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Several readers sent word that California State Senator Leland Yee was arrested today. He's accused of conspiring to traffic guns and commit wire fraud, to defraud citizens of honest services, and bribery. The complant (PDF) also names 25 other defendants. Yee is known for pushing legislation that would ban the sale of violent video games to minors. "Federal prosecutors also allege Yee agreed to perform official acts in exchange for the money, including one instance in which he introduced a businessman to state legislators who had significant influence over pending medical marijuana legislation. In exchange, the businessman -- who was actually an undercover FBI agent -- agreed to donate thousands to Yee's campaign fund, according to the indictment. The indictment also describes an August 2013 exchange in which [former school board president Keith Jackson] told an undercover officer that Yee had an arms trafficking contact. Jackson allegedly said Yee could facilitate a meeting for a donation."
mendax sends this excerpt from a New York Times op-ed:
"like Napster in the late 1990s, [torrent-streaming app Popcorn Time] offered a glimpse of what seemed like the future, a model for how painless it should be to stream movies and TV shows online. The app also highlighted something we've all felt when settling in for a night with today’s popular streaming services, whether Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, Hulu, or Google or Microsoft’s media stores: They just aren't good enough. ... In the music business, Napster’s vision eventually became a reality. Today, with services like Spotify and Rdio, you can pay a monthly fee to listen to whatever you want, whenever you want. But in the movie and TV business, such a glorious future isn't in the offing anytime soon.
According to industry experts, some of whom declined to be quoted on the record because of the sensitivities of the nexus of media deals involved, we aren’t anywhere close to getting a service that allows customers to pay a single monthly fee for access to a wide range of top-notch movies and TV shows.Instead of a single comprehensive service, the future of digital TV and movies is destined to be fragmented across several services, at least for the next few years. We’ll all face a complex decision tree when choosing what to watch, and we’ll have to settle for something less than ideal."
itwbennett writes: "A new variant of the Gameover computer Trojan is targeting job seekers and recruiters by attempting to steal log-in credentials for Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com accounts. Like the Zeus banking malware on which it is based, Gameover can steal log-in credentials and other sensitive information by injecting rogue Web forms into legitimate websites when accessed from infected computers. 'A computer infected with Gameover ZeuS will inject a new 'Sign In' button [into the Monster.com sign-in page], but the page looks otherwise identical,' security researchers from antivirus firm F-Secure said Tuesday in a blog post."
schwit1 sends this news from The Verge:
"Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the primary conspirator in the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people, slipped through airport security because his name was misspelled in a database, according to a new Congressional report. The Russian intelligence agency warned U.S. authorities twice that Tsarnaev was a radical Islamist and potentially dangerous. As a result, Tsarnaev was entered into two U.S. government databases: the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment and the Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS), an interagency border inspection database.
A special note was added to TECS in October of 2011 requiring a mandatory search and detention of Tsarnaev if he left the country. 'Detain isolated and immediately call the lookout duty officer,' the note reportedly said. 'Call is mandatory whether or not the officer believes there is an exact match.' 'Detain isolated and immediately call the lookout duty officer.' Unfortunately, Tsarnaev's name was not an exact match: it was misspelled by one letter. Whoever entered it in the database spelled it as 'Tsarnayev.' When Tsarnaev flew to Russia in January of 2012 on his way to terrorist training, the system was alerted but the mandatory detention was not triggered. Because officers did not realize Tsarnaev was a high-priority target, he was allowed to travel without questioning."
astroengine writes: "After a decade of searching, astronomers have found a second dwarf-like planet far beyond Pluto and its Kuiper Belt cousins, a presumed no-man's land that may turn out to be anything but. How Sedna, which was discovered in 2003, and its newly found neighbor, designated 2012 VP 2113 by the Minor Planet Center, came to settle in orbits so far from the sun is a mystery. Sedna comes no closer than about 76 times as far from the sun as Earth, or 76 astronomical units. The most distant leg of its 11,400-year orbit is about 1,000 astronomical units. Newly found VP 2113's closest approach to the sun is about 80 astronomical units and its greatest distance is 452 astronomical units (abstract). The small world is roughly 280 miles (450 kilometers) wide, less than half the estimated diameter of Sedna."
