First time accepted submitter LilaG writes "Gasoline-burning engines put out twice as much black carbon as was previously measured, according to new field methods tested in Toronto. The tiny particles known as black carbon pack a heavy punch when it comes to climate change, by trapping heat in the atmosphere and by alighting atop, and melting, Arctic ice. With an eye toward controlling these emissions, researchers have tracked black carbon production from fossil fuel combustion in gasoline-burning cars and diesel-burning trucks. Until this study was published [abstract of paywalled article], gas-burning vehicles had been thought to be relatively minor players."
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MojoKid writes "According to new reports [note: source article at DigiTimes], global HDD production capacity is getting ready to increase to 140-145 million units in the first quarter of 2012, or about 80 percent of where it was prior to when the floods hit Thailand manufacturing plants. HDD production was sitting around 175 million units in the third quarter of 2011 before the floods, after which time it quickly dropped to 120-125 million units. Since then, there's been a concerted effort to restore operations to pre-flood levels."
porsche911 writes with this excerpt from the New York Times: "Steve Kordek, who revolutionized the game of pinball in the 1940s by designing what became the standard two-flipper machine found in bars and penny arcades around the world, died on Sunday at a hospice in Park Ridge, Ill. He was 100. ... 'Steve's impact would be comparable to D. W. Griffith moving from silent films through talkies and color and CinemaScope and 3-D with computer-generated graphics,' [pinball historian Roger] Sharpe said. 'He moved through each era seamlessly.'"
AZA43 writes "Everybody knows that BlackBerry-maker RIM is hurting these days. But is it hurting enough to try to attract new customers with the promise of porn and/or gambling apps? A new rating system added to RIM's BlackBerry App World store suggests that it just may be that desperate. The new 'Adult' rating covers, 'graphic sexual content, graphic nudity,' 'graphic violence,' and gambling apps 'as permitted by law.' And that suggests RIM will allow this kind of content into App World, in stark contrast to Apple's no-porn-on-the-iPhone stand."
smitty777 writes with news that researchers have discovered another way methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria are developing resistance to antibiotics. According to the study (abstract), the bacteria made the jump to pigs on livestock farms, developed greater resistance through the rounds of antibiotics commonly used to keep the pigs healthy, and then jumped back to humans. "The important development in the story of ST398 is its move back off the farm into humans, causing first asymptomatic carriage in that original family, and then illnesses in other Dutch residents, and then outbreaks in healthcare settings, and then movement across oceans, and then appearance in retail meat, and then infections in people who had no connection whatsoever to farming—all from an organism with a distinctive agricultural signature. That’s an important evolution, and an illustration once again that, as soon as resistance factors emerge, we really have no idea where they will spread. So it would be a good idea to take actions to keep them from emerging, or at the very least to implement surveillance that would allow us to identify them when they do."
chicksdaddy writes "Tech-enabled filtering and blocking of Web sites and Internet addresses that are deemed hostile to repressive regimes has been a major political and human rights issue in the last year, as popular protests in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria erupted. Now it looks as if Pakistan's government is looking for a way to strengthen its hand against online content it considers undesirable. According to a request for proposals from the National ICT (Information and Communications and Technologies) R&D Fund, the Pakistani government is struggling to keep a lid on growing Internet and Web use and is looking for a way to filter out undesirable Web sites. The 'indigenous' filtering system would be 'deployed at IP backbones in major cities, i.e., Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad,' the RFP reads (PDF). It would be 'centrally managed by a small and efficient team stationed at POPs of backbone providers,' and must be capable of supporting 100Gbps interfaces and filtering Web traffic against a block list of up to 50 million URLs without latency of more than 1 millisecond."
ananyo writes "Cultural Observatory at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts is to index the whole of the ArXiv pre-print database of papers from the physical sciences, breaking down the full text of the articles into component phrases to see how often a particular word or phrase appears relative to others — a measure of how 'meme-like' a term is. The team has already applied a similar approach to 5 million books in the Google Books database to produce their n-gram viewer. But the Google Books database carries with it a major limitation: because many of the works are under copyright, users cannot be pointed to the actual source material. Applying the tool to ArXiv means it could be used to chart trends in high-energy physics, for example: a quickening pulse of papers citing the Higgs boson, for example, or a peak in papers about supersymmetry, a theory which may soon be waning."
nonprofiteer writes "A profile of Facebook's CSO reveals that his 70-person security team includes 25 people dedicated solely to handling information requests from law enforcement. They get thousands of calls and e-mails from authorities each week, though Facebook requires police to get a warrant for anything beyond a subscriber's name, email and IP address. CSO Joe Sullivan says that some government agency tried to push Facebook to start collecting more information about their users for the benefit of authorities: 'Recently a government agency wanted us to start logging information we don't log. We told them we wouldn't start logging that piece of data because we don't need it to provide a good product. We talked to our general counsel. The law is not black-and-white. That agency thinks they can compel us to. We told them to go to court. They haven't done that yet.'"
