What an NYPD Spy Copter Reveals About the FBI’s Spy Planes

Wired News - Fri, 05/06/2015 - 11:00am

It should have surprised no one that the FBI has a secret fleet of spy planes it uses domestically to watch us, as the Associated Press reported this week. WIRED published a story about surveillance aircraft spotted flying in unusual patterns in California and Virginia back in 2006. And the Wall Street Journal reported last […]

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Categories: Science

Pluto's Outer Moons Orbit Chaotically, With Unpredictable Sunrises and Sunsets

Slashdot - Fri, 05/06/2015 - 9:28am
StartsWithABang writes: Few things in this world are as regular as sunrise and sunset. With the application of a little physics, you can predict exactly where and when the sun will rise or set from any location on Earth. Thus far, every world in our Solar System — planet, moon and asteroid — has had the exact same experience as us. But out in the Kuiper belt, Pluto is different. The only known world in the Solar System where a significant fraction of the system's mass is not in a single component, the outer moons of the Pluto-Charon system provide a unique environment to study how planets might behave in orbit around binary stars. The amazing takeaway? The rotational part of the orbit is chaotic; the worlds tumble, and hence sunrises and sunsets are no longer predictable.

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Categories: Science

Microsoft Lets EU Governments Inspect Source Code For Security Issues

Slashdot - Fri, 05/06/2015 - 7:01am
itwbennett writes: Microsoft has agreed to let European governments review the source code of its products to assure that they don't contain security backdoors, at a transparency center in Brussels. The second of its kind, the new center follows on the heels of the first built last June in Redmond, Washington. Part of Microsoft's Government Security Program, the company hopes the centers will create trust with governments that want to use Microsoft products. “Today’s opening in Brussels will give governments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa a convenient location to experience our commitment to transparency and delivering products and services that are secure by principle and by design,” said Matt Thomlinson, Vice President of Microsoft Security.

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Categories: Science

Intel Security Scares Ransomware Script Kiddie Out of Business

Slashdot - Fri, 05/06/2015 - 4:27am
tdog17 writes: A criminal coder wrote a kit for ransomware that made it easy for others to encrypt victims' hard drives and then extort money from them in order to get the decryption keys. But when Intel Security wrote about the kit — called Tox — the author got cold feet. Now he or she is trying to sell the whole business. “Plan A was to stay quiet and hidden. It's been funny, I felt alive, more than ever, but I don't want to be a criminal. The situation is also getting too hot for me to handle, and (sorry to ruin your expectations) I'm not a team of hard core hackers. I’m just a teenager student,” the coder wrote on the Tox malware site.

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Categories: Science

How Much JavaScript Do You Need To Know For an Entry-Level Job?

Slashdot - Fri, 05/06/2015 - 1:58am
Nerval's Lobster writes: JavaScript is a programming language that's easy to pick up, but extremely difficult to master. Even some of its beginner-level functions are decidedly not beginner-friendly. When someone lands their first JavaScript job, they're going to want to know as much as possible, if only so they can navigate through some of the language's trickier aspects without needing to ask for help. Developer Jeff Cogswell picked through JavaScript and came away with a couple of lists of what he thought were the minimum baseline of skills for JavaScript use in a work context. That list included understanding how to use built-in objects, functions , closures, and DOM (Document Object Model). While his points are comprehensive, not everyone will necessarily agree with what he lists (and doesn't list).

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Categories: Science

Researchers edit plant DNA using mechanism evolved in bacteria

Science Daily - Fri, 05/06/2015 - 12:35am
Researchers have used a gene editing tool known as CRISPR/Cas to modify the genome of a tree species for the first time. Their research opens the door to more rapid and reliable gene editing of plants. By mutating specific genes in Populus -- a genus of deciduous trees that includes poplar, aspen and cottonwood -- the researchers reduced the concentrations of two naturally occurring plant polymers.
Categories: Science

How 'perfect' materials begin to fail

Science Daily - Fri, 05/06/2015 - 12:35am
Until recently, making a defect-free material was impossible. Now that nanotechnological advances have made such materials a reality, however, researchers have shown how these defects first form on the road to failure.
Categories: Science

Minding the gap: City bats won't fly through bright spaces

Science Daily - Fri, 05/06/2015 - 12:35am
Researchers have discovered that bats living in a city are less likely to move from tree to tree in brightly lit areas. The bats studied in this experiment emerge in the evening from their roosts, often within residential housing areas, to feed on small insects in gardens, streams and other green spaces. To reach these feeding areas they often "commute" along lines of trees, which are thought to provide protection from predators and high winds.
Categories: Science

Critically endangered species should be left to breed in the wild

Science Daily - Fri, 05/06/2015 - 12:34am
Some near-extinct species should be encouraged to breed in the wild rather than in captivity, according to new research. The study looks at the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps).
Categories: Science

