Microsoft Kills Off Its Trustworthy Computing Group
The problem is; as I understand it, is that Microsoft (as well as Apple and Google) have such huge cash reserves that they could afford to operate in the red for YEARS if the board of directors thought it was useful to do so. If Microsoft decided to get really serious about cloud computing and the potential for trusted computing and DRM, they could afford to take really dramatic steps to drive the market in that direction. We've seen the success of Steam and other mandatory connection, micro-transaction business models. It's not beyond the realm of possibility that the Microsoft board wants to drive individual/consumer desktop use in that direction. I seem to recall that RIAA and MPAA slipped Microsoft a bunch of cash to support development of trusted computing. If MS rolls trusted computing and trustworthy computers into a cloud oriented scheme, I'm sure there is more money to be had from that direction.
[tinfoilhat] Then there is the fact that cloud oriented computing has some rather severe concerns about data integrity, privacy and so on. I'm sure the spooks would LOVE to have everyone store their data and run cloud applications or at least cloud "certified secure" applications where they can stick their digital fingers in. [/tinfoilhat]
Interviews: David Saltzberg Answers Your Questions About The Big Bang Theory
You may be right about some people finding Sheldon's outing as autistic to be insulting. But for what it's worth, I wouldn't. I AM autistic (Aspergers) as is my two sons and the elder son of my best friend. Both my friends son and I find ourselves identifying with Sheldon because certain facets of his personality and interpersonal relationship skills resonate with us. There have been numerous times when Sheldon has said something virtually word for word that my friends son or I have actually said previously. For both him and I, it is a relief to see someone portraying an autistic individual that isn't "disabled".
What separates Sheldon from folks like my friends son and myself I think is humility. We know we're different. We may share Sheldons iron clad assumption of rightness on the emotional reaction level, but intellectually we know we're different and that we have to make constant efforts to adapt to the world instead of expecting the world to adapt to us. We've had to come to recognize, accept and even to some extent celebrate neuro-diversity in a way that Sheldon doesn't seem capable of doing. We don't have Sheldons towering intellect, but we are smart. Thus; we can be wrong, life has given us lessons in humility that Sheldon hasn't had and we have learned from them.
Latest Wikipedia Uproar Over 'Superprotection'
For what it's worth, I *have* heard the term used that way. In fact it's the only usage I've ever heard. I had vaguely known there was some other historical use, but like cretin , imbecile and moron, it's become a common derogatory word.
I suspect that it is a regional thing. English speaking nations all have their unique slang terms after all. And many English speaking countries are also large enough to have regional differences within them. I'm not likely to ever call a person a drongo, wombat, poof (Australian), berk, bint, chav or pikey (British) or wigger, jagoff, ratchet or ho (American)
Despite being Canadian, I'd never call someone "b'y" (Newfoundland), skookum or siwash (British Columbia)
Ask Slashdot: What Recliner For a Software Developer?
Click here for the easiest way to enhance your revenue!
The one weird trick basement dwelling slashdotters don't want you to know!
Domain Registry of America Suspended By ICANN
What happened exactly?
ICANN posted two letters regarding Brandon Gray today. One is the suspension notice, while the other is a detailed breach notice which explains it all.
Essentially Brandon Gray got finally caught out by a couple of clauses in the 2013 registrar contract with ICANN (RAA):
Brandon Gray’s resellers subjecting Registered Name Holders to false advertising, deceptive practices, or deceptive notices, pursuant to Section 3.12.7 of the RAA and Section 3 of Domain Name Registrants’ Rights of the Registrants’ Benefits and Responsibilities Specification (“RBRS”).
