Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
Nerval's Lobster writes "At this year's Dell World conference, Dell announced that its new private cloud will be based on the open-source OpenStack, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service developed by Rackspace and NASA that launched in 2010. Dell released a statement supporting the open nature of OpenStack: 'While Dell will continue to offer outstanding overall solutions for any type of cloud that customers want to run, the company believes the open and compatible nature of OpenStack allows customers to take advantage of hybrid capabilities to move workloads between private and public clouds.' Michael Dell did not disclose the reasoning behind the decision. Back in 2011, his company announced that VMware technology would provide the foundation for its first public cloud. VMware also sits behind the Dell Cloud Dedicated Service, which delivers managed private cloud IaaS."
An anonymous reader writes "Contiki, the open source operating system for the Internet of Things, just got a regression test framework ported over from Thingsquare Mist that allows the Contiki developers to test the entire system on 9 platforms, 4 CPU architectures, and 1021 network nodes, for every new commit."
eldavojohn writes "Dr. Charles 'Chip' Groat, lead author of a study claiming there was no link between fracking and water contamination, has resigned at the University of Texas along with Dr. Raymond Orbach, the head of UT's Energy Institute. The reason is that Groat served on the board of a drilling company and received compensation totaling over $1.5 million from that entity over the last five years including time he spent writing the study. After the Public Accountability Initiative gave the UT report a thorough beating for failing to mention this it sparked UT to recommend the report's withdrawal. PAI said the original report was 'based on literature surveys, incident reports and conjecture' and criticized UT's press from downplaying the many caveats. PAI also said conclusions of the original report were 'tentative,' that the press coverage was 'inappropriately selective' and 'seemed to suggest that public concerns were without scientific basis and largely resulted from media bias.' This study was also covered by Slashdot via MSNBC quoting Groat and calling fracking safe in theory but not in practice."
dstates writes "Retraction Watch reports that fake reviewer information was placed in Elsevier's peer review database allowing unethical authors to review their own or colleagues manuscripts. As a result, 11 scientific publications have been retracted. The hack is particularly embarrassing for Elsevier because the commercial publisher has been arguing that the quality of its review process justifies its restrictive access policies and high costs of the journals it publishes."
Hugh Pickens writes writes "A suspected terrorist has been taped planning a deadly attack and the police want to use this evidence in court, or someone has been captured on CCTV threatening an assault. Increasingly, recordings like these are playing a role in criminal investigations, but how can the police be sure that the audio evidence is genuine and has not been cleverly edited? Now Rebecca Morelle writes on BBC that a technique known as Electric Network Frequency (ENF) analysis is helping forensic scientists separate genuine, unedited recordings from those that have been tampered with and the technique has already been used in court. Any digital recording made near an electrical power source will pick up noise from the grid that will be embedded throughout the audio. This buzz is an annoyance for sound engineers trying to make the highest quality recordings, but for forensic experts, it has turned out to be an invaluable tool in the fight against crime. Due to unbalances in production and consumption of electrical energy, the ENF is known to fluctuate slightly over time rather than being stuck to its exact set point so if you look at the frequency over time, you can see minute fluctuations and the pattern of these random changes in frequency is unique over time providing a digital watermark on every recording. Forensic Scientist Philip Harrison has been logging the hum on the national grid in the UK for several years. 'Even if [the hum] is picked up at a very low level that you cannot hear, we can extract this information,' says Dr. Harrison. 'If we have we can extract [the hum] and compare it with the database, if it is a continuous recording, it will all match up nicely.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Sources tell All Things D that Apple and Microsoft are at loggerheads over the cut Apple is expected to take of Office 365 subscriptions sold through Microsoft Office for iOS, which is expected to launch sometime next year. An update to Microsoft's SkyDrive app has been rejected after the company was 'pushing Apple to adjust the 70/30 revenue split in its developer license agreement. Predictably, Apple has refused to comply. It’s not yet clear what sort of concession Microsoft is seeking, but whatever it is, Apple’s evidently not willing to consider it.'"
pigrabbitbear writes "Farming, logging, and strip mining has long altered much of the Amazon rainforest, with slash-and-burn land-clearing techniques turning large portions of the forest into patchworks of pastures, second-growth forest, and degraded land. Now, rural people are increasingly moving to booming Amazonian cities; paradoxically, the land they're leaving behind is being ravaged by wildfires. A new paper published in PNAS shows that in the Peruvian Amazon, land use changes and depopulation have let large wildfires fly through converted land. It puts a damper on those optimistic that the urbanization of the Amazon may allow parts of the forest to recover, by centralizing populated areas and leaving old converted land to be slowly gobbled up by the encroaching forest."
virtualXTC writes with news that North Korea, in defiance of international pressure to halt development and testing of long-range weaponry, launched a multi-stage rocket which successfully followed its intended trajectory. The North Korean government claims a weather satellite was placed into orbit. "South Korea has confirmed the launch time, and Japan has confirmed that the rocket went over Okinawa. Two stages of the rocket have successfully avoided other countries and fallen into the sea. While it is still unconfirmed as to whether or not North Korea actually put a satellite into orbit, it seems clear that sanctions have failed to curb North Korea's quest for more powerful weaponry."
