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Submission + - NSA tracking movements of americans through cellphone location data (washingtonpost.com)

wired_parrot writes: In the latest Snowden documents leak, the Washington Post is reporting that the NSA is tracking hundreds of millions of cellphone locations worldwide. This data includes a large amount of American cellphone users collected "incidentally". This allows them to track people from afar into confidential business meetings or personal visits to medical facilities, hotel rooms, private homes and other traditionally protected spaces.

Submission + - The Burning Bridges of Ubuntu (datamation.com)

jammag writes: "Whether Ubuntu is declining is still debatable. However, in the last couple of months, one thing is clear: internally and externally, its commercial arm Canonical appears to be throwing the idea of community overboard as though it was ballast in a balloon about to crash." So claims a top Linux pundit, pointing out instances of community discontent and apparent ham-handeness on Mark Shuttleworth's part. Yet isn't this just routine kvetching in the open source community?

Submission + - NSA planned to discredit radicals based on web-browsing habits (huffingtonpost.com)

wired_parrot writes: New documents leaked show that the NSA was not only monitoring suspected radical sympathizers, but planned to discredit them based on their web-surfing habits. This includes not only evidence of porn browsing and online sexual activity, as well as extorsion and blackmail based on innapropriate use of funds. At the same time, the document leaked notes that very few of contacts noted were associated with terrorism

Comment Re:options are confusing (Score 1) 167

Even if you're a pilot or a sailor circumnavigating the globe, it is doubtful that you'll work in the 24 major time zones. For a pilot, it's only the time zones of the departing airport and arrival airport that really maters. You may cover other time zones in between, but you wouldn't _work_ in those intermediary time zones, which is how the question was phrased.

Submission + - New York City To Get Manhole Covers That Wirelessly Charge Electric Vehicles (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: A new project between NYU and start-up HEVO Power will disguise wireless charging stations in manhole covers. The wireless charing stations are aimed at providing fleets of delivery vehicles with power in parking spaces around the city. Next year, Toyota plans to test a wireless charging Prius in Japan, Europe. And, U.S. Auto electronics giant Delphi is developing technology for electric vehicles that could be used industrywide. The charging stations could be embedded in asphalt or pads that lay on garage floors. Wireless charging, however, still has many obstacles to overcome, including the time it takes to recharge a vehicle, cost to deploy the technology and power loss during electrical transfer.

Submission + - Can You Trust The Apps You Use?

An anonymous reader writes: With the advent of smartphones, the word "app" has almost become a synonym for pleasure. Whatever you need, whatever you want is right there at your fingertips, located in a few huge online marketplaces, ready to be downloaded and used in minutes, often for free. The problem with this is that many users enjoy the instant gratification, but don't think about the loss of security and / or privacy that goes with using apps (on whatever platform) from well- and lesser-known developers.

Security Researcher Alex Balan asks the question: "How much control we have over our security once we've allowed apps access to our private information?", and explains the unwelcome answer.
Education

Ask Slashdot: Best Language To Learn For Scientific Computing? 465

New submitter longhunt writes "I just started my second year of grad school and I am working on a project that involves a computationally intensive data mining problem. I initially coded all of my routines in VBA because it 'was there'. They work, but run way too slow. I need to port to a faster language. I have acquired an older Xeon-based server and would like to be able to make use of all four CPU cores. I can load it with either Windows (XP) or Linux and am relatively comfortable with both. I did a fair amount of C and Octave programming as an undergrad. I also messed around with Fortran77 and several flavors of BASIC. Unfortunately, I haven't done ANY programming in about 12 years, so it would almost be like starting from scratch. I need a language I can pick up in a few weeks so I can get back to my research. I am not a CS major, so I care more about the answer than the code itself. What language suggestions or tips can you give me?"

Comment Democracy is more than just elections (Score 1) 266

Democracy is more than just holding elections. An effective democracy needs a free press, freedom of speech and an independent judiciary, amongst others. The most important part about creating a democracy is having those effective institutions in place. Holding elections is only the last step on the road towards democracy.

This is why technological solutions won't work - any voting system won't work if they're being implemented by a corrupt and unaccountable executive who can manipulate public opinion by cracking down on dissent. Most dictators attempt to legitimize their rule at some point by holding elections - and when you can control public opinion by limiting dissent and controlling the media, rigging the election isn't even necessary to guarantee an election victory. Elections are meaningless without democratic institutions in place

Submission + - Robot Overlord Watch: Robots Join the Final Assembly Line at U.S. Auto Plant (technologyreview.com) 1

moon_unit2 writes: MIT Technology Review has a story about BMW's new collaborative final-assembly-line robots. The move could prove a significant in the ongoing automation of work, as robots have previously been incapable of doing such jobs, and too dangerous to work in close proximity to humans. Robots like the ones at BMW’s South Carolina plant are also to cooperate with human workers, by handing them a wrench when they need it. So perhaps the next big shift in labor could be robot-human collaboration.

Submission + - Brand new Bombardier CSeries airplane lifts off on maiden flight (www.cbc.ca)

JavaScrybe writes: Hey, a new type of bird. Bombardier's CSeries has taken its maiden flight. They boast a significant reduction in noise, which they hope will help them target urban airports, and lower fuel consumption for the eco-friendly. The canadian airplane maker hopes to challenge a significant dent in the 100-160 seats market for commercial aircrafts. At time of writing, no word yet if it landed safely, but they're hopeful.

Submission + - The Causes of Thursday's NASDAQ Crash (informationweek.com)

CowboyRobot writes: Despite there being apparent evidence of an online attack, that does not seem to be the case.
Available clues point to a data feed error. Outages at exchanges are actually not very rare, and hacking is seldom the cause.
In fact, rodents are a much more likely suspect. One of the more embarrassing Nasdaq outages occurred in 1994, when a kamikaze squirrel triggered 34 minutes of downtime. And that was the second 'rodent incident' in seven years.

Microsoft

Ballmer To Retire 633

Today Microsoft announced that CEO Steve Ballmer will be retiring within the next 12 months. He said, "There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time. ... My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our company’s transformation to a devices and services company. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction." Ballmer, 57, has been Microsoft's CEO since taking over the role from Bill Gates in January, 2000. The company's board of directors has formed a committee to find a replacement for Ballmer, and he will continue his duties until a new CEO is found. Questions about Ballmer's fitness to remain CEO have been circulating for the past several years, particularly after the company struggled to get a foothold in the mobile market. It will be interesting to see how this affects Microsoft's stock price. Upon retirement, Ballmer will be able to cash out hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Microsoft stock.

Comment Without validation, it's only a cool toy (Score 1) 128

Mr Aigon has since schooled himself in all the procedures for take off and landing and says he is able to fly his 'plane' just like a real-life pilot.

No. he's proven he's able to fly his simulator, not the real aircraft. An actual training flight simulator goes through an exhaustive validation to ensure it is accurately reproducing the aircraft within the envelope of interest. While he may have been able to get real cockpit parts to get the look of the real cockpit, there's no guarantee that his simulator reproduces the real flight envelope of the aircraft accurately, or that the system components were assembled in a way as to properly reproduce the aircraft system response. And training in an inaccurate simulator can be worse than training in no simulator at all.

Still, kudos for the DYI simulator. It's a cool grown-up toy, but it's not a training device.

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