Slashdot

Subscribe to Slashdot feed Slashdot
News for nerds, stuff that matters
Updated: 54 min 7 sec ago

Facebook and Apple Now Pay For Female Employees To Freeze Their Eggs

Wed, 15/10/2014 - 16:46
Dave Knott writes: While freezing eggs has become an increasingly popular practice for career-oriented women, the procedure comes at a steep price: Costs typically add up to at least $10,000 for every round, plus $500 or more annually for storage. Now two Silicon Valley giants are offering women a game-changing perk: Apple and Facebook will pay for employees to freeze their eggs. They appear to be the first major employers to offer this coverage for non-medical reasons, both offering to cover costs up to $20,000. Tech firms are hardly alone in offering generous benefits to attract and keep talent, but they appear to be leading the way with egg freezing. Advocates say they've heard murmurs of large law, consulting, and finance firms helping to cover the costs, although no one is broadcasting this support. Companies may be concerned about the public relations implications of the benefit – in the most cynical light, egg-freezing coverage could be viewed as a ploy to entice women to sell their souls to their employer, sacrificing childbearing years for the promise of promotion. Will the perk pay off for companies? The benefit will likely encourage women to stay with their employer longer, cutting down on recruiting and hiring costs. And practically speaking, when women freeze their eggs early, firms may save on pregnancy costs in the long run. A woman could avoid paying to use a donor egg down the road, for example, or undergoing more intensive fertility treatments when she's ready to have a baby. But the emotional and cultural payoff may be more valuable, helping women be more productive human beings.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








First Demonstration of Artificial Intelligence On a Quantum Computer

Wed, 15/10/2014 - 16:23
KentuckyFC writes: Machine learning algorithms use a training dataset to learn how to recognize features in images and use this 'knowledge' to spot the same features in new images. The computational complexity of this task is such that the time required to solve it increases in polynomial time with the number of images in the training set and the complexity of the "learned" feature. So it's no surprise that quantum computers ought to be able to rapidly speed up this process. Indeed, a group of theoretical physicists last year designed a quantum algorithm that solves this problem in logarithmic time rather than polynomial, a significant improvement. Now, a Chinese team has successfully implemented this artificial intelligence algorithm on a working quantum computer, for the first time. The information processor is a standard nuclear magnetic resonance quantum computer capable of handling 4 qubits. The team trained it to recognize the difference between the characters '6' and '9' and then asked it to classify a set of handwritten 6s and 9s accordingly, which it did successfully. The team says this is the first time that this kind of artificial intelligence has ever been demonstrated on a quantum computer and opens the way to the more rapid processing of other big data sets — provided, of course, that physicists can build more powerful quantum computers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








The Great Robocoin Rip-off

Wed, 15/10/2014 - 16:03
FhnuZoag writes: Last year, Andrew Wilkinson, founder of MetaLab, bought a Robocoin Bitcoin ATM, figuring it would be a fun little side project and a good way to help move Bitcoin forward. It did not quite turn out that way. He has now written a timeline of the 10-month, $25,000(CAD) struggle. In short: there was a massive shipping delay, a $2,000 charge to clear customs, no knowledge base, unhelpful support, and the ATM itself flat out didn't work.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Microsoft, Facebook Declare European Kids Clueless About Coding, Too

Wed, 15/10/2014 - 15:21
theodp writes: Having declared U.S. kids clueless about coding, Facebook and Microsoft are now turning their attention to Europe's young 'uns. "As stewards of Europe's future generations," begins the Open Letter to the European Union Ministers for Education signed by Facebook and Microsoft, "you will be all too aware that as early as the age of 7, children reach a critical juncture, when they are learning the core life skills of reading, writing and basic maths. However, to flourish in tomorrow's digital economy and society, they should also be learning to code. And many, sadly, are not." Released at the launch of the European Coding Initiative — aka All You Need is Code! (video) — in conjunction with the EU's Code Week, the letter closes, "As experts in our field, we owe it to Europe's youth to help equip them with the skills they will need to succeed — regardless of where life takes them."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Lockheed Claims Breakthrough On Fusion Energy Project

Wed, 15/10/2014 - 14:39
Lockheed Martin claims it has made a significant breakthrough in the creation of nuclear fusion reactors. The company says it has proved the feasibility of building a 100MW reactor measuring only 7 feet by 10 feet. They say the design can be built and tested within a year, and they expect an operational reactor within a decade. The project is coming out of stealth mode now to seek partners within academia, government, and industry. "Lockheed sees the project as part of a comprehensive approach to solving global energy and climate change problems. Compact nuclear fusion would also produce far less waste than coal-powered plants, and future reactors could eliminate radioactive waste completely, the company said."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Positive Ebola Test In Second Texas Health Worker