An anonymous reader points out an AP report which says a judge in Guatemala has ordered the release of John McAfee from a detention center. "Lawyer Telesforo Guerra said the judge notified him verbally of the ruling, but added that it may take a day for formal written notification to win McAfee's release, possibly as soon as Wednesday." McAfee, on the run from Belizean police, was arrested in Guatemala several days ago after making himself known to authorities. He did so because a pair of reporters who were interviewing him posted a photo which included metadata on the photo's location. In a live broadcast on Sunday, McAfee expressed a desire to return to the U.S. "I simply would like to live comfortably day by day, fish, swim, enjoy my declining years. My long-term plan was simply to get away from Belize, think, and decide what to do."
New submitter Nerdolicious writes "Ars Technica reports that Voltage Pictures, the studio behind the infamous Hurt Locker debacle, has requested subscriber information for thousands of TekSavvy customers in relation to alleged copyright infringements. In their official blog, TekSavvy clarifies the situation and provides further reassurance that they will not release any private customer information without a court order. They have also posted the legal documents containing both the official notice and list of films that are the subjects of the alleged infringements. However, several questions remain to be answered: will Canadian courts be amicable to these tactics after changes to copyright law were made specifically to prevent the predatory legal entanglement of Canadian citizens? Will the studio actually attempt to pursue the situation beyond the proliferation of threatening extortion letters? How would the already-clogged courts react to what amounts to denial-of-service attack on the judicial system?"
gbrumfiel writes "Those hoping to laser their way out of the energy crisis will have to wait a little longer. The U.S. government has unveiled its new plan for laser fusion, and it's not going to happen anytime soon. It all comes down to problems at the National Ignition Facility (NIF), the world's most powerful laser at Lawrence Livermore Lab in California. For the past six years researchers at NIF have been trying to use the laser to spark a fusion reaction in a tiny pellet of hydrogen fuel. Like all fusion, it's tougher than it looks, and their campaign came up short. That left Congress a little bit miffed, so they asked for a new plan. The new plan calls for a more methodical study of fusion, along with a broader approach to achieving it with the NIF. In three years or so, they should know whether the NIF will ever work."
Today we're doing a live interview from 18:30 GMT until 20:30 GMT with long time contributor Luke Leighton of Rhombus Tech. An advocate of Free Software, he's been round the loop that many are now also exploring: looking for mass-volume Factories in China and ARM processor manufacturers that are truly friendly toward Free Software (clue: there aren't any). He's currently working on the first card for the EOMA-68 modular computer card specification based around the Allwinner A10, helping the KDE Plasma Active Team with their upcoming Vivaldi Tablet, and even working to build devices around a new embedded processor with the goal of gaining the FSF's Hardware Endorsement. Ask him anything. (It's no secret that he's a Slashdot reader, so expect answers from lkcl.)
McGruber writes "The Chronicle of Higher Education has a web episode about Richard Linder, a US college student who was determined to do the impossible: earn a U.S. college degree while not taking on any student debt. Mr. Linder cobbled together an associate degree in liberal arts for a mere $3,000. He did it by transferring academic credits to Excelsior College, a regionally accredited institution that doesn't require students to take any of its own courses. Mr. Linder's earned his transferred credit hours from an array of unexpected sources: from high school Advanced Placement courses to classes taught by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Fire Academy. He even managed to get one credit hour from Microsoft." I find his creativity in breadth and sources of credit-worthy instruction more interesting than the pricetag, though the commenters on the linked story are sharply divided on the value of the courses taken. While $3,000 is cheap for an associate's degree compared to many U.S. colleges, it's not unheard of; tuition for locals at a community college near me wouldn't be too far off that, even without transferring in any credits.
The wait is over; diegocg writes "Linux kernel 3.7 has been released. This release adds support for the new ARM 64-bit architecture, ARM multiplatform — the ability to boot into different ARM systems using a single kernel; support for cryptographically signed kernel modules; Btrfs support for disabling copy-on-write on a per-file basis using chattr; faster Btrfs fsync(); a new experimental 'perf trace' tool modeled after strace; support for the TCP Fast Open feature in the server side; experimental SMBv2 protocol support; stable NFS 4.1 and parallel NFS; a vxlan tunneling protocol that allows to transfer Layer 2 ethernet packets over UDP; and support for the Intel SMAP security feature. Many small features and new drivers and fixes are also available. Here's the full list of changes."
Nerval's Lobster writes "Fortune magazine managed to score an exclusive interview with Google CEO Larry Page. While he doesn't reveal a whole lot about the company's future plans—CEOs are great at offering fuzzy generalities, if nothing else—he manages to reveal just a bit about the ongoing competition with Apple, the evolution of search, and monetizing mobile devices. Google's rivalry with Apple has descended into massive lawsuits, but Page doesn't exactly channel Genghis Khan when it comes to his own feelings on the issue. 'I think it would be nice if everybody would get along better and the users didn't suffer as a result of other people's activities,' he told the magazine. 'We try pretty hard to make our products be available as widely as we can. That's our philosophy. I think sometimes we're allowed to do that. Sometimes we're not.'"