Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


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Submission + - Quantum violation of the pigeonhole principle (

MistrX writes: From the abstract:

The pigeonhole principle: “If you put three pigeons in two pigeonholes, at least two of the pigeons end up in the same hole,” is an obvious yet fundamental principle of nature as it captures the very essence of counting. Here however we show that in quantum mechanics this is not true! We find instances when three quantum particles are put in two boxes, yet no two particles are in the same box. Furthermore, we show that the above “quantum pigeonhole principle” is only one of a host of related quantum effects, and points to a very interesting structure of quantum mechanics that was hitherto unnoticed.

Submission + - Backdoor Account Found on Devices Used by White House, US Military (

An anonymous reader writes: A hidden backdoor account was discovered embedded in the firmware of devices deployed at the White House and in various US Military strategic centers, more precisely in AMX conference room equipment. The first account was named Black Widow, and after security researchers reported its presence to AMX, the company's employees simply renamed it to Batman thinking nobody will notice. AMX did remove the backdoor after three months. In its firmware's official release notes, AMX claimed that the two accounts were only used for debugging, just like Fortinet claimed that its FortiOS SSH backdoor was used only internally by a management protocol.

Submission + - Docker Moves Beyond Containers with Unikernel Systems Purchase (

joabj writes: Earlier today, Docker announced that it had purchased the Cambridge, U.K.-based Unikernel Systems, makers of the OCaml-based MirageOS, a unikernel or "virtual library-based operating system." Unikernels go beyond containers in stripping virtualization down to the bare essentials in that they only include the specific OS functionality that the application actually needs. Their design builds on decades of research into modular OS design. Although unikernels can be complex to deploy for developers, Docker aims to make the process as standardized as possible, for easier deployment.

Submission + - A.I. Startups Building Bots for Businesses (

gthuang88 writes: Virtual digital assistants are gaining popularity with the rise of Siri, Google Now, and Facebook’s M service. Now startups are using related artificial intelligence techniques to solve business problems. Talla is building an interactive bot on Slack and HipChat for handling workflows in recruiting and human resources. The software uses natural language processing, word vectors, and some deep learning. Other startups, such as Gamalon, DataRobot, and Sentenai, are focused on probabilistic programming, data science, and machine learning for the Internet of things. Working with private data sets and business apps could help these startups avoid competing with the big players, at least for now.

Submission + - How much at risk is the U.S.'s critical infrastructure? (

itwbennett writes: There is growing evidence that intrusions into the power grid and other critical infrastructure by hostile foreign nation states is real and happening. But there's 'much less agreement over how much of a threat hackers are,' writes Taylor Armerding. 'On one side are those – some of them top government officials – who have warned that a cyber attack on the nation’s critical infrastructure could be catastrophic,' writes Armerding. While others, including C. Thomas, a strategist at Tenable Network Security, who got some attention when he argued in an op-ed in the Christian Science Monitor that the biggest threat to the U.S. power grid or other industrial control systems (ICS) is not a skilled hacker, but squirrels, are crying FUD. Who has it right? Agreement seems to coalesce around two points: 1) the cyber security of ICSs remains notoriously weak and 2) hostile hackers will improve their skills over time. So while we haven't reached 'catastrophe' yet, a properly motivated terrorist group could become a cyber threat.

Submission + - Is Apple dropping the standard 3.5mm headphone jack? (

An anonymous reader writes: Before Christmas, the Apple community spurred a huge controversy as Macotakara claimed that the iPhone 7 will ditch the 3.5 mm standard headphone port completely, to enable further thinness and internal space savings for other components. The 3.5mm jack is a hundred-year old technology based on analogue signals, so although it is ripe for replacement, almost all headphones sold today rely on the 3.5mm jack. Cutting the port for the iPhone 7 could be a painful transition. Today, the Chinese media has posted further news confirming the original story, claiming that Apple will drop the next-gen iPhone’s 3.5mm headphone jack in favour of wireless headphone standards and Lightning

Submission + - Extruders, Nozels, and Metal Medium - 3D Printers of CES ( 1

szczys writes: It's that time of year again, the Consumer Electronics Show leaks out of every media crevice. Although we've passed peak 3D Printing hype for the general public, the 3D Printer offerings being shown are notable in one way or another. Makerbot continues to flounder with questionable extruders, Lulzbot continues to excel with dual extrusion and by supporting a wide range of print materials, 3D Systems has an uber-expensive direct metal printer, but the entry level printer price floor keeps falling.

