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Submission + - New Drug Mimics the Beneficial Effects of Exercise (gizmag.com) 2

Zothecula writes: A drug known as SR9009, which is currently under development at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), increases the level of metabolic activity in skeletal muscles of mice. Treated mice become lean, develop larger muscles and can run much longer distances simply by taking SR9009, which mimics the effects of aerobic exercise. If similar effects can be obtained in people, the reversal of obesity, metabolic syndrome, and perhaps Type-II diabetes might be the very welcome result.

Submission + - LinkedIn 'Blacklist' Censors Thousands of Legitimate Users (boxfreeit.com.au) 1

sholto writes: Had trouble posting to LinkedIn Groups lately? You may have been SWAMed. Back in December LinkedIn massively upgraded the power of the moderator's Block and Delete button so that if you're blocked from one group you are placed in Site Wide Auto-Moderation – your posts must be approved in every group you belong to.

The kicker: LinkedIn decided not to tell moderators about that little change, and there's no appeals process even for mistakes. SWAMed LinkedIn users aren't happy.

Submission + - Magma can survive in upper crust for hundreds of millennia (washington.edu)

vinces99 writes: Reservoirs of silica-rich magma – the kind that causes the most explosive volcanic eruptions – can persist in Earth’s upper crust for hundreds of thousands of years without triggering an eruption, according to new University of Washington modeling research. That means an area known to have experienced a massive volcanic eruption in the past, such as Yellowstone National Park, could have a large pool of magma festering beneath it and still not be close to going off as it did 600,000 years ago. Recent research models have suggested that reservoirs of silica-rich magma, or molten rock, form on and survive for geologically short time scales – in the tens of thousands of years – in the Earth’s cold upper crust before they solidify. They also suggested that the magma had to be injected into the Earth’s crust at a high rate to reach a large enough volume and pressure to cause an eruption. But new research by UW doctoral student Sarah Gelman and colleagues took the models further and found that the magma could accumulate more slowly and remain molten for a much longer period than the models previously suggested.

Submission + - Sugar is toxic (plosone.org) 1

genericmk writes: "Using econometric models of repeated cross-sectional data on diabetes and nutritional components of food from 175 countries, this study found that every 150 kcal/person/day increase in sugar availability (about one can of soda/day) was associated with increased diabetes prevalence by 1.1% after testing for potential selection biases and controlling for other food types (including fibers, meats, fruits, oils, cereals), total calories, overweight and obesity, period-effects, and several socioeconomic variables such as aging, urbanization and income. As Mark Brittman points out in his NY Times blog This is as good (or bad) as it gets, the closest thing to causation and a smoking gun that we will see. The study demonstrates this with the same level of confidence that linked cigarettes and lung cancer in the 1960s."
Crime

Submission + - EU Payment Card Fraud Nets 1.5bn a Year to Cybercriminals (net-security.org)

Orome1 writes: "Although the total number of payment cards (debit and credit) issued in the EU in the previous 12 months reached over 726,000,000 — card fraud has actually been on a decline in recent years due to technological advances that have increased the security of transactions. However, Europol reports that there remains a very active criminal market in payment card fraud in Europe, pulling in around 1.5 billion euros a year for the organized crime groups involved. the level of illegal card-present transactions carried out overseas has seen a sharp increase as criminals target the weak points of the system by committing crimes using non-EMV compliant cash machines and payment card terminals in countries such as the USA, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Russian Federation, Brazil and Mexico. Organized crime groups upgrade their criminal techniques relatively quickly, producing devices to bypass the latest anti-skimming technology and exploring other ways to rip off EU consumers and industry."
EU

Submission + - EC meeting designed to whitewash patents in standards (computerworlduk.com)

jrepin writes: "Simon Phipps spotted a meeting happening in Brussels that looked as if it was a set-up job. He suspected its goal was to ensure that a report was produced which could be referenced in future discussions over EU procurement policies — especially Britain's. While it was probably not a documented goal, such a report could be used to falsely demonstrate that technical standards with patents in them are no problem for open source software. Well, the report is out, and as Glyn Moody disclosed on December 31st, it's everything Simon predicted."
Data Storage

Submission + - Quartz glass can preserve data for millions of years, Hitachi says (www.cbc.ca) 1

An anonymous reader writes: Researchers in Japan have come up with a novel way to store data — in a wafer of quartz glass — that could preserve it for eons. Electronics company Hitachi says this process protects the information in a durable, waterproof covering that could weather hundreds of millions of years with almost no degradation. Researchers created a prototype using pieces of quartz glass developed by Kyoto University — measuring two centimetres square and just two millimetres thick.

ZU

Government

Submission + - Voting Machines Should Be as Secure as Slot Machines (networkcomputing.com) 2

CowboyRobot writes: "The problems with elections in the U.S. are well-known, yet we seem to need reminding every four years about how bad it's getting.
Howard Marks at NetworkComputing has an essay, pointing out exactly what we need for reliable, accurate voting:
"A valid audit trail, such as a printed ballot the voter can verify; A mechanism for recounting the printed ballots on a machine made by another vendor so the results can be compared; and An audit of the software by an independent third party to insure that the software accurately records and tabulates the voter's true intent."
He then looks at his own experience working with casinos, who would never tolerate the kinds of problems voting machines have. So why not take a lesson from gaming machines and build voting machines the same way?
"The slot machine industry is several times bigger, and significantly more competitive, than the voting machine industry. If IGT, Bally's and Aristocrat can compete for the slot market, then Diebold and Election Systems and Software can stand the same level of scrutiny.""

