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Lasrick (2629253) writes "Brian Merchant at Motherboard examines the March 26th House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology's 2015 budget request hearing. White House adviser Dr. John Holdren addressed the committee to defend funding for science programs. Video clips show comments that are difficult to believe, when you hear them. From the article: '"So, when you guys do your research, you start with a scientific—what do they call it—postulate or theory, and you work from that direction forward, is that right?" Representative Randy Weber (R-TX) said. "So, I'm just wondering how that related, for example, to global warming and eventual global cooling." He paused to make a joke about getting the scientists' cell phone number so he could call to ask when to buy a coat, before concluding that science just isn't up to the task.'"
jfruh (300774) writes "Bitcoin has made many governments and regulators uncomfortable, and the Chinese government is responding to the challenge it poses with its usual lack of subtlety. Two Chinese bitcoin exchanges have found themselves cut off from the money economy, as Chinese banks, under pressure from the government, refuse to do business with them."
curtwoodward (2147628) writes "In January, Boston University settled lawsuits against two dozen big technology companies for allegedly using its patented blue LED technology without permission. But apparently, the school's lawyers were a little too forthcoming for everyone's tastes — they recently asked a federal judge to delete a court filing that spelled out all of the companies who settled. Luckily, we still had the unredacted version, which shows that Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Motorola and many more are on the list, even if they don't want you to know it."
Bruce Perens is a computer programmer and one of the most important advocates for the open source community. He co-founded the Open Source Initiative with ESR and has worked towards reforms of national and international technology policies. He is an amateur radio enthusiast, and has pushed for open radio communication standards. He is also our interview guest today. As usual, ask as many questions as you'd like, but please, one per post.
cartechboy (2660665) writes "Did you watch the Tesla 60 Minutes segment the other night? If you did, you might have ended up on the floor rolling around laughing like I did. Since when does the Tesla Model S electric car make audible engine noises? Or downshift? Turns out, 60 Minutes dubbed engine noises and a downshift over the Model S running footage. The show claims it was an editing error. Call it what you want, it was absolutely hilarious. A little note to TV producers assigned to cover Tesla Motors in the future: Electric cars don't upshift or downshift." At least they didn't fraudulently blow it up!
barlevg (2111272) writes "In a country where the government severely limits access to the world wide web, ZunZeneo, an anonymous SMS-based social network, drew more than 40,000 Cuban users at its peak, the Associated Press reports. On it, people shared news and opinions about music and culture. But what none of its subscribers knew was that the project was secretly funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), though a series of shell corporations and foreign bank accounts, and that its stated goal was 'renegotiate the balance of power between the state and society' in the Communist stronghold, hopefully leading to a 'Cuban Spring.'"
chicksdaddy (814965) writes "The Internet of Things has tremendous potential but also poses a tremendous risk if the underlying security of Internet of Things devices is not taken into account, according to Vint Cerf, Google's Internet Evangelist. Cerf, speaking in a public Google Hangout (video) on Wednesday, said that he's tremendously excited about the possibilities of an Internet of billions of connected objects. But Cerf warned that it necessitates big changes in the way that software is written. Securing the data stored on those devices and exchanged between them represents a challenge to the field of computer science – one that the nation's universities need to start addressing. Internet of Things products need to do a better job managing access control and use strong authentication to secure communications between devices."
girlmad writes: "Google has scored a major win on the back of Microsoft's Windows XP support cut-off. The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham has begun moving all its employees over to Samsung Chromebooks and Chromeboxes ahead of the 8 April deadline. The council was previously running 3,500 Windows XP desktops and 800 XP laptops, and is currently in the process of retiring these in favour of around 2,000 Chromebooks and 300 Chromeboxes. It estimates the savings at around £400,000 compared to upgrading to newer Windows machines — no small change."
