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Mars Curiosity Rover Experiences Short Circuit, Will Be Stationary For Days

32 min 18 sec ago
hypnosec writes: NASA says its Mars Curiosity rover has experienced a transient short circuit. The team has halted all work from the rover temporarily while engineers analyze the situation. Telemetry data received from Curiosity indicated the short circuit, after which the vehicle followed its programmed response, stopping the arm activity underway whenthe irregularity in the electric current happened. Curiosity will stay parked as its engineers analyze the situation and figure out if any damage has been done. NASA says a transient short circuit would have little effect on the rover's operations in some systems, but it could force the team to restrict use of whatever mechanism caused the problem.

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Linux 4.0 Getting No-Reboot Patching

1 hour 15 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: ZDNet reports that the latest changes to the Linux kernel include the ability to apply patches without requiring a reboot. From the article: "Red Hat and SUSE both started working on their own purely open-source means of giving Linux the ability to keep running even while critical patches were being installed. Red Hat's program was named kpatch, while SUSE' is named kGraft. ... At the Linux Plumbers Conference in October 2014, the two groups got together and started work on a way to patch Linux without rebooting that combines the best of both programs. Essentially, what they ended up doing was putting both kpatch and kGraft in the 4.0 Linux kernel." Note: "Simply having the code in there is just the start. Your Linux distribution will have to support it with patches that can make use of it."

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Technology's Legacy: the 'Loser Edit' Awaits Us All

1 hour 57 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: The NY Times Magazine has an insightful article putting into words how I've felt about information-age culture for a while now. It's about a phenomenon dubbed the "loser edit." The term itself was born out of reality TV — once an outcome had been decided while the show was still taping, the producers would comb back through the footage and selectively paste together everything that seemed to foreshadow the loser's fall. When the show actually aired, it thus had an easy-to-follow narrative. But as the information age has overtaken us, the "loser edit" is something that can happen to anyone. Any time a celebrity gets into trouble, we can immediately search through two decades of interviews and offhand comments to see if there were hints of their impending fall. It usually becomes a self-reinforcing chain of evidence. The loser edit happens for non-celebrities too, using their social media posts, public records, leaked private records, and anything else available through search. The worst part is, there's no focal point for the blame. The news media does it, the entertainment industry does it, and we do it to ourselves. Any time the internet gets outraged about something, there are a few people who happily dig up everything they can about the person they now feel justified in hating — and thus, the loser edit begins.

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Treadmill Performance Predicts Mortality

5 hours 2 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: Cardiologists from Johns Hopkins have published an analysis of exercise data that strongly links a patient's performance on a treadmill to their risk of dying. Using data from stress tests of over 58,000 people, they report: "[A]mong people of the same age and gender, fitness level as measured by METs and peak heart rate reached during exercise were the greatest indicators of death risk. Fitness level was the single most powerful predictor of death and survival, even after researchers accounted for other important variables such as diabetes and family history of premature death — a finding that underscores the profound importance of heart and lung fitness, the investigators say." The scoring system is from -200 to +200. People scoring between -100 and 0 face an 11% risk of dying in the next decade. People scoring between -200 and -100 face a 38% risk of death within the next decade. People scoring above zero face only a 3% chance or less.

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Schneier: Either Everyone Is Cyber-secure Or No One Is

7 hours 58 min ago
Presto Vivace sends a new essay from Bruce Schneier called "The Democratization of Cyberattack. Quoting: When I was working with the Guardian on the Snowden documents, the one top-secret program the NSA desperately did not want us to expose was QUANTUM. This is the NSA's program for what is called packet injection--basically, a technology that allows the agency to hack into computers.Turns out, though, that the NSA was not alone in its use of this technology. The Chinese government uses packet injection to attack computers. The cyberweapons manufacturer Hacking Team sells packet injection technology to any government willing to pay for it. Criminals use it. And there are hacker tools that give the capability to individuals as well. ... We can't choose a world where the U.S. gets to spy but China doesn't, or even a world where governments get to spy and criminals don't. We need to choose, as a matter of policy, communications systems that are secure for all users, or ones that are vulnerable to all attackers. It's security or surveillance.

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Lost City Discovered In Honduran Rain Forest

9 hours 9 min ago
jones_supa writes: An expedition to Honduras has emerged from the jungle with the discovery of a previously unknown culture's lost city. The team was led to the remote, uninhabited region by long-standing rumors that it was the site of a storied "White City," also referred to in legend as the "City of the Monkey God." Archaeologists surveyed and mapped extensive plazas, earthworks, mounds, and an earthen pyramid belonging to a culture that thrived a thousand years ago, and then vanished. The team also discovered a remarkable cache of stone sculptures that had lain untouched since the city was abandoned. The objects were documented but left unexcavated. To protect the site from looters, its location is not being revealed.

