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Science

Submission + - Scientists Solve Mystery of Double Rainbows (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: Researchers performing computer simulations think they have an explanation for the odd phenomenon of double rainbows. The key are what the researchers call burgeroids—big raindrops that have been flattened by the buffeting of air. The simulations showed that this irregular shape causes the light to bounce off the raindrops at two different angles, producing a colorful, double rainbow in the sky. The researchers hope that their study could make computer graphics more lifelike for use in animated movies and computer games.
Desktops (Apple)

Submission + - Microsoft Concedes Defeat in Browser War: Tries to (readwriteweb.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft has a problem. It can't seem to compete with Chrome, Firefox, or Safari on features or release speed. It won't support IE9 on Linux, Mac OS X, or even Windows XP. What to do? Microsoft has decided thrown in the towel, and is now openly trying to buy users with a hilariously named campaign called "Where's the Love?" Silly Microsoft, you can't buy love.
Iphone

Submission + - New iOS Bug Lets Apps Run Unsigned Code (threatpost.com)

Trailrunner7 writes: There is a bug in Apple iOS that enables an attacker to run unsigned code on a user's device, circumventing the company's checks on apps in the iTunes App Store. The bug, which researcher Charlie Miller identified, can be exploited by an app to take actions on the device without the user's knowledge.

Miller has written a benign demo app that has been in the iTunes App Store since Sept. 14. The app, Instastock, ostensibly just displays real-time stock price information, but Miller added functionality that enables the app to communicate with a server he controls. He can issue commands to the app, and have it perform any number of actions, including accessing the user's contact list. The bug that Miller found enables him to circumvent the restrictions that Apple has that prevents any unsigned code from running on the iPhone.

Google

Submission + - How does Google search? (i-programmer.info)

mikejuk writes: It is almost legend that that Google was founded by two computer scientists, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of course, who invented the page rank algorithm. It is this algorithm that made Google different from every other search engine before and since and it is a deep, clever and mathematical idea.
But over time page rank has been down played and now a video from Google doesn't mention it once. Instead they seek "signals" which they hope might improve the ranking. The signals are tested and if they work the algorithm is changed.
So — no big idea, no fundamental algorithm, no mathematical theory. The idea that Google changes its search algorithm nearly every day (a claimed 500 improvements each year) now seems so much more believable.
If this is all true then this is a dangerous approach. Google's problem is essentially an AI problem.The page rank algorithm was a way of finding out what humans thought of the content of a website and that could be used to determine relevancy. Now that this no longer works, the technique seems to be to search for signals other than page rank that correlate with relevancy. As any AI researcher who has tried this sort of approach knows, the result is an ever-increasing mess of rules that often contradict each other and slowly grow to the point where the system becomes unmanageable. Let's hope that Google has a clever system that keeps its search algorithm clean and under control, otherwise it might just vanish in a puff of complexity.

Technology

Submission + - Dutch PlantLab Revolutionizes Indoor Farming (singularityhub.com) 1

kkleiner writes: "Dutch agricultural company PlantLab has created a high tech ‘plant paradise’ for growing crops. Instead of outdoors, they grow plants indoors in warehouses. Instead of sunlight they use red and blue LEDs. Water? They need just 10% of the traditional requirements. At every stage of their high tech process, PlantLab monitors thousands of details (163,830 reports per second!) with advanced sensors to create the perfect environment for each individual type of crop."
Books

Submission + - Do Spoilers Ruin A Good Story? No Say Resarchers

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "BBC reports that according to a recent study at the University of California San Diego, knowing how a book ends does not ruin its story and can actually enhance enjoyment suggesting that people may enjoy a good story as much as a good twist at the end, and even if they know the outcome, will enjoy the journey as much as the destination. "It could be that once you know how it turns out, you're more comfortable processing the information and can focus on a deeper understanding of the story," says Co-author Jonathan Leavitt. Researchers gave 12 short stories to 30 participants where two versions were spoiled and a third unspoiled and in all but one story, readers said they preferred versions which had spoiling paragraphs written into it and even when the stories contained a plot twist or mystery, subjects preferred the spoiled versions. "Plots are just excuses for great writing," says social psychologist Nicholas Christenfeld. "As a film director, your job isn't really to come to the conclusion that the butler did it. A single line would do that.""
Android

Submission + - [Cloud] VMWare View for Android Tablets (androidpolice.com)

Mightee writes: "Have you been tempted by the recent onslaught of Honeycomb tablets entering the market, but forced yourself to hold back due to the lack of virtualization options available on the platform? No, neither have I (held back, that is), but these 'pro' applications always help when using a tablet, right?

