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Space

Rosetta Photographs Its Own Shadow On Comet 67P/C-G 2

Posted by Soulskill
from the pretty-pictures dept.
mpicpp notes an image release from the European Space Agency showing the shadow of its Rosetta probe on the comet it's currently orbiting. The probe snapped the picture from a very low flyby — only six kilometers off the surface. The image has a resolution of 11cm/pixel. The shadow is fuzzy and somewhat larger than Rosetta itself, measuring approximately 20 x 50 metres. If the Sun were a point source, the shadow would be sharp and almost exactly the same size as Rosetta (approximately 2 x 32 m). However, even at 347 million km from 67P/C-G on 14 February, the Sun appeared as a disc about 0.2 degrees across (about 2.3 times smaller than on Earth), resulting in a fuzzy “penumbra” around the spacecraft’s shadow on the surface. In this scenario and with Rosetta 6 km above the surface, the penumbra effect adds roughly 20 metres to the spacecraft’s dimensions, and which is cast onto the tilted surface of the comet.
Programming

Study: Refactoring Doesn't Improve Code Quality 30

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-makes-you-hate-it-a-bit-less dept.
itwbennett writes: A team of researchers in Sri Lanka set out to test whether common refactoring techniques resulted in measurable improvements in software quality, both externally (e.g., Is the code more maintainable?) and internally (e.g., Number of lines of code). Here's the short version of their findings: Refactoring doesn't make code easier to analyze or change (PDF); it doesn't make code run faster; and it doesn't result in lower resource utilization. But it may make code more maintainable.
Social Networks

Former MLB Pitcher Doxes Internet Trolls, Delivers Real-World Consequences 56

Posted by Soulskill
from the countering-free-speech-with-more-free-speech dept.
An anonymous reader writes: When Twitter trolls began posting obscene, sexually explicit comments about his teenage daughter, former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling responded by recording their comments and gathering personal information readily available to the public. He then doxxed two of them on his blog, resulting in one being suspended from his community college and the other being fired from his part-time job as a ticket seller for the New York Yankees. There were seven others in Curt's crosshairs, all college athletes, but although he hasn't publicly doxxed those individuals, he hints, "I found it rather funny at how quickly tone changed when I heard via email from a few athletes who'd been suspended by their coaches. Gone was the tough guy tweeter, replaced by the 'I'm so sorry' apology used by those only sorry because they got caught."
Science

Physicists Gear Up To Catch a Gravitational Wave 51

Posted by Soulskill
from the surf's-up dept.
sciencehabit writes: A patch of woodland just north of Livingston, Louisiana, population 1893, isn't the first place you'd go looking for a breakthrough in physics. Yet it is here that physicists may fulfill perhaps the most spectacular prediction of Albert Einstein's theory of gravity, or general relativity. Structures here house the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), an ultrasensitive instrument that may soon detect ripples in space and time set off when neutron stars or black holes merge. Einstein himself predicted the existence of such gravitational waves nearly a century ago. But only now is the quest to detect them coming to a culmination. Physicists are finishing a $205 million rebuild of the detectors, known as Advanced LIGO, which should make them 10 times more sensitive and, they say, virtually ensure a detection.
Communications

Ask Slashdot: Wireless Microphone For Stand-up Meetings? 40

Posted by timothy
from the pass-around-a-laptop dept.
rolandw writes We have daily stand-ups and normally there is at least one person missing from the room. We relay via on-line chat but the sound quality is rubbish. The remote person sounds great via our speaker when they use a headset but they can't hear what is happening in the room. We need a wireless mic that copes with a large echoing room and will stop feedback. Can you recommend one? We're not an over-funded start-up so don't have an unlimited budget...
Encryption

FREAK Attack Threatens SSL Clients 33

Posted by Soulskill
from the another-day-another-vuln dept.
msm1267 writes: For the nth time in the last couple of years, security experts are warning about a new Internet-scale vulnerability, this time in some popular SSL clients. The flaw allows an attacker to force clients to downgrade to weakened ciphers and break their supposedly encrypted communications through a man-in-the-middle attack. Researchers recently discovered that some SSL clients, including OpenSSL, will accept weak RSA keys–known as export-grade keys–without asking for those keys. Export-grade refers to 512-bit RSA keys, the key strength that was approved by the United States government for export overseas. This was an artifact from decades ago and it was thought that most servers and clients had long ago abandoned such weak ciphers. The vulnerability affects a variety of clients, most notably Apple's Safari browser.
Music

