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Funding Goal
For period:
   2017-01-01 to 2017-06-30.
Base Goal: $3000.00
Progress So Far: $3000.00
Stretch Goal: $2000.00
Progress So Far:
Approximately: $427.70

Covers the period:
  2017-01-01 00:00:00 ..
  2017-05-25 10:11:55 UTC
  (SPIDs: [586..702]) --martyb

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How many natural languages do you know?

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[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:78 | Votes:260

posted by Fnord666 on Sunday May 28, @10:42AM   Printer-friendly
from the masochism-redefined dept.

There will always be, shall we say, driven people who want to connect ancient computer hardware to something more modern. Their Frankenstein's monster-like creations are amusing and amazing and slightly appalling. Witness: The TRS-80 Model 100!

In case you're not familiar with it or perhaps have confused it in some way with the slightly more famous TRS-80 desktop, the TRS-80 Model 100 (affectionately known among retro-computing buffs as the "T100") is the Radio Shack-branded version of an early "laptop" computer developed by Kyocera and Microsoft. It was the last system for which Bill Gates wrote a significant amount of code. As we reported in our initial hands-on tour of the Model 100, he considered it his favorite machine ever. (Sadly, Gates was unavailable to take this trip with us down memory lane.)

The machine has some nostalgic significance to me as well—I filed one of my first assignments as a technology journalist with a Model 100, connecting to MCI Mail over dial-up in a phone booth using acoustic couplers. At the time, the machine was a reporter's dream: 20 hours or more of life on four AA batteries plus built-in text editing, address book, calendar, and communications applications burned into an onboard ROM chip. It was easy to overlook the fact that even the top-end Model 100 only had 24 kilobytes of RAM. Literally any modern device surpasses that figure.

My current Model 100 came with a bit of a handicap; it didn't include the AC power supply, the original cables, or the cassette drive used to store and retrieve programs. The documentation was a photocopied, ring-bound duplicate for NEC's version of the same system, so there were a few minor but significant differences. And while many current Model 100 enthusiasts have upgraded the ROM of their systems to extend their capabilities, this one came with the stock ROM from 1984.

To date, I have a well-documented history of trying to drag 1980s technology into the 21st Century. I wasn't going to let a little thing like "no possible way of loading a TCP/IP stack" get in my way.

Original Submission

posted by charon on Sunday May 28, @09:11AM   Printer-friendly
from the chaos-is-always-one-crash-away dept.

Serious problems with British Airways' IT systems have led to thousands of passengers having their plans disrupted, after all flights from Heathrow and Gatwick were cancelled.

Passengers described "chaotic" scenes at the airports, with some criticising BA for a lack of information.

The airline has apologised, and told passengers not to come to the airport.

BA chief executive Alex Cruz said: "We believe the root cause was a power supply issue."

In a video statement released via Twitter, he added: "I am really sorry we don't have better news as yet, but I can assure you our teams are working as hard as they can to resolve these issues."

Mr Cruz said there was no evidence the computer problems were the result of a cyber attack.

-- submitted from IRC

Original Submission

posted by charon on Sunday May 28, @07:34AM   Printer-friendly
from the worse-than-useless dept.

Researchers from the University of Seville have published the study "To take or not to take the laptop or tablet to classes, that is the question", which has been selected for publication by the internationally recognised review Computers in Human Behavior, which deals with the social implications of new technology. In the article, the socio-economic factors that determine the use of laptops and tablets in university classrooms in Seville are analysed, as well as the factors that limit their use. It also explains the possible Trojan horse effect that inappropriate use of such devices might have, especially tablets, on a lack of academic engagement.

The study, carried out by the researchers José Ignacio Castillo Manzano, Mercedes Castro Nuño, Lourdes López Valpuesta, Teresa Sanz Díaz and Rocío Yñiguez Ovando, concludes that the profile of the laptop user in the classroom is different from that of the tablet user. In the first case, maturity takes precedence, that is to say, they are students who have experience in the use of laptops in pre-university education or who have been at the university for several years: as well as having different socio-economic characteristics like living away from their parents, without having any family member to look after. For their part, tablet users are usually female, they live with their parents and they have just left school.
For the authors, the high correlation between student tablet use and greater activity on social networks is worrying. For the teacher José Ignacio Castillo, these devices, especially the tablets, "are a double-edged sword, and, as other studies have also highlighted, they can be the Trojan horse in which online entertainment invades the classroom in a massive way. It would be justifiable to evaluate limiting access to university Wi-Fi for contents that have little or no academic value, at least during class hours, if we don't want the utopia to become a dystopia".

