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Math

The World's Oldest Computer May Have Predicted the Future (gizmodo.com) 143

Gizmodo reports: Discovered in an ancient shipwreck near Crete in 1901, the freakishly advanced Antikythera Mechanism has been called the world's first computer. A decades-long investigation into the 2,000 year-old-device is shedding new light onto this mysterious device... It wasn't programmable in the modern sense, but it's considered the world's first analog computer.
schwit1 shares a report from the Associated Press:: For over a century since its discovery in an ancient shipwreck, the exact function of the Antikythera Mechanism -- named after the southern Greek island off which it was found -- was a tantalizing puzzle.... After more than a decade's efforts using cutting-edge scanning equipment, an international team of scientists has now read about 3,500 characters of explanatory text -- a quarter of the original -- in the innards of the 2,100-year-old remains. They say it was a kind of philosopher's guide to the galaxy, and perhaps the world's oldest mechanical computer.

Submission + - It Took 33 Years For Someone to Find the Easter Egg in This Apple II Game

Jason Koebler writes: Gumball, a game released in 1983 for the Apple II and other early PCs, was never all that popular. For 33 years, it held a secret that was discovered this week by anonymous crackers who not only hacked their way through advanced copyright protection, but also became the first people to discover an Easter Egg hidden by the game’s creator, Robert A. Cook. Best of all? Cook congratulated them Friday for their work.

Submission + - Movie Written By Algorithm Turns Out To Be Hilarious and Intense (arstechnica.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Ars is excited to be hosting this online debut of Sunspring, a short science fiction film that's not entirely what it seems. It's about three people living in a weird future, possibly on a space station, probably in a love triangle. You know it's the future because H (played with neurotic gravity by Silicon Valley's Thomas Middleditch) is wearing a shiny gold jacket, H2 (Elisabeth Gray) is playing with computers, and C (Humphrey Ker) announces that he has to "go to the skull" before sticking his face into a bunch of green lights. It sounds like your typical sci-fi B-movie, complete with an incoherent plot. Except Sunspring isn't the product of Hollywood hacks — it was written entirely by an AI. To be specific, it was authored by a recurrent neural network called long short-term memory, or LSTM for short. At least, that's what we'd call it. The AI named itself Benjamin.

Submission + - More than 40% of US honeybee colonies died in a 12-month period ending in April (wsj.com) 2

walterbyrd writes: While the precise cause of the honeybee crisis is unknown, scientists generally blame a combination of factors, including poor diets and stress. Some bees die from infestations of the Varroa mite, a bloodsucking parasite that weakens bees and introduces diseases to the hive.

Environmental groups also point to a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids. In April, the Environmental Protection Agency said it would stop approving new outdoor uses for those types of chemicals until more studies on bee health are conducted.

Comment Re:Any download versus streaming options? (Score 1) 196

I'm in Seattle and have 1gbps/1gbps for $80 (or 100/100mbps for $60) a month. I'm not sure why you are encapsulating all of Seattle in your post. Some of us in Seattle actually do have a decent selection for internet, although not a majority. All of my friends have decent connections, of at least 25mbps or more. I do feel for you, though, as it seems you are in one of those neglected areas of the city that has been shackled by the government arguments, and rights to run needed infrastructure being denied for cash under the table reasons. I sure hope the situation gets better for you, but for some of us in the Seattle area, especially the people that don't watch ESPN, this is a practical option.

Submission + - Single group dominates second round of Anti Net-Neutrality Comment Submissions (sunlightfoundation.com)

aquadood writes: According to the Sunlight Foundation's analysis of recent comment submissions to the FCC regarding Net Neutrality, the majority (56.5%) were submitted by a single organization called American Commitment with "shadowy" ties to the Koch brothers' network. The blog article goes on to break down the comments in a very in depth way, showing a roughly 60% anti and 40% pro split.
Databases

Security Fix Leads To PostgreSQL Lock Down 100

hypnosec writes "The developers of the PostgreSQL have announced that they are locking down access to the PostgreSQL repositories to only committers while a fix for a "sufficiently bad" security issue applied. The lock down is temporary and will be lifted once the next release is available. The core committee has announced that they 'apologize in advance for any disruption' adding that 'It seems necessary in this instance, however.'"
DRM

