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Submission + - Slysoft (of AnyDVD fame) closes after increased international pressure by AACS (myce.com)

jlp2097 writes: It looks like the recent activities by Hollywood studios and the AACS LA finally led to the closing of Slysoft Inc, creator of the popular AnyDVD HD tool for creating personal backups of BluRay/DVD/etc. Slysoft Inc's website confirms the closing due to "recent regulatory requirements". The final nail in the coffin has also been confirmed with slightly more details in their forum: "this is final. Slysoft is gone."

Sad to see them go — it looks like legitimate buyers of BluRays will now have to find other sources for backing up their property to HTPCs and NASes.

Submission + - Orbital ATK cracks the Takata airbag mystery (wtop.com)

FullBandwidth writes: Orbital ATK, which makes rocket propulsion systems, has determined the cause of the exploding Takata air bags blamed for at least 10 deaths and 139 injuries worldwide. The culprit is a combination of the propulsion chemical used, high humidity and moisture. Specifically, the Orbital ATK team determined the factors contributing to the air bag ruptures are the following:

        The presence of pressed phase stabilized ammonium nitrate propellant that does not contain a moisture-absorbing component;
        Long term exposure to high temperatures;
        Air bag assembly that does not adequately prevent moisture intrusion in high humidity.

“Orbital ATK’s root cause analysis is backed by 20,000 hours of testing and analysis by experienced engineers, scientists and technicians,” said Bob Wardle, senior director of technology programs in Orbital ATK’s propulsion Systems Division.

Submission + - Carnegie Mellon attacked Tor; subpoenaed by Feds (vice.com)

Alypius writes: CMU's Software Engineering Institute (SEI) was under DOD contract to deanonymize dark web sites when it was served a subpoena to provide IP addresses to the FBI. The judge involved has ruled that, “SEI's identification of the defendant's IP address because of his use of the Tor network did not constitute a search subject to Fourth Amendment scrutiny.”

Submission + - Astronomers find half the missing mass of the Universe

The Bad Astronomer writes: Astronomers made a cosmic twofer. Fast Radio Bursts are mysterious, rapid blasts of radio energy seen randomly on the sky. A quick response allowed astronomers to determine the location and distance to one seen in 2015: An elliptical galaxy six billion light years away, meaning these are huge explosions possibly related to gamma-ray bursts. The observations also revealed material between Earth and this galaxy, identifying half the "missing" baryons predicted by standard models of cosmology.

Submission + - Japan Considers Treating Bitcoin As Real Money (thestack.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Regulators in Japan are considering officially recognising bitcoins and other digital currencies as valid methods of payment. The Japan Financial Services Agency (FSA) is in the process of deciding whether to make legislative revisions to regulation that currently regards virtual currencies as objects rather than traditional forms of payment. Under the new proposal, consumers will be able to purchase goods and services using bitcoin and other digital currencies, and also use them as an alternative to legal tender through purchases or trades. The new definition will be submitted during the current session of the Diet, Japan’s legislature, which concludes on 1st June this year.
Math

Euler's Partition Function Theory Finished 117

universegeek writes "Mathematician Ken Ono, from Emory, has solved a 250-year-old problem: how to exactly and explicitly generate partition numbers. Ono and colleagues were able to finally do this by realizing that the pattern of partition numbers is fractal (PDF). This pattern allowed them to find a finite, algebraic formula, which is like striking oil in mathematics."
Firefox

Mozilla Flips Kill-Switch On Skype Toolbar 284

An anonymous reader writes "Whenever Skype is installed or updated, it automatically installs the Skype Toolbar add-on for Firefox. Unfortunately, the add-on causes serious performance problems, slowing down some operations by a factor of 300 and is one of the top causes for Firefox crashes. As a result, Mozilla has decided to 'soft-block' the add-on, effectively killing it on all Firefox installs unless the user intentionally re-enables it. Given the extreme popularity of Skype, this has ramifications for millions of users."
Google