The study also showed that there are no intellectual or technical barriers to the use of these devices in a generation of clearly digital natives, so their use is not linked to the students' technical knowledge, nor even to the marks they obtained at school.

For Castillo, according to the demands stated by the students in the study, the construction of this new paradigm demands an active role on the part of universities, improving both the physical infrastructure, especially the number of plug sockets in the classrooms, and the virtual infrastructure, especially the quality of the Wi-Fi connection. At the same time, the involvement of teachers has to be encouraged, by financing support programmes for teaching innovation, so that it is easier for teachers to encourage greater use of mobile devices in the way they teach. According to Castillo, the results of the study clearly show that the students want to get greater academic benefits from their devices in the classroom, to compensate not just for the economic investment that they have made in their laptop or tablet, but also for the personal cost of carrying them around every day.

Do laptops and tablets in the lecture hall do anything but distract students from the lesson?

Original Submission

posted by charon on Sunday May 28, @05:57AM   Printer-friendly
from the where-there's-a-whip-there's-a-way dept.

Ad blockers, our last hope against the onslaught of malvertising campaigns, appear to have fallen, as today, Malwarebytes published new research detailing a malvertising campaign that successfully bypasses ad blockers to deliver their malicious payload.

This malvertising campaign is named RoughTed based on the initial malicious domain at which it was found back in March 2017, but Jérôme Segura, the Malwarebytes security researcher who came across it, says there are clues to show that RoughTed has been active for over a year.

The campaign is very complex and well designed (from a crook's standpoint), as it leverages multiple tricks of the trade, most of which have allowed it to grow undetected in the shadows for so much time.

The word that describes RoughTed the best is "diversity." The operators of this malvertising campaign not only feature traffic from different types of sources, but also include different user fingerprinting techniques, and very different malicious payloads.

Source: BleepingComputer. Segura's original blog posting and analysis.

Original Submission

posted by n1 on Sunday May 28, @04:19AM   Printer-friendly
from the godzilla dept.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) relied on faulty analysis to justify its refusal to adopt a critical measure for protecting Americans from the occurrence of a catastrophic nuclear-waste fire at any one of dozens of reactor sites around the country, according to an article in the May 26 issue of Science magazine. Catastrophic consequences, which could be triggered by a large earthquake or a terrorist attack, could be largely avoided by regulatory measures that the NRC refuses to implement. Using a biased regulatory analysis, the agency excluded the possibility of an act of terrorism as well as the potential for damage from a fire beyond 50 miles of a plant.

[...] "The NRC has been pressured by the nuclear industry, directly and through Congress, to low-ball the potential consequences of a fire because of concerns that increased costs could result in shutting down more nuclear power plants," said paper co-author Frank von Hippel, a senior research physicist at Princeton's Program on Science and Global Security (SGS), based at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. "Unfortunately, if there is no public outcry about this dangerous situation, the NRC will continue to bend to the industry's wishes."

[...] The NRC analysis found that a fire in a spent-fuel pool at an average nuclear reactor site would cause $125 billion in damages. After correcting for errors and omissions, the researchers found that millions of residents in surrounding communities would have to relocate for years, resulting in total damages of $2 trillion—nearly 20 times the NRC's result. Considering the nuclear industry is only legally liable for $13.6 billion, thanks to the Price Anderson Act of 1957, U.S. taxpayers would have to cover the remaining costs.

[...] "In far too many instances, the NRC has used flawed analysis to justify inaction, leaving millions of Americans at risk of a radiological release that could contaminate their homes and destroy their livelihoods," said Lyman. "It is time for the NRC to employ sound science and common-sense policy judgments in its decision-making process."


Nuclear safety regulation in the post-Fukushima era (Science 26 May 2017: Vol. 356, Issue 6340, pp. 808-809 DOI: 10.1126/science.aal4890)

Original Submission

posted by n1 on Sunday May 28, @02:32AM   Printer-friendly
from the clever-girl dept.

It's the worst nightmare of anyone who suffers from ophidiophobia. According to a new study, snakes are not the solitary hunters and eaters we perceive them to be. In fact, some of the slithery reptiles coordinate their missions to increase their success rate.

For the study, Vladimir Dinets, a research assistant professor of psychology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, observed the Cuban boa — the island nation's largest native terrestrial predator — hunting for food in bat caves.

Source: Time

The study, 'Coordinated Hunting by Cuban Boas', was published in the journal Animal Behavior and Cognition. [PDF]

Original Submission

posted by n1 on Sunday May 28, @12:38AM   Printer-friendly
from the thanks-for-the-memories dept.

Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard

Who doesn't love a good deal?

