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Updated: 3 days 9 hours ago

Homeopathic Remedies Recalled For Containing Real Medicine

Thu, 27/03/2014 - 13:15
ananyo (2519492) writes "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recalled homeopathic remedies made by a company called Terra-Medica because they may contain actual medicine — possibly penicillin or derivatives of the antibiotic." Diluted enough times with pure water, though, maybe these traces would be even more powerful.

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Weev's Attorney Says FBI Is Intercepting His Client's Mail

Thu, 27/03/2014 - 12:53
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "The FBI is intercepting the prison correspondence of infamous Internet troll Andrew "weev" Auernheimer, including letters from his defense team, according to his attorney. 'He's sent me between 10 and 20 letters in the last month or two. I've received one,' Tor Ekeland, who had just returned from visiting Auernheimer at the federal corrections institute in Allenwood, PA., told the Daily Dot in a video interview. Last March, Auernheimer was convicted of accessing a computer without authorization and sentenced to 41 months in prison. As a member of the computer security team Goatse Security, Auernheimer discovered a major security flaw in AT&T's network, which allowed him to download the email addresses of some 114,000 iPad users. Goatse Security reported the flaw to Gawker and provided journalists with the information, who then published it in redacted form."

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Hacking Charisma

Thu, 27/03/2014 - 12:12
An anonymous reader writes: "Steve Jobs had it. George Clooney has it. So does Don Draper. Charisma is intangible but powerful: the personality trait that's used to win friends and influence people. Olivia Fox Cabane wasn't born with it. She was a high-school outcast, a socially awkward teenager baffled by the nuance of social interactions. But she was also an analytical thinker. She believes she has reverse engineered the secret of charm, and is so successful that executives now pay her to do the same for them. Cabane's self-help spiel comes with a dose of science. In this article, Teresa Chin examines the science of charisma, and asks why exactly Silicon Valley needs a charisma coach in the first place."

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Xbox One Reputation System Penalizes Gamers Who Behave Badly

Thu, 27/03/2014 - 09:19
New submitter DroidJason1 writes: "Microsoft has added new 'player reputation scores' to each Xbox Live member's Gamercard. The scores are represented by icons consisting of the colors green, yellow, and red. The more hours you play fairly online without being reported as abusive by other players, the better your reputation will be. Good players are given a green color, while those that 'need work' are yellow and those that need to be avoided are red. Microsoft says, 'If players do not heed warnings and continue to have a negative impact on other players and the Xbox Live community, they will begin to experience penalties. For example, people with an “Avoid Me” rating will have reduced matchmaking pairings and may be unable to use certain privileges such as Twitch broadcasting.' They add that the system will adjust for false reports."

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Operation Wants To Mine 10% of All New Bitcoins

Thu, 27/03/2014 - 06:10
An anonymous reader writes: "Mining new Bitcoins is computationally expensive — you can't expect to do much on your standard home computer. Many miners have built custom rigs to mine more efficiently, but it was only a matter of time until somebody went industrial. Dave Carlson's goal is to mine 10% of all new Bitcoins from now on. He's built literally thousands of units. They collectively use 1.4 million BitFury mining chips, which are managed by a bunch of Raspberry Pis. 'The current rigs each contain 16 boards, with each board containing 16 BitFury chips, for a total of 256 mining chips on each rig. Carlson said about 90,000 processor boards have been deployed, which would put the number of rigs at about 5,600. A new board [being designed] will have 756 chips on each rig instead of 256.' Carlson says his company spent $3-5 million to get everything set up. They current generate 7,000 — 8,000 Bitcoins per month, which, at current rates, would be worth over $4 million."

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Are DVDs Inconvenient On Purpose?

Wed, 26/03/2014 - 18:02
Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton writes: "Why do Netflix and a few other companies keep the DVD format alive, when streaming is more convenient for almost all users? The answer is not obvious, but my best theory is that it has to do with what economists call price discrimination. Netflix is still the cheapest legal way to watch a dozen recent releases every month — but only if you're willing to put up with those clunky DVDs." Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.

