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Updated: 14 min 35 sec ago

More Than 40% of US Honeybee Colonies Died In a 12-Month Period Ending In April

Thu, 14/05/2015 - 12:14pm
walterbyrd writes: The Agriculture Department released its annual honeybee survey Wednesday and it doesn't look good. More than 40% of U.S. honeybee colonies died in a 12-month period ending in April. While the precise cause of the honeybee crisis is unknown, scientists generally blame a combination of factors, including poor diets and stress. Some bees die from infestations of the Varroa mite, a bloodsucking parasite that weakens bees and introduces diseases to the hive. Environmental groups also point to a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids. In April, the Environmental Protection Agency said it would stop approving new outdoor uses for those types of chemicals until more studies on bee health are conducted.

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Intel NUC5i7RYH Broadwell Mini PC With Iris Pro Graphics Tested

Thu, 14/05/2015 - 11:32am
MojoKid writes: In addition to ushering in a wave of new notebooks and mobile devices, Intel's Broadwell microarchitecture has also found its way into a plethora of recently introduced small form factor systems like the company's NUC platform. The new NUC5i7RYH is a mini-PC packing a Core i7-5557U Broadwell processor with Iris Pro graphics, which makes it the most powerful NUC released to date. There's a 5th-gen Core i7 CPU inside (dual-core, quad-thread) that can turbo up to 3.4GHz, an Iris Pro 6100 series integrated graphics engine, support for dual-channel memory, M.2 and 2.5" SSDs, 802.1ac and USB 3.0. NUCs are generally barebones systems, so you have to build them up with a drive and memory before they can be used. The NUC5i7RYH is one of the slightly taller NUC systems that can accommodate both M.2 and 9.5mm 2.5 drives and all NUCs come with a power brick and VESA mount. With a low-power dual-core processor and on-die Iris Pro 6100-series graphics engine, the NUC5i7RYH won't offer the same kind of performance as systems equipped with higher-powered processors or discrete graphics cards, but for everyday computing tasks and casual gaming, it should fit the bill for users that want a low profile, out-of-the-way tiny PC.

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Hackers Using Starbucks Gift Cards To Access Credit Cards

Thu, 14/05/2015 - 9:50am
jfruh writes: Starbucks inspires loyalty among its heavy users — so much so that they're willing to connect their Starbucks gift cards and phone apps directly to their credit or debit cards, auto-refilling the balance when it runs low. But this has opened up a hole hackers can exploit. Writing about the scheme journalist Bob Sullivan says: "The fraud is a big deal because Starbucks mobile payments are a big deal. Last year, Starbucks said it processed $2 billion in mobile payment transactions, and about 1 in 6 transactions at Starbucks are conducted with the Starbucks app. Maria Nistri, 48, was a victim this week. Criminals stole the Orlando women’s $34.77 in value she had loaded onto her Starbucks app, then another $25 after it was auto-loaded into her card because her balance hit 0. Then, the criminals upped the ante, changing her auto reload amount to $75, and stealing that amount, too. All within 7 minutes."

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John Urschel: The 300 Pound Mathematician Who Hits People For a Living

Thu, 14/05/2015 - 7:02am
HughPickens.com writes: Kate Murphy writes at NYT about mathematician John Urschel whose latest contribution to the mathematical realm was a paper for the Journal of Computational Mathematics with the impressively esoteric title, "A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector of Graph Laplacians." "Believe me, I am aware that terms such as multigrid, Fiedler, and vector are not words that people use in their daily lives," says Urshel. But as an offensive guard for the Baltimore Ravens, John Urschel regularly goes head to head with the top defensive players in the NFL and does his best to keep quarterback Joe Flacco out of harm's way. "I play because I love the game. I love hitting people," Urshel writes. "There's a rush you get when you go out on the field, lay everything on the line and physically dominate the player across from you. This is a feeling I'm (for lack of a better word) addicted to, and I'm hard-pressed to find anywhere else." Urschel acknowledges that he has faced questions from NFL officials, journalists, fans and fellow mathematicians about why he runs the risk of potential brain injury from playing football when he has "a bright career ahead of me in mathematics" but doesn't feel able to quit. "When I go too long without physical contact I'm not a pleasant person to be around. This is why, every offseason, I train in kickboxing and wrestling in addition to my lifting, running and position-specific drill work."

