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Chinese Gov't To Tighten Internet Controls Even Further
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '13 at 08:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's razing-the-global-village department:
jfruh writes "The new Chinese leadership released a document outlining its vision for the country Friday, and most of the attention was paid to reforms, like plans to loosen state control of the economy and end the one-child policy. But when it comes to the Internet, the Chinese Communist government is doubling down on its restrictive policies. The document notes that social networking and instant messaging tools can rapidly disseminate information and mobilize society; the government doesn't think those are good things, and plans to bolster its regulatory systems and increase the scope of their legal authority."

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Nokia Shareholders Approve Sale To Microsoft
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '13 at 07:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's never-got-fired-for-buying-microsoft department:
mrspoonsi writes "Nokia shareholders met today at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to vote on whether or not to accept the terms of the company's proposed sale of its devices and services business to Microsoft. The deal, which was first announced in September, is worth €5.44bn EUR ($7.35bn USD / £4.57bn GBP), and also includes provisions for Microsoft to license patents from the Finnish company. 78% of those eligible to vote had already voted before the EGM. Of those early votes, a staggering 99% had voted in favour of the sale to Microsoft."

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Why Not Fund SETI With a Lottery Bond?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '13 at 06:45 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's voluntary-incremental-fun department:
KentuckyFC writes "The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence or SETI is one of the highest profile projects in science. And yet its biggest challenge is in generating the funds required to scour the skies for signs of intelligent life. Government funding agencies generally ignore SETI so most funding comes from wealthy patrons such as Paul Allen who has donated $30 million for the construction of a radio interferometer designed to scour the skies for signs of ET. But the lack of other donors means this facility is still incomplete and only partially operational. But one astrobiologist has a solution. Why not create a lottery bond that allows investors to buy shares that yield a fixed rate of interest but also generates enough cash to fund ongoing SETI projects? To add an element of spice, this bond is also a lottery: when the search finally succeeds, a subset of the shareholders will receive a payout from the kitty. This is a fund that is likely to have global appeal but will need a financial institution willing and capable of taking it on. Any suggestions?"

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User Alleges LG TVs Phone Home With Your Viewing Habits
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '13 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's maybe-it's-just-coincidental-midget-porn department:
psychonaut writes "Blogger DoctorBeet discovered that his new LG television was surreptitiously sending information about his TV viewing habits, as well as the names of the files he watched on removable media, to LG's servers. There is an undocumented setting in the TV configuration which supposedly disables this behaviour, but an inspection of the network traffic between the TV and the Internet showed that the TV continues to send the data whether or not the setting is disabled. DoctorBeet contacted LG, but they shrugged the matter off, saying that it's a matter between him and the retailer he bought the TV from."

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Boston Cops Outraged Over Plans to Watch Their Movements Using GPS
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '13 at 05:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's funny-thing-about-that-... department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "The Boston Globe reports that the pending use of GPS tracking devices, slated to be installed in Boston police cruisers, has many officers worried that commanders will monitor their every move. Boston police administrators say the system gives dispatchers the ability to see where officers are, rather than wait for a radio response and supervisors insist the system will improve their response to emergencies. Using GPS, they say, accelerates their response to a call for a shooting or an armed robbery. 'We'll be moving forward as quickly as possible,' says former police commissioner Edward F. Davis. 'There are an enormous amount of benefits. . . . This is clearly an important enhancement and should lead to further reductions in crime.' But some officers said they worry that under such a system they will have to explain their every move and possibly compromise their ability to court street sources. 'No one likes it. Who wants to be followed all over the place?' said one officer who spoke anonymously because department rules forbid police from speaking to the media without authorization. 'If I take my cruiser and I meet [reluctant witnesses] to talk, eventually they can follow me and say why were you in a back dark street for 45 minutes? It's going to open up a can of worms that can't be closed.' Meanwhile civil libertarians are relishing the rank and file's own backlash. 'The irony of police objecting to GPS technology for privacy reasons is hard to miss in the aftermath of United States v. Jones,' says Woodrow Hartzog. 'But the officers' concerns about privacy illustrate just how revealing GPS technology can be. Departments are going to have to confront the chilling effect this surveillance might have on police behavior.'"