A Versatile and Rugged MIDI Mini-Keyboard (Video) 38

Posted by Roblimo
from the Willy-and-the-poor-boys-playing-that-MIDI-can't-be-beat dept.
The K-Board won a "Best in Show" award at CES 2015. Plus, as Timothy said, "I always like pour and stomp demos." And it's totally cross-platform. If your computer, tablet or smartphone has a USB port and (almost) any kind of music software, it works. In theory, you could hook a K-Board to your Android or iOS device and use it to accompany yourself while you sing for spare change on a downtown corner. Or noodle around to get a handle on a theme you'll use in your next major symphony. Or...?
Networking

Linux and Multiple Internet Uplinks: a New Tool 56

Posted by Soulskill
from the fault-tolerance-for-all dept.
New submitter Alessandro Zarrilli writes: Linux has been able do multipath routing for a long time: it means being able to have routes with multiple gateways and to use them in a (weighted) round-robin fashion. But Linux is missing a tool to actively monitor the state of internet uplinks and change the routing accordingly. Without it, from a LAN perspective, it's like having a RAID-0: just one uplink goes down and all of your LAN-to-WAN traffic goes down too. Documentation and examples on the subject are lacking; existing solutions are few and deeply integrated in firewall/routing specific distributions. To address these issues, a new standalone tool was just released: Fault Tolerant Router. It also includes a complete (iptables + ip policy routing) configuration generator.
United States

Snowden Reportedly In Talks To Return To US To Face Trial 407

Posted by Soulskill
from the bold-strategy dept.
HughPickens.com writes: The Globe and Mail reports that Edward Snowden's Russian lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, says the fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor is working with American and German lawyers to return home. "I won't keep it secret that he wants to return back home. And we are doing everything possible now to solve this issue. There is a group of U.S. lawyers, there is also a group of German lawyers and I'm dealing with it on the Russian side." Kucherena added that Snowden is ready to return to the States, but on the condition that he is given a guarantee of a legal and impartial trial. The lawyer said Snowden had so far only received a guarantee from the U.S. Attorney General that he will not face the death penalty. Kucherena says Snowden is able to travel outside Russia since he has a three-year Russian residency permit, but "I suspect that as soon as he leaves Russia, he will be taken to the U.S. embassy."
Communications

Deutsche Telecom Calls For Google and Facebook To Be Regulated Like Telcos 77

Posted by timothy
from the oh-definitely-trust-the-government dept.
An anonymous reader writes Tim Hoettges, the CEO of the world's third-largest telecoms company, has called for Google and Facebook to be regulated in the same way that telcos are, declaring that "There is a convergence between over-the-top web companies and classic telcos" and "We need one level regulatory environment for us all." The Deutsche Telekom chief was speaking at Monday's Mobile World Congress, and further argued for a loosening of the current regulations which telcos operate under, in order to provide the infrastructure development that governments and policy bodies are asking of them. Hoettges' imprecation comes in the light of news about the latest Google Dance — an annual change in ranking criteria which boosts some businesses and ruins others. The case for and against regulating Google-level internet entities comes down to one question: who do you trust to 'not be evil'?
Movies

Gritty 'Power Rangers' Short Is Not Fair Use 184

Posted by timothy
from the wait-til-you-see-how-scully-revives-walter-white dept.
Bennett Haselton writes: Vimeo and Youtube are pressured to remove a dark, fan-made "Power Rangers" short film; Vimeo capitulated, while Youtube has so far left it up. I'm generally against the overreach of copyright law, but in this case, how could anyone argue the short film doesn't violate the rights of the franchise creator? And should Vimeo and Youtube clarify their policies on the unauthorized use of copyrighted characters? Read on for the rest.
Wireless Networking

Flaw In GoPro Update Mechanism Reveals Users' Wi-Fi Passwords 26

Posted by timothy
from the oopsie dept.
An anonymous reader writes A vulnerability in the update mechanism for the wireless networks operated by GoPro cameras has allowed a security researcher to easily harvest over a 1,000 login credentials (including his own). The popular rugged, wearable cameras can be controlled via an app, but in order to do so the user has to connect to the camera's Wi-Fi network. Israel-based infosec expert Ilya Chernyakov discovered the flaw when he had to access the network of a friend's camera, but the friend forgot the login credentials.
Privacy

Supreme Court Gives Tacit Approval To Warrantless DNA Collection 117

Posted by timothy
from the welcome-to-gattica dept.
An anonymous reader writes On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review a case involving the conviction of a man based solely on the analysis of his "inadvertently shed" DNA. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) argues that this tacit approval of the government's practice of collecting anyone's DNA anywhere without a warrant will lead to a future in which people's DNA are "entered into and checked against DNA databases and used to conduct pervasive surveillance."
Microsoft