An anonymous reader writes "The Verge reports on an internal memo from NASA indicating that they've suspended all contracts and activities with Russia that aren't involved with operating the International Space Station. Quoting: 'Given Russia's ongoing violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, until further notice, the U.S. Government has determined that all NASA contacts with Russian Government representatives are suspended, unless the activity has been specifically excepted. This suspension includes NASA travel to Russia and visits by Russian Government representatives to NASA facilities, bilateral meetings, email, and teleconferences or videoconferences. At the present time, only operational International Space Station activities have been excepted.' NASA Administrator Charles Bolden argued recently that our dependence on Russia for putting astronauts into space needs to end."
Today Amazon launched 'Fire TV,' a new video streaming box designed to compete with devices like the Roku and Apple TV. The Fire TV runs Android on a quad-core Qualcomm 1.7 GHz processor with 8GB of internal storage and 2GB of RAM. It supports 1080p video output at 60fps and measures 4.5" x 4.5" x 0.7". The Fire TV is also explicitly designed to support gaming, and Amazon has concurrently launched their own game controller. The Fire TV's remote control includes a microphone and a button that lets you search TV show and movies by voice.
jones_supa (887896) writes "Wanting to focus their efforts on their most important strategic initiatives and ensuring that the company is not spread too thin, Canonical is shutting down Ubuntu One file services. With other services now regularly offering from 25 GB to 50 GB of free storage, the personal cloud storage space wasn't a sustainable place for Canonical. As of today, it will no longer be possible to purchase storage or music from the Ubuntu One store. The Ubuntu One software will not be included in the upcoming Ubuntu 14.04 LTS release, and the Ubuntu One apps in older versions of Ubuntu and in the Ubuntu, Google, and Apple stores will be updated appropriately.
The current services will be unavailable from 1 June 2014; user content will remain available for download until 31 July, at which time it will be deleted. For a spark of solace, the company promises to open source the backend code."
mdsolar (1045926) writes with this bit of news about the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant shutdown. From the article: "On Friday, the Vermont Public Service Board voted to authorize Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc., the operators of the Vermont Yankee electricity generating station ..., to close down their nuclear power plant by the end of this year. Because Entergy planned to shut the Vermont nuclear plant down prior to its licensed end-term, the board was required to approve the shutdown....
Entergy has reserved just over $600 million to date for decommissioning the Vermont nuclear plant, according to the Department of Public Service. This amount will not be adequate to meet the costs of full deconstruction, estimated at more than $1 billion according to the company's 2012 Decommissioning Cost Analysis report."
An 8.2-magnitude earthquake has struck roughly 60km off the cost of Chile. Its depth was approximately 20.1km. A tsunami has been generated, and evacuations have been ordered along the coast near the strike. Tsunami warnings were also issued for Peru and Ecuador. According to the Associated Press, "Coastal residents of northern Chile evacuated calmly as waves measuring almost 2 meters (6 1/2 feet) struck ahead of a tsunami that was expected to come ashore later. ... Chile's emergency service reported some roads blocked by landslides caused by the quake, but said no injuries had been reported so far."
mrspoonsi sends this news from the Washington Post: "A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that the CIA misled the government and the public about aspects of its brutal interrogation program for years — concealing details about the severity of its methods, overstating the significance of plots and prisoners, and taking credit for critical pieces of intelligence that detainees had in fact surrendered before they were subjected to harsh techniques. The report, built around detailed chronologies of dozens of CIA detainees, documents a long-standing pattern of unsubstantiated claims as agency officials sought permission to use — and later tried to defend — excruciating interrogation methods that yielded little, if any, significant intelligence, according to U.S. officials who have reviewed the document. ... At the secret prison, Baluchi endured a regime that included being dunked in a tub filled with ice water. CIA interrogators forcibly kept his head under the water while he struggled to breathe and beat him repeatedly, hitting him with a truncheon-like object and smashing his head against a wall, officials said. As with Abu Zubaida and even Nashiri, officials said, CIA interrogators continued the harsh treatment even after it appeared that Baluchi was cooperating."
Charliemopps writes: "According to Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, 'There have been queries, using U.S. person identifiers, of communications lawfully acquired to obtain foreign intelligence targeting non-U.S. persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States. These queries were performed pursuant to minimization procedures approved by the Fisa court and consistent with the statute and the fourth amendment.' Basically, if you communicated with someone that is 'reasonably believed' to be a terrorist, you've lost constitutional protection against searches without a warrant, according to the NSA."
