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Mars

NASA Plans To "Lasso" Asteroid and Turn It Into Space Station 200

SternisheFan writes "NASA scientists are planning to capture a 500 ton asteroid, relocate it and turn it into a space station for astronauts to refuel on their way to Mars. From the article: 'The 1.6bn-pound plan will be considered by the White House's Office of Science and technology in the coming weeks, as it prepares to set its space exploration agenda for the next decade, the Daily Mail reported. According to a report prepared by NASA and California Institute of Technology (Caltech) scientists, an, 'asteroid capture capsule' would be attached to an old Atlas V rocket and directed towards the asteroid between the earth and the moon. Once close, the asteroid capsule would release a 50ft diameter bag that would wrap around the spinning rock using drawstrings. The craft would then turn on its thrusters, using an estimated 300kg of propellant, to stop the asteroid in its tracks and tow it into a gravitationally neutral spot. From here space explorers would have a stationary base from which to launch trips deeper into space. Though NASA declined to comment on the project, it is believed that technology would make it possible within 10-12 years. The technology would also open up the possibility of mining other asteroids for their metals and minerals. Some are full of iron which could be used in the making of new space stations, others are made up of water which could be broken down into hydrogen and oxygen to make fuel. It is hoped that the project will increase our understanding of asteroids, and even shed new light on the origin of life on Earth.'"
Australia

Bank Puts a Billion Transaction Records Behind Analytics Site 86

schliz writes "Australia's UBank has put a billion real-world transaction records behind a website that allows users to compare their spending habits with others of the same gender, in the same age/income range, neighborhood and living situation. The 'PeopleLikeU' tool surfaces favorite shops and restaurants surprisingly accurately — because it's based on real customers' transactions, it lists places like good takeout joints that wouldn't normally come to mind when you think of a favorite place to eat. The bank says all data was 'deidentified' and it consulted with privacy authorities."
Education

Michael E. Mann Sues For Defamation Over Comparison To Jerry Sandusky 371

eldavojohn writes "The global warming debate has left much to be desired in the realm of logic and rationale. One particular researcher, Michael E. Mann, has been repeatedly attacked for his now infamous (and peer reviewed/independently verified) hockey stick graph. It has come to the point where he is now suing for defamation over being compared to convicted serial child molester Jerry Sandusky. Articles hosted by defendants and written by defendant Rand Simberg and defendant Mark Steyn utilize questionable logic for implicating Michael E. Mann alongside Jerry Sandusky with the original piece, concluding, 'Michael Mann, like Joe Paterno, was a rock star in the context of Penn State University, bringing in millions in research funding. The same university president who resigned in the wake of the Sandusky scandal was also the president when Mann was being (whitewashed) investigated. We saw what the university administration was willing to do to cover up heinous crimes, and even let them continue, rather than expose them. Should we suppose, in light of what we now know, they would do any less to hide academic and scientific misconduct, with so much at stake?' Additionally, sentences were stylized to blend the two people together: 'He has molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science that could have dire economic consequences for the nation and planet.' One of the defendants admits to removing 'a sentence or two' of questionable wording. Still, as a public figure, Michael E. Mann has an uphill battle to prove defamation in court."
The Military

Boeing's CHAMP Missile Uses Radio Waves To Remotely Disable PCs 341

Dupple writes "During last week's test, a CHAMP (Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project) missile successfully disabled its target by firing high power microwaves into a building filled with computers and other electronics. 'On Oct. 16th at 10:32 a.m. MST a Boeing Phantom Works team along with members from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate team, and Raytheon Ktech, suppliers of the High Power Microwave source, huddled in a conference room at Hill Air Force Base and watched the history making test unfold on a television monitor. CHAMP approached its first target and fired a burst of High Power Microwaves at a two story building built on the test range. Inside rows of personal computers and electrical systems were turned on to gauge the effects of the powerful radio waves. Seconds later the PC monitors went dark and cheers erupted in the conference room. CHAMP had successfully knocked out the computer and electrical systems in the target building. Even the television cameras set up to record the test were knocked off line without collateral damage.'"
Government

