In the latest episode of the Sony hack, Hollywood Reporter says that Carmike Cinemas, which operates 278 theaters and 2,917 screens in 41 states, will not show the Sony comedy "The Interview" following threats of violence from hackers. Sony Pictures told exhibitors who had booked The Interview that it planned to move forward with the movie's release, but that they were free to decide not to show the film, and that the studio would support them in whatever decision they made.
Citing 9/11, the hackers issued a warning and said, "We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places The Interview be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to." The situation is also raising concerns among studios that the threat of violence could keep some movie-goers away from the multiplex over the lucrative holiday movie-going period. "This is bad for everyone. This will stop people from going to theaters, and that affects all of us," says one source at a rival studio. "If somebody called a bomb threat for a concert, and it was credible, you'd have to cancel or postpone the concert."
PubPeer "filed a motion to quash a subpoena filed on behalf of a cancer researcher who claims that PubPeer comments noting potential image irregularities in his publications cost him a lucrative new job."
The researcher claims that the anonymous "suggestions of misconduct caused the University of Mississippi to rescind its offer of a tenured faculty position that he had accepted" in a suit "against multiple “John Does” for defamation and interference with a business relationship"
PubPeer is confident in their position and explain, "the First Amendment is on our side. It protects the right to anonymous speech. The right isn’t absolute, but it protects those who choose to remain anonymous when engaging in lawful speech".
The linked article, posted just over a week ago, has a nice walk through of how the Poweliks malware makes itself hard to detect and remove on Windows along with details of how you can actually get rid of it.
The key point is using the old hack of non-ASCII character in the keys.
It also comes with a link to download the tools used in the Article.
NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft — the only object made by humans to reach interstellar space — might still be caught what scientists have described as a cosmic "tsunami wave," a shock wave that first hit the probe in February, according to new research. You can hear the eerie interstellar vibrations in a video, courtesy of NASA.
"Most people would have thought the interstellar medium would have been smooth and quiet," study researcher Don Gurnett, professor of physics at the University of Iowa, and the principal investigator of Voyager 1's plasma wave instrument, said in a statement from NASA. "But these shock waves seem to be more common than we thought."
El Reg reports
Apple has prevailed in an almost decade-long antitrust legal battle over the way its iPod gadgets handled music not obtained through iTunes.
A federal jury in Oakland, California, took just four hours to clear the iThings maker of wrongdoing--and tossed out calls for a $351[M] compensation package for eight million owners of late-2000s iPods. That figure could have been tripled if the iPhone giant had lost its fight.
Apple was accused in a class-action lawsuit of designing its software to remove music and other files from iPods that weren't purchased or ripped via iTunes--but the eight-person jury decided that mechanism was a legit feature.
[...]It was argued that Apple had deliberately set up iTunes to report iPods as damaged if they stored music that, essentially, wasn't sanctioned by Apple: if alien files were found by the software, users were told to restore their devices to factory settings, effectively wiping songs not purchased from or ripped from CD by iTunes.
Apple countered that it was only preventing iPods from being hacked or damaged by third-party data. The company said the protections were implemented to prevent people from listening to pirated music--a claim the jury upheld.
As promised in London's ODF Plugfest early this year, Google announced today that it’s now officially supporting ODF files in Google Drive allowing users to import all three major ODF file formats. That includes .odt files for documents, .ods for spreadsheets, and .odp for presentations, the file types used by applications like Open Office and others supporting the open platform.
Google, like Microsoft, has not made it easy to use ODF as part of a workflow, with change tracking information, annotations, and other metadata left off the import and export process. For both companies, ODF has been seen as a migration format rather than as a working format, however Google faces significant pressure securing government business in many countries around the world, and especially the U.K. now that ODF is a requirement in so many procurement policies.
Official interest in ODF around the world is growing, and since Google wants to sell Drive and Chromebooks into government-controlled markets, ODF is becoming a gating factor.
In a Dec. 15 presentation at the 2014 International Electron Devices Meeting in San Francisco, Silicon Valley start-up Crossbar said that it has solved a major hurdle towards commercialization of its 3D/vertical resistive random-access memory (RRAM) product.
