An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Wired: "Former Goldman Sachs programmer Sergey Aleynikov, who downloaded source code for the investment firm's high-speed trading system from the company's computers, was wrongly charged with theft of property because the code did not qualify as a physical object under a federal theft statute, according to a court opinion published Wednesday." Adds the submitter: "The RIAA's definitely got to give Goldman Sachs their secret recipe ..."
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An anonymous reader writes "Thunderbolt ports have been spotted on a PC motherboard, but the reality is that the technology is far from mainstream outside of Apple products. Which is why it is interesting to hear Intel predict that 'a hundred' Thunderbolt devices are expected to be on the market by the end of the year. The comment was made this week at Intel's presentation at IDF in Beijing. Ultrabooks with Thunderbolt are expected to appear this year."
AIFEX writes with a snippet from the BBC: "'Organisations wishing to buy web addresses ending in their brand names have until the end of Thursday to submit applications. For example, drinks giant Pepsi can apply for .pepsi, .gatorade or .tropicana as an alternative to existing suffixes such as .org or .com.'" Asks AIFEX: "Does anyone else think this is absolutely ridiculous and defeats the logical hierarchy of current URLs?"
First time accepted submitter dmr001 writes "In its fortnightly Communicable Disease newsletter (PDF), Oregon Public Health officials note increasing cases of pertussis (whooping cough) in infants, with 146 hospitalizations noted in the 2 year period ending March 2011, and at least 4 deaths since 2003. Most cases are attributed to lack of vaccination, with 86% of those due to parents declining the vaccine. 'Most of our cases are occurring in under- or unvaccinated children, so getting these kids vaccinated seems to the most obvious approach to reducing illness. In principle... pertussis could be eradicated; but we have a long way to go.'"
TPIRman writes "In 1994, a physics doctoral student named Dave Ring assembled more than 100 math and puzzle enthusiasts on Usenet for what became one of the earliest online 'crowdsourcing' projects. Their goal: to determine if every hand in Windows' FreeCell solitaire game was in fact winnable, as the program's help file implied. Their efforts soon focused in on one incredibly stubborn hand: #11,982. They couldn't beat it, but in the process of trying, they proved the viability of an idea that would later be refined with crowdsourcing models like Amazon's Mechanical Turk."
MrSeb writes "German scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have created the first 'universal quantum network' that could be feasibly scaled up to become a quantum internet. So far their quantum network only spans two labs spaced 21 meters apart, but the scientists stress that longer distances and multiple nodes are possible. The network's construction is ingenious: Each node is represented by a single rubidium atom, trapped inside a reflective optical cavity. These atoms communicate with each other by emitting a single photon over an optical fiber. Each atom is a quantum bit — a qubit — and the polarization of the photon emitted carries the quantum state of the qubit. The receiving qubit absorbs the photon and takes on the quantum state of the transmitter. Voila: A network of qubits that can send, receive, and store quantum information. In another, probably more exciting test, the emitted photons were actually used to entangle the rubidium atoms."
1sockchuck writes "Staff at Interxion's London data center are ready to hunker down during the Olympic Games this summer, nestled in snug sleeping pods adjacent to the racks. The arrangement will ensure that the facility will be fully-staffed if London's transit system is taxed by the huge crowds expected for the Games. While staff in many industries might object to a plan that expects them to sleep in their office, data center firms have a primary calling of keeping their facilities operational at all times. Is this too much readiness, or just enough?"
pbahra writes "Conferences for start-ups and entrepreneurs often feature 'pitch contests,' slots in which aspiring entrepreneurs take to the stage to sell their ideas to the audience. Last month's ArabNet conference, held in the Lebanese capital, was no different. What was different, however, was the number of pitches from female entrepreneurs. The stereotype has it that women in the Middle East are subjugated, oppressed and barely let out of their houses. But if that is the case, how come 40% of the pitches were from women—a higher percentage than is typical in equivalent conferences held in Europe? Nor was this closer-to-equal representation of women unique to ArabNet--other conferences in the region boast similar ratios."
CowboyRobot writes "Thomas Claburn at Information Week opines that Google's Chrome OS is actually morphing into the Windows-style os that it intended to make obsolete. There's still room to grow, and here are his suggestions for how to make it better: Get better hardware, Include a Web-based IDE, Support local storage, Allow offline apps. 'When Chrome OS was launched in 2010, Google SVP of Chrome and apps Sundar Pichai declared, "Chrome OS is nothing but the Web." Now, if you peer behind the browser pane, it's clear that Chrome OS is looking beyond the Web. It's not a complete repudiation of Google's bet on the appeal of a thin-client system that keeps user data in the cloud. But it is a concession to the realities of a market that's more comfortable with the familiar desktop metaphor.'"