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US Passport Agency Contractor Stole Applicants' Data To Steal Their Identities

Thu, 14/05/2015 - 4:29am
An anonymous reader writes: According to federal prosecutors three women are responsible for an identity theft and wire fraud scheme targeting both the Houston and Atlanta passport agencies. Chloe McClendon, Alicia Myles, and Dominique Thomas are accused of stealing personal information from the passport administration and transmitting it back and forth between one another. The stolen information was used to obtain lines of credit in order to purchase iPhones, iPads and other electronics. The scheme went on for over five years.

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House Votes To End Spy Agencies' Bulk Collection of Phone Data

Thu, 14/05/2015 - 1:54am
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from a story at Reuters that gives a rare bit of good news for the Fourth Amendment: The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill on Wednesday that would end spy agencies' bulk collection of Americans' telephone data, setting up a potential showdown with the U.S. Senate over the program, which expires on June 1. The House voted 338-88 for the USA Freedom Act, which would end the bulk collection and instead give intelligence agencies access to telephone data and other records only when a court finds there is reasonable suspicion about a link to international terrorism.

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Ask Slashdot: Security Certification For an Old Grad?

Wed, 13/05/2015 - 11:59pm
An anonymous reader writes: I graduated in late 2003 during the tech bubble burst with a below 2.5 GPA. I am 35 with an interest in getting a security job. What are the chances that I would be just wasting my time and money? I am pursuing business interests with a patent used in a service that will be a prime target for hackers. I have been writing client/server software in an OpenBSD virtual machine for the security and the kqueue functionality; not to mention the rest of the virtual clients crash that I have tried. I figure that trying to sell the service idea, even if I can't get a job, when they ask what qualifies me to have such ideas, I can say I have the credentials. I just got issued the patent this year. What would you do in this situation to be a viable candidate for employment?

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World's Rudest Robot Set To Simulate the Fury of Call Center Customers

Wed, 13/05/2015 - 11:13pm
An anonymous reader writes: A New Zealand-based company called Touchpoint Group has unveiled the world's angriest robot, which is designed to help train call center employees in the art of dealing with frustrated customers. The project, named Radiant, will involve one of Australia's biggest banks, which is providing researchers with recordings of real-life interactions with customers. Once finished Radiant will simulate hundreds of millions of angry customer interactions, helping companies better understand what triggers heated calls.

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Is Big Data Leaving Hadoop Behind?

Wed, 13/05/2015 - 10:30pm
knightsirius writes: Big Data was seen as one the next big drivers of computing economy, and Hadoop was seen as a key component of the plans. However, Hadoop has had a less than stellar six months, beginning with the lackluster Hortonworks IPO last December and the security concerns raised by some analysts.. Another survey records only a quarter of big data decision makers actively considering Hadoop. With rival Apache Spark on the rise, is Hadoop being bypassed in big data solutions?

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Film Consortium Urges ISPs To Dump Ineffective "Six Strikes" Policy For Pirates

Wed, 13/05/2015 - 9:45pm
An anonymous reader writes: The Internet Security Task Force, a group of businesses working to protect content creators and consumers from the negative effects of piracy, has called for an end to the Copyright Alert System, saying the anti-piracy initiative is not only ineffective but actually makes things worse. The group suggest that it be replaced with a new system based on Canada's Copyright Modernization Act. Mark Gill, ISTF chairman and President of member company Millennium films, says "We've always known the Copyright Alert System was ineffective, as it allows people to steal six movies from us before they get an educational leaflet. But now we have the data to prove that it's a sham." The Copyright Alert System (CAS) is set to expire early July.

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Apple, A123 To Settle Lawsuit Over Poached Battery Engineers

Wed, 13/05/2015 - 9:02pm
itwbennett writes: Slashdot readers will remember that back in February, electric car battery maker A123 Systems sued Apple for allegedly "raiding" the Waltham, Massachusetts, company and hiring five employees, including two top-level engineers. The loss of these workers essentially forced A123 to shut down some of its main projects, the suit alleged. Now, according to court documents filed Monday, A123 and Apple "have reached an agreement, signed a term sheet, and are in the process of drafting a final settlement agreement."

