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Submission + - Do Slashdotters encrypt their email? 3

An anonymous reader writes: Many years ago when I first heard of PGP, I found an add-on that made it fairly simple to use PGP to encrypt my email. Despite the fact that these days most people know that email is a highly insecure means of communication, very few people that I know ever use any form of email encryption despite the fact that it is pretty easy to use. This isn't quite what I would have expected when I first set it up. So, my question to fellow Slashdotters is 'Do you encrypt your email? If not, 'Why not?' and 'Why has email encryption using PGP or something similar not become more commonplace?' The use of cryptography used to be a hot topic once upon a time.

Submission + - The Problem with Current Malware Metrics (

Orome1 writes: When security companies say that there was an X number of infections from a particular type of malware in the past month or year, or that an Y number of variants of a piece of malware was detected, these numbers mean something to other researchers and to marketing departments, but very little to individual consumers. David Perry from Trend Micro talks about why the currently used malware measurements are not up to the task and about the need to stop sharing with the users statistics that are effectively useless to them.

Submission + - Childbirth-predicting Software Warns of Difficult (

Zothecula writes: In the United States, approximately one-third of all births are performed via cesarean-section. Here's another statistic: emergency C-sections are six to seven times more likely to result in death or harm to the infant, than are planned C-sections. Therefore, if a significant percentage of the emergency cesareans could instead be planned, that would potentially save a lot of babies. That's where PREDIBIRTH comes in. Developed by Dr. Olivier Ami and a team of researchers from France's Université Paris Sud, the software can accurately predict the likelihood of difficult births, based on MRIs of pregnant women's bellies.

Submission + - Developers create iPad-game to crowd-source develo (

W2dV writes: "Creating good Bayesian Networks (probabilistic knowledge models represented as directed acyclic graphs) is difficult (NP-Hard). They are either created by experts who develop the models by consciously reasoning about the underlying phenomena (at the risk of being blind or biased with regard to certain effects), or have to be learnt from data by machine learning algorithms. Machine learning requires thousands of datapoints even for only a few variables, and often falls apart when more than 10 or 20 variables are involved because it requires hundreds of thousands of measurements and no general, strong heuristics are currently known.

We (two Artificial Intelligence students from the Netherlands) have developed a puzzle game for iPad in which we are looking at the capabilities of the human mind to solve this problem. Players are presented with puzzles that show them measurements on variables in arbitrary domains at varying frequencies, and are rewarded when they are successful at developing strategies to determine the conditional (in-)dependencies that exist between the variables in the puzzle.

The game, 'The Magic Portals of Ahsum Nimity', is not your average scientific experiment, but an awesome (all-Dutch) production with completely handcrafted artwork and specially composed music. The game is available in Apple's AppStore for free, because we will need thousands of active players in order to measure anything useful from the collective player base."

Submission + - Why sharks are almost impossible to outswim (

Pierre Bezukhov writes: Researchers have discovered what makes the shark almost impossible to outswim. By using an engineering imaging technique, researchers have discovered that as a shark’s tail swings from side to side, it creates twice as many jets of water as other fishes’ tails, smoothing out the thrust and likely making swimming more efficient. Sharks do this by stiffening the tail midswing, a strategy that might one day be applied to underwater vehicles to improve their performance. Most other fish have tails that are essentially symmetrical from top to bottom.

Submission + - Devops: IT's Latest Paper Tiger (

snydeq writes: "Fatal Exception's Neil McAllister doesn't see the 'half-baked' devops movement solving the broad, complex challenge of bridging the divide between app dev and operations. 'The fundamental issues lurking behind all this talk about devops are important, and seeking ways to address them is laudable. The trouble is, for something that aims to bring disparate groups closer together, there doesn't seem to be anything particularly unifying about devops,' McAllister writes. 'The truth is that no amount of sloganeering, hand waving, manifestos, seminars, or user groups will bridge the divide between application development and operations. Slapping a glib label on a broad set of complex, fundamental process and organizational challenges — which are surely different for every organization facing them — does no good for anyone.'"

Submission + - Fire Burns Differently in Space (

black6host writes: NASA is playing with fire on the International Space Station — literally.

Since March 2009, the space agency's Flame Extinguishment Experiment, or FLEX, has conducted more than 200 tests to better understand how fire behaves in microgravity, which is still not well understood. The research could lead to improved fire suppression systems aboard future spaceships, and it could also have practical benefits here on Earth, scientists said.


