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Biotech

'Treasure Trove' In Oceans May Bring Revolutions In Medicine and Industry 107

Posted by Soulskill
from the or-may-bring-sea-monsters dept.
dryriver sends this excerpt from the Guardian: "Scientists have pinpointed a new treasure trove in our oceans: micro-organisms that contain millions of previously unknown genes and thousands of new families of proteins. These tiny marine wonders offer a chance to exploit a vast pool of material that could be used to create innovative medicines, industrial solvents, chemical treatments and other processes, scientists say. Researchers have already created new enzymes for treating sewage and chemicals for making soaps from material they have found in ocean organisms. 'The potential for marine biotechnology is almost infinite,' says Curtis Suttle, professor of earth, ocean and atmospheric sciences at the University of British Columbia. 'It has become clear that most of the biological and genetic diversity on Earth is – by far – tied up in marine ecosystems, and in particular in their microbial components. By weight, more than 95% of all living organisms found in the oceans are microbial. This is an incredible resource.'"
Security

Critical Vulnerabilities In Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, CryEngine 3 77

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-even-trust-games-anymore dept.
hypnosec writes with news that two security consultants have found vulnerabilities in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and the CryEngine 3 graphics engine that could harm game makers and players alike. Presenting at the Power of Community (POC2012) security conference, the researchers demonstrated how a denial-of-service attack could affect Modern Warfare 3, and how a server-level attack on CryEngine 3 allowed them to "create a remote shell on a game-player's computer." "'Once you get access to the server, which is basically the interface with the company, you can get access to all of the information on the players through the server,' Ferrante said. In general, game companies don't seem to be very focused on security but rather on performance of the game itself, Ferrante said. Adding security checks can slow down games, and if the companies don't deem the problem a very critical issue, it will usually be ignored. 'These are games that have a very large market,' Auriemma said."
Programming

Ask Slashdot: Developer Or Software Engineer? Can It Influence Your Work? 333

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-harder-to-chant-software-engineer dept.
ctrahey writes "Many of us disregard the impact of our titles on various aspects of our lives, both professional and otherwise. Perhaps it's appropriate to ask two questions about the difference between a couple titles familiar to the Slashdot community: Developer vs Software Engineer. What are the factors to consider in the appropriate use of the titles? And (more interesting to me), what influence might the use of these titles have on the written code? Have you observed a difference in attitudes, priorities, or outlooks in talent as a corollary to their titles?"
Science

Cockatoo Manufactures, Uses Tools 75

Posted by Soulskill
from the already-smarter-than-my-neighbor dept.
grrlscientist writes with news of a cockatoo named Figaro, who was observed to construct and use his own tools to retrieve objects that were outside of his cage. Quoting: "One day, a student caregiver noticed Figaro pushing a stone pebble through the aviary wire mesh, where it fell on a wood structural beam. Unable to retrieve the stone with his foot, Figaro then fetched a piece of bamboo and again attempted to retrieve the stone using the bamboo stick. ... During the next three days, the researchers ran trials of the original scenario, which was repeated ten times but substituting a cashew nut for the pebble. All trials were captured on video and the process of tool manufacture and use was documented photographically. ... 'Figaro made a new tool for every nut we placed there and each time the bird was successful in obtaining it,' reports cognitive biologist Alice Auersperg of the University of Vienna, who led the study (PDF). During these trials, Figaro used 10 tools, nine of which he manufactured and one of which was ready-made."
Security

Blizzard Sued Over Battle.net Authentication 217

Posted by Soulskill
from the did-you-try-googling-your-problem-first dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A man has initiated a class-action suit against Blizzard over a product used to shore up Battle.net security. Benjamin Bell alleges that Blizzard's sale of Authenticators — devices that enable basic two-tier authentication — represents deceptive and unfair additional costs to their basic games. (Blizzard sells the key fob versions for $6.50, and provides a free mobile app as an alternative. Neither are mandatory.) The complaint accuses Blizzard of making $26 million in Authenticator sales. In response, Blizzard made a statement refuting some of the complaint's claims and voicing their intention to 'vigorously defend' themselves."
Security

Stuxnet Infected (But Didn't Affect) Chevron Network In 2010 82

Posted by Soulskill
from the collateral-damage dept.
Penurious Penguin writes "The Wall Street Journal, in correspondence with Chevron representatives, reveals that back in 2010, Stuxnet reached Chevron, where it managed to infect — but not significantly affect — the oil giant's network. According to a Chevron representative speaking to CNET, the issue was 'immediately addressed ... without incident.' The Stuxnet worm is believed to be the work of the U.S. and Israel, and this report is confirmation that it struck well wide of its intended targets. Chevron's general manager of the earth sciences department, Mark Koelmel, said to CIO Journal, 'I don't think the U.S. government even realized how far it had spread ... I think the downside of what they did is going to be far worse than what they actually accomplished.'"
Earth

Brainstorming Ways To Protect NYC From Real Storms 203

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-have-a-weather-control-device-for-sale dept.
SternisheFan writes with this excerpt from NBC News: "The killer storm that hit the East Coast last month and left the nation's largest city with a crippled transit system, widespread power outages and severe flooding has resurfaced the debate about how best to protect a city like New York against rising storm surges. In a 2011 report called 'Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan,' NYC's Department of City Planning listed restoring degraded natural waterfront areas, protecting wetlands and building seawalls as some of the strategies to increase the city's resilience to climate change and sea level rise. 'Hurricane Sandy is a wake-up call to all of us in this city and on Long Island,' Malcolm Bowman, professor of physical oceanography at State University of New York at Stony Brook, told NBC News' Richard Engel. 'That means designing and building storm-surge barriers like many cities in Europe already have.' Some of the projects showcased at Rising Currents include: Ways to make the surfaces of the city more absorptive (through porous sidewalks) and more able to deal with water, whether coming from the sea or sky; Parks and freshwater and saltwater wetlands in Lower Manhattan; Artificial islands or reefs (including ones made of recycled glass) to make the shoreline more absorptive and break the waves."
Earth

