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Slashdot  
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 09:39:13 GMT
News for nerds, stuff that matters

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Labor Department To Destroy H-1B Records - Thu, 30 Oct 2014 09:26:00 GMT2014-10-30T09:26:00Z
Presto Vivace writes H-1B records that are critical to research and take up a small amount of storage are set for deletion. "In a notice posted last week, the U.S. Department of Labor said that records used for labor certification, whether in paper or electronic, 'are temporary records and subject to destruction' after five years, under a new policy. There was no explanation for the change, and it is perplexing to researchers. The records under threat are called Labor Condition Applications (LCA), which identify the H-1B employer, worksite, the prevailing wage, and the wage paid to the worker. The cost of storage can't be an issue for the government's $80 billion IT budget: A full year's worth of LCA data is less than 1GB."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.










The Most Highly Cited Scientific Papers of All Time - Thu, 30 Oct 2014 07:04:00 GMT2014-10-30T07:04:00Z
bmahersciwriter writes Citation is the common way that scientists nod to the important and foundational work that preceded their own and the number of times a particular paper is cited is often used as a rough measure of its impact. So what are the most highly cited papers in the past century plus of scientific research? Is it the determination of DNA's structure? The identification of rapid expansion in the Universe? No. The top 100 most cited papers are actually a motley crew of methods, data resources and software tools that through usability, practicality and a little bit of luck have propelled them to the top of an enormous corpus of scientific literature.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.










Secret Policy Allows GCHQ Bulk Access To NSA Data - Thu, 30 Oct 2014 04:32:00 GMT2014-10-30T04:32:00Z
hazeii writes Though legal proceedings following the Snowden revelations, Liberty UK have succeeded in forcing GCHQ to reveal secret internal policies allowing Britain's intelligence services to receive unlimited bulk intelligence from the NSA and other foreign agencies and to keep this data on a massive searchable databases, all without a warrant. Apparently, British intelligence agencies can "trawl through foreign intelligence material without meaningful restrictions", and can keep copies of both content and metadata for up to two years. There is also mention of data obtained "through US corporate partnerships". According to Liberty, this raises serious doubts about oversight of the UK Intelligence and Security Committee and their reassurances that in every case where GCHQ sought information from the US, a warrant for interception signed by a minister was in place. Eric King, Deputy Director of Privacy international, said: "We now know that data from any call, internet search, or website you visited over the past two years could be stored in GCHQ's database and analyzed at will, all without a warrant to collect it in the first place. It is outrageous that the Government thinks mass surveillance, justified by secret 'arrangements' that allow for vast and unrestrained receipt and analysis of foreign intelligence material is lawful. This is completely unacceptable, and makes clear how little transparency and accountability exists within the British intelligence community."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.










Technology Group Promises Scientists Their Own Clouds - Thu, 30 Oct 2014 02:00:00 GMT2014-10-30T02:00:00Z
jyosim writes On Tuesday, Internet2 announced that it will let researchers create and connect to their own private data clouds on the high-speed network (mainly used by colleges), within which they will be able to conduct research across disciplines and experiment on the nature of the Internet. The private cloud is thanks to a $10-million grant from the NSF. "They will have complete visibility into [the clouds] so they can really treat this as a scientific instrument and not a black box," the project's lead investigator told The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.










Google Announces Project Ara Developer Conference, Shows Off First Prototype - Thu, 30 Oct 2014 00:58:00 GMT2014-10-30T00:58:00Z
An anonymous reader writes Google today announced it will be hosting the second iteration of its Project Ara Module Developers Conference for its modular device project early next year. The first event will be in Mountain View on January 14, 2015, with satellite locations at Google offices in New York City, Buenos Aires, and London. The same agenda will be repeated in Singapore on January 21, 2015, with satellite locations at Google offices in Bangalore, Tokyo, Taipei, and Shanghai. The company also released a video showing off the first prototype from Project Ara. Until now, all we've seen so far are industrial design models. This one actually boots up.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.










Imagining the Future History of Climate Change - Thu, 30 Oct 2014 00:24:00 GMT2014-10-30T00:24:00Z
HughPickens.com writes "The NYT reports that Naomi Oreskes, a historian of science at Harvard University, is attracting wide notice these days for a work of science fiction called "The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View From the Future," that takes the point of view of a historian in 2393 explaining how "the Great Collapse of 2093" occurred. "Without spoiling the story," Oreskes said in an interview, "I can tell you that a lot of what happens — floods, droughts, mass migrations, the end of humanity in Africa and Australia — is the result of inaction to very clear warnings" about climate change caused by humans." Dramatizing the science in ways traditional nonfiction cannot, the book reasserts the importance of scientists and the work they do and reveals the self-serving interests of the so called "carbon combustion complex" that have turned the practice of science into political fodder. Oreskes argues that scientists failed us, and in a very particular way: They failed us by being too conservative. Scientists today know full well that the "95 percent confidence limit" is merely a convention, not a law of the universe. Nonetheless, this convention, the historian suggests, leads scientists to be far too cautious, far too easily disrupted by the doubt-mongering of denialists, and far too unwilling to shout from the rooftops what they all knew was happening. "Western scientists built an intellectual culture based on the premise that it was worse to fool oneself into believing in something that did not exist than not to believe in something that did." Why target scientists in particular in this book? Simply because a distant future historian would target scientists too, says Oreskes. "If you think about historians who write about the collapse of the Roman Empire, or the collapse of the Mayans or the Incans, it's always about trying to understand all of the factors that contributed," Oreskes says. "So we felt that we had to say something about scientists.""

