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The Tardis in a field

TIME TRAVEL TEST finds black holes needed to make photons flit

University of Queensland researchers have doubled-down on the question of whether quantum mechanics can exhibit “time travel” behaviours, producing a simulation of time travel using a single photon following a “closed timelike curve” (CTC). No, it's not actually time travel. Rather, the UQ work is looking at what we can predict …

LONGER flights burning MORE fuel can CUT planes' climate impact

British scientists have suggested that the world's airlines could cut their climate impact – by flying further and therefore burning more fuel. The seemingly-paradoxical claim is based on a calculation of the climate impact of contrails on the world's climate. The researchers suggest that rather than simply calculating the …

Vodafone Australia's 'doubles user traffic' on free weekend

Vodafone has unintentionally exposed the miserly behaviour of Australian mobile data users, while hyping data usage over the “free data weekend” it declared to apologise for network outages. It turns out that punters hammered the network with a stunning eight Kbps per user. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Voda customers “ …
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Content control freaks are peddling futility, says iiNet

ISP iiNet has kicked back against the idea that site-blocking will solve Australia's allegedly-huge rate of online piracy, calling the idea “futility-on-a-stick”. The service provider, which has broken ranks with most of the industry by positioning itself as a vocal opponent of the copyright industry's prescriptions for …

Mellanox gives InfiniBand a 5 BILLION PACKET/sec cloud dose

Networking tech firm Mellanox is broadening its 100Gbps InfiniBand portfolio – and is hoping that the new products and capabilities will help it expand its footprint outside its supercomputer home territory. Following on from its demo of 100 Gbps cables last March, the company is using ISC 2014 in Germany to launch the Switch-IB …
BrickArms' Toy taliban figure

Jihadist fears spark new spook powers

Australia's federal government is reportedly about to use Australians travelling to fight with jihadists in Syria as the basis for giving new local powers to ASIO. The Daily Telegraph has been briefed by cites “intelligence sources” as saying that laws soon to go to parliament will give the Australian Security Intelligence …

Appeal to again seek code for Australia's secret election software

Michael Cordover, who last November failed in his attempt to get the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) to release its vote-counting software, now hopes to raise the funds to challenge the decision in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Back in November, the AEC decided that there were too many trade secrets embedded in its …

Zombie patents raid TI's wallet for $US3 million

Yet another patent troll non-practicing entity (NPE) has accumulated important wins in US courts, with US Ethernet Innovations (USEI) scoring a $US3 million win against Texas Instruments in a Texas US District Court. The company, which acquired patents from 3Com, had filed its suit against Texas Instruments in 2011, complaining …

POTUS promises Trans Pacific Partnership text

The text of the Trans Pacific Partnership remains secret at the moment, but President Barack Obama intends to present it to the public in November. According to Reuters, POTUS' remarks were made on Friday after discussing the timeline with New Zealand prime minister John Key during a visit to Washington. President Obama is …
HbbTV logo large

Rejoice, Australia! SBS trials SOCCER AND SEX on ONE SCREEN tech

Australian broadcaster SBS, which during the 2014 FIFA World Cup ran a movie promo called “Sex Before Soccer”*, has quietly launched an HbbTV beta to the tiny handful of viewers that have suitable TVs. HbbTV – Hybrid Broadcast Broadband TV – lets people with suitably-equipped Internet-connected TVs or set-top-boxes navigate …
Random numbers

Cisco open-sources experimental cipher

Cisco is offering up an experimental cipher which, among other things, could help preserve the anonymity of data in cloud environments. In putting what it calls “FNR” (Flexible Naor and Reingold) into the hands of the public, The Borg says its work is currently experimental rather than production software. Cisco software …
Enhanced images of the M51 galaxy

Sky-scraping boffins mash amateur astronomers into huge virtual telescope

Amateur astronomers worried that Big Astronomy would render them obsolete can relax: the kinds of techniques used to create huge virtual telescopes are now being applied to the huge collections of astro-pics published on the Internet. As keen astronomy-watchers know, the effective aperture of telescopes can be expanded by …
Evil Android

Columbia U boffins HACK GOOGLE PLAY to check apps

It's the app developer's equivalent of hiding the door keys under the mat: researchers from Columbia University have found Android apps containing the developers' secret keys. That's a more serious issue than the old “don't re-use passwords”: the thousands of credentials embedded by developers, blithely assuming they're not …

