Why Linux Is Not Attracting Young Developers
I'd recommend starting with a problem you are confronted with on a day to day basis. For example if your laptops usb port is flaky & connecting an external device works only after five or six tries take a look at the kernel code for usb or even a usb driver. Utilize your c/c++ skills to read the code. From there you will probably have a better insight into why your usb port isn't working & it will place you in a position to modify a small piece of the kernel code if needed. I'd refer to this method as hacking to learn. Have fun!
It's Time To Split Up NSA Between Spooks and Geeks
As the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan are winding down the government "especially the republican party" sees the need for a new war. What better way to grease up lucrative contracts between the U.S gov & it's most successful companies than a "cyber" war. The Google breach is clearly an intel/political issue. The technical aspects are minimal & we all knew that great firewall compromised any chance of IT security there yet the story is portrayed as a technical one. Oh my! google was hacked by the chinese. They must need technical government support. Rarely is the story portrayed simply as an international policy issue. It's war I tell you & the economy loves a good fight.