Read more of this story at Slashdot.










CERN Looking For Help Filling In the Gaps In Photo Archive - Wed, 29 Oct 2014 23:41:00 GMT2014-10-29T23:41:00Z
rHBa writes According to the BBC scientists at the European nuclear research center CERN have uncovered an archive of images from its first 50 years and are asking for help in deciphering what is going on in them. Dr Sue Black, who was a key figure in the campaign to save Bletchley Park, said "we believe that much of this information could be crowd-sourced from the CERN community."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.










"Ambulance Drone" Prototype Unveiled In Holland - Wed, 29 Oct 2014 22:58:00 GMT2014-10-29T22:58:00Z
schwit1 writes with news about a flying defibrillator designed by a Dutch student. A Dutch-based student on Tuesday unveiled a prototype of an "ambulance drone", a flying defibrillator able to reach heart attack victims within precious life-saving minutes. Developed by Belgian engineering graduate Alec Momont, it can fly at speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour (60 miles per hour). "Around 800,000 people suffer a cardiac arrest in the European Union every year and only 8.0 percent survive, the main reason for this is the relatively long response time of emergency services of around 10 minutes, while brain death and fatalities occur with four to six minutes,"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.










Security Companies Team Up, Take Down Chinese Hacking Group - Wed, 29 Oct 2014 22:13:00 GMT2014-10-29T22:13:00Z
daten writes A coalition of security companies has hit a sophisticated hacking group in China with a heavy blow. The effort is detailed in a report released today by Novetta. The coalition, which calls itself Operation SMN, detected and cleaned up malicious code on 43,000 computers worldwide that were targeted by Axiom, an incredibly sophisticated organization that has been stealing intellectual property for more than six years. The group united as part of Microsoft's Coordinated Malware Eradication (CME) campaign against Hikit (a.k.a. Hikiti), the custom malware often used by Axiom to burrow into organizations, exfiltrate data, and evade detection, sometimes for years.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.










Check Out the Source Code For the Xerox Alto - Wed, 29 Oct 2014 21:50:00 GMT2014-10-29T21:50:00Z
jfruh writes The Xerox Alto is a computer legend: it was never sold to the public, but its window-based OS was the inspiration for both the original Mac operating system and Windows. Now you can check out its source code, along with code for CP/M, a similarly old school (though not graphical) operating system.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.










HP Unveils Industrial 3D Printer 10X Faster, 50% Cheaper Than Current Systems - Wed, 29 Oct 2014 21:30:00 GMT2014-10-29T21:30:00Z
Lucas123 writes HP today announced an 3D industrial printer that it said will be half the cost of current additive manufacturing systems while also 10 times faster, enabling production parts to be built. The company also announced Sprout, a new immersive computing platform that combines a 23-in touch screen monitor and horizontal capacitive touch mat with a scanner, depth sensor, hi-res camera, and projector in a single desktop device. HP's Multi Jet Fusion printer will be offered to beta customers early next year and is expected to be generally available in 2016. The machine uses a print bar with 30,000 nozzles spraying 350 million drops a second of thermoplastic or other materials onto a print platform. The Multi Jet Fusion printer uses fused deposition modeling, an additive manufacturing technology first invented in 1990. the printer works by first laying down a layer of powder material across a build area. Then a fusing agent is selectively applied with the page-wide print bar. Then the same print bar applies a detailing agent at the parts edge to give high definition. The material is then exposed to an energy source that fuses it.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.










Power and Free Broadband To the People - Wed, 29 Oct 2014 20:48:00 GMT2014-10-29T20:48:00Z
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes Slashdot member and open source developer Ben Kallos @KallosEsq — who is now a NYC Councilman — is pushing to make it a precondition to Comcast's merging with Time Warner that it agree to provide free broadband to all public housing residents in the City (and by free I mean free as in beer). Kallos, along with NY's Public Advocate, Letitia James, is leading a group of state and local politicians calling on Comcast to help bridge the digital divide in NY.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.










