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A Visual Walk Through Amazon's Impact On One Seattle Neighborhood

Fri, 08/05/2015 - 4:27pm
reifman writes: If you live in Seattle, it's easy to see Amazon.com's impact on downtown construction and growth but not everyone sees what's happening in neighborhoods like formerly sleepy Ballard. One by one, traditional Seattle homes are being razed and replaced by 3 1/2 story behemoths without regard for aesthetics of any kind. The new townhomes offer 12 foot wide living spaces for Amazon's brogrammer class. Take a walk with me down my friend's street to see what it's like to live amongst the returns of e-commerce success. Ballard is also home of the late octogenarian Edith Macefield, who refused to sell her house to developers as construction went up around her.

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NASA Images Massive Solar Flare

Fri, 08/05/2015 - 3:45pm
An anonymous reader writes: NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, has sent back pictures of a massive, X-class solar flare. The X-class flares are the strongest, and this one received an X2.7 rating. It wasn't pointed at us, and there was no notable harm done, but there was a brief radio blackout (and a burst of static) over the Pacific Ocean and western North America. This flare follows news of a presentation (PDF) from the Space Weather Workshop that there is evidence for a phenomenon known as a "superflare", which can be up to a thousand times stronger than the flares we routinely see. Such behavior is seen in other stars, and may be expected from the Sun once every 10,000 years, on average.

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Cybersecurity Company Extorted Its Clients, Says Whistleblower

Fri, 08/05/2015 - 3:02pm
An anonymous reader writes: Richard Wallace used to be an investigator for Tiversa, a cybersecurity company that sells services like "breach protection" and "incident response." These days, Wallace is testifying in federal court that Tiversa faked breaches to encourage sales, and extorted clients that weren't interested. For example, Wallace said Tiversa targeted a cancer testing center called LabMD in 2010, tapping into their computers and downloading medical records. Tiversa then used those records as evidence to convince LabMD they had been hacked, offering its "incident response" service at the same time. LabMD didn't fall for it, so Tiversa told the FTC about the "hack." The FTC, none-the-wiser, went after LabMD in court, eventually destroying the business. Wallace has also cast suspicion on reports Tiversa has issued, including one saying President Obama's helicopter blueprints were found on Iranian computers.

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Top Advisor To Australian Gov't Says Climate Change is a UN Conspiracy

Fri, 08/05/2015 - 2:20pm
An anonymous reader writes: Maurice Newman, the top business advisor to conservative Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, today published an opinion piece (paywalled) in which he claims, "It's a well-kept secret, but 95 per cent of the climate models ... have been found ... to be in error." He goes on to write "This is not about facts or logic. It's about a new world order under the control of the UN." While Newman's 'skeptical' views have long been on record, it's unclear when he came to believe in this vast global conspiracy. Last year, the Abbott government removed Australia's Emissions Trading Scheme, and recently gave $4 million in funding to contrarian Bjorn Lomberg, while cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from science across the country.

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$9 Open Source Computer Blows Past Crowdfunding Goal

Fri, 08/05/2015 - 1:37pm
An anonymous reader writes: A team of engineers and artists has launched a Kickstarter campaign for C.H.I.P., a small computer that costs $9. The campaign met and far exceeded its $50,000 goal on the first day. The device runs an R8 ARM CPU clocked at 1 GHz, 512 MB of RAM, and 4GB of storage. It has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and runs a version of Debian. The price was enabled by two things: super-cheap Chinese tablets pushing down processor costs, and support from manufacturer Allwinner to make it even cheaper. The team is also building breakout boards for VGA and HDMI connections, as well as one with a tiny LCD screen, keyboard, and battery. Importantly, "all hardware design files schematic, PCB layout and bill of materials are free for you the community to download, modify and use."

