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Submission + - Chinese Supercomputer Wrests Title From U.S. (nytimes.com)

bsharma writes: A Chinese scientific research center has built the fastest supercomputer ever made, replacing the United States as maker of the swiftest machine, and giving China bragging rights as a technology superpower.

The computer, known as Tianhe-1A, has 1.4 times the horsepower of the current top computer, which is at a national laboratory in Tennessee, as measured by the standard test used to gauge how well the systems handle mathematical calculations, said Jack Dongarra, a University of Tennessee computer scientist who maintains the official supercomputer rankings.


Submission + - MD family helps to catch a thief using cellphone (washingtonpost.com)

tugfoigel writes: At first, all Kari and Derek Fisher knew about the man who broke into their house was that he was careful enough to cut the screen window and neatly fold it so as not to get scratched on the way out. Given the size of the opening, he probably wasn't very big. And he liked to talk.

The couple and their two young children were asleep early Sept. 24 when the burglar crept into their Adelphi home. He found the home office, where he palmed a pair of digital cameras, a video camera, a satellite radio, and two camera bags filled with memory cards and batteries. He swiped Derek Fisher's wallet and cellphone from a desk.

That revelation sparked a series of slightly panicked phone calls, first to the Prince George's County police and then to banks and credit card companies to cancel cards. The Fishers also called their cellphone carrier, Sprint Nextel.

When a customer service representative offered to cut off the stolen phone or transfer the number to a new one, Derek Fisher asked out of curiosity whether there was some way for the company to see where the phone was. The customer service rep told him about a locator service he could sign up for on a 15-day free trial. Fisher agreed and signed on.

The Sprint Family Locator service, launched in 2006, relies on GPS technology embedded in the phone. AT&T and Verizon offer similar versions of the service, which is marketed as a way for parents to surreptitiously keep tabs on their kids, or, as the online demo puts it, "to make sure Caroline made it to morning band practice without interrupting the music."

Submission + - What Do You Do With A Disruptive Discovery? 3

jcohen writes: Suppose that you've just discovered a way of making a computationally hard bit of math very, very easy. You've written out your proof, you've verified it, you've written code, and now, say, you're factorizing colossal primes at the rate of 1,000 per second. What's next? The consequences could be huge. How do you get another set of eyes on it to make sure that you're not just another crackpot, and that your results are right? Do you disclose your discovery? How? To whom? To your country's intelligence agency? To the public? What are the conceivable answers to these questions that would have the best consequences for you or for the world?
Data Storage

How Do You Manage the Information In Your Life? 366

An anonymous reader writes "How do you manage the multitude of information sources in your lives? How do you keep track of the electronics or programming projects you're working on, or the collection of photos you took from your last holiday, or the notes and reading you're doing to learn a new language? Do you have a personal wiki, a blog, or maybe a series of tablet based notes, or voice recordings? Or is it pen and paper, and a blank book for each different hobby? I'm a student, and like most of you, have a few different interests to keep track of (as well as work). But I realise I also have a little OCD, and struggle a bit to keep on top of information (whether hobbies or personal life) in a way that I feel I have complete control over. So how do you all do it?"

Canonical Begins Tracking Ubuntu Installations 548

suraj.sun passes along this excerpt from Phoronix: "Just uploaded to the Ubuntu Lucid repository for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (and we imagine it will appear shortly in Maverick too for Ubuntu 10.10) is a new package called canonical-census, which marks its initial release. Curious about what this package provides, we did some digging and found it's for tracking Ubuntu installations by sending an 'I am alive' ping to Canonical on a daily basis. When the canonical-census package is installed, the program is to be added to the daily Cron jobs to be executed so that each day it will report to Canonical over HTTP the number of times this system previously sent to Canonical (this counter is stored locally and with it running on a daily basis it's thereby indicating how many days the Ubuntu installation has been active), the Ubuntu distributor channel, the product name as acquired by the system's DMI information, and which Ubuntu release is being used. That's all that canonical-census does, at least for now. Previously there haven't been such Ubuntu tracking measures attempted by Canonical."

Human Rights Groups Join Criticism of WikiLeaks 578

e065c8515d206cb0e190 writes "Several human rights organizations contacted WikiLeaks and pressed them to do a better job at hiding information that endangers civilians within their leaked documents. From the article: 'The letter from five human-rights groups sparked a tense exchange in which WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange issued a tart challenge for the organizations to help with the massive task of removing names from thousands of documents, according to several of the organizations that signed the letter. The exchange shows how WikiLeaks and Mr. Assange risk being isolated from some of their most natural allies in the wake of the documents' publication. ... An [Amnesty International] official replied to say that while the group has limited resources, it wouldn't rule out the idea of helping, according to people familiar with the reply. The official suggested that Mr. Assange and the human-rights groups hold a conference call to discuss the matter.'"
Operating Systems

