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Should We Really Follow The Water To Discover Find Alien Life?

May 5, 2015 by Michael   | Category: Around The Net
Should We Really Follow The Water To Discover Find Alien Life?

The search for life beyond Earth homes in on water, whose abundance throughout the solar system is becoming increasingly clear to scientists. Water is a polar molecule and a solvent, two properties that are important for certain chemical reactions critical to life, said NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan. “We think water is key to life as we know it,” Stofan said Tuesday (April 28) during the Asimov Memorial Debate, an annual event at New York’s American Museum of Natural History... 

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Mozilla Plans To Focus New Features On Secured Websites

May 4, 2015 by mphillips   | Category: Around The Net
Mozilla Plans To Focus New Features On Secured Websites

Mozilla has decided to gradually favor HTTPS (HTTP Secure) connections over non-secure HTTP connections by making some new features on its browser available only to secured sites. The browser developer decided after a discussion on its community mailing list that it will set a date after which all new features will be available only to secure websites, wrote Firefox security lead Richard Barnes in a blog post. Mozilla also plans to gradually phase out access to browser features for non-secure websites,... 

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Does A Graveyard Of Stars Reside Near The Center Of The Milky Way?

May 4, 2015 by Michael   | Category: Around The Net
Does A Graveyard Of Stars Reside Near The Center Of The Milky Way?

The remains of thousands of stars might exist in a vast graveyard near the giant black hole at the heart of our Milky Way galaxy, a region where dead stars feed on companions like zombies and unleash X-ray “howls,” researchers say. Scientists have long thought that a monster black hole with the mass of 4.3 million suns, named Sagittarius A* (pronounced Sagittarius A star), lurks at the heart of the Milky Way. Recently, astronomers discovered that a surprising number of young, massive... 

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Verizon Investing In ‘Smart Cities’ Services

May 4, 2015 by mphillips   | Category: Around The Net
Verizon Investing In ‘Smart Cities’ Services

Verizon’s Enterprise Solutions unit has announced a bigger push into smart cities and smart agricultural support services that rely on wireless networks and Internet of Things technologies. The new initiatives include alliances with the Smart Cities Council and the Thrive Accelerator mentorship program to promote smart farming. Verizon is also a partner in an AgTech Summit coming in July with Forbes. Dan Feldman, Verizon’s director of IoT Smart Cities, said city leaders in the U.S.... 

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Astronomers Capture Young Star Binging

May 1, 2015 by Michael   | Category: Around The Net
Astronomers Capture Young Star Binging

A young star in the earliest phase of its life has erupted after gobbling up gas and dust, and appears to be the earliest such burst ever recorded. The eruption was first recognized in 2014, when astronomer Emily Safron, who had just graduated from the University of Toledo in Ohio with her bachelor’s degree, noticed an object in her data that was brightening dramatically over time. The finding not only marks the earliest eruption ever recorded but also sheds light on how stars grow to be so massive... 

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Stargazers Help Discover Five Supernovas

April 30, 2015 by Michael   | Category: Around The Net
Stargazers Help Discover Five Supernovas

More than 40,000 citizen stargazers have helped to classify over 2 million celestial objects and identify five never-before-seen supernovas, in a massive example of citizen science at work. An amateur astronomy project of cosmic proportions, established by scientists at the Australian National University, asked volunteers to look through images taken by the SkyMapper telescope and search for new objects, with a particular focus on finding new supernovas. The project was set up using the Zooniverse... 

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Lawmakers Seek To Stop NSA Mass Phone Data Collection

April 30, 2015 by mphillips   | Category: Around The Net
Lawmakers Seek To Stop NSA Mass Phone Data Collection

U.S. lawmakers proposed new legislation to halt spy agencies’ bulk collection of Americans’ telephone data, setting up a potential showdown over the program, which expires on June 1. Republican U.S. Representatives Bob Goodlatte and Jim Sensenbrenner and Democrats John Conyers and Jerry Nadler introduced the “USA Freedom Act” in the House of Representatives, seeking to tighten control of a program publicly exposed two years ago by former National Security Agency contractor... 

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Applied Materials Calls Off Merger Plans

April 29, 2015 by Michael   | Category: Around The Net
Applied Materials Calls Off Merger Plans

The largest manufacturers of the machinery used to make semiconductors, Applied Materials and Tokyo Electron of Japan, have dumped a merger plans. The proposed $10 billion deal was announced in September 2013, but it had nearly been impossible to come up with a deal which the US antitrust authorities would approve. Part of the problem was that it would have combined two of the three largest players in a sector crucial to the production of chips. Chip foundries are becoming expensive to build, even... 