What Would Minecraft 2 Look Like Under Microsoft? 175

Posted by timothy
from the hypthetical-or-not dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft spent billions purchasing Mojang, the studio behind the game Minecraft, and while it's unlikely to start work on a sequel anytime soon, rather than continue development of the game, it's worth considering what a Minecraft 2 will look like. After all, as a public company with revenues to justify, it doesn't seem beyond unreasonable a few years down the line, especially since a Minecraft-like game was one of the stand-out tech demos shown for the software giant's HoloLens augmented reality headset. As the author points out, Microsoft will have to tread carefully, tackling issues like whether greater graphical fidelity is actually what players will want ever — and whether to continue to support Minecraft on PlayStation."
GUI

Why We Should Stop Hiding File-Name Extensions 434

Posted by timothy
from the text-rules dept.
An anonymous reader writes 14 years after the Anna Kournikova virus took advantage of users' ignorance about file-name extensions in order to wreak worldwide havoc, virus writers and hackers are still taking advantage of the tendency of popular consumer operating systems to hide file-name extensions: Windows users still need to activate extension visibility manually – even though email-transmitted viruses depend most on less savvy users who will never do this. Additionally applications on even the latest versions of Apple's OSX operating system still require the user to 'opt in' to including a file-name extension during an initial save. In looking at some of the eccentricities of the modern user experience, this article argues that it might be time to admit that users need to understand, embrace and responsibly use the only plain-text, obvious indicator of what a file actually is.
Graphics

Khronos Group Announces Vulkan To Compete Against DirectX 12 73

Posted by timothy
from the cross-platform-good dept.
Phopojijo writes The Khronos Group has announced the Vulkan API for compute and graphics. Its goal is to compete against DirectX 12. It has some interesting features, such as queuing to multiple GPUs and an LLVM-based bytecode for its shading language to remove the need for a compiler from the graphics drivers. Also, the API allows graphics card vendors to support Vulkan with drivers back to Windows XP "and beyond."
Censorship

Inside the North Korean Data Smuggling Movement 57

Posted by timothy
from the western-imperialists-violating-the-kim-family's-rights dept.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes A new Wired magazine story goes inside the North Korean rebel movement seeking to overthrow Kim Jong-un by smuggling USB drives into the country packed with foreign television and movies. As the story describes, one group has stashed USB drives in Chinese cargo trucks. Another has passed them over from tourist boats that meet with fishermen mid-river. Others arrange USB handoffs at the Chinese border in the middle of the night with walkie talkies, laser pointers, and bountiful bribes. Even Kim assassination comedy The Interview, which the North Korean government allegedly hacked Sony to prevent from being released, has made it into the country: Chinese traders' trucks carried 20 copies of the film across the border the day after Christmas, just two days after its online release.
Graphics

NVIDIA Fixes Old Compiz Bug 48

Posted by timothy
from the mayan-long-count dept.
jones_supa writes NVIDIA has fixed a long-standing issue in the Ubuntu Unity desktop by patching Compiz. When opening the window of a new application, it would go black or become transparent on NVIDIA hardware. There have been bug reports dating back to Ubuntu 12.10 times. The problem was caused by Compiz, which had some leftover code from a port. An NVIDIA developer posted on Launchpad and said the NVIDIA team has been looking at this issue, and they also proposed a patch. "Our interpretation of the specification is that creating two GLX pixmaps pointing at the same drawable is not allowed, because it can lead to poorly defined behavior if the properties of both GLX drawables don't match. Our driver prevents this, but Compiz appears to try to do this," wrote NVIDIA's Arthur Huillet. The Compiz patch has been accepted upstream.
Government

Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email At State Dept., Possibly Breaking Rules 427

Posted by Soulskill
from the may-have-also-used-personal-lungs-to-breathe dept.
HughPickens.com writes: The NY Times reports that Hillary Rodham Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct government business as secretary of state, according to State Department officials. She may have violated federal requirements that officials' correspondence be retained as part of the agency's record. Clinton did not have a government email address during her four-year tenure at the State Department. Her aides took no actions to have her personal emails preserved on department servers at the time, as required by the Federal Records Act. "It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario — short of nuclear winter — where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business," said attorney Jason R. Baron. A spokesman for Clinton defended her use of the personal email account and said she has been complying with the "letter and spirit of the rules."
Android

Google Backs Off Default Encryption on New Android Lollilop Devices 110

Posted by Soulskill
from the give-the-people-what-the-government-wants dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Although Google announced in September 2014 that Android 5.0 Lollipop would require full-disk encryption by default in new cell phones, Ars Technica has found otherwise in recently-released 2nd-gen Moto E and Galaxy S6. It turns out, according to the latest version of the Android Compatibility Definition document (PDF), full-disk encryption is currently only "very strongly recommended" in anticipation of mandatory encryption requirements in the future. The moral of the story is: don't be lazy — check that your full-disk encryption is actually enabled.