olsmeister writes: The Samsung KNOX enterprise security system (presumably a play on Ft Knox, the location of the United States Bullion Depository) contains a security vulnurability that could put both personal and business data at risk. This is according to a discovery by a Ph.D. student at the Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Israel. This is the security system used in Samsung's flagship Galaxy S4 phone, which Samsung hopes will allow it to compete with BlackBerry in government and enterprise applications. The flaw could allow attackers to access secure data, as well as load malicious applications.
olsmeister writes: The new all-solid battery design uses solid sulfur and lithium, and outperforms existing lithium-ion batteries with four times the energy density. The battery can maintain a capacity of 1200 milliampere-hours per gram after 300 charge-discharge cycles. More work needs to be done, but one would think this new technology could have applications in renewable energy storage, electric cars, and consumer electronics.
olsmeister writes: Hydrogen Sulfide is a toxic, flammable, foul-smelling gas that some theorize may have been at least partially responsible for some of Earth's mass extinctions, including the Permian-Triassic event, which killed well over half of the species on the planet. Now, thanks to a fortuitous accident, doctoral student at the University of Washington seems to have discovered that very low doses of the gas seems to greatly enhance plant growth, causing plants to germinate more quickly and grow larger. The finding could have far reaching implications for both food and biofuel production.
olsmeister writes: Ever wonder if the universe is really a simulation? Well, physicists do too. Recently, a group of physicists have devised a way that could conceivably prove one way or the other whether that is the case. There is a paper describing their work on arXiv. Some other physicists propose that the universe is actually a giant hologram with all the action actually occurring on a two-dimensional boundary region.
olsmeister writes: On Tuesday, the Electronic Frontier Foundation announced its "Defend Innovation" project, which includes seven proposals for software patent reform. These proposals include things like shorter coverage for software patents, and a requirement to demonstrate running code for each claim in the patent.
olsmeister writes: Google removed their new GMail app from the App Store due to a programming error that caused an error message related to the aps-environment entitlement string when the app was started and also caused the notifications not to function correctly. They are working to get the app fixed and are going to have the new one ready soon.
olsmeister writes: In a follow up to a report that was mentioned on Slashdot a week ago, the NOAA has determined that the orange 'goo' that washed up on the beaches on the remote Alaska village of Kivalina was not eggs of crustaceans, but rather spores from a fungus that creates rust on plants. It is not known whether the fungus is harmful to humans or not.
olsmeister writes: With cutting the Federal budget high on the list of priorities for most politicians, the James Webb Space Telescope has come into the crosshairs. The telescope is slated to be the successor to the very successful Hubble and will orbit the sun well away from the Earth at the L2 Lagrange point. With the telescope well over budget and behind schedule, it is being singled out as a prime example of government waste and ineptness. If you have an opinion on this, you should contact your representative and let them know your feelings on this program.
olsmeister writes: A Bitcoin user allegedly has had $500,000 worth of Bitcoins stolen from him. A hacker supposedly gained access to the user's home computer and managed to get the user's wallet.dat file, which contained the cryptographic keys that allowed him to drain the user's balance.
olsmeister writes: Several weeks after having the Playstation Network hacked, and apologizing to users for the breach, Sony is offering $1 million dollars in identity theft protection for users who sign up before June 18th. The protection is being offered through Debix and is called AllClear ID Plus. This appears to be some kind of custom plan especially for Sony, as their normal offerings are called AllClear ID Free and AllClear ID Pro.
olsmeister writes: In the seven years Cassini has spent orbiting Saturn, the spacecraft has sent back mountains of data that has changed our view of the ringed planet and its moons. Saturn's largest moon, Titan, has been a particular focus of attention because of its dense, complex atmosphere, its weather and its lakes and oceans.
Now it looks as if Titan is even stranger still. The evidence comes from careful observations of Titan's orbit and rotation. This indicates that Titan has an orbit similar to our Moon's: it always presents the same face towards Saturn and its axis of rotation tilts by about 0.3 degrees.
Together, these data allow astronomers to work out Titan's moment of inertia and this throws up something interesting. The numbers indicate that Titan's moment of inertia can only be explained if it is a solid body that is denser near the surface than it is at its centre.
olsmeister writes: In its December ruling, the FCC voted to prohibit broadband service providers from selectively blocking or slowing Web content and applications. As expected, the ruling unleashed protests from an array of big service providers.
Verizon appealed the FCC ruling on Jan. 20.
"We are deeply concerned by the FCC's assertion of broad authority for sweeping new regulation of broadband networks and the Internet itself," said Michael Glover, Verizon's senior vice president and deputy general counsel, in a statement accompanying the challenge.
olsmeister writes: Several of RSA's servers were hacked into, resulting in the loss of data related to its SecurID products used for two-factor authentication. The Executive Chairman of RSA, Art Coviello, insists that the lost information will not enable a direct attack, but others say that there is a possibility that new tokens may need to be issued.
olsmeister writes: Netflix may be known for offering some of our favorite TV and movie streams, but the company is about to step up its game and begin offering original content. Netflix has allegedly outbid a number of major cable networks for a new drama series produced by and starring Kevin Spacey called House of Cards, and may be about to close a deal at more than $100 million, according to a report on Deadline.com.