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Submission + - Employees in Swedish Office Complex Volunteer for RFID Implants for Access (computerworld.com)

Lucas123 writes: A Swedish office building is enabling corporate tenants to implant RFID chips into employee's hands in order to gain access through security doors and use services such as photocopiers. The employees working at Epicenter, a 15,000-square-foot building in Stockholm, can even pay for lunch with a swipe of their hand. Hannes Sjöblad, founder of Bionyfiken, a Swedish association of Biohackers, said Epicenter is not alone in a movement to experiment with uses for implanted chips that use RFID/NFC technology. There are also several other offices, companies, gyms and education institutions in Stockholm where people access the facilities with implanted chips. Bionyfiken just began a nationwide study using volunteers implanted with RFID/NFC. "It's a small, but indeed fast-growing, fraction which has chosen to try it out." The goal of the Bionyfiken project is to create a user community of at least 100 people with RFID implants who experiment with and help develop possible uses. But, not everyone is convinced it's a good idea.

John Kindervag, a principal security and privacy analyst at Forrester Research, said RFID/NFC chip implants are simply "scary" and pose a major threat to privacy and security. The fact that the NFC can't be shielded like a fob or chip in a credit card can with a sleeve means it can be activated without the user's knowledge, and information can be accessed. "I think it's pretty scary that people would want to do that [implant chips]," Kindervag said.

Submission + - New Study Says Governments Should Ditch Reliance on Biofuels

HughPickens.com writes: The NYT reports on a new study from a prominent environmental think tank that concludes that turning plant matter into liquid fuel or electricity is so inefficient that the approach is unlikely ever to supply a substantial fraction of global energy demand and that continuing to pursue this strategy is likely to use up vast tracts of fertile land that could be devoted to helping feed the world’s growing population. “I would say that many of the claims for biofuels have been dramatically exaggerated,” says Andrew Steer, president of the World Resources Institute, a global research organization based in Washington that is publishing the report. “There are other, more effective routes to get to a low-carbon world.” The report follows several years of rising concern among scientists about biofuel policies in the United States and Europe, and is the strongest call yet by the World Resources Institute, known for nonpartisan analysis of environmental issues, to urge governments to reconsider those policies.

Timothy D. Searchinger says that recent science has challenged some of the assumptions underpinning many of the pro-biofuel policies that have often failed to consider the opportunity cost of using land to produce plants for biofuel. According to Searchinger if forests or grasses were grown instead of biofuels, that would pull carbon dioxide out of the air, storing it in tree trunks and soils and offsetting emissions more effectively than biofuels would do. What is more, as costs for wind and solar power have plummeted over the past decade, and the new report points out that for a given amount of land, solar panels are at least 50 times more efficient than biofuels at capturing the energy of sunlight in a useful form. “It’s true that our first-generation biofuels have not lived up to their promise,” says Jason Hill said. “We’ve found they do not offer the environmental benefits they were purported to have, and they have a substantial negative impact on the food system.”

Submission + - Telomere-Lengthening Procedure Turns Clock Back Years in Human Cells (gizmag.com) 2

Zothecula writes: Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have developed a new procedure to increase the length of human telomeres. This increases the number of times cells are able to divide, essentially making the cells many years younger. This not only has useful applications for laboratory work, but may point the way to treating various age-related disorders – or even muscular dystrophy.

Submission + - Researcher claims proof that Isis is funding itself via Bitcoin (thestack.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A researcher from a Singapore-based research group claims to have found an Isis 'fundraising website' based around Bitcoin, allegedly fulfilling the promise of the document sent to Sky News last year, which claimed that Isis cells would soon favour a combination of Bitcoin, Dark Wallet and the 'Dark Net' (Tor, I2P, Freenet, iprediaOS and others) in order to maintain a circulation of funding obscured from government eyes. Speaking to Israeli newspaper Haaretz [http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/.premium-1.639542 — PAYWALLED], Ido Wulkan from Simulation Software & Technology, who found the alleged site by gaining access to a closed Turkish forum, said: "There was smoke, and now we have found the fire,"

Submission + - Architect Reveals Plans to 3D Print Entire Concrete Village (3dprint.com)

ErnieKey writes: We've seen and heard about 3d printed houses, apartments and even entire estates being erected all throughout the world. Now, one architect, who happens to be the man who brought us the first 3d printed castle, looks to create an entire village using a 3d printer. Andrey Rudenko has revealed his plans to create an entirely 3D printed village which he hopes will allow students and engineers to experiment with the capabilities that 3d printing offers the construction industry, while at the same time, create a tourist destination like none other.

Submission + - The Most Popular Passwords Are Still "123456" and "password"

BarbaraHudson writes: From the "I-have-the-same-password-on-my-luggage" department The Independent lists the most popular passwords for 2014, and once again, "123456" tops the list, followed by "password" and "12345" at #3 (lots of Spaceballs fans out there?) . "qwerty" still makes the list, but there are some new entries in the top 25, including "superman", "batman", and "696969". The passwords used were mostly from North American and Western European leaks.

Submission + - Your entire PC in a mouse

slash-sa writes: A Polish software and hardware developer has created a prototype computer which is entirely housed within a mouse . Dubbed the Mouse-Box , it works like a conventional mouse, but contains a processor, flash storage, an HDMI connection, and Wi-Fi connectivity. It is connected to a monitor via the HDMI interface and connects to an Internet connection through standard Wi-Fi.

Submission + - Japanese Nobel laureate blasts his country's treatment of inventors (sciencemag.org)

schwit1 writes: The Japanese Nobel winner who helped invent blue LEDs, then abandoned Japan for the U.S. because his country's culture and patent law did not favor him as an inventor, has blasted Japan in an interview for considering further legislation that would do more harm to inventors.

