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Updated: 4 hours 28 min ago

The United States Just Might Be Iran's Favorite New Nuclear Supplier

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 8:36pm
Lasrick writes: Nick Gillard from Project Alpha points out that for more than 3 decades, Iran has purchased goods for its nuclear program largely from the shadows. With the Framework Agreement, that will almost certainly change: "According to the US State Department, one of the agreement's provisions creates a dedicated procurement channel for Iran's nuclear program. This channel will monitor and approve, on a case-by-case basis, the supply, sale, or transfer to Iran of certain nuclear-related and dual-use materials and technology." That is terrific news for US companies, because Iran is known to covet US-made parts required for their program, most of which are "dual-use."

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Disney Replaces Longtime IT Staff With H-1B Workers

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 6:04pm
Lucas123 writes: Disney CEO Bob Iger is one of eight co-chairs of the Partnership for a New American Economy, a leading group advocating for an increase in the H-1B visa cap. Last Friday, the partnership was a sponsor of an H-1B briefing at the U.S. Capitol for congressional staffers. The briefing was closed to the press. One of the briefing documents obtained after the meeting stated, "H-1B workers complement — instead of displace — U.S. Workers." Last October, however, Disney laid off at least 135 IT staff (though employees say it was hundreds more), many of them longtime workers. Disney then replaced them with H-1B contractors that company said could better "focus on future innovation and new capabilities." The fired workers believe the primary motivation behind Disney's action was cost-cutting. "Some of these folks were literally flown in the day before to take over the exact same job I was doing," one former employee said. Disney officials promised new job opportunities as a result of the restructuring, but the former staff interviewed by Computerworld said they knew of few co-workers who had landed one of the new jobs. Use of visa workers in a layoff is a public policy issue, particularly for Disney. Ten U.S. senators are currently seeking a federal investigation into displacement of IT workers by H-1B-using contractors. Kim Berry, president of the Programmer's Guild, said Congress should protect American workers by mandating that positions can only be filled by H-1B workers when no qualified American — at any wage — can be found to fill the position."

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LG G4 and Qualcomm's Snapdragon 808 Benchmarked

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 5:08pm
MojoKid writes: LG officially lifted the veil on its new G4 flagship Android phone this week and the buzz has been fairly strong. LG's display prowess is well known, along with their ability to pack a ton of screen real estate into a smaller frame with very little bezel, as they did with the previous generation G3. However, what's under the hood of the new LG G4 is probably just as interesting as the build quality and display, for some. On board the LG G4 is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808, the six-core little brother of the powerful and power-hungry Snapdragon 810 that's found in HTC's One M9. The One M9 is currently one of the fastest Android handsets out there, but its battery life suffers as a result. So with a six-core Snapdragon and a slightly tamer Adreno 418 graphics engine on board, but also with 3GB of RAM, it's interesting to see where the G4 lands performance-wise. It's basically somewhere between the HTC One M9 (Snapdragon 810) and the Snapdragon 805 in the Nexus 6 in CPU bound workloads, besting even the iPhone 6, but much more middle of the pack in terms of graphics and gaming.

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Fetch Robotics Unveils Warehouse Robots

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 4:30pm
gthuang88 writes: Warehouse automation has become a big business, with Amazon's Kiva robots leading the way. Now a startup called Fetch Robotics is rolling out a pair of new robots that can pick boxes off of shelves, pass them to each other, and carry the goods to a shipping station. Fetch, led by Willow Garage veteran Melonee Wise, is competing with companies like Amazon's Kiva Systems, Rethink Robotics, and Harvest Automation to develop dexterous, mobile robots for retail, distribution, and manufacturing.

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Google Announces "Password Alert" To Protect Against Phishing Attacks

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 3:46pm
HughPickens.com writes: Google has announced Password Alert, a free, open-source Chrome extension that protects your Google Accounts from phishing attacks. Once you've installed it, Password Alert will show a warning if you type your Google password into a site that isn't a Google sign-in page. This protects you from phishing attacks and also encourages you to use different passwords for different sites, a security best practice. Once you've installed and initialized Password Alert, Chrome will remember a "scrambled" version of your Google Account password. It only remembers this information for security purposes and doesn't share it with anyone. If you type your password into a site that isn't a Google sign-in page, an alert will tell you that you're at risk of being phished so you can update your password and protect yourself.

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NASA Probe Spies Possible Polar Ice Cap On Pluto

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 3:03pm
astroengine writes: As NASA's New Horizon's spacecraft rapidly approaches Pluto for its historic flyby in July, the dwarf planet is gradually sliding into focus. And in the latest series of observations beamed back from the fringes of the Kuiper belt, surface features are becoming evident including the stunning revelation that Pluto may possess a polar ice cap. "As we approach the Pluto system we are starting to see intriguing features such as a bright region near Pluto's visible pole, starting the great scientific adventure to understand this enigmatic celestial object," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington D.C. "As we get closer, the excitement is building in our quest to unravel the mysteries of Pluto using data from New Horizons."

