Slashdot

Subscribe to Slashdot feed Slashdot
News for nerds, stuff that matters
Updated: 1 day 16 hours ago

DIY Lab Tests Getting More Capable

Tue, 13/05/2014 - 21:32
the_newsbeagle writes "People who are into the quantified health trend can already measure and chart a wide variety of metrics — steps taken, calories burned, heart rate, blood pressure, sleep patterns, etc can all be tracked using new gadgets. Now a new device called Cue lets people track their biochemical stats, too. Cue offers five DIY lab tests, automates the testing procedure, and sends the results to the user's smartphone. It lets guys check their testosterone levels, ladies check their fertility status, and also offers tests for the flu virus, vitamin D levels, and an inflammation-marker protein. Apparently more tests are expected down the line."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Journalist vs. the Syrian Electronic Army

Tue, 13/05/2014 - 20:50
New submitter Drunkulus writes "Journalist Ira Winkler has an article about his personal run-in with the Syrian Electronic Army. While admitting that the SEA has succeeded in hijacking the Wall Street Journal's Twitter accounts and defacing the RSA conference website, he calls them immature, inept script kiddies in this Computerworld column. Quoting: 'These people purport to be servants of the genocidal dictator of Syria and came together to support him, but they wasted their hack on what amounted to cyberbullying. This is not behavior that the SEA's Syrian intelligence handlers would condone. The SEA wasted an opportunity to promote its message, while divulging previously unknown attack vectors. ... I don't think that sort of immaturity will go over well with the SEA's Syrian intelligence bosses. And that could have implications for the influence of the group in the future.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Why Mobile Wallets Are Doomed

Tue, 13/05/2014 - 20:07
redletterdave writes: "The other shoe has dropped for Square. The once-hyped mobile payments company is killing off its Wallet payments app and replacing it with a new app called Order, which will allow users to order food and beverages ahead of time at their favorite cafes and restaurants. For entrepreneurs, the concept of a mobile wallet seems so logical that the payments industry looks like it's ripe for disruption. If everybody is always carrying around a powerful computer in their pockets, it's natural to consider loading payment information onto that secure device as an alternative to cash or plastic cards. The problem comes when this logical entrepreneurial spirit merges with an industry segment that is classically illogical. The payments system in the United States is a mess of entrenched interests, fragmented business opportunities, old infrastructure (like point-of-sale systems), back room handshakes and cut throat competition. This behavior is not going to change any time soon, which means mobile wallets like Square are going to continue to struggle — at least until a more legitimate, easy-to-use and cost-effective solution comes along."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








From FCC Head Wheeler, a Yellow Light For Internet Fast Lanes

Tue, 13/05/2014 - 17:17
An anonymous reader writes "FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has decided to back-pedal just a bit on his recent proposal to end the "Open Internet" regulation regime in favor of a system with more liberal rules that could include so-called internet fast lanes, by means of which major ISPs could favor or disfavor different kinds or providers of internet traffic. Says an article at USA Today, 'Wheeler's latest revision doesn't entirely ban Internet fast lanes, leaving room for some public-interest cases like a healthcare company sending electrocardiography results. But unlike his initial proposal last month, Wheeler is proposing to specifically ban certain types of fast-lanes, including prioritization given by ISPs to their subsidiaries that make and stream content, according to an FCC official who wasn't authorized talk about the revisions publicly before the vote. Wheeler is also open to applying some "common carrier" rules that regulate telephone companies, which would result in more stringent oversight of the ISPs in commercial transactions.'" Update: 05/13 16:37 GMT by T : Oops -- I missed this earlier, substantially similar story.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Oil Man Proposes Increase In Oklahoma Oil-and-Gas Tax

