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Large Amount of Star Citizen Art Assets Leaked

Slashdot - 1 hour 37 min ago
jones_supa writes: A huge batch of work-in-progress assets for Star Citizen have leaked to the public. An unknown person, likely connected with Cloud Imperium Games in some way, provided a link to the 48 gigabytes of content. The link has now been taken down, but as we know, it's hard to remove material from Internet after once put there. Being a CryEngine game, it has been suggested that it might be possible to view some of the assets using CryEngine development tools. Leaks are always quite the conundrum with the opportunities they present to curious fans and competitor companies, but can also be very depressing for the developers and publisher of the game.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Apple's Jony Ive promoted to chief design officer

CNET NEWS - 1 hour 46 min ago
Ive will focus on designing retail stores and the company's new campus, Apple CEO Tim Cook announces in a company memo.

Leaked Document Shows Europe Would Fight UK Plans To Block Porn

Slashdot - 2 hours 29 min ago
Mark Wilson writes: Before the UK elections earlier in the month, David Cameron spoke about his desire to clean up the internet. Pulling — as he is wont to do — on parental heartstrings, he suggested that access to porn on computers and mobiles should be blocked by default unless users specifically requested access to it. This opt-in system was mentioned again in the run-up to the election as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Javid assured peopled that the party "will age restrict online porn". But it's not quite that simple. There is the small problem of Europe. A leaked EU Council document shows that plans are afoot to stop Cameron's plans in its tracks — and with the UK on the verge of trying to debate a better deal for itself within Europe, the Prime Minister is not in a particularly strong position for negotiating on the issue. Cameron has a fight on his hands, it seems, if he wants to deliver on his promise that "we need to protect our children from hardcore pornography". Documents seen by The Sunday Times reveal that the EU could make it illegal for ISPs and mobile companies to automatically block access to obscene material. Rather than implementing a default block on pornography, the Council of the European Union believes that users should opt in to web filtering and be able to opt out again at any time; this is precisely the opposite to the way Cameron would like things to work.

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Sex-Switched Mosquitoes May Help In Fight Against Diseases

Slashdot - 3 hours 21 min ago
cstacy writes: Only the female mosquitoes bite and transmit viral diseases such as Dengue Fever. Scientists have finally discovered the elusive genetic switch called Nix, that determines the sex of these blood sucking insects, and hope to selectively eliminate females to control the spread of diseases. "Nix provides us with exciting opportunities to harness mosquito sex in the fight against infectious diseases because maleness is the ultimate disease-refractory trait," explained Zhijian Jake Tu, an affiliate of the Fralin Life Science Institute and a biochemistry professor from Virginia Tech's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Hackers Can Track Subway Riders' Movements By Smartphone Accelerometer

Slashdot - 4 hours 9 min ago
Patrick O'Neill writes: Tens of millions of daily subway riders around the world can be tracked through their smartphones by a new attack, according to research from China's Nanjing University. The new attack even works underground and doesn't utilize GPS or cell networks. Instead, the attacker steals data from a phone's accelerometer. Because each subway in the world has a unique movement fingerprint, the phone's motion sensor can give away a person's daily movements with up to 92% accuracy.

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In 200 years, rich humans will be cyborgs, says professor

CNET NEWS - 4 hours 51 min ago
Technically Incorrect: An Israeli professor says the amalgamation of man and machine will be the "biggest evolution in the history of biology" in 4 billion years.

Galapagos Island Volcano Erupts After 33 Years, Threatening Fragile Ecosystem

Slashdot - 4 hours 59 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: Wolf volcano in the Galapagos islands has erupted for the first time in more than 30 years, sending lava flowing down its slopes and potentially threatening the world's only colony of pink iguanas. The Galapagos National Park says that currently there is no risk to tourism operations, but the Environment Ministry is notifying tourist operators to take precautions. A tourist boat passing by took an amazing picture of the eruption.

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Google's Diversity Chief: Mamas Don't Let Their Baby Girls Grow Up To Be Coders

Slashdot - 5 hours 47 min ago
theodp writes: Explaining the reasons for its less-than-diverse tech workforce, Google fingered bad parenting for its lack of women techies. From the interview with Google Director of Diversity and Inclusion Nancy Lee: "Q. What explains the drop [since 1984] in women studying computer science? A. We commissioned original research that revealed it's primarily parents' encouragement, and perception and access. Parents don't see their young girls as wanting to pursue computer science and don't steer them in that direction. There's this perception that coding and computer science is ... a 'brogrammer' culture for boys, for games, for competition. There hasn't been enough emphasis on the power computing has in achieving social impact. That's what girls are interested in. They want to do things that matter." While scant on details, the Google study's charts appear to show that, overall, fathers encourage young women to study CS more than mothers. Google feels that reeducation is necessary. "Outreach programs," advises Google, "should include a parent education component, so that parents learn how to actively encourage their daughters."

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Dwarf planet Ceres' bright spots shrink but stay strange on approach

CNET NEWS - 6 hours 26 min ago
Ceres appears to have a pair of cosmic headlights reflecting the sun. As NASA's Dawn spacecraft approaches, they're looking smaller, but no less mysterious.

Can't concentrate? Look at this for 40 seconds

CNET NEWS - 6 hours 31 min ago
The next time your mind wanders, you might be able to regain your focus if you turn your gaze on a specific type of image, says research out of the University of Melbourne.

Largest Eruption In the Known Universe Is ~100 Times the Size of Milky Way

Slashdot - 6 hours 33 min ago
StartsWithABang writes: At the center of almost every galaxy is a supermassive black hole (SMBH); at the center of almost every cluster is a supermassive galaxy with some of the largest SMBHs in the Universe. And every once in a while, a galactocentric black hole will become active, emitting tremendous amounts of radiation out into the Universe as it devours matter. This radiation can cut across the spectrum, from the X-ray down to the radio. At the heart of MS 0735.6+7421, there's a >10^10 solar mass black hole that appears to have been active for hundreds of millions of years, something unheard of!