ICANN would also like to know how they managed to mine whois data to send out all the letters to registrants without falling foul of the section 3.3.5 of the RAA, which states:
3.3.5 In providing query-based public access to registration data as required by Subsections 3.3.1 and 3.3.4, Registrar shall not impose terms and conditions on use of the data provided, except as permitted by any Specification or Policy established by ICANN. Unless and until ICANN establishes a different Consensus Policy, Registrar shall permit use of data it provides in response to queries for any lawful purposes except to: (a) allow, enable, or otherwise support the transmission by e-mail, telephone, postal mail, facsimile or other means of mass unsolicited, commercial advertising or solicitations to entities other than the data recipient’s own existing customers; or (b) enable high volume, automated, electronic processes that send queries or data to the systems of any Registry Operator or ICANN-Accredited registrar, except as reasonably necessary to register domain names or modify existing registrations.
For the rest of the article, including images of the actual letters, follow the link in the summary.
The Revolutionary American Weapons of War That Never Happened
What you're thinking of is the result of the Key West Agreement which basically says the Army can have air assets with a reconnaissance or medical evacuation role. If they have a need for a fixed wing aircraft, blimp, helicopter or whatever within those roles, they can have them. Combat aviation machines remain the purview of the Air Force, so the A-10 tank buster and the AC-130 gunship whose primary mission is a ground support role are NOT Army assets, but Air Force.
In practical terms, this has limited the Army to "low and slow" unarmed fixed wing recon platforms and helos for medivac duties. However, after the Viet Nam War, the Army was able to expand on those roles and start using smaller turboprop and light jet fixed wing craft for cargo transport and armed helicopters such as the Apache.
The Navy (and Marines) was able to keep its own combat aircraft for several reasons. My own summary of those reasons are a) Navy often operates too far away from Airforce bases for the usual type of cross-service support and b) The navy had done an excellent job of proving in the recently ended WWII of how effective carrier based aircraft are. A capability the Navy was not going to give up without a serious fight...
*It is generally accepted in military circles that special/covert operations units are exempt from the agreement, but because of the nature and scope of their missions, they are usually limited to choppers and transport craft anyway.
Should We Eat Invasive Species?
The first two invasive species that I can think of, off the top of my head are kudzu and zebra mussels.
Kudzu : AKA "the devils ivy" and "the vine that ate The South" I used to work in the landscaping business and have actually sold this stuff as an indoor decorative plant. I'm pretty sure that people taking it home and putting it in their yard instead is why we're seeing it up in Canada now. Out of curiosity, I've actually tasted kudzu leaves and it's not something I'd ever want in a salad or stewed greens. (but other people enjoy the taste of say grape leaves, so that doesn't completely rule it out.) There are apparently uses for the starch derived from the roots, but I have no experience with that.
The damned stuff grows faster than goats can eat it, which is saying a lot. It grows so fast that in ideal conditions you can SEE it growing, you'd almost swear it was capable of following you. I think the best use isn't as food, but as biomass stock. The problem with using it as biomass is that it exhausts the soil pretty quickly.
zebra mussels. As far as I know, in the areas infested by them, the mussels are not edible because of the various nasty things they filter out of the water and sequester in their tissues. I don't think ANY Great Lakes shellfish would be edible for that reason. It used to be you couldn't eat any fish caught in the Great Lakes, especially the lower lakes, because of industrial nasties like mercury and dioxin accumulation. I seem to recall that white fleshed fish species are safe now, as an occasional menu item only. Filter feeders from the Great Lakes, especially if eaten regularly like we'd have to do to keep them under control, is probably still a Bad Idea (TM Animaniacs)
Overall; my concern is that deciding to eat the invasive species is tantamount to an admission of defeat. It's certainly a step towards learning to simply accept that they are part of the local food chain. I am not an ecology and conservation expert by any means, but I think with at least some of the invasive species we may still have a shot at eradicating them if necessary. (if Monsanto or Dupont manage to come up with a kudzu specific herbicide that degrades elegantly/cleanly they'll make a mint down in the southern US)
The Linux Foundation and edX Team Up for Intoduction to Linux Class
Linus Torvalds appears to be endorsing this course, which is created by the Linux Foundation. He has a brief into clip on the course page, but in the section for course staff it only lists Jerry Cooperstein Phd who is also the Training Program Director for the Linux Foundation.
