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41% of Android Phones use Forked OS

Soylent New - 2 hours 12 min ago

The last time that I installed Cyanogenmod, it was because "Official" Android had added a "feature" that made the phone considerably less useful for me. Now, with my fourth Android phone, running KitKat, they've done it again, eliminating USB Mass Storage mode.

That's why I'm excited to see that, according to ABI Research, non-Google forks of Android account for more than 40% of Android installs. As reported elsewhere:

It seems to be research release season and ABI has also reported numbers for smartphone shipments. However, this time we have a breakdown of what proportion of Android is forked (AOSP). That is, Android devices that aren’t sanctioned by Google, haven’t passed compatibility testing and don’t have Google Apps and Google Play Services (at least not legally anyway).

Even though most of these are assumed to be oddball Asian variants of Android, it still means that end users have options that fit their needs - the kind of choice that Linux users expect and love.

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Obama Proposes One-Time Tax On $2 Trillion US Companies Hold Overseas

/. - 3 hours 2 min ago
mrspoonsi writes with news about a new proposed tax on overseas profits to help pay for a $478 billion public works program of highway, bridge and transit upgrades. President Barack Obama's fiscal 2016 budget would impose a one-time 14 percent tax on some $2 trillion of untaxed foreign earnings accumulated by U.S. companies abroad and use that to fund infrastructure projects, a White House official said. The money also would be used to fill a projected shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund. "This transition tax would mean that companies have to pay U.S. tax right now on the $2 trillion they already have overseas, rather than being able to delay paying any U.S. tax indefinitely," the official said. "Unlike a voluntary repatriation holiday, which the president opposes and which would lose revenue, the president's proposed transition tax is a one-time, mandatory tax on previously untaxed foreign earnings, regardless of whether the earnings are repatriated." In the future, the budget proposes that U.S. companies pay a 19 percent tax on all of their foreign earnings as they are earned, while a tax credit would be issued for foreign taxes paid, the official said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Ask Slashdot: Is There a Modern IP Webcam That Lets the User Control the Output?

/. - 4 hours 6 min ago
First time accepted submitter Tronster writes Owners of a local shop have a menu that changes daily and wanted an IP webcam to update an image on their web-site. After a frustrating 2 hours of a "Hikvision" refusing to behave, I threw in the towel and looked for a better camera to recommend. The biggest issue today is that the new webcams that come out don't support FTP, they all support sending images/video direct to a "private cloud" (e.g., Simplicam, Dropcam, etc...). Google has been no help; all the sites are either outdated in terms of ranking or the most recent ones recommend a Foscam. They previously tried one of these and it's image quality was too poor. While security systems and home automation has been discussed recently, I haven't found any recent discussions on webcams that give a user control of where the content is sent. Does anyone in the Slashdot community have recommendations, reputable sites that are up-to-date in rankings, and/or hacks to have control over some of these newer cameras?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Jihadists Increasingly Wary of Internet, Experts Say

Soylent New - 4 hours 7 min ago

After having used the Internet profusely for propaganda and recruitment, jihadist organizations have realized that investigators are gleaning crucial information online and are increasingly concealing their web presence, experts say.

Apart from recent orders given to fighters to limit their exposure, erase the footprint of their online activity and avoid revealing too many place names or faces, the Islamic State and Al-Nusra Front groups are increasingly using the "Dark Web" -- the hidden part of the Internet protected by powerful encryption softwares.

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Lab Samples Database "JuliaBase" Published As Open Source

/. - 4 hours 48 min ago
First time accepted submitter bronger writes After six years of closed-source development, the Research Centre Jülich published its database solution for laboratory samples and processes as open source, while continuing maintaining it. JuliaBase is a framework written in Python/Django that enables research institution or research group to set up browser-based samples tracking and measurement management easily. Next to Bika and LabLey, this is one of the very few open source LIMS systems, and in contrast to the others, not specialized in biomedicine or service labs.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

NASA Launches Satellite To Observe Soil Moisture

/. - 5 hours 11 min ago
An anonymous reader sends word that NASA has launched an Earth-observing satellite, which will measure the amount of moisture in soil. "In one of the space agency's bolder projects, a newly launched NASA satellite will monitor western drought and study the moisture, frozen and liquid in Earth's soil. It's true that a satellite can't possibly fix the devastating drought that has been plaguing the American West for the last years. It is also true that it can't possibly change the fact that California has just gone through the driest month in recorded history. But what NASA plans to do is to provide the possibility of understanding the patterns of this extreme weather and, perhaps, foresee how much worse it could actually become. Called the SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive Satellite), this new, unmanned project was successfully launched on Saturday atop the United Launch Alliance Delta II Rocket. The launch took place at the California Vandenberg Air Force base at exactly 9:22 AM EST. With the successful launch, NASA just kick started a three year, $916 million mission focused on measuring and forecasting droughts, floods and other possible natural disasters that might come our way in the future."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