New submitter brondsem writes: "Today the Apache Software Foundation announced the Allura project for hosting software development projects. Think GitHub or SourceForge on your own servers — Allura has git, svn, hg, wiki, tickets, forums, news, etc. It's written in python and has a modular and extensible platform so you can write your own tools and extensions. It's already used by SourceForge, DARPA, German Aerospace Center, and Open Source Projects Europe. Allura is open source; available under the Apache License v2.0. When you don't want all your project resources in the cloud on somebody else's walled garden, you can run Allura on your own servers and have full control and full data access." (SourceForge shares a corporate overlord with Slashdot).
Daniel_Stuckey writes "The United States is currently gripped in a bout of earthquake mania, following a series of significant tremors in the West. And any time Yellowstone, LA, or San Francisco shakes, people start to wonder if it's a sign of The Big One to come. Yet even after decades of research, earthquake prediction remains notoriously hard, and not every building in quake-prone areas has an earthquake-resistant design. What if, instead of quaking in our boots, we could stop quakes in their tracks? Theoretically, it's not a crazy idea. Earthquakes propagate in waves, and if noise-canceling headphones have taught us anything, it's that waves can be absorbed, reflected, or canceled out. Today, a paper published in Physical Review Letters suggests how that might be done. It's the result of French research into the use of metamaterials—broadly, materials with properties not found in nature—to modify seismic waves, like a seismic cloaking device."
PortWineBoy writes: "The Beeb is reporting that OkCupid is prompting Mozilla Firefox users to switch browsers over Brendan Eich's support of Prop 8 in California in 2008. Users are met with a message stating that OKCupid would prefer no one access their site with Mozilla software. Eich is the new CEO of Mozilla."
jfruh (300774) writes "PayScale has recently released a survey of various U.S. colleges and majors, and determined, perhaps unsurprisingly, that computer science graduates of elite colleges make the most money in post-graduate life. However, blogger Phil Johnson approached the problem in a different way, taking into account the amount students and their families need to pay in tuition, [and found] that the best return on investment in comp sci degrees often comes from top-tier public universities, which cost significantly less for in-state students but still offer great rewards in terms of salaries for grads."
cranky_chemist (1592441) writes "Megan O'Neil has published a story on the Chronicle of Higher Education's website noting some unusual language in the license agreement between authors and Nature Publishing Group. 'Faculty authors who contract to write for the publisher of Nature, Scientific American, and many other journals should know that they could be signing away more than just the economic rights to their work, according to the director of the Office of Copyright and Scholarly Communication at Duke University. Kevin Smith, the Duke official, said he stumbled across a clause in the Nature Publishing Group's license agreement last week that states that authors waive or agree not to assert "any and all moral rights they may now or in the future hold" related to their work. In the context of scholarly publishing, "moral rights" include the right of the author always to have his or her name associated with the work and the right to have the integrity of the work protected such that it is not changed in a way that could result in reputational harm.'
Nature Publishing Group claims the waivers are required to ensure the journal's ability to publish formal retractions and/or corrections. However, the story further notes that Nature Publishing Group is requiring authors at institutions with open-access policies to sign waivers that exempt their work from such policies."
Daniel_Stuckey (2647775) writes "Finally, you don't have to raise your voice over a group of whisperers in the New York Public Library to get a better view of its map collection. Actually, you don't even need to visit the place at all. Over 20,000 maps and cartographic works from the NYPL's Lionel Pincus & Princess Firyal Map Division have been uploaded and made downloadable for the public.
