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Submission + - Nokia Licenses Smartphone IP To LG (theregister.co.uk)

jones_supa writes: Nokia – the bit in Finland, not the bit absorbed by Microsoft – isn't making mobile phones anymore, but is still making money from them. The company will license its smartphone intellectual property to LG, the first such deal Nokia has done since selling its phone biz to Microsoft. A lot of deals like this were done in the old days. In a canned statement, Nokia said: "The Korean company is the latest of more than 60 licensees for Nokia's 2G, 3G and 4G mobile communication technologies." Importantly, this is a cash deal. LG will be paying to use the patents rather than engaging in a technology swap. Nokia isn’t prepared to be explicit on which patents are covered by the agreement, saying that the company has over 10,000 patent families – or 30,000 individual patents – and only Microsoft has the rights to use them all.

Submission + - What happens when a quantum dot looks in a mirror? (phys.org) 1

KAMRYNabf writes: The 2014 chemistry Nobel Prize recognized important microscopy research that enabled greatly improved spatial resolution. This innovation, resulting in nanometer resolution, was made possible by making the source (the emitter) of the illumination quite small and by moving it quite close to the object being imaged.

Submission + - France blocks Belgian euro coin marking Battle of Waterloo 2

hcs_$reboot writes: A COIN is threatening to inflame tensions in Europe.. Belgium hit out at France on Thursday after Paris forced it to scrap a new two-euro coin celebrating the 200th anniversary of the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. Belgium decided to produce a coin marking the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, where Napoleon was defeated by the British and the Prussians, featuring an image of the monument at the site. But Paris objected, saying that there would be an “unfavourable reaction in France” and that "the Battle of Waterloo has a particular resonance in the collective consciousness that goes beyond a simple military conflict".

Submission + - Designer Creates 3d Printed Skin That Imitates & Feels Like Human Skin (3dprint.com)

ErnieKey writes: Industrial designer Hamish McIntosh, in working on a thesis for his Master’s degree at New Zealand’s Victoria University of Wellington, has been working on solving the problem of medical training in the area of suturing. His answer has been to develop a 3D design that simulates skin. The 3D printed material imitates real skin in that it is flexible, pliant, and has the same amount of fluidity. The 3D printed skin may have the potential to change the course of medical training.

Submission + - Libraries in Washington DC Promoting Privacy with Tor

ArcRiley writes: According to a recent article on Vice, libraries in Washington DC will be hosting a 10-day series on government surveillance and privacy titled Orwellian America.

One of the main events is a free workshop on using Tor and helping patrons install Tor Browser Bundle on their laptops. Seems those radical militant librarians are at it again!

Submission + - There is no center of the Universe

StartsWithABang writes: From our vantage point, the Universe is expanding and cooling, with all but a few of the closest galaxies receding from our view. In fact, the farther away an object is, the faster it appears to recede. This may sound an awful lot like what occurs in an explosion to you, especially if it were centered on us. Furthermore, the name “the Big Bang” sure gives that same implication, doesn’t it? Yet despite these facts, it turns out that the idea that the Universe has a center is completely false, and is actually contradicted by both relativity and the Universe that we observe.

Submission + - OpenBSD forked to remove non-free firmware 2

An anonymous reader writes: LibertyBSD, a fork of OpenBSD that is committed to only distributing 100% free software, has been announced.

OpenBSD, while mostly free, distributes binary-only firmware and often downloads more on first boot.

LibertyBSD is pending review by the Free Software Foundation, which maintains a list of free system distributions. Other distributions on their list include Trisquel, which is based on Ubuntu, and Parabola, which is based on Arch.

To ensure the continued development of LibertyBSD, releases will not be available for download until 3 BTC has been raised. After that, future releases will be available at no cost. 10% of the money raised will be donated to the OpenBSD Foundation.

