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posted by janrinok on Tuesday March 31, @01:36AM   Printer-friendly
from the game-on dept.

Eve Valkyrie is the spin off game of the popular MMO Eve, the difference between this and most other MMO's is that this game is going to be built with Virtual Reality (VR) in mind from the get go. With VR headsets not really main stream at all at the moment it is a bold strategy, but at the same time it holds a lot of intrigue and appeal to know more.

Read more at http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2015-03/27/eve-valkyrie-interview

posted by janrinok on Monday March 30, @11:35PM   Printer-friendly
from the 2+2=5 dept.

Washington Post's Fareed Zakaria writes:

If Americans are united in any conviction these days, it is that we urgently need to shift the country’s education toward the teaching of specific, technical skills. Every month, it seems, we hear about our children’s bad test scores in math and science — and about new initiatives from companies, universities or foundations to expand STEM courses (science, technology, engineering and math) and deemphasize the humanities. From President Obama on down, public officials have cautioned against pursuing degrees like art history, which are seen as expensive luxuries in today’s world. Republicans want to go several steps further and defund these kinds of majors. “Is it a vital interest of the state to have more anthropologists?” asked Florida’s Gov. Rick Scott. “I don’t think so.” America’s last bipartisan cause is this: A liberal education is irrelevant, and technical training is the new path forward. It is the only way, we are told, to ensure that Americans survive in an age defined by technology and shaped by global competition. The stakes could not be higher.

This dismissal of broad-based learning, however, comes from a fundamental misreading of the facts — and puts America on a dangerously narrow path for the future. The United States has led the world in economic dynamism, innovation and entrepreneurship thanks to exactly the kind of teaching we are now told to defenestrate. A broad general education helps foster critical thinking and creativity. Exposure to a variety of fields produces synergy and cross fertilization. Yes, science and technology are crucial components of this education, but so are English and philosophy. When unveiling a new edition of the iPad, Steve Jobs explained that “it’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough — that it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing.”

It's another installment in a running debate, but with reports that 1/3 of student loans in the United States are delinquent, perhaps it's worth revisiting now.

posted by janrinok on Monday March 30, @09:16PM   Printer-friendly
from the there-are-little-fibs-and-big-fibs dept.

An Anonymous Coward provides the following story:

A Guardian story from a week or two back shows that not all in the scientific community are as diligent or trustworthy in their research as would be hoped:

"It appeared to be one of archaeology's most sensational finds. The skull fragment discovered in a peat bog near Hamburg was more than 36,000 years old - and was the vital missing link between modern humans and Neanderthals. This, at least, is what Professor Reiner Protsch von Zieten - a distinguished, cigar-smoking German anthropologist - told his scientific colleagues, to global acclaim, after being invited to date the extremely rare skull.

However, the professor's 30-year-old academic career has now ended in disgrace after the revelation that he systematically falsified the dates on this and numerous other "stone age" relics."

"Anthropology is going to have to completely revise its picture of modern man between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago," said Thomas Terberger, the archaeologist who discovered the hoax. "Prof Protsch's work appeared to prove that anatomically modern humans and Neanderthals had co-existed, and perhaps even had children together. This now appears to be rubbish."

Damn it science.

posted by NotSanguine on Monday March 30, @07:53PM   Printer-friendly
from the NSA-HQ-incident-revealed dept.

CNN reports[Autoplay enabled] that:

Shortly before 9:00 AM today, a vehicle containing two individuals attempted an unauthorized entry at a National Security Agency gate," Jonathan Freed, NSA director of strategic communications, said in a statement.

Fox News is reporting[Autoplay enabled] that:

Two men dressed as women tried to ram a stolen car through the gate of the National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade with an SUV Monday morning, resulting in a shooting that left one person dead, according to authorities and sources familiar with the investigation.

The Washington Post provided further details:

Law enforcement officials familiar with the case said the two men in the vehicle were dressed as women and that they had earlier robbed another man of the SUV from a motel on Route 1 in Howard County. One of the officials, who spoke on the condition they not be named to discuss a pending case, said the incident began in Baltimore City on Sunday when the three met. The exact circumstances were still being sorted out by police. Several law enforcement officials said the trio spent the night at a Howard County motel.

