bmearns writes: Amazon announced today a new library called "s2n", an open source implementation of SSL/TLS, the cryptographic security protocols behind HTTPS, SSH, SFTP, secure SMTP, and many others. Weighing in at about 6k lines of code, it's just a little more than 1% the size of OpenSSL, which is really good news in terms of security auditing and testing. OpenSSL isn't going away, and Amazon has made clear that they will continue to support it. Notably, s2n does not provide all the additional cryptographic functions that OpenSSL provides in libcrypto, it only provides the SSL/TLS functions. Further more, it implements a relatively small subset of SSL/TLS features compared to OpenSSL.
bmearns writes: Over the past few weeks we've been hearing a lot about a possible breakthrough in decoding the infamous Voynich manuscript, made by a team of botanists who suggested that the plants depicted in the manuscrit may have been from the New World and the mysterious writing could be a form of an Aztec language. But the latest development comes from linguist Stephen Bax, of Bedfordshire University, who believes he has identified some proper names (including of the constellation "Taurus") in the manuscript and is using these as a crib to begin deciphering the rest of the text, which he believes comes from the near east or Asia.
bmearns writes: The Voynich Manuscript is every geek's favorite "indecipherable" illuminated manuscript. It's bizarre depictions of strange plants and animals, astrological diagrams, and hordes of tiny naked women bathing in a system of interconnected tubs that bare an uneasy resemblance to the human digestive system, have inspired numerous essays and doctoral theses', plus one XKCD comic. Now a team of botanists (yes, botanists) may have uncovered an important clue as to its origin and content, by identifying several of the plants and animals depicted, and linking them to the Spanish territories in Central America.
bmearns writes: NPR is reporting that audio pioneer Ray Dolby has died, at age 80. Dolby is best known for inventing an important noise reduction technique for audio called Dolby SR, and for founding Dolby Laboratories which contributed immensely to the development of surround sound technology.
bmearns writes: NPR is reporting that new statistical research by Swiss scientist Christian Cajochen suggests that the full moon may actually have an impact on human sleep, both in terms of duration and quality. "We found that people who entered the lab during a full moon slept, on average, 20 minutes less than people who came in during the new moon phase," says Cajochen. The results were statistically significant, but Cajochen admits that he is still skeptical of the conclusion.
bmearns writes: I have some simple plain-text files (e.g., account information) that I want to print on paper and store in my firebox as a backup to my backup. What's the best way to encode the data for print so that it can later be restored to digital form? I've considered just printing it as text and using OCR to recover it. The upsides are that it's easy and I can even access the information without a computer if necessary. Downsides are data density, no encryption, no error correction, and how well does OCR work, anyway? Another option is printing 2D barcodes. Upsides are density, error correction, I could encrypt the data before printing. Downsides are that I'll need to split it up into multiple barcodes due to maximum capacity of popular barcode formats, and I can't access the data without a computer. Did I miss any options? What do slashdotters suggest?
bmearns writes: Two suspects in Monday's Boston Marathon Bombing have been identified, one is dead after an overnight a shootout in Watertown, MA, the other is on the run and considered armed and extremely dangerous. A massive manhunt is underway for the remaining suspect, identified as 19 year old Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev of Cambridge, leading to a shelter-in-place order for all of Boston and a number of surrounding towns and cities.
bmearns writes: It's past 6PM on May 21, 2011 at XMAS geological station on Kiritimati Island, and 0 earthquakes have been detected. (Warning, crazy slow loading site: may be a fair ton of traffic. Importantly, the site is still responding.).