Google Fires Back About Search Engine Spam 270

coondoggie writes "The folks at Google are taking issue over spam and the quality of Google searches, which some claim has gone down in recent months. Today on Google's official blog, Principal Engineer Matt Cutts said, 'January brought a spate of stories about Google’s search quality. Reading through some of these recent articles, you might ask whether our search quality has gotten worse. The short answer is that according to the evaluation metrics that we’ve refined over more than a decade, Google’s search quality is better than it has ever been in terms of relevance, freshness and comprehensiveness. Today, English-language spam in Google’s results is less than half what it was five years ago, and spam in most other languages is even lower than in English.' Cutts also explained that the company has made a few significant changes to their method of indexing."
Medicine

Woman's Voice Restored After Larynx Transplant 246

mvar writes "A woman in the US is able to speak for the first time in 11 years after a pioneering voicebox transplant. Brenda Jensen said the operation, which took place in California, was a miracle which had restored her life. Thirteen days after the surgery she said her first words: 'Good morning, I want to go home.' It is the first time a larynx and windpipe have been transplanted at the same time (image) and only the second time a larynx has ever been transplanted. In October, surgeons at the University of California Davis Medical Center removed the larynx, thyroid gland and 6cm of the trachea from a donor body. In an 18-hour operation, this was transplanted into Ms. Jensen's throat and the team connected it to her blood supply and nerves. Thirteen days later, she was able to speak her first croaky words and is now able to talk easily for long periods of time."
KDE

KDE 4.5 Released 302

An anonymous reader writes "KDE 4.5.0 has been released to the world. See the release announcement for details. Highlights include a Webkit browser rendering option for Konqueror, a new caching mechanism for a faster experience and a re-worked notification system. Another new feature is Perl bindings, in addition to Python, Ruby and JavaScript support. The Phonon multimedia library now integrates with PulseAudio. See this interview with KDE developer and spokesperson Sebastian Kugler on how KDE can continue to be innovative in the KDE4 age. Packages should be available for most Linux distributions in the coming days. More than 16000 bug fixes were committed since 4.4."
Math

Claimed Proof That P != NP 457

morsch writes "Researcher Vinay Deolalikar from HP Labs claims proof that P != NP. The 100-page paper has apparently not been peer-reviewed yet, so feel free to dig in and find some flaws. However, the attempt seems to be quite genuine, and Deolalikar has published papers in the same field in the past. So this may be the real thing. Given that $1M from the Millennium Prize is involved, it will certainly get enough scrutiny. Greg Baker broke the story on his blog, including the email Deolalikar sent around."
Hardware Hacking

Wipeout Recreated With an RC Car 90

An anonymous reader writes "If you've owned any of Sony's PlayStation consoles then there's a good chance you've also played one of the Wipeout games. It's a high-speed racing game that helped make the PSOne popular, and it's now been recreated using a remote control car. The project is the idea of Malte Jehmlich. He decided to create a track out of cardboard reminiscent of the Wipeout tracks. He then hooked up a wireless camera to a remote control car, and modified the controller to be an arcade cabinet with a wheel and forward/reverse selector."
Biotech

Gamers Beat Algorithms At Finding Protein Structures 80

jamie writes "Researchers have turned the biochemical challenge of figuring out protein folding structures into a computer game. The best players can beat a computerized algorithm by rapidly recognizing problems that the computer can't fix. From the article: 'By tracing the actions of the best players, the authors were able to figure out how the humans' excellent pattern recognition abilities gave them an edge over the computer. For example, people were very good about detecting a hydrophobic amino acid when it stuck out from the protein's surface, instead of being buried internally, and they were willing to rearrange the structure's internals in order to tuck the offending amino acid back inside. Those sorts of extensive rearrangements were beyond Rosetta's abilities, since the energy changes involved in the transitions are so large.'"
Image

School District Drops 'D' Grades Screenshot-sm 617

Students in one New Jersey school district will no longer be able to squeak by in class after the Morris County School Board approved dropping the D grade. Beginning in the fall students who don't get a C or higher will get an F on their report card. "I'm tired of kids coming to school and not learning and getting credit for it," said Superintendent Larrie Reynolds in a Daily Record report.

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