WHSmith Putting DRM In EBooks Without Permission From the Authors 88

sgroyle (author Simon Royle) writes with an excerpt from an article he wrote about discovering that publisher WHSmith has been adding DRM to books without their authors' permission, and against their intent: "DRM had, without my knowledge, been added to my book. I quickly checked my other books; same thing. Then I checked the books of authors who, because of their vocal and public opposition, I know are against DRM – Konrath, Howey, and Doctorow, to name a few – same result. ALL books on WHSmith have DRM in them. Rather than assume WHSmith where at fault, I checked with my distributor, Draft2Digital. They send my books to Kobo, who in turn send my books to WHSmith. D2D assured me the DRM was not being added by them and were distressed to hear that this was the case. Kobo haven't replied to any of the messages in this thread: 'WHSmith putting DRM in books distributed via Kobo'. I'm not holding my breath." Update: 03/22 21:02 GMT by T : Problem resolved. Hanno Liem of the Kobo team wrote with good news that the DRM notices that were appended were done so in error, and since corrected: "The original site has been updated – it was just a bug on our site, and was resolved within a day I think. We're all slashdot readers here at Kobo Operations, and this is kinda painful :p" Thanks, Hanno.
Security

Submission + - Scientists Reveal New Malware Detection Method (net-security.org)

An anonymous reader writes: Scientists from NQ Mobile's Mobile Security Research Center, in collaboration with North Carolina State University disclosed a new way to detect mobile threats without relying on known malware samples and their signatures. Today, malicious software often sits in app marketplaces for days, weeks and even months being downloaded, before finally being discovered. RiskRanker is a unique analysis system that can automatically detect whether a particular app exhibits dangerous behavior. It differs from other malware tools by identifying apps with risky behavior while they are in the app market and before they make their way to a user's phone.
Google

Submission + - Jury Rules Google Violated Java Copyright, Google Moves for Mistrial (arstechnica.com) 1

eldavojohn writes: Details are thin but the long covered Oracle Vs Google trial has at least partially been decided in favor of Oracle against Google violating copyrights in Android when when it used Java APIs to design the system. Google moved for a mistrial after hearing the incomplete decision. The patent infringement accusations have yet to be ruled upon.
Businesses

EA Defends Itself Against Thousands of Anti-Gay Letters 1069

donniebaseball23 writes "Video game publisher Electronic Arts has not only had to defend itself against 'worst company in America' labels, but GamesIndustry International has revealed that EA's been receiving thousands of letters protesting the inclusion of same-sex relationship content in games like Mass Effect and Star Wars: The Old Republic. The campaign against EA appears to be led by Florida Family Association and the Family Research Council. The letters threaten to boycott purchase of EA games if the company won't remove the LGBT content, and many allege that EA was pressured by LGBT activists to include the content, which they say is forcing LGBT themes on children playing the games. 'This isn't about protecting children, it's about political harassment,' said Jeff Brown, VP of corporate communications."
Wireless Networking

Submission + - Why Apple's iPad Has Been Good for Sprint (itworld.com) 1

itwbennett writes: Today, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said in an interview with Om Malik that iPad has been good to his company because many people are opting for the Wi-Fi only iPad and pairing it with Sprint's 3G/4G Overdrive MiFi device (which the company sells with a special Overdrive case for the iPad) rather than choosing an iPad 3G that is limited to AT&T's network. The statement illustrates that many consumers are seeing the advantages to of choosing lower-cost devices without integrated 3G and pairing one or more of them with a more robust MiFi solution.
Space

Astronomers Solve the Mystery of 'Hanny's Voorwerp' 123

KentuckyFC writes "In 2007, a Dutch school teacher named Hanny van Arkel discovered a huge blob of green-glowing gas while combing though images to classify galaxies. Hanny's Voorwerp (meaning Hanny's object in Dutch) is astounding because astronomers have never seen anything like it. Although galactic in scale, it is clearly not a galaxy because it does not contain any stars. That raises an obvious question: what is causing the gas to glow? Now a new survey of the region of sky seems to have solved the problem. The Voorwerp lies close to a spiral galaxy which astronomers now say hides a massive black hole at its center. The infall of matter into the black hole generates a cone of radiation emitted in a specific direction. The great cloud of gas that is Hanny's Voorwerp just happens to be in the firing line, ionizing the gas and causing it to glow green. That lays to rest an earlier theory that the cloud was reflecting an echo of light from a short galactic flare up that occurred 10,000 years ago. It also explains why Voorwerps are so rare: these radiation cones are highly directional so only occasionally do unlucky gas clouds get caught in the crossfire."

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