To me this seems like Linus approves of, even endorses this course, but that it is being taught by Dr. Cooperstein. I'll readily concede that the technical value of the course probably isn't hurt by this, but anyone looking to take this course for the chance to interact in any way with Mr. Torvalds is probably going to be disappointed.
Scientists Create Bacteria With Expanded DNA Code
God@Multiverse:~/$ cd /Universe_Aleph001/Milky_way/Sol/Earth
God@Multiverse:~ /Universe_Aleph001/Milky_way/Sol/Earth$ make postbigbang
God@Multiverse:~ /Universe_Aleph001/Milky_way/Sol/Earth$ you need to be root to perform this command
God@Multiverse:~ /Universe_Aleph001/Milky_way/Sol/Earth$ sudo make postbigbang
God@Multiverse:~ /Universe_Aleph001/Milky_way/Sol/Earth# warning: overriding recipe for target 'postbigbang'
Reason Suggests DoJ Closing Porn Stars' Bank Accounts
As far as I know, many of the business types listed are legal and perhaps a few are legal in certain areas or provided certain regulations or other criteria are satisfied. Some of them I know are vague enough industries that I think they are going to have a hard time deciding between shady operations and legit ones. Pay Day loans for example. Sure there are some pretty sleazy outfits out there, but the practice itself is legal. Money Transfer networks? I think Western Union might be worried about that grouping catching them in the sweep. Racist materials? As much as I disagree with the stuff, I have to say (as a foreigner) that I'm pretty sure that stuff has 1st Amendment protection. As for pornography, from what I've come across on other sites, they are not just shutting down the accounts of pornographic media companies, but the actresses/models personal accounts as well. (all of which makes little sense from a crime fighting perspective...)
This is looking like it will be a PR nightmare for the DoJ. It's going to look like an effort to impose morality and in a way that discriminates against the poor. There's all kinds of juicy hooks in a story like this to make sure it gets plenty of prime time news coverage.
My first question is: is the fundie element going to cheer because the gov't is cracking down on sinners? or freak because they are cracking down on god, guns and country?
my second question is : Can we get televangelists added to the list?
Physics Students Devise Concept For Star Wars-Style Deflector Shields
Of course he has a family tree, most of his closest relatives still live in theirs...
Graphene Could Be Dangerous To Humans and the Environment
Having two such marks myself, I have to say that what you have is not a pencil lead stuck in your skin, not any more anyway. By now what you have is a graphite tattoo. Graphite is the most stable allotrope of carbon in most conditions, making it far more likely to remain within the dermis for years and years. As others have pointed out, graphene is the common name for many different forms of carbon atoms arranged in regular sheets. Many of these forms are far less stable/more reactive than common graphite, which is what makes them interesting to us. A form of graphene that sees use as a nano level sponge or reactive substrate is probably not going to be particularly stable within the human body, which is where the concern about toxicity comes in. Any really stable form of graphene, like the ones where its physical strength is the primary purpose, is also likely to be less reactive and hence, less of a danger.
Any material, nano or otherwise, which would make a good tattoo ink (lightfast, relatively immobile in the dermis, non-oxidizing etc) is not likely to be very toxic, except perhaps in relatively large amounts.
Spinoffs From Spyland: How Some NSA Technology Is Making Its Way Into Industry
Let me get this straight; the NSA (and the other three letter agencies it serves) are willing to blatantly and flagrantly violate the US Constitution, US law, international treaties, the trust of US allies and probably even the boy scout oath along the way, but it heeds the open source licensing model???
I think there are a few problems with this:
Like others have posted, the open source community is going to have to look at the released code very very carefully. The public has to assume that the NSA will include backdoors or obscure weaknesses if at all possible.
