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Music

Triumph of the Cyborg Composer 502

An anonymous reader writes "UC Santa Cruz emeritus professor David Cope's software, nicknamed Emmy, creates beautiful original music. So why are people so angry about that? From the article: 'Cope attracted praise from musicians and computer scientists, but his creation raised troubling questions: If a machine could write a Mozart sonata every bit as good as the originals, then what was so special about Mozart? And was there really any soul behind the great works, or were Beethoven and his ilk just clever mathematical manipulators of notes?'"
Security

GoDaddy Wants Your Root Password 236

Johnny Fusion writes "The writer of the Securi Security Blog had an alarming awakening when a honeypot on port 22 on a GoDaddy-hosted VPS recorded login attempts using his GoDaddy username and password and even an attempt to login as root. It turns out the attempt was actually from within GoDaddy's network. Before he could 'alert' GoDaddy about the security breach, he got an email from GoDaddy Demanding his root login credentials. There is an update where GoDaddy explains itself and says they will change policy."
Operating Systems

Google Android — a Universe of Incompatible Devices 636

snydeq writes "Galen Gruman writes about the dark side of the recent flood of Android smartphones: versions run amok. 'That flood of options should be a good thing — but it's not. In fact, it's a self-destruction derby in action, as phones come out with different versions of the Android OS, with no clear upgrade strategy for either the operating system or the applications users have installed, and with inconsistent deployment of core features. In short, the Android platform is turning out not to be a platform at all, but merely a starting point for a universe of incompatible devices,' Gruman writes. 'This mess leaves developers and users in an unstable position, as each new Android device adds another variation and compatibility question.' In the end, Google's naive approach to open sourcing Android may in fact be precipitating this free-for-all — one that might ultimately turn off both end-users and developers alike." As reader donberryman points out, you can even put Android onto some Windows Mobile phones, now.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Newspaper "Hacks Into" Aussie Gov't Website By Guessing URL 271

thelamecamel writes "According to the New South Wales state government, the Sydney Morning Herald, a local newspaper, attacked the government's 'website firewall security' for two days to research a recent story. The affected government minister said that the website was accessed 3,727 times, and that this is 'akin to 3,727 attempts to pick the lock of a secure office and take highly confidential documents.' The matter has been referred to the police, who are now investigating. But how did the paper 'hack' the website? They entered the unannounced URL. Security by obscurity at its finest."
Space

Falcon 9 Prepares For High Stakes Launch 190

happylunarnewyear writes "The first new rocket to be launched from the Cape since 2002 is assembled and upright on Launch Complex 40. Falcon 9 will undergo fueling testing and live firing tests before the launch occurs as soon as next month. The stakes couldn't be higher, either. The much politicized proposal for a change in direction for NASA, which includes scrapping the Constellation program in toto in favor of privatization and a new heavy lift vehicle, veritably rides on this rocket. If the launch goes well, the plan for increased reliance on privatized cargo missions and eventually privatized manned missions will soar with it. However if something goes wrong, those plans will come crashing to Earth along with Falcon 9. Given the stakes, this launch is one of the most important in recent history. From the article, 'President Obama's proposal to shift transport of US astronauts to the space station from government launchers to privatized ones could suffer politically if there's a high-profile problem with the first mission of the Falcon 9, by far the most talked-about newcomer vying for the opportunity.'" Reader FleaPlus contributes related news about NASA's proposed funding for scientific payloads on commercial space flights, which would be a huge boon to researchers.
Space

Meteorite Contains Complex Organic Molecules 106

An anonymous reader writes "Previously unknown organic molecules have been discovered in a 100 kg meteorite that hit Australia in 1969, suggesting that our early Solar System contained a soup of highly complex organic chemistry long before life appeared. Quoting: 'According to [the study's lead author], the newly discovered compounds in the Murchison meteorite "may have contributed to the organic complexity of the early 'soup' that led to the development of life on Earth." The findings also suggest that extraterrestrial chemical diversity surpasses that found on Earth. The meteor probably passed through primordial clouds in the early solar system, accumulating organic molecules in a snowball effect along the way. By tracing the sequence of organic molecules in the meteorite, researchers believe they may also be able to create a timeline for their formation and alteration since the early days of our solar system.'"
Space