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How Perl and R Reveal the United States' Isolation In the TPP Negotiations
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '13 at 02:30 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's just-look-at-those-graphs department:
langelgjm writes "As /. reported, last Thursday Wikileaks released a draft text of the intellectual property chapter in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Since then, many commentators have raised alarm about its contents. But what happens when you mix the leaked text together with Perl regular expressions and R's network analysis packages? You get some neat visualizations showing just how isolated the United States is in pushing for extreme copyright and patent laws."

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Netflix Users In Danger of Unknowingly Picking Up Malware
Posted by News Fetcher on November 19 '13 at 12:45 AM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's perils-of-deprecated-proprietary-software department:
An anonymous reader writes "Users of Silverlight, Microsoft's answer to Adobe Flash, are in danger of having malware installed on their computers and being none the wiser, as an exploit for a critical vulnerability (CVE-2013-0634) in the app framework has been added to the Angler exploit kit. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if an attacker hosts a website that contains a specially crafted Silverlight application that could exploit this vulnerability and then convinces a user to view the website. The attacker could also take advantage of compromised websites and websites that accept or host user-provided content or advertisements."

You'd think something like Silverlight would automatically upgrade itself.

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US Government Embraces Bitcoin in Hearing on Virtual Currency
Posted by News Fetcher on November 18 '13 at 09:45 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's coal-to-pretend-money department:
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Congress held its first-ever hearing on virtual currencies this afternoon, and it may have been the best PR boost bitcoin's had yet. The tone at the hearing held before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee was overwhelmingly positive as the panel weighed the risks of the technology that grew out of the criminal underbelly of the web, with the potential economic value of the now-booming futurist money. The prevailing sentiment over the two-hour deep dive into the pros and cons of the digital coins boils down to this: We need to uphold America's position as center of technical innovation by welcoming the new currency—but that that can't be done without government safeguards and regulations."

SonicSpike wrote in with a link to another report in Bloomberg. The Federal Reserve has no plans to regulate Bitcoin (lacking regulatory authority), but the SEC chair wrote "Regardless of whether an underlying virtual currency is itself a security, interests issued by entities owning virtual currencies or providing returns based on assets such as virtual currencies likely would be securities and therefore subject to our regulation."

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Google to Pay $17 Million to Settle Privacy Case
Posted by News Fetcher on November 18 '13 at 07:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's lemme-dig-that-out-of-my-pocket department:
cold fjord writes "The New York Times reports, 'Google agreed on Monday to pay $17 million to 37 states and the District of Columbia ... The case involved Google's bypassing of privacy settings in Apple's Safari browser to use cookies to track users and show them advertisements in 2011 and 2012. Google has said it discontinued circumventing the settings early last year, after the practice was publicly reported, and stopped tracking Safari users and showing them personalized ads. ... the case is one of a growing pile of government investigations, lawsuits and punishments related to privacy matters at the company. They include cases involving a social networking tool called Buzz, illegal data collection by Street View vehicles and accusations of wiretapping to show personalized ads in Gmail. '"

From the DOJ, the settlement (PDF).

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Valve To Demo Prototype VR Headset, "Steam to Support and Promote VR Games"
Posted by News Fetcher on November 18 '13 at 05:30 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's where's-my-missle-commander-3d-port department:
An anonymous reader writes "The itinerary for Steam Dev Days 2014 lists two talks by Valve's internal virtual and augmented reality researchers, Michael Abrash and Joe Ludwig. Abrash's talk, titled 'What VR Could, Should, and Almost Certainly Will Be within Two Years' will feature a demonstration of Valve's secret prototype VR headset that is 'capable of stunning experiences.' Ludwig's talk 'Virtual Reality and Steam' will discuss how Valve will be adapting Steam to VR to 'support and promote Virtual Reality games.' Rift inventor and Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey will also be taking to the stage at Steam Dev Days to speak on best-practice for VR development."

There's a hint that they might be showing off a head mounted display featuring a low persistence display, which would be great news for those of us that get the urge to hurl when playing Doom on a conventional display. If you missed it you might want to check out the slides and notes (PDF) from Michael Abrash's GDC2013 talk on VR.

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An Anonymous US Law Enforcement Officer Claims US Wouldn't Arrest Julian Assange
Posted by News Fetcher on November 18 '13 at 05:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's with-crossed-fingers department:
McGruber writes "The Washington Post reports that 'Federal prosecutors have not filed a sealed indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, despite persistent rumors that a nearly three-year grand jury investigation into him and his organization had secretly led to charges, according to senior law enforcement sources. ... "Nothing has occurred so far," said one law enforcement official with knowledge of the case. "If Assange came to the U.S. today, he would not be arrested. But I can't predict what's going to happen. He might be in six months." The law enforcement official providing this assurance chose to remain anonymous.'"

