netbuzz writes "A hacker who defaced and disabled the website of a New Zealand film company known for helping poor children could find himself in legal hot water in his home country of Spain after his attack spurred a Facebook/Twitter posse that included members of Anonymous, who the hacker may have been trying to impress. 'Apparently, one of the (Anonymous) rules is you don't hack charity sites, you don't hack sites of people trying to help kids,' says the owner of the damaged site. 'This guy was trying to impress them, to try and get into their group and boasting about what he'd done — but they turned on him, they chased him.'"
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An anonymous reader writes "After my collision the world went blank but I didn't see angels and harps because the highway and the crash situation were imaginary, created inside Ford's Virttex (virtual text track experiment cockpit simulator). Functioning much like a simulator for pilots, this domed virtual world on pitching and sliding stilts has been used to test car cockpits and instruments since 2001. It played a role in the development of recent center stacks such as MyFord Touch. In recent years, Ford used Virttex driver distraction research to learn more about what causes driver inattention and what countermeasures Ford can embed into cars to keep people like me from becoming another Darwinian statistic. It also gives Ford a leg up on the competition — Ford says it's the only automaker in the U.S. with a virtual reality simulator of this magnitude."
will_die writes "The Commodore 64 came out 30 years ago and to celebrate this the BBC went and got two groups of kids to try out an old system, complete with tape drive. It's sure to bring a few grins to people who had one of these old systems. From the article: 'The Commodore's ability to display 16 colours, smoothly scroll graphics and play back music through its superior SID (sound interface device) chip - even while loading programs off tape - helped win over fans, but it did not become the market leader until the late 1980s.'" Last spring a modern version of the C64 was released.
jfruh writes "On the day of the Facebook IPO, the NASDAQ's trading systems suffered multiple failures and couldn't confirm buy orders for several hours. Big banks buying shares for their funds and customers placed multiple orders as a result, and bought more Facebook stock than they intended to as a result. NASDAQ has agreed to set up a fund to compensate them for their losses, but apparently this isn't enough for Swiss bank UBS, which is threatening legal action."
New submitter Zex_Suik writes "Japanese physicists have used one of Maxwell's thought experiments and the ability to turn information into energy to extract more energy from an entangled system than should be possible according to the laws of thermodynamics (abstract). From the article: 'Imagine two boxes of particles with trap door between them. You want to use the trap door to guide the faster particles into one box and the slower particles into the other. In a classical experiment you would have to measure the particles in both boxes to do this experiment. But things are different if the particles in one box are entangled with the particles in the other. In that case, measurements on the particles in one box give you info about both sets of particles. In essence, you're getting information for nothing. And since you can convert that information into energy, there is clear advantage when entanglement plays a role. That's hugely significant. It means that the laws of thermodynamics depend not only on classical phenomenon and information but on quantum effects too.'"
derekmead writes "A new report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory finds that solar holds more potential to generate more power (PDF) than any other clean energy source. The NREL broke things down into four groups: urban and rural utility-scale photovoltaics (giant solar plants, basically) as well as rooftop solar and concentrated mirror arrays. Between those technologies, which are all already on the market, the NREL reckons there's a proven potential for solar to hit a capacity of 200,000 gigawatts in the United States alone. For some perspective, 1 gigawatt is what a single nuclear power plant might generate, and it's more than most coal plants. A gigawatt of capacity is enough to power approximately 700,000 homes."
jones_supa writes "Gamasutra editor Eric Schwarz gives thought to the constantly increasing amount of graphical detail in computer games. He notes how the cues leading the player can be hindered too much if they drown in the surroundings, making it harder for the game to hint whether the player is making progress. Consistent visual language helps to categorize various objects, making their meaning more obvious. Paths through the game world can be difficult to read simply due to dense vegetation. For some cases 'obfuscation through detail' can also actually work really well. Schwarz challenges us to ponder how the amount of detail makes a game either more or less enjoyable."
Virtual reality headsets have historically been very disappointing. While the concept has been fun and interesting, the technological realities never quite lived up to expectations, and hardware developers largely gave up on research into this kind of device. However, it's been long enough that display technology has caught up to our ambitions. So, where are our VR headsets? Well, hobbyist Palmer Luckey asked that same question, and when he couldn't find a good answer, he decided to build one himself. He and his team have built a prototype, and they just launched a Kickstarter campaign to distribute developer kits. The campaign blew past its $250,000 goal in hours. What's interesting about this particular campaign is that Palmer took the Oculus Rift to various development studios and managed to get enthusiastic endorsements from some big names, including Cliff Bleszinski, Gabe Newell, and John Carmack.
