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SN PBC Board Meeting - Wed. Oct. 29 at 1:15am UTC (Tue, Oct. 28 at 9:15pm EDT) on IRC #staff.
The First Draft of the SN manifesto is available

What do you fear the most?

  • Walking alone at night
  • Becoming the victim of identity theft
  • Safety on the Internet
  • Being the victim of a mass/random shooting
  • Public speaking
  • Candlejack coming to kidnap me
  • I doesn't afraid of anything
  • Other - Spe

[ Results | Polls ]
Comments:13 | Votes:64

posted by LaminatorX on Sunday October 26, @01:03AM   Printer-friendly
from the journals-live dept.

For Information ... maybe useful to some at SN.

Frontiers in ICT is an international, multidisciplinary, peer-reviewed open-access journal that brings all specialisms across information and communications technologies together on a single platform.

From big data to digital health and quantum computing to digital education, each relevant specialty will be led by dedicated team of international researchers.

Nick Duffield, Specialty Chief Editor of the section Big Data and Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University, US, says: "The Big Data field is exciting because advances in computational platforms and the emergence of data sources across new domains provide fresh motivation and opportunities for research in data science and systems."

"Research in Big Data will increasingly involve multiple disciplines and integrate both methods and applications. This presents a challenge for any journal, of how to draw from a sufficiently wide base of reviewers to fairly evaluate submissions. Frontiers in ICT provides an attractive solution by establishing a social network of reviewers whose collective expertise covers many technical areas."

Like the other titles in the "Frontiers in" journal series, manuscripts will benefit from a rapid (84 days) and collaborative peer review and be published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license. As an open-access journal, all content will be freely available to an international audience.

posted by LaminatorX on Saturday October 25, @10:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the running-apps-without-dual-booting dept.

Jana Schmid at CodeWeavers blogs:

It's that time of year again, when CodeWeavers launches yet another release of its core product CrossOver for Mac and Linux. After a year of development and months of vigorous testing, we're shipping CrossOver 14, which includes the very latest release of Wine 1.7.25. Together, the ninjas and pirates of CodeWeavers compiled a list of the 8 best features of the newly released CrossOver 14.

What is listed at #4, I think should have been at the top, but that's just me:

The core of CrossOver (Wine) has been updated with thousands of patches that do everything from fix existing bugs to help get new programs [running in CrossOver 14].

Perhaps there's something on the list such as the new unified interface/launcher that will convince you to get this payware implementation of Wine or to upgrade to the latest version.

posted by LaminatorX on Saturday October 25, @07:40PM   Printer-friendly
from the navel-gazing dept.

Let's talk about content.

I don't think you'll have much argument from the Editors that we aren't experts in Scientific matters. That's not the point of Soylentnews - we aren't going to be able to vet the next "Cold Fusion" or disprove the existence of Dark matter. If you are looking for that kind of editorial control I'm afraid you are reading the wrong website.

Our part in this is to bring these articles to the table so they can be discussed. The source of the material should hardly matter as long as the article itself is well written and is not a flat advertisement for a specific product. I have seen a number of AC who don't like content from site "x" or "y" and expect us to get all of our Science from Science Daily. It isn't going to happen, and shouldn't be a concern. Submitters are getting information from wherever; that is not something Editorial should be vetting; the quality of the original should be vetted by the submitter. (Editorial has to check that the links exists; and warn about pay walls)

Most Science articles are typically results of studies, and as such it should be expected that the results will be re-interpreted over time when held up against new data. That's how science works. It should surprise no one to read about "proof" of "X" one day followed by a article disproving, or throwing doubt on the original article. If you are thinking that we're getting redundant; move on to the next article; or submit something new.

It shouldn't be consider verboten to link a site for a product's manufacturer - if the article is clearly about the existence of (Science based product that didn't previously exist). What is not allowed are articles that clearly states that "you should buy "X"" - however thinly veiled.

That all said we should try to put together a list of reputable sites that we can use to source material from - in hope that we will see some fresh content submitted by members here who have not submitted before.

So where should we look? What sites are pure garbage and what do you hold up to a gold standard?

What should be accepted as content, and what do we reject as advertisements, conjecture, or a bad source?

posted by azrael on Saturday October 25, @05:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the bring-back-google-wave dept.

Mike Elgan predicts that Google will end Gmail within the next five years.

The company hasn't announced such a move -- nor would it. But whether we like it or not, and whether even Google knows it or not, Gmail is doomed.

Email was created to serve as a "dumb pipe". In mobile network parlance, a "dumb pipe" is when a carrier exists to simply transfer bits to and from the user, without the ability to add services and applications or serve as a "smart" gatekeeper between what the user sees and doesn't see.

