The Military

Antineutrino Detection Is About To Change the Game In Nuclear Verification ( 3

Lasrick writes: There may be a new option for the detection of illicit nuclear weapons programs worldwide: Antineutrino detection is an existing technology that, if political and diplomatic hurdles are overcome, could be put in place before the 10-year ban on Iranian enrichment R&D is lifted. Difficult to evade, antineutrino detection technology could allow the international community to reliably monitor a country's nuclear activities in real-time, potentially without setting foot in the country. Similar in cost and technological scale to the space-borne reconnaissance methods governments use for detection today, antineutrino detection could not only help identify undeclared nuclear reactors, but could monitor nuclear facilities and detonations throughout the Middle East and beyond.

Why Self-Driving Cars Should Never Be Fully Autonomous ( 64

An anonymous reader writes: David Mindell, an MIT professor, says self-driving cars should never be fully autonomous. "There's an idea that progress in robotics leads to full autonomy. That may be a valuable idea to guide research but when automated and autonomous systems get into the real world, that's not the direction they head. We need to rethink the notion of progress, not as progress toward full autonomy, but as progress toward trusted, transparent, reliable, safe autonomy that is fully interactive: The car does what I want it to do, and only when I want it to do it." Mindell writes, "Google's utopian autonomy is a more brittle, less functional solution than a rich, human-centered automation."
The Internet

Playboy Drops Nudity As Internet Fills Demand 87 writes: Ravi Somaiya reports in the NY Times that as part of a redesign that will be unveiled next March, the print edition of Playboy Magazine will still feature women in provocative poses but they will no longer be fully nude. "That battle has been fought and won," says CEO Scott Flanders. "You're now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it's just passé at this juncture." According to Somaiya, for a generation of American men, reading Playboy was a cultural rite, an illicit thrill consumed by flashlight. Now every teenage boy has an Internet-connected phone instead. Pornographic magazines, even those as storied as Playboy, have lost their shock value, their commercial value and their cultural relevance. The magazine will adopt a cleaner, more modern style. There will still be a Playmate of the Month, but the pictures will be "PG-13" and less produced — more like the racier sections of Instagram. "A little more accessible, a little more intimate," says Flancers. It is not yet decided whether there will still be a centerfold.

Video DevOps: Threat or Menace? (Video) 26

The title above is a joke. Mostly. We've heard so much about DevOps -- good, bad, and indifferent -- from so many people who contradict each other, that we turned to Alan Zeichick, one of the world's most experienced IT analysts, to tell us what DevOps is and isn't, how it can help get work done (and done right), how it can hinder progress, and how to make sure DevOps is a help, not a hindrance, if you or your employers decide to implement DevOps yourselves at some point.

Jamming Wi-Fi With a $15 Dongle 78

An anonymous reader writes with this report about just how easy it is to disrupt if not entirely kill modern consumer-grade networks -- not just Wi-Fi, but Bluetooth and Zigbee networks, too. Crucial to determining the likelihood of any given kind of attack, though, is how much it would cost the attacker to attempt. The bad news for network owners and users is that it doesn't cost much at all: "According to Mathy Vanhoef, a PhD student at KU Leuven (Belgium), it can easily be done by using a Wi-Fi $15 dongle bought off Amazon, a Raspberry Pi board, and an amplifier that will broaden the range of the attack to some 120 meters."
Open Source

3 Open Source Projects For Modern COBOL Development ( 49

An anonymous reader writes: While Grace Hopper's contributions to computing are remembered, celebrated, and built upon by her successors, COBOL itself is often dismissed as a relic of earlier era of computing. To a certain extent, that is true. Most of the COBOL being written today is for maintaining legacy code, not starting new projects. However, the language is still being updated, with COBOL 2014 being the most recent standard for the language, and there are still plenty of opportunities to apply for jobs that require COBOL experience. In an article on, Joshua Allen Holm highlights three open source projects that are keeping the language alive.
The Military

DARPA's ICARUS Program To Develop Self-Destructing Air Delivery Vehicles ( 49

Zothecula contributes this excerpt from Gizmag that illustrates the latest chapter in the long history of denying equipment of military technology to the makers' adversaries: Two years ago, DARPA started developing self-destructing electronics as a way to prevent advanced military gear falling into the wrong hands. Now the agency is expanding on the idea with its Inbound, Controlled, Air-Releasable, Unrecoverable Systems (ICARUS) program, which is tasked with developing small, unmanned, single-use, unpowered air vehicles that can can be dropped from an aircraft to deliver supplies to isolated locations in the event of disasters, then evaporate into thin air once their job is done.

