Geek Stuff

Bolivia Demands Assange Apologize For Deliberately False Leaks To the US

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Rei writes In 2013, during Edward Snowden's brief and chaotic search for asylum that ultimately landed him in Russia, the US faced criticism for handing information to various European nations that Bolivian president Evo Morales was smuggling him out of Russia, leading to the grounding of his flight. In a new twist, in the documentary Terminal F about this time period, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange admitted that he was the one who deliberately leaked the fake information to the US government. Bolivia has been none too pleased with this news and is now demanding that Assange apologize for putting their president's life at risk.

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Can Civilization Reboot Without Fossil Fuels?

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An anonymous reader writes: We often talk about our dependence on fossil fuels, and vigorously debate whether and how we should reduce that dependence. This article at Aeon sidesteps the political bickering and asks an interesting technological question: if we had to rebuild society, could we do it without all the fossil fuels we used to do it the first time? When people write about post-apocalyptic scenarios, the focus is usually on preserving information long enough for humanity to rebuild. But actually rebuilding turns out to be quite a challenge when all the easy oil has been bled from the planet. It's not that we're running out, it's that the best spots for oil now require high tech machinery. This would create a sort of chicken-and-egg problem for a rebuilding society. Technological progress could still happen using other energy production methods. But it would be very slow — we'd never see the dramatic accelerations that marked the industrial age, and then the information age. "A slow-burn progression through the stages of mechanization, supported by a combination of renewable electricity and sustainably grown biomass, might be possible after all. Then again, it might not. We'd better hope we can secure the future of our own civilization, because we might have scuppered the chances of any society to follow in our wake."

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US Dept. of Education Teams With Microsoft-Led Teach.org On Teacher Diversity

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theodp writes: Citing a new study that suggests academic achievement can benefit when children are taught by a teacher of their own race, the NY Times asks, Where Are the Teachers of Color? Towards that end, the Times reports that "Teach.org, a partnership between the Department of Education and several companies, teachers unions and other groups, is specifically targeting racial minorities for recruitment." Teach.org describes itself as a "public-private partnership led by Microsoft, State Farm and the U.S. Department of Education." To the consternation of some, the U.S. Dept. of Education delegated teacher recruitment to Microsoft in 2011. With its 2.2% African American/Black and 3.9% Latino/Hispanic tech workforce, who better to increase diversity than Microsoft, right?

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Sharp Announces 4K Smartphone Display

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An anonymous reader writes: Japanese electronics giant Sharp has announced production of 5.5" displays with 4K (3840 x 2160) resolution. They'll hit the market next year. The display will have a pixel density of 806 PPI. It's not known yet which smartphone makers will build devices with these screens. The displays cost significantly more than a more typical 1080p or 1440p display, so they'll probably only make it into high-end phones. On the other hand, this will help to drive down prices for lower-resolution displays, so it could indirectly benefit everybody.

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Legislation Would Force Radio Stations To Pay Royalties

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Major Blud writes: Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the "Fair Play Fair Pay Act" today that would end regulations that allow terrestrial radio stations to avoid paying royalties to artists and labels. Currently, AM/FM radio stations aren't required to pay royalties to publishers and songwriters. The proposed measure requires stations that earn less than $1 million a year in revenue to pay $500 annually. For nonprofit public, college and other non-commercial broadcasters, the fee would be $100 per year. Religious and talk stations would be exempt from any payments. Larger radio companies like iHeartMedia (858 stations in the U.S.) would have to pay more. "The current system is antiquated and broken. It pits technologies against each other, and allows certain services to get away with paying little or nothing to artists. For decades, AM/FM radio has used whatever music it wants without paying a cent to the musicians, vocalists, and labels that created it. Satellite radio has paid below market royalties for the music it uses, growing into a multibillion dollar business on the back of an illogical 'grandfathered' royalty standard that is now almost two decades old," said Congressman Nadler.

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Tracking the Weather On an Exoplanet

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schwit1 writes: Scientists have begun gathering increasingly detailed information about the atmosphere and weather on the exoplanet HD189733B, 63 light years away with an orbit that produces a transit every 2.2 days. The temperature appears to rise with increasing altitude, reaching 3,000 degrees at the top of the atmosphere. There are also strong winds blowing from the cold to the hot side of the planet.

