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Updated: 2 min 49 sec ago

'Clock Kid' Ahmed Mohamed and His Family To Leave US, Move To Qatar

Wed, 21/10/2015 - 1:07pm
theodp writes: The curious case of Ahmed Mohamed, the 9th grader who was cuffed for scaring school officials with what turned out to be a repackaged digital clock, has taken yet another twist with news on Tuesday that the 'Clock Kid' and his family will move to Qatar. Less than 24 hours after Ahmed met President Obama at the White House, the family issued a news release saying, "After careful consideration of all the generous offers received, we would like to announce that we have accepted a kind offer from Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) for Ahmed to join the prestigious QF Young Innovators Program, which reflects the organization's on-going dedication to empowering young people and fostering a culture of innovation and creativity." Prior to the announcement, some in the press sensed something was amiss when the President seemed to give Ahmed the cold shoulder on Monday after personally inviting Ahmed to the White House for "Astronomy Night." Last month, Ahmed enjoyed a decidedly warmer welcome at Google, where he was literally put front and center before the Google Science Fair winners (including Grand Prize winner Olivia Hallisey, who came up with a novel way to detect Ebola), and enjoyed a meet-and-greet with Sergey Brin.

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Apple Tells US Judge It's 'Impossible' To Break Through Locks On New iPhones

Wed, 21/10/2015 - 12:23pm
An anonymous reader writes: Apple told a U.S. judge that accessing data stored on a locked iPhone would be "impossible" with devices using its latest operating system, but the company has the "technical ability" to help law enforcement unlock older phones. Apple's position was laid out in a brief filed late Monday, after a federal magistrate judge in Brooklyn, New York, sought its input as he weighed a U.S. Justice Department request to force the company to help authorities access a seized iPhone during an investigation. In court papers, Apple said that for the 90 percent of its devices running iOS 8 or higher, granting the Justice Department's request "would be impossible to perform" after it strengthened encryption methods.

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'Geospeedometer' Confirms Super-eruptions Have Surprisingly Short Fuses

Wed, 21/10/2015 - 11:41am
Science_afficionado writes: Super-eruptions – you know, those gigantic prehistoric volcanic outbursts that throw 100 times more superheated gas, ash and rock into the atmosphere than run-of-the-mill eruptions like Mt. St. Helens — tend to pop-off within a few hundred years after their underground body of magma reaches a high enough proportion of molten rock and low enough proportion of crystallization to become explosive. That's a much shorter time than geologists had thought. That means if the hot spot under Yellowstone, for example, were to turn explosive, then we would only have couple hundred years to prepare for an eruption that could blanket the entire continent with up to 3,600 cubic miles of ash and rock!

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Self-Encrypting Western Digital Hard Drives Easy To Crack

Wed, 21/10/2015 - 9:20am
New submitter lesincompetent writes: Security researchers have found severe flaws in the encryption methods used in certain hard drives from Western Digital. Quoting the abstract should be enough to show how dire the situation is: "We will describe the security model of these devices and show several security weaknesses like RAM leakage, weak key attacks and even backdoors on some of these devices, resulting in decrypted user data, without the knowledge of any user credentials." The paper by Alendal, Kison and modg is available here in PDF format.

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Nearly One-third of Consumers Would Give Up Their Car Before Their Smartphone

Wed, 21/10/2015 - 6:16am
Lucas123 writes: A survey of 1,200 general consumers in four major countries by global tech design firm Frog found that 30% of respondents would give up their car before their smartphone. The online survey, which included the U.S., China, Denmark, and Germany, found that 37% of car owners would like to give up their car outright or felt they could get by without it by using an alternative form of transportation. "I think the people of my generation saw driving a vehicle as a rite of passage to adulthood. That was your freedom. I think the generation now views going from point A to point B as just occupying time that they could be doing something else," said Andrew Poliak of QNX Software Systems. At the same time, another survey revealed that even engineers continue to be wary of fully autonomous vehicles, including their vulnerability to hacks and exploits. The survey of IEEE members found they are not comfortable having autonomous vehicles pick up/drop off their children.