NRC Report Links Climate Change To National Security 242

Posted by Soulskill
from the let's-see-who-the-patriots-are-now dept.
WOOFYGOOFY writes "The NY Times and Voice Of America are reporting on a study by the U.S. National Research Council (PDF) which was released Friday linking global climate change to national security. The report, which was developed at the request of the C.I.A., characterizes the threats posed by climate change as 'similar to and in many cases greater than those posed by terrorist attacks. 'Climate-driven crises could lead to internal instability or international conflict and might force the United States to provide humanitarian assistance or, in some cases, military force to protect vital energy, economic or other interests, the study said.' If the effect of unaddressed climate change is the functional equivalent of terrorist attacks on the nation, does the Executive Branch, as a matter of national security, have a duty and a right to begin to act unilaterally against climate change irrespective of what Congress currently believes?"
Education

MOOC Mania 102

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-call-it-a-bubble-yet dept.
theodp writes "Online education has had a fifty-year road to 'overnight' success. MIT Technology Review calls the emergence of free online education, particularly massive open online courses (MOOCs), The Most Important Education Technology in 200 Years. 'If you were asked to name the most important innovation in transportation over the last 200 years,' writes Antonio Regalado, 'you might say the combustion engine, air travel, Henry Ford's Model-T production line, or even the bicycle. The list goes on. Now answer this one: what's been the single biggest innovation in education? Don't worry if you come up blank. You're supposed to.' Writing about MOOC Mania in the Communications of the ACM, Moshe Y. Vardi worries that 'the enormous buzz about MOOCs is not due to the technology's intrinsic educational value, but due to the seductive possibilities of lower costs.' And in MOOCs Will Eat Academia, Vivek Haldar writes, 'MOOCs will almost certainly hollow out the teaching component of universities as it stands today...But all is not lost, because the other thing universities do is research, and that is arguably as important, if not more, than teaching.' So, are MOOCs the best thing since sliced bread, or merely the second coming of 1920s Postal Course Mania?"
The Courts

Tesla Motors Sued By Car Dealers 510

Posted by Soulskill
from the not-playing-by-industry-rules dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Car dealers in New York and Massachusetts have filed a lawsuit that seeks to block Tesla from selling its pricey electric vehicles in those states. The dealers say they are defending state franchise laws, which require manufacturers to sell cars through dealers they do not own. Robert O'Koniewski of the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association says, 'Those dealers are investing millions of dollars in their franchises to make sure they comply with their franchise agreements with the manufacturers. Tesla is choosing to ignore the law and then is choosing to play outside that system.'"
The Courts

UK Court Sanctions Apple For Non-Compliance 217

Posted by Soulskill
from the hope-it-was-worth-it dept.
drinkypoo writes "We've been following the story that Apple was ordered by a UK court to post an apology to Samsung both in newspapers and on Apple's UK website. After originally posting a non-apology and then hiding a real one, Apple finally complied. Now, PJ over at Groklaw reports on the ruling from the UK court itself, which condemns Apple's conduct in this matter. 'Since Apple did not comply with the order in its estimation, adding materials that were not ordered and in addition were "false," the judges ordered Apple to pay Samsung's lawyers' fees on an indemnity basis, and they add some public humiliation.' The judge wrote, 'Finally I should mention the time for compliance. Mr Beloff, on instructions (presumably given with the authority of Apple) told us that "for technical reasons" Apple needed fourteen days to comply. I found that very disturbing: that it was beyond the technical abilities of Apple to make the minor changes required to own website in less time beggared belief. ... I hope that the lack of integrity involved in this incident is entirely atypical of Apple.'"
Portables

Toshiba Pursues Copyright Claim Against Laptop Manual Site 268

Posted by Soulskill
from the overactive-legal-team dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I'm sure most Slashdot readers have had occasion to suffer through a hardware manufacturer's terrible website in search of product documentation. It's often hidden away in submenus of submenus, and if your product is more than a couple years old, you probably have to wade through broken links. One guy has been helping to change that; he runs a site called Tim's Laptop Service Manuals, where he collects by hand materials from many different companies and hosts them together in one spot. Now Toshiba has become aware of his project, and helpfully forced him to remove all of their manuals under a copyright claim."
Earth

Climate Change Could Drive Coffee To Extinction By 2080 345

Posted by timothy
from the right-here-in-ponca-city dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Coffee is the world's favorite beverage and the second-most traded commodity after oil. Now Nick Collins reports that rising global temperatures and subtle changes in seasonal conditions could make 99.7 per cent of Arabica-growing areas unsuitable for the plant before the end of the century and in some areas as soon as 2020. Even if the beans do not disappear completely from the wild, climate change is highly likely to impact yields. The taste of coffee, a beverage of choice among Slashdot readers, will change in future decades. 'The worst case scenario, as drawn from our analyses, is that wild Arabica could be extinct by 2080,' says Justin Moat. 'This should alert decision makers to the fragility of the species.'" Read more, below.
Android

Why You Can't Build Your Own Smartphone: Patents 179

Posted by timothy
from the hard-to-count-'em-all dept.
jfruh writes "In the mid-00s, more and more people started learning about Android, a Linux-based smartphone OS. Open source advocates in particular thought they could be seeing the mobile equivalent of Linux — something you could download, tinker with, and sell. Today, though, the Android market is dominated by Google and the usual suspects in the handset business. The reason nobody's been able to launch an Android empire from the garage is fairly straightforward: the average smartphone is covered by over 250,000 patents."

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