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Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

Businesses

Science and Engineering Workforce Has Stalled In the US 433

Posted by Soulskill
from the reality-tv-workforce-booming dept.
dcblogs writes "The science and engineering workforce in the U.S. has flatlined, according to the Population Reference Bureau. As a percentage of the total labor force, S&E workers accounted for 4.9% of the workforce in 2010, a slight decline from the three previous years when these workers accounted for 5% of the workforce. That percentage has been essentially flat for the past decade. In 2000, it stood at 5.3%. The reasons for this trend aren't clear, but one factor may be retirements. S&E workers who are 55 and older accounted for 13% of this workforce in 2005; they accounted for 18% in 2010. 'This might imply that there aren't enough young people entering the S&E labor force,' said one research analyst."
Government

Voting System Test Hack Elects Futurama's Bender To School Board 210

Posted by Soulskill
from the bite-my-shiny-metal-ballot dept.
mr crypto writes with this quote from El Reg: "In 2010 the Washington DC election board announced it had set up an e-voting system for absentee ballots and was planning to use it in an election. However, to test the system, it invited the security community and members of the public to try and hack it three weeks before the election. 'It was too good an opportunity to pass up,' explained Professor Alex Halderman from the University of Michigan. 'How often do you get the chance to hack a government network without the possibility of going to jail?' With the help of two graduate students, Halderman started to examine the software. Despite it being a relatively clean Ruby on Rails build, they spotted a shell injection vulnerability within a few hours. They figured out a way of writing output to the images directory (PDF) on the compromised server, and of encrypting traffic so that the front-end intrusion detection system couldn't spot them. The team also managed to guess the login details for the terminal server used by the voting system. ... The team altered all the ballots on the system to vote for none of the nominated candidates. They then wrote in names of fictional IT systems as candidates, including Skynet and (Halderman's personal favorite) Bender for head of the DC school board."
Space

One In Eight Chance of a Financially Catastrophic Solar Storm By 2020 337

Posted by Soulskill
from the movie-rights-already-sold-to-syfy dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A privately employed solar scientist named Pete Riley estimates there's a 12 percent chance of a massive solar storm comparable to the Carrington Event in 1859 which resulted in breathtaking aurorae across the United States and other temperate regions of the globe. The electromagnetic surge from the 1859 event caused failures of telegraph systems across Europe and North America. A similar storm today could knock out power grids, GPS and communication satellites, data centers, transportation systems, and building and plumbing infrastructures and wreak $1 trillion or more of economic damage in the first year alone, according to a 2008 report from the National Academy of Sciences."
AT&T

After Complaints, AT&T Solidifies, Increases Data Limit 211

Posted by Soulskill
from the nice-try-with-the-math-trick dept.
New submitter rullywowr writes "After many users expressed anger, AT&T has moved the slowdown throttling bottleneck from 3GB of data to 5GB of data for users of 4G LTE smart phones. 'Previously, AT&T slowed speeds for subscribers who reached the top 5% of data users for that billing cycle and geographic location. Customers were outraged, arguing that the percentage method meant they had no way to know what the limit was — until AT&T informed them via text message that they were in danger of exceeding it.' AT&T still maintains the position that less than 5% of its users exceed the 3GB threshold each month."
Google

Google: Best Adaptation of a Novel To a Patent? 42

Posted by Soulskill
from the they'd-like-to-thank-the-academy dept.
theodp writes "The USPTO's Thursday publication of Google's patent application for Inferring User Interests was nicely-timed, coinciding with what ZDNet called Google's privacy policy doomsday. The inventors include Google Sr. Staff Research Scientist Shumeet Baluja, the author of The Silicon Jungle, a cautionary tale of data mining's promise and peril, which Google's Vint Cerf found 'credible and scary.' No doubt some will feel the same about Beluja's patent filing, which lays out plans for mining 'user generated content, such as user interests, user blogs, postings by the user on her or other users' profiles (e.g., comments in a commentary section of a web page), a user's selection of hosted audio, images, and other files, and demographic information about the user, such as age, gender, address, etc.'"
Wireless Networking

'Twisted' Waves Could Boost Capacity of Wireless Spectrum 147

Posted by Soulskill
from the make-them-squirm dept.
New submitter Ogi_UnixNut writes "In Venice, Italy, physicists have shown that it is possible to use two beams of incoherent radio waves, transmitted on the same frequency but encoded in two different orbital angular momentum states, to simultaneously transmit two independent radio channels. In principle this allows the implementation of an infinite number of channels in a given, fixed bandwidth, even without using polarization, multiport or dense coding techniques. It's potentially a boon for congested spectrum problems, although at the moment I suspect it would only work for directional links."
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Why is the EFF at the RSA Security Conference? (Video) 34

