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  • Alibaba Face Off With Chinese Regulator Over Fake Products

    hackingbear writes China's State Administration of Industry and Commerce on Wednesday issued a scathing report against one of the country's biggest stars, accusing e-commerce giant Alibaba of failing to do enough to prevent fake goods from being sold on its websites. SAIC said Alibaba allowed "illegal advertising" that misled consumers with false claims about low prices and other details. It claims some Alibaba employees took bribes and the company failed to deal effectively with fraud. Alibaba fired back with charges of bias and misconduct by accusing the SAIC official in charge of Internet monitoring, Liu Hongliang, of unspecified "procedural misconduct" and warned it will file a formal complaint. Such public defiance is almost unheard of in China. Apparently, Alibaba has long attained the too big to fail status.

    36 comments | 3 hours ago

  • Europe and China Will Team Up For a Robotic Space Mission

    Taco Cowboy writes with this excerpt from Space.com: On Monday (Jan. 19), the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the European Space Agency (ESA) issued a call for proposals for a robotic space mission that the two organizations will develop jointly. "The goal of the present Call is to define a scientific space mission to be implemented by ESA and CAS as a cooperative endeavor between the European and Chinese scientific communities," ESA officials wrote in a statement Monday. "The mission selected as an outcome of the present Joint Call will follow a collaborative approach through all the phases: study, definition, implementation, operations and scientific exploitation." The call envisions a low-budget mission, saying that ESA and CAS are each prepared to contribute about 53 million euros (U.S. $61.5 million at current exchange rates). The spacecraft must weigh less than 661 lbs. (300 kilograms) at launch and be designed to operate for at least two to three years, ESA officials wrote in the call for proposals. All proposals are due by March 16, and the peer-review process will start in April. Mission selection is expected to occur in late 2015, followed by six years of development, with a launch in 2021.

    39 comments | 4 days ago

  • China Cuts Off Some VPNs

    jaa101 writes The Register (UK) and the Global Times (China) report that foreign VPN services are unavailable in China. A quote sourced to "one of the founders of an overseas website which monitors the Internet in China" claimed 'The Great Firewall is blocking the VPN on the protocol level. It means that the firewall does not need to identify each VPN provider and block its IP addresses. Rather, it can spot VPN traffic during transit and block it.' An upgrade of the Great Firewall of China is blamed and China appears to be backing the need for the move to maintain cyberspace sovereignty.

    215 comments | about a week ago

  • Apple Agrees To Chinese Security Audits of Its Products

    itwbennett writes According to a story in the Beijing News, Apple CEO Tim Cook has agreed to let China's State Internet Information Office to run security audits on products the company sells in China in an effort to counter concerns that other governments are using its devices for surveillance. "Apple CEO Tim Cook agreed to the security inspections during a December meeting in the U.S. with information office director Lu Wei, according to a story in the Beijing News. China has become one of Apple’s biggest markets, but the country needs assurances that Apple devices like the iPhone and iPad protect the security and privacy of their users as well as maintain Chinese national security, Lu told Cook, according to an anonymous source cited by the Beijing News."

    114 comments | about a week ago

  • Drug Company CEO Blames Drug Industry For Increased Drug Resistance

    BarbaraHudson writes Times Live is reporting that while doctors have usually been blamed for bacterial resistance because of over-prescribing, Karl Rotthier, chief executive of the Dutch DSM Sinochem Pharmaceuticals, claims lax procedures at drugs companies are the real cause. "Most antibiotics are now produced in China and India and I do not think it is unjust to say that the environmental conditions have been quite different in these regions. Poor controls mean that antibiotics are leaking out and getting into drinking water. They are in the fish and cattle that we eat, and global travel and exports mean bacteria are traveling. That is making a greater contribution to the growth of antibiotic resistance than over-prescribing", Rothier said. "We cannot have companies discharging untreated waste water into our environment, contributing to illness and, worse, antibacterial resistance. We cannot accept that rivers in India show higher concentrations of active antibiotic than the blood of someone undergoing treatment."

    136 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Microsoft Outlook Users In China Hit With MITM Attack

    DavidGilbert99 writes A month after it blocked Google's Gmail, the Chinese government now stands accused of hacking Microsoft's Outlook email service, carrying out man-in-the-middle attack to snoop on private conversations. From ZDNet: " On Monday, online censorship watchdog Greatfire.org said the organization received reports that Outlook was subject to a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack in China....After testing, Greatfire says that IMAP and SMTP for Outlook were under a MITM attack, while the email service's web interfaces were not affected.