'We believe these maps have no known U.S. copyright restrictions,' explains a blog post announcing the wholesale release of the library's map collection. 'It means you can have the maps, all of them if you want, for free, in high resolution. We've scanned them to enable their use in the broadest possible ways by the largest number of people.' The NYPL is distributing the maps under Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication, which means you can do whatever you want with the maps."
bbsguru (586178) writes "Wi-Fi networks will soon be improving thanks to a vote by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today. The FCC voted unanimously to open 100 MHz of wireless spectrum in an unlicensed 5GHz block . The move will increase the number of frequencies available to unlicensed wireless networks (such as those set up through Wi-Fi routers) by nearly 15 percent, and in turn, allow them to handle a greater level of traffic at higher speeds. 'Today's action represents the largest amount of spectrum suitable for mobile broadband that the Commission has made available for auction since the 700MHz band was auctioned in 2008,' the FCC wrote in a statement. 'Access to these bands will help wireless companies meet growing consumer demand for mobile data by enabling faster wireless speeds and more capacity.' The increased spectrum should mean that Wi-Fi networks will be less congested, and next-gen routers will be able to take better advantage of gigabit broadband speeds that are cropping up all over the country."
walterbyrd (182728) writes "The case, Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, poses huge risks for both sides. If the court upholds the patent or rules only narrowly against it without affecting most others, the problem of too many patents — and patent lawsuits — will continue. In that case, Justice Stephen Breyer said, future competition could move from price and quality to 'who has the best patent lawyer.'"
iONiUM (530420) writes "'The impacts of global warming are likely to be "severe, pervasive and irreversible", a major report by the UN has warned.' A document was released by the IPCC outlining the current affects on climate change, and they are not good. For specific effects on humans: 'Food security is highlighted as an area of significant concern. Crop yields for maize, rice and wheat are all hit in the period up to 2050, with around a tenth of projections showing losses over 25%.'"
jsuda (822856) writes "Most of us know that making money is difficult and saving it is even harder, but understanding money is easy–it's just coins and folding certificates, a mere medium of exchange. That's wrong! according to Felix Martin, author of Money: The Unauthorized Biography. Not only is that understanding wrong but it's responsible (in large part) for the 2007 Great Recession and the pitiful 'recovery' from it as well as a number of previous financial and credit disasters." Keep reading for the rest of Jsuda's review.
Lasrick (2629253) writes "This NYT adaptation from the book provides an in-depth and infuriating look at how the stock market is rigged. Brad Katsuyama of the Royal Bank of Canada couldn't understand why stock he was trying to buy would suddenly vanish: 'Before RBC acquired this supposed state-of-the-art electronic-trading firm, Katsuyama's computers worked as he expected them to. Suddenly they didn't. It used to be that when his trading screens showed 10,000 shares of Intel offered at $22 a share, it meant that he could buy 10,000 shares of Intel for $22 a share. He had only to push a button. By the spring of 2007, however, when he pushed the button to complete a trade, the offers would vanish.' The ensuing investigation by Katsuyama led him to design a program that actually slowed down the trades. But Katsuyama's investigation revealed so much about how the system is rigged."
Rambo Tribble (1273454) writes "Reuters is reporting that the U.S. National Security Agency managed to have security firm RSA adopt not just one, but two security tools, further facilitating NSA eavesdropping on Internet communications. The newly discovered software is dubbed 'Extended Random', and is intended to facilitate the use of the already known 'Dual Elliptic Curve' encryption software's back door. Researchers from several U.S. universities discovered Extended Random and assert it could help crack Dual Elliptic Curve encrypted communications 'tens of thousands of times faster'."
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Creighton University professor William Duckworth has released a report finding that kill-switch technology that remotely makes a stolen smartphone useless could save American consumers up to $2.6 billion per year — mostly from reduced insurance premiums. Duckworth estimated that Americans currently spend around $580 million replacing stolen phones each year and $4.8 billion paying for handset insurance. If a kill-switch led to a sharp reduction in theft of phones, most of the $580 million spent on replacing stolen phones would be saved. And a further $2 billion in savings could be realized by switching to cheaper insurance plans that don't cover theft."
First time accepted submitter Nodsnarb (2851527) writes "The UN's international Court of Justice (ICJ) has ruled that Japan's Antarctic whaling program is not for scientific purposes. In a statement, the court said that Japan's programme involved activities which 'can broadly be characterised as scientific research.' However, it said that 'the evidence does not establish that the programme's design and implementation are reasonable in relation to achieving its stated objectives.' It added: 'The court concludes that the special permits granted by Japan for the killing, taking and treating of whales in connection with JARPA II are not 'for purposes of scientific research' pursuant to [the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling].'"