The other half of this is how in the hell this release of code passed any internal security review in order to have the release authorized. If *I* were in charge of an intelligence agency, I certainly would use Open Source code when and where practical, but I would NOT submit my code to any third party external to my nations intelligence community. My reasoning is that any code my organization released could be used as clues to figure out my agencies capabilities and current operations. Even something as seemingly innocuous as the code for mandatory access restrictions could be helpful to an enemy because analysis of it would at least allow the enemy to rule out certain forms of attack.
Oh sure, you could make the argument that releasing better code to the world makes everybody using that code base safer, depriving malicious agents of any existing exploits they have in their tool kits and that was probably among the reasons the NSA based its decision on. The problem I have with that argument is that, in other areas the NSA has proven that it is willing to deliberately weaken code that is in public use so as to add to their own tool kits. To fix existing weaknesses while also deliberately creating others seems illogical and self defeating to me...
Radar Expert Explains How To Cheaply Add Radar To Your Own Hardware Projects
I said "Polarized covers...prismatic covers...and so on" I did not explicitly say covers to defeat LIDAR I'll grant you. I did, however, implicitly include them in the "...and so on" part of my statement. There are companies which advertise sprays and covers intended to absorb or scatter the near IR wavelength laser light police LIDAR systems use.
Speeding isn't the crime I was referring to, since most places consider most traffic offences to be a civil, not criminal offence. However, use of a device or substance to deliberately obscure your licence plate may or may not be part of the traffic code where you live, but rather covered by the criminal code. If use of a cover plate is considered a criminal act where you live, then the car is being used in the commission of a criminal act even when it's safely parked in your driveway. Having a plate obscured on a dirty vehicle by mud or snow is plausibly neglect, there's no clear proof of intent to evade the law. Thus; most police officers will give you a warning or a "fix-it ticket". But purchasing and installing a device whose sole advertised purpose is to evade detection by police as you break traffic laws inherently displays intent to do exactly that.
Please note that I also said "...in the US". There have been numerous news stories about law abiding people being pulled over for no more reason than having a nice car with out of state plates, having their vehicles searched and cash confiscated as "proceeds of crime" even when there is NO other evidence of any crime. People who then try to protest this get beaten up and charged with resisting arrest. My reasoning is this: If certain officers and/or certain police departments are using any pretext at all to pull someone over and search for things they can confiscate to support their department financially, I certainly don't want to risk driving around with one of the license obscuring items on my car.
Radar Expert Explains How To Cheaply Add Radar To Your Own Hardware Projects
There are several companies which market license plate covers designed to obscure your plate when targeted by certain technologies. Polarized covers to defeat roadside speed cameras, prismatic covers to defeat overhead cameras from toll roads and so on.
Problem is; most places in North America and I imagine Europe as well, already have laws on the books covering illegible or obscured registration tags and these covers often fall on the wrong side of the law. Personally, I'd rather get the speeding ticket than a missing/illegible plate ticket and would really really like to avoid any possible "obstruction of a police officer in the performance of his duties" charge.
Something else to consider; based on what seems to be the growing trend in the US: Do you want to get a speeding ticket which usually isn't a criminal act and only nets you a fine Or do you want to use a device whose (arguably) sole purpose is to break the law with impunity, leading to your car being declared as property used in the commission of a crime and confiscated? (while you get beaten half to death and charged with resisting arrest) If you speed, you are only in violation when you speed, but if you put a contraband plate cover on, you are in violation just parked on the street
Slashdot Tries Something New; Audience Responds!
First count me among those who have provided "specific, constructive and substantive" feedback. I did so because, like many MANY others, I am part of the community you claim to recognize. Yet your actions and words to this point come across as pro forma, like you actually take us for granted.