Wed, 15/10/2014 - 13:56
mdsolar tips news that a second healthcare worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital has tested positive for the Ebola virus. Like the nurse who tested positive a few days ago, this worker was involved in providing care to Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who seems to have brought the virus into the country. The CDC is working to identify further exposures to the local community, though the Times says a second infection among the 70+ medical professionals who were around Duncan is not unexpected. The largest U.S. nurses union says a lack of proper protective gear and constantly changing protocols are to blame for exposures. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization says infection rates in West Africa are such that within a few months, they can expect 10,000 new Ebola cases a week. They also say the death rate for the current outbreak has risen to 70 percent.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








If Your Cloud Vendor Goes Out of Business, Are You Ready?

Wed, 15/10/2014 - 13:14
storagedude writes: With Amazon Web Services losing an estimated $2 billion a year, it's not inconceivable that the cloud industry could go the way of storage service providers (remember them?). So any plan for cloud services must include a way to retrieve your data quickly in case your cloud service provider goes belly up without much notice (think Nirvanix). In an article at Enterprise Storage Forum, Henry Newman notes that recovering your data from the cloud quickly is a lot harder than you might think. Even if you have a dedicated OC-192 channel, it would take 11 days to move a petabyte of data – and that's with no contention or other latency. One possible solution: a failover agreement with a second cloud provider – and make sure it's legally binding.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Oracle Database Certifications Are No Longer Permanent

Wed, 15/10/2014 - 10:12
jfruh writes: It used to be that you could get an Oracle database certification and declare yourself Oracle-certified for the rest of your career. That time is now over, causing a certain amount of consternation among DBAs. On the one hand, it makes sense that someone who's only been certified on a decade-old version of the product should need to prove they've updated their skills. On the other, Oracle charges for certification and will definitely profit from this shift."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Apple Releases CUPS 2.0

Wed, 15/10/2014 - 08:37
kthreadd writes: 15 years after the release of CUPS 1.0, Apple has now released version 2.0 of the printing system for GNU/Linux and other Unix-style operating systems. One of the major new features in 2.0 is that the test program for ippserver now passes the IPP Everywhere self-certification tests. Also, they've made an interesting blog post looking at the past and future of printing. Since the first major release in 1999, printing has become much more personal. Printer drivers are going away, and mobile usage is now the norm."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








MAVEN Spies Mars' Atmosphere Leaching Out Into Space

Wed, 15/10/2014 - 07:15
astroengine writes: Early results from NASA's recently arrived MAVEN Mars spacecraft show an extensive, tenuous cloud of hydrogen surrounding the red planet, the result of water breaking down in the atmosphere, scientists said Tuesday. MAVEN, an acronym for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, arrived on Sept. 21 to help answer questions about what caused a planet that was once warm and wet to turn into the cold, dry desert that appears today. "It's measurements like these that will allow us to estimate the escape rate of hydrogen from the Martian atmosphere to space today. It's an important measurement to make because the hydrogen ... comes from water lower down in the atmosphere," MAVEN scientist Mike Chaffin, with the University of Colorado, Boulder, told reporters on a conference call.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


MAVEN Spies Mars' Atmosphere Leeching Out Into Space

Wed, 15/10/2014 - 07:15
astroengine writes: Early results from NASA's recently arrived MAVEN Mars spacecraft show an extensive, tenuous cloud of hydrogen surrounding the red planet, the result of water breaking down in the atmosphere, scientists said Tuesday. MAVEN, an acronym for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, arrived on Sept. 21 to help answer questions about what caused a planet that was once warm and wet to turn into the cold, dry desert that appears today. "It's measurements like these that will allow us to estimate the escape rate of hydrogen from the Martian atmosphere to space today. It's an important measurement to make because the hydrogen ... comes from water lower down in the atmosphere," MAVEN scientist Mike Chaffin, with the University of Colorado, Boulder, told reporters on a conference call.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Millions of Voiceprints Quietly Being Harvested

Wed, 15/10/2014 - 05:13
An anonymous reader sends this excerpt from The Guardian: Businesses and governments around the world increasingly are turning to voice biometrics, or voiceprints, to pay pensions, collect taxes, track criminals and replace passwords. "We sometimes call it the invisible biometric," said Mike Goldgof, an executive at Madrid-based AGNITiO, one of about 10 leading companies in the field. Those companies have helped enter more than 65M voiceprints into corporate and government databases, according to Associated Press interviews with dozens of industry representatives and records requests in the United States, Europe and elsewhere. ... The single largest implementation identified by the AP is in Turkey, where the mobile phone company Turkcell has taken the voice biometric data of some 10 million customers using technology provided by market leader Nuance Communications Inc. But government agencies are catching up.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Amazon Web Services To Build Two New Aussie Data Centers