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How Light at Night Affects Preschoolers' Sleep Patterns (Video)

Wed, 13/05/2015 - 8:15pm
The effects of light and dark on adults' Circadian rythym has been studied over and over, but there hasn't been much research done on how light at night affects young children's sleep patterns. This is the topic of Lameese Akacem's doctoral dissertation, and is a study being carried out under the aegis of the Sleep and Development Laboratory at the University of Colorado, Boulder, under the direction of Assistant Professor Monique K. LeBourgeois. Aside from the inherent value of this research, which may help parents decide whether (and how much) they are messing up their children's sleep patterns by letting them view screens such as TVs, tablets or smart phones near bedtime, its funding is unique; the money for this study is coming, at least in part, from crowdfunding. The crowdfunding itself is an experiment. This study is one of a small, select group of projects the University of Colorado at Boulder has in its pilot crowdfunding program. Its crowdfunding time window closes next week, so if you want to help sponsor this experiment, and help learn how different kinds of light can affect how (and how well) small children sleep, you need to act within the next six days. (This is a two-part video. Part one runs today. Part two will run tomorrow.)

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Top Publishers To Post News Stories Directly To Facebook Timelines

Wed, 13/05/2015 - 7:32pm
An anonymous reader writes: The BBC, BuzzFeed, NBC, The New York Times and National Geographic are among some of the publishers which will post news items directly to a Facebook user's timeline thanks to a new feature called Instant Articles. Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer, says the program will allow publishers to “deliver fast, interactive articles while maintaining control of their content and business models.” Under the terms of the plan, publishers can sell and embed ads in the articles and keep the revenue, or allow Facebook to sell ads. Publishers will also be allowed to track data and traffic with their own analytics tools.

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New Device Could Greatly Improve Speech and Image Recognition

Wed, 13/05/2015 - 6:44pm
jan_jes writes: Scientists have successfully demonstrated pattern recognition using a magnonic holographic memory device, a development that could greatly improve speech and image recognition hardware. The researchers built a prototype eight-terminal device consisting of a magnetic matrix with micro-antennas to excite and detect the spin waves. The micro-antennas allow the researchers to generate and recognize any input phase pattern, a big advantage over existing practices. It takes about 100 nanoseconds for recognition, which is the time required for spin waves to propagate and to create the interference pattern. The main challenge associated with magnonic holographic memory is the scaling of the operational wavelength, which requires the development of sub-micrometer scale elements for spin wave generation and detection.

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Does Using an AOL Email Address Suggest You're a Tech Dinosaur?

Wed, 13/05/2015 - 5:56pm
Nerval's Lobster writes: Despite years of layoffs and tumbling net worth, AOL seemed to get a new lease on life this week when Verizon bought it for $4.4 billion. But even if AOL's still alive, using an AOL email address has long been seen as a way of signaling that you're stuck in the 1990s. A recent analysis of Dice data found that a mere 1.8 percent of those registering for the site used an AOL address, versus 55 percent for Gmail. For the past several years, Websites from Gizmodo to Lifehacker have all declared that still using an AOL email address is counterproductive, to put it mildly. But is that actually true? Do the people in your life and work actually care whether you use AOL, Hotmail, Gmail, or a custom address, or is the idea of 'email bias' an overblown myth?

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Third Bangladeshi Blogger Murdered In As Many Months

Wed, 13/05/2015 - 5:13pm
An anonymous reader writes: Ananta Bijoy Das blogged about science in Bangladesh, also sometimes tackling difficult issues about religion. He won an award in 2006 for "deep and courageous interest in spreading secular and humanist ideals and messages." He's now been murdered for his writings, the third Bangladeshi blogger to die in the past few months. Four masked assailants chased him down in broad daylight and attacked him with cleavers and machetes. The Committee to Protect Journalists says Das is the 20th writer to be murdered globally so far this year. Arrests have been made in Bangladesh for the murders of the previous two bloggers this year, but no convictions have yet been made. Das's murderers remain at large.

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