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How Snapchat Could March Startups Right Off the Cliff, Lemming-Style
Posted by News Fetcher on November 18 '13 at 04:15 PM
By Unknown Lamer from Slashdot's take-their-money-while-you-still-can department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Two investors are Tweeting that Instagram, had it stayed an independent company, could be worth between $5 billion and $15 billion today. That's led to talk of whether Snapchat was right to (reportedly) shoot down Facebook's bid of $3 billion for its business, considering how its growth and sizable user base. Snapchat's founders evidently think they can score a better deal within the next few quarters. If they manage to sell their startup a year from now for twice as much, they'll be lauded as extraordinarily smart businessmen—perhaps smarter than the folks at Instagram who sold for a 'measly' $1 billion (and all this despite Snapchat making no revenue). But for other startups in the space, the Snapchat and Instragram stories won't do them much good. Propelled by dreams of ever-increasing millions (perhaps billions!) startup founders could end up turning down perfectly good acquisition offers in favor of continuing to bootstrap — and find their businesses eroding and imploding, as the market for their particular app or service either fades away or (more likely) ends up crowded out by competing software. The startup market is a shark-tank, and most of those who don't get out of the water as soon as possible are eaten, dreams of grandeur or no."

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Ancient Egyptians Created "Meat Mummies" So Dead Could Continue To Eat
Posted by News Fetcher on November 18 '13 at 03:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's wrap-that-up-for-me department:
sciencehabit writes "What is your beloved mummy going to eat for the rest of eternity? For some ancient Egyptians, the answer included meat. In King Tutankhamun's tomb, for example, archaeologists found 48 wooden cases of butchered cuts of beef and poultry. But unlike offerings of fruit and grains, which could last for quite a while once dehydrated and placed in dry tombs, pieces of meat required special treatment. After just a few hours in the desert heat, 'they will become a terrible mess if you don't take some steps to preserve them,' says Richard Evershed, an archaeological chemist at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. The solution? Mummify. Now, a team of researchers led by Evershed is shedding light on the embalming processes used to create these so-called meat mummies, including mummified beef ribs."

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Canonical Developer Warns About Banking With Linux Mint
Posted by News Fetcher on November 18 '13 at 03:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's family-fight department:
sfcrazy writes "Ubuntu developer Oliver Grawert does not prefer to do online banking with Linux Mint. In the official mailing list of the distribution, Ubuntu developers stated that the popular Ubuntu derivative is a vulnerable system and people shouldn't go for online banking on it. One of the Ubuntu developers, Oliver Grawert, originally pointed out that it is not necessary that security updates from Ubuntu get down to Linux Mint users since changes from X.Org, the kernel, Firefox, the boot-loader, and other core components are blocked from being automatically upgraded." Clement Lefebvre, the Linux Mint project founder, has since made a statement and confirmed that Oliver Grawert seems "more opinionated than knowledgeable" adding "the press blew what he said out of proportion."

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Meet the 'Assassination Market' Creator Who's Crowdfunding Murder With Bitcoins
Posted by News Fetcher on November 18 '13 at 02:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's dark-places department:
schwit1 writes "As Silk Road emerged from the 'dark-web', other sites have appeared offering services that are frowned upon by most. As Forbes reports, perhaps the most-disturbing is 'The Assassination Market' run by a pseudnymous Kuwabatake Sanjuro. The site, remarkably, a crowdfunding service that lets anyone anonymously contribute bitcoins towards a bounty on the head of any government official–a kind of Kickstarter for political assassinations. As Forbes reports, NSA Director Alexander and President Obama have a BTC40 bounty (~$24,000) but the highest bounty — perhaps not entirely surprising — is BTC 124.14 (~$75,000) for none other than Ben Bernanke."

