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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 7 declined, 5 accepted (12 total, 41.67% accepted)

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Submission + - One-time pad from Caltech offers uncrackable cryptography (

zrbyte writes: One-time pads are the holy grail of cryptography — they are impossible to crack, even in principle. However, the ability to copy electronic code makes one-time pads vulnerable to hackers. Now engineers at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, have found a way round this to create a system of cryptography that is invulnerable to electronic attack. Their solution is based on a special kind of one-time pad that generates a random key through the complexity of its physical structure, namely shining a light through a diffusive glass plate.
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Good news for US fusion research (

zrbyte writes: Fusion research would get a major boost in a Department of Energy (DOE) spending bill approved today by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations. The panel rejected an Obama Administration proposal to cut funding for domestic fusion research in the 2013 fiscal year, which begins 1 October. It would also give more money than requested to an international collaboration building the ITER fusion reactor in France. This will allow the Alcator C-Mod fusion facility at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge to be kept open, which the Administration had proposed closing.

Submission + - Billionaire-Backed Space Venture Planetary Resources to be Unveiled April 24 (

zrbyte writes: An audacious new private space exploration company backed by billionaire investors and filmmaker-turned-explorer James Cameron will unveil its master plan "to help ensure humanity's prosperity" on Tuesday, April 24.

While details of the company, called Planetary Resources, Inc., and its mission are still under wraps, officials with the enterprise did state that "the company will overlay two critical sectors — space exploration and natural resources — to add trillions of dollars to the global GDP," according to media alert sent to reporters today (April 18).


Submission + - The Risk of a Meltdown in the Cloud (

zrbyte writes: A growing number of complexity theorists are beginning to recognize some potential problems with cloud computing. The growing consensus is that bizarre and unpredictable behavior often emerges in systems made up of "networks of networks", such as a business using the computational resources of a cloud provider. Bryan Ford at Yale University in New Haven says that the full risks of the migration to the cloud have yet to be properly explored. He points out that complex systems can fail in many unexpected ways and outlines various simple scenarios in which a cloud could come unstuck.

Submission + - The beginning of the end for Hadopi? (

zrbyte writes: TorrentFreak has a story on the latest developments in the french Hadopi saga.
The private company entrusted to carry out file-sharing network monitoring for the French government has been hacked. Trident Media Guard, which is responsible for gathering data for so-called 3 strikes warnings was hacked and now has some of its data out in the wild, an event which has the potential to upset the operation of Hadopi.

Submission + - Net neutrality to get close scrutiny in Europe (

zrbyte writes: The European Commissions said the fact-finding exercise — to be carried out across the EU by the regulatory group Berec — will log known cases where service providers are blocking and throttling internet traffic. It will look at areas such as VoIP, barriers to changing operator, and failure to provide transparency and sufficient quality of service.
This comes ahead of new measures being implemented by the EU on May the 25th, which will require ISPs to be transparent about their traffic management policies. Moreover, ISPs will have to give people the ability to switch operator within one working day, and give internet users the ability to "access and distribute information or run applications and services of their choice".
In addition, digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes stated in a speech that: "... if measures to enhance competition are not enough to bring internet providers to offer real consumer choice, I am ready to prohibit the blocking of lawful services or applications."

Submission + - EU wants no petrol or diesel cars in cities by 205 (

zrbyte writes: There should be no petrol or diesel cars in city centres by 2050, the European Commission has proposed.
Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas also set out plans to shift half of "middle distance journeys" from road to rail, and to cut shipping emissions by 40%.
He said: "Freedom to travel is a basic right for our citizens. Curbing mobility is not an option. Nor is business is usual."

Submission + - "Peak coal" is nearer than we think? (

zrbyte writes: An article released in Nature today has challenged the commonly held view that the world has cheap and plentiful coal supplies that will fuel the world for decades to come.

Richard Heinberg and David Fridley argue that coal prices are likely to rapidly increase in the near future, due to a combination of rapid growth in the demand for coal, and recent findings which suggest useful coal reserves are less abundant than what has previously been assumed.


Submission + - Destroy Earth From the Comfort of Your Computer (

zrbyte writes: There have been numerous discussions on /. regarding the matter of a large asteroid hitting the Earth, its consequences and how to avoid such a catastrophe. Now, researchers from the University of Arizona and Imperial College London have produced a software that lets you have a free swing at the Earth by the impactor of your choice. They have a nice web interface that makes creating doomsday scenarios a snap.

Just type in a few variables such as diameter, density, and velocity and Impact: Earth! will send a comet or asteroid hurtling toward our planet. Lest you be unsatisfied with a simulation of a massive rock barreling down on us, the Web site also provides data on the aftermath, including the size of the crater, the extent of the fireball, and even the height of the tsunami wave, should the object crash into the ocean.

Details on the calculations can be found in a paper published by the researchers.

Submission + - The spread of do it yourself biotech. (

zrbyte writes: Are you the electronics hobbyist, or garden shed tinkerer? If so then move aside, because there's a new kid on the block: the DIY biotechnologist.
The decreasing price of bio-tech instrumentation has made it possible for everyday folks (read bio-tech geeks), with a few thousand $ to spare, to equip their garages and mother's basements with the necessary 'tools of the trade'. Some, like PCR machines are available on eBay, other utensils are hacked together from everyday appliances and some creativity. For example, microscopes out of web cams and armpit E-coli incubators. Nature News has an article on the phenomenon, describing the weird and wonderful fruits of bio-tech geek ingenuity, like glow in the dark yogurt.
One could draw parallels with the early days of computer building/programming. It may be that we're looking at a bio-tech revolution, not just from the likes of Craig Venter, but from Joe-next-door hacking away at his E-coli strain. What are the Steve Wozniaks of bio-tech working on right now?

The Military

Submission + - Russia inflates its military ( 1

zrbyte writes: I've heard of inflatable prank weapons, but Russia seems to take it seriously, with deploying life-sized inflatable tanks, radar stations, rocket launchers, etc. Deception is the name of the game.

From the article:

The Russian military has come up with an inventive way to deceive the enemy and save money at the same time: inflatable weapons. They look just like real ones: they are easy to transport and quick to deploy.

Submission + - Nations Strengthen Pact to Stem Methane Pollution (

zrbyte writes: A coalition of 38 nations and several international groups have launched the Global Methane Initiative, accelerating shared efforts to cut pollution of a gas that accounts for about one-fifth of the warming potential of all greenhouse gases. And the climate benefits of cutting emissions of methane are more immediate: It persists in the atmosphere for a decade or so, while CO2 lasts for hundreds of years. Methane is also a more potent warmer.

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