    35 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Shanghai Company 3D Prints 6-Story Apartment Building and Villa

    ErnieKey writes Last year, a Shanghai based company made news by 3d printing a bunch of houses. Now that same company, WinSun has accomplished something never seen before. They have successfully 3d printed a 6-story apartment building as well as an incredibly detailed home. The structures were unveiled at the Suzhou Industrial Park. "These two houses are in full compliance with the relevant national standards," Ma Rongquan, the Chief engineer of China Construction No.8 Engineering Bureau, explained. "It is safe, reliable, and features a good integration of architecture and decoration. But as there is no specific national standard for 3D printing architecture, we need to revise and improve such a standard for the future."

    98 comments | about two weeks ago

  • NSA Hack of N. Korea Convinced Obama NK Was Behind Sony Hack

    Mike Lape links to a NYTimes piece which says "The evidence gathered by the 'early warning radar' of software painstakingly hidden to monitor North Korea's activities proved critical in persuading President Obama to accuse the government of Kim Jong-un of ordering the Sony attack, according to the officials and experts, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about the classified N.S.A. operation." From the linked article: For about a decade, the United States has implanted “beacons,” which can map a computer network, along with surveillance software and occasionally even destructive malware in the computer systems of foreign adversaries. The government spends billions of dollars on the technology, which was crucial to the American and Israeli attacks on Iran’s nuclear program, and documents previously disclosed by Edward J. Snowden, the former security agency contractor, demonstrated how widely they have been deployed against China. ... The extensive American penetration of the North Korean system also raises questions about why the United States was not able to alert Sony as the attacks took shape last fall, even though the North had warned, as early as June, that the release of the movie “The Interview,” a crude comedy about a C.I.A. plot to assassinate the North’s leader, would be “an act of war.”

    181 comments | about two weeks ago

  • China Lays More Fiber, Improving Physical Connection To the Worldwide Internet

    jfruh writes China's state-owned Internet service providers are improving the nation's connection to the worldwide Internet, adding seven new access points to the world's Internet backbone to improve speed and reliability for Chinese customers. This reveals the nation's essential Internet contradiction, improving its physical connection even as the government continues to block a number of important Intenet sites.

    44 comments | about two weeks ago

  • China's Engineering Mega-Projects Dwarf the Great Wall

    HughPickens.com writes: David Barboza has an interesting article in the NYT about China's engineering megaprojects. For example, there's the world's longest underwater tunnel, which will run twice the length of the one under the English Channel, and bore deep into one of Asia's active earthquake zones, creating a rail link between two northern port cities, Dalian and Yantai. Throughout China, equally ambitious projects with multibillion-dollar price tags are already underway. The world's largest bridge. The biggest airport. The longest gas pipeline. Such enormous infrastructure projects are a Chinese tradition. From the Great Wall to the Grand Canal and the Three Gorges Dam, this nation for centuries has used colossal public-works projects to showcase its engineering prowess and project its economic might.

    In November, for example, the powerful National Development and Reform Commission approved plans to spend nearly $115 billion on 21 supersize infrastructure projects, including new airports and high-speed rail lines. "Clearly, China's cost advantages are going to shrink somewhat over the longer-term and prices for projects are only going to rise," says Victor Chuan Chen. "I think the government has done an admirable job in getting many of these projects off the ground while the economics were still very favorable." China is pushing the boundaries of infrastructure-building, with ever bolder proposals. The Dalian tunnel looks small compared with the latest idea to build an "international railway" that would link China to the United States by burrowing under the Bering Strait and creating a tunnel between Russia and Alaska.

    But whether China really needs this much big infrastructure — or can even afford it — is a contentious issue. Some economists worry that China might eventually be mired in enormous debt (PDF) and many experts say such projects also exact a heavy toll on local communities and the environment, as builders displace people, clear forests, reroute rivers and erect dams. "It makes sense to accelerate infrastructure spending during a downturn, when capital and labor are underemployed," says David Dollar. But "if the growth rate is propped up through building unnecessary infrastructure, eventually there could be a sharp slowdown that reveals that the infrastructure was really not needed at all."