An anonymous reader tips news that Google has sent out a letter to app developers explaining policy changes for any new apps published on the Google Play store. In-app purchases must now use Google Play's payment system unless it's for goods or services used outside the app itself. They've added language to dissuade developers from making their apps look like other apps, or like they come from other developers. But more significantly, Google has explained in detail what qualifies as spam: repetitive content, misleading product descriptions, gaming the rating system, affiliate traffic apps, or apps that send communications without user consent. Also, advertisements within apps must now follow the same rules as the app itself, and they can't be intrusive: Ads can't install things like shortcuts or icons without consent, they must notify the user of settings changes, they can't simulate notifications, and they can't request personal information to grant full app function.
ananyo writes "Physicists, chemists and mathematicians in the UK are campaigning against their chief public funder (EPSRC) over reforms that they say threaten blue-skies research, kicking off their protest by toting a coffin to the Prime Minister in Downing Street. The reforms are a response to declining budgets and political pressure to focus science on areas that will produce economic benefits for the UK. Last month, over 2000 Canadian scientists marched to Parliament Hill with a coffin to protest against the Harper government's cuts to basic research and scientific facilities, which they believe undermine the quality of scientific evidence in government. With budget cuts to science expected in the U.S., is it time for scientists in U.S. — and perhaps elsewhere — to think about getting their retaliation in first and ready their coffins?"
colinneagle writes "Twitter today launched a new tool that leverages its estimated 400 million daily Tweets to gauge public opinion on the candidates for the 2012 presidential election. Progress in political polling is long overdue, and with Twitter providing a constant, international conversation for web users to join or leave at their own will, there may not be a better time than now to make that change. However, there are some concerns. One of the interesting points made in Twitter's description of its new tool is where it claims to be 'illustrating instances when unprompted, natural conversation deviates from responses to specific survey questions.' That assumes conversation on Twitter is natural. If parody accounts, Twitter trolls, and spam bots have taught us anything (and they usually don't), it's that Twitter conversation can be manipulated just as easily as it can be used naturally. How will Twitter distinguish between positive Tweets coming from voters or news outlets and those from spam bots designed to drive the conversation surrounding a candidate one way or the other? How easy could it be for an organization with a vested interest in positive poll numbers for one candidate to craft an army of Twitter bots designed to drive Barack Obama's positive numbers down, or vice versa? How many people reading the data, which is sure to make its way to TV news as election coverage increases in the coming months, will be aware that Tweets can be manipulated?"
An anonymous reader writes "Research from Washington University in St. Louis has identified variations in brain scans that they believe identify portions of the brain that are responsible for intelligence (abstract). As suspected (and as explained by cartoons) brain size does play a small role; they said that brain size accounts for 6.7 percent of variance in intelligence. Recent research has placed the brain's prefrontal cortex, a region just behind the forehead, as providing for 5 percent of the variation in intelligence between people. The research from Washington University targets the left prefrontal cortex, and the strength of neural connections that it has to the rest of the brain. They think these differences account for 10 percent of differences in intelligence among people. The study is the first to connect those differences to intelligence in people."
New submitter drinkydoh writes "In an announcement today, Microsoft has finally said that Windows 8 is now complete. Microsoft has begun delivering RTM versions to manufacturers and the general availability of the tablets and computers using Windows 8 will be on October 26th. 'Microsoft's final milestone concludes almost two years of development for its new Metro-inspired Windows 8 software and marks the beginning of the release phase. Microsoft says MSDN and TechNet customers will be able to download it from August 15th. Windows Store will go live on August 15th. Developers will be able to access the final tools and submission process for Metro style apps at the Windows Dev Center later this month.'"
An anonymous reader writes "The Nvidia binary driver has been exploited by an anonymous hacker, who reported it to nvidia months ago and it was never fixed. Now the exploit was made public." The one releasing the exploit (relayed to him anonymously) is David Arlie, well known X hacker. The bug lets the attacker write to any part of memory on the system by shifting the VGA window; the attached exploit uses this to attain superuser privileges. It appears that this has been known to Nvidia for at least a month.
jrepin writes "KDE announces 4.9 releases of Workspaces, Applications, and Development Platform. Version 4.9 provides many new features, along with improved stability and performance. Some of the highlights include, but are not limited to: more thorough integration of Activities throughout the Workspaces, ability to display metadata (ratings, tags, image and file sizes...) next to file names in Dolphin file manager, Mercurial versioning system support in Dolphin, detachable tabs in Konsole terminal emulator, support for MPRIS2 protocol in various places, ability to store and print PDF annotations from Okular document viewer, Okular can also play videos embedded in PDFs, Lokalize translation tool supports Qt's TS translation files, Kontact PIM suite gains ability to import data from Thunderbird and Evolution, Pairs is a new memory training game added to KDE Education package, and Marble desktop globe includes Open Source Routing Machine and support for bicycle and pedestrian routing. This release is dedicated to the memory of recently deceased KDE contributor Claire Lotion."