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XWayland Aiming For Glamor Support, Merge Next X.Org Release

Wed, 26/03/2014 - 17:20
An anonymous reader writes that XWayland is nearly ready to be merged into the main X.org tree "X.Org Server 1.16 this summer should support XWayland, the means of allowing X11 applications to run atop Wayland-based compositors without the need for any application/game changes. With the revised design, XWayland has generic 2D acceleration over OpenGL and a cleaner design compared to earlier revisions. With GNOME 3.12 having better Wayland support and Plasma Next around the corner, it looks like 2014 could be the year of Wayland's take-off!" The patch series emails have more details. The big news here is that XWayland is ditching its old DDX model for one based on Glamor. eliminating the need for any X.org drivers to be written to support X11 on Wayland: "Finally, the last patch adds the Xwayland DDX. Initially Xwayland was an Xorg module that exposed an API for Xorg video drivers to hook into so that we could reuse the native 2D acceleration. Now that glamor is credible and still improving, a much better approach is to make Xwayland its own DDX and use glamor for acceleration. A lot of the code in the Xorg approach was busy preventing Xorg being Xorg, eg, preventing VT access, preventing input driver loading, preventing drivers doing modesetting. The new DDX in contrast is straight-forward, clean code, only 2500 lines of code and neatly self-contained." It does not yet have direct rendering or any acceleration, but those patches should come soon.

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Target and Trustwave Sued Over Credit Card Breach

Wed, 26/03/2014 - 16:39
jfruh (300774) writes "Security vendors like Trustwave can make big bucks when major companies decide they don't have the internal resources to handle their cybersecurity needs. Unfortunately, when taking on security chores, you also take on security liabilities. In the wake of Target's massive credit card security breach, both Target and Trustwave are now on the receiving end of a class action lawsuit, in part backed by banks that had to issue thousands of new credit cards." The filing, and a bit more from El Reg: "It's against Target, however, that the most serious allegations are levelled. The class action led by Trustmark National Bank and Green Bank, say the retailer should not have allowed an outside contractor the access to its network that brought about the breach, and that it violated federal and state laws in storing the credit card data on its network."

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Google Cuts Prices On Enterprise Cloud Services

Wed, 26/03/2014 - 13:26
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Google has made sizable price cuts across its storage, compute and BigQuery analysis services (e.g., Google BigQuery on-demand prices have been reduced by up to 85%). Google has also introduced a number of new services, including managed virtual machines, an extension of BigQuery for live data and the ability to run copies of the enterprise-ready Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Suse Linux and Windows Server 2008 R2. Collectively, these announcements show that Google may be coming to understand that 'they really need to step it up' in the market for cloud computing services, said John Rymer, Forrester Research's principal analyst covering application development and delivery."

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Rebooting the Full Disclosure List

Wed, 26/03/2014 - 12:45
An anonymous reader writes with good news for advocates of Full Disclosure of security vulnerabilities. A week ago, the venerable full-disclosure list was shut down; now, a successor has arisen run by fyodor. From the announcement email: "As an F-D subscriber and occasional poster myself, I was as shocked as you all last week when John Cartwright threw in the towel and shuttered the list. Now I don't blame him one bit. He performed a thankless job admirably for 12 years and deserves some time off. But I, for one, already miss Full Disclosure. So I decided to make a new list today which is a successor in name and spirit. Like the old one, it uses Mailman and is being archived by my Seclists.org site as well as numerous other archives around the world. This list is a fresh start, so the old userbase won't automatically transfer over. And I haven't added any of you either, because it is your choice. ... I hope you'll join us and resume posting your security info and advisories. If not now, then someday."

