New submitter hugeinc sends this quote from an article by author Andrew Kessler: "Next week, while we're all watching NBC, a nuclear-powered, MINI-Cooper-sized super rover will land on Mars. We accurately guided this monster from 200 million miles away (that's 7.6 million marathons). It requires better accuracy than an Olympic golfer teeing off in London and hitting a hole-in-one in Auckland, New Zealand. It will use a laser to blast rocks, a chemical nose to sniff out the potential for life, and hundreds of other feats of near-magic. Will these discoveries lead us down a path to confirming life on other planets? Wouldn't that be a good story that might make people care about science?"
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MarkWhittington writes "A company named Dynetics, in partnership with Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, will perform a study contract for NASA to explore whether a modern version of the Saturn V F1 booster (PDF) could be used on the Space Launch System. These would be the basis for a liquid fueled rocket that would enhance the SLS to make it capable of launching 130 metric tons to low Earth orbit, thus making it capable of supporting deep space exploration missions in the 2020s."
lukehopewell1 writes "After the threats, admissions and delays, hacktivists protesting a data retention scheme proposed by the Australian Government's National Security Inquiry have begun dumping data gleaned from an Australian telco — presumably AAPT. Anonymous is in the process of dumping government and business customer data onto Pastebin for the world to see under the guise of Operation Australia. This episode is far from over, however. We're likely to see more data trickle out over the coming days, considering that the group has promised 40GB worth of leaks."
An anonymous reader writes "Romero is willing to give Ouya the benefit of the doubt, but he sees it filling a niche for neither gamers nor developers. 'I think it's cool that they're making a platform, but it's not really the answer that's coming from Apple about the next generation of consoles. Developers really want to invoke the spirit of the Apple II, Android isn't the operating system with which to do it,' Romero said. 'There are two platforms: [iOS] makes money [and] is still very programmable, like the Apple II, and then the other is Android, which is a piracy platform, and you're not doing anything new with it.'"
astroengine writes "Yes, it's the moment we've all (secretly) been waiting for: Fish In Space! But before you go getting too excited and start asking the big questions — like: if there's a bubble in a microgravity aquarium, what happens if the fish falls into it? Let's ponder that for a minute... — it's worth pointing out that the fish aren't actually in space right now (their habitat has just been delivered to the space station by the unmanned Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle 'Kounotori 3') and this fishy experiment isn't just to see how fish enjoy swimming upside down, there's some serious science behind it."
The BBC reports that an outbreak of the Ebola virus has killed 13 in Uganda, and infected seven more. "The health ministry says emergency measures are in place to deal with the outbreak, which began in late June but has only just been confirmed as Ebola. The cases have been reported in Kibaale district, about 170km (100 miles) to the west of the capital Kampala. ... Ebola is one of the most virulent diseases in the world. It is spread by close personal contact, and kills up to 90% of those who become infected. There is no vaccine for the virus. Symptoms include sudden onset of fever, weakness, headache, vomiting and impaired kidneys. The first victim of this outbreak was a pregnant woman."
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers reporting online on July 26 in Current Biology have for the first time shown that they can control the behavior of monkeys by using pulses of blue light to very specifically activate particular brain cells (abstract). The findings represent a key advance for optogenetics, a state-of-the-art method for making causal connections between brain activity and behavior. Based on the discovery, the researchers say that similar light-based mind control could likely also be made to work in humans for therapeutic ends."
theodp writes "'What's the point of a mobile device,' asks WSJ reporter and iPad-beatdown-victim Rolfe Winkler, 'if people don't feel safe using it while they're mobile?' A lucrative secondhand market for today's electronics devices — a used iPad or iPhone can fetch $400+ — has produced an explosion in 'Apple picking' by thieves. So, how big is the iCrime wave? In New York City alone, there were more than 26,000 incidents of electronics theft in the first 10 months of 2011 — 81% involving mobile phones — according to an internal NYPD document. And plenty of the crimes are violent. The best way to deter theft is to reduce the value of stolen device — the wireless industry is moving to adopt a national registry that would deny service to such devices. A remote kill switch has been discussed as another approach. For its part, Apple says the company 'has led the industry in helping customers protect their lost or stolen devices,' although some are unimpressed."
New submitter tramp writes "The Register reports, 'Eran Hammer, who helped create the OAuth 1.0 spec, has been editing the evolving 2.0 spec for the last three years. He resigned from his role in June but only went public with his reasons in a blog post on Thursday. "At the end, I reached the conclusion that OAuth 2.0 is a bad protocol," Hammer writes. "WS-* bad. It is bad enough that I no longer want to be associated with it."' At the end of his post, he says, 'I think the OAuth brand is in decline. This framework will live for a while, and given the lack of alternatives, it will gain widespread adoption. But we are also likely to see major security failures in the next couple of years and the slow but steady devaluation of the brand. It will be another hated protocol you are stuck with.'"