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Acetaminophen Reduces Both Pain and Pleasure, Study Finds

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An anonymous reader writes: Researchers studying the commonly used pain reliever acetaminophen found it has a previously unknown side effect: It blunts positive emotions (abstract). Acetaminophen, the main ingredient in the over-the-counter pain reliever Tylenol, has been in use for more than 70 years in the United States, but this is the first time that this side effect has been documented.

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Linux Getting Extensive x86 Assembly Code Refresh

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jones_supa writes: A massive x86 assembly code spring cleaning has been done in a pull request that is to end up in Linux 4.1. The developers have tried testing the code on many different x86 boxes, but there's risk of regression when exposing the code to many more systems in the days and weeks ahead. That being said, the list of improvements is excellent. There are over 100 separate cleanups, restructuring changes, speedups and fixes in the x86 system call, IRQ, trap and other entry code, part of a heroic effort to deobfuscate a decade old spaghetti assembly code and its C code dependencies.

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Republicans Introduce a Bill To Overturn Net Neutrality

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New submitter grimmjeeper writes: IDG News reports, "A group of Republican lawmakers has introduced a bill that would invalidate the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's recently passed net neutrality rules. The legislation (PDF), introduced by Representative Doug Collins, a Georgia Republican, is called a resolution of disapproval, a move that allows Congress to review new federal regulations from government agencies, using an expedited legislative process." This move should come as little surprise to anyone. While the main battle in getting net neutrality has been won, the war is far from over. The legislation was only proposed now because the FCC's net neutrality rules were just published in the Federal Register today. In addition to the legislation, a new lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by USTelecom, a trade group representing ISPs.

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Report: Leaked app provides clues about Google’s wireless service

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Google plans to launch its own wireless service this year. The company has tried to temper expectations by describing it as a small scale experiment aimed at finding ways for WiFi and cellular networks to work together seamlessly. But when the company that designs the software that runs on most of the world’s smartphones starts […]

Report: Leaked app provides clues about Google’s wireless service is a post from: Liliputing

Turing Manuscript Sells For $1 Million

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itwbennett writes A 56-page notebook manuscript by Alan Turing, the English mathematician considered to be the father of modern computer science, was sold at auction Monday for $1.025 million. Turing apparently wrote in the notebook in 1942 when he was working in Bletchley Park, England, trying to break German military code. “It gives us insight into how Alan Turing tackles problems. Sadly it shows us what he never got to finish,” said Cassandra Hatton, senior specialist at Bonhams.

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Panasonic’s 20 inch, 4K tablet gets a Broadwell update

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Panasonic launched the original Toughpad 4K tablet a little over a year ago, offering a 20 inch Windows tablet with a 3840 x 2560 pixel display, an Intel Core Ivy Bridge processor, NVIDIA graphics, and 16GB of RAM. Now the company is preparing to offer a new model with a newer processor and a starting price […]

Panasonic’s 20 inch, 4K tablet gets a Broadwell update is a post from: Liliputing

The International Space Station (Finally) Gets an Espresso Machine

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coondoggie writes NASA this week will be send its first espresso making machine into space letting astronauts onboard the International Space Station brew coffee, tea or other hot beverages for those long space days. Making espresso in space is no small feat as making the water heat to the right temperature – 208F – and generating enough pressure to make the brew are critical in the brewing process. And then getting it into a “cup,” well that’s nearly impossible in gravity-free space. NASA, the Italian space agency ASI, aerospace firm Argotec, and coffee company Lavazza have come up with en experimental machine that will deliver the espresso into what basically amounts to a sippy pouch.

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Windows Remains Vulnerable To Serious 18-Year-Old SMB Security Flaw

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Mark Wilson writes A serious security hole leaves millions of Windows users open to attack, making it possible to extract encrypted credentials from a target machine. Researchers at Cylance say the problem affects "any Windows PC, tablet or server" (including Windows 10) and is a slight progression of the Redirect to SMB attack discovered by Aaron Spangler way back in 1997. Redirect to SMB is essentially a man-in-the-middle attack which involves taking control of a network connection. As the name suggests, victims are then redirected to a malicious SMB server which can extract usernames, domains and passwords. Cylance also reports that software from companies such as Adobe, Oracle and Symantec — including security and antivirus tools — are affected.