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UK Bans Sending Books To Prisoners

Wed, 26/03/2014 - 12:06
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: "Alan Travis and Mark Tran report in The Guardian that new rules introduced by the justice secretary in the UK ban anyone sending in books to prisoners It's part of a new earned-incentives and privileges scheme, which allows better-behaved prisoners to get better access to funds to buy their own books. But members of Britain's literary establishment have combined to condemn Justice Secretary Chris Grayling's ban on sending books to prisoners. 'While we understand that prisons must be able to apply incentives to reward good behavior by prisoners, we do not believe that education and reading should be part of that policy,' says a letter signed by more than 80 leading authors. 'Books represent a lifeline behind bars, a way of nourishing the mind and filling the many hours that prisoners spend locked in their cells. In an environment with no internet access and only limited library facilities, books become all the more important.' Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman says the prime minister backs the ban on receiving books and entirely supports Grayling, whose department imposed the ban to preserve a rigid system of rewards and punishments for prisoners and said there was no need for prisoners to be sent books as prisoners could borrow from prison libraries and keep some reading material in their cells. However a former prisoner told the Guardian that although libraries existed, access could be severely restricted, particularly in closed prisons. 'I've been in places where prisoners only get 20 minutes a week to visit the library and change books.'"

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Ask Slashdot: What Do You Consider Elegant Code?

Wed, 26/03/2014 - 09:05
lxrslh writes: "Since the dawn of computing, we have read about massive failed projects, bugs that are never fixed, security leaks, spaghetti code, and other flaws in the programs we use every day to operate the devices and systems upon which we depend. It would be interesting to read the code of a well-engineered, perfectly coded, intellectually challenging program. I would love to see the code running in handheld GPS units that first find a variable number of satellites and then calculate the latitude, longitude, and elevation of the unit. Do you have an example of a compact and elegant program for which the code is publicly available?"

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Privacy Advocates Seek Regulation of Surveillance Tech Exports

Wed, 26/03/2014 - 04:12
Trailrunner7 writes: "The long shadow cast by the use of surveillance technology and so-called lawful intercept tools has spread across much of the globe and has sparked a renewed push in some quarters for restrictions on the export of these systems. Politicians and policy analysts, discussing the issue in a panel Monday, said that there is room for sensible regulation without repeating the mistakes of the Crypto Wars of the 1990s. 'There's virtually no accountability or transparency, while he technologies are getting faster, smaller and cheaper,' Marietje Schaake, a Dutch member of the European Parliament, said during a panel discussion put on by the New America Foundation. 'We're often accused of over-regulating everything, so it's ironic that there's no regulation here. And the reason is that the member states [of the EU] are major players in this. The incentives to regulate are hampered by the incentives to purchase. There has been a lot of skepticism about how to regulate and it's very difficult to get it right. There are traumas from the Crypto Wars. Many of these companies are modern-day arms dealers. The status quo is unacceptable and criticizing every proposed regulation isn't moving us forward.'"

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Job Automation and the Minimum Wage Debate

Wed, 26/03/2014 - 00:15
An anonymous reader writes "An article at FiveThirtyEight looks at the likelihood of various occupations being replaced by automation. It mentions President Obama's proposed increase to the federal minimum wage, saying big leaps in automation could reshape that debate. '[The wage increase] from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour could make it worthwhile for employers to adopt emerging technologies to do the work of their low-wage workers. But can a robot really do a janitor's job? Can software fully replace a fast-food worker? Economists have long considered these low-skilled, non-routine jobs as less vulnerable to technological replacement, but until now, quantitative estimates of a job's vulnerability have been missing from the debate.' Many minimum-wage jobs are reportedly at high risk, including restaurant workers, cashiers, and telemarketers. A study rated the probability of computerization within 20 years (PDF): 92% for retail salespeople, 97% for cashiers, and 94% for waitstaff. There are other jobs with a high likelihood, but they employ fewer people and generally have a higher pay rate: tax preparers (99%), freight workers (99%), and legal secretaries (98%)."

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Lasers May Solve the Black Hole Information Paradox

Tue, 25/03/2014 - 23:33
astroengine writes: "In an effort to help solve the black hole information paradox that has immersed theoretical physics in an ocean of soul searching for the past two years, two researchers have thrown their hats into the ring with a novel solution: Lasers. Technically, we're not talking about the little flashy devices you use to keep your cat entertained, we're talking about the underlying physics that produces laser light and applying it to information that falls into a black hole. According to the researchers, who published a paper earlier this month to the journal Classical and Quantum Gravity (abstract), the secret to sidestepping the black hole information paradox (and, by extension, the 'firewall' hypothesis that was recently argued against by Stephen Hawking) lies in stimulated emission of radiation (the underlying physics that generates laser light) at the event horizon that is distinct from Hawking radiation, but preserves information as matter falls into a black hole."

