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eBay Founder Pleads For Leniency For the PayPal 14
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '13 at 08:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's reasonable-man-standards department:
DavidGilbert99 writes "The founder of eBay, the parent company of PayPal, Pierre Omidyar has called on U.S. prosecutors to have mercy on the 14 members of Anonymous who are appearing in court this week facing up to 15 years in jail and a $500,000 fine for their part in a DDoS attack against PayPal in 2010. Despite thousands of Anons taking part, and most of the damage being done by two major botnets, the 14 are set to bear all the responsibility if U.S. prosecutors have their way."

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NSA Tracking Cellphone Locations Worldwide
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '13 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's relax-citizens-we're-only-watching-you-closely department:
tramp writes "The National Security Agency is gathering nearly 5 billion records a day on the whereabouts of cellphones around the world, according to top-secret documents and interviews with U.S. intelligence officials, enabling the agency to track the movements of individuals — and map their relationships — in ways that would have been previously unimaginable. Of course it is 'only metadata' and absolutely not invading privacy if you ask our 'beloved' NSA." Pretty soon, the argument about whether you have in any given facet of your life a "reasonable expectation of privacy" may take on a whole new meaning.

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China Bans Financial Companies From Bitcoin Transactions
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '13 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's best-argument-yet-for-using-it department:
quantr writes with this excerpt from Bloomberg: "China's central bank barred financial institutions from handling Bitcoin transactions, moving to regulate the virtual currency after an 89-fold jump in its value sparked a surge of investor interest in the country. Bitcoin plunged more than 20 percent to below $1,000 on the BitStamp Internet exchange after the People's Bank of China said it isn't a currency with 'real meaning' and doesn't have the same legal status. The public is free to participate in Internet transactions provided they take on the risk themselves, it said. The ban reflects concern about the risk the digital currency may pose to China's capital controls and financial stability after a surge in trading this year made the country the world's biggest trader of Bitcoin, according to exchange operator BTC China. Bitcoin's price jumped more than ninefold in the past two months alone, prompting former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan to call it a 'bubble.' 'The concern is that it interferes with normal monetary policy operation,' said Hao Hong, head of China research at Bocom International Holdings Co. in Hong Kong. 'It represents an unofficial leakage to the current monetary system and trades globally. It is difficult to regulate and could be used for money laundering.'"

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Tech Companies Set To Appeal 2012 Oracle Vs. Google Ruling
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '13 at 05:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's what-do-you-think-now? department:
sl4shd0rk writes "In 2012, Oracle took Google to court over Java. In the balance hung the legalities of writing code to mimic the functionality of copyrighted software. The trial was set to determine how all future software would be written (and by whom). Oracle's entire case boiled down to an inadvertent 9 lines of code; an argument over a simple and basic comparison of a range of numbers. The presiding judge (who had some background in writing software) didn't buy it stating he had 'written blocks of code like rangeCheck a hundred times before.' A victory for more than just Google. This week, however, Microsoft, EMC, Oracle and Netapp have filed for appeal and seek to reverse the ruling. It's not looking good as the new bevy of judges Indicating they may side with Oracle on the issue."

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The Status of the Fukushima Clean-Up
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '13 at 03:00 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's cleaning-things-up department:
doom writes "Ian Sample at the Guardian UK does a really thorough write-up of what's going on with the Fukushima Clean-up. From the article: 'Though delicate and painstaking, retrieving the fuel rod assemblies from the pools is not the toughest job the workers face. More challenging by far will be digging out the molten cores in the reactors themselves. Some of the fuel burned through its primary containment and is now mixed with cladding, steel and concrete. The mixture will have to be broken up, sealed in steel containers and moved to a nuclear waste storage site. That work will not start until some time after 2020.'"

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World's Largest Ship Floated For the First Time
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '13 at 01:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's that's-a-biggun department:
Zothecula writes "A ship with a hull longer than the Empire State Building is tall has been floated out of dry dock in Geoje, South Korea. Measuring 488 m (1,601 ft) long and 74 m (243 ft) wide, the hull belongs to Shell's Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility, which upon completion will be the largest floating facility ever built."