[More after the break]

posted by CoolHand on Monday March 30, @07:20PM   Printer-friendly
from the everyone-wants-to-be-dan-rather dept.

Twitter has launched a new app, called Periscope, that can stream live video to anyone online:

By feeding live video through Twitter to anyone online, these apps eliminate the need to upload to YouTube or transfer to broadcasters like CNN to get a wide audience.

While social media has empowered citizen journalism for years, the use of live video could become a powerful tool for these reporters and change the way people get news.

"It's not just that you can upload your video, but you can upload it to the social network, which is vastly more powerful than the Web because of that network of relationships and the virality," said Jeff Howe, a Northeastern University professor who specializes in media innovation.

"We bring you these amazing shots live from the citizen camera in the East Village..." [BUFFERING]...[BUFFERING]...[BUFFERING]

posted by cmn32480 on Monday March 30, @06:03PM   Printer-friendly
from the there-are-no-secrets-from-the-government dept.

Yet another instance of using (abusing?) the blanket-term 'terrorism' comes from Europol's Rob Wainwright, through a BBC report:

"Tech firms should consider the impact sophisticated encryption software has on law enforcement", he said. "There is a significant capability gap that has to change if we're serious about ensuring the internet isn't abused and effectively enhancing the terrorist threat".

A spokesman for TechUK, the UK's technology trade association, said: "With the right resources and cooperation between the security agencies and technology companies, alongside a clear legal framework for that cooperation, we can ensure both national security and economic security are upheld".

Under the latest developments in the European Union driving it even further away from becoming a true federal state, i.e. Greece's denial of electing another "yes-men" government, Spain's upcoming elections and the possible election of a radical left government made from non-career politicians, UK's distancing itself from the EU, France's nationalistic party empowerment, Germany's internal turmoil and Iceland's withdrawal of their application for entering the EU (an event barely mentioned by mainstream media), there seems to be a rush to put pressure in signing away as many civil rights as possible, thus enhancing totalitarian-style control before "all left-hell breaks loose", something that Mr. Wainwright seems to be quite stressed about: "We have to make sure we reach the right balance by ensuring the fundamental principles of privacy are upheld so there's a lot of work for legislators and tech firms to do.", he highlights, tossing the ball to legislators.

Also mentioned in the article: how Apple's encryption, encrypted instant messaging apps and advocating surveillance are problems for law enforcement, all in the name of 'War on Terror'.

posted by CoolHand on Monday March 30, @04:25PM   Printer-friendly
from the straight-out-of-kingsman dept.

Spotted on phys.org is the story that 'exploding head syndrome' — a psychological condition in which sufferers are woken by sudden loud noises, or the sensation of an explosion inside their head, is more common in the young than previously thought.

Brian Sharpless, a Washington State University assistant professor and director of the university psychology clinic, found that nearly one in five—18 percent—of college students interviewed said they had experienced it at least once.
...
Some people are so put off by the experience that they don't even tell their spouse, he said."They may think they're going crazy and they don't know that a good chunk of the population has had the exact same thing," he said.
...
"But many people are at least relieved to get a diagnosis and learn that they aren't alone. "There's the possibility that just being able to recognize it and not be afraid of it can make it better," Sharpless said.

Medical Xpress has additional background on the condition.

posted by janrinok on Monday March 30, @03:05PM   Printer-friendly
from the “Freedom-is-the-right-of-all-sentient-beings.”-said-Optimus-Prime dept.

Spotted at Bored Panda is a photo gallery on a Chinese farmer and his son creating giant transformer statues from scrap metal:

The Transformers franchise is hugely successful in China, so Yu Zhilin, who is a farmer but has a background in fine arts, decided to start creating robot statues from spare car parts during his spare time. Three years later, he finished his first recycled sculpture with his son Lu Yingyun, and the statues only got bigger from there. Now his enormous Optimus Prime and Bumblebee sculptures, assembled in his makeshift workshop, have gone viral!

Originally Spotted at SlipTalk

posted by janrinok on Monday March 30, @01:43PM   Printer-friendly
from the Pete-Seeger-singing-"when-will-they-ever-learn?-when-will-they-ever-learn?" dept.

