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Lockheed Martin Posts Satellite Data Online to Lure Space Entrepreneurs

Posted: 10 Feb 2018 09:36 AM PST

Under pressure from the Pentagon to bring fresh ideas to the table, military satellite manufacturers are trying to build closer connections with startups and entrepreneurs that are fueling the space economy.

Lockheed Martin, the nation's largest military contractor, rolled out a new initiative this week to attract "aspiring space technologists." It has decided to publicly release the technical specifications of its satellite platforms in a bid to attract "companies aspiring to send innovative technologies to space," the company announced on Thursday.

"This is intended to help people connect to our buses," Lockheed Martin spokesman Mark Lewis told SpaceNews. "If developers know the specs in advance, that speeds up their development and integration time."

Lockheed only is interested in non-proprietary ideas and products. "We're pretty open to all types of technologies, ranging from helping first responders address crises faster, studying the environment, creating ultra-high-capacity communications links and adapting low-cost commercial technology to the punishing environments of space. We're open to any concept, and we'll look for the best matches for our customers."

The company has produced more than 800 satellites. Under the "open space" project, Lockheed will publish technical details of the payload accommodation for its LM 2100 satellite platform, LM 400 small satellite and two variants of its new LM 50 nanosat series.


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Waymo and Uber Abruptly Settle for $245 Million

Posted: 10 Feb 2018 07:15 AM PST

I hope you haven't invested in too much popcorn for the Waymo and Uber Saga. They settled with a $244 Million dollar payout to Waymo. Would have been interesting to see the whole thing play out. Though, I guess it's not terribly surprising, considering how many times I've gotten Jury summons just to be told that I won't be needed. Horror of horrors, I actually had to drive to the courthouse once, before the parties settled.

Details at Wired, Reuters, TheVerge and The New York Times.

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Conditional Prison Sentence for Information About Popcorn Time

Posted: 10 Feb 2018 04:54 AM PST

Over at TorrentFreak there is an article about aggressive prosecution for even talking about the streaming service Popcorn Time.

A man from Denmark has been handed a six-month conditional prison sentence for spreading information about Popcorn Time. In what is being described as a first for Europe, the man was convicted after telling people how to download, install and use the movie streaming service. He was also ordered to forfeit $83,300 in ad revenue and complete 120 hours community service.

[...] Importantly, PopcornTime.dk hosted no software, preferring to link to other sites where the application could be downloaded instead. That didn't prevent an aggressive prosecution though and now, two-and-half years later, the verdict's in and it's bound to raise more than a few eyebrows.

Neither this specific case nor questions about the service in general have played out yet. Control over playback and distribution and the grey area in between have been hotly contested for decades, and will continue to be for the forseeable future. The first big, international case being the one against Jon Lech Johansen in Norway. Recently, with the integration of digital restrictions into the very standards making up the web, things will become more difficult in the area of distribution and playback.

Source : Man Handed Conditional Prison Sentence for Spreading Popcorn Time Information

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Vintage Computing Festival: PNW is About to Kick-Off!

Posted: 10 Feb 2018 02:33 AM PST

The Vintage Computing Federation (VCF) is holding its first Pacific Northwest Show this weekend. VCF is a non-profit which promotes the preservation of and education about our collective computing history. The event is being held at The Living Computer Museum in Seattle Washington Feb 10 & 11, 10:00 to 5:00.

If you're in the area stop by and see SN's own mechanicjay exhibiting an Alpha Syntauri Sythensizer!

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X's Network Transparency Has Wound Up Mostly Being a Failure

Posted: 10 Feb 2018 12:12 AM PST

Chris Siebenmann over on his personal web page at the University of Toronto writes about X networking. He points out two main shortcomings preventing realization of the original vision of network transparancy. One is network speed and latency. The other is a too narrow scope for X's communication facilities.

X's network transparency was not designed as 'it will run xterm well'; originally it was to be something that should let you run almost everything remotely, providing a full environment. Even apart from the practical issues covered in Daniel Stone's slide presentation [warning for PDF], it's clear that it's been years since X could deliver a real first class environment over the network. You cannot operate with X over the network in the same way that you do locally. Trying to do so is painful and involves many things that either don't work at all or perform so badly that you don't want to use them.

