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Updated: 12 min 6 sec ago

OpenSSH 7.0 Released

Wed, 12/08/2015 - 4:18am
An anonymous reader writes: Today the OpenSSH project maintainers announced the release of version 7.0. This release is focusing on deprecating weak and unsafe cryptographic methods, though some of the work won't be complete until 7.1. This release removes support for the following: the legacy SSH v1 protocol, the 1024-bit diffie-hellman-group1-sha1 key exchange, ssh-dss, ssh-dss-cert-* host and user keys, and legacy v00 cert format. There were also several bug fixes, security tweaks, and new features. In the next release, they plan to retire more legacy cryptography. This includes refusing RSA keys smaller than 1024 bits, disabling MD5-based HMAC algorithms, and disabling these ciphers: blowfish-cbc, cast128-cbc, all arcfour variants and the rijndael-cbc aliases for AES.

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Cisco Developing Royalty Free Video Codec: Thor

Wed, 12/08/2015 - 2:14am
An anonymous reader writes: Video codec licensing has never been great, and it's gotten even more complicated and expensive in recent years. While H.264 had a single license pool and an upper bound on yearly licensing costs, successor H.265 has two pools (so far) and no limit. Cisco has decided that this precludes the use of H.265 in open source or other free-as-in-beer software, so they've struck out on their own to create a new, royalty-free codec called Thor. They've already open-sourced the code and invited contributions. Cisco says, "The effort is being staffed by some of the world's most foremost codec experts, including the legendary Gisle Bjøntegaard and Arild Fuldseth, both of whom have been heavy contributors to prior video codecs. We also hired patent lawyers and consultants familiar with this technology area. We created a new codec development process which would allow us to work through the long list of patents in this space, and continually evolve our codec to work around or avoid those patents."

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Kali Linux 2.0 Released

Wed, 12/08/2015 - 12:10am
An anonymous reader writes: Kali Linux 2.0 has been released, together which an assortment of interesting new features. Most importantly, Kali is now a rolling distribution, using Debian Testing as their upstream source. (Download page.) There are also huge changes to the UI, including a fully fledged, custom GNOME 3 environment, as well as support for myriad other Desktop Environments. The maintainers describe the release this way: "If Kali 1.0 was focused on building a solid infrastructure then Kali 2.0 is focused on overhauling the user experience and maintaining updated packages and tool repositories." I'm enjoying 2.0 so far. What are your thoughts and comments?

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Researchers Fight VR Focus-Switching Headaches

Tue, 11/08/2015 - 11:28pm
An anonymous reader writes: One of the biggest problems virtual reality headsets have yet to overcome is the headaches they cause in a subset of users. For a lot of users, this is caused by needing to rapidly switch your focus between objects that are (virtually) near and far away. "Trying to focus on 'far away' objects on that stereoscopic screen means keeping a fixed focal distance but changing the 'vergence' angle of your eyes—in essence, going a little cross-eyed for a moment." Fortunately, researchers at Stanford have figured out a partial solution. They "created a prototype headset (PDF) that includes a translucent LCD panel sitting about 1cm in front of a standard, opaque LCD. With some GPU pre-processing, this 'light field stereoscope' headset can display nearby objects on the front LCD and farther-away objects on the rear, creating what the researchers call a '4D' image that layers a basic virtual light field on top of the usual stereoscopic left/right eye 3D separation." This provides an easy, low-tech way to let the eyes focus more easily, and alleviate the strain that causes headaches.

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MIT Designs Less Expensive Fusion Reactor That Boosts Power Tenfold

Tue, 11/08/2015 - 10:46pm
jan_jes writes: Advances in magnet technology have enabled researchers at MIT to propose a new design for a practical compact tokamak (donut-shaped) fusion reactor. The stronger magnetic field makes it possible to produce the required magnetic confinement of the superhot plasma — that is, the working material of a fusion reaction — but in a much smaller device than those previously envisioned (abstract). The reduction in size, in turn, makes the whole system less expensive and faster to build, and also allows for some ingenious new features in the power plant design.

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Our Early Solar System May Have Been Home To a Fifth Giant Planet

Tue, 11/08/2015 - 10:03pm
sciencehabit writes: A cluster of icy bodies in the same region as Pluto could be proof that our early solar system was home to a fifth giant planet, according to new research (abstract). That planet may have 'bumped' Neptune during its migration away from the sun 4 billion years ago, causing the ice giant to jump into its current orbit and scattering a cluster of its satellites into the Kuiper belt in the outer solar system.

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