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Submission + - Apple To Launch First European Development Centre (thestack.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Apple has announced plans to launch its first iOS app development centre in Europe. The location will be in Naples, Italy, with the centre aiming to teach youngsters how to code. The announcement was made 21 January and explained how the centre would provide students (children and young adults) the practical skills and training required for developing iOS apps for “the world’s most innovative and vibrant app ecosystem”. The centre will support teachers and provide a specialised curriculum that will prepare the youths to be a part of Apple’s developer community.

Submission + - Theoretical evidence for a ninth planet beyond Pluto may be premature

An anonymous reader writes: Earlier today, the team of Pluto-killer Mike Brown and Konstantin Batygin announced that they had found evidence of a ninth planet in our Solar System beyond the orbit of Pluto, larger and more massive than even Earth. However, a closer inspection of the work shows that they predict a few things that haven't been observed, including a population of Kuiper belt objects with large inclinations and retrograde orbits, long-period Kuiper belt objects with opposite ecliptic latitudes and longitudes, and infrared data showing the emission from such an outer world. There are many good reasons to be skeptical, and not conclude that there's a ninth planet without more (and better) evidence.

Submission + - JBoss Application Platform 7 enters beta (sdtimes.com)

dmleonard618 writes: Red Hat is preparing for a new Java platform. The company announced JBoss Enterprise Application Platform version 7 has entered beta, and is free to users. The release features Java-focused updates, and the WildFly Application Server 10 for the first time. JBoss EAP 7 is designed for use in the cloud, and Wildfly reportedly offers a 10x speedup in start times.

Submission + - Big Brother is coming to universities (theguardian.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Harriet Swain writes in theguardian.com:

An upcoming report by the Higher Education Commission, a UK group of MPs, business and academic professionals, will paint a picture of a higher education system that, thanks to the increasing use of data, may undergo radical change, sometimes with painful ethical considerations. Among their visions: an Amazon-style recommendation service on courses and work experience based on individuals’ backgrounds, and similar profiles. Or a system in which students at risk of failure can be identified from their first day so that they receive instant feedback and performance measuring. It is envisioned that the system will include knowing whether they are in lectures, at the gym or in the bar, and in an effort to boost their results, students may also want to share data on their fitness, sleeping patterns, and their academic and semi-academic interactions online. Groups raise concern about perverted incentive, privacy and data security.

Submission + - Facebook's Android app gains privacy-enhancing Tor support (betanews.com)

Mark Wilson writes: Back towards the end of 2014, Facebook unveiled a new .onion address that allowed Tor users to visit the social network securely. Following on from this, the company is now giving Android users the ability to browse the site using Tor and the Facebook app.

Security, privacy and anonymity may be words readily associated with Tor, but few people would use them in the same sentence as Facebook. The social network says that there is increased demand for secure connections to Facebook from Tor-enabled browsers, hence spreading to the largest mobile platform. The news will make some mobile users happy, but there are currently no plans to migrate the feature from Android to iOS.

Submission + - 10 people arrested in the Netherlands for Bitcoin laundering (www.om.nl)

Incadenza writes: 10 people were arrested in the Netherlands today according to the Public Prosecution Service (In Dutch). The arrests were said to be part of an international investigation, including requests from the USA, Morocco, Australia and Lithuania.

Apparently the investigators followed the trace from 'Bitcoin-cashers' (who convert the Bitcoin profits to old money) back to Bitcoin transactions on the Dark Web. How successful this was is yet to be seen, since all the main suspects are said to be 'cashers', not traders.

Submission + - Artisanal Spam (bloomberg.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Spam filters have come a long way over the past two decades — but spammers have, too. Though email providers are better than ever at blocking spam, it's still big business, with a lot of money to be made. Security researchers are seeing a new trend in spam: less volume, and better targeting. The article mentions "snowshoe" attacks, which occupy the middle ground between massive spam campaigns and tiny phishing attacks. "Craig Williams, a senior manager at Talos, said the amount of snowshoe spam has more than doubled in the past two years and now accounts for more than 15 percent of all junk messages distributed globally." Security researchers have been pushing for a unified registry to help deal with these mid-range spammers, but it's hard to get a significant portion of providers on the same page, particularly when many are fond of running their own solutions.

