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Firefox

Submission + - Time: Firefox 4 RC 1 Posted, IE9 Launch Confirmed (conceivablytech.com)

An anonymous reader writes: The next generation of browsers is ready to land. Microsoft just confirmed that IE9 will launch on March 14 (9am for those who cannot wait) and Mozilla is just released the download link of Firefox 4 RC1. As usual, the official announcement is expected to arrive later today. Mozilla said that it does not expect to make any changes to this release anymore and (hopefully) publish it as Firefox 4 shortly.

Comment The world is full of pansies now. (Score 2) 352

Does anyone remember the old days of Everquest? Now THERE were consequences. You've played played the character for YEARS as opposed to a measly 50 hours, and you kill one random fish and "Feel the hatred of an entire race"... Or part of your epic quest requires you to sacrifice being able to enter your home city without being attacked. So people worrying about small forks in a game where you can always just start over make me chuckle inside. Oh, how soft we've gotten... and I'm sure the Barbarians of Halas still hate my ranger, as well as the High Elves, just for killing that Royal Fish in Lake Rathetear... Consequences make you care.

Submission + - Is Skype down? (skype.com)

ghstridr writes: I'm in an online class today, using Skype for conferencing to a Fuze meeting. Upon further investigation, the main website is up, but neither support.skype.com or heartbeat.skype.com seems to be reachable.
Security

Submission + - NSA Considers Its Networks Compromised (net-security.org) 1

Orome1 writes: Debora Plunkett, head of the NSA's Information Assurance Directorate, has confirmed what many security experts suspected to be true: no computer network can be considered completely and utterly impenetrable — not even that of the NSA. "There's no such thing as 'secure' any more," she said to the attendees of a cyber security forum sponsored by the Atlantic and Government Executive media organizations, and confirmed that the NSA works under the assumption that various parts of their systems have already been compromised, and is adjusting its actions accordingly.
Sci-Fi

Dr. Who's Sonic Screwdriver Exists 179

Phoghat writes "Television's favourite Time Lord could not exist without his trusty sonic screwdriver, as it's proved priceless in defeating Daleks and keeping the Tardis in check. Now Doctor Who's famous cure-all gadget could become a reality for DIY-ers across the world, say engineers. Ultrasonic engineers at Bristol University and The Big Bang: UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair are uncovering how a real life version of the fictional screwdriver — which uses sonic technology to open locks and undo screws — could be created."

Comment Not really... (Score 1) 1

It's akin to saying you won the race because you're sitting at the finish line, but you never actually moved from it at the beginning of the race. http://digitizor.com/2010/11/17/internet-explorer-9-caught-cheating-in-sunspider-benchmark/ ..and MS response:http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ie/archive/2010/11/17/html5-and-real-world-site-performance-seventh-ie9-platform-preview-available-for-developers.aspx In short, the sunspider benchmark does an expensive loop that has no use, so IE9 "optimizes" it by not executing it. So it cheats.

Submission + - Link Between Weird Quantum Phenomena

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers have uncovered a fundamental link between the two defining properties of quantum physics. Stephanie Wehner of Singapore's Centre for Quantum Technologies and the National University of Singapore and Jonathan Oppenheim of the United Kingdom's University of Cambridge published their work today in the latest edition of the journal Science. The result is being heralded as a dramatic breakthrough in our basic understanding of quantum mechanics and provides new clues to researchers seeking to understand the foundations of quantum theory. The result addresses the question of why quantum behaviour is as weird as it is—but no weirder.
Government

Submission + - FDA Sidesteps Cancer Concerns over TSA Body Scanne (arstechnica.com)

suraj.sun writes: The US TSA has recently come under scrutiny for, among other things, its use of X-ray full-body scanners in airports to see through clothes and to detect non-metallic explosives. But are they safe? A group of UC-San Francisco professors recently raised a number of safety concerns regarding these scanners.

Unlike a medical X-ray, the TSA X-ray machines are lower-energy beams that can only penetrate clothing and the topmost layers of skin. But according to the UCSF professors, the low-enegy rays do a "Compton scatter" off tissue layers just under the skin, possibly exposing some vital areas and leaving the tissues at risk of mutation.