OpenSSH 6.8 Will Feature Key Discovery and Rotation for Easier Switching to DJB's Ed25519

Soylent New - 6 hours 3 min ago

OpenSSH developer Damien Miller wrote from Down Under about a new feature he implemented and committed for the next upcoming 6.8 release of OpenSSH — hostkeys@openssh.com — an OpenSSH extension to the SSH protocol for sshd to automatically send all of its public keys to the client, and for the client to automatically replace all keys of such server within ~/.ssh/known_hosts with the fresh copies as supplied (provided the server is trusted in the first place, of course).

The protocol extension is simple enough, and is aimed to make it easier to switch over from DSA to the OpenSSL-free Ed25519 public keys. It is also designed in such a way as to support the concept of spare host keys being stored offline, which could then seamlessly replace main active keys should they ever become compromised.

Read more of this story at SoylentNews.

The NFL Wants You To Think These Things Are Illegal

/. - 6 hours 13 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: Professional sports have become a minefield of copyright and trademark issues, and no event moreso than the Super Bowl. Sherwin Siy of Public Knowledge has an article debunking some of the things the NFL has convinced people they can't do, even through they're perfectly legal. For example, you've probably heard the warning about how "descriptions" and "accounts" of the game are prohibited without the NFL's consent. That's all hogwash: "The NFL would be laughed out of court for trying to prevent them from doing so—just because you have a copyright in a work doesn't mean you can prevent people from talking about it. Copyright simply doesn't extend that far." Recording the game and watching it later is just fine, too. So, will you be paying attention to the game today? Ignoring it? Practicing your cultivated disinterest?

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Cold Plasma may be Weapon of Choice Against Norovirus

Soylent New - 8 hours 11 min ago

The BBC is reporting that Cold Plasma may be a potent tool to control Norovirus, which is infamous for causing gastroenteritis outbreaks on cruise ships.

Norovirus is highly resistant to several chemical disinfectants &mash it usually requires a wipe down with chlorine bleach. Obviously this won't work on food.

The new research shows that cold plasma, a so called "4th state of matter" is effective at destroying viruses, while not affecting food at all. It is safe to the touch as well. It could be used in permanent fixtures in food service areas as well as restrooms.

Cold plasma treatment led to a roughly 20- to 50-fold reduction in the number of virus particles.

The viruses were destroyed because cold plasma consists of highly noxious ions, called reactive nitrogen and oxygen species, which exhibit potent antimicrobial activity.

Moreover, the cold plasma generator, which produces the ions by applying an electric field to ambient air, could be designed as a handheld device.

The work was performed by a team of German veterinary scientists in Hanover. The full paper is on line at American Society for Microbiology.

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Police Stations Increasingly Offer Safe Haven For Craigslist Transactions

/. - 9 hours 24 min ago
HughPickens.com writes: Lily Hay Newman reports at Future Tense that the police department in Columbia, Missouri recently announced its lobby will be open 24/7 for people making Craigslist transactions or any type of exchange facilitated by Internet services. This follows a trend begun by police stations in Virginia Beach, East Chicago and Boca Raton. Internet listings like Craigslist are, of course, a quick and convenient way to buy, sell, barter, and generally deal with junk. But tales of Craigslist-related assaults, robberies, and murders where victims are lured to locations with the promise of a sale, aren't uncommon. Also, an item being sold could be broken or fake, and the money being used to buy it could be counterfeit. "Transactions should not be conducted in secluded parking lots, behind a building, in a dark location especially when you're dealing with strangers. Someone you've never met before – you have no idea what their intentions are – whether they have evil intent or the best of intentions," says Officer James Cason Jr. With surveillance cameras running 24 hours a day, plus the obvious bonus of a constant police presence, meeting in the lobby of the police department can help weed out people trying to rip others off. "People with stolen items may not want to meet at the police department," says Bryana Maupin.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Planck: Gravitational Waves Remain Elusive

Soylent New - 10 hours 43 min ago

Despite earlier reports of a possible detection, a joint analysis of data from ESA’s Planck satellite and the ground-based BICEP2 and Keck Array experiments has found no conclusive evidence of primordial gravitational waves.