If you do, it's time to head on over to your local RadioShack. The iconic retailer is now selling the last of its remaining office supplies as part of a liquidation process brought by a bankruptcy filed in March, and everything must go.

RadioShack is peddling pretty much everything it still owns, including some very questionable items like these waterlogged clipboards (for only 50 cents!) and a giant 50 gallon trash can that frankly has no business being anywhere except for a suburban mall. Still, it's super cheap, so why not pick one up if you have the space for it?

Source: Gizmodo

Original Submission

posted by CoolHand on Saturday May 27, @10:54PM   Printer-friendly
from the you-bet-your-life dept.

Physicists and mathematicians work with probability and predicting the behaviour of systems all the time, and it was perhaps inevitable that some of them would try to use that knowledge to beat the odds at casinos. Paul Halpern has an article where he tells the stories of several famous mathematicians and physicists who did just that. Physics graduate student Albert Hibbs (who would later on co-author with Richard Feynman Quantum Mechanics and Path Integrals and become the mission announcer at JPL), and medical student Roy Walford, did precisely that in 1947, studying the properties of roulette wheels for biases they could exploit.

Early wheels were cruder than today's and sometimes had defects. Such flaws, the students realized, offered the key to successful prediction. By studying the mechanical idiosyncrasies of various machines, they developed predictive models, carefully placed bets, and manage to win thousands of dollars. They used much of their earnings to buy a boat and sail around the world.

Later, Edward Thorp, hearing of Hibbs and Walford's exploits tried to do the same thing himself. By then the casinos had fixed the defects that allowed those two to beat the odds, so a new strategy needed to be employed. He made the acquaintance of Claude Shannon, and in 1961, they developed what became the world's first wearable computer... for cheating at roulette.

By 1961, Thorp and Shannon had built and tested the world's first wearable computer: it was merely the size of a cigarette pack and able to fit into the bottom of a specially-designed shoe. Toe switches would activate the computer once the wheel and ball were set into motion, collecting timing data for both. Once the computer calculated the most likely result, it would transmit that value as musical tones to a tiny speaker lodged in an earpiece. The wires were camouflaged as much as possible.

Original Submission

posted by CoolHand on Saturday May 27, @09:07PM   Printer-friendly
from the news-disruption dept.

What if I told you that, contrary to the alarming headlines and eye-catching infographics you may have seen ricocheting around social media, new technologies aren't shaking up the labor market very much by historical standards? You might think I was as loopy as a climate-change denier and suggest that I open my eyes to all the taxi drivers being displaced by Uber, the robots taking over factories, and artificial intelligence doing some of the work lawyers and doctors used to do. Surely, we are in uncharted territory, right?

Right, but not in the way you think. If you study the US labor market from the Civil War era to present, you discover that we are in a period of unprecedented calm – with comparatively few jobs shifting between occupations – and that is a bad sign. In fact, this low level of "churn" is a reflection of too little, not too much technological innovation: Lack of disruption is a marker of our historically low productivity growth, which is slowing improvement in people's living standards.

A new report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) examines this trend in detail using large sets of US Census data that researchers at the Minnesota Population Center have curated to harmonize occupational classifications over long periods. ITIF's analysis quantifies the growth or contraction of individual occupations, decade by decade, relative to overall job growth, and it assesses how much of that job churn – whether growth or contraction – is attributable to technological advances. The report concludes that, rather than increasing, the rate of occupational churn in recent years has been the lowest in American history – and only about one-third or one-quarter of the rate we saw in the 1960s, depending on how you measure contracting occupations.

[...] Aside from being methodologically suspect and, as ITIF shows, ahistorical, this false alarmism is politically dangerous, because it feeds the notion that we should pump the breaks on technological progress, avoid risk, and maintain the status quo – a foolish formula that would lock in economic stagnation and ossify living standards. Policymakers certainly can and should do more to improve labor-market transitions for workers who lose their jobs. But if there is any risk for the near future, it is that technological change and productivity growth will be too slow, not too fast.

So, let's all take a deep breath and calm down. Labor market disruption is not abnormally high; it's at an all-time low, and predictions that human labor is just a few more tech "unicorns" away from redundancy are vastly overstated, as they always have been.

IOW, it's all in your imagination.

Original Submission

posted by CoolHand on Saturday May 27, @07:24PM   Printer-friendly
from the knowing-where-the-parties-are dept.

45,000 years ago, in an area that is now part of Ethiopia, humans found a roomy cave at the base of a limestone cliff and turned it into a special kind of workshop. Inside, they built up a cache of over 40 kilograms of reddish stones high in iron oxide. Using a variety of tools, they ground the stones into different colored powders: deep reds, glowing yellows, rose grays. Then they treated the powder by heating it or mixing it with other ingredients to create the world's first paint. For at least 4,500 years, people returned to this cave, known today as Porc-Epic, covering its walls in symbols and inking their bodies and clothes. Some anthropologists call it the first artist's workshop.

