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Submission + - Trump's cyber-guru Giuliani runs ancient, utterly hackable website (theregister.co.uk)

mask.of.sanity writes: US president-elect Donald Trump's freshly minted cyber tsar Rudy Giuliani runs a website so insecure that its content management system is five years out of date, unpatched and is utterly hackable.
Giulianisecurity.com the website for Giuliani's eponymous infosec consultancy firm, runs Joomla! version 3.0, released in 2012, and since found to carry 15 separate vulnerabilities. More bugs and poor secure controls abound.

Submission + - SPAM: Dart is fastest growing language at Google, 2nd fastest in TIOBE

An anonymous reader writes: Google's Dart language is growing quickly according to Google and TIOBE, where it reached 17th place for January 2017. Growth outside Google is likely driven by web apps in Angular 2, and worth watching this year is Flutter for Android and iOS apps. Inside Google, the rewrite of AdWords in Dart is a huge bet on Dart.

Submission + - Scientists can now grow a beating human heart from stem cells (indy100.com)

schwit1 writes: A team of scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School have used adult skin cells to regenerate functional human heart tissue.

The study, published in the journal Circulation Research , detailed that the team took adult skin cells, using a technique called messenger RNA to turn them into pluripotent stem cells, before inducing them to become two different types of cardiac cells.

Submission + - Mathematicians find optimal video game double jump strategy. (jstor.org)

RobertJ1729 writes: Mathematicians Aaron Broussard, Martin Malandro, and Abagayle Serreyn have cracked the code for the optimal video game multi-jump, a normal jump followed by additional jumps initiated in midair without the aid of a platform, to determine the highest achievable jump, and have described strategies human players or AI can use in real time to select successful multi-jumps in real time. Their results (doi) are published in the December issue of The American Mathematical Monthly . From the paper's introduction:

A multi-jump is a finite sequence of jumps where the first jump is initiated from the ground and the rest are initiated in midair. The number of jumps in a multi-jump is the length of the multi-jump, so a double jump is a multi-jump of length two. Several video games, such as Chair Entertainment Group(R)’s Shadow Complex(TM) and Nintendo(R)’s Super Smash Bros.(TM) Melee, feature triple jumps or multi-jumps of even longer length.

The basic problem we consider in this paper is the following. Suppose that a character in a two-dimensional side-scrolling video game wishes to use a multi-jump to jump to the right from a fixed starting point across a gap and land on a fixed platform. ...We therefore assume that the character has a known finite sequence of jump arcs available to her and faces the problem of selecting when to jump in midair, i.e., to switch from the arc of one jump to the next, so as to land on the platform. ...

Provided the platform is reachable by a multi-jump, we give strategies for solving this problem on the fly for both player-controlled and artificial intelligence (AI)-controlled characters. In the simplest situation all jumps available to the character are equal and fully concave (Definition 5). In this situation we give a simple strategy (the line method) that is usable by both players and AI. In our experience the majority of games featuring multi-jumps are covered by this situation. We give two further strategies for AI-controlled characters in more-complicated situations. Our first AI strategy is very general, in that it applies to any collection of standard jump functions (Definition 1). We also give a faster (less computationally intensive) AI strategy for collections of standard jump functions whose derivative inverses are known and computable exactly.

Submission + - Is Using Big Data to Influence Elections Right Up There With Fake News, Hacking?

theodp writes: While the use of hacking and fake news to influence the 2016 Presidential election have been widely-decried, the ethics of using Big Data to make a President — a practice embraced by Democrats and Republicans alike — has received less scrutiny. Inspired by the Obama team's pioneering use of Big Data to defeat Romney in 2012, both the Clinton and Trump campaigns used data analytics to mess with voters' heads, tailoring messages to make their candidate look better and the other candidate look worse. And, as DAWN pointed out, the data scientists who wield increasing influence over election outcomes have their own political agendas. Reflecting on the 2012 election, Obama for America Chief Scientist Rayid Ghani, whose family lived in London while he worked in the U.S., recalled what drove him to help the Obama campaign: "At this point I really don’t know what I am," he said. "It's less about country than about the larger world. For me it was a really easy decision, 'Is Obama better for the world than (Mitt) Romney?' Absolutely."

Submission + - Who's watching congress ?

rickyslashdot writes: This just crossed my monitor as a REAL and related issue I have mentioned in the past — ALL laws and actions taken by Congress — excepting certain National Security issues — NEED to be televised and monitored by the public.
Here it is — not even a week into 2017 — and congress has already gone to a closed session, back room, hidden from the public, type of activity that should have never been allowed to even be DISCUSSED, much especially actually VOTED on.
Fortunately, their 'action' didn't last 48 hours, as the public heard about it, and even pres-elect Trump weighed in. The great leaders attempted (actually voted it into action to become law) to gut the oversight agency that deals with congressional misbehavior — the Office of Congressional Ethics. In other words, behind closed doors, they attempted to remove THEIR guardians, the agency that watches over our country's law makers.
When news of this became public knowledge, our great leaders back-pedaled so fast that most will probably need physical therapy from the strain of reversing themselves so fast and so hard.
What other reason is needed to allow, and even force, C-Span to expand coverage to EVERY minute the House and Senate meet, whether on the floor -OR- in sealed, closed door sessions.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/d...

http://jeffcodems.org/news/ami...

https://twitter.com/dncpress/s...