MrSeb writes "There's a lot of FUD when it comes to self-repairing a broken hard drive. Does sticking it in the freezer help? The oven? Hitting it with a hammer? Does replacing the PCB actually work? Can you take the platters out and put them in another drive? And failing all that, if you have to send the dead drive off to a professional data recovery company, how much does it cost — and what's their chance of success, anyway? They're notoriously bad at obfuscating their prices, until you contact them directly. This article tries to answer these questions and strip away the FUD." What has been your experience with trying to fix broken drives?
An anonymous reader writes "Nearly a year ago, Facebook introduced its bug bounty program, inviting security researchers to poke around the site, discover vulnerabilities that could compromise the integrity or privacy of Facebook user data, and then responsibly disclose them to the company. Still, when the social network's security team received a tip from a researcher about a vulnerability in the company's own network which would allow attackers to eavesdrop on internal communications, they made an unprecedented choice by broadened the scope of the bug bounty program and inviting researchers to search for other holes in the corporate network. Nobody expects malicious attackers to have a change of heart and hand over information about a vulnerability for a few thousand dollars when they could sell the stole information for much more. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that Ryan McGeehan, the manager of Facebook's security-incident response unit, stated that if there's a million-dollar bug, they will pay it out."
Hugh Pickens writes "Reuters reports that Apple will buy fingerprint sensor technology developer AuthenTec for about $356 million, striking a deal that could help Apple bring fingerprint technology, already used in mobile phones in Japan for authentication of mobile payments, to markets such as the United States, where mobile-wallet services have been slow to catch on. Some analysts expect the iPhone 5 to include some form of mobile payments technology. 'In the past 5 years, the growth of iPhone and Android smartphones has made mobile data security essential, not just a "nice-to-have" feature,' says Ben Yu, Managing Director of Sierra Ventures, one of the early investors in AuthenTec. 'People have their whole lives on the phones.' AuthenTec's embedded fingerprint scanners and other identity-related software is particularly useful now that Near Field Communications, or NFC-enabled, phones have begun to appear in the market. Analyst Colin Gillis says AuthenTec technology could potentially also help Apple combat problems such as theft of its more portable products such as iPhones. 'If they could have a way where they could tie the phone to a user more tightly, that would make sense for them,' says Gillis. The price tag for AuthenTec is a drop in the bucket of Apple's cash pile of $117.2 billion. 'We'll see if it's a one-off or if Tim Cook will start to level his cash balance and acquire talent,' adds Gillis."
Kurt Eichenwald has written a lengthy article about Microsoft's slow decline over the past 10 years, cataloging their missteps and showing how consistent, poor decision-making from management crippled the tech titan in several important industries. "By the dawn of the millennium, the hallways at Microsoft were no longer home to barefoot programmers in Hawaiian shirts working through nights and weekends toward a common goal of excellence; instead, life behind the thick corporate walls had become staid and brutish. Fiefdoms had taken root, and a mastery of internal politics emerged as key to career success. In those years Microsoft had stepped up its efforts to cripple competitors, but—because of a series of astonishingly foolish management decisions—the competitors being crippled were often co-workers at Microsoft, instead of other companies. Staffers were rewarded not just for doing well but for making sure that their colleagues failed. As a result, the company was consumed by an endless series of internal knife fights. Potential market-busting businesses—such as e-book and smartphone technology—were killed, derailed, or delayed amid bickering and power plays. That is the portrait of Microsoft depicted in interviews with dozens of current and former executives, as well as in thousands of pages of internal documents and legal records." We discussed a teaser for this piece earlier in the month — the full article has all the unpleasant details.
McGruber writes "The Federal Times has the stunning (but not surprising) news that a new audit found six Defense Department modernization projects to be a combined $8 billion — or 110 percent — over budget. The projects are also suffering from years-long schedule delays. In 1998, work began on the Army's Logistics Modernization Program (LMP). In April 2010, the General Accounting Office issued a report titled 'Actions Needed to Improve Implementation of the Army Logistics Modernization Program' about the status of LMP. LMP is now scheduled to be fully deployed in September 2016, 12 years later than originally scheduled, and 18 years after development first began! (Development of the oft-maligned Duke Nukem Forever only took 15 years.)"
The NY Times reports that Apple has internally discussed an investment into Twitter to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. From the article: "There is no guarantee that the two companies, which are not in negotiations at the moment, will come to an agreement. But the earlier talks are a sign that they may form a stronger partnership amid intensifying competition from the likes of Google and Facebook. Apple has not made many friends in social media. Its relationship with Facebook, for example, has been strained since a deal to build Facebook features into Ping, Apple's music-centric social network, fell apart. Facebook is also aligned with Microsoft, which owns a small stake in it. And Google, an Apple rival in the phone market, has been pushing its own social network, Google Plus. 'Apple doesn't have to own a social network,' Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said at a recent technology conference. 'But does Apple need to be social? Yes.'"