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Did Alcatraz Escapees Survive? Computer Program Says They Might Have

Slashdot - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 15:57
In June of 1962, three prisoners escaped the penitentary on Alcatraz, in an elaborate plot that was dramatized in a Clint Eastwood movie. A question that has long puzzled the public is whether these men ever made it to shore; the many factors that made Alcatraz a secure prison include sharks, cold water, and contrary currents. Still, some artifacts from the attempt, and perhaps the appeal of stories about survival against high odds, have led many people to believe that the men actually landed safely and faded into society. coondoggie writes This week Dutch scientists from Delft University of Technology presented findings from a computer modeling program they were working on, unrelated to the mystery, that demonstrated the escapees could have survived the journey. "In hindsight, the best time to launch a boat from Alcatraz was [11:30 am], one and a half hours later than has generally been assumed. A rubber boat leaving Alcatraz at [11:30 am] would most likely have landed just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The model also shows that debris in that scenario would be likely to wash up at Angel Island, exactly where one of the paddles and some personal belongings were found.

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Hackers Compromise ICANN, Access Zone File Data System

Slashdot - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 15:52
Trailrunner7 writes with this news from ThreatPost: Unknown hackers were able to compromise vital systems belonging to ICANN, the organization that manages the global top-level domain system, and had access to the system that manages the files with data on resolving specific domain names. The attack apparently took place in November and ICANN officials discovered it earlier this month. The intrusion started with a spear phishing campaign that targeted ICANN staffers and the email credentials of several staff members were compromised. The attackers then were able to gain access to the Centralized Zone Data System, the system that allows people to manage zone files. The zone files contain quite bit of valuable information, including domain names, the name server names associated with those domains and the IP addresses for the name servers. CANN officials said they are notifying any users whose zone data might have been compromised." (Here's ICANN's public note on the compromise.)

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'Minecraft' is geting a story-based game from the studio behind 'The Walking Dead' and 'Game of Thrones'

Engadget - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 15:42
Minecraft's silent landscaper Steve is exiting his blocky world and stepping into Telltale's world of stories: Minecraft is getting a "narrative-driven" game from the folks behind The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones games. Like Telltale's other work...

GE takes another leap into the world of music, with help from Nas

Engadget - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 15:14
GE has taken some time off from making washing machines, jet engines and whatnot to get back to its true loves: music and dance. The Brilliant Rhythm collection launches December 24th on Vevo (streamable via Apple TV, Roku, Xbox, Fire TV and Samsung)...

Reaction To the Sony Hack Is 'Beyond the Realm of Stupid'

Slashdot - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 15:10
rossgneumann writes North Korea may really be behind the Sony hack, but we're still acting like idiots. Peter W. Singer, one of the nations foremost experts on cybersecurity, says Sony's reaction has been abysmal. "Here, we need to distinguish between threat and capability—the ability to steal gossipy emails from a not-so-great protected computer network is not the same thing as being able to carry out physical, 9/11-style attacks in 18,000 locations simultaneously. I can't believe I'm saying this. I can't believe I have to say this."

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To Fight Currency Mismatches, Steam Adding Region Locking to PC Games

Slashdot - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 14:47
will_die writes Because of recent currency devaluation Steam has now added region locking for games sold in Russia and CIS. Brazil and local area and Indonesia and local area are also being locked. If you purchase a game from one of those regions you cannot gift it to somone outside of the area. So someone from Russia can gift a game to someone to Georgia [Note: This Georgia, rather than this one, that is.] but not to someone in the USA. You want to see the prices in the Russia store and compare them to the Steam Christmas Sale which should be starting in a few hours.

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Riding in Audi's 150MPH self-driving RS 7, the anti-Google car

Engadget - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 14:30
Until last week, the sum of my autonomous driving experience was sitting behind the wheel while a car parked itself, and the sum of my track experience involved squeezing my lanky frame into a comically small go-kart. Audi changed that recently, givi...

Who's To Blame For Rules That Block Tesla Sales In Most US States?

Slashdot - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 14:28
cartechboy writes The common assumption among Tesla fans seems to be that state auto-dealer lobbyists are working with Republican legislators to enact laws banning direct sales of Tesla's electric cars to retail buyers. Is it true? The New York Times published an article with some data points that assesses the supposition. While the article mainly focuses on the conflict between Uber and the Republican party, some quotes could be easily applied to Tesla. For instance, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Preibus said, "It should be consumers, not government bureaucrats or legislators, that deicde what companies get our business." The author of the article, Josh Barro, wrote that 22 states permit direct sales of automobiles by Tesla to retail buyers, and of those the majority--14 of them-- voted for President Obama. He suggested that Democratic California, Illinois, and New York "have freer markets in auto retailing than Texas," which is presently Republican. When looking at a five-year-old article by Nate Silver that looked at political donations by car dealers, fully 88 percent of those donations went to Republican candidates, and just 12 percent to Democrats. That possibly suggests a propensity among Republican state legislators to support the interests for car dealers over those of electric-car buyers. Is the small bit of evidence enough to make a case? Good background on the current system of dealership sinecure can be found in this short 2009 Competition Advocacy Paper from the U.S. Department of Justice, which delves into the history and effects of the dealers-only system which still prevails.