Carriers resist becoming "dumb pipes" because there's no money in it. A pipe is a faceless commodity, valued only by reliability and speed. In such a market, margins sink to zero or below zero, and it becomes a horrible business to be in.

The fact is that Google, and companies like Google, hate unmediated anything. The reason is that Google is in the algorithm business, using user-activity "signals" to customize and personalize the online experience and the ads that are served up as a result of those signals. Google exists to mediate the unmediated. That's what it does. That's what the company's search tool does: It mediates our relationship with the Internet.

The bottom line is that dumb-pipe email is unmediated, and therefore it's a business that Google wants to get out of as soon as it can.

Does SN agree with this analysis (rant) ?

posted by azrael on Saturday October 25, @03:39PM   Printer-friendly
from the it's-a-trap dept.

We've all seen the colorful laser bolts of science-fiction movies, but what would a real world laser bolt look like (if we could actually make it out)? According to, a group of researchers at the Laser Centre of the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences in cooperation with the Faculty of Physics at the University of Warsaw (IPC PAS and FUW) have managed to answer that question. Their tests of a new compact high-powered laser have given them the opportunity to film the passage of an ultrashort laser pulse through the air.

"If you wanted to film a single light impulse to move as slowly on film as in our recording, you would have to use a camera operating at a speed of a billion frames per second", says Dr. Yuriy Stepanenko, leading the team responsible for the construction of the laser.

Since cameras recording billions of frames per second do not exist, the researchers used an earlier known trick of synchronizing a camera with the laser generating the pulses at a rate of approx. 10 shots per second. The synchronization was such that with each shot the camera image was minimally delayed from the previous one.

"In fact, a different laser pulse can be seen in every frame of our film", explains Dr. Paweł Wnuk, (LC of IPC PAS and FUW) and adds: "Luckily, the physics always stays the same. So, on the film one can observe all the effects associated with the movement of the laser pulse in space, in particular, the changes in ambient light depending on the position of the pulse and the formation of flares on the walls when the light passes through the dispersing cloud of condensed water vapour".

The laser used in the test was powerful enough to immediately ionize the atoms around it resulting in a plasma fibre – filament – to be formed alongside the pulse. The laser was set up to balance the interactions between the pulse's electromagnetic field and the plasma filament so that the light beam did not disperse in air but instead underwent self-focusing, resulting in the pulse moving a much greater distance than low-power pulses while maintaining it's original parameters.

"It is worth noting that although the light we are shooting from the laser is in the near infrared range, a laser beam like this travelling through the air changes colour to white. This happens since the interaction of the pulse with the plasma generates light of many different wavelengths. Received simultaneously, these waves give the impression of white", adds Dr. Stepanenko.

posted by martyb on Saturday October 25, @02:10PM   Printer-friendly
from the strangely-attractive dept.

There's an update on IEEE Spectrum on a recent update in skyrmion research where skyrmions have been produced at room temperature without an external magnetic field with additional commentary at Nanowerk News.

Skyrmions are small stable magnetic vortices, and can potentially be used to store information at a higher density than current magnetic media. However until now these patterns have only been produced with an external magnetic field and at very low temperatures (around 4K, or about -270°C).

The latest research removes those restrictions, however, producing a two-dimensional square lattice of skyrmions using a layer of iron on an iridium substrate. This also has some interesting properties which open the door to possible local data communication applications:

The skyrmion lattice is comparable to a compass array: a board carrying many magnetic needles that interact with each other like spins do. If you turn one needle, the other needles react by rotating to reestablish a lower energy level of the array. “This way you can transfer information from one magnetic molecule, through the skyrmion lattice, to the next one,” says Brede. “We saw this process of transferring information in this way for a distance of more than 10 nanometers; for magnetic interactions, this is a very long distance,” says Brede.

These magnetic interactions open the door for using the organic-ferromagnetic units in logic devices and information processing, says Brede. It is unlikely that these magnetic molecules could become qubits in quantum computers, but skyrmion lattices could still play a role in quantum computing.

More detail is at The Spintronics Group homepage from Germany's Christian Albrechts University. (No open access version of the paper though).

posted by azrael on Saturday October 25, @12:12PM   Printer-friendly
from the survival-of-the-fittest dept.

With a name straight out of a horror movie, The Spoil Islands in the Mosquito Lagoon off the coast of Florida, a by-product of dredging in the area to make the Intra-coastal Waterway in the 1950s, served as the prime site for an experimental evolution study.

By the 1990s, flora and fauna from the mainland—including the Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis), a small arboreal lizard—had colonized the islands.