New submitter Sri Ramkrishna writes: "Like clockwork, the next version of GNOME has been released with updated applications, bugfixes, and so forth. People can look forward to faster loading times and a little better performance than before. A video has been created to highlight the release! Check it out!" The release features "... app folders, enhanced system status and high-resolution display support. This release also includes new and redesigned applications for video, software, editing, sound recording and internet relay chat. Under the hood, support for using Wayland instead of X has progressed significantly." There are a bunch of new features for programmers too.
SmartAboutThings (1951032) writes "Peter Molyneux is one of the most famous personalities in the history of gaming, especially recognized for having created God games Dungeon Keeper, Populous, Black & White, but also the Fable series. After creating the Fable series, Molyneux announced in March 2012 that he will be leaving Lionhead and Microsoft to start another company – 22Cans. During a recent interview, the former Microsoft employee has shared some interesting details regarding the time when he was working over at Redmond. Here's the excerpt from his interview: 'I left Microsoft because I think when you have the ability to be a creative person, you have to take that seriously, and you have to push yourself. And pushing yourself is a lot easier to do if you're in a life raft that has a big hole in the side, and that's what I think indie development is. You're paddling desperately to get where you want to go to, but you're also bailing out. Whereas if you're in a big supertanker of safety, which Microsoft was, then that safety is like an anesthetic. It's like taking antidepressants. The world just feels too comfortable.'"
jfruh (300774) writes "The venerable Nortel Networks may have vanished into bankruptcy five years ago, but thanks to U.S. patent law, it can strike back at its old rival Cisco from beyond the grave. Spherix, a Virginia-based 'research company' that bought Nortel's patents in 2009, has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that Cisco has been knowingly violating 11 Nortel patents. 'The vast majority of Cisco's switching and routing revenue from March 2008 until the present is and has been generated by products and services implementing technology that infringes the Asserted Patents,' the lawsuit claims."
What happens when your oven is on the Internet? A malicious hacker might be able to set it to broil while you're on vacation, and get it so hot that it could start a fire. Or a prankster might set your alarm to wake you up at 3 a.m. - and what if someone gets access to the wireless security camera over your front door and uses it to gain access to the rest of your home network, and from there to your bank account? Not good. With the 'Internet of Things' you will have many devices to secure, not just a couple of computers and handheld devices. Timothy Lord met Mark Stanislav of Duo Security at BSides Austin 2014, which is where this interview took place.(Here's an alternate link to the video.)
Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Marcus Wohlsen writes that the most recent ban against Tesla selling cars directly from the company instead of through third-party dealers was enacted in New Jersey with the support of Gov. Chris Christie, a possible contender for the GOP nomination. That prompted Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Christie rival, to heartily defend Tesla's direct sales model. 'Customers should be allowed to buy products that fit their need,' says Rubio, 'especially a product that we know is safe and has consumer confidence beneath it.' Perhaps even more surprising is the love shown by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the once and possibly future presidential hopeful whose oil-rich state bars employees in Tesla's two showrooms from even telling potential customers how much the Model S costs. 'I think it's time for Texans to have an open conversation about this,' says Perry, 'the pros and the cons. I'm gonna think the pros of allowing this to happen outweigh the cons.' The sudden GOP embrace of an electric car company once reviled as a symbol of Northern California enivro-weenies might seem ironic says Wohlsen, but the real irony is that conservative politicians ever opposed Tesla at all.