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Senate Advances "Secret Science" Bill, Sets Up Possible Showdown With President

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 2:40pm
sciencehabit writes: Republicans in Congress appear to be headed for a showdown with the White House over controversial "secret science" legislation aimed at changing how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses scientific studies. A deeply divided Senate panel yesterday advanced a bill that would require EPA to craft its policies based only on public data available to outside experts. The House of Representatives has already passed a similar measure. But Democrats and science groups have harshly criticized the approach, and the White House has threatened a veto.

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Internet Explorer's Successor, Project Spartan, Is Called Microsoft Edge

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 2:20pm
An anonymous reader writes: At its Build 2015 developer conference today, Microsoft announced Project Spartan will be called Microsoft Edge. Joe Belfiore, Microsoft's corporate vice president of the operating systems group, announced the news on stage, adding that Edge will have support for extensions. Edge is Microsoft's new browser shipping on all Windows 10 devices (PCs, tablets, smartphones, and so on). Belfiore explained the name as referring to "being on the edge of consuming and creating."

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World-First Remote Air Traffic Control System Lands In Sweden

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 1:36pm
Zothecula writes: Small airports are often in a no-win situation. They don't have much traffic because they don't have an adequate tower system, and they don't have an adequate tower system because they don't have much traffic. That could be about to change, with the opening of the world's first remotely operated air-traffic control system in Sweden. Thanks to the Remote Tower Services (RTS) system, the first plane landed last week at Örnsköldsvik Airport, but it was controlled from the LFV Remote Tower Centre 123 km (76 mi) away in Sundsvall.

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Russian Cargo Spacehip Declared Lost

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 12:53pm
schwit1 writes: The Russians have declared lost the Progress freighter that had been launched to the ISS yesterday. They never could regain control of the craft, plus it was in an incorrect orbit. Moreover, the U.S. Air Force has detected debris nearby, suggesting a significant failure of some kind. The Russians are now considering delaying the next manned launch, scheduled for May 26, while they investigate this failure. Both Soyuz and Progress use some of the same systems, including the radar system that failed on Progress, and they want to make sure the problem won't pop up on the manned mission. At the same time, they are also considering advancing the launch date of the next Progress to ISS from August 6. Based on these reports, I think they might swap the launch dates for the two flights. A Dragon is scheduled to go to ISS in between these missions, though that schedule could be changed as well to accommodate the Russian plans.

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How One Tweet Wiped $8bn Off Twitter's Value

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 12:10pm
An anonymous reader writes: Someone mistakenly published earnings information on a Nasdaq-run investor relations page for Twitter before the company officially released the news and it sent the stock into a tailspin. Initially the earnings statement went unnoticed, but soon a Tweet with the results got a lot of attention. The stock lost more than $8 billion at one point as news spread. "We asked the New York Stock Exchange to halt trading once we discovered our Q1 numbers were out, and we published our results as soon as possible thereafter," said Twitter's senior director for investor relations, Krista Bessinger. "Selerity, who provided the initial tweets with our results, informed us that earnings release was available on our Investor Relations site before the close of market. Nasdaq hosts and manages our IR website, and we explicitly instructed them not to release our results until after the market close and only upon our specific instructions, which is consistent with prior quarters. We are continuing to investigate with them exactly what occurred."

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Windows 10 Can Run Reworked Android and iOS Apps

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 11:27am
An anonymous reader writes with this interesting news from Microsoft. After months of rumors, Microsoft is revealing its plans to get mobile apps on Windows 10 today. While the company has been investigating emulating Android apps, it has settled on a different solution, or set of solutions, that will allow developers to bring their existing code to Windows 10. iOS and Android developers will be able to port their apps and games directly to Windows universal apps, and Microsoft is enabling this with two new software development kits. On the Android side, Microsoft is enabling developers to use Java and C++ code on Windows 10, and for iOS developers they'll be able to take advantage of their existing Objective C code. 'We want to enable developers to leverage their current code and current skills to start building those Windows applications in the Store, and to be able to extend those applications,' explained Microsoft's Terry Myerson during an interview with The Verge this morning.

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IBM CIO Thinks Agile Development Might Save Company

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 10:44am
Nerval's Lobster writes: A new Wall Street Journal article details how IBM CIO Jeff Smith is trying to make Big Blue, which is going through some turbulent times as it attempts to transition from a hardware-dependent business to one that more fully embraces the cloud and services, operate more like a startup instead of a century-old colossus. His solution centers on having developers work in smaller teams, each of which embraces Agile methodology, as opposed to working in huge divisions on multi-year projects. In order to unite employees who might be geographically dispersed, IBM also has its groups leave open a Skype channel throughout the workday. Smith hopes, of course, that his plan will accelerate IBM's internal development, and make it more competitive against not only its tech-giant competition, but also the host of startups working in common fields such as artificial intelligence.

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