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Submission + - First Look at Windows 8 Security Features (net-security.org)

Orome1 writes: Windows 8 launched this week. It brings a new interface, but under the hood, it introduces a number of new security features. The most significant change in terms of security is the use of the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) replacing the old BIOS. With UEFI, a computer will only run operating system kernels that have been digitally signed by an approved software vendor. Thus, the user is guaranteed that the operating system has not been tampered with by attackers. Windows Defender, Microsoft’s Anti-Malware solution is now more comprehensive and is included by default in Windows 8, which is particularly attractive for consumers who will receive Anti-Malware protection out of the box.

Submission + - Are We Getting Smarter?: Rising IQ in the Twenty-First Century (tnr.com)

hessian writes: "This bizarre finding—christened the “Flynn effect” by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray in The Bell Curve—has since snowballed so much supporting evidence that in 2007 Malcolm Gladwell declared in The New Yorker that “the Flynn effect has moved from theory to fact.” But researchers still cannot agree on why scores are going up. Are we are simply getting better at taking tests? Are the tests themselves a poor measure of intelligence? Or do rising IQ scores really mean we are getting smarter?

In spite of his new book’s title, Flynn does not suggest a simple yes or no to this last question. It turns out that the greatest gains have taken place in subtests that measure abstract reasoning and pattern recognition, while subtests that depend more on previous knowledge show the lowest score increases. This imbalance may not reflect an increase in general intelligence, Flynn argues, but a shift in particular habits of mind. The question is not, why are we getting smarter, but the much less catchy, why are we getting better at abstract reasoning and little else?"


Submission + - Wikipedia Is Nearing Completion 5

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Rebecca J. Rosen writes that it may seem impossible for an encyclopedia of everything to ever near completion, but at least for the major articles on topics like big wars, important historical figures, central scientific concepts, the English-language Wikipedia is pretty well filled out. "After an encyclopedia reaches 100,000 articles, the pool of good material shrinks. By the time one million articles are written, it must tax ingenuity to think of something new. Wikipedia," writes historian and Wikipedia editor Richard Jensen, "passed the four-million-article mark in summer 2012." With the exciting work over, editors are losing interest. In the spring of 2012, 3,300 editors contributed more than 100 edits per month each — that's a 31 percent drop from spring of 2007, when that number was 4,800. For example, take a look at the Wikipedia article for the War of 1812 which runs 14,000 words cobbled together by 3,000 editors. Today, the War of 1812 page has many more readers than it did in 2008 — 623,000 compared with 434,000 — but the number who make a change has dropped precipitously, from 256 to just 28. Of those original 256, just one remains active. The reason, Jensen believes, is that the article already has had so many edits, there is just not that much to do. Jensen says that Wikipedia should now devote more resources toward getting editors access to higher-quality scholarship (in private databases like JSTOR), admission to military-history conferences, and maybe even training in the field of historiography, so that they could bring the articles up to a more polished, professional standard. "Wikipedia is now a mature reference work with a stable organizational structure and a well-established reputation. The problem is that it is not mature in a scholarly sense (PDF).""

Submission + - Scientist: 'Galaxy is Rich in Earth-Like Planets' (discovery.com)

astroengine writes: "In a recent presentation, Kepler co-investigator Dimitar Sasselov unexpectedly announced news that the Kepler Space Telescope has discovered dozens of candidate Earth-like exoplanets. Not waiting for the official NASA press release to announce the discovery, Sasselov went into some detail at the TEDGlobal talk in Oxford, UK, earlier this month. This surprise announcement comes hot on the heels of controversy that erupted last month when the Kepler team said they were withholding data on 400 exoplanet candidates until February 2011. In light of this, Sasselov's unofficial announcement has already caused a stir. Keith Cowing, of NASAWatch.com, has commented on this surprise turn of events saying it is really annoying "that the Kepler folks were complaining about releasing information since they wanted more time to analyze it before making any announcements. And then the project's Co-I goes off and spills the beans before an exclusive audience — offshore." Although Sasselov could have handled the announcement better (and waited until NASA made the official announcement), this has the potential to be one of the biggest astronomical discoveries of our time — so long as these Earth-like "candidates" are confirmed by further study."

Submission + - OpenGL 4.1 Specification Announced (extremetech.com)

WesternActor writes: The Khronos Group has announced full details for the OpenGL 4.1 specification. Among the new features of the spec, which comes just five months after the release of the 4.0 specification, is full support for OpenGL ES, which simplifies porting between mobile and desktop platforms. It'll be interesting to see what effect, if any, this new spec has on the graphics industry--more compatibility could change the way many embedded systems are designed. There are lots of other changes and additions in the spec, as well.

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