German Publisher Axel Springer Bans Adblocking Users From Bild Website ( 277

An anonymous reader writes: Major European publishing house Axel Springer has instituted countermeasures against users who employ adblocking software on its Bild news outlet, which represents a daily publication with a print circulation of 2.5 million. The website now presents readers with a request to either turn off the adblocking or pay a €2.99 monthly subscription fee. In a statement the company insists that online journalism must be funded by one of the 'two known revenue pillars' — advertising or sales.

Treat Computer Science As a Science: It's the Law 140

theodp writes: Last week, President Obama signed into law H.R. 1020, the STEM Education Act of 2015, which expands the definition of STEM to include computer science for the purposes of carrying out education activities at the NSF, DOE, NASA, NOAA, NIST, and the EPA. The Bill was introduced by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Rep. Elizabeth Etsy (D-CT). Smith's February press release linked to letters of support from tech billionaire-backed (whose leadership includes Microsoft President Brad Smith), and the Microsoft-backed STEM Education Coalition (whose leadership includes Microsoft Director of Education Policy Allyson Knox).

"E-mailable" House Snaps Together Without Nails ( 100

MikeChino writes: Your next house could snap together like a jigsaw puzzle without the use of any power tools. Clemson University students designed and built Indigo Pine, a carbon-neutral house that exists largely as a set of digital files that can be e-mailed to a wood shop anywhere in the world, CNC cut, and then assembled on-site in a matter of days. “Indigo Pine has global application,” says the Clemson team. “Because the house exists largely as a set of digital files, the plans can be sent anywhere in the world, constructed using local materials, adapted to the site, and influenced by local culture.”

Australians Set To Pay 50% More For Apps After Apple Price Spike ( 79

SlappingOysters writes: Within 36-hours the price of Apple apps is set to increase in Australia, Sweden and Indonesia. It will bring the price of buying an app out of alignment with the value of the Australian dollar, and leave the country's Apple fans paying 50% more for their iOS software than their American counterparts. It's unfortunate timing, with the recent launch of the iPhone 6s and the upcoming fourth generation of Apple TV.

Japan Leads Push For AI-Based Anti-Cyberattack Solutions ( 32

An anonymous reader writes: Japanese firms NTT Communications and SoftBank are working to develop new artificial intelligence (AI) platforms, offering cyber-attack protection services to their customers. Up until recently, AI-based security systems were only used for certain scenarios, in online fraud detection for example. The new offerings will be the first commercially-available platforms of their type for use in a wide range of applications.

First Legal Union of Illegal Street Vendors Created In Barcelona 59

dkatana writes: Street vendors across Barcelona's tourist districts last week created their own union to negotiate with city officials. Barcelona has a new mayor, and new policies dealing with the "Top Manta" (for the blankets — or mantas — they spread out on the sidewalk). The recently-elected left-leaning administration in this Mediterranean city is taking a new — and controversial — approach to this complex issue. They argue that the real fault is the government's for not having a more comprehensive immigration policy. Mayor Ada Colau has welcomed the newly created Popular Union for Street Vendors (Sindicato Popular de Vendedores Ambulantes), established by the illegal vendors themselves.

Australian ISPs Not Ready For Mandatory Data Retention ( 74 writes: October 13 marks the day Australian ISPs are required by law to track all web site visits and emails of their users, but according to an article on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's news site the majority of ISPs are not ready to begin mandatory data retention. The article's author, Will Ockenden, had previously released his own metadata to readers in an experiment to see how effectively this kind of data reveals personal habits of online users. The majority of Australians appear unconcerned with this level of scrutiny of their lives, given the minimal reaction to this and proposed tougher legislation designed to deal with the threats of crime and terrorism.

NASA Chief Says Ban On Chinese Partnerships Is Temporary 53

An anonymous reader writes: Current head of NASA Charles Bolden has spoken out against the 4-year-old ban on collaborating with China. According to Bolden working with the Chinese is vital to the future of space exploration. Reuters reports: "The United States should include China in its human space projects or face being left out of new ventures to send people beyond the International Space Station, NASA chief Charles Bolden said on Monday. Since 2011, the U.S. space agency has been banned by Congress from collaborating with China, due to human rights issues and national security concerns. China is not a member of the 15-nation partnership that owns and operates the station, a permanently staffed research laboratory that flies about 250 miles (400 km) above Earth, but Bolden says working China will be necessary in the future."