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Doomed Russian Spacecraft Re-Enters Atmosphere Over Pacific Ocean

Fri, 08/05/2015 - 12:56pm
astroengine sends word that the Russian cargo ship that spun out of control after launching on a mission to the ISS on April 28 has re-entered the atmosphere somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. Orbital tracking indicated the re-entry took place at 2:20 UTC. Its orbital speed and location were not known with perfect precision, but any bits of the spacecraft that didn't burn up are believed to have landed in the ocean between 350 and 1,300 kilometers off the west coast of Chile. According to Spaceflight 101, "The component with the highest probability of reaching the ground is the docking mechanism of the spacecraft as one of the most dense spacecraft systems. The docking system hosts an 80-centimeter hatch that is surrounded by the docking interface hosting the hooks and pressure seals facilitated on a massive metal ring. Overall, the system has a mass of 200 Kilograms much of which could reach the ground since the closed hatch would most likely not separate from the docking system and the unit will return mostly intact."

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25 Percent of Cars Cause 90 Percent of Air Pollution

Fri, 08/05/2015 - 12:13pm
HughPickens.com writes: Sara Novak reports that according to a recent study, "badly tuned" cars and trucks make up one quarter of the vehicles on the road, but cause 95 percent of black carbon, also known as soot, 93 percent of carbon monoxide, and 76 percent of volatile organic chemicals like benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes. "The most surprising thing we found was how broad the range of emissions was," says Greg Evans. "As we looked at the exhaust coming out of individual vehicles, we saw so many variations. How you drive, hard acceleration, age of the vehicle, how the car is maintained – these are things we can influence that can all have an effect on pollution." Researchers at the University of Toronto looked at 100,000 cars as they drove past air sampling probes on one of Toronto's major roads. An automated identification and integration method was applied to high time resolution air pollutant measurements of in-use vehicle emissions performed under real-world conditions at a near-road monitoring station in Toronto, Canada during four seasons, through month-long campaigns in 2013–2014. Based on carbon dioxide measurements, over 100 000 vehicle-related plumes were automatically identified and fuel-based emission factors for nitrogen oxides; carbon monoxide; particle number, black carbon; benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX); and methanol were determined for each plume. Evans and his team found that policy changes need to better target cars that are causing the majority of the air pollution. "The ultrafine particles are particularly troubling," says Evans. "Because they are over 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, they have a greater ability to penetrate deeper within the lung and travel in the body."

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Researchers Make Spiders Produce Silk Strengthened With Graphene

Fri, 08/05/2015 - 11:30am
An anonymous reader writes: Italian researchers in Trent have enabled 15 Pholcidae spiders to spin graphene-strengthened dragline silk just by spraying them with a solution containing carbon nanotubes and graphene flakes. The resulting fiber is as strong as Kevlar 49, and ranks among the most resilient and ductile in the world of manufacturing. But Emiliano Lepore's research has not succeeded in understanding by what process the spiders are able to incorporate the ambient materials into their webs. Since spider-farming is historically unproductive, the possibility of continuing the research on silk-worms has been presented.

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Top Cyber Attack Vectors For Critical SAP Systems

Fri, 08/05/2015 - 9:22am
An anonymous reader writes: Despite housing an organization's most valuable and sensitive information, SAP systems are not protected from cyber threats by traditional security approaches. Based on assessments of hundreds of SAP implementations, the Onapsis Research Labs study found that over 95 percent of SAP systems were exposed to vulnerabilities that could lead to full compromise of the company's business data and processes. Most companies are also exposed to protracted patching windows averaging 18 months or more. In 2014 alone, 391 security patches were released by SAP, averaging more than 30 per month. Almost 50 percent of them were ranked as "high priority" by SAP.

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Future Holds Large Updates Instead of Stand-Alone Windows Releases

Fri, 08/05/2015 - 6:59am
jones_supa writes: Jerry Nixon, a Microsoft developer evangelist, said at the Ignite conference in Chicago that Windows 10 "is the last version of Windows, so we're always working on Windows 10." Saying that is only half true. In fact, Microsoft will start working on large updates instead of stand-alone Windows releases, so the company would switch from a model that previously brought us new versions of Windows every three years, to a simpler one that's likely to bring big updates every two months. The company will also change the naming system for Windows, so instead of Windows $(version), the new operating system would be simply called Windows.