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Facebook Buying Oculus VR For $2 Billion

Tue, 25/03/2014 - 22:10
Several readers sent word that Facebook will acquire Oculus VR for $2 billion. Mark Zuckerberg says the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset is the beginning of something big: "This is really a new communication platform. By feeling truly present, you can share unbounded spaces and experiences with the people in your life. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures." The obvious question is: why Facebook would buy a company focused on VR gaming? The Oculus team says, "But when you consider it more carefully, we're culturally aligned with a focus on innovating and hiring the best and brightest; we believe communication drives new platforms; we want to contribute to a more open, connected world; and we both see virtual reality as the next step. ... It opens doors to new opportunities and partnerships, reduces risk on the manufacturing and work capital side, allows us to publish more made-for-VR content, and lets us focus on what we do best: solving hard engineering challenges and delivering the future of VR." Put more simply: money and connections.

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Klingon Beer

Tue, 25/03/2014 - 21:45
An anonymous reader writes: "We may not have Saurian Brandy or Romulan Ale, but we'll soon have Klingon Beer. Tin Man Brewing Company in Evansville, Indiana has gotten the OK from CBS to create 'Klingon Warnog,' a Dunkelweizen with 'a modern aroma [of] predominantly mild banana and clove.' It will have an ABV of 5.5%. The Klingon beer will apparently join Vulcan Ale in the Federation of Beer. I wonder what their Prime Directive is."

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WHO: Air Pollution 'Killed 7 Million People' In 2012

Tue, 25/03/2014 - 21:26
dryriver sends word of new figures from the World Health Organization that estimate around 7 million people died in 2012 as a result of their exposure to air pollution. "In particular, the new data reveal a stronger link between both indoor and outdoor air pollution exposure and cardiovascular diseases, such as strokes and ischaemic heart disease, as well as between air pollution and cancer. This is in addition to air pollution’s role in the development of respiratory diseases, including acute respiratory infections and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases." The Organization says the bulk of the deaths occurred in South-East Asia and the Western Pacific Regions (PDF), with indoor air pollution causing more deaths than outdoor pollution in those areas, largely due to the use of coal, wood, and biomass stoves for cooking.

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Scientists Develop Solar Cell That Can Also Emit Light

Tue, 25/03/2014 - 20:42
An anonymous reader writes: "Scientists at the Nanyang Technological University have developed a solar cell that not only converts sunlight into electricity but also emits light as electricity passes through it. Tuning the composition of the solar cell enables it to emit different wavelengths of light (abstract), and because it is only about 1 micrometer thick, the material is semi-translucent and therefore could potentially be used in windows. The solar cell is comprised of the semiconducting mineral perovskite, which has been studied as a replacement for silicon in solar panels since 2009. Perovskite solar cells are not yet as efficient at energy conversion as silicon solar cells, but gains in this area of development coupled with cheaper manufacturing costs (10-20 cents per watt projected as opposed to 75 cents per watt with silicon solar panels and 50 cents per watt with fossil fuels) make perovskite a popular subject matter in the solar cell industry."

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Adam Carolla Joins Fight Against Podcast Patent Troll

Tue, 25/03/2014 - 12:46
First time accepted submitter tor528 (896250) writes "Patent troll Personal Audio has sued top podcasters including Adam Carolla and HowStuffWorks, claiming that they own the patent for delivery of episodic content over the Internet. Adam Carolla is fighting back and has started a Fund Anything campaign to cover legal fees. From the Fund Anything campaign page: 'If Adam Carolla loses this battle, then every other Podcast will be quickly shut down. Why? Because Patent Trolls like Personal Audio would use a victory over Carolla as leverage to extort money from every other Podcast.. As you probably know, Podcasts are inherently small, owner-operated businesses that do not have the financial resources to fight off this type of an assault. Therefore, Podcasts as we know them today would cease to exist.' James Logan of Personal Audio answered Slashdotters' questions in June 2013. Links to the patent in question can be found on Personal Audio's website. The EFF filed a challenge against Personal Audio's podcasting patent in October 2013."

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