Posted by Roblimo
from the all-hail-the-mighty-Electronic-Frontier-Foundation dept.
Timothy asked Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) International Outreach Coordinator Maira Sutton that very question. Watch the video for her answer. It turns out that the EFF has lots of friends among RSA ("the most comprehensive forum in information security") attendees, and has some very good reasons to be there, in the midst of companies and government agencies that Timothy thinks might not only violate your privacy once in a while, but (gasp!) might even enjoy it.
Medicine

World's First Biodegradable Joint Implant Grows New Joints 102

Posted by samzenpus
from the a-better-you dept.
cylonlover writes "Joint implants should always be made of materials like titanium, so they can last the lifetime of the patient ... right? Well, not according to researchers at Finland's Tampere University of Technology. They've developed a product known as RegJoint, which is reportedly the world's first biodegradable joint implant. Unlike permanent implants, it allows the patient's bone ends to remain intact, and it creates a new joint out of their own tissue."
Government

Open Ministry Crowdsources Laws In Finland 181

Posted by samzenpus
from the power-of-the-group dept.
First time accepted submitter emakinen writes "The new Citizens' Initiative service started today in Finland. On the Open Ministry website, anyone can present an idea for a law or initiative. If the idea wins enough support, the ministry's volunteer workers will work on it and turn it into a presentable bill for the MPs to chew over. If 50,000 citizens of voting age agree on a bill Parliament has to take it up."
The Internet

Why Didn't the Internet Take Off In 1983? 469

Posted by samzenpus
from the failure-to-thrive dept.
jfruh writes "An amazing pair of videos from the AT&T archives tout a service called Viewtron that brought much of what we expect from the modern Internet to customers' homes in 1983. Online news, banking services, restaurant reviews, shopping, e-mail — all were available on your TV set, controlled by a wireless infrared keyboard. The system had 15,000 customers in cities on the U.S. east coast, but was shut down after $50 million was spent on it. But why did it flop? Was the world just not ready for it?"
Bitcoin

Linode Exploit Caused Theft of Thousands of Bitcoins 450

Posted by samzenpus
from the say-goodbye dept.
Sabbetus writes "Popular web hosting service Linode had a serious exploit earlier today. Apparently the super admin password for their server management panel was leaked and allowed a malicious attacker to target multiple Bitcoin-related servers. The biggest loss happened to a major Bitcoin mining pool that lost over 3000 BTC, which is currently worth almost 15 000 USD. Now the question is, will Linode compensate for lost bitcoins?" Update: The 3000 BTC theft was not even close to being the biggest, Bitcoin trading site Bitcoinica lost over 40,000 BTC.
Open Source

Big Data's Invisible Open Source Community 49

Posted by samzenpus
from the always-the-bridesmaid dept.
itwbennett writes "Hadoop, Hive, Lucene, and Solr are all open source projects, but if you were expecting the floors of the Strata Conference to be packed with intense, boostrapping hackers you'd be sorely disappointed. Instead, says Brian Proffitt, 'community' where Big Data is concerned is 'acknowledged as a corporate resource', something companies need to contribute back to. 'There is no sense of the grass-roots, hacker-dominated communities that were so much a part of the Linux community's DNA,' says Proffitt."
Android

NSA Publishes Blueprint For Top Secret Android Phone 172

Posted by samzenpus
from the you-keep-using-that-word-I-do-not-think-it-means-what-you-think-it-means dept.
mask.of.sanity writes "The National Security Agency has designed a super-secure Android phone from commercial parts, and released the blueprints(Pdf) to the public. The doubly-encrypted phone, dubbed Fishbowl, was designed to be secure enough to handle top secret phone calls yet be as easy to use and cheap to build as commercial handsets. One hundred US government staff are using the phones under a pilot which is part of a wider project to redesign communication platforms used in classified conversations."
Social Networks

LinkedIn Profiles Contain Fewer Lies Than Resumes 88

Posted by samzenpus
from the keeping-you-honest dept.
RichDiesal writes "New research reveals that personal information provided on LinkedIn may contain fewer deceptions about prior work experience and prior work responsibilities than traditional resumes. However, LinkedIn profiles contain more deceptions about personal interests and hobbies. This researchers believe this may be because participants are equally motivated to deceive employers in both settings, but perceive lies about work experience on LinkedIn as more easily verifiable."
Government

RIAA CEO Hopes SOPA Protests Were a "One-Time Thing" 441

Posted by samzenpus
from the wishful-thinking dept.
hapworth writes "After posting a controversial op-ed in The New York Times saying Wikipedia and Google 'misinformed' the public about SOPA and PIPA, Cary Sherman, CEO of the RIAA said in an interview yesterday that he hopes the SOPA protests were a 'one-time experience.' He also said that Wikipedia and Google users were duped into thinking SOPA was a bad bill because they assume "if it comes from these sources, it must be true." In another hilarious comment, Sherman blames the Internet for making it impossible for Congress to get out its side of the story, and for not spreading information with the same 'clarity and integrity' of broadcast journalists."

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