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "The Guardian reports that a million jars of peanut butter are going to be dumped in a New Mexico landfill and bulldozed over after retailer Costco refused to take shipment of the peanut butter and declined requests to let it be donated to food banks or repackaged or sold to brokers who provide food to institutions like prisons. The peanut butter comes from a bankrupt peanut-processing plant that was at the heart of a salmonella outbreak in 2012 and although 'all parties agreed there's nothing wrong with the peanut butter from a health and safety issue,' court records show that on a 19 March conference call Costco said 'it would not agree to any disposition ... other than destruction.'
The product was tested extensively and determined to be safe. Costco initially agreed to allowing the peanut butter to be sold, but rejected it as 'not merchantable' because of leaking peanut oil. So instead of selling or donating the peanut butter, with a value estimated at $2.6m, the estate is paying about $60,000 to transport 950,000 jars – or about 25 tons – to the Curry County landfill in Clovis, where public works director Clint Bunch says it 'will go in with our regular waste and covered with dirt'. Despite the peanut butter being safe, Curry County landfill employee Tim Stacy says that no one will be able to consume the peanut butter once it's dumped because it will be immediately rolled over with a bulldozer, destroying the supply. Stacy added more trash will then be dumped on top of the pile. Sonya Warwick, spokeswoman for New Mexico's largest food bank, declined to comment directly on the situation, but she noted that rescued food accounted for 74% of what Roadrunner Food Bank distributed across New Mexico last year. 'Access to rescued food allows us to provide a more well-rounded and balanced meal to New Mexicans experiencing hunger.'"
houghi (78078) writes "From European Geosciences Union: 'A team of Greek and German researchers has shown that the colours of sunsets painted by famous artists can be used to estimate pollution levels in the Earth's past atmosphere. In particular, the paintings reveal that ash and gas released during major volcanic eruptions scatter the different colours of sunlight, making sunsets appear more red.' The original paper can be found here. In the last 150 years, the sunsets have become redder, likely reflecting increased man-made pollution."
An anonymous reader writes: "The Boston Globe has reviewed over 7,000 pages of documents from Aaron Swartz's court case, shedding light on the activities that got him in trouble and how MIT reacted to his case. Quoting: 'Most vividly, the e-mails underscore the dissonant instincts the university grappled with. There was the eagerness of some MIT employees to help investigators and prosecutors with the case, and then there was, by contrast, the glacial pace of the institution's early reaction to the intruder's provocation. MIT, for example, knew for 2½ months which campus building the downloader had operated out of before anyone searched it for him or his laptop — even as the university told JSTOR they had no way to identify the interloper.
And once Swartz was unmasked, the ambivalence continued. MIT never encouraged Swartz's prosecution, and once told his prosecutor they had no interest in jail time. However, e-mails illustrate how MIT energetically assisted authorities in capturing him and gathering evidence — even prodding JSTOR to get answers for prosecutors more quickly — before a subpoena had been issued. ... But a number of JSTOR's internal e-mails show a much angrier face in the months that Swartz eluded capture, with employees sharing frustration about MIT's "rather tepid level of concern." JSTOR officials repeatedly raised the prospect, among themselves, of going to the police, e-mails show."
An anonymous reader writes with news that the U.K. government will finally legalize the copying of data from CDs, DVDs, and other types of media for personal use. This will allow U.K. citizens to legally make backups and digital copies of their media, which has been forbidden by copyright law previously. The changes will go into effect this June. It also grants permission for people to upload the ripped media to a remote host, though sharing of course remains illegal. "The mismatch between the law and public opinion became apparent through a Government-commissioned survey, which found that 85% of consumers already thought that DVD and CD ripping was legal. More than one-third of all consumers admitted that they’d already made copies of media they purchased. Besides the new private copying rights, the upcoming amendments will also broaden people’s fair use rights. For example, people no longer have to ask permission to quote from or parody the work of others, such as a news report or a book, as long as it’s “fair dealing” and the source is recognized."