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The NYPD's X-Ray Vans

Wed, 21/10/2015 - 4:14am
An anonymous reader writes: A few years ago, we heard tales of vans outfitted by the U.S. government to hold giant X-ray scanners, which they'd use to drive around and inspect vehicles. Now, it turns out similar vans have made their way to police departments, including the NYPD. The police are unwilling to explain (PDF) how they're used, or how often. "A state court has already ruled that the NYPD has to turn over policies, procedures, and training manuals that shape uses of X-rays; reports on past deployments; information on the costs of the X-ray devices and the number of vans purchased; and information on the health and safety effects of the technology. But New York City is fighting on appeal to suppress that information and more, as if it is some kind of spy agency rather than a municipal police department operating on domestic soil, ostensibly at the pleasure of city residents."

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First Cancer Case Confirmed From Fukushima Cleanup

Wed, 21/10/2015 - 2:09am
AmiMoJo writes: Japan's labor ministry has confirmed the first cancer case related to work at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Following on from reports of elevated levels of child cancer and 1,600 civilians deaths from the evacuation, this is the first time that one of the 44,000 people involved in the clean up operation has been diagnosed with cancer resulting directly from the accident. The worker was involved in recovery and cleanup efforts at the plant after it suffered a meltdown in March, 2011. He was in his late 30s at the time, and has been diagnosed with leukemia. The ministry has approved workers' compensation. Radiation exposure has been linked to the onset of leukemia.

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Tomorrow Is 'Back To the Future' Day

Wed, 21/10/2015 - 12:12am
An anonymous reader writes: In Back to the Future Part II, Marty McFly travels from 1985 to tomorrow — October 21, 2015. The occasion is being noted in a couple of ways. A documentary called Back In Time debuts tomorrow that will chronicle the making of the Back to the Future trilogy. There are also screenings of the films around the world, and even a tour of locations from the film. Much to director Robert Zemeckis's dismay, everybody's judging the predictive accuracy of the films. "I always hated — and I still don't like — movies about the future. I just think they're impossible, and somebody's always keeping score." For example: "big-screen TVs, yes, Mr. Fusion, no; virtual-reality goggles, yes, Jaws 19, no." On the other hand, people are keeping an eye on the baseball playoffs — the movie predicts a World Series victory for the Chicago Cubs, something they haven't managed since 1908. The Cubs actually did make the playoffs this year, and are fighting for a league championship title at the moment of this writing.

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Intel Develops Linux 'Software GPU' That's ~29-51x Faster

Tue, 20/10/2015 - 11:30pm
An anonymous reader writes: Intel is open-sourcing their work on creating a high-performance graphics software rasterizer that originally was developed for scientific visualizations. Intel is planning to integrate this new OpenSWR project with Mesa to deploy it on the Linux desktop as a faster software rasterizer than what's currently available (LLVMpipe). OpenSWR should be ideal for cases where there isn't a discrete GPU available or the drivers fail to function. This software rasterizer implements OpenGL 3.2 on Intel/AMD CPUs supporting AVX(2) (Sandy Bridge / Bulldozer and newer) while being 29~51x faster than LLVMpipe and the code is MIT licensed. The code prior to being integrated in Mesa is offered on GitHub.

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DHS To Extend OPT To 60 Months, Says Employers, Universities, Students Demand It

Tue, 20/10/2015 - 10:48pm
theodp writes: In August, Federal Judge Ellen Huvelle called BS on 'emergency' changes made by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security in 2008 to Optional Practical Training (OPT) that extended the amount of time foreign STEM graduates of U.S. colleges could stay in the country and work ("to alleviate the crisis employers are facing due to the current H-1B visa shortage," as Bill Gates explained it in 2007). "The 17-month duration of the STEM extension appears to have been adopted directly from the unanimous suggestions by Microsoft and similar industry groups," said the Judge in her ruling, which threatened to invalidate STEM OPT extensions in February. But the DHS fired back Monday with a new proposed rule — Improving and Expanding Training Opportunities for F-1 Nonimmigrant Students With STEM Degrees and Cap-Gap Relief for All Eligible F-1 Students — that will extend STEM OPT to as much as 60 months (a standard 12-month OPT period, plus two 24-month extensions). Foreign students demand it, explained the DHS, as do public colleges and universities, who "particularly benefit from the payment of tuition by foreign students, especially in comparison to the tuition paid by in-state students." DHS estimates that the proposed rule will affect 634,464 foreign STEM students over the next 10 years.

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