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Updated: 14 hours 21 min ago

Hubble Reveals a Previously Unknown Dwarf Galaxy Just 7 Million Light Years Away

Sat, 12/27/2014 - 11:23am
The L.A. Times reports that the Hubble Space Telescope's ongoing survey work has discovered a dwarf universe a mere 7 million light years away: While only just recently discovered using Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys, the galaxy known as KKs3 has been around for a long while. Astronomers led by Igor Karachentsev of the Special Astrophysical Observatory in Karachai-Cherkessia, Russia, showed that some 74% of KKs3’s star mass was formed in the universe’s early years, at least 12 billion years ago. Most of the tiny galaxy’s stars are old and dim, making it a fascinating fossil that could help astronomers understand what ancient galactic environments looked like.

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13,000 Passwords, Usernames Leaked For Major Commerce, Porn Sites

Sat, 12/27/2014 - 10:28am
The Daily Dot reports that yesterday a "group claiming affiliation with the loose hacker collective Anonymous released a document containing approximately 13,000 username-and-password combinations along with credit card numbers and expiration dates." Most of the sites listed are distinctly NSFW, among other places, but the list includes some of the largest retailers, too, notably Amazon and Wal-Mart.

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An Open Source Flat Pack Robot Arm That's As Easy To Build As Ikea Furniture

Sat, 12/27/2014 - 9:31am
An anonymous reader writes The MeArm is a flat-pack robot arm. It has been developed in a very short time frame as the creators have been able to tap into crowd development by open sourcing all of the designs. Because of this it's exploded around the world with builders on every continent (bar Antarctica) and there are even people manufacturing them to sell in Peru, Taiwan and South Africa. MeArm manufacture them in the UK and export to distributors around the world, including Open Source pioneers like Adafruit and Hackaday in the USA. They're currently running a Kickstarter for a controller to take it out of the 'Hackersphere' and into the living room. They doubled their target in the first week and are still going strong so it's looking like they will be the first consumer flat pack robot kit in the world! Controller or not, you can download the arm from Thingiverse, and follow the project at Hackaday.

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Startup Acquisitions Herald Virtual, Augmented Reality Apps From Facebook

Sat, 12/27/2014 - 8:25am
giulioprisco writes Oculus VR, the Virtual Reality (VR) technology company acquired by Facebook earlier this year, announced recently that they are acquiring two small start-up companies, Nimble VR and 13th Lab, to fill gaps in their virtual reality capabilities. The acquisitions may indicate that, besides VR games and social worlds, Facebook may target Augmented Reality (AR) applications, like Google is doing with Google Glass.

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N. Korea Blames US For Internet Outage, Compares Obama to "a Monkey"

Sat, 12/27/2014 - 7:30am
Reuters reports that North Korea's government has publicly blamed the U.S. for the widespread internet outages that the country has recently experienced (including today), and taken the opportunity to lambaste President Obama, as well. From the article: The National Defence Commission, the North's ruling body, chaired by state leader Kim Jong Un, said Obama was responsible for Sony's belated decision to release the action comedy "The Interview", which depicts a plot to assassinate Kim. "Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest," an unnamed spokesman for the commission said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency, using a term seemingly designed to cause racial offence that North Korea has used before.

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Newest Stealth Fighter's Ground Attack Sensors 10 Years Behind Older Jets

Sat, 12/27/2014 - 6:32am
schwit1 writes with this excerpt from The Daily Beast: America's $400 billion, top-of-the-line aircraft can't see the battlefield all that well. Which means it's actually worse than its predecessors at fighting today's wars. .... The problem stems from the fact that the technology found on one of the stealth fighter's primary air-to-ground sensors—its nose-mounted Electro-Optical Targeting System (EOTS)—is more than a decade old and hopelessly obsolete. The EOTS, which is similar in concept to a large high-resolution infrared and television camera, is used to visually identify and monitor ground targets. The system can also mark targets for laser-guided bombs. ... Older jets currently in service with the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps can carry the latest generation of sensor pods, which are far more advanced than the EOTS sensor carried by the F-35. ... The end result is that when the F-35 finally becomes operational after its myriad technical problems, cost overruns, and massive delays, in some ways it will be less capable than current fighters in the Pentagon's inventory.

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New Paper Claims Neutrino Is Likely a Faster-Than-Light Particle

Sat, 12/27/2014 - 5:27am
HughPickens.com writes Phys.org reports that in a new paper accepted by the journal Astroparticle Physics, Robert Ehrlich, a recently retired physicist from George Mason University, claims that the neutrino is very likely a tachyon or faster-than-light particle. Ehrlich's new claim of faster-than-light neutrinos is based on a much more sensitive method than measuring their speed, namely by finding their mass. The result relies on tachyons having an imaginary mass, or a negative mass squared. Imaginary mass particles have the weird property that they speed up as they lose energy – the value of their imaginary mass being defined by the rate at which this occurs. According to Ehrlich, the magnitude of the neutrino's imaginary mass is 0.33 electronvolts, or 2/3 of a millionth that of an electron. He deduces this value by showing that six different observations from cosmic rays, cosmology, and particle physics all yield this same value within their margin of error. One check on Ehrlich's claim could come from the experiment known as KATRIN, which should start taking data in 2015. In this experiment the mass of the neutrino could be revealed by looking at the shape of the spectrum in the beta decay of tritium, the heaviest isotope of hydrogen. But be careful. There have been many such claims, the last being in 2011 when the "OPERA" experiment measured the speed of neutrinos and claimed they travelled a tiny amount faster than light. When their speed was measured again the original result was found to be in error – the result of a loose cable no less. "Before you try designing a "tachyon telephone" to send messages back in time to your earlier self it might be prudent to see if Ehrlich's claim is corroborated by others."