Wed, 15/10/2014 - 04:10
Bismillah writes: Sydney will get two new AWS data centers in the western and south-western parts of the city. AWS apparently decided to build the new DCs after it struggled to find enough Tier III space for rapid expansion in the region.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








"Double Irish" Tax Loophole Used By US Companies To Be Closed

Wed, 15/10/2014 - 03:03
An anonymous reader writes: The Irish Finance Minister announced on Tuesday that Ireland will no longer allow companies to register in Ireland unless the companies are also tax resident. This will effectively close off the corporate tax avoidance scheme known as the "Double Irish" used by the likes of Google, Apple, and Facebook to route their earnings through their Irish holdings in order to garner an effective tax rate of, as in Google FY2013, 0.16%. Ireland's new policy will take effect in 2015 for new companies. "For existing companies, there will be provision for a transition period until the end of 2020."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Google Finds Vulnerability In SSL 3.0 Web Encryption

Wed, 15/10/2014 - 01:04
AlbanX sends word that security researchers from Google have published details on a vulnerability in SSL 3.0 that can allow an attacker to calculate the plaintext of encrypted communications. Google's Bodo Moller writes, SSL 3.0 is nearly 15 years old, but support for it remains widespread. Most importantly, nearly all browsers support it and, in order to work around bugs in HTTPS servers, browsers will retry failed connections with older protocol versions, including SSL 3.0. Because a network attacker can cause connection failures, they can trigger the use of SSL 3.0 and then exploit this issue. Disabling SSL 3.0 support, or CBC-mode ciphers with SSL 3.0, is sufficient to mitigate this issue, but presents significant compatibility problems, even today. Therefore our recommended response (PDF) is to support TLS_FALLBACK_SCSV. This is a mechanism that solves the problems caused by retrying failed connections and thus prevents attackers from inducing browsers to use SSL 3.0. It also prevents downgrades from TLS 1.2 to 1.1 or 1.0 and so may help prevent future attacks.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Analysis of Linux Backdoor Used In Freenode Hack

Wed, 15/10/2014 - 00:20
An anonymous reader writes "A detailed analysis has been done of the Linux backdoor used in the freenode hack. It employed port knocking and encryption to provide security against others using it. This seems a little more sophisticated than your average black-hat hacker.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Battery Breakthrough: Researchers Claim 70% Charge In 2 Minutes, 20-Year Life

Tue, 14/10/2014 - 23:37
New submitter chaosdivine69 writes: According to Scientists at Nanyang Technology University (NTU), they have developed ultra-fast charging batteries that can be recharged up to 70 per cent in only two minutes and have a 20-year lifespan (10,000 charges). The impact of this is potentially a game changer for a lot of industries reliant on lithium ion batteries. In the car industry, for example, consumers would save on costs for battery replacement and manufacturers would save on material construction (the researchers are using a nanotube structure of Titanium dioxide, which is an abundant, cheap, and safe material found in soil). Titanium dioxide is commonly used as a food additive or in sunscreen lotions to absorb harmful ultraviolet rays. It is believed that charging an electric car can be done in as little as 5 minutes, making it comparable to filling up a tank of gasoline.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








How Women Became Gamers Through D&D

Tue, 14/10/2014 - 22:52
An anonymous reader writes: To add some historical context to the currently controversy surrounding attitudes toward women in gaming, Jon Peterson provides an in-depth historical look at the unsurprisingly male origins of the "gamer" identity. It also examines how Dungeons & Dragons helped to open the door for women in gaming — overturning a sixty-year-old dogma that was born when Wells's Little Wars first assumed the "disdain" of women for gaming.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Can the Sun Realistically Power Datacenters?

Tue, 14/10/2014 - 22:09
1sockchuck writes: A massive solar array in central New Jersey provides the daytime power for a server farm delivering online financial services for McGraw Hill. The 50-acre field of photovoltaic solar panels symbolizes a new phase in the use of renewable energy in data centers. Massive arrays can now provide tens of megawatts of solar power for companies (including Apple) that can afford the land and the expense. But some data center thought leaders argue that these huge fields are more about marketing than genuinely finding the best approach to a greener cloud.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Firefox 33 Arrives With OpenH264 Support

Tue, 14/10/2014 - 18:36
An anonymous reader writes: Mozilla today officially launched Firefox 33 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android. Additions include OpenH264 support as well as the ability to send video content from webpages to a second screen. Firefox 33 for the desktop is available for download now on Firefox.com, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. As always, the Android version is trickling out slowly on Google Play. Full changelogs are available here: desktop and Android."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.








Pages