'The widespread franchise rules giving car dealers virtual monopolies in their territories epitomize the government-controlled marketplace Republicans purportedly despise,' writes Wohlsen adding that possible presidential contenders realize there may be political capital to be gained in supporting Tesla. But the real winner is Tesla. If the company can manage to associate its brand with all the positive qualities Rubio and Perry hope rub off on them, few politicians will want to take the risk to stand against them. Mitt Romney called Tesla Motors a 'loser' company during his 2012 run for president. In 2016 running against Tesla might seem about as smart as running against Apple."
astroengine (1577233) writes "When you think of a celestial ring system, the beautiful ringed planet Saturn will likely jump to mind. But for the first time astronomers have discovered that ring systems aren't exclusive to planetary bodies — asteroids can have them too. Announced on Wednesday, astronomers using several observatories in South America, including the ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile, have discovered that distant asteroid Chariklo possesses two distinct rings. Chariklo, which is approximately 250 kilometers (155 miles) wide, is the largest space rock in a class of asteroids known as Centaurs that orbit between Saturn and Uranus in the outer solar system. 'We weren't looking for a ring and didn't think small bodies like Chariklo had them at all, so the discovery — and the amazing amount of detail we saw in the system — came as a complete surprise!' said lead researcher Felipe Braga-Ribas, of the Observatório Nacional and MCTI, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil."
redletterdave (2493036) writes "Less than a week after the Turkish government banned Twitter over failing to remove allegations of government corruption from the social network, a Turkish court on Wednesday suspended the ban, calling it 'illegal.'" Unfortunately, according to the BBC Twitter may remain blocked until after the elections: "The administrative court in Ankara issued a temporary injunction on Wednesday ordering the TIB to restore access to Twitter until it could deliver its full verdict on the ban. Turkish media reports suggested the ban would be suspended soon afterwards but a source in Mr Erdogan's office told Reuters news agency the TIB had 30 days to implement or appeal against the court ruling." In the meantime, Twitter is attempting to fight the ban directly.
Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton writes: "Why do Netflix and a few other companies keep the DVD format alive, when streaming is more convenient for almost all users? The answer is not obvious, but my best theory is that it has to do with what economists call price discrimination. Netflix is still the cheapest legal way to watch a dozen recent releases every month — but only if you're willing to put up with those clunky DVDs." Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.
An anonymous reader writes that XWayland is nearly ready to be merged into the main X.org tree "X.Org Server 1.16 this summer should support XWayland, the means of allowing X11 applications to run atop Wayland-based compositors without the need for any application/game changes. With the revised design, XWayland has generic 2D acceleration over OpenGL and a cleaner design compared to earlier revisions. With GNOME 3.12 having better Wayland support and Plasma Next around the corner, it looks like 2014 could be the year of Wayland's take-off!" The patch series emails have more details. The big news here is that XWayland is ditching its old DDX model for one based on Glamor. eliminating the need for any X.org drivers to be written to support X11 on Wayland: "Finally, the last patch adds the Xwayland DDX. Initially Xwayland was an Xorg module that exposed an API for Xorg video drivers to hook into so that we could reuse the native 2D acceleration. Now that glamor is credible and still improving, a much better approach is to make Xwayland its own DDX and use glamor for acceleration. A lot of the code in the Xorg approach was busy preventing Xorg being Xorg, eg, preventing VT access, preventing input driver loading, preventing drivers doing modesetting. The new DDX in contrast is straight-forward, clean code, only 2500 lines of code and neatly self-contained." It does not yet have direct rendering or any acceleration, but those patches should come soon.
jfruh (300774) writes "Security vendors like Trustwave can make big bucks when major companies decide they don't have the internal resources to handle their cybersecurity needs. Unfortunately, when taking on security chores, you also take on security liabilities. In the wake of Target's massive credit card security breach, both Target and Trustwave are now on the receiving end of a class action lawsuit, in part backed by banks that had to issue thousands of new credit cards." The filing, and a bit more from El Reg: "It's against Target, however, that the most serious allegations are levelled. The class action led by Trustmark National Bank and Green Bank, say the retailer should not have allowed an outside contractor the access to its network that brought about the breach, and that it violated federal and state laws in storing the credit card data on its network."