    206 comments | about two weeks ago

  • Chinese Spacecraft Enters Orbit Around the Moon

    mpicpp sends this report from Scientific American: A Chinese spacecraft service module has entered orbit around the moon, months after being used in the country's landmark test flight that sent a prototype sample-return capsule on a flight around the moon and returned it to Earth. The service module from China's circumlunar test flight arrived in orbit around the moon this week, according to Chinese state media reports. The spacecraft is currently flying in an eight-hour orbit that carries it within 125 miles (200 kilometers) of the lunar surface at its closest point, and out to a range of 3,293 miles (5,300 km) at its highest point. Earlier reports noted that a camera system is onboard the service module, designed to assist in identifying future landing spots for the Chang'e 5 mission that will return lunar samples back to Earth in the 2017 time frame. Reader schwit1 adds a detailed report on Russia's next-gen space station module, writing, "The Russians have always understood that a space station is nothing more than a prototype of an interplanetary spaceship. They are therefore simply carrying through with the same engineering research they did on their earlier Salyut and Mir stations, developing a vessel that can keep humans alive on long trips to other planets."

    152 comments | about two weeks ago

  • For the First Time In 3 Years, Investments In Renewable Energy Increased

    Lucas123 writes: Driven largely by oil price weakness, 2015 could be the best year to date for investments in renewable energy technology, according to several new reports. According to Bloomberg Energy Finance, new funding for wind, solar, biofuels and other low-carbon energy technologies grew 16% to $310 billion last year. It was the first growth since 2011 (PDF), erasing the impact of lower solar-panel prices and falling subsides in the U.S. and Europe that hurt the industry in previous years. Demand for solar power grew 16% year-over-year in 2014, representing 44 gigawatts of capacity purchased during the year. Worldwide solar demand in 2015 is projected to be 51.4GW, compared with 39GW in 2014. Government policies will continue to improve for renewables — solar, in particular — given that anti-dumping duties imposed on Chinese modules by the U.S. last year are expected to be removed this year, Deutsche Bank said.

    134 comments | about three weeks ago

  • What Language Will the World Speak In 2115?

    An anonymous reader writes: Throughout human history, different languages have emerged and died, waxed and waned in relative importance, evolved, and spread to new locales. An article in the Wall Street Journal considers what languages the world will speak a hundred years from now. Quoting: "Science fiction often presents us with whole planets that speak a single language, but that fantasy seems more menacing here in real life on this planet we call home—that is, in a world where some worry that English might eradicate every other language. That humans can express themselves in several thousand languages is a delight in countless ways; few would welcome the loss of this variety.

    Some may protest that it is not English but Mandarin Chinese that will eventually become the world's language, because of the size of the Chinese population and the increasing economic might of their nation. But that's unlikely. For one, English happens to have gotten there first. It is now so deeply entrenched in print, education and media that switching to anything else would entail an enormous effort. We retain the QWERTY keyboard and AC current for similar reasons. ... Yet more to the point, by 2115, it's possible that only about 600 languages will be left on the planet as opposed to today's 6,000. Japanese will be fine, but languages spoken by smaller groups will have a hard time of it."

    578 comments | about a month ago

  • The Coming Decline of 'Made In China'

    retroworks writes: Adam Minter documents the move of Chinese steel mills to Africa, and speculates that China's years of incredible rates of economic growth may already be over. This one steel mill's move to Africa, by itself, increases Africa's production by two-thirds. "The officials in Hebei Province who oversee the company may have felt they had no choice. First, they undoubtedly faced political pressure to reduce their environmental impact in China: reducing production of steel, cement and glass -- all highly polluting industries, especially in developing countries -- will have a direct impact on Xi Jinping’s pollution goals. (Starting in Hebei will have the added benefit of cleaning up polluted, neighboring Beijing.) Second, Hebei may simply be at a loss as to how to scale back businesses that they recognize have become massively bloated. Officials in China’s construction-related industries clearly have too much capacity and too little demand." It's also possible that these moves will be encouraged by China's transition to clean economy, though that could be a bad thing for pollution in Africa.

    327 comments | about a month ago

  • War Tech the US, Russia, China and India All Want: Hypersonic Weapons

    An anonymous reader writes: They can hit any target in 30 minutes or less. They travel anywhere from Mach 5 to Mach 25. All the major powers want them, and many look at them as a military game changer — if only they can make them work. Are hypersonic weapons the future of military doctrine?