The Universe began about 13.8 billion years ago and evolved from an extremely hot, dense and uniform state to the rich and complex cosmos of galaxies, stars and planets we see today.

An extraordinary source of information about the Universe’s history is the Cosmic Microwave Background, or CMB, the legacy of light emitted only 380 000 years after the Big Bang.

The ESA dishes the dirt here.

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OpenSSH Will Feature Key Discovery and Rotation For Easier Switching To Ed25519

/. - 12 hours 28 min ago
ConstantineM writes: OpenSSH developer Damien Miller has posted about a new feature he implemented and committed for the next upcoming 6.8 release of OpenSSH — hostkeys@openssh.com — an OpenSSH extension to the SSH protocol for sshd to automatically send all of its public keys to the client, and for the client to automatically replace all keys of such server within ~/.ssh/known_hosts with the fresh copies as supplied (provided the server is trusted in the first place, of course). The protocol extension is simple enough, and is aimed to make it easier to switch over from DSA to the OpenSSL-free Ed25519 public keys. It is also designed in such a way as to support the concept of spare host keys being stored offline, which could then seamlessly replace main active keys should they ever become compromised.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Claims that Climate Models Overestimate Warming are "Unfounded", Study Shows

Soylent New - 13 hours 13 min ago

Carbonbrief.org is reporting on a new paper published today in the journal 'Nature.'

Claims that Climate Models Overestimate Warming are "Unfounded", Study Shows

The abstract is located here.

A new paper takes an in-depth look at the suggestion that climate models routinely overestimate the speed at which Earth's surface is warming - and finds the argument lacking.

A look back over the past century shows that, by and large, what we see in global average temperature is extremely well captured by models, the authors tell Carbon Brief.

The new research, a collaboration between scientists at the Max Planck Institute in Germany and the University of Leeds, is published today in the journal Nature.

They go on to note:

The past 15 years has received a fair bit of attention. It's notable that 14 of those years topped the charts as the warmest on record. But the difference between individual years has been slight, meaning the earth's surface has risen a fair bit slower than in previous decades.

... it's worth remembering that we're talking here about surface temperature, not the globe as a whole, says lead author Prof Jochem Marotzke from the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Germany. He tells us:

"[Surface temperature is] the temperature of a very thin layer of the climate system. Anthropogenic climate change has continued, it's just not so visible in the surface ... It's clearly visible if you look at the heat stored in the ocean, which has kept going during these 15 years. So climate change is continuing, even though surface warming has slowed down quite a bit."

[...]So what causes real-world temperatures to diverge from the models over periods as short as 15 years? That's down to natural fluctuations that temporarily boost or dampen the speed of warming, such as the global weather phenomenon known as El Niño, the paper notes.

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Physicists Make a Mobius Strip From Beams of Light

/. - 31 January 2015 - 11:03pm
rossgneumann writes: A group of physicists has successfully manipulated beams of laser light into an optical mobius strip (abstract). The shape, a classic mindbender all but nonexistent in nature, has never before been seen in such an immaterial form.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Football Deflation Experiments Show Patriots May Have Science on Their Side

Soylent New - 31 January 2015 - 10:50pm

While the New England Patriots have absorbed a beating in the press, with many scientists concluding that only the surreptitious hiss of air being released from their footballs could explain the loss of pressure making them easier to handle, James Glanz reports at the NYT that the first detailed, experimental data has concluded that most or all of the deflation could be explained by environmental effects.

[The NFL is investigating whether the New England Patriots intentionally deflated footballs during their victory over the Indianapolis Colts in Sunday's rain-soaked AFC Championship Game.]

“This analysis looks solid to me,” says Max Tegmark, a professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who reviewed the paper. “To me, their measurements mean that there’s no evidence of foul play.” Some academic and research physicists now concede that they made a crucial error in their initial calculations, using an equation called the ideal gas law. But applying the equation to real situations can be surprisingly deceptive. When a gauge indicates that the ball contains 12.5 p.s.i. — the minimum allowed by the N.F.L. — the actual pressure is more than twice that amount because the surrounding pressure of the atmosphere must be considered. This roughly doubles how much a dip in temperature can lower the pressure. “I stand corrected,” says Tegman, “It’s pretty funny that the ideal gas law is making headlines."