Signs of Water Found On Saturnian Moon Enceladus 79

Matt_dk writes "Scientists working on the Cassini space mission have found negatively charged water ions in the ice plume of Enceladus. Their findings, based on analysis from data taken in plume fly-throughs in 2008 and reported in the journal Icarus, provide evidence for the presence of liquid water, which suggests the ingredients for life inside the icy moon. The Cassini plasma spectrometer, used to gather this data, also found other species of negatively charged ions including hydrocarbons."
Google

Google To Pay $500 For Bugs Found In Chromium 175

Trailrunner7 writes to mention that a new program from Google could pay security researchers $500 for every security bug found in Chromium. Of course if you find a particularly clever bug you could be eligible for a $1337 reward. "Today, we are introducing an experimental new incentive for external researchers to participate. We will be rewarding select interesting and original vulnerabilities reported to us by the security research community. For existing contributors to Chromium security — who would likely continue to contribute regardless — this may be seen as a token of our appreciation. In addition, we are hoping that the introduction of this program will encourage new individuals to participate in Chromium security. The more people involved in scrutinizing Chromium's code and behavior, the more secure our millions of users will be. Such a concept is not new; we'd like to give serious kudos to the folks at Mozilla for their long-running and successful vulnerability reward program."
Science

How To Build a Quantum Propulsion Machine 392

KentuckyFC writes "According to quantum mechanics, a vacuum will be filled with electromagnetic waves leaping in and out of existence. It turns out that these waves can have various measurable effects, such as the Casimir-Polder force, which was first measured accurately in 1997. Just how to exploit this force is still not clear. Now, however, a researcher at an Israeli government lab suggests how it could be possible to generate propulsion using the quantum vacuum. The basic idea is that pushing on the electromagnetic fields in the vacuum should generate an equal and opposite force. The suggestion is that this can be done using nanoparticles that interact with the vacuum's electric and magnetic fields, generating the well-known Lorentz force. In most cases, the sum of Lorentz forces adds up to zero. But today's breakthrough is the discovery of various ways to break this symmetry and so use the quantum vacuum to generate a force. The simplest of these is simply to rotate the particles. So the blueprint for a quantum propulsion machine described in the paper is an array of addressable nanoparticles that can be rotated in the required way. Although such a machine will need a source of energy, it generates propulsion without any change in mass. As the research puts it with magesterial understatement, this might have practical implications."
Games

NYT's "Games To Avoid" an Ironic, Perfect Gamer Wish List 189

MojoKid writes "From October to December, the advertising departments of a thousand companies exhort children to beg, cajole, and guilt-trip their parents for all manner of inappropriate digital entertainment. As supposedly informed gatekeepers, we sadly earthbound Santas are reduced to scouring the back pages of gaming review sites and magazines, trying to evaluate whether the tot at home is ready for Big Bird's Egg Hunt or Bayonetta. Luckily, The New York Times is here to help. In a recent article provokingly titled 'Ten Games to Cross off Your Child's Gift List,' the NYT names its list of big bads — the video games so foul, so gruesome, so perverse that we'd recommend you buy them immediately — for yourself. Alternatively, if you need gift ideas for the surly, pale teenager in your home whose body contains more plastic then your average d20, this is the newspaper clipping to stuff in your pocket. In other words, if you need a list like this to understand what games to not stuff little Johnny's stocking with this holiday season, you've got larger issues you should concern yourself with. We'd suggest picking up an auto-shotty and taking a few rounds against the horde — it's a wonderful stress relief and you're probably going to need it."
Google

Building Left 4 Dead Maps With Google Sketchup 44

notthatwillsmith writes "If you're a fan of Left 4 Dead and you've ever wanted to build a zombie-filled map of your hometown, office or grocery store, Maximum PC just posted a how-to that shows you how to convert photos of real-world locations into ready-to-play L4D 1 or 2 maps. It's everything you need to know in order to kill zombies with your friends — in the comfort of your own backyard."
Apple

Submission + - November the 6th - New Verizon DROID ERIS will be (blogspot.com)

ipirat writes: The Verizon DROID Eris will be available from Verizon, tomorrow November the 6th for $99 with a two year contract after a $100 mail in rebate.
Verizon has officially announced its latest Google Android powered mobile phone, the Verizon DROID Eris by HTC, which is due to launch this week the same time as the much anticipated Motorola DROID.

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