These are just a few I picked up from a quickie web search. MUCH more is available for those willing to dig a bit.

Submission + - 'Vampire' Burials Have Been Uncovered in Poland (seeker.com) 1

schwit1 writes: The skeletons have holes in the spine, most likely from someone nailing the bodies into the ground.

Polish archaeologists have uncovered the medieval remains of three "vampires" — individuals whose bodies were mutilated before interment to physically prevent any attempts to rise from the grave.

Dating to the 13th and 14th centuries, the deviant burials were unearthed in the village Górzyca in western Poland.

Digging these bones up is not the beginning of a scary movie, right guys? Right? Guys?

Submission + - Tesla Falls Just Short of Their 80,000 Vehicle Goal for 2016

randomErr writes: Tesla targeted to sell 80,000 cars for 2016 but only delivered 76,230 vehicles. The carmaker said that 'short-term production challenges' at the end of October were to blame. The slowdown to new Autopilot hardware resulted in made 2,750 Tesla vehicles missed being counted as deliveries for the year. Tesla says about 6,450 vehicles on their way and will be counted toward the first quarter of 2017.

Submission + - Company breaks user's software after he posts a negative review 1

Iamthecheese writes: Techdirt reports on a user of ham radio software. He posted a negative review and made a (pdf) support ticket. The company (Ham Radio Deluxe) responded to the ticket with a "patch" that modified the software on the user's computer, disabling it. The company later offered to restore functionality if he would revoke the negative review.

Fallout can be found at the support ticket's page on QRZ.com. The CEO has stepped in to try to salvage the company's reputation

We apologize for what has happened here. I have stepped in and personally taken corrective actions to ensure that this mistake does not get made again.

...and the co-owner who seems to have perpetrated the misconduct, according to a (pdf) press release has stepped down.

Submission + - SPAM: Intel Finds Moore's Law's Next Step at 10 Nanometers

An anonymous reader writes: Sometime in 2017, Intel will ship the first processors built using the company’s new, 10-nanometer chip-manufacturing technology. Intel says transistors produced in this way will be cheaper than those that came before, continuing the decades-long trend at the heart of Moore’s Law — and contradicting widespread talk that transistor-production costs have already sunk as low as they will go.

In the coming years, Intel plans to make further improvements to the design of these transistors. And, for the first time, the company will optimize its manufacturing technology to accommodate other companies that wish to use Intel’s facilities to produce chips based on ARM architecture, which is nearly ubiquitous in modern mobile processors.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Is Computing As Cool And Fun As It Once Was? 1

dryriver writes: I got together with old computer nerd friends the other day. All of us have been at it since the 8-bit / 1980s days of Amstrad, Atari, Commodore 64 type home computers. Everybody at the meeting agreed on one thing — computing is just not as cool and as much fun as it once was. One person lamented that computer games nowadays are tied to internet DRM like Steam, that some crucial DCC software is available to rent only now (e.g. Photoshop) and that many"basic freedoms" of the old-school computer nerd are increasingly disappearing. Another said that Windows 10's spyware aspects made him give up on his beloved PC platform and that he will use Linux and Android devices only from now on, using consoles to game on instead of a PC because of this. A third complained about zero privacy online, internet advertising, viruses, ransomware, hacking, crapware. I lamented that the hardware industry still hasn't given us anything resembling photorealistic realtime 3D graphics, and that the current VR trend arrived a full decade later than it should have. A point of general agreement was that big tech companies in particular don't treat computer users with enough respect anymore. What do Slashdotters think? Is computing still as cool and fun as it once was, or has something "become irreversibly lost" as computing evolved into a multi billion dollar global business?

Submission + - Alexa, do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth...

rmdingler writes: Arkansas authorities have issued a warrant for the audio records of an Amazon Echo that was present at a suspicious death.
A report today from The Information details how police in Bentonville, Arkansas, have issued a warrant for the audio records of the Amazon Echo speaker belonging to James Bates, a suspect in an ongoing murder investigation. Amazon has handed over Bates’ purchase history and account information to law enforcement, but it has declined to release his speaker’s records.
In February, police arrested Bates, age 31, and charged him with the murder of Victor Collins, age 47, according to local news. According to a medical examiner, Collins was strangled in a hot tub. Bates pleaded not guilty in April and made bail shortly after, but the case will go to trial in early 2017. Both men worked for Walmart, which is headquartered in Bentonville.

Submission + - How Time Travel Began (backchannel.com)

mirandakatz writes: We are already time travelers, through our timepieces and our reading and our memories, argues James Gleick: "Nowadays we voyage through time so easily and so well, in our dreams and in our art. Time travel feels like an ancient tradition, rooted in old mythologies, old as gods and dragons. It isn’t. Though the ancients imagined immortality and rebirth and lands of the dead time machines were beyond their ken. Time travel is a fantasy of the modern era. When H.G. Wells in his lamp-lit room imagined a time machine, he also invented a new mode of thought."

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