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The US's First Offshore Wind Farm Will Cut Local Power Prices By 40%

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 12:07am
merbs writes: The U.S. is finally getting its first offshore wind farm. Deepwater Wind has announced that its Block Island project has been fully financed, passed the permitting process, and will begin putting "steel in water" this summer. For local residents, that means a 40% drop in electricity rates. The company has secured $290 million in financing, with funding from the likes of Key Bank and France's Société Générale, in part on the strength of its long-term power purchase agreement with US utility National Grid. Block Island has thus surpassed the much-publicized Cape Wind project, long touted as "the nation's first offshore wind farm," but that has been stalled out for over a decade in Massachusetts, held up by a tangle of clean power foes, regulatory and financing woes, and Cape Cod homeowners afraid it'd ruin the view.

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Has the Supreme Court Made Patent Reform Legislation Unnecessary?

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 10:03pm
An anonymous reader writes: As Congress gears up again to seriously consider patent litigation abuse—starting with the introduction of H.R. 9 (the "Innovation Act") last month—opponents of reform are arguing that recent Supreme Court cases have addressed concerns. Give the decisions time to work their way through the system, they assert. A recent hearing on the subject before a U.S. House Judiciary Committee (HJC) Subcommittee shined some light on the matter. And, as HJC Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a long-time leader in Internet and intellectual property issues, put it succinctly in his opening remarks: "We've heard this before, and though I believe that the Court has taken several positive steps in the right direction, their decisions can't take the place of a clear, updated and modernized statute. In fact, many of the provisions in the Innovation Act do not necessarily lend themselves to being solved by case law, but by actual law—Congressional legislation."

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GitLab Acquires Gitorious

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 8:02pm
New submitter sckirklan writes with news that code repository GitLab has purchased rival service Gitorious. Gitorious users are now able to import their projects into GitLab. They must do so by the end of May, because Gitorious will shut down on June 1st. Rolf Bjaanes, Gitorious CEO, gives some background on the reasons for the acquisition: “At Gitorious we saw more and more organizations adopting GitLab. Due to decreased income from on-premises customers, running the free Gitorious.org was no longer sustainable. GitLab was solving the same problem that we were, but was solving it better.” “This acquisition will accelerate the growth of GitLab. With more than 100,000 organizations using it, it is already the most used on-premise solution for Git repository management, and bringing Gitorious into the fold will significantly increase that footprint.” says Sytse Sijbrandij, GitLab CEO.

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AMD Enters Virtual Reality Fray With LiquidVR SDK At GDC

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 7:21pm
MojoKid writes: AMD jumped into the virtual reality arena today by announcing that its new LiquidVR SDK will help developers customize VR content for AMD hardware. "The upcoming LiquidVR SDK makes a number of technologies available which help address obstacles in content, comfort and compatibility that together take the industry a major step closer to true, life-like presence across all VR games, applications, and experiences," AMD representatives said in a statement. Oculus is one of the VR companies that will be working with AMD's LiquidVR SDK, and likes what it's seen so far. "Achieving presence in a virtual world continues to be one of the most important elements to delivering amazing VR," said Brendan Iribe, CEO of Oculus. "We're excited to have AMD working with us on their part of the latency equation, introducing support for new features like asynchronous timewarp and late latching, and compatibility improvements that ensure that Oculus' users have a great experience on AMD hardware."

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Rosetta Photographs Its Own Shadow On Comet 67P/C-G

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 7:00pm
mpicpp notes an image release from the European Space Agency showing the shadow of its Rosetta probe on the comet it's currently orbiting. The probe snapped the picture from a very low flyby — only six kilometers off the surface. The image has a resolution of 11cm/pixel. The shadow is fuzzy and somewhat larger than Rosetta itself, measuring approximately 20 x 50 metres. If the Sun were a point source, the shadow would be sharp and almost exactly the same size as Rosetta (approximately 2 x 32 m). However, even at 347 million km from 67P/C-G on 14 February, the Sun appeared as a disc about 0.2 degrees across (about 2.3 times smaller than on Earth), resulting in a fuzzy “penumbra” around the spacecraft’s shadow on the surface. In this scenario and with Rosetta 6 km above the surface, the penumbra effect adds roughly 20 metres to the spacecraft’s dimensions, and which is cast onto the tilted surface of the comet.

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Study: Refactoring Doesn't Improve Code Quality

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 6:38pm
itwbennett writes: A team of researchers in Sri Lanka set out to test whether common refactoring techniques resulted in measurable improvements in software quality, both externally (e.g., Is the code more maintainable?) and internally (e.g., Number of lines of code). Here's the short version of their findings: Refactoring doesn't make code easier to analyze or change (PDF); it doesn't make code run faster; and it doesn't result in lower resource utilization. But it may make code more maintainable.

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Former MLB Pitcher Doxes Internet Trolls, Delivers Real-World Consequences

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 5:54pm
An anonymous reader writes: When Twitter trolls began posting obscene, sexually explicit comments about his teenage daughter, former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling responded by recording their comments and gathering personal information readily available to the public. He then doxxed two of them on his blog, resulting in one being suspended from his community college and the other being fired from his part-time job as a ticket seller for the New York Yankees. There were seven others in Curt's crosshairs, all college athletes, but although he hasn't publicly doxxed those individuals, he hints, "I found it rather funny at how quickly tone changed when I heard via email from a few athletes who'd been suspended by their coaches. Gone was the tough guy tweeter, replaced by the 'I'm so sorry' apology used by those only sorry because they got caught."