Submission + - Last-minute, untested "experimental" software patch affects 80% of Ohio's vote (cbsnews.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A last minute "experimental" software update affects the tally machines which count 80% of OH's vote, and introduces absurd vulnerabilities into the system: precinct vote tallies in each county will be reformatted by the patch and put on personal thumb drives before submission to the secretary of state. The patch has read/write access to the electronic vote data-base, and hasn't been open to testing or review by any authority. Untested voting software is against Ohio law, but the secretary of state has designated the software "experimental", and so it slips by in a loophole. An injuction was refused this morning.
Hardware

Submission + - Hypergravity used to create lighter aircraft engines (geek.com)

An anonymous reader writes: One area where weight savings can be made in aircraft design is in the manufacture of the relatively heavy turbine engines used to power an aircraft. Engines typically rely on the use of nickel superalloys in their construction. They are very strong, stable, and don’t corrode easily, but there is a lighter alternative: titanium aluminide. TiAi is 45% lighter, but the main problem with using it is successfully molding it into the required shapes for use in an engine.

Engineers at the European Space Agency (ESA) set out to solve that problem and came up with a surprising solution: using hypergravity.

Technology

Submission + - Ferrofluid tattoos vibrate your skin in response to calls and texts (patexia.com)

ericjones12398 writes: "Nokia is bringing tattoos into the high-tech world. The telecommunications giant recently filed a patent for the world's first smart tattoos. Made of ferromagnetic material, the tattoo would vibrate when your smartphone received incoming phone calls, texts and emails.
The tattoo is either cool or creepy depending on your attitude toward such things as tattoos and cyborg implants. But human cyborg technology is nothing new. Indeed, Nokia's vibrating magnetic tattoos are part of a broader trend in technology. No longer content to carry gadgets, there's a movement toward getting the conveniences of smartphones and other electronic devices embedded right in your body."

AMD

Submission + - CPUs of the future: AMD partners with ARM, Intel designs a brain on a chip (extremetech.com)

MrSeb writes: "In the past week, both AMD and Intel have given us a tantalizing peek at their next-generation neuromorphic (brain-like) computer chips. These chips, it is hoped, will provide brain-like performance (i.e. processing power and massive parallelism way beyond current CPUs) while consuming minimal amounts of power. First, AMD last week announced that its future APUs will feature ARM Cortex cores, first to implement TrustZone (ARM Holdings' hardware DRM/security chip), but then eventually as part of a proper x86-ARM-GPU heterogeneous system architecture (HSA). It isn’t too crazy to think that a future AMD (or Texas Instruments) chip might have a few GPU cores, a few x86 CPU cores, and thousands of tiny ARM cores, all working in perfect, parallel, neuromorphic harmony — as long as the software toolchain is good enough that you don’t have to be some kind of autist to use all of those resources efficiently. Intel, on the other hand, today unveiled a neuromorphic chip design based on multi-input lateral spin valves (LSV) and memristors. LSVs are microscopic magnets that change their magnetism to match the spin of electrons being passed through them (spintronics). Memristors are electronic components that increase their resistance as electricity passes through them one way, and reduce their resistance when electricity flows in the opposite direction — and when no power flows, the memristor remembers its last resistance value (meaning it can store data). Unlike state-of-the-art CMOS transistors that require volts to switch on and off, the LSV neurons only require a handful of electrons to change their orientation, which equates to 20 millivolts. For some applications, Intel thinks its neuromorphic chip could be up to 300 times more energy efficient than the CMOS equivalent."
Graphics

Submission + - Zero Power Displays: Solution Searching for a Problem (blogspot.com)

An anonymous reader writes: E Ink--makers of the zero stand-by power electrophoretic displays used in the first Kindles--thought they were home free, ready to retire on the millions of units being shipped for eReaders. Unfortunately for them, the iPad came along and now every eReader is switching to backlit LCDs despite the fact that you have to charge their batteries daily instead of weekly like when using a E Ink display. The company's new owners--Taiwan's YFY Group--however is landing contracts for a wide variety of applications where zero standby power is still a big advantage, like smartcards and like turning the black back of an iPhone into an auxiliary display that tells you the time, how many waiting emails and messages you have, and remaining battery life all without having to power up the main LCD display. These and a bunch of other new designs are on display at this week's Society of Information Displays (SID 2012, Boston), but you can see them online here.
Security

Submission + - SCADA Systems Found to Have Numerous Built-In Flaw (threatpost.com)

Trailrunner7 writes: A long list of industrial-control modules manufactured by Schneider Electric and used to control operations at various industrial facilities contain multiple weaknesses and vulnerabilities that could allow an attacker to modify the firmware, login remotely and run arbitrary code on the vulnerable components. Security researcher Ruben Santamarta discovered and disclosed the problems and the ICS-CERT is warning users about the issue, as well.

The devices in question are Ethernet modules that are designed to communicate with programmable logic controllers over a network. They're used in industrial control systems and Santamarta took a look at the firmware that's used on the modules and found that not only were they accessible over the Internet, but also had a slew of hidden accounts, many with hard-coded passwords. His research shows that, with services such as Telnet, FTP and others exposed and available for attackers to probe, the systems running on these Schneider Electric Quantum Ethernet Modules are vulnerable to several kinds of attack.

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