Alison Griswold writes that in an effort to improve its tanking image, SeaWorld launched a new advertising campaign this week to educate the public about its “leadership in the care of killer whales” and other work to protect whales in captivity and in the wild. As part of that head-on initiative, someone at SeaWorld decided to invite Twitter users to pose their questions to the company directly using the hashtag #AskSeaWorld. That was not a good idea as twitter users bashed Sea World relentlessly. "As easy as it is to make fun of SeaWorld here, the real question is why any company still thinks hosting an open Twitter forum could be good for public relations," writes Griswold. "So maybe SeaWorld’s social and PR folks just really have no idea what they’re doing. Even so, you’d think they’d have learned from the corporate failures before them."

Let’s review some of the times this has backfired, starting with the infamous McDonald’s #McDStories Twitter campaign of January 2012. Rather than prompting customers to share their heart-warming McDonald’s anecdotes, the hashtag gave critics a highly visible forum to share their top McDonald’s horror stories. MacDonalds pulled the campaign within two hours but they discovered that crowd-sourced campaigns are hard to control. Three years later the #McDStories hashtag is still gathering comments. "Twitter Q&As are a terrible idea.," concludes Griswold. "A well-meaning hashtag gives critics an easy way to assemble and voice their complaints in a public forum. Why companies still try them is a great mystery. Maybe they’ll all finally learn from SeaWorld and give this one horrible PR trick up for good."

posted by cmn32480 on Monday March 30, @12:04PM   Printer-friendly
from the can-we-get-this-on-all-the-pages dept.

Lily Hay Newman reports that when big news stories evolve into tragedies and people are flocking to read the latest bulletins online, many major newspapers have measures in place so there isn't a dancing Geico newt competing with dire news. The NYT confirmed that the site has a manual switch that can put individual articles in "sensitivity" mode. The settings seem to be either standard, "noads," or finally "tragedy," depending on the content of the story.

In the case of Germanwings Flight 4U 9525, the Times eventually upgraded to tragedy. "It’s interesting in part because it’s almost an acknowledgement that ads are invasive and uncomfortable," says Parker Higgins referring to the meta tag: meta property="ad_sensitivity" content="noads". "There are no Google results for the tag, so it looks like it hasn’t been documented," says Parker, "but it seems like a pretty low-tech way to keep possibly insensitive ads off a very sensitive story—an admirable effort." After all, the Internet is filled with lists of unfortunate ad placements, and the worst ones are probably upbeat ads intruding on solemn moments. "In these types of tragedy cases, it’s an editorial decision that we make," says a spokeswoman for CNN Digital.

posted by NotSanguine on Monday March 30, @10:37AM   Printer-friendly
from the Don't-you-look-at-my-bum! dept.

This story has been picked up by a number of media outlets, including Der Spiegel[German language article], The Verge, Huffington Post, The Week and Naked Security.

The Verge had this take on some of the details of the hack and the ensuing fall-out:

...over the last few weeks, a California-based computer engineer — we’ll call him Patrick — has pitted heterosexual male against heterosexual male. Patrick’s program identifies two men who "like" one of his bait profiles (the first used prominent vlogger Boxxy's image; the second used an acquaintance who had given Patrick consent) and matched them to each other. The suitors’ messages — some aggressive, others mundane, but all of them unabashedly flirtatious — are then relayed, back and forth, to one another through the dummy profile.

Tinder is notoriously vulnerable to hacks: in 2013, a loophole in the app could be harnessed to reveal users’ locations to within 100 feet. Last summer, Valleywag reported on a number of techies who tweaked the system to automatically "mass-like" every girl they come across.

Patrick was a Tinder user (in fact, it's where he met his current girlfriend) and says that female friends of his would often complain about the messages they received on Tinder. "The original idea was to throw that back into the face of the people doing it to see how they would react." Initially, he set out to build a Twitter bot that tweeted every first message a female friend received, but then he looked into Tinder’s API and found it had little safeguard from more extensive tweaks. "Tinder makes it surprisingly easy to bot their system. As long as you have a Facebook authentication token, you can behave as a robot as if you were a person."

I remember when people would do this to each other on Usenet in alt.soc.sex chat rooms. My buddy Dave would trek to the computer cluster on the main quad to do it when he was bored; he would put himself in stitches and occasionally return very, very disturbed.

posted by martyb on Monday March 30, @08:53AM   Printer-friendly
from the waiting-for-a-DNA-NDA dept.