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Physicists Gear Up To Catch a Gravitational Wave

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 5:11pm
sciencehabit writes: A patch of woodland just north of Livingston, Louisiana, population 1893, isn't the first place you'd go looking for a breakthrough in physics. Yet it is here that physicists may fulfill perhaps the most spectacular prediction of Albert Einstein's theory of gravity, or general relativity. Structures here house the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), an ultrasensitive instrument that may soon detect ripples in space and time set off when neutron stars or black holes merge. Einstein himself predicted the existence of such gravitational waves nearly a century ago. But only now is the quest to detect them coming to a culmination. Physicists are finishing a $205 million rebuild of the detectors, known as Advanced LIGO, which should make them 10 times more sensitive and, they say, virtually ensure a detection.

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Ask Slashdot: Wireless Microphone For Stand-up Meetings?

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 5:00pm
rolandw writes We have daily stand-ups and normally there is at least one person missing from the room. We relay via on-line chat but the sound quality is rubbish. The remote person sounds great via our speaker when they use a headset but they can't hear what is happening in the room. We need a wireless mic that copes with a large echoing room and will stop feedback. Can you recommend one? We're not an over-funded start-up so don't have an unlimited budget...

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FREAK Attack Threatens SSL Clients

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 4:29pm
msm1267 writes: For the nth time in the last couple of years, security experts are warning about a new Internet-scale vulnerability, this time in some popular SSL clients. The flaw allows an attacker to force clients to downgrade to weakened ciphers and break their supposedly encrypted communications through a man-in-the-middle attack. Researchers recently discovered that some SSL clients, including OpenSSL, will accept weak RSA keys–known as export-grade keys–without asking for those keys. Export-grade refers to 512-bit RSA keys, the key strength that was approved by the United States government for export overseas. This was an artifact from decades ago and it was thought that most servers and clients had long ago abandoned such weak ciphers. The vulnerability affects a variety of clients, most notably Apple's Safari browser.

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A Versatile and Rugged MIDI Mini-Keyboard (Video)

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 3:46pm
The K-Board won a "Best in Show" award at CES 2015. Plus, as Timothy said, "I always like pour and stomp demos." And it's totally cross-platform. If your computer, tablet or smartphone has a USB port and (almost) any kind of music software, it works. In theory, you could hook a K-Board to your Android or iOS device and use it to accompany yourself while you sing for spare change on a downtown corner. Or noodle around to get a handle on a theme you'll use in your next major symphony. Or...?

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Linux and Multiple Internet Uplinks: a New Tool

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 3:02pm
New submitter Alessandro Zarrilli writes: Linux has been able do multipath routing for a long time: it means being able to have routes with multiple gateways and to use them in a (weighted) round-robin fashion. But Linux is missing a tool to actively monitor the state of internet uplinks and change the routing accordingly. Without it, from a LAN perspective, it's like having a RAID-0: just one uplink goes down and all of your LAN-to-WAN traffic goes down too. Documentation and examples on the subject are lacking; existing solutions are few and deeply integrated in firewall/routing specific distributions. To address these issues, a new standalone tool was just released: Fault Tolerant Router. It also includes a complete (iptables + ip policy routing) configuration generator.

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Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 2:20pm
HughPickens.com writes: The Globe and Mail reports that Edward Snowden's Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, says the fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor is working with American and German lawyers to return home. "I won't keep it secret that he wants to return back home. And we are doing everything possible now to solve this issue. There is a group of U.S. lawyers, there is also a group of German lawyers and I'm dealing with it on the Russian side." Kucherena added that Snowden is ready to return to the States, but on the condition that he is given a guarantee of a legal and impartial trial. The lawyer said Snowden had so far only received a guarantee from the U.S. Attorney General that he will not face the death penalty. Kucherena says Snowden is able to travel outside Russia since he has a three-year Russian residency permit, but "I suspect that as soon as he leaves Russia, he will be taken to the U.S. embassy."

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Deutsche Telecom Calls For Google and Facebook To Be Regulated Like Telcos

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 1:38pm
An anonymous reader writes Tim Hoettges, the CEO of the world's third-largest telecoms company, has called for Google and Facebook to be regulated in the same way that telcos are, declaring that "There is a convergence between over-the-top web companies and classic telcos" and "We need one level regulatory environment for us all." The Deutsche Telekom chief was speaking at Monday's Mobile World Congress, and further argued for a loosening of the current regulations which telcos operate under, in order to provide the infrastructure development that governments and policy bodies are asking of them. Hoettges' imprecation comes in the light of news about the latest Google Dance — an annual change in ranking criteria which boosts some businesses and ruins others. The case for and against regulating Google-level internet entities comes down to one question: who do you trust to 'not be evil'?

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