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Facebook Unveils Free Video Calling For Its Messenger App

April 29, 2015 by mphillips   | Category: Around The Net
Facebook Unveils Free Video Calling For Its Messenger App

Users can now place free video calls with Messenger, as Facebook continues to broaden its app’s reach beyond simple text-based chats. With the feature, Facebook is also going aftert competing products like Apple’s FaceTime, Microsoft’s Skype and Google Hangouts. Facebookpreviously allowed video calling through its site on the desktop, but not within its Messenger app. The video calling feature is available in the iOS and Android Messenger apps. iOS users will be able to video chat... 

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WordPress Finally Plugs XSS Bug

April 29, 2015 by Michael   | Category: Around The Net
WordPress Finally Plugs XSS Bug

WordPress has issued a security fix after millions of websites were at risk of a bug that allows attackers to take control of a system. Patched in the WordPress 4.2.1 Security Release, the fix was announced in an advisory by WordPress consultant Gary Pendergast just hours after the vulnerability was disclosed by a bug hunter. “A few hours ago, the WordPress team was made aware of a cross-site scripting vulnerability which could enable commenters to compromise a site,” read the advisory. “This... 

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Microsoft May Take Massive Write-off From Nokia Acquisition

April 28, 2015 by mphillips   | Category: Around The Net
Microsoft May Take Massive Write-off From Nokia Acquisition

Microsoft has hinted that it may take a huge write-off of its Nokia acquisition, perhaps as early as July. In the 10-Q filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last week, Microsoft said that its Phone Hardware division, which is based largely on the Nokia assets acquired last year for approximately $7.9 billion, lost money in the March quarter. With revenue at $1.4 billion for the period, Microsoft said, cost of revenue exceeded sales by $4 million, meaning the company lost about... 

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Will NASA Use Spy Telescopes To Search For Dark Energy?

April 28, 2015 by Michael   | Category: Around The Net
Will NASA Use Spy Telescopes To Search For Dark Energy?

NASA is considering requesting money in next year’s budget to eventually start using two space telescopes it received from the United States’ spy satellite agency, a senior official told Space.com. NASA received the telescopes from the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) in 2012. They have the same resolution as the agency’s famous Hubble Space Telescope, but a field of view 200 times wider. The telescopes are being eyed for use in a potential space mission called WFIRST-AFTA (the... 

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Astronomers Find Visible Light From Alien Planet

April 27, 2015 by Michael   | Category: Around The Net
Astronomers Find Visible Light From Alien Planet

Astronomers have detected an exoplanet’s visible-light spectrum directly for the first time ever, a milestone that could help bring many other alien worlds into clearer focus down the road. The scientists used the HARPS instrument on the European Southern Observatory’s 3.6-meter telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile to study the spectrum of visible light reflected off the exoplanet 51 Pegasi b, which lies about 50 light-years from Earth in the constellation Pegasus. You can see... 

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Mobile Ads Generate A Signficant Chunk Of Facebook’s Revenue

April 24, 2015 by mphillips   | Category: Around The Net
Mobile Ads Generate A Signficant Chunk Of Facebook’s Revenue

Facebook continued expanding its business with ads placed on small screens last quarter, when it generated 73 percent of its sales from mobile ads. Facebook’s total first-quarter revenue was US$3.54 billion, up more than 40 percent from a year earlier, the company reported Wednesday. That was a bit less than the consensus analyst estimate of $3.56 billion, as polled by Thomson Reuters. With a bounty of personal data on its billion-plus members — many of whom now log in from their smartphones... 

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Raytheon Acquires Websense, Forms Defense-grade Security Unit

April 23, 2015 by mphillips   | Category: Around The Net
Raytheon Acquires Websense, Forms Defense-grade Security Unit

Defense contractor Raytheon is acquiring Websense, which it will combine with its own security unit to create a new, separately operated business to battle criminal networks and state-funded espionage. Today’s Internet attacks “are becoming increasingly more sophisticated and are being perpetuated by state sponsored groups, criminal organizations, hacktivists and insiders,” said David Wajsgras, president of Raytheon intelligence, information and services business, in a conference... 

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