An anonymous reader writes "Re/code reports that Yahoo will soon be stepping into the realm of internet video. They're seeking to take advantage of complaints from users who make videos for YouTube that they don't make enough money for their efforts. Yahoo has told content producers it can get them a bigger slice of the pie. 'For now, at least, Yahoo isn't talking about replicating YouTube's open platform, which lets users upload 100 hours of content every minute to the site. Instead, it is interested in cherry-picking particularly popular, more professional YouTube fare. Yahoo has also told some video owners that it can use its well-trafficked home page and other high-profile real estate to promote their clips on a non-exclusive basis. After a year, one source inside Yahoo said, it might open the platform up further.'"
An anonymous reader writes "A 5.1 earthquake hit Southern California at 9:09PM local time on Friday. It was preceded by a 3.6 earthquake, then followed by 3.4 and 3.6 quakes, as well as 100+ smaller aftershocks. The United States Geological Survey has a map showing the epicenter. There have been no reported deaths, though roughly 50 people have been displaced from their homes. 'The shake caused a rock slide in Carbon Canyon, causing a car to overturn, according to the Brea Police Department. Fullerton police received reports of water main breaks and windows shattering, but primarily had residents calling about burglar alarms being set off by the quake.'"
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "The Seattle Times reports that since the 1950s, geological reports on the hill that buckled last weekend, killing at least 17 residents in Snohomish County in Washington State, have included pessimistic analyses and the occasional dire prediction. But no language seems more prescient than what appears in a 1999 report filed warning of 'the potential for a large catastrophic failure.' Daniel Miller, a geomorphologist, documented the hill's landslide conditions in a report written in 1997 for the Washington Department of Ecology and the Tulalip Tribes. Miller knows the hill's history, having collected reports and memos from the 1950s, 1960s, 1980s and 1990s and has a half-dozen manila folders stuffed with maps, slides, models and drawings, all telling the story of an unstable hillside that has defied efforts to shore it up. That's why he could not believe what he saw in 2006, when he returned to the hill within weeks of a landslide that crashed into and plugged the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River, creating a new channel that threatened homes on a street called Steelhead Drive. Instead of seeing homes being vacated, he saw carpenters building new ones. 'Frankly, I was shocked that the county permitted any building across from the river,' says Miller. 'We've known that it's been failing. It's not unknown that this hazard exists.'" (More, below.)
darthcamaro (735685) writes "Red Hat's open source oVirt project hit a major milestone this week with the release of version 3.4. It's got improved storage handling so users can mix and match different resource types, though the big new feature is one that seems painfully obvious. For the first time oVirt users can have the oVirt Manager and oVirt VMs on the same physical machine. 'So, typically, customers deployed the oVirt engine on a physical machine or on a virtual machine that wasn't managed or monitored,' Scott Herold, principal product manager for Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization said. 'The oVirt 3.4 release adds the ability for oVirt to self-host its engine, including monitoring and recovery of the virtual machine.'" (Wikipedia describes oVirt as "a free platform virtualization management web application community project.")
An anonymous reader writes "Reuters reports: 'A federal judge in New York granted class certification on Friday to a group of consumers who sued Apple Inc for conspiring with five major publishers to fix e-book prices in violation of antitrust law....The plaintiffs are seeking more than $800 million in damages.' The trial will probably be in July or September. The judge who granted class certification, Denise Cote, ruled in 2013 that Apple was guilty of colluding with other publishers to raise the price of e-books and to force Amazon.com to do the same."
mdsolar (1045926) writes "James Schlesinger, who served as Secretary of Defense under Presidents Nixon and Ford and as the first Secretary of Energy under President Carter, passed away on Thursday in Baltimore at the age of 85. Schlesinger is perhaps the most technocratic person to reach such high office. He had a keen awareness of the connection between energy supply and national defense and as Administrator of the Economic Regulatory Administration, brought our Standby Gasoline Rationing Plan into existence. The existence of such a plan along with our Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which Schlesinger also brought into being, have been a bulwark against further oil embargoes and essentially broke OPEC for a period of more than a decade. The NYT has an obituary that covers more of his career."