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China Prefers Sticking With Dying Windows XP To Upgrading
Posted by News Fetcher on December 05 '13 at 12:30 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's the-devil-you-know department:
tdog17 writes "China says it wants Microsoft to extend support for Windows XP because that will help in its fight to stop proliferation of pirated Microsoft software.
A state copyright official says the release of Windows 8 means a substantial increase in the selling price of a Windows operating system, especially in light of the upcoming end-of-life of Windows XP, which is still used by a large percentage of Chinese. That could drive users to buy pirated copies of a new operating system because they are cheaper, he says."


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Crowdfunded Afrimakers To Bring Arduinos, Raspberry Pis To African Tech Hubs
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '13 at 10:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's hands-on department:
An anonymous reader writes "There's a chronic shortage of tech savvy teacher all over Africa, and at the same time a strong belief that the tech economy is vital to growth. Enter Afrimakers, a crowdfunded project to visit tech hubs in seven continents and leave behind Arduino boards, Raspberry Pis, soldering kits and — most importantly — the smarts to use them. The Indiegogo fund opened up a week or so ago, and they've managed to raise enough for the first two countries so far."

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Oldest Human DNA Contains Clues To Mysterious Species
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '13 at 07:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's family-tree department:
sciencehabit writes "Analysis of the oldest known genetic material ever to be recovered from an early human reveals an unexpected chapter in the story of human evolution. Researchers extracted mitochondrial DNA from the femur of a 400,000-year-old hominin found in the Sima de los Huesos ('pit of bones'), an underground cave in the Sierra de Atapuerca in northern Spain. Because the early hominins looked a little like Neanderthals, researchers expected their mitochondrial DNA to share a common ancestor. However, mitochondrial DNA from the Spanish hominin was found to share a common ancestor with an enigmatic eastern Eurasian sister group to the Neanderthals, the Denisovans."

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Medical Radioactive Material Truck Stolen In Mexico
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '13 at 05:45 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's 35-rads-per-gallon department:
An anonymous reader writes "A medical radioactive material truck has been stolen just outside Mexico City. From the article: 'BBC world affairs correspondent Rajesh Mirchandani says Cobalt-60 could theoretically be used in a so-called "dirty bomb" - an explosive device that could spread radioactive material over a wide area - although there is no official suggestion this was the purpose of the theft. Mexican police are currently conducting a search for the truck and its contents and have issued a press release to alert the public to its potential dangers.'"

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Nissan Leaf Prototype Becomes First Autonomous Car On Japanese Highways
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '13 at 05:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's keep-you-eyes-on-the-road-your-hands-off-the-wheel department:
cartechboy writes "As car manufacturers battle over futuristic announcements of when autonomous cars will (allegedly) be sold, they are also starting to more seriously put self-driving technology to the test. Earlier this week several Japanese dignitaries drove — make that rode along — as an autonomous Nissan Leaf prototype completed its first public highway test near Tokyo. The Nissan Leaf electric car successfully negotiated a section of the Sagami Expressway southwest of Tokyo, with a local Governor and Nissan Vice Chairman Toshiyuki Shiga onboard. The test drive reached speeds of 50 mph and took place entirely automatically, though it was carried out with the cooperation of local authorities, who no doubt cleared traffic to make the test a little easier. Nissan has already stated its intent to offer a fully autonomous car for sale by 2020."

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Two Million Passwords Compromised By Keylogger Virus
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '13 at 04:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's protect-ya-neck department:
Ocean Consulting writes "CNN is reporting that over two million passwords from web service companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo have been captured via a key logging virus. The story is based on information released by security firm Trustwave. The report critiques how bad people are at making secure passwords, but does mention the use of Pony Botnet Controller."

