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Spooked By His Sci Fi, FBI Looked Into Asimov As Possible Communist Tipster
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '13 at 03:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's state-wasn't-your-friend-then-either department:
v3rgEz writes "By September 14, 1960, Isaac Asimov had been a professor of biochemistry at Boston University for 11 years, and his acclaimed "I, Robot" collection of short stories was on its seventh reprint. This was also the day someone not-so-subtly accused him of communist sympathies in a letter to J. Edgar Hoover. They ominously concluded that "Asimov may be quite all right. On the other hand . . . . ." The "tip off" wasn't given much credit, but it didn't matter since Asimov's science fiction writing alone was enough to warrant FBI monitoring, particularly as the FBI hunted for the mysterious ROBPROF, a communist informant embedded in American academia. MuckRock has Isaac Asimov's FBI files in full, and a write up of the more interesting bits."

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A Chat with Kristian von Bengtson, co-founder of Copenhagen Suborbitals (Video)
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '13 at 02:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's getting-into-space-the-simple-way department:
Copenhagen Suborbitals says their mission is "very simple. We are working towards launching a human being into space." That doesn't sound so simple, really, but they're approaching this gargantuan task with an intentionally simple approach: a small team, relatively unhampered by bureaucratic hassles, who are taking advantage of existing, off-the-shelf high-tech solutions when they make sense, and low-tech solutions when possible; if the parable of the Soviet space pencil hadn't worked its way into the mythology of space technology, it could have been based on the Copenhagen Suborbitals point of view. I talked with project co-founder Kristian von Bengston about the project's progress so far, as well as what the next steps are. Among those next steps: in summer 2014, the Suborbitals team plans to launch their HEAT2X lift vehicle loaded with the TDS-80 capsule; you can download the preliminary trajectory projections for both the launcher and the capsule.

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Spooked By His Sci Fi, FBI Looked Into Isaac Asimov As Possible Communist Tipste
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '13 at 02:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's state-wasn't-your-friend-then-either department:
v3rgEz writes "By September 14, 1960, Isaac Asimov had been a professor of biochemistry Boston University for 11 years, and his acclaimed "I, Robot" collection of short stories was on its seventh reprint. This was also the day someone not-so-subtly accused him of communist sympathies in a letter to J. Edgar Hoover. They ominously concluded that "Asimov may be quite all right. On the other hand . . . . ." The "tip off" wasn't given much credit, but it didn't matter since Asimov's science fiction writing alone was enough to warrant FBI monitoring, particularly as the FBI hunted for the mysterious ROBPROF, a communist informant embedded in American academia. MuckRock has Isaac Asimov's FBI files in full, and a write up of the more interesting bits."

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Elementary School Bans Students From Touching Each Other
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '13 at 01:00 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's this-one-is-about-your-rights-offline department:
theshowmecanuck writes "A school in British Columbia (the province that now even California can call flakey) has just banned elementary school students from touching each other during recess. You know, one of those times for play and more importantly learning how to socialize (which itself includes touching). CTV News reports: 'A ban on touching during recess at a B.C. elementary school has shocked parents, who call the new no-touch policy "ridiculous." For most kids, recess is a chance to run around and goof-off with their friends, but a new ban on touching at a school in Aldergrove could put a damper on playtime. School administrators at Coghlan Fundamental Elementary School in B.C. have banned kindergarten students from touching each other during recess.'"

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US FDA Moves To Ban Trans Fat
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '13 at 12:45 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's for-your-own-good-ad-infinitum department:
UnknowingFool writes "Citing growing health concerns about trans fat, the FDA today proposed measures to eliminate it from the U.S. food supply. While trans fat can still be used, the new measures now place the burden on food processors to justify the inclusion of it in a food product as experts have maintained that there is no safe level of consumption and no health benefits. Since 2006, the amount of trans far eaten by the average American has declined from 4.5g per serving to less than 1g as restaurants and the food industry have reduced their use of it. There will be a 60 day public comment period for the new proposal."

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Google To Block Local Chrome Extensions On Windows Starting In January
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '13 at 12:15 PM
By timothy from Slashdot's ratcheting-down department:
An anonymous reader writes "Google today announced it will block local Chrome extensions starting in January, but only on the Windows platform. This means that next year, Windows users will only be able to install extensions for the company's browser from the Chrome Web Store. The changes will affect both Chrome's stable and beta channels on Windows. Google says it will continue to support local extension installs on its Dev and Canary channels, as well as installs via Enterprise policy. Chrome apps are not affected at all and will continue to be supported normally."

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Ask Slashdot: Tools For Managing Multiple Serial Console Servers?
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '13 at 11:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's many-roads-to-rome department:
An anonymous reader writes "I've recently been charged with updating our existing serial console access tools. We have 12 racks of servers each with a console server in it (OpenGear, ACS, and a few others). Several of these systems host virtual machines which are also configured to have 'serial' management (KVM, virt serial). In total it comes to about 600 'systems.' All the systems also have remote power management (various vendors). Right now our team has a set of home grown scripts and a cobbled together database for keeping this all together. Today any admin can simply ssh into the master, run 'manage hostname console' and automatically get a serial console or run 'manage hostname power off' to cut the power to a system. I'd rather use some tools with more of a community than just the 4 of us. What tool(s) should I move my group onto for remote serial/power management?"