For more information, see http://www.libertybsd.net/

Contributions can be sent to 1BFQEqzhxTbvfjZ3f9eoTbeEBgJdkVcj4m

Submission + - School Defied Google and US Government, Let Boys Program White House Xmas Trees

theodp writes: This holiday season, Google and the National Parks partnered to let girls program the White House Christmas tree lights. While the initiative earned kudos in Fast Company's 9 Giant Leaps For Women In Science and Technology In 2014, it also prompted an act of civil disobedience of sorts from St. Augustine of Canterbury School, which decided Google and the U.S. government wouldn't determine which of their kids would be allowed to participate in the coding event. "We decided to open it up to all our students, both boys and girls so that they could be a part of such an historic event, and have it be the kickoff to our Hour of Code week," explained Debra Knox, a technology teacher at St. Augustine.

Submission + - Adobe Flash Update Installs McAfee Security Scan Plus Crapware

An anonymous reader writes: If you get an update notification for Adobe Flash you will also be installing McAfee Security Scan Plus. This mornings update did open an Adobe webpage but did not give the option of unticking a box to prevent installation of McAfee crapware like previous updates have had. To uninstall — Start, McAfee Security Scan Plus, Uninstall, restart, cross your fingers nothing gets borked.

Submission + - The Slow Death of 'Do Not Track' (nytimes.com)

schwit1 writes: FOUR years ago, the Federal Trade Commission announced, with fanfare, a plan to let American consumers decide whether to let companies track their online browsing and buying habits. The plan would let users opt out of the collection of data about their habits through a setting in their web browsers, without having to decide on a site-by-site basis.

The idea, known as “Do Not Track,” and modeled on the popular “Do Not Call” rule that protects consumers from unwanted telemarketing calls, is simple. But the details are anything but.

Although many digital advertising companies agreed to the idea in principle, the debate over the definition, scope and application of “Do Not Track” has been raging for several years.

Now, finally, an industry working group is expected to propose detailed rules governing how the privacy switch should work. The group includes experts but is dominated by Internet giants like Adobe, Apple, Facebook, Google and Yahoo. It is poised to recommend a carve-out that would effectively free them from honoring “Do Not Track” requests.

If regulators go along, the rules would allow the largest Internet giants to continue scooping up data about users on their own sites and on other sites that include their plug-ins, such as Facebook’s “Like” button or an embedded YouTube video. This giant loophole would make “Do Not Track” meaningless.

How did we get into this mess? For starters, the Federal Trade Commission doesn’t seem to fully understand the nature of the Internet.

Submission + - 5,200 Days Aboard ISS and the Surprising Reason the Mission is Still Worthwhile

HughPickens.com writes: Spaceflight has faded from American consciousness even as our performance in space has reached a new level of accomplishment. In the past decade, America has become a truly, permanently spacefaring nation. All day, every day, half a dozen men and women, including two Americans, are living and working in orbit, and have been since November 2000. Charles Fishman has a long, detailed article about life aboard the ISS in The Atlantic that is well worth the read where you are sure to learn something you didn't already know about earth's permanent outpost in space. Some excerpts:

The International Space Station is a vast outpost, its scale inspiring awe even in the astronauts who have constructed it. From the edge of one solar panel to the edge of the opposite one, the station stretches the length of a football field, including the end zones. The station weighs nearly 1 million pounds, and its solar arrays cover more than an acre. It’s as big inside as a six-bedroom house, more than 10 times the size of a space shuttle’s interior. Astronauts regularly volunteer how spacious it feels. It’s so big that during the early years of three-person crews, the astronauts would often go whole workdays without bumping into one another, except at mealtimes.

On the station, the ordinary becomes peculiar. The exercise bike for the American astronauts has no handlebars. It also has no seat. With no gravity, it’s just as easy to pedal furiously, feet strapped in, without either. You can watch a movie while you pedal by floating a laptop anywhere you want. But station residents have to be careful about staying in one place too long. Without gravity to help circulate air, the carbon dioxide you exhale has a tendency to form an invisible cloud around your head. You can end up with what astronauts call a carbon-dioxide headache.