In the early 2000s, Nakamura had a falling out with his employer and, it seemed, all of Japan. Relying on a clause in Japan's patent law, article 35, that assigns patents to individual inventors, he took the unprecedented step of suing his former employer for a share of the profits his invention was generating. He eventually agreed to a court-mediated $8 million settlement, moved to the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and became an American citizen. During this period he bitterly complained about Japan's treatment of inventors, the country's educational system and its legal procedures.

..."Before my lawsuit, [Nakamura said] the typical compensation fee [to inventors for assigning patents rights] was a special bonus of about $10,000. But after my litigation, all companies changed [their approach]. The best companies pay a few percent of the royalties or licensing fee [to the inventors]. One big pharmaceutical company pays $10 million or $20 million. The problem is now the Japanese government wants to eliminate patent law article 35 and give all patent rights to the company. If the Japanese government changes the patent law it means basically there would no compensation [for inventors]. In that case I recommend that Japanese employees go abroad."

There is a similar problem with copyright law in the U.S., where changes in the law in the 1970s and 1990s has made it almost impossible for copyrights to ever expire. The changes favor the corporations rather than the individual who might actually create the work.

Submission + - China opens door for full foreign ownership of e-commerce companies (cnet.com)

hackingbear writes: Shanghai's Free Trade Zone entered a new dimension of economic reform on 14 January, allowing foreign investors to fully own e-commerce companies, according to Chinese state-owned media Xinhua News Agency. Previously, foreign investors originally needed a Chinese partner to break into the online shopping market, and were only allowed to have a maximum of 55 percent stake. Currently, the zone, set to be replicated in three other cities, is home to more than 12,000 companies, including 1,677 foreign-funded firms. The Chinese e-retail market is lucrative, with 330 million online shoppers and a trade volume of 5.66 trillion yuan ($910 billion) in the first half of 2014.

Submission + - Samsung "Conroes" the APS-C sensor market (slrlounge.com)

GhostX9 writes: SLR Lounge just posted a first look at the Samsung NX1 28.1 MP interchangeable lens camera. They compare it to Canon and Sony full-frame sensors. Spoiler: The Samsung sensor seems to beat the Sony A7R sensor up to ISO 3200. They attribute this to Samsung's chip foundry. While Sony is using 180nm manufacturing (Intel Pentium III era) and Canon is still using 500nm process (AMD DX4 era), Samsung has gone with 65nm with copper interconnects (Intel Core 2 Duo — Conroe era). Furthermore, Samsung's premium lenses appear to be as sharp or sharper than Canon's L line and Sony's Zeiss line in the center, although the Canon 24-70/2.8L II is sharper at the edge of the frame.

Submission + - Rebranding the nuclear weapons complex won't reform it (thebulletin.org)

Lasrick writes: Robert Alvarez has been all over attempts to pull a rug over the serious issues with safety and security within the US nuclear weapons research and production complex. Here he details how the most recent Congressional Advisory Panel to make recommendations was stacked with people with serious conflicts of interest: 'Given that the panel was dominated by members with ties to weapons contractors, it comes as no surprise that the panel's report advocates a reduction in federal oversight of contractors that run the complex, in effect doubling-down on the least-interference policy that is at the heart of so many weapons complex problems.' Alvarez goes on to name some of those panel members, and to describe escalating costs: 'Since 2006, when management of the weapons labs was transferred from the nonprofit University of California to for-profit entities, administrative fees have jumped by 650 percent at Los Alamos. The bloat in the weapons complex is hardly limited to the national labs; the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Tennessee has excess capacity that is comparable, in size, to two auto assembly plants.' There is an appalling struggle to bring the nuclear weapons complex under control, which is being fought tooth-and-nail by the private contractors who are making a fortune off 'a Cold War urgency that does not reflect the actual relevance of nuclear weaponry in the 21st century.'

Submission + - House and Senate Science Committees in Creationists Hands. (dallasnews.com) 3

willy everlearn writes: Does anyone else find it scary that we have put creationists on both the House and Senate's science committies? The very core of a creationist's argument is"No matter what evidence you show me my belief will continue." Extend this to Climate Change, Vaccinations or any other of myriad topices these right wing hold as sacred. What can we do about it?

Submission + - Verizon Grateful To Researcher Who Spotted Flaw In MyFiOS App (itworld.com)

jfruh writes: When Randy Westergren, acting out of curiosity, investigated Verizon's Android MyFiOS app for security vulnerabilities, he spotted some big ones, and let the telecom giant know about them. Somewhat amazingly, Verizon didn't react by punishing the messenger, but rather fixed the problems right away and gave him a free year of FiOS for his trouble.

Submission + - GCHQ intercepted emails from The New York Times, Reuters, BBC, and others (theguardian.com)

An anonymous reader writes: GCHQ's bulk surveillance of electronic communications has scooped up emails to and from journalists working for some of the US and UK's largest media organisations, analysis of documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals.

Emails from the BBC, Reuters, the Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde, the Sun, NBC and the Washington Post were saved by GCHQ and shared on the agency's intranet as part of a test exercise by the signals intelligence agency.

Submission + - Shanghai Company 3D Prints 6-Story Apartment Building and an Incredible Home (3dprint.com)

ErnieKey writes: Last year, a Shanghai based company made news by 3d printing a bunch of houses. Now that same company, WinSun has accomplished something never seen before. They have successfully 3d printed a 6-story apartment building as well as a very incredibly detailed home. These structures were unveiled at the Suzhou Industrial Park.

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