In May 1995, Yoel Stuart of the University of Texas and Todd Campbell, of from the University of Tampa, chose six islands with resident populations of the Carolina anole and recorded the height at which the lizards were perched. He then introduced small populations of the Brown anole (Anolis sagrei)—native to Cuba and the Bahamas to three of the islands, leaving the other three islands undisturbed.

posted by LaminatorX on Saturday October 25, @10:41AM   Printer-friendly
from the whining-is-not-efficacious dept.

A grave bug has been introduced into the "wine" package of Debian Jessie, just days before the November 5th freeze deadline. The /usr/bin/wine launch script fails with an "error: unable to find wine executable. this shouldn't happen." message.

Debian has already suffered much unrest lately over the inclusion of systemd, with threats of a fork being issued, along with the possible cancellation of the GNU/kFreeBSD port and the possible dropping of support for the SPARC architecture. After so much strife and disruption, can Debian afford to have such a serious bug affect such a critical package so soon before such a major freeze?

posted by LaminatorX on Saturday October 25, @08:38AM   Printer-friendly
from the moving-pictures dept.

Dear Soylenters: What is a good programming language for doing custom processing/manipulation of digital video frames and digital audio data? The language/IDE shouldn't be too hard to setup or learn. It would be a plus if it executes reasonably fast. The language should allow easy reading & writing of video and audio files in common formats without requiring a commercial multimedia plugin or component. It would be nice if the language is available on both Windows and Mac OS.

Thanks in advance for any help or pointers,


posted by LaminatorX on Saturday October 25, @06:37AM   Printer-friendly
from the svp-of-sky dept.

A senior vice president of Google, Alan Eustace, 57, has broken Felix Baumgartner's 127,852-feet altitude record, set in 2012, with the new highest free fall to Earth (short video) at 135,890 feet. While Baumgartner's feat was funded by Red Bull, Eustace's attempt was largely self-funded.

On Friday morning, Pacific time, Google's SVP of Knowledge Alan Eustace rode a helium-filled balloon to more than 135,000 feet above the deserts of Roswell, New Mexico, in a specially designed space suit before firing a small explosive charge and cutting himself lose for free fall.

Eustace didn't bother with the capsule: he simply strapped himself under the balloon with a GoPro camera attached to his suit, and only had a small team of advisers to help him make the jump. Google offered to fund the attempt, but Eustace paid for it himself so that it could be done without publicity until after the event.

The New York Times reports:

Mr. Eustace was carried aloft without the aid of the sophisticated capsule used by Mr. Baumgartner or millions of dollars in sponsorship money. Instead, Mr. Eustace planned his jump in secrecy, working for almost three years with a small group of technologists skilled in spacesuit design, life-support systems, and parachute and balloon technology.

After he decided to pursue the project in 2011, Mr. Eustace was introduced to Taber MacCallum, one of the founding members of the Biosphere 2 project, an artificial closed ecosystem built to explore concepts such as space colonization. Mr. Eustace had decided to pursue a simpler approach than Mr. Baumgartner's.

He asked Mr. MacCallum's company, Paragon Space Development Corporation, to create a life-support system to make it possible for him to breathe pure oxygen in a pressure suit during his ascent and fall.

posted by n1 on Saturday October 25, @03:55AM   Printer-friendly
from the is-it-still-1998? dept.

Roy Schestowitz notes:

Today I learned something somewhat shocking. A policy which I believed was some kind of controversial fringe policy from way back in the days of Vista is still in place, and it's in place right here in the UK. Currys/PC World is totally overzealous with its GNU/Linux-hostile policy, which is almost definitely dictated by non-technical management, maybe in collusion with Microsoft.

[...] an old desktop of mine died on me and I sought a replacement immediately (within the hour). [...] Currys pretty much devoured the competition [...and] has an outrageous policy regarding warranty.

As it turns out--and this was confirmed to us by multiple people (in multiple PC World stores) after arguing for more than half an hour--once you install GNU/Linux (even if it's dual boot with Windows) no damage to hardware would be covered by the warranty (keyboard, screen, and so on). One of the sellers, who follows the Linux Action Show, regretted this but also defended this policy because it's imposed from above.

No matter how ridiculous a policy it is, changes to [zeros] and ones on the hard-drive (to remove spyware), according to Currys, would void the warranty on what clearly is not connected to [the pre-installed] software. [...] we decided we just couldn't do business at PC World. The company is inherently GNU/Linux-hostile. Avoid Currys.

posted by n1 on Saturday October 25, @02:12AM   Printer-friendly
from the it's-good-news-for-now dept.

