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Submission + - Canada's Top Mountie Issues Blistering Memo On IT Failures

Freshly Exhumed writes: RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson has levelled a blistering memo obtained by the CBC on how critical IT failures have increased by 129 per cent since Shared Services Canada took over tech support for the entire government five years ago. Not only that, the memo says, the duration of each outage has increased by 98 per cent. "Its 'one size fits all' IT shared services model has negatively impacted police operations, public and officer safety and the integrity of the criminal justice system," reads the memo. A list of specific incidents includes an 11-hour network computer outage on Jan. 18 that downed every Mountie's BlackBerry, affected dispatching, and prevented the RCMP and 240 other police forces from accessing the Canadian Police Information Centre database.

Submission + - SPAM: UV-Illuminated Rhodium: Plentiful Methane from Carbon Dioxide

Freshly Exhumed writes: Researchers in the Chemistry and Physics Departments at Duke University have found that CH4 (Methane) is almost exclusively produced when rhodium nanoparticles are mildly illuminated in ultraviolet LED light, yielding a seven-fold increase in the CH4 production rate over dark conditions, while only a slight increase in simultaneous CO production was detected. No other carbon-containing product was observed, making this photocatalytic process an enticing possible solution for the reduction of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere while simultaneously producing methane for fuel and industrial use. Rhodium is commonly used in automobile catalytic converters.

Submission + - HAARP Comes Alive Once Again

Freshly Exhumed writes: News on Hackaday today informs that the famous HAARP antenna array is to be brought back into service for experiments by the University of Alaska. Built in the 1990s for the US Air Forceâ(TM)s High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, the array is a 40-acre site containing a phased array of 180 HF antennas and their associated high power transmitters. Its purpose it to conduct research on charged particles in the upper atmosphere.

Submission + - Mysterious 'ping' sound from sea floor baffles Igloolik (www.cbc.ca)

Freshly Exhumed writes: Hunters in a remote community in Nunavut are concerned about a mysterious "pinging" sound, sometimes also described as a "hum" or "beep," in Fury and Hecla Strait throughout the summer. Paul Quassa, a member of the legislative assembly, says whatever the cause, it's scaring the animals away. "That's one of the major hunting areas in the summer and winter because it's a polynya, ...and this time around, this summer, there were hardly any." Internal correspondence between sources in the Department of National Defence suggest submarines were not immediately ruled out, but were also not considered a likely cause. "We've heard in the past of groups like Greenpeace putting in some kinds of sonars in the seabed to get the sea mammals out of the way so Inuit won't be able to hunt them," Quassa said. These rumours, though persistent, have never been substantiated, and Greenpeace denies the assertion.

Submission + - Game Dev Sues Customers, Kicked Off Steam, Needs Lawyer

Freshly Exhumed writes: Game developer Digital Homicide is pleading for legal counsel long after having seemed to miss what can happen to those who sue their own customers, lodge SLAPP suits, fish for new victims through discovery, and/or otherwise try to censor the Internet. Such actions can end badly. Digital Homicide's latest activity is an $18 million lawsuit against 100 anonymous Steam users alleging stalking, harassment, criminal impersonation, tortious interference, etc. Subsequently, Valve has now removed all of Digital Homicide's games for being 'hostile to Steam customers'. Perhaps some of the victims should send out the Popehat Signal.

Submission + - JBoss Java Server Backdoor Puts 3.2 Million Servers at Risk (softpedia.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A few weeks back the US and Canada were issuing joint alerts on the increase in ransomware infections. One of the reasons of those alerts is the SamSam ransomware which uses vulnerabilities in older JBoss servers to infect corporate networks with a backdoor and spread the ransomware to all users connected to the central server. Cisco has performed a thorough search on this JBoss backdoor, and found over 3.2 vulnerable servers. Looking more closely at the files and clues left behind by the usual SamSam backdoor, they've discovered 2,100 servers where the backdoor was in an inactive state, waiting to receive and spread the ransomware. The backdoor (a webshell) was also tracked down to the JexBoss project on GitHub, from where the crooks took code to build their webshell.

Submission + - The Linux Scheduler: a Decade of Wasted Cores (ece.ubc.ca)

Freshly Exhumed writes: In a paper submitted to EuroSys ’16, researchers claim to have identified four major performance bugs in the Linux scheduler (PDF) that result in cores sitting idle while runnable processes remain queued, causing large performance and energy inefficiencies. Reassuringly, they have not just identified the problems but are also presenting their results and tools for Linux scheduler improvement over on GitHub.

Submission + - Safety checks faked at German nuclear power stations (dw.com)

mdsolar writes: German energy giants EnBW and RWE have admitted that employees did not carry out routine safety readings on equipment measuring radioactivity at their nuclear power stations, but pretended they had. Both workers were immediately barred from the premises and then dismissed.