An anonymous reader writes "Matt Spaccarelli has won a judgement of $850 from AT&T for data throttling. From the article: 'Nadel's ruling could pave the way for others to follow suit. AT&T has some 17 million customers with "unlimited data" plans that can be subject to throttling, representing just under half of the company's smartphone users. AT&T stopped signing up new customers for those plans in 2010, and warned last year that it would start slowing speeds for people who consume the most data. In the last few months, subscribers have been surprised by how little data use it takes for throttling to kick in —often less than AT&T provides to those on limited or "tiered" plans. Spaccarelli said his phone is being throttled after he's used 1.5 gigabytes to 2 gigabytes of data within a new billing cycle. Meanwhile, AT&T provides 3 gigabytes of data to subscribers on a tiered plan that costs the same — $30 per month.'"
snydeq writes "Bjarne Stroustrup discusses the latest version of C++, which, although not a major overhaul, offers many small upgrades to appeal to different areas of development. From the interview: 'I like the way move semantics will simplify the way we return large data structures from functions and improve the performance of standard-library types, such as string and vector. People in high-performance areas will appreciate the massive increase in the power of constant expressions (constexpr). Users of the standard library (and some GUI libraries) will probably find lambda expressions the most prominent feature. Everybody will use smaller new features, such as auto (deduce a variable's type from its initializer) and the range-for loop, to simplify code.'"
ESRB writes "North Korea is apparently able to produce high-quality counterfeits of U.S. dollars — specifically $100 and $50 bills. It's suspected that they possess similar printing technologies as the U.S. and buy ink from the same Swedish firm. 'Since the superdollars were first detected about a decade ago, the regime has been pocketing an estimated $15 to $25 million a year from them. (Other estimates are much higher — up to several hundred million dollars' worth.)' The article also advocates a move to all-digital payment/transfers by pointing out both forms are only representations of value and noting it would cripple criminal operations such as drug cartels, human traffickers, and so forth."
suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from The Verge: "Microsoft appears to be killing off two of its key user-facing brands with the upcoming Consumer Preview release of Windows 8. Windows Live applications have been rolled into preinstalled apps that work as the core 'Windows Communications' applications for Windows 8, and this lack of Windows Live branding is only the tip of the iceberg. 'Microsoft Account' will replace Windows Live ID in Windows 8, and the software giant has also removed traces of Zune from its Windows Store, Music, and Video applications, although Zune Pass functionality remains."
cylonlover writes "With the wait still on for a miniaturization ray to allow some Fantastic Voyage-style medical procedures by doctors in submarines, tiny electronic implants capable of traveling in the bloodstream show much more promise. While the miniaturization of electronic and mechanical components now makes such devices feasible, the lack of a comparable reduction in battery size has held things back. Now engineers at Stanford University have demonstrated a tiny, self-propelled medical device that would be wirelessly powered from outside the body, enabling devices small enough to move through the bloodstream."
An anonymous reader writes "Game journalist Stuart Campbell has written an incisive piece on how the digital distribution model users have grown to know and love over the past several years still has some major problems that go beyond even the DRM dilemma. He provides an example of an app developer using very shady update techniques to screw over people who have legitimately purchased their app. Touch Racing Nitro, a retro racing game, launched to moderate success. After tinkering with price points to get the game to show up on the top download charts, the developers finally made it free for a period of four months. 'Then the sting came along. About a week ago (at time of writing), the game received an "update," which came with just four words of description – "Now Touch Racing Free!" As the game was already free, users could have been forgiven for thinking this wasn't much of a change. But in fact, the app thousands of them had paid up to £5 for had effectively just been stolen. Two of the game's three racing modes were now locked away behind IAP paywalls, and the entire game was disfigured with ruinous in-game advertising, which required yet another payment to remove.'"
An anonymous reader writes "File hosting sites have been under increased pressure since the shutdown of Megaupload — both from law enforcement and from the sudden influx of new users. RapidShare, already dealing with a reputation as a facilitator of piracy, has now instituted a policy they hope will drive pirates away: download speed caps for its free service. According to TorrentFreak, 'RapidShare says that there is a direct link between free users of file-hosting services and copyright infringement. Those who like to pirate prefer not to pay, the company believes, not least because they want to avoid connecting their personal payment details to a copyright-infringing cyberlocker account. Now, there will be those who say that however RapidShare dress it up, the company will be aware that the restrictions will drive users to their premium services to get better speeds. But interestingly RapidShare is now offering ways for users to get faster download speeds without paying a dime — providing those uploading the original files they’re trying to access do some work.'"