Tue, 13/05/2014 - 13:04
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Daniel Gilbert reports at the WSJ that Oklahoma oil man George Kaiser is breaking with fellow energy executives in asking the state to raise taxes on oil companies, including his own. 'Oklahoma is in desperate financial circumstances,' says the billionaire who controls Kaiser-Francis Oil Co. Kaiser says a higher tax on oil-and-gas production could help the state pay for education and much needed infrastructure improvements, and is asking legislators to return the state's gross production tax to 7 percent, challenging a plan proposed by fellow oil company executives who want to see the rate settle at 2 percent for the first four years of production. Several energy companies and the State Chamber of Oklahoma say that lower tax rates for the costliest oil and gas wells are necessary to continue drilling at a pace that has stimulated economic activity and created other sources of revenue. Berry Mullennix, CEO at Tulsa-based Panther Energy, credits the tax program for helping his company grow to more than 90 employees, up from 18 a few years ago. 'I would argue the tax incentive is a direct reason we have so much horizontal drilling in the state today,' Mullennix says ... When companies decide to drill a well, they make their best guesses on how much it will cost to drill the well, how much the well will produce and what the commodity price will be. All of those estimates can vary widely, Kaiser says. 'With ad valorem taxes, the difference among states is 2 or 3 or 4 percent. The other factors can vary by 50 or 100 percent.' Compared with those other factors, Kaiser says the tax rate is incidental. 'It's a rounding error.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Can Google Influence Elections?

Tue, 13/05/2014 - 10:07
KindMind (897865) writes "From the Washington Post: 'Psychologist Robert Epstein has been researching [how much influence search engines have on voting behavior] and says he is alarmed at what he has discovered. His most recent experiment, whose findings were released Monday, found that search engines have the potential to profoundly influence voters without them noticing the impact ... Epstein, former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today and a vocal critic of Google, has not produced evidence that this or any other search engine has intentionally deployed this power. But the new experiment builds on his earlier work by measuring SEME (Search Engine Manipulation Effect) in the concrete setting of India's national election, whose voting concludes Monday.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Standards Group Adds Adaptive-Sync To DisplayPort

Tue, 13/05/2014 - 07:53
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Over the past nine months, we've seen the beginnings of a revolution in how video games are displayed. First, Nvidia demoed G-Sync, its proprietary technology for ensuring smooth frame delivery. Then AMD demoed its own free standard, dubbed FreeSync, that showed a similar technology. Now, VESA (Video Electronics Standard Association) has announced support for "Adaptive Sync," as an addition to DisplayPort. The new capability will debut with DisplayPort 1.2a. The goal of these technologies is to synchronize output from the GPU and the display to ensure smooth output. When this doesn't happen, the display will either stutter due to a mismatch of frames (if V-Sync is enabled) or may visibly tear if V-Sync is disabled. Adaptive Sync is the capability that will allow a DisplayPort 1.2a-compatible monitor and video card to perform FreeSync without needing the expensive ASIC that characterizes G-Sync. You'll still need a DP1.2a cable, monitor, and video card (DP1.2a monitors are expected to ship year end). Unlike G-Sync, a DP1.2a monitor shouldn't cost any additional money, however. The updated ASICs being developed by various vendors will bake the capability in by default."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








The Truth About OpenGL Driver Quality

Tue, 13/05/2014 - 05:01
rcht148 (2872453) writes "Rich Geldreich (game/graphics programmer) has made a blog post on the quality of different OpenGL Drivers. Using anonymous titles (Vendor A: Nvidia; Vendor B: AMD; Vendor C: Intel), he plots the landscape of game development using OpenGL. Vendor A, jovially known as 'Graphics Mafia' concentrates heavily on performance but won't share its specifications, thus blocking any open source driver implementations as much as possible. Vendor B has the most flaky drivers. They have good technical know-how on OpenGL but due to an extremely small team (money woes), they have shoddy drivers. Vendor C is extremely rich. It had not taken graphics seriously until a few years ago. They support open source specifications/drivers wholeheartedly but it will be few years before their drivers come to par with market standards. He concludes that using OpenGL is extremely difficult and without the blessings of these vendors, it's nearly impossible to ship a major gaming title."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