An anonymous reader writes "Not one hour after the announcement of the the acquisition of Oculus Rift by Facebook yesterday, Markus 'Notch' Persson has announced that he has ceased all discussions about bringing it to Oculus Rift. 'I don't want to work with social, I want to work with games. ... Facebook is not a company of grass-roots tech enthusiasts. Facebook is not a game tech company. Facebook has a history of caring about building user numbers, and nothing but building user numbers. People have made games for Facebook platforms before, and while it worked great for a while, they were stuck in a very unfortunate position when Facebook eventually changed the platform to better fit the social experience they were trying to build.' Persson has stated that he made this decision despite initially investing $10,000 in Oculus' Kickstarter."
puddingebola (2036796) writes "Bruce Byfield looks back at the soured relationships between Canonical and the free software community. Partly analysis, partly a review of past conflicts, the writer touches on Mir and Wayland, and what he sees as Canonical's attempts to take over projects. From the article, 'However, despite these other concerns, probably the most important single reason for the reservations about Ubuntu is its frequent attempts to assume the leadership of free software — a position that no one has ever filled, and that no one particularly wants to see filled. In its first few years, Ubuntu's influence was mostly by example. However, by 2008, Shuttleworth was promoting the idea that major projects should coordinate their release schedules. That idea was received without enthusiasm. However, it is worth noting that some of those who opposed it, like Aaron Seigo, have re-emerged as critics of Mir — another indication that personal differences are as important as the issues under discussion.'"
KentuckyFC (1144503) writes "The origin of the heat generated inside the Earth is one of the great mysteries of geophysics. Researchers know that almost all this heat is generated by the decay of radioactive elements such as potassium-40, thorium-232 and uranium-238. But what they don't know is how these elements are distributed inside the planet and how much heat each contributes. In the next few years, they hope to get some answers thanks to the emerging science of antineutrino geophysics. Since radioactive decay produces antineutrinos, an experiment that measures these particles coming out of the Earth should provide a detailed picture of the distribution of the elements within it.
But there's a problem. Nuclear reactors also produce copious numbers of antineutrinos and these can swamp the signal from inside the Earth. What's needed is a map showing the distribution of reactor antineutrinos so that geophysicists can choose the best places to put their experiments. Just such a map is exactly what a team of nuclear physicists has now produced. The map shows that planned experiments in Hawaii and Curacao, off the coast of Venezuela, are in excellent locations and that Japan has recently become a much better site thanks to the shut down of the country's nuclear industry following the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. But a European experiment currently being planned in south-east France doesn't come off so well."
MojoKid (1002251) writes "NVIDIA's 2014 GTC (GPU Technology Conference) kicked off today in San Jose California, with NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang offering up a healthy dose of new information on next generation NVIDIA GPU technologies. Two new NVIDIA innovations will be employed in their next-gen GPU technology, now know by its code named 'Pascal." First, there's a new serial interconnect known as NVLink for GPU-to-CPU and GPU-to-GPU communication. Though details were sparse, apparently NVLink is a serial interconnect that employs differential signaling with embedded clock and it allows for unified memory architectures and eventually cache coherency. It's similar to PCI Express in terms of command set and programming model but NVLink will offer a massive 5 — 12X boost in bandwidth up to 80GB/sec.