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A Playstation 4 Teardown
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '13 at 10:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's urge-to-investigate department:
Dave Knott writes "Just over one week ahead of the launch of the Playstation 4, Wired has posted an article with a full teardown of Sony's new device. In an accompanying video Sony engineering director Yasuhiro Ootori dismantles the PS4 piece by piece, describing each component and showing just what is contained inside the sleek black box."

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French Court Orders Google To Block Pictures of Ex-F1 Chief Mosley
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '13 at 09:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's just-a-little-nazi-themed-orgy-your-honor department:
Virtucon writes "This one goes to the old adage 'closing the stable door after the horse bolted.' A French court on Wednesday ruled that Google must remove from its search results photos of a former Formula One racing chief, Max Mosley, participating in an Nazi-themed orgy. Google could be fined up to 1,000 Euros/day for not complying. What's strange here is that Mosley A) Sued in a French Court B) Didn't go after anybody else other than Google and C) has definitely strange tastes in extracurricular activities. In this day and age it's laughable to think that once your private photos/videos hit the Internet that you have any expectation of reigning them in or filtering the embarrassing parts out. Google isn't the only game in town so to speak in terms of Internet search. I wonder if his lawyers checked out Yahoo or WebCrawler?"

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Internet Archive's San Francisco Home Badly Damaged By Fire
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '13 at 09:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's one-of-the-greatest-things-ever-built department:
Rambo Tribble writes "The San Francisco building housing the Internet Archive, and its popular Wayback Machine, has suffered a serious fire. While no archived data was destroyed, materials awaiting archival were. Rebuilding with be a major undertaking, and the group is soliciting donations."

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Scientists Says Jellyfish Are Taking Over the Oceans
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '13 at 08:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's on-the-upside-they-make-great-pets-and-snacks department:
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Karla Cripps reports at CNN that a combination of overfishing, warming water, low oxygen and pollution are creating perfect conditions for jellyfish to multiply. "The jellyfish seem to be the ones that are flourishing in this while everything else is suffering," says Australian jellyfish researcher Lisa-ann Gershwin. In 2000, a bloom of sea tomato jellyfish in Australia was so enormous — it stretched for more than 1,000 miles from north to south — that it was even visible from space. While most blooms are not quite that big, Gershwin's survey of research on jellyfish from the last few decades indicate that populations are most likely on the rise, and that this boom is taking place in an ocean that is faced with overfishing, acid rain, nutrient pollution from fertilizers and climate change, among other problems. This past summer, southern Europe experienced one of its worst jellyfish infestations ever. Experts there have been reporting a steady increase in the number of jellyfish in the Mediterranean Sea for years. With more than 2,000 species of jellyfish swimming through the world's waters, most stings are completely harmless, some will leave you in excruciating pain, then there are the killers. There are several species of big box jellyfish that have caused many deaths — these include chironex fleckeri in Australia, known as the "most lethal jellyfish in the world whose sting can kill in three minutes. "Just the lightest brush — you don't even feel it — and then, whammo, you're in more pain than you ever could have imagined, and you are struggling to breathe and you can't move your limbs and you can't stop vomiting and your blood pressure just keeps going up and up," says Gershwin. "It is really surprising how many places they occur around the world — places you would never expect: Hawaii, Caribbean, Florida, Wales, New Caledonia, Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, India ... as well as Australia.""

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Healthcare.gov Official Resigns, Website Still a Disaster
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '13 at 07:30 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's sell-you-stock-in-this-one-oh-wait department:
Nerval's Lobster writes "A government official who helped oversee the bug-riddled Healthcare.gov Website has resigned his post. Tony Trenkle, Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees Healthcare.gov, will reportedly join the private sector after he departs on November 15. A spokesperson for the Medicare agency refused to say whether he had been forced out, telling reporters: 'Tony made a decision that he was going to move to the private sector and that is what our COO announced yesterday.' Because of his supervisory role, Trenkle is considered a significant player in the Website's development; The New York Times indicated that he was one of two federal officials who signed an internal memo suggesting that security protocols for the Website weren't in place as recently as late September, a few days before Healthcare.gov's launch.Following Trenkle's resignation, Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted to the Senate Finance Committee that Healthcare.gov would require hundreds of fixes. 'We're not where we need to be,' she said. 'It's a pretty aggressive schedule to get to the entire punch list by the end of November.' Sebelius added that she was ultimately accountable for what she termed the 'excruciatingly awful' rollout. Healthcare.gov has experienced massive problems since its Oct. 1 debut. In addition to repeated crashes and slow performance, the Website's software often prevents people from setting up accounts. President Obama has expressed intense frustration with the situation, but insists the Affordable Care Act (ACA) backing the Website remains strong. 'The essence of the law, the health insurance that's available to people is working just fine,' he told reporters in October. 'The problem has been that the website that's supposed to make it easy to apply for insurance hasn't been working.' While the federal government won't release 'official' enrollment numbers until the end of November, it's clear that the Website's backers are losing the battle of public perception."