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Boston Elementary, Middle Schools To Get a Longer Day

Sat, 12/27/2014 - 3:50am
Many public elementary- and middle-school students in Boston may soon have a longer time to spend in school each day. A change, announced Friday by Boston mayor Martin J. Walsh, though yet to get final approval from the city's school committee and teachers' unions' full membership, would add 40 minutes to the schedule at schools not already under an extended schedule. Currently, most elementary school students have a 6-hour day, and middle school students' is 10 minutes longer, which means that high schools will now have by default the shortest day (six and a half hours) in the Boston public school system. From the Boston Globe's coverage: Teachers in the 60 schools would get an annual stipend of $4,464 for the expanded schedule, the mayor’s office said. The plan would be rolled out over three years, beginning with about 20 schools in the 2015-2016 school year, the statement said. Officials said it wasn’t clear which schools would be in the first group. Once fully rolled out, the plan, which would add up to about an extra month of learning per year for 23,000 students, would cost about $12.5 million per year. How long is the school day in your neck of the woods, and do you think it should be any longer?

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First Airbus A350 XWB Delivered, Will Start Service in January

Sat, 12/27/2014 - 12:57am
jones_supa writes The wait is finally over for aviation aficionados wanting to book a flight aboard the Airbus A350 XWB. Qatar Airways, the global launch customer of the plane, accepted delivery of their first A350 of 80 in order, during a ceremony at Airbus' headquarters in Toulouse, France, on Monday morning. This particular A350-900 will enter regular commercial service in January, operating daily flights between its Hamad International Airport hub in Doha, Qatar and Frankfurt, Germany. There are three different iterations of A350 XWB being built: the A350-800, the A350-900 and the A350-1000, which seat 270, 314 and 350 passengers, respectively, in three-class seating. The "XWB" in the name means "extra wide body." The A350 is the first Airbus with both fuselage and wing structures made primarily of carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer. Curious what it was like to be on the Tuesday delivery flight? Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren was onboard that flight and chronicled the landmark trip in photographs.

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India Faces Its First Major Net Neutrality Issue

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 10:08pm
New submitter Siddharth Srinivas writes Bharti Airtel Ltd, India's largest telecommunications carrier by subscribers, will soon start charging users extra money for using services such as Skype, as Indian operators look to boost their data network and revenues. The Telecom Regulation Authority of India (TRAI) is no stranger to Net Neutrality, having sent a note to the ISPs in 2006 suggesting a position for Net Neutrality. TRAI had also recently rejected a proposal by Airtel and other operators the right to charge for free services such as Whatsapp. Consumers await TRAI's response to Airtel's new pricing. With no laws enforcing net neutrality in India. India's Net Neutrality discussions have just begun, with proponents rapidly trying to increase awareness.

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Prosecutors Raid LG Offices Over Alleged Vandalism of Samsung Dishwashers

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 7:19pm
As reported by Reuters, Korean manufacturing giant LG's Seoul headquarters have been raided over allegations that LG employees sabotaged dishwashers made by rival Samsung. The Samsung machines were "on display at two stores in September ahead of the IFA electronics show in Berlin." From the article: On Friday, investigators searched the Seoul offices of LG Elec's home appliance head, Jo Seong-jin, and others and secured documents and computer hard disks related to the IFA fair, Yonhap News Agency said. They also combed through LG Electronics' home appliance factory in the southeastern city of Changwon, the report said. ... Samsung sued LG Electronics employees after the incident in Germany, and LG said the company has counter-sued Samsung employees on Dec. 12. Media reports have earlier said prosecutors banned LG's Seong-jin from leaving the country ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to be held January 6-9.

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Proscutors Raid LG Offices Over Alleged Vandalism of Samsung Dishwashers

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 7:19pm
As reported by Reuters, Korean manufacturing giant LG's Seoul headquarters have been raided over allegations that LG employees sabotaged dishwashers made by rival Samsung. The Samsung machines were "on display at two stores in September ahead of the IFA electronics show in Berlin." From the article: On Friday, investigators searched the Seoul offices of LG Elec's home appliance head, Jo Seong-jin, and others and secured documents and computer hard disks related to the IFA fair, Yonhap News Agency said. They also combed through LG Electronics' home appliance factory in the southeastern city of Changwon, the report said. ... Samsung sued LG Electronics employees after the incident in Germany, and LG said the company has counter-sued Samsung employees on Dec. 12. Media reports have earlier said prosecutors banned LG's Seong-jin from leaving the country ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to be held January 6-9.