When an X-ray Compton scatters, it doesn't shift an electron to a higher energy level; instead, it hits the electron hard enough to dislodge it from its atom. The authors note that this process is "likely breaking bonds," which could cause mutations in cells and raise the risk of cancer.

Dr. Holdren passed the letter on to the FDA for review. But, in the FDA's response, the agency cite five studies in response to the professors' request for independent verification of the safety of these X-rays; however, three are more than a decade old, and none of them deal specifically with the low-energy X-rays the professors are concerned about. The letter also doesn't mention the FDA's own classification of X-rays as carcinogens in 2005.

ARS technica: http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/11/fda-sidesteps-safety-concerns-over-tsa-body-scanners.ars

Science

Submission + - Can Reddit Save Lives? (neontommy.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Reddit, Facebook and YouTube all have separate forums/pages/channels dedicated to suicide prevention. But can social networks actually prevent suicide?

Submission + - Report: Facebook, Skype Getting Really Friendly (crn.com)

cgriffin21 writes: Facebook and Skype are reportedly in talks over a deal that would integrate Skype calling capabilities into Facebook user accounts. Such an agreement would give both Skype and Facebook not only a leg up on rival VoIP and social networking services from the likes of Google, but also the combined force of two Internet-based services beloved by consumers. The talks, which were reported by All Things Digital Wednesday, stems from Facebook's goal of merging IP communications and social networking communities more closely together. Facebook in recent weeks had also been rumored to be developing a mobile device of its own.

Submission + - Pirate Bay ad flaw downs more servers (thinq.co.uk)

Stoobalou writes: A flaw in advertising software first exploited to spread malware on popular torrent index The Pirate Bay is now being used to attack other servers worldwide.

One of the first big sites to fall victim to the vulnerability in the open-source advertising server OpenX, the advertising server at The Pirate Bay was cracked and modified to spread malware via adverts on the site's main server.

Although The Pirate Bay has since cleaned the infection, the same security flaw is being used to attack other OpenX servers — in many cases causing sites to become inaccessible as they are blocked by anti-malware lists such as that used by Google.

Microsoft

Submission + - Windows 7 vs Ubuntu 10.04 (pcpro.co.uk)

Barence writes: PC Pro has performed a comprehensive test of Windows 7 vs Ubuntu 10.04. They've tested and scored the two operating systems on a number of criteria, including usability, bundled apps, performance, compatibility and business. The final result is much closer than you might expect. "Ubuntu is clearly an operating system on the rise," PC Pro concludes. "If we repeat this feature in a year’s time, will it have closed the gap? We wouldn’t bet against it."

Submission + - German Military Braces for Peak Oil (nytimes.com)

myrdos2 writes: A study by a German military think tank leaked to the Internet warns of the potential for a dire global economic crisis in as little as 15 years as a result of a peak and an irreversible decline in world oil supplies. The study states that there is "some probability that peak oil will occur around the year 2010 and that the impact on security is expected to be felt 15 to 30 years later. ... In the medium term the global economic system and every market-oriented national economy would collapse". The report closely matches one from the US military earlier this year, which stated that surplus oil production capacity could disappear within two years and there could be serious shortages by 2015 with a significant economic and political impact.
Security

Submission + - Adobe Warns Of Attack Exploiting Zero Day Flaw (crn.com)

cgriffin21 writes: Adobe warned Wednesday that a zero day vulnerability in both Reader and Acrobat is being actively exploited for attacks in the wild. The exploit, which Adobe categorized with the highest severity rating of "critical," was distributed via a phishing attack, indicated by the e-mail subject line "David Leadbetter's One Point Lesson."
Displays

Submission + - Nanoresonators create ultra-high-res displays (linuxfordevices.com)

TuurlijkNiet writes: Eat your heart out, 'Retina display'. A new technology unveiled yesterday will allow creating pixels eight times smaller than the ones on Apple's iPhone 4, eliminate the need for polarizer layers, and allow screens to make much more efficient use of available light, say University of Michigan researchers. The pixels in the nanoresonator displays are about ten times smaller than those on a typical computer screen, and about eight times smaller than the pixels on the iPhone 4, which are about 78 microns, according to Guo. Such pixel densities could make the technology useful in projection displays, as well as wearable, bendable or extremely compact displays, according to the researchers.

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