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Trusted Voice lets you unlock your Android phone with “OK Google”

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Hate having to enter a PIN number or swipe a pattern every time you want to unlock your phone? Google’s Smart Lock feature for Android gives you a few ways to disable those security measures when certain conditions are met. Trusted Places detects your location and lets you bypass the PIN/pattern screen when you’re at […]

Trusted Voice lets you unlock your Android phone with “OK Google” is a post from: Liliputing

SpaceX Launch Postponed

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An anonymous reader writes with news about SpaceX's launch today and second attempt to land its Falcon 9 rocket on a platform floating offshore in the Atlantic ocean. "You can watch live as SpaceX launches its Falcon 9 rocket and attempts to recover the first stage portion via an automated, barge-based landing plan in the Atlantic ocean, with the first take-off attempted scheduled for 4:33 PM ET, provided conditions remain good and pre-flight checks go well. A big part of this mission, designated CRS-6 and designed primarily as a resupply flight for the International Space Station, is getting a second chance at recovering Falcon 9's first stage rocket. Once the second stage and the Dragon spacecraft detach from that first stage rocket, it'll undergo a controlled descent as it attempts to touch down with SpaceX's ocean-borne landing platform." Update: 04/13 21:43 GMT by S : The launch was scrubbed because of lightning in a nearby cloud. It's been rescheduled for tomorrow at 4:10PM ET.

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8.9 inch Asus Transformer Book T90 Chi convertible up for pre-order for $299 (maybe)

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The Asus Transformer Book T90 Chi is a 2-in-1 Windows tablet with an 8.9 inch display and a detachable keyboard dock that lets you use the tablet like a notebook. Asus introduced the Transformer Book T90 Chi at CES in January, along with the 10 inch T100 Chi and 12.5 inch T300 Chi. Both of […]

8.9 inch Asus Transformer Book T90 Chi convertible up for pre-order for $299 (maybe) is a post from: Liliputing

Briny Water May Pool In Mars' Equatorial Soil

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astroengine writes Mars may be a frigid desert, but perchlorate salts in the planet's soil are lowering the freezing temperature of water, setting up conditions for liquid brines to form at equatorial regions, new research from NASA's Curiosity rover shows. The discovery of subsurface water, even a trickle, around the planets warmer equatorial belt defies current climate models, though spacecraft orbiting Mars have found geologic evidence for transient liquid water, a phenomenon termed "recurring slope lineae." The findings, published in this week's Nature Geoscience, are based on nearly two years worth of atmospheric humidity and temperature measurements collected by the roving science laboratory Curiosity, which is exploring an ancient impact basin called Gale Crater near the planet's equator. The brines, computer models show, form nightly in the upper 2 inches of the planet's soil as perchlorates absorb atmospheric water vapor. As temperatures rise in the morning, the liquid evaporates. The levels of liquid, however, are too low to support terrestrial-type organisms, the researchers conclude. "It is not just a problem of water, but also temperature. The water activity and temperatures are so low in Mars that they are beyond the limits of cell reproduction and metabolism," Javier Martin-Torres, with Lulea University of Technology, in Kiruna, Sweden, wrote in an email to Discovery News.

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HP Omen Pro is a mobile workstation (based on a gaming laptop design)

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In late 2014, HP introduced a compact gaming laptop called the HP Omen with a 15.6 inch display, NVIDIA graphics, and an Intel Haswell processor. Now HP is giving the gaming notebook a business-friendly makeover. Meet the HP Omen Pro mobile workstation. Like the original HP Omen, the new model features a 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 […]

HP Omen Pro is a mobile workstation (based on a gaming laptop design) is a post from: Liliputing

Book Review: Networking For System Administrators

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Saint Aardvark writes Michael W. Lucas has been writing technical books for a long time, drawing on his experience as both a system and a network administrator. He has mastered the art of making it both easy and enjoyable to inhale large amounts of information; that's my way of saying he writes books well and he's a funny guy. Networking for System Administrators, available both in DRM-free ebook and dead tree formats, is his latest book, and it's no exception to this trend. Keep reading for the rest of Saint Aardvark's review.

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