Microsoft, insurance giant hitched to pitch home automation

Microsoft is taking another crack at home automation, this time by backing startups with an accelerator launched in partnership with American Family Insurance. The two outfits will run a four-month accelerator program at Redmond between September and December. Redmond's announcement quotes evangelist and veep Steve Guggenheimer …
Suitcase bulging with cash

CloudFlare slurps CryptoSeal

CryptoSeal, which got itself out of the consumer VPN business last year to sidestep the fate of Lavabit, have been snapped up by CloudFlare. The Y Combinator-funded operation shuttered its consumer VPN service because it said complying with a government demand for an individual's data could only be met if it handed over the keys …

Digital Post Australia goes titsup in orderly fashion

Having fought a lawsuit against Australia Post (the nation's postal service) to have the right to offer its service, the much-hyped but ultimately-unwanted Digital Post Australia (DPA) is shutting down, saying its service is “not sustainable at this time”. DPA's closure might give pause to communications minister Malcolm …
troll

Luxembourg patent troll suing world+dog

Another patent troll has appeared on the horizon: Enterprise Systems Technologies, armed with a handful of patents originally assigned to Siemens, has taken out the sueball machine-gun and fired off shots at Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm, Amazon, and Audience. The Luxembourg-headquartered company has filed the lawsuits in Delaware. …
RoboCop

Oz trade minister: TPP will happen in 2015

Australia's trade minister Andrew Robb has refined his understanding of when the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership will be finalised, putting the deadline somewhere in the first half of 2015. Robb, who in January said the deal would be finalised “soon”, now sees the US electoral cycle as putting a boundary around the …

Careful with 'fibre speed record' hype: which record's been broken?

Last January, NASA's Energy Science Network (ESNet) ran a test that achieved 91 Gbps end-to-end data transfers. The test made belated news this week in another outlet that touted ESNet as a "shadow network" faster than Google fibre. Leaving aside the inappropriateness of that hype, it got El Reg thinking about the business of …
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Microsoft eggheads publish JavaScript crypto code for devs

Microsoft Research has published an under-development JavaScript crypto library, for exposure to developers and researchers interested in cloud and browser security. Designed to work with HTML5-compliant cloud services, the Microsoft Research JavaScript Cryptography Library uses the W3C WebCrypto API to expose crypto functions, …

Tor is '90 per cent of the net' claims City of London Police Commish – and he's dead wrong

Yet again, someone who should know better appears to be hyping up the size of the so-called “darkweb” to push an agenda. As reported by TorrentFreak, the remarks were made to the IP Enforcement Summit in London. According to that report, among other things, Commissioner Adrian Leppard of City of London Police said: “Whether it’ …
blackmail

Nokia paid off extortionist in 2007: Finnish TV

A Finnish broadcaster has revealed that Nokia paid a ransom to keep the app-signing keys of its Symbian operating system secret, in an extortion case dating back to 2007. According to MTV News, the former mobe giant, whose Symbian phones were market leaders back in the day, paid out “millions of Euros” in the extortion. As El …

Cisco swallows Tail-f, burps out network orchestration plans

Cisco has – depending on your attitude – either bolstered its cloud portfolio or knocked out a competitor, with the $US175 million acquisition of Swedish network orchestration vendor Tail-f. The company and its staff will be Borged into Cisco's Cloud and Virtualization Group led by Gee Rittenhouse, on completion of the cash and …
Huawei campus Shenzhen

Operators shackled to GSM, so Huawei ties GSM to LTE

Huawei and Vodafone have run a trial in Spain that demonstrated GSM and LTE transmissions co-existing on the same spectrum. The idea behind Huawei's GL DSS (GSM-LTE dynamic spectrum sharing) is to let operators roll out their shiny new LTE infrastructure without restricting the spectrum available to the (currently) larger …

India throws switch on new 282.6 Tflop super

Earlier this month, Indian university IIT Kanpur threw the switch on a new HP-built supercomputer that puts the facility at position 130 on the TOP500 supercomputer list. The 282.6 Tflop, 98,304 GB of memory, 15,360-core HP machine went live this week after being ordered in November. It's run by the university's chemistry …
Dunce

REALLY? Can 10 per cent of Aussie jobs be threatened by pirates?

