Walt Mossberg Is Retiring

Slashdot - Fri, 07/04/2017 - 11:50pm
Walt Mossberg, a well-respected and long-time tech journalist, announced via The Verge that he will be retiring in June of this year. In his announcement post, he starts by reflecting on where it all began: It was a June day when I began my career as a national journalist. I stepped into the Detroit Bureau of The Wall Street Journal and started on what would be a long, varied, rewarding career. I was 23 years old, and the year was 1970. That's not a typo. So it seems fitting to me that I'll be retiring this coming June, almost exactly 47 years later. I'll be hanging it up shortly after the 2017 edition of the Code Conference, a wonderful event I co-founded in 2003 and which I could never have imagined back then in Detroit. I didn't make this decision lightly or hastily or under pressure. It emerged from months of thought and months of talks with my wise wife, my family, and close friends. It wasn't prompted by my employer or by some dire health diagnosis. It just seems like the right time to step away. I'm ready for something new.

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Categories: Science

Microsoft's Surface Pro 5 Said To Move To Intel Kaby Lake Processors

Slashdot - Fri, 07/04/2017 - 11:20pm
Windows watcher Paul Thurrott has revealed the first credible details about Microsoft's Surface Pro 5. TechCrunch reports: The Surface Pro 5 will have the same power connector currently used on the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book, which is a long, thin magnetic jack. The upcoming device will also use Intel's Kaby Lake processors, and it makes perfect sense that the company would want to jump to the latest and greatest chips in its new generation hardware. Other details, including price, the use of USB-C, and basically anything regarding size and hardware design aren't yet known, though Thurrott reports the changes to the Pro 5 won't be a "dramatic" departure from the existing generation.

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Categories: Science

WikiLeaks Reveals Grasshopper, the CIA's Windows Hacking Tool

Slashdot - Fri, 07/04/2017 - 10:40pm
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Next Web: In case you haven't had your dose of paranoia fuel today, WikiLeaks released new information concerning a CIA malware program called "Grasshopper," that specifically targets Windows. The Grasshopper framework was (is?) allegedly used by the CIA to make custom malware payloads. According to the user guide: "Grasshopper is a software tool used to build custom installers for target computers running Microsoft Windows operating systems." Grasshopper is designed to detect the OS and protection on any Windows computer on which it's deployed, and it can escape detection by anti-malware software. If that was enough for you to put your computer in stasis, brace yourself for a doozy: Grasshopper reinstalls itself every 22 hours, even if you have Windows Update disabled. As if this wasn't alarming enough, the Grasshopper user guide even states upfront that Grasshopper uses bits from a toolkit taken from Russian organized crime.

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Categories: Science

Canonical Founder Talks About Ubuntu Desktop Switching From Unity To GNOME, And Focus On Cloud

Slashdot - Fri, 07/04/2017 - 10:00pm
Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth on Friday talked about the move to switch Ubuntu's desktop user interface from Unity to GNOME, and putting a stop to development of Ubuntu software for phones and tablet: I would like to thank all of you for your spirit and intellect and energy in the Unity8 adventure. [...] Many elements of the code in the Ubuntu Phone project continue -- snaps grew out of our desire to ship apps reliably and efficiently and securely, the unity8 code itself will continue to be useful for UBports and other projects. And the ideas that we have pushed for are now spreading too. Finally, I should celebrate that Ubuntu consists of so many overlapping visions of personal computing, that we have the ability to move quickly to support the Ubuntu GNOME community with all the resources of Canonical to focus on stability, upgrades, integration and experience. That's only possible because of the diversity of shells in the Ubuntu family, and I am proud of all of our work across that full range.

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Categories: Science

Senate Confirms Neil Gorsuch To Supreme Court

Slashdot - Fri, 07/04/2017 - 9:20pm
halfEvilTech quotes a report from Washington Post: The U.S. Senate confirmed Neil M. Gorsuch to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday. On a vote of 54 to 45, senators confirmed Gorsuch, 49, a Denver-based judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit. He will become the 113th person to serve on the Supreme Court and is scheduled to be sworn in Monday. Gorsuch's confirmation was the result of a rule change in the Senate. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell used the power of his position to change the rules of the Senate to lower the threshold on Supreme Court nominations to end debate from 60 to 51 votes. Therefore, "all presidential nominees for executive branch positions and the federal courts need only a simple majority vote to be confirmed by senators," reports Washington Post. It is unclear as to what exactly Gorsuch's confirmation means for the tech industry. However, it is certain that Gorsuch will "face cases that demand a solid command of the complex issues digital technology raises, from copyright and privacy to intellectual property rights and data storage," writes Issie Lapowsky via Wired.