Thomas Healy measured the pressure drop in 12 footballs when they were moved from a room at 75 degrees to one at 50 degrees (the approximate temperature on the field in the Colts game). In the experiment, the deflation of the footballs was close to the larger, correctly calculated value. When Healy moistened the balls to mimic the effects of the rainy weather that day, the pressure dropped even further, close to the deflation of 2 pounds per square inch that the N.F.L. is believed to have found. Healy, who is from the Boston area, conceded that he would be rooting for the Patriots — whether he gets tickets or not — but says engineers who were not Patriots fans had helped with the experiments. Healy says his interest was just in the science. “It’s bringing science to a really public light, especially when everybody is getting interested in the Super Bowl."

Non-USA readers may wish to refer to our earlier story about the Super Bowl which explains some of the terminology and background on the game.

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Cyberpunk Pioneer Co-Authors New Book on Transhumanism

Soylent New - 31 January 2015 - 8:09pm

"I've never been able to work up a fear of the robot apocalypse," admits R.U. Sirius, who more than 20 years after Mondo 2000's original guide to geek culture has again collaborated on a new encyclopedia of emerging technologies. As we progress to a world where technology actually becomes invisible, he argues that "everything about how we will define the future is still in play," suggesting that the transhumanist movement is "a good way to take isolated radical tech developments and bundle them together". While his co-author argues transhumanists "like to solve everything," Sirius points out a much bigger concern is a future of technologies dominated by the government or big capital.

Read more of this story at SoylentNews.

The Pirate Bay Is Back Online, Properly

/. - 31 January 2015 - 8:01pm
New submitter cbiltcliffe writes: About a month ago, we discussed news that the Pirate Bay domain name was back online. This story mentioned a timer, which supposedly showed the time since the police raid. I didn't notice at the time, but a more recent check showed this counter was counting down, not up, with a time set to reach zero at the end of January. Sometime around a week ago, the waving pirate flag video changed to a graphic of an orange phoenix, and a disabled search box showed up. I've been watching the site since, and now, about 12 hours before the timer was to reach zero, the site is back up, complete with searches.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

NASA Looking At Nuclear Thermal Rockets To Explore the Solar System

/. - 31 January 2015 - 6:59pm
MarkWhittington writes: Officially, NASA has been charged with sending astronauts to Mars sometime in the 2030s. Toward that end, according to a story in Universe Today, space agency engineers at the Marshall Space Flight Center are looking at an old concept for interplanetary travel, nuclear thermal engines. "...according to the report (cached), an NTP rocket could generate 200 kWt of power using a single kilogram of uranium for a period of 13 years – which works out of to a fuel efficiency rating of about 45 grams per 1000 MW-hr. In addition, a nuclear-powered engine could also provide superior thrust relative to the amount of propellant used." However, some doubts have been expressed whether NASA will be granted the budget to develop such engines.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Inkscape Version 0.91 Released

/. - 31 January 2015 - 5:55pm
Bryce writes: Four years since the last major Inkscape release, now news is out about version 0.91 of this powerful vector drawing and painting tool. The main reason for the multi-year delay is that they've switched from their old custom rendering engine to using Cairo now, improving their support for open source standards. This release also adds symbol libraries and support for Visio stencils, cross platform WMF and EMF import and export, a native Windows 64-bit build, scads of bug fixes, and much more. Check out the full release notes for more information about what has changed, or just jump right to downloading your package for Windows, Linux, or Mac OS X.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

SoylentNews Site Update 15.01

Soylent New - 31 January 2015 - 5:13pm

Slightly later than planned (due mostly to the holiday season and people's lives away from SN being hectic) the next bunch of updates for the site is ready to go. It's a bumper crop!

We have some further changes to the moderation system. As before, this is certainly not the end of changes in this area, rather another step along the road of improvement. We will be watching how the changes affect moderation usage with a view to further improvements.

There's also a number of more general improvements and bug fixes.

All being well these changes should go live around 03:00 26th January UTC. So no need for alarm if there's some minor site disruption at that point. Changes went live at approximately 22:00 31st January UTC.

As always, feedback will be welcome once this deployed.

A major thanks to TheMightyBuzzard for the bulk of the work, paulej72 for sanity checking and martyb for testing/QA.

More details after the break....

Admin Note: it looks like we found a late breaking bug that is a blocker for this update. Spam mods are not showing up to the admins with the proper unmodding options. We will update when we find the issue. Hopefully this will be fixed in the next day or so.

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