Submission + - WikiLeaks Launches New Platform, Privacy Study (

itwbennett writes: "WikiLeaks has launched a new submissions platform, along with a study of the global trade in surveillance products. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told press conference attendees in London that all the iPhone, BlackBerry, and Gmail users in the crowd were 'screwed'. 'The reality is intelligence contractors are selling right now to countries across the world mass surveillance systems for all of those products,' Assange said."

Submission + - Smartphone are spying on you - should you panic? (

zacharye writes: Last week, research published by security expert Trevor Eckhart pulled back the veil on Carrier IQ, a suite of what can seemingly be described as spyware pre-installed on a wide range of devices by both carriers and vendors. Eckhart cited a BGR story from September as an early reference to the software, which at that time was thought to be a somewhat benign set of quality-control measures. “Carrier IQ is used to understand what problems customers are having with our network or devices so we can take action to improve service quality,” a Sprint spokesperson told BGR at that time. “It collects enough information to understand the customer experience with devices on our network and how to devise solutions to use and connection problems. We do not and cannot look at the contents of messages, photos, videos, etc., using this tool.” But Eckhart’s interest was piqued...

Submission + - Chrome Overtakes Firefox in Browser Market Share (

SharkLaser writes: According to StatCounter, Chrome has now surpassed Firefox in market share and is now the second most used browser. Firefox is currently the only browser losing market share, as even IE's usage has recently grown, despite losing much of its share to Chrome last year. Globally IE now has 40.63 percent market share (50.66% in the US) and both Chrome and Firefox have around 25%. In related news, Firefox prepares to release Firefox 9 and currently Firefox 10 and Firefox 11 are in alpha stage.

Submission + - What's Your College Major Worth?

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that with tuition rising and a weak job market everyone seems to be debating the value of a college degree, but Anthony P. Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, says talking about the bachelor's degree in general doesn't make a whole lot of sense, because its financial payoff is heavily affected by what that degree is in and which college it is from. For the first time, researchers analyzed earnings based on 171 college majors and the differences are striking: For workers whose highest degree is a bachelor's, median incomes ranged from $29,000 for counseling-psychology majors to $120,000 for petroleum-engineering majors but the data also revealed earnings differences within groups of similar majors. Within the category of business majors, for instance, business-economics majors had the highest median pay, $75,000 while business-hospitality management earned $50,000. The study concludes that while there is a lot of variation in earnings over a lifetime, all undergraduate majors are worth it, even taking into account the cost of college and lost earnings with the lifetime advantage ranging from $1,090,000 for Engineering majors to $241,000 for Education majors. “The bottom line is that getting a degree matters, but what you take matters more," (PDF) concludes Carnevale,"

Submission + - IEEE Seeks Data On Ethernet Bandwidth Needs (

itwbennett writes: "The IEEE has formed a group to assess demand for a faster form of Ethernet, taking the first step toward what could become a Terabit Ethernet standard. 'We all contacted people privately' around 2005 to gauge the need for a faster specification, said John D'Ambrosia, chairman of the new ad hoc group. 'We only got, like, seven data points.' Disagreement about speeds complicated the process of developing the current standard, called 802.3ab. Though carriers and aggregation switch vendors agreed the IEEE should pursue a 100G bps speed, server vendors said they wouldn't need adapters that fast until years later. They wanted a 40G bps standard, and it emerged later that there was also some demand for 40G bps among switch makers, D'Ambrosia said. 'I don't want to get blindsided by not understanding bandwidth trends again,' D'Ambrosia said."

Submission + - Beyond Comment Threads (

asa writes: "The Knight Foundation and Mozilla are running a series of news innovation challenges. The goal: get the world's smartest hackers thinking about how news organizations can harness the open web. The current challenge is all about comment threads. This seems like the perfect question to pose to Slashdotters: how would you foster more dynamic spaces for online news discussion? How would you preserve the context of online discussions and stamp out trolls? All ideas, technical, practical or impractical are welcome. What technologies (federation, atomic commenting, moderation, algorithms) would you employ? What are the immutable social dynamics? Knight and Mozilla will work with the best challenge entrants to deploy the solutions in newsrooms at Al Jazeera English, the BBC,, The Guardian, and Zeit Online. Submissions are open until May 22nd."

Submission + - Project Icarus: An Interstellar Mission Timeline (

astroengine writes: "What would the infrastructure supporting an interstellar mission look like? Considerations such as fuel sources, mining methods, interstellar spaceship construction activities and maintenance are being analyzed, all of which would be carried out before even reaching the ultimate interstellar goal. Project Icarus is currently unravelling the complexities of this operation and recently created a nifty animation of how one of the many fuel tanks may be recycled as communication relay pods en route to nearby stars."

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