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The Military

Northrop Grumman Markets Weaponized Laser System 246

stephencrane writes "Northrop Grumman is making available for sale the FIRESTRIKE weaponized laser system. The solid-state laser unit weighs over 400lbs, sends/receives instructions and data via an RJ-45 jack and can be synchronized with additional units to emit a 100 kW beam. It looks like some piece of stereophonic amplification equipment out of the '50s. Or Fallout 3. The press release suggests that FIRESTRIKE 'will form the backbone of future laser weapon systems.'"
The Internet

The Effects of the Cloud On Business, Education 68

g8orade points out two recent articles in The Economist about the rise of cloud computing. The first discusses how software-as-a-service has come to pervade online interactions. "Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a technology visionary at IBM, compares cloud computing to the Cambrian explosion some 500m years ago when the rate of evolution sped up, in part because the cell had been perfected and standardised, allowing evolution to build more complex organisms." The next article examines how the cloud will force a "trade-off between sovereignty and efficiency." Reader pjones contributes news that the Virtual Computer Lab will be supplementing more traditional computer labs at North Carolina State University, and adds, "NCSU's Virtual Computing Lab and IBM are offering the VCL code as a software 'appliance' for use in schools to link to the program. Downloads are available at ibiblio at UNC-Chapel Hill. The VCL also is partnering with Apache.org to make the software available and to allow further community participation in future development."
Security

New Approach To Malware Modifies Linux Kernel 170

Hugh Pickens writes "Professor Avishai Wool has unveiled a program to watch for malware on servers with a modification to the Linux kernel. 'We modified the kernel in the system's operating system so that it monitors and tracks the behavior of the programs installed on it,' says Wool. Essentially, Wool says, his software team has built a model that predicts how software running on a server should work (pdf). If the kernel senses abnormal activity, it stops the program from working before malicious actions occur. 'When we see a deviation, we know for sure there's something bad going on,' Wool explains. Wool cites problems with costly anti-virus protection. 'Our methods are much more efficient and don't chew up the computer's resources.'"
Medicine

Safe Stem Cells Produced From Adult Cells 207

hackingbear writes "Wired, citing a paper published in Science magazine, reports that Harvard scientists may have found a safer way of giving a flake of skin the biologically alchemical powers of embryonic stem cells by turning adult cells into versatile, embryonic-like cells without causing permanent damage. The technique involves 'adding cell-reprogramming genes to adenoviruses, a type of virus that infects cells without affecting their DNA.' Four-month trials on mice demonstrated that the resulting stem cells are free from unpredictable cancer-inducing mutations. This is definitely a breakthrough in stem cell research." Additional coverage is available at Yahoo, and Science hosts the research paper, although you'll need a subscription to see more than the abstract.
Slashdot.org

Introducing the Slashdot Firehose 320

Logged in users have noticed for some time the request to drink from the Slashdot Firehose. Well now we're ready to start having everybody test it out. It's partially a collaborative news system, partially a redesigned & dynamic next-generation Slashdot index. It's got a lot of really cool features, and a lot of equally annoying new problems for us to find and fix for the next few weeks. I've attached a rough draft of the FAQ to the end of this article. A quick read of it will probably answer most questions from how it works, what all the color codes mean, to what we intend to do with it.
Privacy

ACLU Protests Police Scanning License Plates 821

dustman81 writes "The ACLU is objecting to the practice of police in Springdale, Ohio using an automated license-plate scanner on patrol cars to locate stolen vehicles or those whose owners are wanted on felony warrants. The scanner can read 900 license plates an hour traveling at highway speeds. So far, the scanner has located 95 stolen cars and helped locate 111 wanted felons. The locations of the license plates scanned are tagged with GPS data. All matches are stored (with no expiration date given) and can be brought up later and cross-referenced on a map. If the plate is wanted, the times and locations of where it was scanned can be referenced. The Springdale police department hopes to begin using the system soon to locate misdemeanor suspects. This system is also in use in British Columbia."

Storing CERN's Search for God (Particles) 154

Chris Lindquist writes "Think your storage headaches are big? When it goes live in 2008, CERN's ALICE experiment will use 500 optical fiber links to feed particle collision data to hundreds of PCs at a rate of 1GB/second, every second, for a month. 'During this one month, we need a huge disk buffer,' says Pierre Vande Vyvre, CERN's project leader for data acquisition. One might call that an understatement. CIO.com's story has more details about the project and the SAN tasked with catching the flood of data."

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