OpenSUSE 11.3 Is Here 156

lukehashj writes "The openSUSE Project is pleased to announce the release of the latest incarnation of openSUSE, with support for 32-bit and 64-bit systems. OpenSUSE 11.3 is packed with new features and updates including SpiderOak to sync your files across the Internet for free, Rosegarden for free editing of your audio files, improved indexing with Tracker, and updates to Mozilla Firefox, and Thunderbird."
Social Networks

Leaving a Comment? That'll Be 99 Cents, and Your Name 377

netbuzz writes "Anxious to lift a ban on comments brought about by incessant trolling and anonymous slander, a Massachusetts newspaper has begun requiring two things of online readers who want to leave their thoughts on stories: a one-time fee of 99 cents and a willingness to use their real names. Says the publisher: 'This is a necessary step, in my opinion, if The Attleboro (MA) Sun Chronicle is going to continue to provide a forum for comments on our websites.'"

Major ISPs Challenge UK's Digital Economy Act 107

Techmeology writes "TalkTalk and BT, two of the UK's largest ISPs, seek to legally challenge the UK's Digital Economy Act, which was rushed through parliament during its last days prior to the election. TalkTalk and BT argue that the DEA infringes human rights and places large ISPs (with over 400,000 customers) at a disadvantage. They also believe the DEA could conflict with existing European Legislation such as the Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive, and the E-Commerce Directive — the latter stating that ISPs are not responsible for the actions of their customers. The Act, which saw twenty thousand letters sent to MPs in protest, contains measures to see websites suspected of distributing illegal material blocked, and Internet users disconnected or reported to copyright holders."

Australia Waters Down, Delays Internet Filter Policy 122

An anonymous reader writes "Looks like Australia's government is running a bit scared of a population enraged by its controversial mandatory filtering project. The Government today announced a suite of measures designed to provide controls around the filter project, including independent oversight and a review of content which would be included. In addition, some Australian ISPs will voluntarily censor any child pornography URLs. But the whole project is still going ahead — it's just been delayed and slightly modified."

Why Being Wrong Makes Humans So Smart 311

Hugh Pickens sends in an excerpt in last week's Boston Globe from Kathryn Schulz's book Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error. "The more scientists understand about cognitive functioning, the more it becomes clear that our capacity to make mistakes is utterly inextricable from what makes the human brain so swift, adaptable, and intelligent. Rather than treating errors like the bedbugs of the intellect — an appalling and embarrassing nuisance we try to pretend out of existence — we need to recognize that human fallibility is part and parcel of human brilliance. Neuroscientists increasingly think that inductive reasoning undergirds virtually all of human cognition. Humans use inductive reasoning to learn language, organize the world into meaningful categories, and grasp the relationship between cause and effect. Thanks to inductive reasoning, we are able to form nearly instantaneous beliefs and take action accordingly. However, Schulz writes, 'The distinctive thing about inductive reasoning is that it generates conclusions that aren't necessarily true. They are, instead, probabilistically true — which means they are possibly false.' Schulz recommends that we respond to the mistakes (or putative mistakes) of those around us with empathy and generosity and demand that our business and political leaders acknowledge and redress their errors rather than ignoring or denying them. 'Once we recognize that we do not err out of laziness, stupidity, or evil intent, we can liberate ourselves from the impossible burden of trying to be permanently right. We can take seriously the proposition that we could be in error, without deeming ourselves idiotic or unworthy.'"

Submission + - Antivirus Update Forces Users To Reinstall Windows

nandemoari writes: A problematic update for the popular BitDefender antivirus software appears to be causing quite a bit of trouble for users running 64-bit versions of Windows. Rather than save users from infection, the update released this past weekend is actually labeling important Windows files as malware threats. The problem has been extremely confusing for users of Windows 64-bit operating systems. According to reports, the BitDefender security update identifies vital Windows files as malware and then eliminates them altogether. The deletion of critical executable files has forced many users to re-install their entire operating system and remove BitDefender.

Planck Mission Releases Images of Galactic Dust 40

davecl writes "The Planck satellite has released its first new science images, showing the large scale filamentary structure of cold dust in our own galaxy. This release coincides with the completion of its first survey of the entire sky a couple of weeks ago. There's lots more work to be done, and more observations to be made, before results are ready on the Big Bang, but these images demonstrate Planck's performance and capability. More information is available on the Planck mission blog (which I maintain)."

Submission + - Free McAfee security software for Facebook users (wordpress.com)

Jennifer Megan writes: "Facebook's 350 million users will now get six months of free McAfee Internet Security Suite, Computer-security giant McAfee and Facebook are taking a big step of bring up necessary security for millions of Facebook users. They announced McAfee will create a complimentary six-month subscription of its Internet Security Suite software available to Facebook users."

Submission + - SPAM: Millennium's longest solar eclipse today.

An anonymous reader writes: The solar eclipse today will be a rare and beautiful sight in the new year, when 92 per cent of the sun gets eclipsed by the moon, leaving only a thin annulus or bangle like shining ring in the sky.
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