An anonymous reader writes "Security engineers from Google have found that 21 out of the top 25 news organizations have been targeted by cyberattacks that are likely state-sponsored. We've heard about some high profile attacks on news sites, but Google actively tracks the countries that are launching these attacks, and even hosts email services for many of the news organizations. 'Huntley said Chinese hackers recently gained access to a major Western news organization, which he declined to identify, via a fake questionnaire emailed to staff. Most such attacks involve carefully crafted emails carrying malware or directing users to a website crafted to trick them into giving up credentials. Marquis-Boire said that while such attacks were nothing new, their research showed that the number of attacks on media organizations and journalists that went unreported was significantly higher than those made public.'"
An anonymous reader writes "In February, Judge William Alsup ruled in favor of Rahinah Ibrahim, who sued the U.S. government in 2006 after she was mistakenly added to the no-fly list and subsequently denied entry to the country. Now, the Department of Justice has finally decided it won't appeal the ruling, making Ibrahim the first person to challenge the list at trial and get herself removed. 'But Ibrahim's case, as just one of hundreds of thousands of individuals who have been placed on such lists, shows the system's opacity. First, the only surefire way to even determine if one is on such a list in the U.S. is to attempt to board a flight and be denied. Even after that happens, when a denied person inquires about his or her status, the likely response will be that the government "can neither confirm nor deny" the placement on such lists. The government's surrender in Ibrahim comes on the heels of a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union that shows just how insanely difficult it is to contest one's status on the government blacklists (PDF).'"
jfruh writes: "You will probably not be surprised to learn that Chinese search giant Baidu censors a wide range of content, particularly political material deemed to be pro-democracy — and does so for users everywhere, not just in China. A group of activists filed suit against Baidu in New York for violating free speech laws, but the judge in the case declared (PDF) that, as a private entity in the United States, Baidu has the right to provide whatever kind of search results it wants, even for political reasons."
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: "Reuters reports that Wal-Mart has sued Visa for $5 billion, accusing the credit and debit card network of excessively high card swipe fees. Wal-mart is seeking damages from price fixing and other antitrust violations that it claims took place between January 1, 2004 and November 27, 2012. In its lawsuit, Wal-Mart contends that Visa, in concert with banks, sought to prevent retailers from protecting themselves against those swipe fees, eventually hurting sales. 'The anticompetitive conduct of Visa and the banks forced Wal-Mart to raise retail prices paid by its customers and/or reduce retail services provided to its customers as a means of offsetting some of the artificially inflated interchange fees,' says Wal-Mart in court documents. 'As a result, Wal-Mart's retail sales were below what they would have been otherwise.' Interchange fees, the industry term for card-swipe fees, have been a major point of contention between retailers and banks. The fees are set by Visa and other card networks and collected by card-issuing banks like J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Retailers have argued that the fees had been set too high due to a lack of competition with the two payment industry giants.
Wal-Mart also took a shot against Visa over payment card security. Data breaches last year at Target Corp., Neiman Marcus and others have drawn attention to the country's slow adoption of card technology that uses computer chips and PIN numbers and is seen as less susceptible to fraud than the current system of magnetic stripes. 'Wal-Mart was further harmed by anti-innovation conduct on the part of Visa and the banks,' says the lawsuit, 'such as perpetuating the use of fraud-prone magnetic stripe system in the U.S. and the continued use of signature authentication despite knowledge that PIN authentication is more secure, a fact Visa has acknowledged repeatedly.'"
Advocatus Diaboli writes with news about the DOJ's push to make it easier to get warrants to hack suspected cyber-criminals. "The U.S. Department of Justice is pushing to make it easier for law enforcement to get warrants to hack into the computers of criminal suspects across the country. The move, which would alter federal court rules governing search warrants, comes amid increases in cases related to computer crimes. Investigators say they need more flexibility to get warrants to allow hacking in such cases, especially when multiple computers are involved or the government doesn't know where the suspect's computer is physically located."
