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Space

Submission + - X-rays Reveal New Black Hole in Andromeda (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: On 15 January, the XMM-Newton satellite detected a bright source of x-rays in the Andromeda galaxy, 2.5 million light-years from Earth. As astronomers report online today in Nature, the x-rays arise from hot gas swirling around a black hole that tears the material from an orbiting star. The object is roughly 10 times as massive as our sun and gobbles matter at nearly the maximum possible rate. Four similarly ravenous black holes are known in the Milky Way, but dust in the galaxy's disk obscures observations; so studying the newfound beast in Andromeda may offer fresh insight into how black holes accrete material, a process that feeds the supermassive black holes powering quasars billions of light-years away.
Science

Submission + - Scientists Produce 3D Blocks of Graphene (gizmag.com)

Zothecula writes: Imagine how limiting it would be if steel, wood or plastic only existed in the form of thin sheets. Well, that’s been the case so far when it comes to graphene. While its incredible strength and high conductivity make it very useful in things like semiconductors, batteries and solar cells, there’s no doubt that it would be even more useful if it could be produced in three-dimensional blocks. Scientists at Australia’s Monash University have now managed to do just that – by copying the structure of cork.
Ubuntu

Submission + - RMS Speaks Out Against Ubuntu (fsf.org) 2

An anonymous reader writes: In a post at the Free Software Foundation website, Richard Stallman has spoken out against Ubuntu because of Canonical's decision to integrate Amazon search results in the distribution's Dash search. He says, 'But not always. Ubuntu, a widely used and influential GNU/Linux distribution, has installed surveillance code. When the user searches her own local files for a string using the Ubuntu desktop, Ubuntu sends that string to one of Canonical's servers. (Canonical is the company that develops Ubuntu.) This is just like the first surveillance practice I learned about in Windows. ... What's at stake is whether our community can effectively use the argument based on proprietary spyware. If we can only say, "free software won't spy on you, unless it's Ubuntu," that's much less powerful than saying, "free software won't spy on you." It behooves us to give Canonical whatever rebuff is needed to make it stop this. ... If you ever recommend or redistribute GNU/Linux, please remove Ubuntu from the distros you recommend or redistribute.'
Security

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Router Security Vulerability?

An anonymous reader writes: I am a freelance security/pentest consultant. I've discovered the modem/routers my local ISP leases out to customers are affected by a security vulnerability that would allow an attacker to (relatively easily) gain root access. The vulnerability is publicly known, and the manufacturer is aware of the issue and has since released a firmware update resolving it. However, unless you are a service provider, there is no way for an end-user to get the update individually.

After numerous failed attempts at contacting anyone at the corporate office of my ISP (customer service tech support was hopeless), I got in touch with someone from the manufacturer who notified me about the firmware update. Filing a CERT report does not seem like an option as the issue has already been addressed by the OEM, but what can I do to get my ISP to take action? How about the thousands of other customers potentially affected?
Businesses

Submission + - Judge orders tobacco companies to say they lied

Freshly Exhumed writes: U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler may have recently witnessed Apple's impertinent fudging of a UK court's ordered confession of misdeeds and taken away an important lesson, because she has demanded that U.S. tobacco companies publish confessional ads beginning with very specific wording indicating that they lied to consumers over the health dangers of tobacco. Each corrective ad is to be prefaced by a statement that a federal court has concluded that the defendant tobacco companies "deliberately deceived the American public about the health effects of smoking." Among the required statements are that smoking kills more people than murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes and alcohol combined, and that "secondhand smoke kills over 3,000 Americans a year." Perhaps big tobacco will try to fight the order by claiming free speech rights under the First Amendment in line with the Citizens United ruling?

Comment Of course (Score 1) 1

Of highly intelligent people, how many are in the upper 50th percentile for number of offspring? The distaste of smart people for large families is nothing new, nor is their ability to avoid or limit their number of dependents. Less intelligent people, though, have long tended to be poorer, less powerful, and more procreative.
Canada

Submission + - Horny Aliens (theregister.co.uk)

LeadSongDog writes: El Reg, never shy with their headlines, gives us this story as "HORNY ALIEN vegetarian monsters once ROAMED CANADA"... Drs. Michael Ryan and David Evans, of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Royal Ontario Museum respectively have newly identified a bigger, uglier, hornier descendant of Triceratops they call "Xenoceratops foremostensis". The Open Access paper is: “A new ceratopsid from the Foremost Formation (middle Campanian) of Alberta” Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences (CJES) Oct 2012 http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/full/10.1139/e2012-056

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