Remote display protocols remain useful, but it's time to admit another way will have to be found. What's the latest word on Wayland or Mir?

Source : X's network transparency has wound up mostly being a failure

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New Horizons Captures the Farthest Image From Earth Ever Made

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 09:51 PM PST

New Horizons has taken images of the "Wishing Well" star cluster and the Kuiper belt objects 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85 using its LORRI instrument. New Horizons was over 6.12 billion kilometers (40.9 AU) away from Earth when it took the images (archive), beating the previous record by Voyager 1:

New Horizons was even farther from home than NASA's Voyager 1 when it captured the famous "Pale Blue Dot" image of Earth. That picture was part of a composite of 60 images looking back at the solar system, on Feb. 14, 1990, when Voyager was 3.75 billion miles (6.06 billion kilometers, or about 40.5 astronomical units [AU]) from Earth. Voyager 1's cameras were turned off shortly after that portrait, leaving its distance record unchallenged for more than 27 years.

[...] During its extended mission in the Kuiper Belt, which began in 2017, New Horizons is aiming to observe at least two-dozen other KBOs, dwarf planets and "Centaurs," former KBOs in unstable orbits that cross the orbits of the giant planets. Mission scientists study the images to determine the objects' shapes and surface properties, and to check for moons and rings. The spacecraft also is making nearly continuous measurements of the plasma, dust and neutral-gas environment along its path.

Previously: New Horizons Measures the Brightness of Galaxies Before Going Into Hibernation
New Horizons Target 2014 MU69 May be a "Contact Binary"
New Horizons Flyby Plan Finalized; Pluto Features Named
Tiny Moon Possibly Orbiting 2014 MU69

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Eleven Excellent, Free Scorewriters

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 07:29 PM PST

LinuxLinks has a 12-section article on the various free and open source score writers available for composers and musicians.

Fortunately, there is a wide range of open source scorewriters which are supported in Linux. This article recommends cost-effective alternatives to Sibelius and Finale. The software featured here is released under freely distributable licenses, all are available to download at no charge, and generate music scores which are engraved with traditional layout rules.

This article does not limit itself to software with a graphical user interface. One of the benefits of using software which doesn't depend on a graphical interface is that you can create and edit music on any type of device, even small handheld devices.

Towards the bottom of the first page, there is a table of the score writers reviewed. Each is reviewed on a separate page. Follow the links there to the individual pages describing each one.

Source : 11 Excellent Free Scorewriters – Compose, arrange, print, and publish music

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Bruce Perens Wants to Anti-SLAPP GRSecurity's Brad Spengler With $670,000 in Legal Bills

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 05:08 PM PST


Having defeated a defamation claim for speculating that using Grsecurity's Linux kernel hardening code may expose you to legal risk under the terms of the GPLv2 license, Bruce Perens is back in court.

This time, he's demanding Bradley Spengler – who runs Open Source Security Inc and develops Grsecurity – foots his hefty legal bills, after Spengler failed to successfully sue Perens for libel.

Perens, a noted figure in the open source community, and his legal team from O'Melveny & Myers LLP – as they previously told The Register – want to be awarded attorneys' fees under California's anti-SLAPP statute, a law designed to deter litigation that aims to suppress lawful speech.

That deterrence takes the form of presenting unsuccessful litigants with the bill for the cost of defending against meritless claims.

"Plaintiffs Open Source Security, Inc. and Bradley Spengler sued Defendant Bruce Perens to bully him from expressing his opinions that Plaintiffs' business practices violate Open Source licensing conditions and to discourage others from expressing the same opinions," Perens' latest filing, submitted to a US district court in San Francisco today, declared.

"Rather than allowing the public to judge Plaintiffs' contrary opinions through public debate, Plaintiffs tried to 'win' the argument on this unsettled legal issue by suing him."


Perens is asking for $667,665.25 in fees, which covers 833.9 hours expended on the litigation by numerous attorneys and a $188,687.75 success fee agreed upon to allow Perens to retain representation he might not otherwise have been able to afford.

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Porn Sites Are Doing the Most Cryptocurrency Mining on Your Computer

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 03:13 PM PST

Motherboard writes about dodgy, javascript-using web sites which are throwing a little extra CPU load onto visitors and hoping they won't notice much.