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Algoriddim takes on Traktor with its djay Pro desktop app

Engadget - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 14:01
Algoriddim's popular mixing app djay is a lesson in mass appeal. If you see yourself playing in clubs and festivals, you'll likely be reaching for software like Serato, or Traktor. But, if you have a phone or a tablet (and a penchant for the old turn...

Councilmen Introduce Bills Strongly Regulating UAV Use in NYC

Slashdot - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 13:47
SternisheFan passes on this excerpt from an Ars Technica article: On Wednesday Councilman Dan Garodnick introduced a bill to the New York City council seeking to ban all use of drones except those operated by police officers who obtain warrants. A second, parallel bill introduced by councilman Paul Vallone would place more stringent restrictions on drone use but stop short of banning drones for hobbyists and companies altogether. Both bills have been passed to the city's committee on public safety. An all-out ban on drones within the metropolis would be a quite wide-reaching step, especially as the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) seems poised to adopt more permissive rules, with respect to commercial interests in particular. Earlier this year, the FAA formally granted six Hollywood companies exemptions to drone ban rules. A couple of months later, the FAA granted similar exemptions for construction site monitoring and oil rig flare stack inspections. The article explains that Vallone's bill is less restrictive, and rather than propose an outright ban "lists 10 instances where operating a UAV would be illegal, including at night, out of the operator's eyesight, or above 400 ft high. Outside of those conditions, hobbyists and commercial interests would be free to fly drones."

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Comcast's Ultra HD app launches today -- but only on Samsung TVs

Engadget - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 13:46
It's almost time for CES to come around again, but Samsung and Comcast are just getting around to fulfilling the promise of 4K streaming they made at the last show earlier this year (DirecTV launched last month). The Xfinity in UHD app arrives today ...

Hacking your iCloud files just got easier, even with two-step enabled

Engadget - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 13:08
An update to Elcomsoft's Phone Breaker software now makes it easier for good or bad guys to bypass Apple's vaunted new two-factor authentication to steal your iCloud stuff. As before, the hackers would need some information to start with -- either yo...

US Links North Korea To Sony Hacking

Slashdot - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 13:05
schwit1 writes Speaking off the record, senior intelligence officials have told the New York Times, CNN, and other news agencies that North Korea was "centrally involved" in the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment. It is not known how the US government has determined that North Korea is the culprit, though it is known that the NSA has in the past penetrated North Korean computer systems. Previous analysis of the malware that brought down Sony Pictures' network showed that there were marked similarities to the tools used in last year's cyber-attack on South Korean media companies and the 2012 "Shamoon" attack on Saudi Aramco. While there was speculation that the "DarkSeoul" attack in South Korea was somehow connected to the North Korean regime, a firm link was never published.

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Double amputee controls two robotic arms with his mind

Engadget - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 12:13
Here's one other DARPA-funded robotic limb controlled by thoughts alone -- actually make that two, because Colorado man Les Baugh had two bionic arms attached from shoulder level. Baugh got them this summer, 40 years after losing both arms, as part o...

BBC launches dedicated iPlayer Radio apps for iPad and Android tablets

Engadget - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 11:48
Provided you're somewhere with a stable internet connection, it's now perfectly possible to replace your old-fashioned radio set with a tablet. Most stations have a dedicated app these days and it's easy enough to connect a pair of headphones or a ch...

MTV adds a live feed to its Android and iOS apps

Engadget - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 11:12
You've been able to catch up with episodes of Jersey Shore through MTV's iOS and Android apps for around a year. But, if you wanted to gasp along with the action as it was broadcast, you'd have to make an appointment to take over the family TV. Thank...

Amazon offers one-hour deliveries with Prime Now

Engadget - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 11:01
Amazon has just launched a new service called Prime Now, which will let Prime members order "tens of thousands" of "daily essentials" for immediate delivery. Once you download the new app (on Android or iOS), you'll get the option of picking a one- o...

Startup Helps You Build Your Very Own Picosatellite On a Budget

Slashdot - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 10:31
Zothecula writes A Glasgow-based startup is reducing the cost of access to space by offering "satellite kits" that make it easier for space enthusiasts, high schools and universities alike to build a small but functional satellite for as little as US$6,000 and then, thanks to its very small size, to launch for significantly less than the popular CubeSats.

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NASA delays 'capture the asteroid' plan until next year

Engadget - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 10:09
Now that the ESA has landed on a comet, NASA wants to do them one better: capture an entire asteroid (or a piece of one) and put it in orbit around the moon in 2019. That's the Asteroid Redirect Mission in a nutshell, and the space agency has now sai...

UK carriers agree £5 billion coverage improvements to avoid 'national roaming'

Engadget - Thu, 18/12/2014 - 09:14
Ever since the notion of national roaming first appeared back in June, the UK government and the four major mobile operators have fought over how best to rid Britain of so-called "not-spots." Culture Secretary Sajid Javid wanted to implement a system...

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