Regional public broadcaster SWR, which broke the story, reported on Thursday that EnBW's power station in Philippsburg, Baden-Württemberg (pictured above), had been shut down by the state Environment Ministry until a mandatory inquiry was completed. RWE's nuclear power station in Biblis, Hesse, has been shut down since 2011, but radioactivity levels are still being monitored there.

In a statement released on Wednesday, EnBW said that it had informed the state Environment Ministry of the neglected readings — which occurred in December — on April 5, immediately after discovering them during another routine check. In the ensuing investigation, the energy company found that "the same employee had apparently faked seven further routine checks on similar installations. Legal options against the worker are being examined."

Submission + - Canadian PM Trudeau explains quantum computing

vulcanrob writes: A reporter tries to waylay Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with a policy question in a press conference regarding quantum computing, and Trudeau parries by explaining quantum computing. It's nice to see a world leader who knows even a little about science and who does not perpetuate the stereotype that science is not understandable by everyday people.

Comment The Aliens Already Gave Us This Technology (Score 1) 63

Why are they wasting tax dollars when the technology already has been known in Area 51 since the 1940s? The 1943 Wizarding
Accords, of which the author of the Declaration of Independence, Labach the Elder, was a signatory, allowed such advanced technology to be exploited for civilian purposes. Smarten up, NASA!

Submission + - UC Davis Spent $175,000 To Bury Search Results After Cops Pepper-Sprayed Protest (theverge.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: The University of California, Davis spent at least $175,000 to improve its reputation on the internet after images of campus police pepper-spraying protestors went viral in 2011, according to documents obtained by The Sacramento Bee. The money went to public relations firms that promised to clean up the university's search results. One company outlined a plan for "eradication of references to the pepper spray incident," according to the documents, and was eventually paid nearly $93,000, including expenses, for a six-month campaign in 2013. After that, the Bee reports, the university paid $82,500 to another PR firm to create and follow through on a "search engine results management strategy." The latter firm was later given thousands more in other contracts to build a university social media program, and to vet its communications department.

Submission + - Apple deprecating Quicktime for Windows, says Trend Micro (trendmicro.com)

harryjohnston writes: Usually when a vendor deprecates a software product and stops releasing security updates, they provide some sort of advance notice that they're intending to do so. The least we would expect is for them to announce an unexpected end-of-life themselves. However, Trend Micro released a security advisory today describing two zero-day vulnerabilities for Quicktime for Windows, and according to them, Apple told Trend Micro — but apparently nobody else — that they have deprecated Quicktime for Windows and will not be releasing a patch.

The Register has an article on the announcement. Apple did not respond to their request for comment.

Submission + - How South Park Saved Fair Use (reason.com)

SonicSpike writes: For 19 seasons, South Park has provided cutting cultural commentary centered around the foul-mouthed adventures of elementary school students Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman. But the raunchy cartoon has also helped establish an important legal entertainment precedent that expands free speech rights.

"When anybody creates anything, basically, that thing automatically gets copyrighted and for the most part it can't be used in certain ways without permission," explains Higgins. "But there are some really important exceptions to that rule, and there are some really important places where we say, 'Actually, members of the public, no matter who they are, can use this thing for all sorts of reasons without getting permission.'"

In 2010, EFF became unlikely allies with the media giant Viacom—the owner of Comedy Central—which had been sued by Brownmark Films after a 2008 South Park episode called "Canada on Strike" parodied a popular viral video by the musician Samwell.

The South Park version of the video, starring a recurring character named Butters, mimics the original video nearly shot-for-shot. The stunningly unsubtle lyrics are slightly abbreviated but otherwise unchanged. The kids post their rendition to "YouToob" and watch as it grabs millions of hits. Brownmark was not amused.

EFF and Viacom argued that the South Park episode was a clear case of fair use, as it was a parody commenting on the viral video trend. The criteria under which a fair use determination is made include whether or not the work transforms the original work, the nature of the original work, how much of the original work is used, and whether it affects the market for the original work. One reason the suit was so important was that the video walked several lines: It was a close copy, it was not transformative in the sense that term had been traditionally understood, it used a significant proportion of the original, and it was for commercial rather than educational use.

The case eventually made its way to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, where the judges ruled in favor of South Park. The decision cited EFF's argument that lawsuits too often are "baseless shakedowns" designed to extract cash from deep-pocketed creators and distributors, such as Viacom. "Ruinous discovery heightens the incentive to settle rather than defend these frivolous suits," it said. "District courts need not, and indeed ought not, allow discovery when it is clear that the case turns on facts already in evidence."

The ruling has become important to entertainment law, because it says that a fair use suit can be stopped before going to trial. This can help creators avoid the huge costs of litigation brought on by frivolous copyright lawsuits.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the "What, What (In the Butt)" case has been the most cited in courtrooms across the country in the last five years, thanks to the growth of digital content.

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