Netlab 360's analysis suggests that in-browser cryptocurrency mining, which stormed back onto the world stage in 2017 after being dormant for several years (likely due to low cryptocurrency prices) via a torrent site is now chiefly the purview of porn sites. It's worth noting, too, that criminals have found some pretty creative ways to get people to mine cryptocurrency for them outside of website visits, including hacking an Argentine internet provider.

In-browser cryptocurrency mining has the potential to eat up your computer's resources and slow down your machine, making the trend of particular interest to cyber security researchers lately. Last year, Symantec predicted that in-browser mining would turn into an "arms race" in 2018 as malicious actors come up with even more inventive (and invasive) methods of mining digital coins with someone else's machine.

Source : Porn Sites Are Doing the Most Cryptocurrency Mining

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Human Egg Cells Developed From Ovarian Tissue Samples

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 01:45 PM PST

Scientists have coaxed primordial follicles from human ovarian tissue into creating apparently mature egg cells, although they have not been fertilized:

In an advance that could lead to new fertility treatments, researchers have coaxed immature human egg cells to fully develop in the lab for the first time. Still unclear is whether the resulting eggs, which reached maturity in just 22 days, compared with 5 months in the body, are normal and whether they can combine with sperm to make a healthy embryo.

The feat nonetheless is "extraordinarily important," says Kyle Orwig, a stem cell biologist at the Magee-Womens Research Institute at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania who was not involved in the new work. "It has real potential for application," he adds. "We already have the patients."

Those patients include women who have gone through chemotherapy, which can damage eggs and cause infertility. Girls with cancer who haven't hit puberty don't yet produce mature eggs that can be frozen, so some choose to preserve a small piece of ovarian tissue, which can later be placed back in the body to start making eggs. But that's a risky choice in some cases, because the transplant could reintroduce the cancer with the cells. If the new process is perfected, these women could instead rely on the tissue they saved as girls to generate eggs for in vitro fertilization.

[...] In the new work, Telfer and her collaborators completed the whole developmental cycle. They took small samples from the ovaries of 10 women undergoing elective caesarian sections, and isolated 87 follicles, which they let develop in a soup of nutrients. Then came a new step: They carefully extracted the fragile, immature eggs and some surrounding cells from the follicles, and allowed them to further mature on a special membrane in the presence of more growth-supporting proteins. In the end, just nine of these eggs passed the final test for maturity [open, DOI: 10.1093/molehr/gay002] [DX]—they were able to divide and halve their chromosomes so they were ready to join with sperm during fertilization, the researchers reported online 30 January in Molecular Human Reproduction.

The next step would be to create the primordial follicles from stem cells or skin cells.

Also at BBC and The Guardian.

Related: Mice Created from Artificially Developed Embryos
Fertile Mouse Eggs Created Using Stem Cells

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How to Track Smartphone Users When They've Turned Off GPS

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 12:12 PM PST

Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard

As it turns out, turning off location services (e.g., GPS) on your smartphone doesn't mean an attacker can't use the device to pinpoint your location.

A group of Princeton University researchers has devised of a novel user-location mechanism that exploits non-sensory and sensory data stored on the smartphone (the environment's air pressure, the device's heading, timezone, network status, IP address, etc.) and publicly-available information to estimate the user's location.

The non-sensory and sensory data needed is stored on users' smartphones and can be easily accessed by any app without the user's approval, which means that the data can be captured through a malicious app or harvested from databases of many legitimate fitness monitoring apps.

Source: https://www.helpnetsecurity.com/2018/02/07/location-tracking-no-gps/

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Google Chrome Will Mark Non-HTTPS Sites as "Not Secure" Starting in July 2018

Posted: 09 Feb 2018 10:39 AM PST

Google Chrome will begin to mark all HTTP sites as "not secure" starting in July 2018. This is just a warning displayed in the URL bar and won't stop users from loading the pages:

For the past several years, we've moved toward a more secure web by strongly advocating that sites adopt HTTPS encryption. And within the last year, we've also helped users understand that HTTP sites are not secure by gradually marking a larger subset of HTTP pages as "not secure". Beginning in July 2018 with the release of Chrome 68, Chrome will mark all HTTP sites as "not secure".

Also at TechCrunch and The Verge.

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