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Protect Your Android Phone By Killing All Its Crapware
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '13 at 07:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's easier-said-than-done department:
jfruh writes "Like Windows, Android has built a dominant market share because any hardware manufacturer can license it — and as they did with Windows, those manufacturers are loading up Android devices with their own proprietary crapware. Although the process is a bit convoluted, you can get this crapware off your phone — and in doing so you'll actually make the device more secure."

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Security Breach Forces Bitcoin Bank Inputs.io To Halt Operations
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '13 at 06:15 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's bank-holiday department:
New submitter BitVulture writes "The hardcore Bitcoin community is abuzz with news of the closure of Inputs.io, a supposedly secure online Bitcoin wallet, after an attack resulted in the loss of 4100 Bitcoins. A PGP-signed message at the home page of the now mostly non-operational site briefly explains the situation: 'Two hacks totalling about 4100 BTC have left Inputs.io unable to pay all user balances. The attacker compromised the hosting account through compromising email accounts (some very old, and without phone numbers attached, so it was easy to reset). The attacker was able to bypass 2FA due to a flaw on the server host side.'
There's no word yet whether Inputs.io will eventually resume operations or whether the security breach will force the Bitcoin bank out of business."


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Alleged Secret Google Antitrust Proposals Leaked
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '13 at 05:45 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's not-so-secret-anymore department:
itwbennett writes "Google's latest proposals aimed at avoiding an antitrust fine from European authorities have been leaked amid growing anger over the secrecy surrounding the case. The documents, which have been verified by sources in possession of the originals, revealed the full remedies put forward by Google, the questionnaire that rivals have been asked to fill in giving their response to the remedies and a comparison document showing the changes in Google's remedies since the last proposals. Unlike the first round of so-called 'market testing,' Google's revised proposals have not been made public and were only sent to 125 interested parties who were warned that they were not to be made public."

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Microsoft and Facebook Launch Internet Bug Bounty Program
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '13 at 03:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's track-them-down department:
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft and Facebook today jointly launched a new initiative called the Internet Bug Bounty program. In short, the two companies are looking to secure the Internet stack by rewarding anyone and everyone who hacks it, and responsibly discloses vulnerabilities they find. The minimum bounty for hacking any component of the Internet is $5,000."

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Edward Snowden Leaks Could Help Paedophiles Escape Police, Says UK Government
Posted by News Fetcher on November 07 '13 at 12:15 AM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's root-of-all-evil department:
An anonymous reader writes "Paedophiles may escape detection because highly-classified material about Britain's surveillance capabilities have been published by the Guardian newspaper, the UK government has claimed. A senior Whitehall official said data stolen by Edward Snowden, a former contractor to the US National Security Agency, could be exploited by child abusers and other cyber criminals. It could also put lives at risk by disclosing secrets to terrorists, insurgents and hostile foreign governments, he said."

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North Korea Developing Electromagnetic Pulse Weapons
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '13 at 10:00 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's don't-you-need-electricity-for-that? department:
An anonymous reader writes "The Sydney Morning Herald reports, 'North Korea is using Russian technology to develop electromagnetic pulse weapons aimed at paralyzing military electronic equipment south of the border, according to South Korea's spy agency. The National Intelligence Service (NIS) said in a report to parliament that the North had purchased Russian electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weaponry to develop its own versions. EMP weapons are used to damage electronic equipment. At higher energy levels, an EMP can cause more widespread damage including to aircraft structures and other objects. The spy agency also said the North's leader Kim Jong-Un sees cyber attacks as an all-purpose weapon along with nuclear weapons and missiles, according to legislators briefed by the NIS.'" Let's not forget that North Korea has also achieved nuclear fusion, developed a super drink that can cure aging and disease, and found a "unicorn lair" last year.

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Microsoft Donates Windows 8.1 To Nonprofit Organizations
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '13 at 07:30 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's you-get-a-copy-and-you-get-a-copy... department:
An anonymous reader writes in with good news for Windows loving nonprofits and libraries. "Microsoft today announced the availability of Windows 8.1 for nonprofits. The move is an extension of the company's nod to the nonprofit community with the launch Windows 8. The announcement means eligible nonprofit organizations and public libraries can request Windows 8.1 through Microsoft's software donation program."

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What Apple Does and Doesn't Know About You
Posted by News Fetcher on November 06 '13 at 06:01 PM
By samzenpus from Slashdot's we-know-nothing department:
Daniel_Stuckey writes "Tucked inside Apple's first-ever transparency report, published yesterday, was a not-so-subtle dig at the tech giant's competitors. 'Our business does not depend on collecting personal data,' Apple wrote. 'We have no interest in amassing personal information about our customers.' It's no secret that for social web companies like Google or Facebook, collecting, storing, and analyzing data about every aspect of your life translates into cold, hard cash—the more sensitive and personal, the better. But in the emerging post-NSA new world order, the unwritten privacy-for-cool services agreement that drives the internet ecosystem is making netizens increasingly uneasy."

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