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In Letter To 20 Automakers, Senator Demands Answers On Cybersecurity
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '13 at 04:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's no-mr.-bond,-i-expect-you-to-die department:
chicksdaddy writes "Cyber attacks on 'connected vehicles' are still in the proof of concept stage. But those proofs of concept are close enough to the real thing to prompt an inquiry from U.S. Senator Ed Markey, who sent a letter to 20 major auto manufacturers (PDF) asking for information about consumer privacy protections and safeguards against cyber attacks in their vehicles. Markey's letter, dated December 2, cites recent reports of 'commands...sent through a car's computer system that could cause it to suddenly accelerate, turn or kill the breaks,' and references research conducted by Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek (PDF) on the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape. 'Today's cars and light trucks contain more than 50 separate electronic control units (ECUs), connected through a controller area network (CAN) ... Vehicle functionality, safety and privacy all depend on the functions of these small computers, as well as their ability to communicate with one another,' Markey wrote. Among the questions Markey wants answers to: What percentage of cars sold in model years 2013 and 2014 do not have any wireless entry points? What are automakers' methods for testing for vulnerabilities in technologies it deploys — including third pressure technologies? Markey asks specifically about tire pressure monitors, bluetooth and other wireless technologies and GPS (like Onstar). What third party penetration testing is conducted on vehicles (and any results)? What intrusion detection features exist for critical components like controller area network (CAN) buses on connected vehicles?"

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FCC Chair: It's Ok For ISPs To Discriminate Traffic
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '13 at 04:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's pay-per-bit department:
sl4shd0rk writes "Remember when the ex-cable lobbyist Tom Wheeler was appointed to the FCC chair back in May of 2013? Turns out he's currently gunning for Internet Service Providers to be able to 'favor some traffic over other traffic.' It would set a dangerous precedent, considering the Open Internet Order in 2010 forbade such action if it fell under unreasonable discrimination. The bendy interpretation of the 2010 order is apparently aimed somewhat at Netflix, as Wheeler stated: 'Netflix might say, "I'll pay in order to make sure that my subscriber might receive the best possible transmission of this movie."'"

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Gov't Puts Witness On No Fly List, Then Denies Having Done So
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '13 at 02:00 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's you-can-trust-us department:
cathyreisenwitz sends word of a San Francisco trial in which the U.S. government appears to be manipulating the no-fly list to its advantage. The court case involves a Stanford Ph.D. student who was barred from returning to the U.S. after visiting her native Malaysia. She's one of roughly 700,000 people on the no-fly list. Here's the sketchy part: the woman's eldest daughter, who was born in the U.S. and is a U.S. citizen, was called as a witness for the trial. Unfortunately, she mysteriously found herself on the no-fly list as well, and wasn't able to board a plane to come to the trial. Lawyers for the Department of Justice told the court that she simply missed her plane, but she was able to provide documents from the airline explaining that the Department of Homeland Security was not allowing her to fly.

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Famo.us To Open Source Rendering Engine Replacement JavaScript Framework
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '13 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's layers-of-complexity department:
snydeq writes "Famo.us has announced it will be open sourcing its framework for achieving native app performance within the browser, InfoWorld reports. 'Why so much fuss over another JavaScript framework? Mainly because it is unlike any other framework out there: Famo.us replaces the browser's rendering engine with its own, which is written entirely in JavaScript, and fuels it with the GPU acceleration provided by CSS's 3D transformation functions. Most any device these days that can run a modern browser — even a modest smartphone — has some kind of GPU supporting it, so why not leverage that? Armed with Famo.us, developers can maintain a single code base that performs well across many platforms.' Demo code is available on Codepen. Famo.us is also partnering with Firebase, a database as a service for mobile and Web apps."