New Zealand Spy Agency To Vet Network Builds, Provider Staff

Tue, 13/05/2014 - 02:49
Bismillah (993337) writes "The new Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act of 2013 is in effect in New Zealand and brings in several drastic changes for ISPs, telcos and service providers. One of the country's spy agencies, the GCSB, gets to decide on network equipment procurement and design decisions (PDF), plus operators have to register with the police and obtain security clearance for some staff. Somewhat illogically, the NZ government pushed through the law combining mandated communications interception capabilities for law enforcement, with undefined network security requirements as decided by the GCSB. All network operators are subject to the new law, including local providers as well as the likes of Facebook, Google, Microsoft, who have opposed it, saying the new statutes clash with overseas privacy legislation."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








What Caused a 1300-Year Deep Freeze?

Tue, 13/05/2014 - 00:30
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "Things were looking up for Earth about 12,800 years ago. The last Ice Age was coming to an end, mammoths and other large mammals romped around North America, and humans were beginning to settle down and cultivate wild plants. Then, suddenly, the planet plunged into a deep freeze, returning to near-glacial temperatures for more than a millennium before getting warm again. The mammoths disappeared at about the same time, as did a major Native American culture that thrived on hunting them. A persistent band of researchers has blamed this apparent disaster on the impact of a comet or asteroid, but a new study concludes that the real explanation for the chill, at least, may lie strictly with Earth-bound events."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








How To Approve the Use of Open Source On the Job

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 23:52
New submitter Czech37 (918252) writes "If you work in an organization that isn't focused on development, where computer systems are used to support other core business functions, getting management buy-in for the use of open source can be tricky. Here's how an academic librarian negotiated with his management to get them to give open source software a try, and the four phrases he recommends you avoid using." "Open Source," "Free [Software]," "Contribute," and "Development" appear to scare managers away.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Scientists Warn of Rising Oceans As Antarctic Ice Melts

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 20:18
mdsolar (1045926) writes "The collapse of large parts of the ice sheet in West Antarctica appears to have begun and is almost certainly unstoppable, with global warming accelerating the pace of the disintegration, two groups of scientists reported Monday. The finding, which had been feared by some scientists for decades, means that a rise in global sea level of at least 10 feet may now be inevitable. The rise may continue to be relatively slow for at least the next century or so, the scientists said, but sometime after that it will probably speed up so sharply as to become a crisis."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Ericsson Trial 10Gbps 5G Mobile Broadband Network in Japan

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 19:55
Mark.JUK (1222360) writes "Japanese mobile operator NTT DOCOMO has announced that they'll make use of Ericsson's advanced antenna technologies and radio base stations in order to conduct one of the world's first trials of a possible 5G based Mobile Broadband technology in Yokosuka (Japan), which aims to deliver downstream speeds of more than 10 Gigabits per second using the 15GHz radio spectrum frequency. But this is just one possible candidate for 5G connectivity and many organizations are still working to try and define an official standard, while most countries don't expect the first services to be deployed until around the year 2020."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Thorium: The Wonder Fuel That Wasn't

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 19:35
Lasrick (2629253) writes "Bob Alvarez has a terrific article on the history and realities of thorium as an energy fuel: For 50 years the US has tried to develop thorium as an energy source for nuclear reactors, and that effort has mostly failed. Besides the extraordinary costs involved, In the process of pursuing thorium-based reactors a fair amount of uranium 233 has been created, and 96 kilograms of the stuff (enough to fuel 12 nuclear weapons) is now missing from the US national inventory. On top of that, the federal government is attempting to force Nevada into accepting a bunch of the uranium 233, as is, for disposal in a landfill (the Nevada Nuclear Security Site). 'Because such disposal would violate the agency's formal safeguards and radioactive waste disposal requirements, the Energy Department changed those rules, which it can do without public notification or comment. Never before has the agency or its predecessors taken steps to deliberately dump a large amount of highly concentrated fissile material in a landfill, an action that violates international standards and norms.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Virgin Galactic Passengers May Just Miss Going into Space