While 1TnR enables a single transistor to drive over 2,000 memory cells with very low power, it also experiences leakage of a sneak path current that interferes with the performance and reliability of a typical RRAM array. Crossbar's device solves that leakage problem by utilizing a super linear threshold layer. In that layer, a volatile conduction path is formed at the threshold voltage. This device is the industry's first selector capable of suppressing the leakage current at very small dimensions, and it has been successfully demonstrated in a four-megabit test memory chip.
Crossbar has previously made a number of bold claims about their potential NAND flash replacement: that it can fit 1 terabyte in an area the size of a postage stamp, while allowing 20x faster writes than NAND using 5% as much energy. Crossbar also claims 100,000 write cycles compared to NAND's 3,000-10,000. NAND endurance scaling issues have led Samsung, Hynix, SanDisk and Micron to pursue vertical-NAND in order to boost capacity and prolong endurance. Samsung has already commercialized V-NAND with the 850 EVO and 850 Pro SSD lines. Crossbar expects to produce RRAM for wearable devices starting in 2016, with RRAM-based SSDs appearing 18 months later.
In a related development also presented at IEDM, engineers at Stanford University have built a "four-layer prototype high-rise chip" using carbon nanotube transistors (CNTs) and RRAM. The researchers developed a new technique that transfers CNTs from a quartz growth medium to a silicon wafer using an adhesive metal film, "achieving some of the highest density, highest performance CNTs ever made." They fabricated RRAM layers directly atop each CNT logic layer while drilling thousands of interconnections between the layers.
The European Space Agency ESA reports:
[On December 16th,] ESA’s Venus Express has ended its eight-year mission after far exceeding its planned life. The spacecraft exhausted its propellant during a series of thruster burns to raise its orbit following the low-altitude aerobraking earlier this year.
The amount of data collected will occupy scientists for at least another eight years:
Studies of the planet’s ‘super-rotating’ atmosphere – it whips around the planet in only four Earth-days, much faster than the 243 days the planet takes to complete one rotation about its axis – also turned up some intriguing surprises. When studying the winds, by tracking clouds in images, average wind speeds were found to have increased from roughly 300 km/h to 400 km/h over a period of six Earth years.
At the same time, a separate study found that the rotation of the planet had slowed by 6.5 minutes since NASA’s Magellan measured it before completing its five-year mission at Venus 20 years ago. However, it remains unknown if there is a direct relationship between the increasing wind speeds and the slowing rotation.
Other data strongly hints to current volcanic activity, whose existence is still disputed today.
After several release candidates, the MIT licenced game engine Godot has reached Version 1.0. This version is the first stable release of the 2D and 3D game making tool that supports Windows, Mac, and Linux and that can export projects to a lot of different platforms (iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Chrome native client, html5...). A more comprehensive list of features can be found here.
The github wiki provides a handful of neat tutorials if you want to get started using the engine. As an extra incentive, a Winter Holiday Godot Game Jam is live if you want to share your creations.
Some additional coverage can be found on Blender Nation.
Popular Science has noted that downloads of the Robotics Operating System (ROS) doubled in 2014, to 3.5 million, and is predicted to spike again with the release of ROS 2.0 this summer.
ROS is a flexible, open source framework that includes tools, libraries, and conventions for writing robot software, and is rapidly becoming the Android of robotics. It aims to simplify creating complex and robust robot behavior across a wide variety of robotic platforms.
A measure of its success can be seen in the fact that three of the most sophisticated robots ever built all run on ROS: NASA’s Robonaut 2, Rethink Robotics’ Baxter, and Boston Dynamics’ Atlas.
boing boing reports - On Mars, NASA Rover Discovers Mysterious Methane Emissions
Potentially big news from space today. NASA announces that its Mars Curiosity rover "has measured a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in a rock-powder sample collected by the robotic laboratory’s drill."
Original papers at NASA
"This temporary increase in methane -- sharply up and then back down -- tells us there must be some relatively localized source," said Sushil Atreya of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Curiosity rover science team. "There are many possible sources, biological or non-biological, such as interaction of water and rock."