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Categories: Science

Microsoft Formally Bans Emulators On Xbox, Windows 10 Download Shops

Slashdot - Fri, 07/04/2017 - 8:40pm
Microsoft is officially banning emulators from Windows Store. The company has updated the Windows Store policy to announce the changes. The new rules bar any applications that emulate pre-existing game systems, resulting in the removal of a popular program that supported games from Nintendo and Sega and other consoles. From a report on ArsTechnica: An affected developer was notified of the change on Tuesday when its product, Universal Emulator, was delisted from the Windows Store. While no proof of a letter or notice from Microsoft was published, the developers at NESBox linked to relevant changes in the Windows Store application rules, dated March 29, which now include this line: "Apps that emulate a game system are not allowed on any device family." This list of general Windows Store rules, written for developers, received a massive update to its "Gaming and Xbox" requirements; these used to contain only one sentence, and it referred hopeful Windows Store game developers to the ID@Xbox program. That existing program requires pre-approval by Microsoft, but developers will soon be able to publish their games directly to both Xbox and Windows 10 marketplaces by paying a one-time fee of $100 or less as part of the Xbox Live Creators Program.

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Categories: Science

Scientists watch a molecule protect itself from radiation damage

Science Daily - Fri, 07/04/2017 - 8:03pm
When DNA is hit with ultraviolet light, it can lose excess energy from radiation by ejecting the core of a hydrogen atom — a single proton — to keep other chemical bonds in the system from breaking. To gain insight into this process, researchers used X-ray laser pulses from the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to investigate how energy from light transforms a relatively simple molecule, 2-thiopyridone.
Categories: Science

How some chickens got striped feathers

Science Daily - Fri, 07/04/2017 - 8:02pm
Birds show an amazing diversity in plumage color and patterning. But what are the genetic mechanisms creating such patterns? Researchers now report that two independent mutations are required to explain the development of the sex-linked barring pattern in chicken. Both mutations affect the function of CDKN2A, a tumor suppressor gene associated with melanoma in humans.
Categories: Science

400 million years of a stable relationship: Molecular basis of balance in AM symbiosis

Science Daily - Fri, 07/04/2017 - 8:01pm
Researchers have identified a transcriptional program that drives arbuscule degeneration during AM symbiosis. This regulation of arbuscule lifespan has likely contributed to the 400MY stability of the symbiosis by preventing the persistence of fungal cheaters.
Categories: Science

New medication significantly decreases involuntary movement

Science Daily - Fri, 07/04/2017 - 8:01pm
Once daily valbenazine significantly reduces involuntary movements such as lip smacking, tongue protrusions and excessive eye blinking for patients with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and mood disorder.
Categories: Science

GNOME Dev Schaller Assures Ubuntu Users the Move To Step Away From Unity Will Bring Consistency Across Linux Distros

Slashdot - Fri, 07/04/2017 - 8:00pm
Earlier this week, Canonical announced that Ubuntu will be ditching Unity as the default user interface on desktops to go back to GNOME next year. The company also said that it will be ending development of Ubuntu software for phones and tablets, in what is a push to focus on cloud. In a blog post, Christian Schaller, a developer on Fedora and GNOME (and Senior Software Engineering Manager at Red Hat), offered some assurance to the community that this is the right move in the grand scheme of things. He writes on an official blog post: We look forward to keep working with great Canonical and Ubuntu people like Allison Lortie and Robert Ancell on projects of shared interest around GNOME, Wayland and hopefully Flatpak. It is worth mentioning that even as we [have] been competing with Unity and Ubuntu, we have also been collaborating with them, most recently on [the] integration of features they wanted from GNOME Software such as user reviews. Of course now sharing a bigger set of technologies collaboration will be even easier. I am personally happy to see this convergence of efforts happening because I have -- for a long time -- felt that the general level of investment in the Linux desktop has not been great enough to justify the plethora of Linux desktops out there. Now having reached a position where Canonical, Endless, Red Hat and Suse again share one desktop technology stack and along with consulting companies such as Centricular, CodeThink, Collabora and Igalia helping push parts of the stack forward, we are at least all pulling in the same direction. This change should also make life easier for ISV who now have a more clear target if they want to try to integrate their UI with the Linux desktop as 'the linux desktop' becomes a more meaningful term with this change.