1) Many of us do NOT want to give up Slashdot "classic" AT ALL and have said so repeatedly and forcefully. Yet you still tell us that it will only be available until you are done fine tuning the new look. (a new look moreover that we've said we hate)
2) you claim to recognize that what makes Slashdot so special is the community, but I think you fail to recognize a key aspect of this community. We are chemists, physicists, developers, sysadmins, engineers and so on. A HUGE percentage of us are not just geeks, but professionally trained and qualified geeks in some profession that takes brains. Over the years we've self-selected that demographic. Your desire to be "more accessible and shareable by a wider audience." runs the risk of diluting what the Slashdot community is. You are courting a new Eternal September and it appears that you don't even realize you are doing so. boards.4chan.org/b/ would cease to be what it is if it became mainstream. I think you can recognize and agree with that. A flood of pop culture would destroy /. just as a flood of nice average folks would destroy /b/ and drive out the /b/tards.
3) This seriously is a New Coke vs Classic Coke moment. Like the people at Coca-cola, you want to increase your market, I get that. Like Coca-cola, you are attempting to do so by copying the kind of features found among the competition. They failed to allow for the fact that they had spent decades differentiating themselves from Pepsi. Copying the Pepsi taste threw all that away. Slashdot is not primarily a content producer, but a news aggregator, so if you go with the glossy magazine look, what is there to separate you from say Ars Technica? We geeks often make a bit of a fetish out of choosing hobbies, sources of info and social situations that are less accessible to the common herd. In other words, we kind of like being outsiders. If you expand your market, you'd be throwing away that abstract sense of clique-ishness that attracts me to this place. I'm probably not alone in that feeling...
4) At the same time, you're not fixing things that in the group opinion, should have been fixed ages ago. Where is the Unicode and foreign language support? I personally support the long standing choice to not allow full HTML in comments, but I may be in the minority on that. I still think we should be able to incorporate umlauts and other accent characters though.
Here are my straightforward suggestions for expanding your appeal and market without killing off what Slashdot is to us long loyal members:
a) Allow the full Unicode set and such
b) Don't EVER "dumb it down". You can try expanding the range of news items you list, maybe add images to if they are truly relevant to the story, but do not simplify things. In fact; feel free to get MORE detailed, more in-depth. Make your own articles +5 Informative or Insightful!
c) spellcheck, spellcheck spellcheck. There should be more to editing that picking a story and copypasta the summary submitted.
d) You already have slashdot.jp , why not slashdot.ru or maybe slashdot.eu ?(which would feature multiple languages, but probably primarily French and German). While you're at it, put links to the other language sites at the bottom of the page.
e) I for one would love to be able to read the days most actively commented stories from the Japanese Slashdot. (or any other language geeky articles might be published in) I have no idea how hard it would be to implement a *decent* auto-translation of top articles in foreign languages. I think it would be easy to do shitty translation on the fly, so the challenge would be to achieve an acceptable job. I already use a browser plugin and there is also Google translate, but I'm hoping for something that will do this for popular stories. As it is, I have to pretty much guess what stories might interest me and translate those myself using the plugin and the plugin translation is usually lousy
Tesla Wins One Over Chinese Trademark Troll
I've never been one for thread hijacking, flaming or any of that other sort of rude online behaviour. But I just got shown the latest beta.slashdot.org. Unlike during the last attempt at reinventing the place, there doesn't seem to be a story posted about it specifically. Given how long this story has been up on the main feed, it hasn't attracted all that much commentary, so jumping in offtopic here would be less disruptive than in say the latest Google-related news.
I know how much my fellow slashdotters like to nitpick and complain, the place wouldn't feel like home without you curmudgeons out there. (smile) I know *I* don't like the new version, I've never liked any of the new versions that have come along, always sticking with the closest thing to the classic interface that is offered at the time. I prefer the green-bar printout inspired listing of story summaries, not something that looks like it came out of a glossy magazine or pop culture website.
The way I look at it, the more images, the larger the graphics, the more space devoted to pretty floating banners, the less room there is for actual content I shouldn't have to do a full page scroll just to move from one story to the next.
Ask Slashdot: How To Protect Your Passwords From Amnesia?
If I even had a bitcoin wallet, it would have been given a password using the same simple generation ruleset that all my other passwords are based on.
Ask Slashdot: How To Protect Your Passwords From Amnesia?
