outside the scope of this question, my boss and I are the only ones left.

My boss says that our new strategy is to use outsourced developers to do the "monkey work" for us. To me, this sounds like a bad idea. Do we give the developers access to our internal libraries? How will they be able to work on parts of our product without having access to our repository.

I could think of a hundred more objections, but maybe I'm looking at it the wrong way. Is there a smart way to outsource development, or is it just a bad idea?

Submission + - Piratebay, Vimeo blocked in India ( 1

webanish writes: Vimeo and The Pirate Bay have been blocked in India. The current ruling coalition has been looking to censor the internet ever since social media triggered mass movements hit it badly during the anti corruption agitation in Aug-2011. Then we had the alleged 'sex-scandal' where a senior cabinet minister was videographed having sex (for favor) in his high-court chambers, a story blacked out by main stream media (a.k.a. paidmedia), but went viral on twitter, facebook. Are we heading into dark times, where information flow is increasingly controlled by the high and mighty?

Submission + - 100,000 DSL modems may loose their 'Net connection from Jul 9, says Paul Vixie ( 1

Dante_J writes: Up to 100,000 DSL modems may loose access to DNS come July the 9th due to scripted web interface changes made to them by DNSChanger. This and other disturbing details were raised by respected Internet elder Paul Vixie during a presentation at the AusCERT 2012 conference.

Submission + - History Professor Teaches How to Falsify Wikipedia

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Yoni Appelbaum reports in the Atlantic that as part of their coursework in a class that studies historical hoaxes, undergraduates at George Mason University successfully fooled Wikipedia's community of editors launching a Wikipedia page detailing the exploits of a fictitious 19th-century serial killer named Joe Scafe. The students, enrolled in T. Mills Kelly's course, Lying About the Past, used newspaper databases to identify four actual women murdered in New York City from 1895 to 1897, victims of broadly similar crimes and created Wikipedia articles for the victims, carefully following the rules of the site. But while a similar page created previously by Kelly's students went undetected for years, when students posted the story to Reddit, it took just twenty-six minutes for a redditor to call foul, noting the Wikipedia entries' recent vintage and others were quick to pile on, deconstructing the entire tale. Why did the hoaxes succeed in 2008 on Wikipedia and not in 2012 on Reddit? According to Appelbaum, the answer lies in the structure of the Internet's various communities. "Wikipedia has a weak community, but centralizes the exchange of information. It has a small number of extremely active editors, but participation is declining, and most users feel little ownership of the content. And although everyone views the same information, edits take place on a separate page, and discussions of reliability on another, insulating ordinary users from any doubts that might be expressed," writes Appelbaum. "Reddit, by contrast, builds its strong community around the centralized exchange of information. Discussion isn't a separate activity but the sine qua non of the site." If there's a simple lesson in all of this, it's that hoaxes tend to thrive in communities which exhibit high levels of trust. But on the Internet, where identities are malleable and uncertain, we all might be well advised to err on the side of skepticism (PDF).""

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