Apple's Secret Plan To Join iPhones With Airport Security 232

Hugh Pickens writes "Currently — as most of us know — TSA agents briefly examine government ID and boarding passes as each passenger presents their documents at a checkpoint at the end of a security line. Thom Patterson writes at CNN that under a 2008 Apple patent application that was approved in July and filed under the working title "iTravel," a traveler's phone would automatically send electronic identification to a TSA agent as soon as the traveler got in line and as each traveler waits in line. TSA agents would examine the electronic ID at an electronic viewing station. Next, at the X-ray stations, a traveler's phone would confirm to security agents that the traveler's ID had already been checked. Apple's patent calls for the placement of special kiosks (PDF) around the airport which will automatically exchange data with your phone via a close range wireless technology called near field communication (NFC). Throughout the process, the phone photo could be displayed on a screen for comparison with the traveler. Facial recognition software could be included in the process. Several experts say a key question that must be answered is: How would you prove that the phone is yours? To get around this problem, future phones or electronic ID may require some form of biometric security function including photo, fingerprint and photo retinal scan comparisons. Of course, there is still a ways to go. If consumers, airlines, airports and the TSA don't embrace the NFC kiosks, experts say it's unlikely Apple's vision would become reality. 'First you would have to sell industry on Apple's idea. Then you'd have to sell it to travel consumers,' says Neil Hughes of Apple Insider. 'It's a chicken-and-egg problem.'"
Encryption

Private Key Found Embedded In Major SCADA Equipment 105

sl4shd0rk writes "RuggedOS (A Siemens Subsidiary of Flame and Stuxnet fame), an operating system used in mission-critical hardware such as routers and SCADA gear, has been found to contain an embedded private encryption key (PDF). Now that all affected RuggedCom devices are sharing the same key, a compromise on one device gets you the rest for free. If the claims are valid, systems in use which would be affected include U.S. Navy, petroleum giant Chevron, and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. The SCADA gear which RuggedOS typically runs on is often connected to machinery controlling electrical substations, traffic control systems, and other critical infrastructure. This is the second security nightmare for RuggedCom this year, the first being the discovery of a backdoor containing a non-modifiable account."
Google

Why Amazon Is Google's Real Competition 129

New submitter wreakyhavoc writes "Nicholas Carlson at Business Insider maintains that Amazon's reviews and One-Click ordering will undercut Google's shopping ad revenue, and that Google is 'terrified.' From the article: 'Google is a search company, but the searches that it actually makes money from are the searches people do before they are about to buy something online. These commercial searches make up about 20 percent of total Google searches. Those searches are where the ads are. What Googlers worry about in private is a growing trend among consumers to skip Google altogether, and to just go ahead and search for the product they would like to buy on Amazon.com, or, on mobile in an Amazon app. There's data to prove this trend is real. According to ComScore, Amazon search queries are up 73 percent in the last year. How could Google fight this possible threat? Perhaps they could expose the astroturfing of Amazon reviews. Of course, this could backfire, as it would also draw attention to the astroturfing, link farming, and SEO games in Google's search results."
Medicine

Genetically Engineering Babies a Moral Obligation, Says Ethicist 840

Hugh Pickens writes "The Telegraph reports that Oxford Professor Julian Savulescu, an expert in practical ethics, says that creating so-called designer babies could be considered a 'moral obligation' as it makes them grow up into 'ethically better children' and that we should actively give parents the choice to screen out personality flaws in their children such as potential alcoholism, psychopathy and disposition to violence as it means they will then be less likely to harm themselves and others. 'Surely trying to ensure that your children have the best, or a good enough, opportunity for a great life is responsible parenting?' writes Savulescu, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics. 'So where genetic selection aims to bring out a trait that clearly benefits an individual and society, we should allow parents the choice. To do otherwise is to consign those who come after us to the ball and chain of our squeamishness and irrationality.' Savulescu says that we already routinely screen embryos and fetuses for conditions such as cystic fibrosis and Down's syndrome and couples can test embryos for inherited bowel and breast cancer genes. 'Whether we like it or not, the future of humanity is in our hands now. Rather than fearing genetics, we should embrace it. We can do better than chance.'"
AI