Small problem with your approach: It relies on you knowing what to DO with the N number of pieces given to you by your friends. Sure you may get back A, B, C...but your description seems to imply that the requirement to perform an XOR operation on the pieces is not part of the data you have given to friends. Is your resulting password WhiteSuitRicardoMontalban, WhiteRicardoMontalbanSuit or RicardoMontalbanWhiteSuit? You need the generation method to be part of the recovered data, not just the "seed" if you will. Otherwise you won't know if you need to XOR, concatenate, follow the breadcrumbs or use a simple substitution cipher on the pieces.
A similar problem lies in most of the other "tell N friends to give you the clues needed to find the password" approaches. What happens if one or more friends fail to return the clue they possess? It's like having a hard drive array as a simple spanned volume. Lose one drive and everything is lost. Trying to include a checksum or similar function seems needlessly complex IMHO.
I think most folks are over-thinking this. Lets stipulate that I have lost my memory for whatever reason. All my passwords are generated using a relatively simple pattern. If I was amnesiac, I still have all those passwords saved in my browser, chat and email clients. Amnesiac me can collect email and log into sites that I use as long as my computer is intact. My wife knows the pattern but not the current passwords, if I can't get into the password lockers, my wife can give me the starting point. From there I can access my passwords with as little as 5 tries. However, as long as my email client still has useful passwords, the vast majority of my password list can be reset with a simple "I forgot my password" request. If, for whatever reason, those two options aren't good enough, I really don't care y'know? If I'm amnesiac, I have much bigger problems on my plate than whether I can access any social sites, member-only areas of sites and so on. Given the kind of brain trauma needed to get significant amnesia, I probably would not have much use for email for the first while anyway.
Privacy Advocate Jacob Appelbaum Reports Break-In Of Berlin Apartment
Criminals skillfully disabling alarm system after alarm system, entering and leaving with next to no trace are the stuff of jewel heist movies. For decades, the advice of experts has been to make things difficult (not impossible) for thieves to steal your stuff. That's because thieves are usually a) lazy b) stupid c)) feeding a habit or d) some combination thereof. As a rule, they are looking for the quick score. The will not spend hours disabling alarms in order to steal your TV/computer/jewellery/etc when there are numerous other apartments in the same building or homes in the same neighbourhood that don't have that protection.
Even if we stipulate, for the sake of argument, that some criminal did break into his home in this manner, that leaves us the obvious question of why the fuck wasn't anything taken? Thieves takes things, that's pretty much the definition! Whoever broke in could have taken all of his valuables, but didn't. Ergo, he, she or they weren't interested in valuables.
Then there is the fact that it would appear that some care was taken to leave minimal traces of the illicit visit. Again, this is not the behaviour of your typical burglar. B&E guys know that most of the time cops won't bother with the whole forensic fingerprints, DNA analysis etcetera. As long as they don't leave clear prints in obvious places, the cops will usually just file a report and move on. It is just not cost effective to spend tens of thousands of department funds to pursue your typical B&E.
The only logical conclusions we can make here is that:
a) The perpetrator(s) were far more skilled and patient than your average burglar
b) They weren't after fence-able valuables
c) They were interested in something they thought he had that none of his neighbours had.
d) Based on the access to his computers, what they were interested in was electronic data of some sort.
e) Given his long standing political views, he may have been investigated by the German intelligence community on general principles, but given his well known connection to Edward Snowden, it is highly probable that he was being investigated by someone with a strong interest in that situation.
f) Virtually all of the groups with access to people with those skills and with a strong interest in the Snowden case are state actors, mostly in the covert community.
I'll concede that there is a small chance that some private sector group might be involved with this. There may be a group on the scale of Anonymous that also acts on the real world/physical level and is (therefore) more paranoid about associating themselves with any actions. One could hypothesize that such a group was looking for data so that they could reach out and help Snowden with his agenda without leaving any clues for other agencies to follow as to how they found him, but I think that is a very low probability. (it would make for a great plot for some cyberpunk novel though wouldn't it?)