Submission + - The story behind National Reconnaissance Office's octopus logo (muckrock.com)

v3rgEz writes: When the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) announced the upcoming launch of their NROL-39 mission back in December 2013, they didn't get quite the response they hoped. That might have had something to do with the mission logo being a gigantic octopus devouring the Earth. Researcher Runa Sandvik wanted to know who approved this and why, so she filed a Freedom of Information Act with the NRO for the development materials that went into the logo. A few months later, the NRO delivered.

Submission + - Interviews: Ask David Peterson About Inventing Languages For a Living

samzenpus writes: David J. Peterson is a language creator and author. He created the Dothraki and Valyrian languages for HBO’s Game of Thrones, and more recently has created languages for the CW’s The 100 and MTV’s The Shannara Chronicles. His new book, The Art of Language Invention , details how to create a new language from scratch, and goes over some of the specific choices he made in creating the languages for Game of Thrones and Syfy’s Defiance. David has agreed to give us some of his time to answer any questions you may have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one question per post.

Submission + - Airbus Joins Uber For On-Demand Chopper Rides (thestack.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Airbus is teaming up with Uber to provide on-demand helicopter rides, due to debut at the Sundance Film Festival which opens in Utah this month. The flight service will employ H125 and H130 aircraft to transport passengers, while Uber vehicles will ferry them to and from the helipad sites. A Utah-based firm, called Air Resources, will be coordinating the service. This is not the first time Uber has experimented with helicopter partnerships, transporting people via chopper ride at the U.S. Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Cannes Film Festival, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, and from New York into the Hamptons in 2013.

Submission + - Reusable SpaceX rocket has implications for a return to the moon (examiner.com)

MarkWhittington writes: While it is unclear what if any implications the recent successful landing of the first stage of the Falcon 9 first stage means for the future of space travel, planetary scientist and space commentator Paul Spudis suggested that the feat and the similar one performed earlier by Blue Origin could have some benefit for a return to the moon. In the meantime, a test of the engines in the recovered first stage had mixed results. The engines fired alright, but SpaceX CEO Elon Musk reported, “thrust fluctuations” that might have been caused by “debris ingestion.” Does that mean the rocket could or could not have been reused? The answer is not yet forthcoming.

Submission + - The engineering and logistics of building the Giant Magellan Telescope (theconversation.com)

Kenneth Stephen writes: Astronomers have always wanted bigger and better telescopes. Building such telescopes today come with many challenges that require high precision work to resolve. This story describes the design thinking that is being applied to the construction and deployment of the Giant Magellan Telescope

Submission + - Faulty Ransomware Renders Files Unrecoverable, Even By the Attacker (csoonline.com)

itwbennett writes: A cybercriminal has built a ransomware program based on proof-of-concept code released online, but messed up the implementation, resulting in victims' files being completely unrecoverable. Once executed on a computer, the ransom ware program, called RANSOM_CRYPTEAR.B, generates an encryption key and saves it in a file on the computer's desktop. It then proceeds to encrypt files with certain extensions, including the file where the encryption key is stored, before sending it to the attacker. This makes it essentially impossible to recover the files, as the key itself gets encrypted, probably by mistake, the Trend Micro researchers said in a blog post.

Submission + - Sweden Makes Another Request To Ecuador For Permission To Question Assange (thelocal.se)

cold fjord writes: Thelocal.se reports that Sweden's state prosecutor's office said today that it has formally asked Ecuador in writing for permission to interrogate Julian Assange. They don't know when Ecuador will reply. The request follows the signing of an agreement in December on general legal cooperation between the two countries. Ecuador required the agreement before it would consent to an interview of Assange. The Swedish prosecutors want to question Assange regarding rape allegations that have a statute of limitations that run till 2020. The statue of limitations for other sex crimes Assange has been accused of have expired while Assange has been in hiding. Sweden had previously asked to question Assange in the embassy, but Ecuador declined permission. In another peculiar twist to the case, RTE.ie is reporting that Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino has stated that the exact procedures that will be used are not known, but that Ecuadorian prosecutors will be the ones actually questioning Assange although Swedish officials can be present. Sweden‘s view on this is unclear. — Timeline: Julian Assange rape allegation

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