Submission + - Sued freelancer allegedly turns over contractee source code in settlement

FriendlySolipsist writes: Blizzard Entertainment has been fighting World of Warcraft bots for years, but TorrentFreak reports Bossland, a German company that operates "buddy" bots, alleges Blizzard sued one of its freelancers and forced a settlement where he turned over Bossland's source code to Blizzard. In Bossland's view, their code was "stolen" by Blizzard because it was not the freelancer's to disclose. This is a dangerous precedent for freelance developers in the face of legal threats: damed if you do, damned if you don't.

Submission + - Getting Closer To Using Graphene For Electronics (

tgrigsby writes: "Students at Georgia Tech Georgia Tech have developed a new "templated growth" technique that allows fabrication of nanoribbons with smooth edges and high conductivity. Predicting the ability to produce features no more than 10 nanometers wide and with extremely low resistance, Yike Hu and John Hankinson may be developing the next generation of processor technology."

Submission + - USPTO Gives Sergey Brin Patent for Google Doodles

theodp writes: After a 10-year struggle, the USPTO was convinced to issue Google a patent Tuesday for Systems and Methods for Enticing Users to Access a Web Site, aka Google Doodles. Among other things, Google explains that the invention of co-founder Sergey Brin covers modifying a company logo with 'a turkey for Thanksgiving' and 'a leprechaun's pot of gold for Saint Patrick's Day.' To help drive home its point, Google included an illustration showing the USPTO that hearts could be displayed on the Google home page for Valentine's Day, which would be deja-vu-all-over-again for the 394 lovers who used the UIUC PLATO system on Feb. 14th, 1975. Coincidentally, a request was made last spring for a PLATO-themed Google Doodle to tell the world about the huge set of innovations introduced decades before Larry and Sergey founded Google, but the search giant begged off.

Submission + - Court okays Steve Jobs deposition in iTunes case (

An anonymous reader writes: It seems like forever ago, but it really wasn’t until April 2009 that Apple began offering iTunes downloads free from the shackles of DRM. Prior to that, downloaded songs were only playable on iPods, effectively tying consumers who used iTunes for music downloads to Apple hardware.

Antitrust lawsuits ensued, and while some claims were dropped, the rest were consolidated and rage on. Now, US Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd has given the the prosecution the go-ahead to conduct a limited deposition of Apple CEO Steve Jobs about his role in refusing to license FairPlay to RealNetworks.

United States

Submission + - Wikileaks Claims US Ambassador to Mexico

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "The Miami Herald reports that US Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual has resigned following weeks of withering criticism by Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who said he'd lost trust in the envoy and demanded his removal marking the first high-level US diplomat to quit as a result of the release of sensitive US diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks. Calderon repeatedly voiced frustration and anger at US diplomatic cables from Pascual and diplomats serving under him that questioned whether Calderon's anti-crime strategy would succeed and criticized the effectiveness of Mexican security agencies. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voiced "great regret" in announcing Pascual's resignation, saying he'd been an effective "architect and advocate for the U.S.-Mexico relationship" and said Pascual had sustained morale of US agents and diplomats in Mexico as they have increasingly fallen into the line of fire. It is highly unusual for a foreign leader to be so outspoken in demanding the removal of a US diplomat as Calderon has been in recent weeks — and equally rare that such demands would be met."

Submission + - Experienced Need Not Apply

theodp writes: A federal lawsuit claims that requirements in job ads posted by Infosys automatically discriminated against older workers. Ralph DeVito, a NJ resident who filed the lawsuit, had applied for two tech job openings advertised by Infosys on One posting set a 'maximum experience' requirement of 15 years, and another set a limit of 25 years. DeVito, who was 58 when he applied for the jobs, has more than 25 years of experience in the jobs sought. 'Simply doing the math, 25 years' experience boxes out anyone who is over 40,' said John Roberts, who represents DeVito. Infosys, whose CEO and Chairman each have 30 years experience with the company, said it doesn't comment on pending litigation. Monster Worldwide was also named in the lawsuit, which contends that Monster should have known that 'maximum experience' requirements 'constituted a de facto age limit.' In November, the EEOC, in a letter to DeVito, wrote, 'We found that you were discriminated against in violation of the ADEA (Age Discrimination in Employment Act),' but the agency declined to bring a lawsuit.

Submission + - Tech Titans Team to Back OpenFlow Networking (

miller60 writes: "Six huge network operators are joining forces to create the open Networking Foundation, which will advance the development of the OpenFlow standard developed at Stanford and Cal-Berkeley. Founding members Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, Verizon and Deutsche Telekom say OpenFlow has the potential to simplify network management and speed innovation. "OpenFlow really has the potential to be a very important shift in how people look at networks, said Google's Urs Hoelzle, who will head the new foundation."

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