The sad news from Dr Dobb's Journal is that it is being closed at the end of this year or, more accurately, "Sunset":
Our parent company, United Business Media (UBM), has decided to sunset Dr. Dobb's. "Sunset" sounds like a marketing euphemism to avoid saying "closing down," but in this context, it has a specific meaning that "closing" does not convey. That is, that there will be no new content after year end; however, all current content will be accessible and links to existing Dr. Dobb's articles will continue to work correctly. It is the equivalent of a product coming to end of life. It still runs, but no new features will be added.
Although Dr Dobb's has consistently delivered extremely high quality content for programmers, it sounds like it is a victim in the decline in web advertising. Going into the reasons for the closure:
In one word, revenue. Four years ago, when I came to Dr. Dobb's, we had healthy profits and revenue, almost all of it from advertising. Despite our excellent growth on the editorial side, our revenue declined such that today it's barely 30% of what it was when I started. While some of this drop is undoubtedly due to turnover in our sales staff, even if the staff had been stable and executed perfectly, revenue would be much the same and future prospects would surely point to upcoming losses. This is because in the last 18 months, there has been a marked shift in how vendors value website advertising. They've come to realize that website ads tend to be less effective than they once were. Given that I've never bought a single item by clicking on an ad on a website, this conclusion seems correct in the small.
Ars Technica - Ars was Briefly Hacked Yesterday
At 20:00 CT on December 14, an Internet intruder gained access to one of the Ars Web servers and spent the next hour attempting to get from the Web server to a more central machine. At 20:52, the attempt was successful thanks to information gleaned from a poorly located backup file. The next day, at 14:13, the hacker returned to the central server and replaced the main Ars webpage with a defacement page that streamed a song from the band Dual Core.
Given there may be some crossover between the Ars Technica community and SN, just a brief note to highlight this piece:
Log files show the hacker's movements through our servers and suggest that he or she had the opportunity to copy the user database. This database contains no payment information on Ars subscribers, but it does contain user e-mail addresses and passwords. Those passwords, however, are stored in hashed form (using 2,048 iterations of the MD5 algorithm and salted with a random series of characters).
Out of an excess of caution, we strongly encourage all Ars readers—especially any who have reused their Ars passwords on other, more sensitive sites—to change their passwords today.
Just a heads up for infrequent Ars visitors that may have an account there.
The Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) development team is pleased to announce the immediate availability of the new TDE R14.0.0 release. The Trinity Desktop Environment is a complete software desktop environment designed for Unix-like operating systems, intended for computer users preferring a traditional desktop model, and is free/libre software.
Unlike previous releases TDE R14.0.0 has been in development for over two years. This extended development period has allowed us to create a better, more stable and more feature-rich product than previous TDE releases. R14 is brimming with new features, such as a new hardware manager based on udev (HAL is no longer required), full network-manager 0.9 support, a brand new compositor (compton), built-in threading support, and much more!
The Center for American Progress reports
Nearly a year after Colorado's first legal marijuana shops opened, the thriving industry's biggest problem is deciding what to do with all of its cash. Now, the state banking commission believes it has found a way to free pot entrepreneurs from the regulatory haze between federal banking laws, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) policy, and the state's right to experiment with legalization.
The nation's first bank for marijuana pushers, growers, and investors will open in January after Colorado's banking regulators approved a charter for The Fourth Corner Credit Union.
The first-of-its-kind bank will allow state business owners to move away from relying on cash for every transaction. Business has been very good for marijuana sellers since the state's carefully designed legalization regime came online in early 2014, but traditional banks have refused to do business with the industry for fear of inviting punishment from regulators that are required to enforce the federal prohibition on the drug.
[...]Colorado's banking regulators came to view [the problem of mounds of cash] as justification for approving a pot bank. Their rationale hinges on a detail from the Department of Justice's 2013 announcement that prosecutors should scale back prosecutions of marijuana offenses and stop pursuing cases against pot businesses that operate in compliance with their state's drug laws.