Nearly one-in-ten Australian jobs are at risk from Google, if the co-chairman and co-CEO of Village Roadshow Australia is to be believed. That's the datum that appears in this opinion piece Graham Burke over at The Age, which continues the copyright industry's leave-no-data-unmolested attack on every threat, real or perceived …
Remy from Ratatouille

Another RAT crawls out of the malware drain

Yet another banking trojan has appeared, using browser hooking to steal data from Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox users. Dyreza, or Dyre, is pitched the usual way, via a phishing e-mail (a lesson that's never learned well enough for the approach to fail), and the e-mail contains what purports to be a zipped document that …
Cryptophytes

POND SCUM shine a path to more efficient solar cells

Researchers looking at the way algae use quantum mechanics in photosynthesis have found a genetic switch that turns the critters' “quantum coherence” on or off. It's been known for some time that photosynthesis takes advantage of quantum mechanics to improve light harvesting. As this IOP Science article explains in some depth, …
Jaromir's rotary mobile phone

Chap builds rotary dial mobile phone

If you miss the whirr-and-thunk of a rotary dial, you could download an app that imitates the rotary dialler, or you could make your own mobile with a rotary dial. For those that prefer something a little more physical, this Hackaday project should keep you busy with the soldering iron: a real rotary dialler (with appropriate …
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Facebook didn't infringe Dutch inventor's patents: Jury

Facebook has beaten off a dead Dutch inventor in a lawsuit targeting The Social Network'sTM Timeline, Newsfeed, Groups and Photo Sharing features. At issue in the lawsuit were two patents by Dutch computer scientist Joannes Van Der Meer, who died in 2004, which the licensing litigant Rembrandt Social Media said Facebook had …

Firing range for infosec testing opens in Canberra

After six months' of preparation, the University of New South Wales has opened a cyber-security research centre in Canberra it says is designed to bring together academia, government, defence and business expertise. Sensibly, instead of having students with black-hat tendencies an interest in computer security practise on …
'Blue marble' image of Africa and the Middle East

Virtual Africa is the logical target for IP address colonists

Regrettable incidents like Microsoft's address reassignment are a reminder that IPv4 address exhaustion is becoming so acute it's impacting real operations. In Microsoft's case, as El Reg reported last week, Redmond occasionally cashes in the jar full of unloved IP addresses it brought back from abroad to find some it can use …
The Vessyl

IoT cup claims 'instant' identification of what's in it

Are you a Silicon Valley man-child, too distracted by the ethereal beauty of your last thousand lines of code, or too dependent on others to bring you stuff, to ever notice what you're actually drinking? Fear not. Rather than have to lift your head or sully your senses with the mundane world, you can now rely on the Internet of …
Project Loon patent image

Satellite 'net hype ignores realpolitik

Google is generating lots of utopian excitement with its various airborne Internet plans – Project Loon, its satellite acquisitions, its work with O3b (the “other three billion”). But is technology all that stands in the way of connectivity? This musing was prompted by this post by Larry Press, who is eminently qualified to ask …
Planetoid crashes into primordial Earth

NASA uses new technique to snap high-res asteroid images

A recent upgrade at the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico has helped NASA capture high-res images of the asteroid 2014 HQ124, which passed fairly close by Earth last week. The upgrade allowed the researchers to operate the 305-metre Arecibo in tandem with other radio telescopes to improve the resolution of a technique in …

Apple, Cisco line up to protect offshore data

Apple and Cisco have aligned with Microsoft to support its fight against a US warrant that would give American law enforcement authorities access to data stored in offshore cloud servers. The two have filed a joint amicus brief in the case, adding their names to a list that includes Verizon, AT&T and the EFF. In late April, a …
qubit

Microsoft in hunt for the practical qubit

Redmond says it has joined the search for a practical qubit, in an effort to kick along the development of quantum computers. Head of research at Microsoft Peter Lee has told the MIT Technology Review digital summit that Redmond will be supporting research in other labs with funding, as well as doing its own work at its Station …