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The Open Bay Helps Launch 372 'Copies' of the Pirate Bay In a Week

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 4:33pm
An anonymous reader writes isoHunt, the group now best known for launching The Old Pirate Bay, has shared an update a week after debuting The Open Bay. The Pirate Bay, the most popular file sharing website on the planet, still isn't back following police raids on its data center in Sweden, but its "cause" is very much alive. So far, 372 "copies" of The Pirate Bay have been created thanks to the project. The torrent database dump, which combines content from isoHunt, KickassTorrents (via its public API), and The Old Pirate Bay, has seen 1,256 downloads to date.

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Romanian Cybersecurity Law Will Allow Warrantless Access To Data

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 3:27pm
jfruh writes: The Romanian Parliament has passed a bill that will allow its security services widespread access to data on privately owned services without a warrant, and once the president signs it, it will become law. The law would have widespread impact beyond Romania because the country is a hub for IT outsourcing.

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Lizard Squad Targets Tor

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 2:35pm
mrspoonsi tips news that Lizard Squad, the hacker group who knocked Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network offline on Christmas morning, has now turned its attention to Tor. After tweeting that they were targeting a Tor-related zero-day flaw, the group is now in control of 3,000 exit nodes — almost half of them. "If one group is controlling the majority of the nodes, it could be able to eavesdrop on a substantial number of vulnerable users. Which means Lizard Squad could gain the power to track Tor users if it infiltrates enough of the network."

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Tesla Roadster Update Extends Range

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 1:32pm
mrflash818 sends word that Tesla Motors has announced an upgrade for their Roadster vehicles that boosts the range from about 240 miles to almost 400. In addition to the battery improvements made since the Roadster launched in 2008, Tesla has a kit to retrofit the body to reduce its drag coefficient from 0.36 to 0.31. They also have new tires, which improve the rolling resistance coefficient by about 20%. They say, "Combining all of these improvements we can achieve a predicted 40-50% improvement on range between the original Roadster and Roadster 3.0. There is a set of speeds and driving conditions where we can confidently drive the Roadster 3.0 over 400 miles. We will be demonstrating this in the real world during a non-stop drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles in the early weeks of 2015." Tesla stopped producing the Roadster in 2012.

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Paul Graham: Let the Other 95% of Great Programmers In

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 12:29pm
An anonymous reader writes: Y Combinator's Paul Graham has posted an essay arguing in favor of relaxed immigration rules. His argument is straight-forward: with only 5% of the world's population, the U.S. can only expect about 5% of great programmers to be born here. He says, "What the anti-immigration people don't understand is that there is a huge variation in ability between competent programmers and exceptional ones, and while you can train people to be competent, you can't train them to be exceptional. Exceptional programmers have an aptitude for and interest in programming that is not merely the product of training." Graham says even a dramatic boost to the training of programmers within the U.S. can't hope to match the resources available elsewhere. "We have the potential to ensure that the U.S. remains a technology superpower just by letting in a few thousand great programmers a year. What a colossal mistake it would be to let that opportunity slip. It could easily be the defining mistake this generation of American politicians later become famous for."

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Net Neutrality Comments Overtaxed FCC's System

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 11:30am
Presto Vivace writes with news that the FCC has had trouble dealing with the sheer volume of comments submitted about net neutrality. There were millions of them, and they caused problems with the agency's 18-year-old Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). When the FCC attempted to dump the comments into XML format to make download and analysis easier, problems with Apache Solr meant roughly 680,000 didn't make the transfer. The agency promised to release a new set of fixed XML files in January that include all of the dropped comments. Despite many reports that the comments were "lost," they're all available using the ECFS.

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High Speed DIY M&M Sorting Machine Uses iPhone Brain

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 10:28am
HughPickens.com writes: Canoe Tech reports that M&M sorting machines are a popular project for people who like combining electronics, programming and machine building. Most of them send a single M&M down a chute to a simple color sensor where the color sensor will then take a second or two to figure out the color. A servo motor will then rotate a chute that will direct the M&M into the correct pot. But a new project created by the nameless blogger behind the reviewmylife blog that uses an iPhone 5s as its brain is capable of sensing different colors and so can "sort" the M&Ms as they fall past. The iPhone communicates the information via Bluetooth to an Arduino board, which in turn fires off the correct electro magnet controlled gate. One practical application of the sorter could be creating a bowl of M&Ms — with all the brown ones removed.

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Crowds (and Pirates) Flock To 'The Interview'

Fri, 12/26/2014 - 9:24am
Rambo Tribble writes: Many of the 300+ theaters showing The Interview on Christmas were rewarded with sell-out crowds. While reviews of the comedy have been mixed, many movie-goers expressed solidarity with the sentiment of professor Carlos Royal: "I wanted to support the U.S." Despite sellout crowds, the movie's limited release meant it only brought in about $1 million on opening day (compared to $10M+ for the highest-grossing films). Curiosity about the film seems high, since hundreds of thousands rushed to torrent the film, and others figured out an extremely easy way to bypass Sony's DRM.

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