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Charter reportedly near deal to buy Time Warner Cable

CNET NEWS - 6 hours 56 min ago
Charter courting Time Warner Cable again, this time offering $55 billion in cash and stock, according to the Wall Street Journal.

This light bulb costs less than $1 and fits in your wallet

CNET NEWS - 6 hours 57 min ago
For just 89 cents, you can put a lightbulb in your pocket that will add a glow to summer gatherings -- and maybe even win you a bet or two.

Privacy Behaviors Changed Little After Snowden

Slashdot - 7 hours 20 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: An article in Communications of the ACM takes a look at how Edward Snowden's revelations about government surveillance have changed privacy behaviors across the world. The results are fairly disappointing. While the news that intelligence agencies were trawling data from everyday citizens sparked an interest in privacy, it was small, and faded quickly. Even through media coverage has continued for a long time after the initial reports, public interest dropped back to earlier levels long ago. The initial interest spike was notably less than for other major news events. Privacy-enhancing behaviors experienced a small surge, but that too failed to impart any long-term momentum. The author notes that the spike in interest "following the removal of privacy-enhancing functions in Facebook, Android, and Gmail" was stronger than the reaction to the government's privacy-eroding actions.

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Atomic telescope brings atoms to standstill

Arstechnica - 7 hours 24 min ago

One of the abiding mysteries of physics is how to make the transition between quantum and classical objects. With very few exceptions, we live in a world that is clearly and obviously classical in nature. Quantum mechanics often defies our everyday expectations, which poses a problem. Why is the classical world classical when it is constructed by objects that really don't behave like classical objects?

There are now several ideas about how this transition occurs, and each makes some distinctive predictions. Unfortunately, the experiments necessary to test these predictions are really difficult since you may need to observe the cumulative effect of many small changes. But a new paper, published in Physical Review Letters, shows that these experiments may finally be possible.

What might a quantum to classical transition look like?

If you can get a cloud of atoms cold enough, then the wave-like nature of the individual atoms expands until they overlap and all the atoms start behaving like quantum objects. So for instance, a Bose Einstein condensate (BEC) of atoms will stay together rather than diffuse because the atoms all behave collectively like a single quantum object.

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Amazon changes Europe tax practices amid ongoing probe

CNET NEWS - 7 hours 36 min ago
Online retail giant will cease funneling sales through low-tax Luxembourg, a strategy seen as a tax-avoidance effort.

Mozilla Drops $25 Smartphone Plans, Will Focus On Higher Quality Devices

Slashdot - 8 hours 6 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: When Mozilla developed Firefox OS, its goal was not to provide the best smartphone experience, but to provide a "good enough" smartphone experience for a very low price. Unfortunately, these cheap handsets failed to make a dent in the overall smartphone market, and the organization is now shifting its strategy to start producing a better experience for better devices. CEO Chris Beard said, "If you are going to try to play in that world, you need to offer something that is so valuable that people are willing to give up access to the broader ecosystem. In the mass market, that's basically impossible." Of course, when moving to the midrange smartphone market, or even the high end, there's still plenty of competition, so the new strategy may not work any better. However, they've hinted at plans to start supporting Android apps, which could help them play catch-up. Beard seems fixated on this new goal: "We won't allow ourselves to be distracted, and we won't expand to new segments until significant traction is demonstrated." He adds, "We will build products that feel like Mozilla."

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How one mayor struggles with balancing privacy and surveillance

Arstechnica - 8 hours 24 min ago

Who are you and what is your position?

My name is Libby Schaaf. I am the mayor of my hometown, Oakland, California. I just took office this January. I am very passionate about my city. I’m passionate about civil rights, civil liberties and technology. I’m passionate about all these things, and I really want to use technology responsibly, for good, and I can use everyone’s help in figuring out the way to do that.

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D.C. Police Detonate Man's 'Suspicious' Pressure Cooker

Slashdot - 8 hours 56 min ago
An anonymous reader writes: Yesterday evening in Washington D.C., police officers on routine patrol spotted an unoccupied car parked near the National Mall. They deemed it "suspicious," and took a look inside, where they found a pressure cooker. They also claimed to smell gasoline. The officers called the bomb squad, and at 7:45pm they initiated a controlled detonation of the car's contents. Afterward, a search of the car found no evidence that it contained explosives or any other hazardous materials. The car's owner was located and arrested for driving on a revoked license.

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Which students get to have privacy?

Arstechnica - 9 hours 24 min ago

It seems that student privacy is trendy right now—at least among elected officials. Congressional aides are scrambling to write bills that one-up each other in showcasing how tough they are on protecting youth. We’ve got Congressmen Polis and Messer (with Senator Blumenthal expected to propose a similar bill in the Senate). Kline and Scott have a discussion draft of their bill out while Markey and Hatch have reintroduced the bill they introduced a year ago. And then there’s Senator Vitter’s proposed bill. And let’s not even talk about the myriad of state-level legislation.

Most of these bills are responding in some way or another to a 1974 piece of legislation called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which restricted what schools could and could not do with student data.

Needless to say, lawmakers in 1974 weren’t imagining the world of technology that we live with today. On top of that, legislative and bureaucratic dynamics have made it difficult for the Department of Education to address failures at the school level without going nuclear and just defunding a school outright. Many schools lack security measures (because they lack technical sophistication), and they’re entering into all sorts of contracts with vendors that give advocates heartburn.

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