The New York Times and the BBC are reporting on the largest, human whole-genome DNA sequencing project ever performed on a single population. The research results, entitled "Large-scale whole-genome sequencing of the Icelandic population" was published on March 25, 2015 in the journal Nature Genetics .

From The New York Times article:

Scientists in Iceland have produced an unprecedented snapshot of a nation’s genetic makeup, discovering a host of previously unknown gene mutations that may play roles in ailments as diverse as Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and gallstones.

[...]In a series of papers published on Wednesday in the journal Nature Genetics, researchers at Decode Genetics, an Icelandic genetics firm owned by Amgen, described sequencing the genomes — the complete DNA — of 2,636 Icelanders, the largest collection ever analyzed in a single human population.

With this trove of genetic information, the scientists were able to accurately infer the genomes of more than 100,000 other Icelanders, or almost a third of the entire country.

[More after the break.]

posted by martyb on Monday March 30, @07:12AM   Printer-friendly
from the small-additional-charge-for-a-virtual-schnoz dept.

According to a report in Ars Technica , Valve is offering the HTC Vive VR Developer Edition free to qualified developers:

With its Rift development kit program, Oculus has charged $300 to $350 to tens of thousands of developers (and doubtless some ultra-early-adopting consumers) who wanted to get their hands on early versions of the headset. Valve is going in a different direction with the Vive VR headset it's developing in conjunction with HTC, offering an early Developer Edition for free to qualified developers.
...
Approved developers will get a Developer Edition kit that "will be free, at least initially," Lombardi said. Those kits will start shipping later in the spring as part of an "ongoing effort" to get the development hardware out widely ahead of a planned 2015 consumer launch. The decision to release it for free is interesting given that HTC Connected Products Marketing Executive Director Jeff Gattis recently said consumers should expect "a slightly higher price point" for the final version of the hardware.

Also covered at Tom's Hardware and Hot Hardware.

posted by janrinok on Monday March 30, @06:47AM   Printer-friendly

[Editor's Note: I cannot find an estimate for the number of Puush.me users, and the malware was only distributed for a few hours, so the number of systems at risk of compromise might be very small. Nevertheless, one member of our community (the submitter) thought it prudent to bring this matter to our attention. For many of you - hopefully the majority of you - this is of little interest. Don't worry, the next story will be along shortly]

Puush is a popular screenshot, image and file sharing service, started in 2010 out of Perth, Australia.

On March 29th, between 18:51 and 21:41 UTC, a false software update was rolled out to puush users via the official update mechanism.

Details are still emerging via twitter, but the gist of it is that the fake update (listed as build r94 and only affecting Windows versions) contained some form of malware (suspected to be a password-siphoner). Puush have since rolled out a new version (build r100) which automatically removes the malware bundled with build r94, informing the user in the process, as well as directing users to the puush status page. Puush is advising users to change any passwords that may be stored locally (such as in Firefox/Chrome or mail clients) as a precautionary measure, and check that they are either running build r93 (unaffected) or r100 (patched).

posted by martyb on Monday March 30, @05:27AM   Printer-friendly
from the of-course-there-are-no-backups dept.

Anyone who follows American politics will have heard of Hillary Clinton's email server. Rather than using an official State Department address, she chose to use a private server for her official email. Federal law requires all official email to be archived on government servers. Armchair lawyers have pointed out that it doesn't require the use of government servers to send and receive the email, but the archival requirement is clear. This requirement was clearly violated in this case: in response to a subpoena, Hillary Clinton's private staff extracted emails from her private server and turned them over to the government. The contents of the server itself were never made available to the government, and now she has had the server erased:

Hillary Clinton wiped “clean” the private server housing emails from her tenure as secretary of state, the chairman of the House committee investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi said Friday.

“While it is not clear precisely when Secretary Clinton decided to permanently delete all emails from her server, it appears she made the decision after October 28, 2014, when the Department of State for the first time asked the Secretary to return her public record to the Department,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi, said in a statement.

As Popehat tweeted:

@Popehat
I ask you, who among us hasn't wiped a server clean after its contents were requested by subpoena?

I naively wonder why she isn't in jail, but that's just me. Comments and views from those interested in American politics?

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