Zothecula writes "China has now joined the very select group of countries to have succeeded in carrying out an interplanetary probe mission. According to reports from China's official news agency Xinhua, the Chang'E 2 probe passed a mere 3.2 km (2 miles) from the near-Earth asteroid Toutatis at 8:30:09 GMT on December 13, making it the closest asteroid flyby to date ... and resulting in some remarkable photographs."
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skade88 writes "Blender 2.65 has been released. Here is a quote from the Blender team: 'The Blender Foundation and online developer community is proud to present Blender 2.65. We focused on making this the most stable release in the 2.6 cycle yet, fixing over 200 bugs. Fire simulation was added along with many improvements in smoke simulation. In Cycles, motion blur, open shading language and anisotropic shading support was added. For mesh modeling, the bevel tool was much improved, a new symmetrize mesh tool was added, and new Laplacian smooth, decimate, and triangulate modifiers are available.'"
sfcrazy writes "Raspberry Pi developer team has introduced the Pi store, a place to get software for Raspberry Pi, in collaboration with IndieCity and Velocix. The team hopes that the store will become a one-stop-shop for Raspbian Pi users. The store already has 23 major applications available for users including LibreOffice and Asterisk. There are classic games like Freeciv and OpenTTD and Raspberry Pi exclusive Iridium Rising. The team also managed to get 'one piece of commercial content: the excellent Storm in a Teacup from Cobra Mobile.'"
Dupple writes "Microsoft's user data shows that users are getting used to dealing with the Windows 8 user interface, reports this article at MIT Technology Review. Despite some of the more scathing reviews of Windows 8, ordinary users are getting along with it just fine, according to Julie Larson-Green, the Microsoft executive who leads Windows product development. Data collected automatically from some Windows users, she says, show they are adjusting to some of the new operating system's controversial features without problems 'So far we're seeing very encouraging things,' Larson-Green says of the large volume of data that Microsoft receives every day from people using Windows 8 who have chosen to join the company's 'customer experience improvement program.' All users are invited to enroll in that program when they first log into the new operating system. If they do so, anonymized information about how they are using the operating system is sent to Microsoft. Referring to complaints from some quarters, Larson-Green says: 'Even with the rumblings, we feel confident that it's a moment in time more than an actual problem.'"
judgecorp writes "Twitter has delivered on a long-promised feature which allows some users to download their entire Tweet history. The service was promised months ago by CEO Dick Costolo and equivalent features are already available at Facebook. At this stage, only some users can download their archive, and it's not clear how it will be rolled out to all users."
nonprofiteer writes "Two years ago, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Western Union and Bank of America cut off all funding to WikiLeaks. A group of free information advocates wants to prevent a similar financial blockade on information from happening again. Daniel Ellsberg, John Perry Barlow, and EFF staffers are founding the Freedom of the Press Foundation, an org that will raise money and channel it to edgy media groups that might suffer from a WikiLeaks-style embargo. When donors give to the Foundation, they can choose to have their funding passed on to any media group under the Foundation's umbrella (currently WikiLeaks, Muckrock, The National Security Archives and UpTake). That strategy aims to make it harder to cut funding to any of those organizations, or any added in the future. And because the site is encrypted, donors who worry about being identified as giving to any particularly controversial group can do so without being identified. It's like Tor for charitable giving."
carmendrahl writes "In Austria, people can submit their street drugs to a lab-on-a-bus to ensure they got what they paid for. The government is using the bus to track emergence of new variants of bath salts and other drugs. Now, researchers have developed a test they'd like to add to the bus's offerings: it assesses drug action (full paper) instead of just reporting chemical structure."
An anonymous reader writes "Australia announced Saturday a new project to drill a deep ice core in Antarctica, which may shed light on past climatic conditions in the continent. The project, Aurora Basin North project, will involve researchers drilling a 2,000-year-old ice core, in order to search for the scientific 'holy grail' of the ice core."
CowboyRobot writes "Columbia University grad student Ang Cui demonstrated how networked printers and phones can be abused by attackers. 'The attack I demonstrated is caused by the multiple vulnerabilities within the syscall interface of the CNU [Cisco Native Unix] kernel,' Cui tells Dark Reading. 'It is caused by the lack of input validation at the syscall interface, which allows arbitrary modification of kernel memory from userland, as well as arbitrary code execution within the kernel. This, in turn, allows the attacker to become root, gain control over the DSP [Digital Signal Processor], buttons, and LEDs on the phone. The attack I demonstrated patches the existing kernel and DSP in order to carry out stealthy mic exfiltration.'"
hugheseyau writes "Dell vice chairman Jeff Clarke made a less than shocking announcement at this year's Dell World Conference in Austin. The company is officially giving up on Android phones and tablets. ... So if Dell is giving up on Android, what comes next? The company claims it's doubling down on Windows 8, and the enterprise market."
elashish14 writes "The Westboro Baptist Church stated earlier this week that they would be picketing the funerals of the victims of Newtown Connecticut's tragic shooting in an effort to bring awareness to their hate messages. In response, the Anonymous hacker collective has hacked their website and posted the personal information of all of its members."
An anonymous reader writes "A huge security hole has been discovered in recent Samsung devices including phones like the Galaxy S2 and S3. It is possible for every user to obtain root due to a custom faulty memory device created by Samsung." The problem affects phones with the Exynos System-on-Chip.
An anonymous reader writes "Do you still think your online writing is, basically, anonymous? Think again! Research has it people put much of their personal traits into their writing, and computers may just be able to pick them up. That's at least what a recently announced competition on author identification (Given a document, who wrote it?) and author profiling (Given a document, what are its author's age and gender?) wants to find out. Alas, re-using other people's writing is no solution either; there's also a competition on plagiarism detection (Given a document, is it an original?). Wanna revisit your recent rants?"