The Register Follows with, FTDI yanks chip-bricking driver from Windows Update, vows to fight on:

Chipmaker FTDI has pulled a driver from Windows Update that could brick devices containing knockoff versions of its USB-to-serial bridge chips, but says it won't back down on its aggressive anti-counterfeiting stance.

Earlier this week, hackers from various hardware forums began noticing that FTDI's latest driver would set a USB device's USB product ID to 0 if it contained a fake version of one of FTDI's chips. Once zeroed, neither Windows, OS X, nor Linux would recognize the device anymore, rendering it useless.

Naturally, owners of devices containing the counterfeit chips were less than pleased.

Responding to the growing furor, FTDI now says it has yanked the offending driver from Windows Update so that Windows users will no longer receive it automatically. But it says it has no intention of giving up the fight against (presumably) Chinese chip knockoff artists.

Related article: FTDI Driver is Disabling Fake Chips

posted by Blackmoore on Saturday October 25, @12:14AM   Printer-friendly
from the unicorns-and-rainbows dept.

After Anonabox requested US$7,500 and raised US$585,549 before being suspended, I hoped that one-stop solutions would be discouraged but according to Wired News, I couldn't be wronger because there are at least five parties aiming to fill Anonabox's niche:

Maintaining your privacy online, like investing in stocks or looking good naked, has become one of those nagging desires that leaves Americans with a surplus of stress and a deficit of facts. So it’s no surprise that a cottage industry of privacy marketers now wants to sell them the solution in a $50 piece of hardware promising internet "anonymity" or "invisibility." And as with any panacea in a box, the quicker the fix, the more doubt it deserves.

Last week saw the fast forward rise and fall of Anonabox, a tiny $45 router that promised to anonymize all of a user's traffic by routing it over the anonymity network Tor. That promise of plug-and-play privacy spurred Anonabox to raise $615,000 on the fundraising platform Kickstarter in four days, 82 times its modest $7,500 goal. Then on Thursday, Kickstarter froze those pledges, citing the project's misleading claims about its hardware sources. Other critics pointed to flaws in Anonabox's software's security, too.

But the Anonabox fiasco hasn't deterred other projects hoping to sell an anonymity router of their own. In fact, many of them see Anonabox's 9,000 disappointed backers as proof of the demand for their own privacy-in-a-box product. At least five new or soon-to-launch crowdfunding projects now claim to offer a consumer-focused anonymity router with names like Invizbox, Cloak, TorFi, and PORTAL, each with its own promises - and caveats.

Full disclosure: I may or may not be connected to one of the parties mentioned in the article but I think they're all misguided.

posted by azrael on Friday October 24, @09:42PM   Printer-friendly
from the stop-making-sense dept.

Paul Armentano of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) blogs:

Testimony regarding the constitutionality of the federal statute designating marijuana as a Schedule I Controlled Substance will be taken on Monday, October 27 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California in the case of United States v. Pickard, et. al., No. 2:11-CR-0449-KJM.

Members of Congress initially categorized cannabis as a Schedule I substance, the most restrictive classification available, in 1970. Under this categorization, the plant is defined as possessing "a high potential for abuse, ... no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, ... [and lacking] accepted safety for ... use ... under medical supervision."

Expert witnesses for the defense--including Drs. Carl Hart, Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at Columbia University in New York City, retired physician Phillip Denny, and Greg Carter, Medical Director of St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute in Spokane, Washington--will testify that the accepted science is inconsistent with the notion that cannabis meets these Schedule I criteria.

"It is my considered opinion that including marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act is counter to all the scientific evidence in a society that uses and values empirical evidence," Dr. Hart declared. "After two decades of intense scientific inquiry in this area, it has become apparent the current scheduling of cannabis has no footing in the realities of science and neurobiology."

posted by Blackmoore on Friday October 24, @07:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the cosmic-billiards dept.

The Gaurdian reports that Australia's comet-spotting program lost funding and shut down last year,

The Earth has been left with a huge blind spot for potentially devastating comet strikes after the only dedicated comet-spotting program in the southern hemisphere lost its funding, leading astronomers have warned.

The program, which discovered the Siding Spring comet, was shut down last year after losing funding.

“It’s a real worry,” Bradley Tucker, an astronomer at the Australian National University (ANU) and University of California Berkeley, told Guardian Australia.

“There could be something hurtling towards us right now and we wouldn’t know about it.”

The Siding Spring survey – named after the observatory near Coonabarabran in central New South Wales, where the Mars comet was first spotted – was the only program in the southern hemisphere actively searching for potentially hazardous comets, asteroids and meteors.

It seems that the Gaurdian is running this story now because the program had previously spotted a comet that came close to Mars on Sunday, but this is the first I remember hearing about it.

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