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Categories: Science

NYC Poised to Ban Firms From Asking Job Candidates About Pay

Slashdot - Fri, 07/04/2017 - 7:20pm
In a vote this week, the New York City approved legislation that will ban employers from asking job applicants about what they make in their current or past job and could have far-reaching consequences beyond the city as employers try to standardize their practices. From a report: "This bill will go a long way in addressing wage disparities women -- and particularly women of color -- face," said Public Advocate Letitia James, who sponsored the measure. White women in New York earn on average 84 percent of what white men earn, while Asian women earn 63 percent, black women earn 55 percent and Hispanic women just 46 percent, according to a report from the advocate's office, based on U.S. Census data. Asking about pay in a job interview hurts women who may start from a lower level than male candidates -- an effect that compounds over time. "It perpetuates discrimination," James said. "And it has an effect on their pensions as well."

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Categories: Science

Smell helps primates flee parasites

Science Daily - Fri, 07/04/2017 - 6:56pm
Mandrills use their sense of smell to avoid contamination by intestinal protozoans through contact with infected members of their group, researchers have discovered. Their work shows that parasites shape the social behavior of these primates, leading them to develop a strategy of parasite avoidance through smell.
Categories: Science

The Trump Administration No Longer Wants Twitter To Reveal the Owner of an Anti-Trump Account

Slashdot - Fri, 07/04/2017 - 6:40pm
From a report on Recode: The Trump administration informed Twitter on Friday that it would withdraw its demand that the social media company unmask an account critical of the president -- a move that prompted Twitter to drop its lawsuit. On Thursday, Twitter revealed that U.S. customs agents filed a legal order in a bid to get the company to reveal who is behind @ALT_USCIS -- a so-called "alt-agency" account that has been taking aim at Trump, his immigration policy and the inner workings of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

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Categories: Science

Volcanic arcs form by deep melting of rock mixtures

Science Daily - Fri, 07/04/2017 - 6:33pm
A new study changes our understanding of how volcanic arc lavas are formed, and may have implications for the study of earthquakes and the risks of volcanic eruption.
Categories: Science

'Nesting doll' minerals offer clues to Earth's mantle dynamics

Science Daily - Fri, 07/04/2017 - 6:33pm
Recovered minerals that originated in the deep mantle can give scientists a rare glimpse into the dynamic processes occurring deep inside of the Earth and into the history of the planet's mantle layer. A team of scientists has discovered that a rare sample of the mineral majorite originated at least 235 miles below Earth's surface.
Categories: Science

The iPhone 7 Has Arbitrary Software Locks That Prevent Repair

Slashdot - Fri, 07/04/2017 - 6:00pm
Jason Koebler, reporting for Motherboard: Apple has taken new and extreme measures to make the iPhone unrepairable. The company is now using software locks to prevent independent repair of specific parts of the phone. Specifically, the home buttons of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are not user replaceable, raising questions about both the future repairability of Apple products and the future of the thriving independent repair industry. The iPhone 7 home button will only work with the original home button that it was shipped with; if it breaks and needs to be replaced, a new one will only work if it is "recalibrated" in an Apple Store.

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Categories: Science

Financial math may help build a better HIV vaccine

Science Daily - Fri, 07/04/2017 - 5:32pm
Using computational tools inspired by financial math models developed to predict changes in stock prices, researchers were able to accurately predict how different properties of the HIV surface protein (Env) evolved in the population of Iowa over the course of 30 years. The ability to predict such changes by testing a small number of patients could potentially allow tailoring of vaccines to the specific forms of HIV present in different populations worldwide.
Categories: Science

Dramatic stellar fireworks of star birth

Science Daily - Fri, 07/04/2017 - 5:27pm
Stellar explosions are most often associated with supernovae, the spectacular deaths of stars. But new observations provide insights into explosions at the other end of the stellar life cycle, star birth. Astronomers captured these dramatic images as they explored the firework-like debris from the birth of a group of massive stars, demonstrating that star formation can be a violent and explosive process too.
Categories: Science

Why did we see 'the dress' differently? The answer lies in the shadows, new research finds

Science Daily - Fri, 07/04/2017 - 5:27pm
When 'the dress' went viral in 2015, millions were divided on its true colors: gold and white or black and blue? In a new study, an neuroscientist concludes that these differences in perception are due to our assumptions about how the dress was illuminated.
Categories: Science