Remote Vision Through a Virtual Reality Headset (Video) - Wed, 29 Oct 2014 20:04:00 GMT2014-10-29T20:04:00Z
Add some material-handling devices and you'd have software-controlled Waldos, first described by Robert A. Heinlein in the 1942 short story titled Waldo. So while the idea of a pair of artificial eyes you control by moving your head (while looking at the area around the artificial eyes, even if it's in orbit), sounds like futuristic fun, especially if you use an Oculus Virtual Reality device instead of an LED screen, it not only hasn't caught up with science fiction, but is a fair ways behind science fact. Still, the idea of being able to control a vision system deep under the sea or in orbit around Saturn is certainly interesting in and of itself. (Alternate Video Link)

Read more of this story at Slashdot.










Is the Outrage Over the FBI's Seattle Times Tactics a Knee-Jerk Reaction? - Wed, 29 Oct 2014 19:23:00 GMT2014-10-29T19:23:00Z
reifman writes The Internet's been abuzz the past 48 hours about reports the FBI distributed malware via a fake Seattle Times news website. What the agency actually did is more of an example of smart, precise law enforcement tactics. Is the outrage online an indictment of Twitter's tendency towards uninformed, knee-jerk reactions? In this age of unwarranted, unconstitutional blanket data collection by the NSA, the FBI's tactics from 2007 seem refreshing for their precision.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.










Stan Lee Media and Disney Battle For Ownership of Marvel Characters - Wed, 29 Oct 2014 18:59:00 GMT2014-10-29T18:59:00Z
An anonymous reader writes "Stan Lee Media and The Walt Disney Co. have taken their arguments to the U.S. Court of Appeals over who owns the rights (and profits) to Marvel characters. Though Disney bought Marvel in 2009, Stan Lee Media (no longer associated with Stan Lee, himself) still claims copyright of the characters."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.










YouTube Considering an Ad-Free, Subscription-Based Version - Wed, 29 Oct 2014 18:39:00 GMT2014-10-29T18:39:00Z
Walking The Walk writes YouTube is looking at creating a paid-subscription model that would allow users to skip the ads on their videos. (A more condensed summary from CBC.) No firm date has been announced, and it sounds like tentative steps right now, but YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki did mention that ad-enabled music videos would still be offered.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.










Apple Pay Competitor CurrentC Breached - Wed, 29 Oct 2014 17:51:00 GMT2014-10-29T17:51:00Z
tranquilidad writes "As previously discussed on Slashdot, CurrentC is a consortium of merchants attempting to create a "more secure" payment system. Some controversy surrounds CurrentC's requirements regarding the personal information required, their purchase-tracking intentions and retail stores blocking NFC in apparent support of CurrentC. Now news breaks that CurrentC has already been breached. CurrentC has issued the standard response, "We take the security of our users' information extremely seriously."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.










Researchers At Brown University Shattered a Quantum Wave Function - Wed, 29 Oct 2014 17:08:00 GMT2014-10-29T17:08:00Z
Jason Koebler writes: A team of physicists based at Brown University has succeeded in shattering a quantum wave function. That near-mythical representation of indeterminate reality, in which an unmeasured particle is able to occupy many states simultaneously, can be dissected into many parts. This dissection, which is described this week in the Journal of Low Temperature Physics, has the potential to turn how we view the quantum world on its head. Specifically, they found it's possible to take a wave function and isolate it into different parts. So, if our electron has some probability of being in position (x1,y1,z1) and another probability of being in position (x2,y2,z2), those two probabilities can be isolated from each other, cordoned off like quantum crime scenes.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.










Why Every Cardiac Patient Needs a Virtual Heart - Wed, 29 Oct 2014 16:25:00 GMT2014-10-29T16:25:00Z
the_newsbeagle writes: In the latest high-tech approach to personalized medicine, cardiologists can now create a computer model of an individual patient's heart and use that simulation to make a treatment plan. In this new field of computational medicine, doctors use a patient's MRI scans to make a model showing that patient's unique anatomy and pattern of heart disease. They can then experiment on that virtual organ in ways they simply can't with a flesh-and-blood heart. Proponents say this tech can "improve therapies, minimize the invasiveness of diagnostic procedures, and reduce health-care costs" in cardiology.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.










Hackers Breach White House Network - Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:43:00 GMT2014-10-29T15:43:00Z
wiredmikey writes: The White House's unclassified computer network was recently breached by intruders, a U.S. official said Tuesday. While the White House has not said so, The Washington Post reported that the Russian government was thought to be behind the act. Several recent reports have linked Russia to cyber attacks, including a report from FireEye on Tuesday that linked Russia back to an espionage campaign dating back to 2007. Earlier this month, iSight Partners revealed that a threat group allegedly linked with the Russian government had been leveraging a Microsoft Windows zero-day vulnerability to target NATO, the European Union, and various private energy and telecommunications organizations in Europe. The group has been dubbed the "Sandworm Team" and it has been using weaponized PowerPoint files in its recent attacks. Trend Micro believes the Sandworm team also has their eyes set on compromising SCADA-based systems.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.