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James Comey: the Man Who Wants To Outlaw Encryption

Fri, 08/05/2015 - 4:33am
Patrick O'Neill writes: "There has not been a tradeoff between liberty and security in our response to terrorism in this country and in our efforts to offer security to the people of the United States," said James Comey, now the director of the FBI. Comey was the number two man in the Department of Justice during the Bush years when NSA and law enforcement surveillance of Americans grew to unprecedented heights. Now he's pushing to stop encryption by default on Apple and Android devices.

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Amazon's Delivery Drones Will Be Able To Track Your Location

Fri, 08/05/2015 - 2:08am
stowie writes: According to the filing with the USPTO, the e-commerce giant's delivery drones will be able to communicate with each other, find the best flight path available, and update the delivery location as a customer changes location. Package delivery locations will be updated as customers move around, so a package can come to you at work or home, depending on where you are when your shipment is ready — including pulling location data from a smartphone. There will also be relay locations, allowing drones to drop off packages for further transport, or to recharge or swap batteries. Amazon even supplies a mockup of what its delivery drone could look like, including eight propellers, two removable power modules and much more.

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Is Facebook Keeping You In a Political Bubble?

Fri, 08/05/2015 - 12:30am
sciencehabit writes: Does Facebook make it harder for people with different political views to get along? Political scientists have long wondered whether the social network's news feed selectively serves up ideologically charged news while filtering out content from different camps. Now, a study by Facebook's in-house social scientists finds that this does happen, though the effect seems to be very small. "There's a growing concern that social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow us to more precisely engineer our informational environments than ever before, so we only get info that's consistent with our prior beliefs," says David Lazer, a political and computer scientist who authored a commentary on the paper.

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FAA: Big Tech Challenges For Massive Washington, DC Warbirds Flyover

Thu, 07/05/2015 - 11:48pm
coondoggie writes: It will be one of the largest gatherings of flying WWII aircraft in history as 56 famous vintage warbirds will fly through restricted airspace over the National Mall Friday in remembrance of the 70th anniversary of VE-Day or Victory in Europe Day. The huge flyover, dubbed "The Arsenal of Democracy," of so many different types of aircraft – from seaplanes to fighters and the only flying B-29 Superfortress – was no easy undertaking. The first plane should be visible along the National Mall around 12:10 p.m. With roughly 90 seconds between formations, the Flyover will end by 1 p.m. Reagan National Airport will be closed to commercial traffic from 12 noon to 1 p.m. to accommodate the flights. The Flyover will be streamed live here.

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Superfish Injects Ads In 1 In 25 Google Page Views

Thu, 07/05/2015 - 11:04pm
An anonymous reader writes: A new report from Google has found that more than 5% of unique daily IP addresses accessing Google — tens of millions — are interrupted by ad-injection techniques, and that Superfish, responsible for a major controversy with Lenovo in February is the leading adware behind what is clearly now an industry. Amongst the report's recommendations to address the problem is the suggestion that browser makers "harden their environments against side-loading extensions or modifying the browser environment without user consent." Some of the most popular extensions for Chrome and Firefox, including ad-blockers, depend on this functionality.

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Keurig Stock Drops, Says It Was Wrong About DRM Coffee Pods

Thu, 07/05/2015 - 10:15pm
An anonymous reader writes: Green Mountain (Keurig) stock dropped by 10% this morning after a brutal earnings report. The reason? CNN Money reports that DRM has weakened sales of their Keurig 2.0. CEO Brian Kelley admits, "Quite honestly, we were wrong." Last year Green Mountain decided to make their new coffee machines work with licensed pods only. The company says they now plan to license more outside brands, and bring back “My K-Cup” reusable filters.

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Creating the Open Drone Ecosystem Takes Room To Experiment

Thu, 07/05/2015 - 9:32pm
An anonymous reader writes: Over on Forbes, Jono Bacon writes about the emergence of an open drone ecosystem spearheaded by the recently announced 3D Robotics SOLO which is largely Open Source and has an Open Source SDK. Bacon's argument is that innovation comes from where we least expect it, so open access to the code and tools is critical in helping the burgeoning drone ecosystem to thrive, solve problems, and grow. See also our videos interviews with open-source drone programmers / users John Hawley, Clay McLure, and Mark F. Brown and Joel Rozenweig at the recent Embedded Linux Conference, where Bacon was also a speaker.

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