Shrinking Waves May Save Antarctic Sea Ice

Slashdot - Thu, 29/05/2014 - 7:04am
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "It's a nagging thorn in the side of climatologists: Even though the world is warming, the average area of the sea ice around Antarctica is increasing. Climate models haven't explained this seeming contradiction to anyone's satisfaction—and climate change deniers tout that failure early and often. But a new paper suggests a possible explanation: Variability in the heights of ocean waves pounding into the sea ice may help control its advance and retreat."

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Categories: Science

SpaceX's Grasshopper: Reusable Rocket Prototype

Space.com - Thu, 29/05/2014 - 4:51am
Grasshopper was a reusable rocket prototype tested by the company SpaceX in preparation for more ambitious launches.
Categories: Science

Comcast-Time Warner Deal May Hinge On Low-Cost Internet Plan

Slashdot - Thu, 29/05/2014 - 4:28am
techpolicy (3586897) writes "Comcast Corp.'s proposed $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable Inc. has brought the issue of the digital divide and the federal government's failing policies to decrease it back onto center stage, according to an article by the Center for Public Integrity. Comcast has told the Federal Communications Commission that it will offer its discounted Internet program for low-income customers to residents living in Time Warner Cable's service areas — if the FCC approves the purchase. Comcast offered FCC the same deal in 2011 when it bought NBCUniversal. But the low-cost program, called Internet Essentials, has signed up only 12 percent of the 2.6 million families eligible for the service since it was launched nearly three years ago. While the FCC and other federal agencies have spent billions of dollars trying to provide broadband access and training programs to the poor to close the divide, so far the policies haven't worked much. The percentage difference between Americans earning below $30,000 who have an Internet connection in their home and those earning $75,000 or more who have an in-home connection has narrowed only 4 percentage points from 2009 to 2013. As the Comcast purchase moves through its regulatory approval process, the center reports that it may be time to revisit the policies that will get more poor Americans connected, especially because to function in society today you have to be online."

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Categories: Science

Iranian Spies Pose as Reporters to Target Lawmakers, Defense Contractors

Wired News - Thu, 29/05/2014 - 4:15am
Iranian spies appear to be engaged in their most elaborate and persistent effort yet to dupe lawmakers, journalists and defense contractors into revealing email addresses, network log-ins and other information that could be used to collect intelligence.






Categories: Science

Robots Will Pave the Way To Mars

Slashdot - Thu, 29/05/2014 - 2:05am
szotz (2505808) writes "There's a lot of skepticism swirling around NASA's plan to send humans to Mars in the 2030's, not to mention all those private missions. If we want to have sustainable (read: not bank-breaking) space exploration, the argument goes, there's no way we can do it the way we've been going to the moon and low-Earth orbit. We have to find a way to exploit space resources and cut down on the amount of stuff we need to launch from Earth. That's not a new idea. But this article in IEEE Spectrum suggests research on resource extraction and fabrication in low and zero gravity might actually be making progress...and that we could take these technologies quite far if we get our act together."

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Categories: Science

Billions of kg of CO2 could be saved by scrapping DVDs, research suggests

Science Daily - Thu, 29/05/2014 - 12:43am
A new study has shown that streaming can be much better for the environment, requiring less energy and emitting less carbon dioxide, than some traditional methods of DVD renting, buying and viewing.
Categories: Science

Breakthrough technology uncovers fingerprints on ATM bills and receipts

Science Daily - Thu, 29/05/2014 - 12:42am
New technology could help in the fight against theft and fraud – by identifying fingerprints on old receipts and ATM bills previously hidden from view. The technology uses a specially tailored UV light source to visualize fingerprints not possible to see otherwise on 'thermal paper' -- that is, the paper used for shop receipts and for bank statements from ATMs.
Categories: Science

Obesity rates climbing worldwide, most comprehensive global study to date shows

Science Daily - Thu, 29/05/2014 - 12:42am
Worldwide, there has been a startling increase in rates of obesity and overweight in both adults (28% increase) and children (up by 47%) in the past 33 years, with the number of overweight and obese people rising from 857 million in 1980 to 2.1 billion in 2013, according to a major new analysis. However, the rates vary widely throughout the world with more than half of the world’s 671 million obese individuals living in just ten countries—the USA, China and India, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Egypt, Germany , Pakistan, and Indonesia,
Categories: Science

Amazon Confirms Hachette Spat Is To "Get a Better Deal"

Slashdot - Thu, 29/05/2014 - 12:26am
tlhIngan (30335) writes "Last week we heard that Amazon was withdrawing Hachette books from its virtual shelves including allowing preorders of the new JK Rowling book. Amazon has responded to these allegations, and confirms that yes, they are purposefully preventing pre-orders and lowering stock in order to get a better deal from Hachette. Amazon recommends that in the meantime, customers either buy a used or new copy from their zShops or buy from a competitor. Amazon admits there is nothing wrong with Hachette's business dealings and that they are a generally good supplier." Here's Hachette's response to the Amazon statement.

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Categories: Science

Hunt Intensifies For Aliens On Kepler's Planets

Slashdot - Wed, 28/05/2014 - 11:44pm
astroengine (1577233) writes "Could ET be chatting with colleagues or robots on sister planets in its solar system? Maybe so, say scientists who last year launched a new type of Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, project to eavesdrop on aliens. Using data collected by NASA's Kepler space telescope, a team of scientists spent 36 hours listening in when planets in targeted solar systems lined up, relative to Earth's perspective, in hopes of detecting alien interplanetary radio signals. "We think the right strategy in SETI is a variety of strategies. It's really hard to predict what other civilizations might be doing," Dan Werthimer, director of SETI research at the University of California Berkeley, told Discovery News. So far the search hasn't turned up any artificial signals yet, but this marks a change in strategy for radio searches for ETI with Kepler data taking a focused lead."