VMWare users will be no doubt be delighted to hear about the arrival of VMWare View on the Android Market, which has been designed and developed from the ground up to give Honeycomb users the best possible experience when accessing their virtual Windows desktops on the go."

Submission + - Tevatron data hints at 'multiple God particles' (bbc.co.uk)

ae1294 writes: According to a new study from the DZero experiment over at the Tevatron, physicists could be hunting five "God particles" instead of the one.
There may be multiple versions of the elusive Higgs boson as results show much more significant "asymmetry" of matter and anti-matter — beyond what could be explained by the Standard Model. This data may point to new laws of physics beyond the current accepted theory — known as the Standard Model. Note: No black holes where harmed in the writing of this article.

Wikipedia

Submission + - Wikipedia to unlock frequently vandalized pages (networkworld.com)

netbuzz writes: In an effort to encourage greater participation, Wikipedia, the self-described “online encyclopedia that anyone can edit,” is turning to tighter editorial control as a substitute for simply “locking” those entries that frequently attract mischief makers and ideologues. The new system, which will apply to a maximum of 2,000 most-vulnerable pages, is sure to create controversies of its own.
Hardware

Submission + - Set free your inner jedi or pyro... (dailytech.com)

sirgoran writes: We've all thought about being the hero fighting off evil doers and saving the day ever since we first saw Star Wars. The folks at Wicked Lasers have now made that a little closer to reality with their latest release. A 1Watt blue diode laser that can set skin and other things on fire. From an article at daily tech they talk about the dangers of such a powerful laser. "And here's the best (or worst) part — it can set people (or things) on fire. Apparently the laser is so high powered that shining it on fleshy parts will cause them to burst into flames. Of course it's equally capable of blinding people." The thing that caught my eye was the price, $200.00! I wonder if they'll be able to meet the demand since this will be on every geeks Christmas list...
Bug

Submission + - Windows Bug Raises Bug Secrecy Questions (pcpro.co.uk)

eldavojohn writes: A Google researcher named Tavis Ormandy (who's no random stranger) reported a bug to Microsoft on Saturday. But the interesting thing is that he waited five days to go public. And he went public by releasing a proof of concept on a mailing list. His defense being "without a working exploit, I would have been ignored." Microsoft was none too pleased. And once again the questions on bug etiquette are raised with Ormandy's thoughts, "This is another example of the problems with bug secrecy (or in PR speak, 'responsible disclosure'), those of us who work hard to keep networks safe are forced to work in isolation without the open collaboration with our peers that we need, especially in complex cases like this, where creative thinking and input from experts in multiple disciplines is required to join the dots." So what say you, Slashdot? Did he wait too long? Too short? Was the proof of concept a bit too much? Given the hypothetical scenario that your code — distributed to thousands — was discovered to have a very serious flaw not yet seen in the wild, how would you expect the one who discovers this bug to act? How would you act?

Submission + - Finland to legalize use of unsecured WiFi (yle.fi)

Apotekaren writes: The Finnish Ministry of Justice has started preparing changes to the current law that criminalizes using unsecured wireless hot spots. The reasoning is the impossibility of tracking unlawful use, the ease of securing networks and the lack of real damage done by this this activity. It has also been proven hard for a user to know if an unsecured network is intended for public use or not. The increased ubiquity of legal open networks in parks, airports and other public places has also influenced this move by the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry has stated that the legal rights of the owner of the network have to be protected in the case of misuse.
Googles (poorly) translated version here.

Education

Submission + - Cambridge University To Cut Internet Energy Use (eweekeurope.co.uk)

justice4all writes: Two British Universities will investigate how to reduce the energy consumption of the Internet, which currently consumes 3 to five percent of the world's power

The Internet and other networks use an increasing amount of power, and Leeds and Cambridge Universities have received a £5.9 million, five-year grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to look into ways to reduce this

Iphone

Submission + - Apple licenses iOS trademark from Cisco (edibleapple.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Apple yesterday changed the name of its iPhone OS to iOS to better represent the wide variety of devices ithe OS is capable of running on. The iOS trademark, however, is already owned by Cisco and refers to the software used in most of Cisco’s routers and switches (Internetwork Operating System). Now it appears that Apple legally licensed the trademark from Cisco, avoiding the type of legal dispute that followed Apple's original iPhone introduction, a trademark which Cisco also owned.
Censorship

Submission + - Turkey has imposed an indefinite ban on Google

oxide7 writes: Turkey’s Telecommunications Presidency said it has banned access to many of Google IP addresses without assigning clear reasons. The statement did not confirm if the ban is temporary or permanent. Google’s translation and document sharing sites have also been banned indefinitely along with YouTube and Facebook in the country. Other services such as AppEngine, FeedBurner, Analytics etc have also been reportedly banned.

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