Poison Attacks Against Machine Learning 82

mikejuk writes "Support Vector Machines (SVMs) are fairly simple but powerful machine learning systems. They learn from data and are usually trained before being deployed. SVMs are used in security to detect abnormal behavior such as fraud, credit card use anomalies and even to weed out spam. In many cases they need to continue to learn as they do the job and this raised the possibility of feeding it with data that causes it to make bad decisions. Three researchers have recently demonstrated how to do this with the minimum poisoned data to maximum effect. What they discovered is that their method was capable of having a surprisingly large impact on the performance of the SVMs tested. They also point out that it could be possible to direct the induced errors so as to produce particular types of error. For example, a spammer could send some poisoned data so as to evade detection for a while. AI based systems may be no more secure than dumb ones."
Crime

Samsung Employees Conspired To Sell AMOLED Tech; 11 Arrested 93

zacharye writes with this snippet from BGR: "Nearly a dozen suspects have been arrested and charged with crimes related to the theft and sale of AMOLED display technology under development at Samsung. Yonhap News Agency on Thursday reported that 11 suspects either currently or formerly employed by Samsung Mobile Display have been arrested. One 46-year-old researcher at Samsung is believed to have accepted a payment of nearly $170,000 from an unnamed 'local rival firm' in exchange for trade secrets pertaining to proprietary Samsung technology used in the company's AMOLED panels..."
News

Neutrinos Travel No Faster Than Light, Says ICARUS 112

ananyo writes "Neutrinos obey nature's speed limit, according to new results from an Italian experiment. The finding, posted to the preprint server arXiv.org, contradicts a rival claim from the OPERA experiment that neutrinos could travel faster than the speed of light. ICARUS, located just a few meters from OPERA, clocked neutrinos traveling at the speed of light, and no faster, after monitoring a beam of neutrinos sent from CERN in late October and early November of last year. The neutrinos were packed into pulses just four nanoseconds long. That meant the timing could be measured far more accurately than the original OPERA measurement, which used ten microsecond pulses. The new findings are yet another blow to OPERA's results. Researchers there had announced possible timing problems with their original measurements. For many, this will pretty much be case closed."
Data Storage

Ask Slashdot: Free/Open Deduplication Software? 306

First time accepted submitter ltjohhed writes "We've been using deduplication products, for backup purposes, at my company for a couple of years now (DataDomain, NetApp etc). Although they've fully satisfied the customer needs in terms of functionality, they don't come across cheap — whatever the brand. So we went looking for some free dedup software. OpenSolaris, using ZFS dedup, was there first that came to mind, but OpenSolaris' future doesn't look all that bright. Another possibility might be utilizing LessFS, if it's fully ready. What are the slashdotters favourite dedup flavour? Is there any free dedup software out there that is ready for customer deployment?" Possibly helpful is this article about SDFS, which seems to be along the right lines; the changelog appears stagnant, though, although there's some active discussion.
Windows

What's Keeping You On XP? 879

Hugh Pickens writes "PC World reports that Windows XP lost more than 11 percent of its share from September to December 2011, to post a December average of 46.5 percent, a new low for the aged OS as users have gotten Microsoft's message that the operating system should be retired. Figures indicate that Windows 7 will become the most widely used version in April, several months earlier than previous estimates. Two months ago, as Microsoft quietly celebrated the 10th anniversary of XP's retail launch, the company touted the motto 'Standing still is falling behind' to promote Windows 7 and demote XP. In July, Microsoft told customers it was 'time to move on' from XP, reminding everyone that the OS would exit all support in April 2014. Before that, the Internet Explorer team had dismissed XP as the 'lowest common denominator' when they explained why it wouldn't run IE9. The deadline for ditching Windows XP is in April 2014, when Microsoft stops patching the operating system. 'Enterprises don't want to run an OS when there's no security fixes,' says Michael Silver, an analyst with Gartner Research rejecting the idea that Microsoft would extend the end-of-life date for Windows XP to please the 10% who have no plans to leave the OS. 'The longer they let them run XP, the more enterprises will slow down their migration.'"

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