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Categories: Science

Microsoft Demos Real-Time Translation Over Skype

Slashdot - Wed, 28/05/2014 - 10:59pm
Z80xxc! (1111479) writes "Today at the first annual Code Conference, Microsoft demonstrated its new real-time translation in Skype publicly for the first time. Gurdeep Pall, Microsoft's VP of Skype and Lync, compares the technology to Star Trek's Universal Translator. During the demonstration, Pall converses in English with a coworker in Germany who is speaking German. 'Skype Translator results from decades of work by the industry, years of work by our researchers, and now is being developed jointly by the Skype and Microsoft Translator teams. The demo showed near real-time audio translation from English to German and vice versa, combining Skype voice and IM technologies with Microsoft Translator, and neural network-based speech recognition.'"

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Categories: Science

Apple Finally Confirms It’s Buying Beats for $3 Billion

Wired News - Wed, 28/05/2014 - 10:49pm
Today, Apple officially revealed its plan to buy Beats Electronics for $3 billion, confirming the most poorly kept corporate secret of the year. The deal is Apple’s biggest acquisition ever.






Categories: Science

Microsoft’s Futuristic New Tool Translates Skype Calls in Real Time

Wired News - Wed, 28/05/2014 - 10:49pm
In the Hitchhiker Guide to the Galaxy books, characters from across the universe can communicate using something called the Babel Fish, a small creature that burrows itself into your ear and translates any given language by sending signals directly into your brain. Here on earth, we don’t have a Babel Fish. But, thanks to a […]






Categories: Science

How Samsung Plans to Unite the Next Wave of Health Wearables

Wired News - Wed, 28/05/2014 - 10:33pm
Samsung is launching a "reference fitness wearable" device called Simband, and a set of open APIs for developers. The company's ambition is to become the hub for the next generation of health-tracking software and devices.






Categories: Science

Apple Confirms Purchase of Beats For $3 Billion

Slashdot - Wed, 28/05/2014 - 10:15pm
SimonTheSoundMan writes: "Apple has confirmed it will buy Beats Electronics and Beats Music for $3 billion. Apple will make the purchase using $2.6 billion in cash and $400 million in stock. An important part of the acquisition for Apple is absorbing the Beats subscription streaming service, even though it only has about 110k users. The Beats brand will remain intact, and will continue to sell headphones. "

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Categories: Science

Large muskies lured by the moon: Study ties lunar cycles, fish behavior to angler success

Science Daily - Wed, 28/05/2014 - 10:02pm
The lunar cycle may synchronize with feeding activity, luring large muskies to take angler bait. Previous studies have suggested a relationship between the moon and fish behavior. To investigate this further, scientists analyzed angler catch records for evidence of an effect due to the lunar cycle and explored sources of its variation on anglers' catch.
Categories: Science

Meek male and fighting female scorpions

Science Daily - Wed, 28/05/2014 - 10:02pm
Threatened female bark scorpions sting quicker than males, likely to compensate for reduced ability to flee the threat. Differences between male and female scorpion bodies and behavior may result from sexual or environmental pressures. For example, female bark scorpions are pregnant 80% of the year, and as a result, may deal with threats differently than males.
Categories: Science

AMD and NVIDIA Trade Allegations, Denials Over Shady Tactics

Slashdot - Wed, 28/05/2014 - 9:55pm
crookedvulture writes "In an article published by Forbes earlier this week, AMD lashed out at NVIDIA's GameWorks program, which includes Watch Dogs and other popular titles, such as Call of Duty: Ghosts, Assassin's Creed IV, and Batman: Arkham Origins. Technical communications lead for PC graphics Robert Hallock alleged that GameWorks deliberately cripples performance on AMD hardware. He also claimed that developers are prevented from working with AMD on game optimizations. The Forbes piece was fairly incriminating, but it didn't include any commentary from the other side of the fence. NVIDIA has now responded to the allegations, and as one might expect, it denies them outright. Director of engineering for developer technology Cem Cebenoyan says NVIDIA has never barred developers from working with AMD. In fact, he claims that AMD's own developer relations efforts have prevented NVIDIA from getting its hands on early builds of some games. AMD has said in the past that it makes no effort to prevent developers from working with NVIDIA. So, we have another round of he said, she said, with gamers caught in the middle and performance in newer titles hanging in the balance."

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Categories: Science

Apple’s iPhone Manufacturer Morphs Into a Wireless Carrier

Wired News - Wed, 28/05/2014 - 9:47pm
Hon Hai Precision Industry–as Foxconn is officially known–isn’t content with simply building products for other companies to sell. It’s gearing up to become a telecommunications company as well.






Categories: Science

TrueCrypt Website Says To Switch To BitLocker

Slashdot - Wed, 28/05/2014 - 9:35pm
Several readers sent word that the website for TrueCrypt, the popular disk encryption system, says that development has ended, and Windows users should switch to BitLocker. A notice on the site reads, "WARNING: Using TrueCrypt is not secure as it may contain unfixed security issues. ... You should migrate any data encrypted by TrueCrypt to encrypted disks or virtual disk images supported on your platform." It includes a link to a new version of TrueCrypt, 7.2, and provides instructions on how to migrate to BitLocker. Many users are skeptical of a site defacement, and there's been no corroborating post or communication from the maintainers. However, the binaries appear to be signed with the same GPG key that the TrueCrypt Foundation used for previous releases. A source code diff of the two versions has been posted, and the new release appears to simply remove much of what the software was designed to do. It also warns users away from relying on it for security. (The people doing an audit of TrueCrypt had promised a 'big announcement' soon, but that was coincidental.) Security experts are warning to avoid the new version until the situation can be verified.

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Categories: Science