Even by the low estimates, it costs $350,000 an hour to keep the station flying, which makes astronauts’ time an exceptionally expensive resource—and explains their relentless scheduling: Today’s astronauts typically start work by 7:30 in the morning, Greenwich Mean Time, and stop at 7 o’clock in the evening. They are supposed to have the weekends off, but Saturday is devoted to cleaning the station—vital, but no more fun in orbit than housecleaning down here—and some work inevitably sneaks into Sunday.

Life in space is so complicated that a lot of logistics have to be off-loaded to the ground if astronauts are to actually do anything substantive. Just building the schedule for the astronauts in orbit on the U.S. side of the station requires a full-time team of 50 staffers.

Almost anyone you talk with about the value of the Space Station eventually starts talking about Mars. When they do, it’s clear that we don’t yet have a very grown-up space program. The folks we send to space still don’t have any real autonomy, because no one was imagining having to “practice” autonomy when the station was designed and built. On a trip to Mars, the distances are so great that a single voice or email exchange would involve a 30-minute round-trip. That one change, among the thousand others that going to Mars would require, would alter the whole dynamic of life in space. The astronauts would have to handle things themselves.

That could be the real value of the Space Station—to shift NASA’s human exploration program from entirely Earth-controlled to more astronaut-directed, more autonomous. This is not a high priority now; it would be inconvenient, inefficient. But the station’s value could be magnified greatly were NASA to develop a real ethic, and a real plan, for letting the people on the mission assume more responsibility for shaping and controlling it. If we have any greater ambitions for human exploration in space, that’s as important as the technical challenges. Problems of fitness and food supply are solvable. The real question is what autonomy for space travelers would look like—and how Houston can best support it. Autonomy will not only shape the psychology and planning of the mission; it will shape the design of the spacecraft itself.

Submission + - Newest Stealth Fighter's Ground Attack Sensors are 10 Years Behind Older Jets (thedailybeast.com)

schwit1 writes: America’s $400 billion, top-of-the-line aircraft can’t see the battlefield all that well. Which means it’s actually worse than its predecessors at fighting today’s wars.

The problem stems from the fact that the technology found on one of the stealth fighter’s primary air-to-ground sensors—its nose-mounted Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS)—is more than a decade old and hopelessly obsolete. The EOTS, which is similar in concept to a large high-resolution infrared and television camera, is used to visually identify and monitor ground targets. The system can also mark targets for laser-guided bombs.

Older jets currently in service with the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps can carry the latest generation of sensor pods, which are far more advanced than the EOTS sensor carried by the F-35.

The end result is that when the F-35 finally becomes operational after its myriad technical problems, cost overruns, and massive delays, in some ways it will be less capable than current fighters in the Pentagon’s inventory.

Submission + - Complex life may be possible in only 10% of all galaxies (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: The universe may be a lonelier place than previously thought. Of the estimated 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe, only one in 10 can support complex life like that on Earth, a pair of astrophysicists argues. Everywhere else, stellar explosions known as gamma ray bursts would regularly wipe out any life forms more elaborate than microbes. The detonations also kept the universe lifeless for billions of years after the big bang, the researchers say.

Submission + - NSA CTO Patrick Dowd Moonlighting for Private Security Firm (theguardian.com)

un1nsp1red writes: Current NSA CTO Patrick Dowd has taken a part-time position with former-NSA director Keith Alexander's security firm IronNet Cybersecurity — while retaining his position as chief technology officer for the NSA. The Guardian states that "Patrick Dowd continues to work as a senior NSA official while also working part time for Alexander’s IronNet Cybersecurity, a firm reported to charge up to $1m a month for advising banks on protecting their data from hackers. It is exceedingly rare for a US official to be allowed to work for a private, for-profit company in a field intimately related to his or her public function." Some may give Alexander a pass on the possible conflict of interests as he's now retired, but what about a current NSA official moonlighting for a private security firm?

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