Now, a new study in PLoS One suggests that the cave offers us a new way to understand cultural continuity in the Middle Stone Age, when humans were first becoming sophisticated toolmakers and artisans. Paleoscientists Daniela Eugenia Rosso, Francesco d'Errico, and Alain Queffelec have sorted through the 4,213 pieces of ochre found in the cave, analyzing the layers of history they represent. They argue that Porc-Epic is a rare continuous record of how humans pass on knowledge and rituals across dozens of generations.

4,500 years is a long time for continuous use of a single site.

Original Submission

posted by n1 on Saturday May 27, @05:35PM   Printer-friendly
from the madame,-you-have-suffered-an-emotional-shock dept.

The Dubai police have a new officer, a life-sized robot one [...]

He has a large touch screen and can be used for paying fines and for reporting incidents of concern. [...]

"This is the official launch of our first Robocop," said Brig Khalid Al Razooqi, Dubai Police director general of smart services, according to the i. "Now most people visit police stations or customer service, but with this tool we can reach the public 24/7 and it won't ask for any sick leave or maternity leave."

Source: The Inquirer

Previous stories:
California Police use a Robot to Take Away a Suspect's Gun
Sniper Attack in Dallas: 5 Cops Dead; 6 More Wounded

Original Submission

posted by n1 on Saturday May 27, @04:07PM   Printer-friendly

NVMe is a logical device interface specification for accessing non-volatile storage media attached via a PCI Express bus. The NVMe 1.3 specification has been published, and it introduces several new features:

As with previous updates to the standard, most of the new features are optional but will probably see widespread adoption in their relevant market segments over the next few years. Several of the new NVMe features are based on existing features of other storage interfaces and protocol such as eMMC and ATA. Here are some of the most interesting new features:

Device Self Tests
Boot Partitions
Namespace Optimal IO Boundary
Directives and Streams
Non-Operational Power State Permissive Mode
Host Controlled Thermal Management

Original Submission

posted by n1 on Saturday May 27, @02:34PM   Printer-friendly
from the what's-that-in-football-fields? dept.

Scientists have come up with one more reason to be amazed by Tyrannosaurus rex. When the huge carnivorous dinosaur took a bite, it did so with an awe-inspiring force equal to the weight of three small cars, enabling it to crunch bones with ease.

Researchers on Wednesday said a computer model based on the T. rex jaw muscle anatomy and analyses of living relatives like crocodilians and birds showed its bite force measured about 8,000 pounds (3,630 kg), the strongest of any dinosaur ever estimated.

"T. rex could pretty much bite through whatever it wanted, as long as it was made of flesh and bone," said Florida State University paleobiologist Gregory Erickson.

Given the size of the creature - and the size of what it presumably tried to eat - it makes sense that it evolved those kind of muscles.

Original Submission

posted by charon on Saturday May 27, @12:47PM   Printer-friendly
from the WannaCryToo dept.

An Anonymous Coward writes:

Hackernews reports:

A 7-year-old critical remote code execution vulnerability has been discovered in Samba networking software that could allow a remote attacker to take control of an affected Linux and Unix machines.

[...] The newly discovered remote code execution vulnerability (CVE-2017-7494) affects all versions newer than Samba 3.5.0 that was released on March 1, 2010.

"All versions of Samba from 3.5.0 onwards are vulnerable to a remote code execution vulnerability, allowing a malicious client to upload a shared library to a writable share, and then cause the server to load and execute it," Samba wrote in an advisory published Wednesday.

Original Submission

posted by charon on Saturday May 27, @11:06AM   Printer-friendly
from the also-because-ice-cold-beer-is-an-abomination dept.

Why isn't beer served with ice? Well, the main reason is, the beer will get watered down as the ice melts – it's a problem that also extends to drinks that are served on the rocks, even though the coldness of the ice may help them to go down smoother. That's where the Beyond Zero system comes in. Instead of making ice cubes out of water, it makes them out of booze.

Invented by Kentucky-based entrepreneur Jason Sherman, the system actually consists of two devices – the Liquor Ice Maker and the Liquor Ice Storage Unit.

A liquor of the user's choice is first poured into the Maker, where it's cooled well below the temperature reached by a regular freezer, and formed into cubes. Exactly how that's accomplished is a trade secret, although the process takes just a matter of minutes.

Whiskey slushie, anyone?

Original Submission