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mtrachtenberg (67780) writes "I've decided I'm only going to pay $5 in federal taxes this year, following Apple's "we'll pay what we want to pay" strategy. The strategy is outlined in this article from the always excellent Guardian newspaper." Link to Original Source top
mtrachtenberg (67780) writes "M E M O R A N D U M ================== TOP SECRET ================== Sponsored by Office 365, your newest Office aid and best friend. Office! ==================
United States Department of Justice
Division for Intellectual Property Rights and Maintenance of the Faith
Office for the Preservation of Microsoft
As per prior memoranda from this office, all points are alerted that uncooperative elements are still attempting to authorize non-Microsoft software (Linux, BSD, Z80 assembler) to run on US and Microsoft approved computing equipment.
It has been clearly established that Microsoft's financial survival is of code mauve importance to the American economy, at an equal level to that of Goldman Sachs and Citicorp. Therefore, this office is implementing Code Swartz immediately.
Drones shall lock and load on the GPS coordinates of abusers, and shall fire at will. Open source computing is like fluoridation — an assault on American values and freedom.
(P.S.: Nothing in this memorandum is to be construed as authorizing any activity illegal under the Constitution as interpreted by the Roberts court. If uncertain, contact the authorities at Guantanamo Bay.)" top
mtrachtenberg writes "A California company working with Argonne National Labs is talking about a new anode for lithium ion batteries; it claims a 300%+ increase in energy density and is talking about volume manufacturing by 2014.
The company, California Lithium Battery, is talking about a potential 70% price drop in the cost of EV battery packs. If this happens, EVs suddenly begin to make sense." Link to Original Source top
mtrachtenberg (67780) writes "University of Michigan Professor J Alex Halderman and his team actually had two completely separate successful attacks on Washington, DC's internet voting experiment. The second path in was revealed by Halderman during testimony before the District of Columbia's Board of Elections and Ethics on Friday.
Apparently, a router's master password had been left at the default setting, enabling Halderman to access the system by a completely different method than SQL injection. He presented photographs of a video stream from the voting offices.
In addition, he found a file that had apparently been left on the test system contained the PINs of the 900+ voters who would have used the system in November.
Others on the panel joined Halderman in pointing out that it was not just this specific implementation of internet voting that was insecure, but the entire concept of using today's internet for voting at all. When a DC official asked why internet voting could not be made secure when top government secrets were secure on the internet, Halderman responded that a big part of keeping government secrets secret was NOT allowing them to be stored on internet-connected computers.
When a DC official asked the panel whether public key infrastructure couldn't allow secure internet voting, a panel member pointed out that the inventor of public key cryptography, MIT professor Ronald Rivest, was a signatory to the letter that had been sent to DC, urging officials there not to proceed with internet voting.
Clips from the testimony are available on youtube at these links.
mtrachtenberg (67780) writes "As times have changed, the personnel dorks who used to ignore anyone without a bachelors now ignore anyone without a masters.
So let's ask this hypothetical: let's say you already have all the knowledge that a master's degree would get you, thanks to years and years of, you know, doing stuff. Let's say you are already doing work that would get you a fine master's dissertation, but you don't feel like paying an expensive university for the privilege of doing your research under their prestigious name. What's the cheapest approach to getting a master's degree that will satisfy the checklist at a majority of personnel offices?" top
mtrachtenberg (67780) writes "Microsoft has suspended a new internet messaging service in China, after it emerged that the site was partially based on code stolen from a rival startup.
The site, Juku, launched in November is similar in concept to other online messaging systems like Twitter. But earlier this week the team behind Plurk, a young internet company based in Canada and popular with users across Asia, accused Microsoft of directly copying as much as 80% of the code to run the program." Link to Original Source top
"Swarms of small tremors deep beneath the ground after two recent quakes in Monterey County may be adding stress to a seismically locked segment of the San Andreas fault and could presage a major earthquake, two Berkeley scientists suggest."
I've spent the last few evenings watching "When the Levees Failed," about the heckuvajobbrownie response to Katrina. So reading this story is more than a little frightening. Here's a case where scientists can say something's going on, but can hardly tell Central California to evacuate for a few months or years.
I suppose the bright side is that this story, having nothing to do with Michael Jackson or Sarah Palin, still managed to make it into the mainstream media. Thank you, Robert Nadeau and Aurélie Guilhem, for the warning; thank you, David Perlman, for telling those of us who don't have subscriptions to Science" Link to Original Source
mtrachtenberg writes "Phone service sabotaged for thousands Henry K. Lee,Ryan Kim, Chronicle Staff Writers Thursday, April 9, 2009 PRINT E-MAIL SHARE COMMENTS (77) FONT | SIZE:
(04-09) 11:20 PDT SAN JOSE — Vandals cut four AT&T fiber-optic cables in San Jose early this morning, knocking out landline and cellular phone service and the Internet to thousands of residential customers and businesses in Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties, authorities said." Link to Original Source top
Caroline Davies writes in The Guardian:
"Two hundred years after Charles Darwin's birth, historians have gained new insight into his days as a student at Cambridge after unearthing bills that record intimate details of how he spent his money.
"The revolutionary scientist was, it would appear, ahead of his time in his willingness to pay extra to supplement his daily intake of vegetables. And, as one would expect of a 19th-century gentleman, he was happy to pay others to carry out menial tasks for him, such as stoking his fire and polishing his shoes.
"But there is little to suggest that he bought many books, or that he did much else to further his studies. The evolutionist famously spent little of his time studying or in lectures, preferring to shoot, ride and collect beetles. "" Link to Original Source top
mtrachtenberg writes "At a public hearing conducted today by
California's Secretary of State, a Diebold representative admitted that even current versions of their GEMS software don't record the deletion of decks of ballots in their audit logs. The Diebold elections subsidiary is now known as Premier Election Solutions, presumably because Diebold's name is so infamous in elections circles. Wired's Kim Zetter has a
Personally, I think the best moment of the hearing came when Humboldt County's registrar of voters, Carolyn Crnich, who has supported election transparency from the start, responded to Diebold's attempt to cast blame on her office. Crnich responded: "if you are saying that your system needs to be checked every damn time you turn it on, then I agree with you."" Link to Original Source top
mtrachtenberg writes "Premier Election Solutions' (formerly Diebold) GEMS 1.18.19 election software audit logs don't record the deletion of ballots, don't always record correct dates, and can be deleted by the operator, either accidentally or intentionally. The California Secretary of State's office has just released a report about the situation in Humboldt County, California's November 2008 election, covered earlier in Slashdot.
Here's the conclusion of the thirteen page report:
GEMS version 1.18.19 contains a serious software error that caused the omission of 197 ballots
from the official results (which was subsequently corrected) in the November 4, 2008, General
Election in Humboldt County. The potential for this error to corrupt election results is confined
to jurisdictions that tally ballots using the GEMS Central Count Server. Key audit trail logs in
GEMS version 1.18.19 do not record important operator interventions such as deletion of decks
of ballots, assign inaccurate date and time stamps to events that are recorded, and can be deleted
by the operator. The number of votes erroneously deleted from the election results reported by
GEMS in this case greatly exceeds the maximum allowable error rate established by HAVA. In
addition, each of the foregoing defects appears to violate the 1990 Voting System Standards to
an extent that would have warranted failure of the GEMS version 1.18.19 system had they been
detected and reported by the Independent Testing Authority that tested the system.