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 18:53
DavidGilbert99 (2607235) writes "According to the customer contract those signing up for a $240,000 flight on Virgin Galactic's spaceship the company will bring you 'at least 50 miles' above sea level. The problem is that the internationally accepted boundary for outer space is 62 miles above sea level — known as the Karman Line. Virgin is trying to get around the issue by claiming it is using a definition of space used by NASA — in the 1960s."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








HP Joins OpenDaylight Project

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 18:31
Mcusanelli (3564469) writes "HP has become the most recent platinum member of OpenDaylight, the open source software-defined networking (SDN) project sponsored by the Linux Foundation. From the article: 'The Linux Foundation, which sponsors OpenDaylight as a collaborative project, is welcoming the addition of HP to the line-up of vendors helping to lead OpenDaylight -- which already includes Brocade, Cisco, Citrix, Ericsson, IBM, Juniper, Microsoft and Red Hat as platinum members -- as a sign of industry convergence around OpenDaylight as the SDN platform of choice. "We are seeing all the major players aligning their SDN strategies around OpenDaylight. HP will be another galvanizing force for the project and industry, bringing the spirit of partnership and collaboration that has made them so successful," Neela Jacques, executive director, OpenDaylight, said in a statement.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Is Carbon Fiber Going Mainstream?

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 18:08
cartechboy (2660665) writes "To date, carbon fiber has been expensive and presents different production challenges than traditional steel and aluminum. But now it seems as if the advanced material is about to become truly mainstream--BMW has announced it plans to triple carbon fiber reinforced plastic output at its Moses Lake facility in Washington state. Currently, the SGL Group plant, a joint venture partner of BMW Group, has the production capacity for about 3,000 tons of carbon fiber per annum. Two productions lines are currently going with the output dedicated to BMW's i3 and i8 plug-in vehicles. SGL is already working on a third and fourth production line which would double production to 6,000 tons per year, but a fifth and sixth are on the way, set to triple capacity to 9,000 tons every year. This extra output won't be reserved exclusively for BMW's i range. Several future BMW models will make use of the lightweight material. Now the only question is how long before carbon fiber vehicle construction becomes as common as aluminum?"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








A Look at Smart Gun Technology

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 17:25
An anonymous reader writes "Engadget takes a look at smart gun technology currently available and what the future might hold. From the article: 'While the idea of a gun that couldn't be turned on its owner seems like an obvious win for everyone involved, there are a number of problems with the concept. Chief among those worries: the safety mechanism will fail when it's needed most. If you're relying on a weapon for defense, the last thing you want is another avenue for failure. Electronics aren't perfect. Sometimes cameras can't autofocus. Cable boxes freeze up when browsing the channel guide. The equivalent, seemingly small glitch in a smart gun could be the difference between life and death.'"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








EA Ending Online Support For Dozens of Games

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 16:42
Last month Gamespy announced it would be shutting down at the end of May. Many game makers relied upon Gamespy for all of the multiplayer and online services related to their games, and there was a scramble to transition those games away from Gamespy. Now, Electronic Arts has decided it's not worth the trouble for older titles. They're terminating online support for a huge number of games. The game list includes: Battlefield 2, Crysis 1 & 2, Medal of Honor: Allied Assault, Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2, and Star Wars: Battlefront 1 & 2. EA said, "As games get replaced with newer titles, the number of players still enjoying the older games dwindles to a level - typically fewer than 1 per cent of all peak online players across all EA titles - where it's no longer feasible to continue the behind-the-scenes work involved with keeping these games up and running."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Loses Deep Sea Vehicle

Mon, 12/05/2014 - 14:07
First time accepted submitter Mr D from 63 (3395377) writes in with news about a WHOI vehicle that has been feared lost. "On Saturday, May 10, 2014, at 2 p.m. local time (10 p.m. Friday EDT), the hybrid remotely operated vehicle Nereus was confirmed lost at 9,990 meters (6.2 miles) depth in the Kermadec Trench northeast of New Zealand. The unmanned vehicle was working as part of a mission to explore the ocean's hadal region from 6,000 to nearly 11,000 meters deep. Scientists say a portion of it likely imploded under pressure as great as 16,000 pounds per square inch."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Pages