Women's contribution to healthcare constitutes nearly 5% of global GDP, but nearly half is unpaid and unrecognized

Science Daily - Fri, 05/06/2015 - 12:34am
A major new Commission on women and health has found that women are contributing around $3 trillion to global health care, but nearly half of this (2.35% of global GDP) is unpaid and unrecognized.
Categories: Science

Researchers Power a Security Camera With Wi-Fi Signals

Slashdot - Fri, 05/06/2015 - 12:24am
Kristine Lofgren writes: Nikola Tesla dreamed of a world full of free, wireless power. While he never accomplished that dream during his lifetime, researchers at the University of Washington are doing their part to make it a reality with a breakthrough in wi-fi powered electronics. Dubbed PoWi-Fi, the team led by Vamsi Talla were able to recharge and maintain consistent low-level power over a number of different devices at distances of up to 28 feet.

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Categories: Science

EPA Says No Evidence That Fracking Has "Widespread" Impact On Drinking Water

Slashdot - Thu, 04/06/2015 - 11:44pm
sycodon writes: A long-awaited EPA report on hydraulic fracturing concludes that the extraction process has "not led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources." The report also cautions of potential contamination of water supplies if safeguards are not maintained. "The study was undertaken over several years and we worked very closely with industry throughout the process," Tom Burke, EPA's science advisor and deputy assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Research and Development, said on a conference call hosted by the agency.

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Categories: Science

Yahoo Killing Maps, Pipes & More

Slashdot - Thu, 04/06/2015 - 11:00pm
alphadogg writes: Yahoo is shutting down its mapping service, Pipes and reducing the availability of Yahoo TV and Yahoo Music. The company has decided instead to focus on three major parts of its business: search, communications, and digital content. "We made this decision to better align resources to Yahoo's priorities as our business has evolved since we first launched Yahoo Maps eight years ago," says the company.

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Categories: Science

US Office of Personnel Management Hacked Again

Slashdot - Thu, 04/06/2015 - 10:17pm
tranquilidad writes: According to a story in the Washington Post, China hacked into the computer system of the United States' Office of Personnel Management last December. This was the second major intrusion in less than a year. Personally identifiable information of approximately 4 million individuals may have been compromised. The compromised information was related to security clearances and employee records. "The FBI is working with our interagency partners to investigate this matter. We take all potential threats to public and private sector systems seriously, and will continue to investigate and hold accountable those who pose a threat in cyberspace," an FBI spokesman said.

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Categories: Science

Governments of the World Agree: Encryption Must Die!

Slashdot - Thu, 04/06/2015 - 9:30pm
Lauren Weinstein writes: Finally! There's something that apparently virtually all governments around the world can actually agree upon. Unfortunately, it's on par conceptually with handing out hydrogen bombs as lottery prizes. If the drumbeat isn't actually coordinated, it might as well be. Around the world, in testimony before national legislatures and in countless interviews with media, government officials and their surrogates are proclaiming the immediate need to "do something" about encryption that law enforcement and other government agencies can't read on demand. Apropos: This IT World story (and the New York Times piece it draws from — also published today) about a newly disclosed NSA program through which the agency is "reportedly intercepting Internet communications from U.S. residents without getting court-ordered warrants."

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Categories: Science

Inflatable Garage Allows for On-the-Fly Jet Engine Repairs

Wired News - Thu, 04/06/2015 - 9:28pm

Airbus has developed an inflatable tent that can be carried anywhere and set up in just a few minutes, for doing repairs without needing to rent a hangar.

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Categories: Science

Applying research agendas to sport fishing

Science Daily - Thu, 04/06/2015 - 9:21pm
As one of the most highly prized game fish in the upper Midwest, muskellunge (also known as muskies) and northern pike help support a $20 billion sport fishing industry. Facing declines in natural reproduction, a team of scientists has developed a list of research and management needs to help keep the fish -- and the industry -- thriving.
Categories: Science

NASA Marks 50 Years of Mission Control, Plans Apollo Room Restoration

Space.com - Thu, 04/06/2015 - 9:12pm
NASA's Historic Mission Control in Houston is soon to be even more historic. The space agency's control room, which went active 50 years ago, is being restored to its Apollo-era state to ensure the room is around for many generations to come.
Categories: Science

Startup Says It’s the First to Make Synthetic Spider Silk

Wired News - Thu, 04/06/2015 - 8:56pm

After five years of quiet work, Bolt Threads claims it has finally cracked the problem of mass-producing spider silk for everyday use.

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Categories: Science

The Bizarre Instruments That Make Hannibal Sound So Creepy

Wired News - Thu, 04/06/2015 - 8:53pm

With the show's third season starting tonight, composer Brian Reitzell was kind enough to show off a few of the more peculiar selections from his massive collection.

The post The Bizarre Instruments That Make Hannibal Sound So Creepy appeared first on WIRED.









Categories: Science