Drones Could 3D-Map Scores of Hectares of Land In Just a Few Hours - Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:22:00 GMT2014-10-29T15:22:00Z
sciencehabit writes: Unmanned drones aren't just for warfare. In recent years, they've been used to map wildlife and monitor crop growth. But current software can't always handle the vast volume of images they gather. Now, researchers have developed an algorithm that will allow drones to 3D-map scores of hectares of land in less than a day — an advance that is important for cost-effective farming, disaster relief, and surveillance operations. Their computer program directly projects the points from each photo onto a 3D space without knowing the exact shape of the land or the camera positions. As a result, the tie points don't necessarily match up, which means the same corn plant can have two projections on the model. When that happens, the algorithm automatically takes the middle point between the two projections as the more accurate location and adjusts the camera position accordingly, one image at a time. Because the algorithm tweaks far fewer things at each step, the shortcut drastically speeds up calculations. Once the software has adjusted the camera positions for all the photos, the software repeats the entire process — starting from projecting the points to the 3D space — to correct for any errors.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.










Dangerous Vulnerability Fixed In Wget - Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:01:00 GMT2014-10-29T15:01:00Z
jones_supa writes: A critical flaw has been found and patched in the open source Wget file retrieval utility that is widely used on UNIX systems. The vulnerability is publicly identified as CVE-2014-4877. "It was found that wget was susceptible to a symlink attack which could create arbitrary files, directories or symbolic links and set their permissions when retrieving a directory recursively through FTP," developer Vasyl Kaigorodov writes in Red Hat Bugzilla. A malicious FTP server can stomp over your entire filesystem, tweets HD Moore, chief research officer at Rapid 7, who is the original reporter of the bug.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.










Windows 10 Gets a Package Manager For the Command Line - Wed, 29 Oct 2014 14:21:00 GMT2014-10-29T14:21:00Z
aojensen writes: ExtremeTech reports that the most recent build of Windows 10 Technical Preview shows that Windows is finally getting a package manager. The package manager is built for the PowerShell command line based on OneGet. OneGet is a command line utility for PowerShell very similar to classic Linux utilities such as apt-get and yum, which enable administrators and power users comfortable with the command line to install software packages without the need for a graphical installer. ExtremeTech emphasizes that "you can open up PowerShell and use OneGet to install thousands of applications with commands such as Find-Package VLC and Install-Package Firefox." It's a missing feature Linux advocates have long used to argue against Windows in terms of automation and scale. The package manage is open to any software repository and is based on the Chocolatey format for defining package repositories."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.










Skilled Foreign Workers Treated as Indentured Servants - Wed, 29 Oct 2014 13:40:00 GMT2014-10-29T13:40:00Z
theodp writes: A year-long investigation by NBC Bay Area's Investigative Unit and The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) raises questions about the H-1B visa program. In a five-part story that includes a mini-graphic novel called Techsploitation, CIR describes how the system rewards job brokers who steal wages and entrap Indian tech workers in the U.S., including the awarding of half a billion dollars in Federal tech contracts to those with labor violations. "Shackling workers to their jobs," CIR found after interviewing workers and reviewing government agency and court documents, "is such an entrenched business practice that it has even spread to U.S. nationals. This bullying persists at the bottom of a complex system that supplies workers to some of America's richest and most successful companies, such as Cisco Systems Inc., Verizon and Apple Inc." In a presumably unrelated move, the U.S. changed its H-1B record retention policy last week, declaring that records used for labor certification, whether in paper or electronic, "are temporary records and subject to destruction" after five years under the new policy. "There was no explanation for the change, and it is perplexing to researchers," reports Computerworld. "The records under threat are called Labor Condition Applications (LCA), which identify the H-1B employer, worksite, the prevailing wage, and the wage paid to the worker." Lindsay Lowell, director of policy studies at the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University, added: "It undermines our ability to evaluate what the government does and, in today's world, retaining electronic records like the LCA is next to costless [a full year's LCA data is less than 1 GB]." President Obama, by the way, is expected to use his executive authority to expand the H-1B program after the midterm elections.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.










Verizon Launches Tech News Site That Bans Stories On US Spying - Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:57:00 GMT2014-10-29T12:57:00Z
blottsie writes: The most-valuable, second-richest telecommunications company in the world is bankrolling a technology news site called SugarString.com. The publication, which is now hiring its first full-time editors and reporters, is meant to rival major tech websites like Wired and the Verge while bringing in a potentially giant mainstream audience to beat those competitors at their own game. There's just one catch: In exchange for the major corporate backing, tech reporters at SugarString are expressly forbidden from writing about American spying or net neutrality around the world, two of the biggest issues in tech and politics today.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.












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