    Hypersonic weapons — or ballistic weapons that can hit a target flying many times faster than the speed of sound — have been hyped since the 1970s. Currently almost all of the major powers are trying to build them. The U.S. and China seem to be the furthest along, and are working on various types of systems. China hopes such weapons could be a game changer and deter any U.S. actions in Asia. There is, however, one big problem (besides the insane amount of technology to make them work, considering their speed): a possible arms race that could lead to a nuclear war:

    "According to some analysts, the development of hypersonic weapons creates the conditions for a new arms race, and could risk nuclear escalation. Given that the course of hypersonic research has acknowledged both of these concerns, why have several countries started testing the weapons?"

    290 comments | about a month ago

  • Gmail Access Starts To Come Back In China, State-Run Paper Blames Google

    An anonymous reader writes Basic access to Gmail is starting to come back online in China on Tuesday after going down on Friday. The state-run Global Times China did not explain what caused the four-day outage, despite the fact that the government clearly implemented the block, and instead pointed to Google's unwillingness to obey Chinese law. All of Google's products have been severely disrupted in China since June. While users in Chinaare not able to access Gmail via the website, email protocols such as IMAP, SMTP, and POP3 had been accessible. The Great Firewall of China started blocking the IP addresses used by Gmail for these protocols, leaving users in China with no way of sending or receiving emails.

    45 comments | about a month ago

  • Gmail Reportedly Has Been Blocked In China

    An anonymous reader is one of many to point out a report that Gmail has been blocked in China. A years-long war between Google and China that highlights the ideological chasm between the two behemoths has now entered a new phase. On Monday morning, reports confirmed online chatter that Gmail has been fully blocked in China. And transparency advocates say they know exactly what's to blame: China's Great Firewall. "I think the government is just trying to further eliminate Google's presence in China and even weaken its market overseas," an anonymous representative of GreatFire.org told Reuters. "Imagine if Gmail users might not get through to Chinese clients. Many people outside China might be forced to switch away from Gmail."

    145 comments | about 1 month ago

  • The Interview Bombs In US, Kills In China, Threatens N. Korea

    First time accepted submitter twitnutttt (2958183) writes "While it has been broadly panned in the U.S. as not very funny, The Interview is surprisingly getting good reviews in China. And the North Korean government's fears of the threat posed by this movie are apparently merited: "It is powerful because it depicts Kim Jong-un as a vain, buffoonish despot, alternating between threats and weeping that he's been misunderstood. The people around him have all the signs of fear you might expect with a despot — they second-guess his likes and dislikes. Maybe he — and they — were right to fear the film. North Korean defectors sometimes smuggle USB sticks with films and soaps into the closed-off country, and there is a view in the south that these are a particularly powerful means of undermining the regime in Pyongyang. If that's so, The Interview might be a good candidate for inclusion." If you've seen the movie, and have your own reactions, please label any real spoilers out of courtesy.

    288 comments | about a month ago

  • Nokia's Back In the Tablet Business, With the Android Lollipop-Based N1

    Esra Erimez writes It's been a little over a year since the announcement of Microsoft Corp.'s acquisition of Finnish tech veteran Nokia Oyj.'s Devices unit. A year later Chinese leaks site SINA Tech says Nokia is back and ready to compete against its former unit, suggesting it will launch in China on Jan. 7. As one commenter on the Daily Tech story points out (as does this ExtremeTech article from last month), the not-yet-launched N1, with its "one piece aluminum body, 7.9", 2048*1536, [and] 3:4 aspect ratio" looks an awful lot like the iPad mini, but costs quite a bit less.

    60 comments | about a month ago

  • Inside China's 'Christmas Factory' Town, Yiwu

    jones_supa writes China's manufacturing industry continues booming, which has led to the the town of Yiwu (a city of about 1.2m people in central Zhejiang province) being christened "China's Christmas village." The town has become the home of 600 factories that collectively churn out over 60% of all the world's Christmas decorations and accessories. The "elves" that staff these factories are mainly migrant labourers, working 12 hours a day for a maximum of £200 to £300 a month – and it turns out that all of them are not even entirely sure what Christmas is. Nevertheless, there are corridors lined with nothing but tinsel, streets throbbing with competing LED light shows, stockings of every size, plastic Christmas trees in blue and yellow and fluorescent pink, plastic pine cones in gold and silver. The complex of Yiwu International Trade Market was declared by the United Nations to be the "largest small commodity wholesale market in the world" and the scale of the operation necessitates a kind of urban plan, with this festival of commerce organised into five different districts, of which District Two is solely dedicated for Christmas stuff.

    32 comments | about a month ago

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