An anonymous reader writes in with one more reason not to accept that full-ride scholarship to a North Korea University. "Male university students in North Korea are now required to get the same haircut as their leader Kim Jong-un, it is reported. The state-sanctioned guideline was introduced in the capital Pyongyang about two weeks ago, Radio Free Asia reports. It is now being rolled out across the country - although some people have expressed reservations about getting the look. 'Our leader's haircut is very particular, if you will,' one source tells Radio Free Asia. 'It doesn't always go with everyone since everyone has different face and head shapes.' Meanwhile, a North Korean now living in China says the look is actually unpopular at home because people think it resembles Chinese smugglers. 'Until the mid-2000s, we called it the "Chinese smuggler haircut",' the Korea Times reports."
First time accepted submitter chimeraha (3594169) writes "Synchronized with the northern winter solstice and the UNIX Epoch, the terran computational calendar contains 13 identical months of 28 days each in addition to a short Month Zero containing only new year's day and a single leap year day every four years (with the exception of every 128 years). The beginning of this zero-based numbering calendar, denoted as 0.0.0.0.0.0 TC, is on the solstice, exactly 10 days before the UNIX Epoch (effectively, December 22nd, 1969 00:00:00 UTC in the Gregorian Calendar). It's "terran" inception and unit durations reflect the human biological clock and align with astronomical cycles and epochs. Its "computational" notation, start date, and algorithm are tailored towards the mathematicians & scientists tasked with calendrical programming and precise time calculation.
There's a lot more information at terrancalendar.com including a date conversion form and a handfull of code-snipits & apps for implementing the terran computational calendar."
lars_doucet (2853771) writes "The latest Humble Weekly Bundle is titled 'Celebrating Open Source,' and features eight indie games, with charity going to the open source tools used to develop them. The open-source programming language Haxe is strongly represented: three of the charities include the Haxe Foundation, itself OpenFL (recently featured on Slashdot), and FlashDevelop, the most popular open-source Haxe/ActionScript IDE. The fourth is Ren'Py, the Python-based visual novel engine used in award-winning games like Long Live the Queen and Analogue: A Hate Story.
The games themselves are Magical Diary, NEO Scavenger, Offspring Fling!, Planet Stronghold, and for those who pay $6 or more, Anodyne, Defender's Quest, Evoland, and Incredipede, as well as 6 soundtracks. 7 of the 8 games are cross-platform across Mac/Win/Linux, and all are DRM-free."
samzenpus (5) writes "Founder of the computer anti-virus company McAfee Associates, John McAfee gained world-wide attention eluding Belizean authorities in the jungle. Since we last sat down with John, he's been working on a device that blocks the government's ability to spy on PCs and mobile devices, been asked by the GOP to fix Obamacare, and has seen his last name removed from his old company. The rebranding garnered this response from McAfee: 'I am now everlastingly grateful to Intel for freeing me from this terrible association with the worst software on the planet. These are not my words, but the words of millions of irate users. ... My elation at Intel's decision is beyond words." John has agreed to answer your questions. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post."
jonklinger (1166633) writes "A class action lawsuit was brought against Waze (a community-based traffic and navigation app), claiming that their source code and map data were licensed to Waze by the community under the GPL. The plaintiff, Roey Gorodish, requests a copy of the recent source code and map data. This is (as far as I know) the first ever GPL class action suit, too bad it will be quashed by bad facts later as I see it." Google seems to do a credible translation of this source article.
schwit1 (797399) writes "A Minnesota school district has agreed to pay $70,000 to settle a lawsuit that claimed school officials violated a student's constitutional rights by viewing her Facebook and email accounts without permission. The lawsuit, filed in 2012 by the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, alleged that Riley Stratton, now 15, was given detention after posting disparaging comments about a teacher's aide on her Facebook page, even though she was at home and not using school computers. After a parent complained about the Facebook chat, the school called her in and demanded her password. With a sheriff deputy looking on, she complied, and they browsed her Facebook page in front of her, according to the report. 'It was believed the parent had given permission to look at her cellphone,' Minnewaska Superintendent Greg Schmidt said Tuesday. But Schmidt said the district did not have a signed consent from the parent. That is now a policy requirement, he said.'" Asks schwit1, "How is this not a violation of the CFAA?" It sounds like the school was violating Facebook's Terms of Service, too.