Hugh Pickens writes "About 65 million years ago, Earth was struck by an asteroid some 10 km in diameter with a mass of well over a trillion tonnes that created megatsunamis, global wildfires ignited by giant clouds of superheated ash, and the mass extinction of land-based life on Earth. Now astrobiologists have begun to study a less well known consequence: the ejection of billions of tons of life-bearing rocks and water into space that has made its way not just to other planets but other solar systems as well. Calculations by Tetsuya Hara and his colleagues at Kyoto Sangyo University in Japan show that a surprisingly large amount of life-bearing material ended up not on the Moon and Mars, as might be expected, but the Jovian moon Europa and the Saturnian moon Enceladus also received tons of life-bearing rock from earth. Even more amazingly, calculations suggest that most Earth ejecta ended up in interstellar space and some has probably already arrived at Earth-like exoplanets orbiting other stars. Hara estimates that about a thousand Earth-rocks from this event would have made the trip to Gliese 581, a red dwarf some 20 light years away that is thought to have a super-Earth orbiting at the edge of the habitable zone, taking about a million years to reach its destination. Of course, nobody knows if microbes can survive that kind of journey or even the shorter trips to Europa and Enceladus. But Hara says that if microbes can survive that kind of journey, they ought to flourish on a super-Earth in the habitable zone (PDF). 'If we consider the possibility that the fragmented ejecta (smaller than 1cm) are accreted to comets and other icy bodies, then buried fertile material could make the interstellar journey throughout the Galaxy,' writes Hara. 'Under these circumstances fragments could continue the interstellar journey and Earth origin meteorites could be transferred to Gl 581 system. If we take it as viable, we should consider the panspermia theories more seriously.'"
angry tapir writes "In an unusual case, a U.S. judge has ruled that Motorola cannot enforce an injunction that would prevent Microsoft from selling Windows products in Germany, should a German court issue such an injunction next week. Microsoft asked the judge for the ruling in anticipation of an injunction that a German court is expected to issue related to a patent infringement suit that Motorola filed against Microsoft in Germany. The suit centers primarily on Motorola licenses that have been declared essential to the H.264 video standard. The German injunction is expected on April 17."
colinneagle writes "Microsoft's recent announcement that it will end support for the Windows XP operating system in two years signals the end of an era for the company, and potentially the beginning of a nightmare for everyone else. When Microsoft cuts the cord on XP in two years it will effectively leave millions of existing Windows-based computers vulnerable to continued and undeterred cyberattacks, many of which hold the potential to find their way into consumer, enterprise and even industrial systems running the latest software. Although most of the subsequent security issues appear to be at the consumer level, it may not be long until they find a way into corporate networks or industrial systems, says VMWare's Jason Miller. Even scarier, Qualsys's Amol Sarwate says many SCADA systems for industrial networks still run a modified version of XP, and are not in a position to upgrade. Because much of the software running on SCADA systems is not compatible with traditional Microsoft OS capabilities, an OS upgrade would entail much more work than it would for a home or corporate system."
joshuarrrr writes "When the RMS Titanic scraped an iceberg on the night of 14 April 1912, its wireless operators began sending distress calls on one of the world's most advanced radios: a 5-kilowatt rotary spark transmitter that on a clear night could send signals from the middle of the Atlantic to New York City or London. What the radio operators lacked, however, were international protocols for wireless communications at sea. At the time, US law only required ships to have one operator on board, and he was usually employed by the wireless companies, not the ship itself. On the 100th anniversary of the Titanic, IEEE Spectrum looks at how the tragedy accelerated the improvement of communications at sea."
Oldcynic writes "The Canadian mint has allowed 500 developers to enter a contest to create a new digital currency. The currency would allow micro payments using electronic devices. From the article: 'Less than a week after the government announced the penny’s impending death, the Mint quietly unveiled its digital currency called MintChip. Still in the research and development phase, MintChip will ultimately let people pay each other directly using smartphones, USB sticks, computers, tablets and clouds. The digital currency will be anonymous and good for small transactions — just like cash, the Mint says. To make sure its technology meets the gold standard in a world where digital transactions are gaining steam, the Mint is holding a contest for software developers to create applications using the MintChip.'" It looks like the Canadian Mint might have a bit of Sweden envy.
chicksdaddy writes "Threatpost is reporting on a critical security flaw in the latest version of Backtrack Linux, a popular distribution that is used by security professionals for penetration testing. The previously undiscovered privilege escalation hole was discovered by a student taking part in an InfoSec Institute Ethical Hacking class, according to the post on the group's Web site. 'The student in our ethical hacking class that found the 0day was using backtrack and decided to fuzz the program, as well as look through the source code,' wrote Jack Koziol, the Security Program Manager at the InfoSec Institute. 'He found that he could overwrite config settings and gain a root shell.' An unofficial patch is available from InfoSec Institute. Koziol said that an official patch is being tested now and is expected shortly."