Google Fit will slurp YOUR heartbeat, weight, blood pressure from gizmos

If you have a disease that you don't want anyone to know about, maybe you shouldn't have it in the first place. Google's exec chairman Eric Schmidt hasn't come out with anything quite so astonishingly insensitive yet – but it can only be a matter of time, since the web giant now wants to become the world's aggregator of health …
Siats meekerorum

DINOSAUR BLOOD: JUST RIGHT, as Goldilocks might say, if drinking it

It's one of the mysteries of the ages: what temperature was dinosaur blood? Some studies seemed to show the physiology of warm blood, others cold. Now, research led by the University of New Mexico suggests they fell neatly in the middle. Led by PhD student and lead author John Grady, the researchers decided to take a fresh look …
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L337 crackrz use dumb passwords too

Black hats are just as blithe about the passwords they use as the rest of the world, according to a bit of research by security outfit Avast. The anti-virus company's Antonín Hýža, writes here that after he'd built a dictionary of hacked hackers' passwords, the most common password was “hack”. Hýža says his work began because …

Google: Why should we pay tax when we make 'intangibles'?

Irritated at global moves to lop the odd choc truffle off its outputs, Google has launched a spirited defense of its right to underpay taxes in Australia, on the basis that the benefits it brings to the local economy are intangible. In an upcoming profile piece in the Australian Financial Review's style-and-fashion supplement …

Vendor mouthpieces promise to stop spamming Wikipedia

Eleven global-scale flackhauses have twigged to the idea that polishing their clients' turds on Wikipedia is a high-risk strategy, and have solemnly pledged not to do so. Last year, Wikipedia bit the bullet and began investigating cases of sockpuppeting – or, as Wikimedia Foundation executive director Sue Gardner put it, “paid …
Placoderm mating

Wedding tackle started out as PROTO-SHARKS' LEGS, boffins say

Researchers from Australia and the UK have taken a look back over the fossil records of placoderms - an early type of armoured fish - and come up with a startling suggestion: some of the earliest male genital organs known to palaeontology started out as a kind of “legs”. Well, not quite legs, since placoderms were aquatic: …
Murchison Widefield Array telescope installation

Dream job ad appears: Data wrangler for Square Kilometre Array

Australia's Square Kilometre Array boffins – courtesy of Curtin University – have put up the spec for might just be a dream sysadmin job, so long as they're ready, willing and able to cope with what will ultimately be one of the world's biggest data firehoses. As already recorded by The Register, the Square Kilometre Array …

Urine a goldmine for fuel-cell materials: boffins

Over the centuries, urine has been collected for all manner of unpleasant industrial applications. Now, a new research paper suggests pee could be a big contributor to the future of carbon fuel-cell technology. According to this paper in Nature, doped collections of carbon atoms recovered from human urine have the right kind of …

Google calls on carriers to craft IoT plans

Google has offered up some uncommon good sense about the Internet of Things, telling a US conference that cheap networking is more important than fast networking for IoT applications. What's emerging in the machine-to-machine world of the IoT is that many “things” really don't have that much to say, and when they're saying it, …
putin topless

'Think of the children', Putin tells startup-land

Russian president Vladimir Putin has told a startup forum that the country isn't trying to clamp down on Internet freedoms, but is merely focussed on child protection. Reuters reports that Vlad has deployed the “think of the children” angle while trying to hose down fears that Moscow is tightening its grip on freedom of …
Nokia - NSN logo

Nokia networks biz slurps Australia's Mesaplexx

A seven-year-old Australian radio filter specialist has been bought by Nokia Siemens* Solutions and Networks to bolster its position in the small-cell and “hetnet” market. The Brisbane-based Mesaplexx, founded in 2007, put six years into developing filters, with its xCube technology reaching the market in 2013. The first …

Kiwis get cracking with gigabit residential broadband

While Australians wait for a copper network “upgrade” that can't be guaranteed to deliver better than 25 Mbps, a speed war has broken out across the Tasman, with residential gigabit plans arriving at wholesale prices that could see households pay under $NZ100 per month. The wholesaler has announced the offering is now available …
The new hexaquark

Massive news in the micro-world: a hexaquark particle

A German research synchrotron is trumpeting its find of a new exotic particle with six quarks – the largest quark number ever observed. The "dibaryon" (two baryons) is described in a paper in Physical Review Letters (abstract here, pre-print version here at Arxiv). If you're like this Vulture South hack, the paper reads as a …