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Yahoo Encrypting Data In Wake of NSA Revelations
Posted by News Fetcher on November 18 '13 at 01:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's protect-ya-neck department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "Following reports that the NSA aggressively targets Google and Yahoo servers for surveillance, Yahoo is working to encrypt much of the data flowing through its datacenters. 'As you know, there have been a number of reports over the last six months about the U.S. government secretly accessing user data without the knowledge of tech companies, including Yahoo,' Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer wrote in a Nov. 18 blog posting. 'I want to reiterate what we have said in the past: Yahoo has never given access to our data centers to the NSA or to any other government agency.' In order to make Yahoo's systems more secure, she added, the company is introducing SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption to Yahoo Mail with a 2048-bit key. That security measure will supposedly be in place by January 8, 2014. Beyond that, Yahoo plans on encrypting all information that moves between its datacenters by the end of the first quarter of 2014. Around that same time, the company will give users the option to encrypt all data flowing to and from Yahoo; it will also 'work closely with our international Mail partners to ensure that Yahoo co-branded Mail accounts are https-enabled,' Mayer wrote. (While it's not a crushing expense for massive companies such as Yahoo, introducing this sort of security does add to infrastructure and engineering costs, and takes time to actually put in place.)"

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Chicxulub Impact Might Have Spread Life-Bearing Rocks Through the Solar System
Posted by News Fetcher on November 18 '13 at 12:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's big-boom department:
KentuckyFC writes "Some 65 million years ago, an asteroid the size of a small city hit the Yucatan Peninsula in what is now Mexico, devastating Earth and triggering the sequence of events that wiped out the dinosaurs. This impact ejected 70 billion kg of Earth rock into space. To carry life around the Solar System, astrobiologists say these rocks must have stayed cool, less than 100 degrees C, and must also be big, more than 3 metres in diameter to protect organisms from radiation in space. Now they have calculated that 20,000 kilograms of this Earth ejecta must have reached Europa, including at least one or two potentially life-bearing rocks. And they say similar amounts must have reached other water-rich moons such as Callisto and Titan. Their conclusion is that if we find life on the moons around Saturn and Jupiter, it could well date from the time of the dinosaurs (or indeed from other similar impacts)."

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Supreme Court Refuses To Hear EPIC Challenge To NSA Surveillance
Posted by News Fetcher on November 18 '13 at 12:15 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's we're-not-listening-to-you department:
Trailrunner7 writes "The challenge to the NSA's domestic surveillance program filed with the Supreme Court by the Electronic Privacy Information Center ended Monday, with the court refusing to consider the challenge at all. EPIC had filed the challenge directly with the Supreme Court rather than going through the lower courts. EPIC, a non-profit organization involved in privacy policy matters, had asked the court to vacate an order from a judge in the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Court that had enabled the NSA's collection of hundreds of millions of Verizon call records under the so-called metadata collection program. The challenge hinged on the idea that the FISC had gone outside of its authority in granting the order."

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Fuel Rod Removal Operation Begins At Tsunami-hit Fukushima
Posted by News Fetcher on November 18 '13 at 11:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's slow-and-steady department:
rtoz writes "TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) has started removing fuel rods from a storage pond at the Unit 4 reactor building of Tsunami-hit Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear power station in Japan. The first of the fuel-rod assemblies at the plant's No. 4 reactor building was transferred from an underwater rack on the fifth floor to a portable cask. This step is an early milestone in decommissioning the facility amid doubts about whether the rods had been damaged and posed a radiation risk. 22 unused fuels will be moved to the cask a task which is planned to be completed by November 19. After being filled with fuel, the cask will be closed with a lid, and following decontamination, will be taken down to ground level and transported to the common spent fuel pool on a trailer. It is planned to take approximately one week from placing the fuel into the cask at the spent fuel pool to storing it in the common pool. The entire removal of all fuel inside the Unit 4 spent fuel pool is planned to take until the end of 2014."

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Explorer Plans Hunt For Genghis Khan's Long-Lost Tomb
Posted by News Fetcher on November 18 '13 at 10:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's awesome-digs department:
Velcroman1 writes "The tomb of brutal Mongolian emperor Genghis Khan — the one who created the world's most powerful empire by raiding and invading across Eurasia, not Kirk's nemesis — is a lost treasure archaeologists have sought for years. And one man thinks he knows where it is. Last fall Alan Nichols, the president of The Explorers Club, mapped out possible locations for the tomb of Khan (also known as Chinnggis Qa'an). His hypothesis: Khan's tomb is located in the Liupan Mountains in Northern China, where the emperor who was born in 1162 and is said to have perished from an arrow wound in August 1227. Next fall, Nichols plans the next phase of his research: pinpointing Khan's exact resting place. 'Ghengis Khan's tomb is my obsession,' Nichols, a noted authority on the emperor, said recently. 'I couldn't stop thinking about it. But I'm not happy just reading about it, or knowing about it. I need to have my feet on it.'"

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