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Ask Slashdot: Application Security Non-existent, Boss Doesn't Care. What To Do?
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '13 at 01:45 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's red-alert department:
An anonymous reader writes "I am a senior engineer and software architect at a fortune 500 company and manage a brand (website + mobile apps) that is a household name for anyone with kids. This year we migrated to a new technology platform including server hosting and application framework. I was brought in towards the end of the migration and overall it's been a smooth transition from the users' perspective. However it's a security nightmare for sysadmins (which is all outsourced) and a ripe target for any hacker with minimal skills. We do weekly and oftentimes daily releases that contain and build upon the same security vulnerabilities. Frequently I do not have control over the code that is deployed; it's simply given to my team by the marketing department. I inform my direct manager and colleagues about security issues before they are deployed and the response is always, 'we need to meet deadlines, we can fix security issues at a later point.' I'm at a loss at what I should do. Should I go over my manager's head and inform her boss? Approach legal and tell them about our many violations of COPPA? Should I refuse to deploy code until these issues are fixed? Should I look for a new job? What would you do in my situation?"

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Retail Radeon R9 290X Graphics Cards Slower Than AMD's Press Samples
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '13 at 01:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's if-you-can't-trust-marketing-departments,-who-can-you-trust department:
crookedvulture writes "AMD's recently introduced Radeon R9 290X is one of the fastest graphics cards around. However, the cards sent to reviewers differ somewhat from the retail units available for purchase. The press samples run at higher clock speeds and deliver better performance as a result. There's some variance in clock speeds between different press and retail cards, too. Part of the problem appears to be AMD's PowerTune mechanism, which dynamically adjusts GPU frequencies in response to temperature and power limits. AMD doesn't guarantee a base clock speed, saying only that the 290X runs at 'up to 1GHz.' Real-world clock speeds are a fair bit lower than that, and the retail cards suffer more than the press samples. Cooling seems to be a contributing factor. AMD issued a driver update that raises fan speeds, and that helps the performance of some retail cards. Retail units remain slower than the cards seeded to the press, though. Flashing retail cards with the press firmware raises clock speeds slightly, but it doesn't entirely close the gap, either. AMD hasn't explained why the retail cards are slower than expected, and it's possible the company cherry-picked the samples sent to the press. At the very least, it's clear that the 290X exhibits more card-to-card variance than we're used to seeing in a PC graphics product."

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Fearing Government Surveillance, US Journalists Are Self-Censoring
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '13 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's except-the-ones-you-wish-would-self-censor department:
binarstu writes "Suzanne Nossel, writing for CNN, reports that 'a survey of American writers done in October revealed that nearly one in four has self-censored for fear of government surveillance. They fessed up to curbing their research, not accepting certain assignments, even not discussing certain topics on the phone or via e-mail for fear of being targeted. The subjects they are avoiding are no surprise — mostly matters to do with the Middle East, the military and terrorism.' Yet ordinary Americans, for the most part, seem not to care: 'Surveillance so intrusive it is putting certain subjects out of bounds would seem like cause for alarm in a country that prides itself as the world's most free. Americans have long protested the persecution and constraints on journalists and writers living under repressive regimes abroad, yet many seem ready to accept these new encroachments on their freedom at home.'"

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EV Owner Arrested Over 5 Cents Worth of Electricity From School's Outlet
Posted by News Fetcher on December 04 '13 at 12:15 PM
By Soulskill from Slashdot's charged-for-charging department:
sl4shd0rk writes "It seems you can be arrested in Georgia for drawing 5 cents of electricity from a school's outdoor receptacle. Kaveh Kamooneh was charged with theft for plugging his Nissan Leaf into a Chamblee Middle School 110V outlet; the same outlet one could use to charge a laptop or cellphone. The Leaf draws 1KW/hour while charging which works out to under $0.10 of electricity per hour. Mr Kamooneh charged his Leaf for less than 30 minutes, which works out to about a nickel. Sgt. Ernesto Ford, the arresting officer, pointed out, 'theft is a theft,' which was his argument for arresting Mr. Kamooneh. Considering the cost of the infraction, it does not seem a reasonable decision when considering how much this will cost the state in legal funds. Does this mean anyone charging a laptop or cell phone will be charged with theft as well?"

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