The second technology to power NVIDIA's forthcoming Pascal GPU is 3D stacked DRAM technology.The technique employs through-silicon vias that allow the ability to stack DRAM die on top of each other and thus provide much more density in the same PCB footprint for the DRAM package. Jen-Hsun also used his opening keynote to show off NVIDIA's most powerful graphics card to date, the absolutely monstrous GeForce GTX Titan Z. The upcoming GeForce GTX Titan Z is powered by a pair of GK110 GPUs, the same chips that power the GeForce GTX Titan Black and GTX 780 Ti. All told, the card features 5,760 CUDA cores (2,880 per GPU) and 12GB of frame buffer memory—6GB per GPU. NVIDIA also said that the Titan Z's GPUs are tuned to run at the same clock speed, and feature dynamic power balancing so neither GPU creates a performance bottleneck."
itwbennett (1594911) writes "Google has made sizable price cuts across its storage, compute and BigQuery analysis services (e.g., Google BigQuery on-demand prices have been reduced by up to 85%). Google has also introduced a number of new services, including managed virtual machines, an extension of BigQuery for live data and the ability to run copies of the enterprise-ready Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Suse Linux and Windows Server 2008 R2. Collectively, these announcements show that Google may be coming to understand that 'they really need to step it up' in the market for cloud computing services, said John Rymer, Forrester Research's principal analyst covering application development and delivery."
An anonymous reader writes with good news for advocates of Full Disclosure of security vulnerabilities. A week ago, the venerable full-disclosure list was shut down; now, a successor has arisen run by fyodor. From the announcement email: "As an F-D subscriber and occasional poster myself, I was as shocked as you all last week when John Cartwright threw in the towel and shuttered the list. Now I don't blame him one bit. He performed a thankless job admirably for 12 years and deserves some time off. But I, for one, already miss Full Disclosure. So I decided to make a new list today which is a successor in name and spirit. Like the old one, it uses Mailman and is being archived by my Seclists.org site as well as numerous other archives around the world. This list is a fresh start, so the old userbase won't automatically transfer over. And I haven't added any of you either, because it is your choice. ... I hope you'll join us and resume posting your security info and advisories. If not now, then someday."
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes: "Alan Travis and Mark Tran report in The Guardian that new rules introduced by the justice secretary in the UK ban anyone sending in books to prisoners It's part of a new earned-incentives and privileges scheme, which allows better-behaved prisoners to get better access to funds to buy their own books. But members of Britain's literary establishment have combined to condemn Justice Secretary Chris Grayling's ban on sending books to prisoners. 'While we understand that prisons must be able to apply incentives to reward good behavior by prisoners, we do not believe that education and reading should be part of that policy,' says a letter signed by more than 80 leading authors. 'Books represent a lifeline behind bars, a way of nourishing the mind and filling the many hours that prisoners spend locked in their cells. In an environment with no internet access and only limited library facilities, books become all the more important.' Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman says the prime minister backs the ban on receiving books and entirely supports Grayling, whose department imposed the ban to preserve a rigid system of rewards and punishments for prisoners and said there was no need for prisoners to be sent books as prisoners could borrow from prison libraries and keep some reading material in their cells. However a former prisoner told the Guardian that although libraries existed, access could be severely restricted, particularly in closed prisons. 'I've been in places where prisoners only get 20 minutes a week to visit the library and change books.'"
lxrslh writes: "Since the dawn of computing, we have read about massive failed projects, bugs that are never fixed, security leaks, spaghetti code, and other flaws in the programs we use every day to operate the devices and systems upon which we depend. It would be interesting to read the code of a well-engineered, perfectly coded, intellectually challenging program. I would love to see the code running in handheld GPS units that first find a variable number of satellites and then calculate the latitude, longitude, and elevation of the unit. Do you have an example of a compact and elegant program for which the code is publicly available?"
rjmarvin writes: "Researchers in the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have developed a platform for building secure web applications and services that never decrypt or leak data. MIT researcher Raluca Ada Popa, who previously worked on the Google and SAP-adopted CryptoDB, and her team, have put a longstanding philosophy into practice: to never store unencrypted data on servers. They've redesigned the entire approach to securing online data by creating Mylar, which builds and updates applications to keep data secure from server breaches with constant encryption during storage, only decrypting the data in the user's browser. Integrated with the open-source Meteor framework, a Mylar prototype has already secured six applications by changing only 35 lines of code."